Decolonizing the Study of Material Culture in Ancient Thrace and the Hellenistic Far East

by Dr. Richard Wenghofer

Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Nipissing University (North Bay, Ontario, Canada)


on Saturday, November 06, 2021
8 pm Sofia, Bulgaria (EЕT)
6 pm London, UK (GMT)
 2 pm New York (EST)


You can now watch the lecture online in the gallery bellow.


Archaeologists have long understood the methodological problems inherent in conflating material culture with ethnic culture. Earlier generations of archaeologists and ancient historians have all too frequently read certain changes in material culture as an indication of the arrival of new ethnic groups bearing new cultural practices and forms. While this is no longer considered an acceptable use of material evidence, there is still a common tendency to view the ubiquity of Greek material culture in certain non-Greek archaeological contexts as part of the broader history of “Hellenization,” often with some rather infelicitous results. This presentation will examine how such a reading of the material culture in the Hellenistic Far East has led to some rather problematic conclusions regarding the geopolitical and cultural histories of Hellenistic Bactria, the Indo-Greek, and Indo-Scythian kingdoms, and will explore how some of the lessons learned in the context of the Hellenistic Far East might be applied to a more nuanced understanding of the cultural and geopolitical realities of Classical and Hellenistic Thrace.