Research: Rare inscription names mysterious Etruscan goddess

Gregory Warden

Research: Rare inscription names mysterious Etruscan goddess

Greg Warden with Etruscan steleArchaeologists translating a very rare inscription have discovered the name of a goddess in a sacred text that is possibly the longest such Etruscan inscription ever discovered on stone.

The discovery indicates that Uni – a divinity of fertility and possibly a mother goddess at this particular place – may have been the titular deity worshipped at the sanctuary of Poggio Colla, a key settlement in Italy for the ancient Etruscan civilization.

“We can at this point affirm that this discovery is one of the most important Etruscan discoveries of the last few decades,” said SMU professor emeritus Gregory Warden. The University is the main sponsor of the archaeological dig.

“It’s a discovery that will provide not only valuable information about the nature of sacred practices at Poggio Colla, but also fundamental data for understanding the concepts and rituals of the Etruscans, as well as their writing and perhaps their language.”

Scientists discovered the ancient stone slab embedded as part of a temple wall at the Poggio Colla dig, where many other Etruscan objects have been found, including a ceramic fragment with the earliest birth scene in European art. That object reinforces the interpretation of a fertility cult at Poggio Colla, Warden said.

Poggia Colla steleNow Etruscan language experts are studying the 500-pound stele to translate the text. It’s very rare to identify the god or goddess worshipped at an Etruscan sanctuary.

“The location of its discovery – a place where prestigious offerings were made – and the possible presence in the inscription of the name of Uni, as well as the care of the drafting of the text, which brings to mind the work of a stone carver who faithfully followed a model transmitted by a careful and educated scribe, suggest that the document had a dedicatory character,” said Adriano Maggiani, formerly professor at the University of Venice and one of the scholars working to decipher the inscription.

“It is also possible that it expresses the laws of the sanctuary — a series of prescriptions related to ceremonies that would have taken place there, perhaps in connection with an altar or some other sacred space,” said Warden, co-director and principal investigator of the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project that made the discovery.

Warden said it will be easier to speak with more certainty once the archaeologists are able to completely reconstruct the text, which consists of as many as 120 characters or more.

While archaeologists understand how Etruscan grammar works, and know some of its words and alphabet, they expect to discover new words never seen before – particularly since this discovery is not a funerary text. Permanent Etruscan inscriptions are rare, as Etruscans typically used linen cloth books or wax tablets. The texts that have been preserved are quite short and are from graves.

Besides being possibly the longest Etruscan inscription on stone, it is also one of the three longest sacred texts to date. The sandstone slab, which dates to the 6th century BCE and is nearly four feet tall by more than two feet wide, was discovered in the final stages of two decades of digging at Mugello Valley, which is northeast of Florence in north central Italy.

Other objects unearthed in the past 20 years have shed light on Etruscan worship, beliefs, gifts to divinities, and discoveries related to the daily lives of elites and non-elites, including workshops, kilns, pottery and homes. The material helps document ritual activity from the 7th century to the 2nd century BCE.

— Margaret Allen

> Read the full story and see more images at SMUResearch.com

September 12, 2016|News, Research|

Greg Warden named president of Franklin College in Switzerland

SMU Professor P. Gregory WardenGreg Warden, University Distinguished Professor of Art History and associate dean for research and academic affairs in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, has been named the 4th president of Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland, effective July 1, 2012. Warden will leave the University at the end of the 2011-12 school year following an eminent 30-year career at SMU.

“We are very sorry to see Greg leave SMU, but at the same time we are thrilled for him – it’s an incredible honor to be chosen for such an important and prestigious position, and we know he will make an exceptional leader for Franklin College,” said Meadows Dean José Bowen. “SMU has an ongoing relationship with Franklin – a number of our students study abroad there each year. We look forward to maintaining a close collaboration with Greg and with Franklin College in the coming years.”

“While I am looking forward to this leadership opportunity at Franklin College, I will miss SMU and the community that has been so supportive of Diane and me over the past 30 years,” Warden said. “SMU is an exceptional institution, the Meadows School under José Bowen’s leadership is an exciting and inspiring place, and Dallas is one of the most welcoming and supportive cities in the world. I look forward to maintaining close ties with our many friends and colleagues in Texas.”

Following an 11-month international search, Dr. Warden was unanimously chosen by Franklin’s board of trustees from a pool of more than 100 experienced and diverse candidates, including former and sitting college presidents and deans, university provosts and leading intellectuals in a variety of academic disciplines and professional fields.

“Dr. Warden’s accomplishments and profile made him a compelling candidate from the start,” said Pascal F. Tone, chairman of the board at Franklin. “Few individuals possess the unique blend of successful experiences in scholarship, higher education leadership, dedication to students, capacity to attract resources and managerial acumen that he now brings to Franklin.”

