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Exploring Roman History with New Technology: Climate, Epidemics, and the Fall of an Empire

Public Lecture Series with Sarah Yeomans

At its height, the Roman Empire stretched from Britain to Egypt, from Spain to Iraq. The western Roman Empire lasted almost a thousand years. How such a mighty civilization fell – and why – has been a preoccupation of historians since at least the 18th century. But today, as new technology develops that can be applied to the field science of archaeology, we are able to understand more about the past than ever before. Innovations in environmental and biological sciences are giving us tools to add another significant piece to the puzzle that is the “fall of Rome.” Rome’s relationship with the environment, the dynamics of climate change, and the biological consequences of both are now understood to have heavily impacted the great empire, and contributed significantly to its ultimate demise. This presentation explores an integrated approach and the ways in which the science of the present helps us understand the events of the past, and how climate change, environmental exploitation and epidemic disease contributed to the collapse of one of the world’ greatest civilizations.

Sarah Yeomans is an archaeologist specializing in the Imperial period of the Roman Empire with a particular emphasis on religions and ancient science. She is faculty in the department of Religious Studies at West Virginia University and is pursuing her doctorate at the University of Southern California. She is also the Director of Educational Programs at the Biblical Archaeology Society in Washington DC. A native Californian, Sarah holds a M.A. in Archaeology from the University of Sheffield, England and a M.A. in Art History from the University of Southern California. She has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Israel, Italy, Turkey, France, and Hawaii. England. She is a Mayers Fellow at the Huntington Library and Museum in Los Angeles and a Provost Fellow at the University of Southern California. She is generally happiest when covered in dirt, roaming archaeological sites somewhere in the Mediterranean region.

Date: Monday, Oct. 15

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Presentation

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10

Guest Ticket Price: $25

Student Ticket Price: $5 with valid student ID

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