AIA Lecturer/Host: Albert Leonard, Jr.
Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Classical Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona
Archaeological Institute of America lecturer and host Albert Leonard, Jr. (Ph.D., University of Chicago), Professor Emeritus in both the Departments of Classical Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona, is an archaeologist who specializes in the social impact of interregional trade among the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean world. After the earthquake that devastated western Sicily in 1968, Al co-founded the Centro di Ricerche Archeologiche e Anthropologiche del Belice, based near Segesta, that for five summers conducted an international field school in archaeological method and the history of western Sicily. In addition to the excavation of damaged or threatened sites in the Belice Valley, the Center’s team worked as far afield as the hinterlands behind Heraclea Minoa to the west of Agrigento. Since then he has directed excavations at a number of sites around the Mediterranean (Italy, Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, and Portugal) and published the results of this research in six books and more than 150 articles.
As his alter ego, the Time-traveling Gourmet©, Al combines his command of archaeological, historical, and literary material with culinary skills acquired at Le Cordon Bleu and the Culinary Institute of America in order to reconstruct (in the classroom or the kitchen) dishes described by such ancient authors as Archestratus of Syracuse, a 4th century B.C. Sicilian cook who has often been called the “Father of Gastronomy.” Throughout his career, Al has been active in educational outreach, speaking on art and archaeology to elementary and high school classes as well as to university Adult Education groups. For over three decades Al has lectured on the Archaeological Institute of America’s national circuit, and in 2006, the AIA awarded him its Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award by which it “acknowledged and applauded the invaluable service that (he) has given to the archaeological community as an educator.” He has lectured to excellent reviews on six previous AIA-sponsored Mediterranean voyages, and looks forward to sharing his decades of archaeological experience with our group as we circumnavigate this beautiful and historic island in the spring.