Not all excavation is done in the field--or with a trowel. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology's upcoming special exhibition "Discovery! Excavating the Ancient World" illustrates the many different paths we take to answering questions about the ancient world. In sections on Mapping, Understanding texts, Photography, Conservation, Bioarchaeology, Disseminating information, and Sonic experiences visitors can explore the wide range of expertise and methods used to understand the ancient world.


This exhibition emphasizes the process of archaeological research with examples from current projects affiliated with the Kelsey Museum. Many of the behind-the-scenes steps that lead us to interpretations of the past are on display. For instance, have you ever thought about how to photograph the kilometer-long expanse of an excavated ancient town site? (With a blimp!)


The exhibition also presents some of the challenges surrounding data on the people and places we study--from how to organize and curate the massive amounts of information collected in museums, in archives, and on the ground, to considerations of who actually gets access to these data and who participates in crafting the presentation of results of this work. Guiding the whole experience are the innovative questions Kelsey researchers are asking--What did the ancient world sound like? How do we reconstruct the decorative schemes of Roman villas when all we have are tiny fragments? How do we find sites? What do we do if important artifacts are in poor states of preservation? Do the modern distributions of lizard species relate to ancient trade routes?


Please join us at the Kelsey on Friday, September 20, at 6:00 pm for the official opening of this exhibition, which will be on display from August 23 to November 10.