Newsletter of the North American Branch of AIEMA
October 28, 2015


Report on the International Colloquium of AIEMA held in Madrid, Sept. 14-18, 2015

Participants from many different countries were graciously received by the colloquium organizers, principally Luz Neira, at the conference venue, the National Archaeological Museum located on one side of Plaza Colón in Madrid. The meeting room occurs at the basement level of the museum. It and the rest of the building’s interior were beautifully remodeled in a very elegant, modern fashion, with the central courtyard covered by a glass roof creating more exhibition space. The museum collections represent many chronological periods, ranging from prehistory through the Celto-Iberic, Hispano-Roman, Medieval, Islamic, and early Renaissance eras. Mosaics of the Roman period are found in several galleries and are especially concentrated in one room whose walls and floor display a significant number of works. Collectively, there is a treasure of pavement art.

One theme of the colloquium sessions was the identification of mosaic workshops in various regions of the Mediterranean world and in Roman Britain. Other papers focused on diverse aspects of mosaic technique and on the presentation of new discoveries. A few imaginative and carefully documented reconstructions of decorative ensembles, including wall painting and mosaics in ancient buildings, also were shown. The talks were given in the customary five languages, in addition to several papers delivered in Portuguese. Happily, several members of the North American Branch of AIEMA attended the congress.
A few hours of one evening were devoted to a meeting of the General Assembly of AIEMA, at which two especially significant announcements were made. One was that the acts of the Venice colloquium of 2012 will appear at the end of this month; and the other is that the next international gathering of AIEMA will occur in Cyprus. There was an enthusiastic response to both announcements.

Parts of two days were filled with bus excursions to archaeological sites in different directions outside Madrid. We traveled first to Carranque to see the large villa of Theodosian date there, with its full complement of figural, geometric, and floral pavements, as well as traces of wall frescoes. Catwalks allowed us to view the pavements from above. The entire building is now enclosed in a shelter with a locked door. New also is a visitors’ center at the entrance to the site, where a short film was shown.

The second excursion went to the site of Complutum, featuring a fine aristocratic Roman house with large baths and extensive mosaic decoration. We were met by the archaeologist in charge, and here too there is a protective covering of the site with catwalks placed above the ancient floors. Not far from Complutum is the modern city of Alcala, whose archaeological museum we visited, and where several other mosaics were finely displayed. The museum contains other types of Roman antiquities and objects of Islamic date.
Overall, the Madrid colloquium was a great success, with the participants lodged at various hotels in the city. Not very far from the National Archaeological Museum is the magnificent Prado with its outstanding painting collections. We compliment our Spanish hosts for their warm hospitality and efficient organization of the colloquium.

David Parrish



Newsletter of the North American Branch of AIEMA
August 18, 2014


A)  Program of the Colloquium in Malibu:  Attached to this newsletter is the program of the colloquium taking place at the Getty Villa from October 16-18, 2014. This includes not only the contents of individual sessions for papers  but also information about related activities during the conference. Registration for the colloquium occurs on Thursday morning at 9:30. As previously noted, those participating are asked to join the North American Branch of AIEMA at a cost of $20, and also pay a $30 registration fee. Payment should be made in cash.

B)  Lodging in Santa Monica:  If you have not yet received our mailings about lodging available in Santa Monica, please let us know that immediately and the information will be sent by e-mail.

C)  Transportation to and from the Getty Villa:  We shall inquire about a shuttle service to facilitate transportation from hotels in Santa Monica to the conference site and back. Please let us know right away if you wish to participate in the shuttle transfer, to be organized for specific times in the morning and late afternoon. It also is possible to travel by taxi or to rent a car for a few days, and free parking will be provided at the Villa.

D)  Publication of Paper Abstracts:  For the first time in the history of the North American Branch, we wish to publish electronically abstracts of all of the papers presented at our colloquium. Several European scholars who cannot attend the colloquium have asked for a publication of our proceedings. The abstracts will be posted collectively on our Website. We ask all speakers at Malibu to provide a 500-word text outlining the contents of their talks; a short bibliography on the topic presented; and one or two illustrations. These should be sent to David Parrish by December 1, 2014.