Warden has taught at SMU since 1982 and has earned numerous accolades during his tenure with the university. He was named Meadows Foundation Distinguished Teaching Professor in 1995 and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor at SMU in 2011. In addition to serving as associate dean for research and academic affairs for the Meadows School since 1988, he was chair of the Art History Department for six years, interim director of the Meadows Museum, and interim chair of the Division of Arts Administration for two years.

In addition, he co-founded and directed the SMU-in-Italy program for more than 20 years. In 2011, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a $200,000 grant in support of a summer institute for college teachers, led by Dr. Warden, which will examine Etruscan and Roman culture on-site in Italy.

> Read the full story at SMU News

November 30, 2011|For the Record, News|

CTE names 2011-13 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors

SMU's Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors, 2011-13Four of SMU’s best teachers have been named 2011-13 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors by the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. This year’s honorees are Marc Christensen, Electrical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; Alyce McKenzie, Homiletics, Perkins School of Theology; David Son, Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Greg Warden, Art History, Meadows School of the Arts.

The new members of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers will join returning members Johan Elverskog, Religious Studies, Dedman College; Randall Griffin, Art History, Meadows School of the Arts; Roy Heller, Old Testament, Perkins School of Theology; and Donald VandeWalle, Management and Organizations, Cox School of Business.

Each year since 2001, the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Awards recognize four SMU faculty members for their commitment to and achievements in fostering student learning. “These are faculty whose concerns for higher education go beyond classroom boundaries and often the boundaries of their own discipline,” according to the CTE website. “They represent the highest achievement in reaching the goals of higher education.” The professorships are named for SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler.

Each recipient receives a $10,000 award and membership in SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers for the two years of their appointment as Altshuler Professors. Members participate actively with other members of the Academy to address issues in classroom teaching.

Above, the new Altshuler Professors were honored by the SMU Board of Trustees during its May 2011 meeting (left to right): SMU President R. Gerald Turner, Greg Warden, David Son, Alyce McKenzie, Marc Christensen and SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler.

(more…)

May 13, 2011|News|

Three faculty members named University Distinguished Professors

Three members of the SMU faculty have been named University Distinguished Professors, as announced by the Office of the Provost. The professorships have been awarded to Greg Warden, Art History; Sherry Smith, History; and Cordelia Candelaria, English.

The University Distinguished Professorships were created in 1982 by SMU’s Board of Trustees to honor outstanding faculty members who meet the highest standards of academic achievement. University Distinguished Professors are appointed in perpetuity and receive cash awards of $10,000 per year for a five-year rolling term.

Greg WardenGreg Warden has taught at SMU since 1982, chairing the Art History Division for six years and serving as associate dean for academic affairs in the Meadows School of the Arts since 1998. Since 1995, he has directed the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project and the SMU excavations at the Etruscan site of Poggio Colla, about 22 miles northeast of Florence. The University’s Poggio Colla field school in archaeology is open to students from around the world, and students from more than 60 universities have participated in it.

Warden’s major interest is the art and culture of ancient Italy, but his expertise – as both an archaeologist and an art historian – extends to a broader range of art from the ancient Mediterranean. His research interests include ancient metalworking technologies; Greek, Etruscan and Roman bronzes and decorative arts; and Roman architecture and patronage. He was director of the SMU-in-Italy summer program in Florence, Orvieto and Rome from 1987 to 1998 and received a Rotunda Award for outstanding teaching from the SMU student body in 1985-86. In addition, he was named the 1996-97 Meadows Foundation Distinguished Teaching Professor. He holds a Ph.D. in classical and Near Eastern archaeology from Bryn Mawr College.

Sherry SmithSherry Smith joined the SMU faculty in 1999 and currently serves as director of graduate studies in the Clements Department of History and as associate director of the University’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of western, Native American and United States cultural history. She teaches courses on the American West in the 19th and 20th centuries, women in the West, and Native American history, among others.

Currently serving as president of the Western History Association, Smith is the author of Sagebrush Soldier: Private William Earl Smith’s View of the Sioux War of 1876 (University of Oklahoma Press) and The View From Officers’ Row: Army Perceptions of Western Indians (University of Arizona Press). Her most recent book, Reimagining Indians: Native Americans Through Anglo Eyes, 1880-1940 (Oxford University Press), won the 2001 James W. Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians for best book on race relations, as well as SMU’s Godbey Authors Award. Smith is also editor of The Future of the Southern Plains, published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2003. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington.

Cordelia CandelariaCordelia Chávez Candelaria, currently a Regents Professor at Arizona State University, will become a University Distinguished Professor when she begins her new duties as SMU’s dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences in July. As chair of ASU’s Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, she helped establish its Southwest Borderlands Initiative to strengthen studies in this discipline and to recruit and retain underrepresented faculty.

Candelaria’s numerous publications include Seeking the Perfect Game: Baseball in American Literature and Chicano Poetry: A Critical Introduction. She also served as executive editor of the two-volume Encyclopedia of Latino Popular Culture and has been editor or co-editor of 10 books, monographs and periodicals. Among her numerous awards, in 2005 she received the Outstanding Latina Cultural Award in Literary Arts and Publications from the American Association for Higher Education Hispanic Caucus. In 2001 Candelaria was named Scholar of the Year by the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies. She received her Ph.D. in American literature and linguistics from Notre Dame.

