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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Colgate University's Marlowe to lecture on archaeological origins in Roman antiquities collecting

Speaker recently seen on "History Channel"

March 29, 2012, by Sara Miller

Colgate art historian Elizabeth Marlowe
Colgate art historian Elizabeth Marlowe
Elizabeth Marlowe, assistant professor of art & art history at Colgate University, will present the lecture "False Friends: Context, Connoisseurship and the History of Roman Art" on Thursday, April 19, at 5 p.m. in Slocum Auditorium (second floor).

The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Syracuse Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), in conjunction with The SU Humanities Center. For more information, contact Gloria Hunt at

Marlowe’s research interests include ancient and medieval art, art of ancient Rome, reuse of ancient monuments in modern contexts and museums. Her April 19 lecture will be based on research for her forthcoming book, "Shaky Ground: Context, Connoisseurship and the History of Roman Art" (Duckworth, 2012), and will examine the recent crisis in the world of antiquities collecting that has prompted scholars and the public to pay more attention to the questions of archaeological findspots and collecting history for newly found objects.

When it comes to famous works that have been in major museums for many generations, questions of origin are rarely asked. Canonical pieces like Barberini Togatus or the Fonseca bust of a Flavian lady appear in virtually every textbook on Roman art, but the works' origins remain uncertain today. The book asserts that the question of archaeological origin should be the first one asked, not only by museum acquisitions boards, but by scholars as well.

As the author of a paper titled “Framing the Sun: The Arch of Constantine and the Appropriation of the Roman Cityscape,” Marlowe was tapped in 2010 to appear in the History Channel’s “Secrets of Christianity” series.