E)  Box Lunches at the Colloquium:  Our hosts in Malibu have offered to prepare box lunches each day for those wishing to purchase them, thereby avoiding standing in line at the Villa Café. Please let me know by October 1 if you select this option, and I shall pass on the total number of requests to our hosts.

F)  International Colloquium of AIEMA at Madrid in September, 2015:  Many of you have already received the first circular from the organizing committee of the next international colloquium of AIEMA, to be held in Madrid next year. The organizing committee has requested that abstracts of papers to be given at the colloquium be submitted by August 31, 2014!!  Please refer to a copy of the circular attached to this newsletter.

With best wishes, and until soon in Malibu,

David Parrish




Newsletter of the North American Branch of AIEMA
July 25, 2014

David Parrish

A) Dates of the Colloquium in Malibu and Conference Registration:

Because of the unexpectedly large number of requests to give papers, we have decided to begin the formal sessions for talks a day earlier on Thursday, October 16, and then continue through Friday and Saturday, October 17 and 18th. The keynote address will be delivered on Saturday afternoon.  We recommend that you arrive in Los Angeles on Wednesday.   This change of scheduling was requested in part by the Getty Museum.   All of the proposed papers have been accepted for inclusion in the colloquium program. We are sorry for any inconvenience to those who have already purchased their airline ticket to Los Angeles.   If you are unable to speak on Thursday, or you will not be coming for other reasons, we need to know that very quickly.   In the next week or so, the program schedule will be sent to all of the colloquium participants.
Registration for the conference will take place on Thursday morning in the Getty Villa. Those participating are asked to join the North American Branch of AIEMA for a fee of $20; in addition, conference registration amounts to $30, making a total of $50. Please be prepared to pay in cash.

B) Lodging in Santa Monica:

All colloquium participants are requested to make reservations as soon as possible at any one of the hotels on the list sent out previously. The same list is reattached to this newsletter.

C) Necrology:

It is with deep sadness that we report the untimely death of Rebecca Molholt Vanel, a much valued friend and colleague and a very active mosaic scholar.  Her engaging personality and innovative papers on mosaics have enriched our conferences ever since the AIEMA conference in Worcester in 2000.   She received her B.A. from Clark University, her  M.A. from Williams College and her Ph.D. in 2008 from Columbia University with a dissertation titled On Stepping Stones: The Historical Experience of Roman Mosaics. She was assistant professor in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture  at Brown University at the time of her death. 
The significance of her approach to the study of mosaics was summed up in the citation of the College Art Association, when her Art Bulletin article won the Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize for the best article by a beginning scholar in 2012. 

Rebecca Molholt’s article, "Roman Labyrinth Mosaics and the Experience of Motion," published in the September 2011 issue of The Art Bulletin, is an imaginative study of seven North African mosaics that were once floors in Roman bathhouses. She introduces a fresh methodology for their assessment, building on a distinction that Walter Benjamin drew between “vertical and horizontal forms of viewing.” Molholt argues that mosaics have long been read as if they were vertical easel paintings rather than understood as “materials underfoot,” which are experienced while kinetically moving over their horizontal surfaces. She uncovers a metaphoric reading of these mosaics that relates the labyrinths, their subject matter, and architectural context—the Roman bath—to athleticism and heroism.

From David Parrish, on behalf of the organizing committee for the colloquium



Best Western Plus Gateway Hotel Santa Monica
1920 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404
October Rates:
Manager’s Rate: $174
AAA Membership Discounted Rate: $169
AARP Membership Discounted Rate: $169
Tel.: 310-829-9100 (ask for reservations)

Hotel Carmel
201 Broadway, Santa Monica 90401
Tel.: 800-445-8695 (block of 10 rooms; refer to AIEMA, North American Branch Group)
Discount Rate: $149 (single or double occupancy)

Comfort Inn Santa Monica
2815 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Room with 1 queen bed: $118.15 (1-2 persons)
Room with 2 queen beds: $143.65 (1-4 persons)
Rooms with 1 king, or 1 king with 1 queen bed: $156.40 (1-4 persons)
Tel.: 310-828-5517 (give code number 2413; refer to Meeting of the North American Branch of AIEMA and date
      of October 15-18, 2014))

Bayside Hotel
2001 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Regular rate: $179 and up
Tel.: 310-396-6000

Ambrose Hotel (often used by the Getty Villa)
1255 20th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Regular rate: $200
Tel.: 310-315-1555

Ocean Lodge Santa Monica Beach Motel (in walking distance of beach, pier, and downtown)
Approx. rate: $210

Hostelling International Santa Monica
14344 Second Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401




MALIBU, OCTOBER 16-18, 2014


Today we are resuming publication of the Newsletter of the North American Branch of AIEMA, in order to report on recent events regarding AIEMA International and our own national chapter. Much of the news from abroad is a result of my attendance at the last meeting of the Administrative Council of AIEMA, held in Paris on March 29.

