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Gwyn Davies, an expert on Roman siege warfare, will discuss the Roman fort of Yotvata during a lecture on Tuesday, October 27.

Davies, an associate professor of history at Florida International University, will speak at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, 1327 Circle Park Drive.

His lecture, which is free and open to the public, is titled “The Late Roman Fort at Yotvata, Israel.” It is the third lecture in the series organized by the East Tennessee Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and the McClung Museum.

The Roman fort of Yotvata is located on the Israeli-Jordanian border. Between 2003 and 2007 Davies and Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill co-directed excavations at the site of this fort in Israel’s Arava Valley. As one of only a very small number of late Roman fortifications that have been systematically excavated in the Near East, the site of Yotvata provides evidence for the existence of a broad security regimen operating behind the frontier zone and emphasizes how seriously the Romans engaged in the protection of caravan traffic leading to and from the important port city of Aila (Aqaba) on the Red Sea.

The lecture introduces the structural components of the fort and its related bathhouse and analyzes the material, cultural, and faunal remains to provide an insight into the life of the auxiliary unit that comprised this desert garrison. It will also provide evidence of the later occupation of the site as an early Islamic farmstead and British Mandate-era police station. The audience is welcome to suggest possible explanations for the seeming dichotomy between the epigraphic record and the archaeological evidence uncovered at the site.

Davies co-directed excavations at Yotvata and Tel Achziv, and he currently directs the Be’er Shema Archaeological Project in Israel. A specialist on Roman siege warfare and fortifications, he published a book, Roman Siege Works, and numerous articles on the topic, including on the Roman siege of Masada.

The remaining lectures in the series are:

Nov. 12—Anne Chapin, associate professor of art history and archaeology, Brevard College, “Dressed to Impress: Art and Haute Couture in the Aegean Bronze Age.” Alumni Memorial Building, Room 32. Please note changed date and room.

Jan. 19—Tim Baumann, research associate professor and curator of archaeology, McClung Museum, “Painting in the Shadows: Prehistoric Negative Painted Pottery in Tennessee and the Eastern Woodlands”

Feb. 16—Charles Finney, Cave Research Foundation, “Cave of Remembered Dreams: Recording Cultural Resources in the Cumberland Gap Cave System”

March 8—John H. Oakley, Chancellor Professor and Forrest D. Murden, Jr., Professor, College of William and Mary, “Scenes from Daily Life on Athenian Vases.” Ninth Harry C. Rutledge Memorial Lecture in Archaeology

April 5—James J. Aimers, associate professor of anthropology, State University of New York at Geneseo, “Recent Research on the Maya Collapse”


Aleydis Van de Moortel (865-974-8279,