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Shedding light on the matter. Ideascapes and Material Worlds in the Land of Thales -  22-23/03/2018, Cambridge (England)






This workshop aims to create a new approach to the origins of the earliest Greek scientific thought in light of the material and archaeological contexts of archaic Ionia. Through participation in cross-disciplinary dialogue, we shall consider how it is possible to identify correlation between the natural and spatial characteristics of archaeological evidence and ancient textual discourse. Our objective, therefore, is to explore the ‘ideascapes’ and ‘material worlds’ which inhabited the archaic plain, and to uncover the relationship between these two concepts, which fundamentally drove the ‘Ionian Enlightenment’ in synergy.


FECHA/DATE/DATA: 22-23/03/2018


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Cambridge (Cambridge, England)


INFO: web -



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Thursday 22nd March

2:00pm Introduction and welcome
Michael Loy and Anja Slawisch

SESSION 1 - Chair: Anja Slawisch

2:10pm Cultural Preconditions of Ionian Self-Enlightment 
Katarina Nebelin

2:50pm Political philosophers, not political-philosophers. The early Milesian Philosophers: An

archaeology of reception 
John Brendan Knight

3:30pm Coffee

SESSION 2 - Chair: Michael Loy

3:50pm DEBATE: The birth of Ionian collective identity 
Naoíse Mac Sweeney and Olivier Mariaud

5:15pm Drinks reception
Museum of Classical Archaeology

Friday 23rd March

SESSION 3 - Chair: Martin Millett

9:00am Geoarchaeology Meets Philosophy in Miletos: The Possible Impact of Nature and 
Environment on Thales and Anaximander 
Alexander Herda and Helmut Brückner

9:40am Polykmetos kai polytimos: metallurgical knowledge in archaic Ionia 
Marek Verčík

10:20am Coffee

SESSION 4 - Chair: Gunnar Seelengtag

10:40am Alignments of Greek temples and the full moon: an astronomical perspective on the 
openings in the gable of the Artemision in Magnesia 
Sara Wanek

11:20am From Croesus to Cyrus: Ionian social and cultural environment in the mid-sixth century 
R. Gül Gürtekin Demir and Özlem Şimşek Özer

12:00pm General discussion

12:30pm Lunch

SESSION 5 - Chair: Alan Greaves

1:30pm Cults and religion in northern Ionia from Homer and Hesiod to Xenophanes of 
Colophon: An archaeological and textual reconstruction 
Ergün Lafli

2:10pm Reckoning with the gods: changing patterns of votive deposition in Ionian sanctuaries 

(7th/6th – 5th/4th c. BCE) 
Anja Slawisch and Michael Loy

2:50pm Coffee

SESSION 6 - Chair: Robin Osborne

3:10pm Being human – or slightly beyond? 
Vera Sichelschmidt

3:50pm Motion as principle
Robert Müller

4:30pm Final discussion

5:00pm Close


Extended abstracts for each workshop paper can be found online at:


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