1. Publication of the Acts of the Venice Colloquium (2012): Giordana Trovabene, principal organizer of the colloquium, announced that publication funds promised by the University Ca’ Foscari are less than expected and do not exceed 3,000 euros, far too little to produce a volume of 700+ pages. She proposed two possible solutions: 1) to publish the book online for a very affordable price; 2) to publish it on paper by means of a subscription process amounting to 90 euros for each author, 170 euros for other purchasers. To cover all costs, it also was further proposed to seek a subvention from a granting agency. The consensus of Council members was to print the volume on paper with a subscription campaign and request for a subvention. If all goes well, the publication should appear sometime in 2015 and will require three months for the printing, once the funding is in hand.
One further note: 80 authors have submitted their articles to the editors, but 30 still have not done so and are given until June 30, to make their submissions.

2. AIEMA International Colloquium XIII, scheduled for Madrid in 2015: Luz Neira Jiménez, representing Spain in place of Guadalupe Monteagudo, announced that the colloquium will take place at one of the universities in Madrid known as Puerta de Toledo. The dates are September 14-18, and besides sessions for the reading of papers, the program will include excursions to the sites of Noheda, Alcalá de Henares , and Carranque. Renovation of the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid will be completed before that time. Information about proposed themes for the colloquium will be forthcoming, and the first circular soliciting résumés of papers will be sent in June, 2014. A second circular will appear in January, 2015.

3. Bulletin 23 of AIEMA: The next Bulletin, generated by 60 collaborators and 14 correspondents, will appear in June, 2014, after its index is completed in mid-May. The volume contains 2.033 entries, and it is intended to print 400 copies. For the moment, there lack correspondents for the countries of Cyprus and Israel, and a new representative is need for Greece. The Bulletin will be available to those paying 40 euros for their annual membership in AIEMA International.

4. North American Branch’s Colloquium in Malibu in 2014: As indicated in a previous newsletter, the North American Branch of AIEMA is holding its next colloquium at the Getty Villa in Malibu on October 16-18, 2014. All members of our association are urged to submit abstracts of papers dealing with current research on mosaics, wall painting, and stuccoes by June 30. There may also be some participants from abroad. Please send by e-mail an abstract of 150 words with the title of the proposed paper and its contents to David Parrish, at Our keynote speaker is Michael Hoff of the University of Nebraska, who has recently excavated mosaics of major importance in Turkey. Information about lodging in Los Angeles is forthcoming. A variety of events will supplement the formal paper sessions.

5. Other News about the administration of AIEMA International: Later this year there will be held an election for the office of President of AIEMA and for members of the Administrative Council. Nominations of candidates will occur in October, and the election will be held by correspondence in December.
Cécile Thiébault has stepped down as editor of the AIEMA  Bulletin, and she has been succeeded by Marie-José Leroy of the CNRS. We are very grateful for Cécile’s fine work as editor and very pleased by the appointment of Marie-José as her successor.

The AIEMA treasury remains in good condition and can easily cover the cost of producing Bulletin no. 23.
6. New Corpus Volumes: There have already appeared or will soon appear new volumes of the mosaic corpora of various countries, including among others Turkey (vol. 2 for the site of Xanthos) Portugal (East Algarve), Spain (Rabaçal), France (region of Narbonnaise), Italy (Herculaneum), and Switzerland. In addition, there are new publications for the mosaics of Zeugma, Cyrene, and the islands of Cos and Crete. Detailed information about these publications is available.

7. Necrology: We are deeply saddened by the death from cancer last month of Michael Larvey, the close companion and spouse of John Clarke, who was a friend of many of us and who did outstanding work as an archaeological and photographer. He is greatly missed.

