Classics Annual Benefactors' Lecture

Olympia, competing and feasting in the sanctuary of Zeus. Recent excavations
and research of the German Archaeological Institute.

Reinhard Senff, Scientific Director of the DAI, Athens and head of excavations
at Olympia, Greece

May 4, 2023
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Room 002, Rockefeller Center
Reception to follow
Sponsored by the Classics Department

The sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia was a place of veneration for the Greek
Pantheon and its supreme god all through the year, but especially the athletic
games held here every four years made it through the centuries a Panhellenic
meeting place where the whole Greek world came together. In the tradition of
Heracles who was said to have rested and dined here with his companions after
one of his deeds, the visitors of the games participated in large sacrifices
and feasting during their stay, which have left their traces in various types
of installations and numerous objects found during the excavations. Moreover
the place became a unique stage for the exhibition of personal success, not
only in sport, but also military and political achievements which were
exhibited in rich votive dedications and monuments, some of which have recently
been restored to provide the visitor with a better understanding of the
sanctuary´s former wealth, contributing to a constantly growing picture of the
infrastructure, its maintenance and the cultic practices.

Reinhard Senff studied archaeology, ancient history and philosophy in Münster,
Munich and London. After receiving his doctorate in 1987, he worked as a
research assistant at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. From 1990 to 1994 he
was an excavation assistant for Volkmar von Graeve in Miletus and from 1995 to
2000 he was a scientific assistant at the Institute for Archeology at the Ruhr
University in Bochum. There habilitatedIn 2002 he started a thesis on the
excavations in Miletus from 1899 to 2001. Since 2004, Reinhard Senff has worked
for the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) as the second director of the
Athens department . Since 2020 he has been the first scientific director. He
coordinated the work of the DAI in Olympia.