Piecing together the past: Sixth Annual ‘Cyprus Lecture’ at UND features renowned archaeologist


Kate Menzies

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Arts & Sciences


It's not every day one is in the presence of a rock star.

But on Thursday, Jan. 23, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., one will be making her way to the University of North Dakota to speak at the East Asia Room of the Chester Fritz Library.

Dr. Sarah Lepinski is not a rock star in the sense that she is dons leather and performs for millions of screaming fans, rather she is a famous researcher in the field of archaeology.

Lepinski is coming to present at the Sixth Annual Cyprus Research Fund Lecture, where she is slated to speak about archaeologies of décor interiors in the Roman East. Lepinski will explore the artistic techniques, materials and iconographies in paintings as well as show how the paintings once reflected both long-standing artistic traditions in the eastern Mediterranean and extensive commercial, cultural and intellectual interchanges with other centers throughout the Roman world.

William Caraher of the UND History Department is particularly excited that Lepinski will be featured in this year's lecture.

"Professor Lepinski brings together archaeology with art history and has painstakingly reconstructed the decoration of Roman homes from thousands of tiny fragments of painted plaster. This is a staggering accomplishment that required an understanding of how a building was built, how it was decorated, how it fell down and how it was excavated. I've met few people who see archaeologically as well as Sarah," said Caraher.

Lepinski received her doctorate from the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She specializes in the art and archaeology of the Roman and late antique Mediterranean.

She has had fellowships at two leading American museums: the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J.Paul Getty Museum.

Her talk is very relevant, as new examples of Roman period wall paintings are coming to light around Corinth all the time.

"Her talk will engage the complex process of how the Romans created these works. Who were these largely anonymous painters, plasterers and decorators? And, perhaps more importantly, who were the trend setters that dictated to Roman homeowners in Greece how they should decorate their houses?," said Caraher.

Cyprus Research Fund:

The Cyprus Research Fund provides resources to support student and faculty research in Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of North Dakota. Since 2004, the Department of History has conducted annual fieldwork in the Mediterranean at sites in Greece and Cyprus. The flagship project, the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project, will begin its tenth season of fieldwork this May. Each year the Cyprus Research Fund in collaboration with partners across campus sponsors an annual lecture on campus in the fall and occasional lectures and events at other times in the year.

Cyprus Research Fund Annual Lectures:

2009 – Michael Fronda, McGill University "Anarchy, Rivalry and the beginnings of the Roman Empire"

2010 – David Pettegrew, Messiah College, "Setting the Stage for St. Paul's Corinth: How an Isthmus Determined the Character of a Roman City"

2011 – Kostis Kourelis, Franklin and Marshall College, ""Byzantium and the Avant Garde: American Excavations in Corinth, ca. 1930"

2012 – Dimitri Nakassis, University of Toronto, "Paupers and Peasants and Princes and Kings: Reconstructing Society in Late Bronze Age Greece"

2013 – Sarah Lepinski, Purchase College, SUNY, "Archaeologies of Décor Interiors in the Roman East"

Cyprus Research Fund Occasional Events:

2006 – Joe Patrow, "Survey on Cyprus" Documentary Film, University of North Dakota Black Box Theater

2008 – Joe Patrow, "Emerging Cypriot", Documentary Film.

2010 – Ryan Stander, "Topos/Chora: Photographs of the Pyla-Koustopetria Archaeological Project" Photography Exhibition, Empire Theater

2011 – Eric Poehler, University of Massachusetts, "Pompeii in the 21st Century"

Donations to the Cyprus Research Fund provide research opportunities for students both in the Mediterranean and on the campus in Grand Forks through digital media, campus speakers, and collaborative contacts with colleagues around the world. Please contact William Caraher (william.caraher@email.und.edu) if you are interested in supporting the Cyprus Research Fund.