June 19, 2008|News|

For the Record (Summer Edition): Aug. 17, 2007

Michael Adler, Anthropology, discussed the SMU-in-Taos program as a featured guest on KTAO 101.9 FM Radio July 24, 2007.

Al Armendariz, Environmental and Civil Engineering, wrote an op-ed, “We Can’t Wish Our Smog Away,” published in The Dallas Morning News July 25, 2007.

simpsons-cover-125.jpgAlan Brown and Chris Logan, Psychology, have edited The Psychology of the Simpsons: D’oh!, a collection of essays by professional psychologists exploring “the functions and dysfunctions of the show’s characters.” The book was published in July 2007 by Independent Publishers Group.

Steve DePaul, International Center, was featured in a Robert Miller article on SMU’s Education Abroad program in The Dallas Morning News Aug. 5, 2007.

Shubha Ghosh, Law, spoke with CBS-11 TV about the impact on consumers of a June 2007 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a nearly 100-year-old Texas ban on price fixing.

Rick Halperin, History, guided SMU students, faculty and local community members on a tour of the landmarks of apartheid in South Africa Aug. 2-12. Halperin, director of the SMU Human Rights Education Program and chair of the Amnesty International USA Board, took the group to Soweto, scene of widespread rioting in 1976; Cape Town’s District Six neighborhood, where residents were forced out of their homes to create a “whites only” zone in 1965; and the Robben Island Prison, where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner for 27 years.

Kathy Hargrove, Education and Human Development, discussed how children can be taught to think like geniuses with WFAA-TV Channel 8 Aug. 14, 2007.

James Hollifield, Political Science, was a featured guest along with former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich on the KERA-TV talk show “McCuistion” in a July 29, 2007 episode on “Ideology, Politics and Partisanship.”

Daniel Howard, Marketing, discussed the origins and usefulness of the “personal branding” trend with The Dallas Morning News July 15, 2007.

evan-almighty-160.jpgRobert Hunt, Theology, discussed the film “Evan Almighty” and the enduring appeal of the Noah story in the June 16, 2007 edition of The Dallas Morning News.

Jeffrey Kahn, Law, discussed with KERA 90.1 and National Public Radio the Dallas-based federal trial involving the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim charity accused of ties to terrorism, for which jury selection began July 16, 2007.

Glenn Linden, History, has cowritten Disunion, War, Defeat and Recovery in Alabama: The Journal of Augustus Benners, 1850-1885 with his wife, Virginia Linden. The book, a chronicle of more than three decades in the life of a plantation owner in ante- and postbellum Alabama, was published in July 2007 by Mercer University Press.

Bridge supportsGeoffrey Orsak, School of Engineering, talked with CBS-11 TV and CBS News’ “The Early Show” Aug. 3, 2007, about the United States’ crisis-level backlog of structurally deficient bridges.

Tony Pederson, Journalism, discussed the ramifications of media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s recent purchase of The Wall Street Journal with SMU News Aug. 5, 2007.

Anne Peterson, DeGolyer Library, spoke with U.S. News & World Report about controversies surrounding the work of Civil War photographer Mathew Brady for the magazine’s July 2, 2007 cover story, “Secrets of the Civil War.” In addition, she gave a presentation on “Alexander Gardner and the Photographically Illustrated Book” to the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) at its annual conference in Minneapolis July 11-14, 2007.

Kamal Saggi, Economics, has been named Dedman Distinguished Collegiate Professor of Economics.

SMU Panhellenic has been awarded the National Panhellenic Conference Progress award for campuses with 6-10 chapters for the 2005-2007 biennium. The honor is presented to one college Panhellenic that “has shown significant strides related to member education, new member programming, recruitment, and scholarship.”

Dallas immigration rallyHarold Stanley, Political Science, spoke with Mercedes Olivera of The Dallas Morning News about immigration issues and Latino voters for the July 8, 2007 edition.

Rev. Page A. Thomas, Bridwell Library, was the subject of an article in The Dallas Morning News July 21, 2007, recognizing his 46 years with Bridwell — the longest term of service in a single posting for any Methodist minister.

Gregory Warden, Art History, and his work at an ancient Etruscan settlement in Poggia Colla, Italy, were the subjects of a Robert Miller column in the Aug. 12, 2007 edition of The Dallas Morning News.

Jerry White, Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, discussed how the credit crunch is affecting small businesses with The Dallas Morning News Aug. 11, 2007.

Matthew Wilson, Political Science, spoke with Reuters in June 2007 about the Religious Right and Jerry Falwell’s legacy, and with The Dallas Morning News about Tom Leppert’s mayoral victory in the June 17, 2007 edition.

August 17, 2007|For the Record|
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