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Working the Night Shift: The Ancient World After Dark

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0814
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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As twilight settled in the ancient world, a host of activities ensued, some of which were significantly different from what people did during the daytime. Many artifacts, features, and buildings associated with these activities were particular to the dark, while other material culture was transformed in meaning as the sun set. So much of our economic, social, and ritual lives takes place at night and yet, until recently, relatively little archaeological research has been undertaken specifically on nocturnal quotidian practices.

Many tasks are uniquely suited to the nature of nighttime. Night is often quieter, its darkness provides refuge from heat, and offers freedom from surveillance and from the demands of the day. April Nowell, a Paleolithic archaeologist and professor of anthropology at the University of Victoria, Canada, discusses those who worked the night shift in ancient societies—from the hunters, agriculturists, sewage workers, and ironsmiths to the poets, navigators, and rebellion leaders. Drawing on archaeological data and textual evidence, she argues that night in the ancient world was anything but sleepy.

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