Death in the Dark

Archaeologist Simon James tells a detective story uncovering the secrets of a ferocious battle fought between the Romans and Sasanians in AD 256. Attested only through archaeology, the siege that overcame the city of Dura-Europos is otherwise unrecorded. Excavations have revealed in graphic detail the course of Sasanian attacks and the efforts of Romans to thwart them: siege ramps and mines, copious weaponry, and the bones of the slain, including dramatic traces of the defenders' last stand. James presents vivid archaeological testimony of ancient warfare and new surprises, for careful reappraisal of the evidence suggests that an early form of chemical warfare was among the horrors unleashed at Dura. This lecture is co-presented with the Archaeological Institute of America, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Ahmanson Foundation.

About Simon James
Simon James is professor of archaeology at the University of Leicester in England. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of London, and his research interests include ancient identity, ethnicity and conflict, the archaeology of violence, and Roman, Iron Age European and Partho-Sasanian material culture. He has excavated widely at Iron Age, Roman and medieval sites in Britain, France, Germany and Italy, and in particular at the Cowdery's Down "Dark Age" settlement in England and at the Roman garrison base at Dura-Europos in Syria.

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  • Getty Villa
    17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades
  • Saturday Oct 15, 2016
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