On Oct. 3, St. Stephen's students enrolled in Evan Rap's "Who Owns the Past?" social science seminar visited the The University of Texas at Austin campus to speak with Alex Walthall, assistant professor of Classics, who runs an excavation project in the ancient city of Morgantina, Sicily. Walthall showed students a number of objects in the Classic department's study collection, and discussed how the university came to own them and how they were excavated. Spartans had the opportunity to examine objects from the ancient past, including lamps and small vases. Walthall also gave them an overview of the excavation site. He also talked about how and why he does the work that he does.
Later in the day, students visited the Blanton Museum on campus to examine their ancient materials collections and to view the Battle Casts, a collection of plaster casts of famous statues from European museums. Prior to the advent of plane travel, it was common for American universities to pay European museums to ship plaster casts of statues so that their students could study their forms in the round, rather than through pictures.
"All in all, it was a productive and enlightening day for my social science seminar!" Rap said.