Eleni Hasaki


Eleni Hasaki, Professor of Anthropology and Classics, University of Arizona

Monday, January 16, 2023,


ASA Koffler Great Room & Zoom

An ancient city was a city of clay: from the architectural terracottas on roofs to the clay drainage pipes underground, Greek potters mastered earth and fire to make almost everything households and cities needed, whether mundane or exquisite. In this richly illustrated lecture Professor Eleni Hasaki demonstrates how they transformed natural resources into functional ceramics used as construction material and kitchen equipment in homes, sacred dedications in sanctuaries, or commemorative offerings in graves. Potters mastered the qualities of different clays and fine-tuned their potters’ wheels to produce ceramics with extremely thin walls and cooking pots with first-rate thermal qualities. Through complicated prolonged kiln firings and with no modern thermometers or testing equipment, they mastered fire, learning how to anticipate the final appearances of pots. While perfecting their technical know-how, Greek potters also portrayed the mythology of the divine realm and the everyday life of their cities—from quarrels among the gods to domestic occupations. Their products enjoyed high popularity at home and across the Mediterranean.

Eleni Hasaki is co-director of the Laboratory for Traditional Technology in the School of Anthropology. She conducts fieldwork in potters’ workshops in Greece and Tunisia, oversees lab projects, leads digital humanities projects, and publishes extensively on potters’ technologies, their apprenticeship systems, workshop organization, and social networks. Her book, Potters at Work in Ancient Corinth: Industry, Religion, and the Penteskouphia Pinakes, highlights the largest group of depictions of potters at work from the classical world. Her research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard’s Loeb Classical Library Foundation, the Archaeological Institute of America, the Kress Foundation, and the American Philosophical Society. She has completed residencies as a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies and at the National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA). 

Edited by Marilyn Skinner, Academy Village Volunteer

You can connect to Zoom either by using the following URL: https://zoom.us/j/95456511620?pwd=OC9GcnJRNmJpMTdXdXFhaUpCUkx4QT09 or by opening a browser to zoom.com/join and typing in Meeting ID: 954 5651 1620 and Passcode: 85747 

Jan 16: “Clay and Fire: Potters at Work in Ancient Greece”