Holiday Special: the Archaeology of Christmas

Happy Holidays from all of us at GRA!  Before you finish the last of the eggnog and all the gingerbread cookies disappear, join our host and guest Dr. Michael Laughy tonight at 6pm ET for a special Christmas episode of Indiana Jones: Myth, Reality, and 21st Century Archaeology.

With the growing emphasis on gift-giving and commercialism during the holiday season, it can be difficult to remember that Christmas has origins far beyond the rise of Christianity; people have been celebrating winter solstice since the Stone Age and well laughy_croppedinto antiquity. In fact, a surprising number of continuities exist in the archaeological record between ancient wintertime celebrations, from Neolithic solstice observances to Roman Saturnalia, and our own Christmas pastimes. What can archaeology tell us about Christmas prior to Charles Dickens’ popularization of the holiday with his novel, A Christmas Carol? What might future archaeologists infer from the material remains of our society’s seasonal shopping sprees?  Tune in to  learn how our ancient ancestors partied during the winter months and discover how these rites and rituals evolved over thousands of years into our modern Christmastime traditions.

Dr. Laughy is Assistant Professor of Classics at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA.  He currently serves as field supervisor of the Athenian Agora Excavations in Athens, Greece and has a book due out next year entitled Cult and Society in Early Athens: Rituals, State Formation, and Group Identity in Attica, 1000-600 B.C.E.

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