David Parrish




PRINCETON, Oct. 21-23, 2011

by David Parrish


I hope that many of you are planning to attend the next meeting of the North American Branch scheduled for Oct. 21-23, 2011, at Princeton University. I want to encourage all of you to submit proposals for papers to be presented at this gathering. The deadline for doing so is March 1st. Please send abstracts to myself or to Ruth Kolarik

Besides our formal sessions for papers, our program includes a business meeting and a reception. A registration fee will be required of all participants, and it will include a modest payment of dues to join the North American Branch of AIEMA. That will help cover our costs and sustain our link with the central office of AIEMA in Paris.

Please join our ranks in Princeton, and please contact Ruth or myself with any questions you may have regarding this symposium. More details are forthcoming.

Not only members of the North American Branch but also other scholars working on ancient and medieval mosaics and painting are encouraged to submit abstracts of papers for the conference. Studies on the medium of ancient stuccoes also are welcome.

Sincerely yours,

David Parrish, President of the North American Branch





by David Parrish


I wish all of you an enjoyable spring season and a successful end of the current semester. There are a few important announcements to be made.

1) I begin with the scheduling of the next North American colloquium on ancient mosaics and painting, which was initially discussed among participants from our society at the XIth international colloquium held in Bursa last year. Following the wishes of our group, I have obtained a positive response from the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Princeton University, allowing us to hold our next North American colloquium on the Princeton campus. The proposed dates are October 21-23, 2011 (a Friday through Sunday). Please spread the word of this meeting to colleagues in the field of ancient painting, since we want them to participate. Abstracts of proposed papers (20 minutes maximum in length) should be sent to me by e-mail no later than January 1, 2011, and a committee will review them and establish the conference program.      

2) In March of this year, the Administrative Council of AIEMA met in Paris, and a decision was taken about the venue of the next international colloquium sponsored by AIEMA and scheduled to occur in 2012. Two cities had been nominated, Venice and Madrid, and to many council members’ surprise, Madrid’s bid was withdrawn before the Paris meeting took place. As a result, it was decided unanimously to hold the next colloquium in Venice, with the date set for the month of September (a more precise time frame is forthcoming). The meeting will occur at the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice, and our principal hostess is Giordana Trovabene, a professor there. The first circular for this colloquium will be sent later in 2010, as will the conference theme. 

3) On April 7, 2010, there opened a new exhibition at the Dumbarton Oaks Museum, entitled “Scattered Evidence: Excavating Antioch-on-the-Orontes,” and featuring a new presentation of objects from Antioch belonging to the Dumbarton Oaks Collection.

Please send announcements about varied matters of interest to our members, such as titles of doctoral dissertations in progress dealing with mosaics, current exhibitions in Canada and the United States that emphasize or include mosaics, mosaic pavements that come up for sale on the art market, and new scholarly publications on the subject of mosaics.

Thank you.    

David Parrish                  





by David Parrish


All of the participants in the colloquium at Bursa (Turkey’s fourth largest city) were very pleased with the efficient organization and fine program of this meeting, held at the conference center in downtown Bursa. We were very well received by our Turkish hosts, of whom the principal organizer was Prof. Mustafa Şahin of the archaeology department of Uludağ University in Bursa. The venue was a magnificent Ottoman hamam with domed ceilings in its various rooms, converted into a modern meeting place. There was a fountain of traditional type in one spacious room, and an orchestra of young women musicians played Turkish music for our enjoyment. Meals were served in a canteen next to the meeting halls.

Numerous papers were given in two parallel sessions, and mosaics of Turkey were emphasized as were pavements from several other regions of the ancient world where mosaic art flourished. There also were bus excursions to two different locations outside Bursa, namely, Derecik (a pilgrimage site for pagans and then later for Christians) and Iznik (ancient Nicea, including the basilica where an important church council occurred, and where one also sees a remarkably well preserved ancient circuit wall). I am pleased to say that several members of the North American Branch of AIEMA were able to attend the colloquium, including two graduate students, Lea Cline of the University of Texas, and Pauline Eveillard, a graduate of the University of Chicago now working for the World Monuments Fund.

