The Archaeology of Ancient Greek Dress

April 19, 2016


The UCSC Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and the UCSC Archaeological Research Center present

The Archaeology of Ancient Greek Dress

Professor Mireille Lee
Vanderbilt University

Thursday, April 28
5:00 PM
Humanities 1, Room 210

Refreshments at 4:30 and reception to follow the lecture. Free parking for lecture in the lower Cowell parking lot (Lot 109).

Archaeology provides important evidence for ancient Greek dress, which was essential to the construction of social identities. Although no complete garments survive, preserved fragments of silk and embroideries indicate the elite status of the wearer. Jewelry, dress fasteners, toilet implements, perfume vessels, cosmetics, and mirrors are also important indicators of status and gender. The visual sources, including sculpture and vase-painting, depict men and women performing various dress practices. Although some practices, such as bathing and the use of perfumes, are common to both genders, others are specific to either men or women. The visual sources demonstrate other aspects of identity: age and social role are often indicated by hairstyle, whereas ethnicity is also conveyed by means of garments and body-modifications. Although dress is often considered a mundane aspect of culture, Professor Lee argues that dress provides unique insight into ancient Greek ideologies.

Mireille Lee is Assistant Professor with the Departments of History of Art and Classical Studies at Vanderbilt University, and holds her degrees from Bryn Mawr (Ph.D.) and Occidental College. Her research interest include Greek art and archaeology, in particular the construction of gender in ancient visual and material culture. She has published widely on the social functions of dress in ancient Greece, including her volume Body, Dress and Identity in Ancient Greece (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Her current research focuses on ancient Greek mirrors as social objects.