Candidate Profile

Architecture & its History
History - Classical
Diane is an archaeologist and art historian specializing in ancient art and architecture of the Mediterranean. She studied Classics at the University of Mississippi, and earned her PhD in Mediterranean archaeology from the University of Cincinnati before moving to London in 1990. She has excavated and surveyed in Greece and Italy at sites that include Pompeii, Corinth, Nemea and Pylos, and has been involved in such projects as a survey of early modern architecture and the reconstruction of the Classical heroon at Messene, both in western Greece. She has contributed to and been responsible for the creation of numerous books on various aspects of art history, including Art =, a new look at art history in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2020), Flying Too Close to the Sun: Myths in Art from Classical to Contemporary (2018), Souvenirs and New Ideas: Travel and Collecting in Egypt and the Near East (2013), The Art Museum (2011, 2017), a comprehensive survey of the finest examples of Western and non-Western art from the Ice Age to today, and 30,000 Years of Art (2007). She published the comprehensive report on the University of Minnesota excavations at the Bronze Age Palace of Nestor at Pylos, in southern Greece, in 2018.

She was a founding partner of Academy Projects LLP, a firm offering conservation, presentation, publishing and design services in respect to archaeological and historical sites and buildings. As such she co-authored conservation and presentation proposals for the House of the Vestals, House of the Surgeon and Insula VI.1 at Pompeii, for the Villa del Discobolo on the Italian Presidential Estate of Castelporziano, and other sites in Italy. She was Senior Editor at the international art publisher Phaidon Press, where she commissioned books on fine art, ancient and non-Western art, and archaeology. She was for many years a member of the Executive Committee for the UK-based Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East (ASTENE), and has edited books for ASTENE on travel in the region.

Diane has lectured for multiple cruise lines across the Mediterranean, including the Saga, Viking, Thompson cruises and others. She acted as a lecturer to diverse groups of non-specialists while living and working in Greece, speaking on Greek, Roman and Egyptian art, architecture and archaeology there and in Egypt, including both classroom-based lectures and escorted tours.

1. Travellers' Tales: Odysseus in the Western Mediterranean
Travel with Homer's hero, Odysseus, as he battles gods, witches and giants in his pursuit of home. Ever since antiquity, people have speculated about where Odysseus’ adventures actually took place. Some believe that The Odyssey is purely fictional, others it’s a tale that might have some basis in reality -- perhaps with a foundation in the Bronze Age but twisted by many retellings. But what if Homer’s story incorporates places and topographies that actually exist?

2. The Journey Home: The Search for Homer’s Ithaka
Look closely at the age-old story of Odysseus’ travels after the Trojan War: the details may hide clues to the location of his kingdom of Ithaca, where his faithful wife, Penelope, waited for twenty years. This lecture examines at recent scientific attempts to identify the actual location of Odysseus' palace not on Ithaka, but on the Greek island of Kephallonia.

3. Greeks in the Black Sea: Beyond Jason and the Argonauts
Surveying the exploits of the ancient Greeks around the Black Sea, from the myths of the Golden Fleece and the divine singer Orpheus to the travels of Xenophon and the most recently discovered ancient sites. See how the Greeks brought Mediterranean culture to the Pontus, setting off from Iolkos (modern Volos) in Greece, and sailing up the Sea of Marmaris.

4. The Trojan War: Truth, Fiction or Something In Between?
Discover the truth behind Homer's epic tale of the Trojan War. To the ancient Greeks the war was part of their history and the foundations of their culture, but by the time Heinrich Schliemann excavated the site of Hissarlik, it was assumed to be pure fiction. A century of digging has seen the pendulum swing back and forth, and this lecture will look at the latest evidence for the truth -- or not -- behind the tale.

5. Sir Arthur Evans and the Invention of Minoan Crete
Looking at the evidence for our understanding of Minoan culture, this lecture asks how much of the Minoan palace of Knossos is based on archaeological evidence, and how much on Art Deco styles popular when it was being excavated? Is our understanding of Minoan culture founded on unbiased archaeological science, or on the political and cultural developments of the 1920s–30s?

