New York Times best-selling author, Brian Fagan, will present “Return to Babylon: Travelers, Archaeologists, and Monuments in Mesopotamia” on Sept. 12 at the Hudson Concert Hall at the Mary Stuart Rogers Performing Arts Center at Willamette University. This free lecture is part of an ongoing series that is offered in conjunction with the Hallie Ford Museum of Art exhibition “Breath of Heaven, Breath of Earth: Ancient Near Eastern Art from American Collections.” Doors will open at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. presentation.
Fagan will explore the early days of archaeology in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq). The field of archaeology was young and dangerous. It was not uncommon for archaeologists to arm themselves to fend off rivals and looters. But the stakes were high as people like Austen Henry Layard excavated the ancient Assyrian cities of Nineveh and Nimrud (dating back 3000 years). His and other dazzling discoveries in the Near East during the 19th and early 20th centuries shed light on the origins of Western civilization and ignited the imagination and interest of people around the world.
Fagan served as Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara between 1967 and 2003. He is a prolific writer with more than 45 books that focus on archaeology and human history. His archaeology textbooks are among the most widely used in the US. He has consulted for the National Geographic Society, Time Life, and the Encyclopedia Britannica as well as the development of Public Televisions programs including “Where in Time is Carmen San Diego?” and the “Lost Civilizations” series. His most recent book is “The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present, and Future of Rising Sea Levels” (2013).
Following the lecture, Fagan will take questions from the audience and will be available to sign books, which will be available for sale in the lobby.
For more information on the complete lecture series and the exhibition, visit the Exhibition Archive.
This lecture is co-sponsored with the Salem Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and has been supported by grants from the City of Salem’s Transient Occupancy Tax funds, the Oregon Arts Commission, the Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology and the Verda Karen McCracken Young Art Exhibition Fund of the Department of Art History at Willamette University.