Two administrative measures proposed by the Administrative Council of AIEMA were adopted at the General Assembly of the colloquium. It was decided that in the future, international colloquia sponsored by AIEMA will occur every three (rather than four) years, with the next such meeting scheduled for 2012. Two sites are candidates for this gathering, Venice and Madrid. Also all participants in future colloquia must join AIEMA formally, thereby increasing our membership and augmenting the association’s dues.

Two important new publications were displayed at the Bursa colloquium. One is the latest volume, no. 21, of the AIEMA Bulletin, the largest volume so far, finished just in time for our meeting. Soon the bibliography of all previous issues of the Bulletin will become available online. The other publication is the first volume of the newly launched Corpus of the Mosaics of Turkey, dealing with mosaics in the East Basilica at Xanthos. Other books in the same series, cataloguing mosaics at various sites in Turkey, are scheduled to appear in the next few years.

Members of the North American Branch of AIEMA present at Bursa held their own private meeting to lay plans for our chapter’s future development. We agreed to hold the next colloquium of the North American Branch in 2011, preferably in the early fall of that year. The site members selected for this purpose is Princeton University. We shall attempt to get the approval of Michael Koortbojian, the new chairperson of ancient art history and archaeology at Princeton, for the proposed conference. It also seems natural to include ancient painting with ancient mosaics in the program of our next meeting. We further agreed to create a Web site for the North American Branch as soon as possible: Ruth Kolarik has researched this process thoroughly and is ready to implement it. Many types of information can be posted on the site, such as announcements of new publications on mosaics, information on current doctoral theses dealing with mosaic subjects, and notices of public exhibitions with mosaics at various locations in North America. This Web site would complement the one being planned for AIEMA-International.

Please let me know if you wish additional information about any aspect of this report.

Thank you.




Newsletter - Feb 19, 2007

AIEMA, North American Branch


Warm greetings and good wishes for 2008 to all members of our North American Branch of AIEMA. Since we have not met as a group after the fine colloquium held at the Getty Villa a year ago, a newsletter to our membership is long overdue. It is planned that we shall communicate with regularity in the future, primarily through our web-site but also occasionally by regular mail. All of our readers are invited to submit items to share with collegues in future newsletters.

Publication of Volume 20 (2005) of the Bulletin: The latest volume of the AIEMA Bulletin appeared in the late fall of 2007, and some of our members have certainly received copies of it by now. If not, you are urged to renew your membership in the international organziation and thereby receive this volume of 309 pages. It is the first to be published in five languages and is beautifully laid out for easy access. In order to renew your membership, please use the PayPal system or an equivalent form of international monetary transfer in euros, which will allow AIEMA to avoid very high costs for converting American and Canadian checks written in dollars, into euros.

Change in Editor of the Bulletin of AIEMA: As of autumn 2007, Helene Morlier regretfully left her position at AIEMA and was succeeded by Cecile Thiebault, who promises to carry out this duty with great efficiency. Helene has assumed different resposibilities in another research team of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. We wish Helene well in her current job, and we welcome Cecile as a new collaborator.

Next International Colloquium of AIEMA in Turkey in 2009: As most of you already know, the next (Xth) international colloquium of AIEMA will take place from October 16-20, 2009 in Gaziantep, Turkey, specifically at Uludag Universitesi in that city. The overall theme of the colloquium is "Mosaics of Turkey and Parallel Developments in the Rest of the Ancient and Medieval World: Questions of Iconography, Style and Technique, as well as New Discoveries, from the Beginnings of Mosaic until the Late Byzantine Era." For further information about this conference, please contact: Serkan Demirkesen at: The overall organizer is Prof. Mustafa Sahin, Professor of Archaeology at Uludag Universitesi and also President of AIEMA-Turkiye. Aside from scholarly sessions, the colloquium includes several excursions to mosaic sites in Turkey, starting with monuments and museums in Istanbul.

Exhibition of Roman Works of Art from the Louvre, including Mosaics: A superb exhibition of many different media of ancient Roman art took place at the Indianapolis Museum of Art until Jan. 6, 2008. Among mosaics included are the Judgment of Paris pavement from Antioch, and the fragmentary banquet scene with servers from Carthage. The exhibition has two other venues in the US: the Seattle Art Museum (Feb. 21-May 11), and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (June 19-Oct. 12). I look forward to hearing from you about local conferences, exhibitions, or public lectures of interest to our members.

Thank you. David Parrish, President, North American Branch of AIEMA