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Millsaps Hosts Norton Lecture with Archaeologist Katherine Dunbabin


On October 20, Millsaps hosted a Norton Lecture sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America with guest speaker Katherine Dunbabin. The lecture, "The Romans at Dinner: A View from Archaeology and Art," explored the function of dinner in the social lives of ancient Romans through the archaeological record. This lecture was supported by the Sociology & Anthropology and Classics departments at Millsaps.

Dr. Dunbabin's visit offered students interested in archaeology the opportunity to learn more about classical archaeology and to meet and converse with a distinguished archaeologist. Prior to the lecture, three students went to dinner with Dr. Dunbabin. There, she discussed her work with mosaics and her travels. The students (Megan Rebman, George Bey IV, and Emily Knaub) and Dr. Dunbabin also spoke about the work being done in Albania and the Yucatan with Dr. Michael Galaty and Dr. George Bey, respectively.

Commenting on the lecture and her interactions with Dr. Dunbabin, Megan Rebman, a sophomore, said, "The talk was extremely interesting. It was really cool to see how we can understand Roman dining just from the mosaics that depict feasts in so much detail." Megan explained further that Dr. Dunbabin discussed the dining practices of Romans, including that they would lounge on their sides and proper etiquette while lying. "She went through the evolution and how it went from being primarily about the food to including entertainment for the guests. She also explained that dining took place not just inside but outside as well, even in cemeteries or vineyards for picnic."

Food and dining were the theme for Dr. Dunbabin's entire visit! A reception at the Weems house that featured Mediterranean food for students and faculty followed the lecture.