October 20, 2008
Werner: Passport to Ancient Roman Empires
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UAlbany students Rob Jennings and Blake Peschel examine Roman pottery alongside UAlbany Associate Professor Michael Werner in an archaeology lab. The pottery was excavated from the Roman Legionary Base in Serbia. (Photo Mike Werner)
From New York to Serbia and plenty of places in between, archaeologist Michael Werner has spent 41 years tracing the roots of cultures through the excavation of ancient ruins. His most involved project to date has been a dig of an ancient Roman military encampment dating back to A.D. 33. Werner and teams of University researchers and student archaeologists have been quietly raising the bar on our understanding of history by excavating the Roman Legionary Base at Viminacium, on the Danube River in Serbia. The Roman encampment may have been used by subsequent military forces, including the fifth century's Attila the Hun.
At UAlbany Day on October 25th, Werner will discuss his adventures of tracing the path of the Roman Empire in modern-day Serbia at 11:30 a.m. in the Arts & Sciences building.
"Archaeology is important because it puts us in touch with physical remains of our past and leads to a better understanding of human behavior over extended periods of time," said Werner. "I've taken probably UAlbany 50 students to Serbia, and I plan eventually to involve students in a direct aspect of archaeology, presenting and interpreting the results of research on Roman archaeological sites to the public."
UAlbany graduate student Matthew Hardy dresses as a Roman legionary soldier as part of the "Live Earth" concert festivities held in Serbia. (Photo Mike Werner)
With a passion for digging things up, Werner spent eight years as the official, but unpaid, archaeologist of the City of Albany. "I saw it as a specialized form of community service," says Werner, whose work uncovered a Colonial-era rum distillery and the remains of a 17th century Dutch trading post.
UAlbany Day, which begins at 10 a.m. on October 25th, will highlight the richness of the University's academics, student success, and campus life to the community at large, prospective students and parents, and UAlbany alumni. The day's activities include tours, a Farmers' Market, a basketball scrimmage, a tailgate party and the Homecoming football game against St. Francis.
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