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KNOXVILLE—Historian Paul Freedman of Yale University will deliver the annual Riggsby Lecture on Medieval Mediterranean History and Culture at 4:00 p.m. Thursday, October 13, at the Black Cultural Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Freedman’s lecture is titled “A Phantom Spanish Archive: The Past Slips Through Our Fingers,” and is presented by UT’s Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

A reception will follow in the Black Cultural Center lobby. Both events are free and open to the public. Public parking will be available at the University Center parking garage.

The lecture will explore the contents and significance of recently discovered documents from the Spanish monastery of Bellpuig de les Avellanes, founded in the twelfth century. In 1835 the government of Spain shut down the monastery, prompting its religious community to hide its archives.

In 2002, the archives were rediscovered in a trunk inside the false ceiling of a nearby parish church, revealing priceless primary source documents related to the religious community and its relations with the secular world.

“We are thrilled that Professor Freedman will deliver our Riggsby Lecture this year,” said Heather Hirschfeld, director of the Marco Institute. “Dr. Freedman is an exceptional scholar whose areas of expertise extend in many directions. His presentation should be of great interest to a wide audience, because the survival or loss of medieval documents influences or determines the ways we reconstruct the past.”

Freedman is a specialist in medieval social history, the history of Spain, comparative studies of the peasantry, trade in luxury products, and the history of cuisine. His books include Origins of Peasant Servitude in Medieval Catalonia, Images of the Medieval Peasant and Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination. Freedman also is the editor of several collections, including Food: The History of Taste, Last Things: Death and the Apocalypse in the Middle Ages (with Caroline Walker Bynum) and Forms of Servitude in Northern and Central Europe (with Monique Bourin).

The Marco Institute’s annual Riggsby Lecture is made possible by a grant from Stuart and Kate Riggsby. Stuart Riggsby was formerly dean of UT’s College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information on the Marco Institute, visit

C O N T A C T :

Vera Pantanizopoulos-Broux (865-974-1859,

Charles Primm (865-974-5180,