6. The Painted Houses of Akrotiri
Tour the ancient city of Akrotiri on the modern island of Santorini – then, as now, blessed with beautiful views and beautiful people: cultured, picturesque, expensive. During the Late Bronze Age, the houses here were decorated with exquisite wall paintings, some purely decorative, others depicting episodes of ancient Cycladic religious activity, all of them preserved when the island's volcano erupted some 3500 years ago.

7. Questioning the Oracle at Delphi
Examine the roles of ancient Greek religion, modern geological science, and hallucinogenic drugs in the search for answers from the most famous oracle in antiquity. Recent evidence suggests that the Pythia -- the priestess of Apollo who foretold the fate of people and nations for a thousand years -- pronounced her prophesies in the grip of powerful narcotics.

8. To Be the Best: Celebrating and Ancient Olympics
Imagine yourself in the noise and festivities of the games at Olympia, with all its pageantry and celebration. The ancient games inspired the modern ones, sometimes in surprising ways, but there were significant differences too: religion was at the foundation of the Greek games, and the concept of a sound mind in a fit body was less a lifestyle choice than a civic duty.

9. The Athenian Acropolis: Ancient Architects, Recent Restorations
Explore ancient buildings and modern conservation in this look at some of Athens’ most iconic landmarks. Eternal symbols of ancient Greece, the buildings on the Acropolis actually began being altered not long after they were complete, and the changes have continued to this day. This lecture will examine those changes and the restoration work that has shrouded the Acropolis with scaffolding for a generation.

10. Aphrodite's Island: Cyprus from the Copper Age to the Roman Empire
Explore the island mythologized as the birthplace of Aphrodite, made rich by the copper ores that gave it its name and were traded across the Mediterranean from as early as the Bronze Age. Cyprus was a stepping stone to and from anywhere in the eastern Mediterranean, and her art and culture reflect her unique position, absorbing influences from Egypt, Greece, Anatolia and the Near East and turning them into something all her own.

11. Ephesus, Pergamon, Didyma: Wonders of the Ancient World
Explore three of the most famed cities of Greco-Roman Asia Minor -- capitals of the Roman province of Asia and the Attalid kingdom, cult centres for the worship of Artemis, Apollo and Zeus, site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Explore the cult of many-breasted Ephesian Artemis and her vast temple at Ephesus, view the magnificent Altar to Zeus from Pergamon, and see the construction drawings still surviving in the temple to Apollo at Didyma.

12. The Creation of the Human: Greek Sculpture from the Archaic through the Hellenistic Periods – Classical sculpture is seen today as the epitome of naturalism in its representation of the human form, but treasures such as the Parthenon sculptures and the Venus di Milo did not spring from the sculptor’s hand fully formed. They are the culmination of centuries of experimentation that began in Egypt, and their development reveals as much about the politics and culture of their times as about artistic styles.

13. The Colour of Antiquity: Marble Wasn't White
Ancient marble buildings such as the Parthenon, and ancient Greek and Roman sculpture throughout the Mediterranean, are universally understood as pure white -- elegant, severe, supremely beautiful. But looks can be deceiving. Figures of gods, heroes and mortals were once richly painted, and temples were brightly coloured. This lecture will look at the evidence for colour in antiquity, from temples to tombstones to bronze and marble sculpture.

14. Phoenicians in the West: Cash, Queens and Sacrifice
Sail with the Phoenicians as they settle the coasts of North Africa and Spain, before the rise of ancient Rome. This lecture explores the history and archaeology of Phoenician cities in the west, from trading posts on Sardinia, Sicily and Corsica to the rise of the city of Carthage -- infamous in antiquity for the child sacrifices in its 'tophet' -- and its satellite city, Cartagena.

15. Towers, Tombs and Sacred Springs: The Nuraghic Culture of Sardinia
Delve deep into the art and archaeology of the Nuraghic culture of ancient Sardinia, in this lecture looking at the island as a meeting point of cultures in the central Mediterranean and a trading centre for Phoenician and Roman travellers, while its own unique customs and culture continued undiminished. The Nuraghic society is one of the least known and most idiosyncratic in the ancient Mediterranean, and thus one of the most fascinating.

16. