Overview of the Exhibition:
From January 13 to February 24, 2006 at the Duderstadt
center on the University of Michigan north campus, the Kelsey Museum mounted
an exhibition on the Roman site of Antioch of Pisidia in Asia Minor (Turkey)—a
Hellenistic city refounded by Augustus in 25 BC as a Roman colony. Located
along a strategic overland artery between Syria and the western coast
of Asia Minor, Pisidian Antioch served Rome’s military needs but
also presented a striking symbol, from the Roman perspective, of the benefits
that Roman civilization provided to local populations. The city is best
known to the modern world as a destination on the first missionary journey
of St. Paul and Barnabas in the 1st century AD, recounted in the Book
In 1924 Francis W. Kelsey launched an expedition to Antioch. In just one
season Kelsey’s team uncovered several impressive structures along
with many inscriptions and other artifacts. An imperial cult sanctuary
originally dedicated to Augustus included a triumphal arch displaying
the first emperor’s account of his own deeds (Res Gestae). An elaborate
city gate adjoined an imposing fortification wall. Colonnaded streets
led past a large theater to the imperial sanctuary and beyond to a fountain
house and bath complex, both fed by a massive aqueduct. The team also
uncovered remains of two churches.
After 1924 it was not until the 1980s that Turkish and other archaeological
teams resumed work at the site. Survey and excavation continue to the
present day. “Building a New Rome” displays archival photographs
and documents, as well as artifacts from Antioch in the Kelsey collections,
setting the findings of Michigan’s 1924 excavation against more
recent developments and pointing toward future work at the site.
Held at the Duderstadt Center Gallery on North Campus, the exhibition
featured a physical model created with a 3-D printer. Digital reconstructions
of the buildings and topography projected on three screens will take the
viewer on a journey through the virtual city. The large scale of the three-screen
projection conveyed a sense of the original monumentality of the site
and the character of its setting. Kiosks, located throughout the exhibition,
allowed visitors to explore each virtual building on a smaller scale.
At scheduled times the “CAVE,” located in the Duderstadt Center,
offered a walk-in, fully three-dimensional experience of Antioch.
With the close of the Duderstadt phase of the exhibition,
all of the text, images, and movies, as well as considerable additional
content is to be arranged into the permanent, online version of "Building
a New Rome: The Imerial Colony of Pisidian Antioch, 25 BC to 700 AD."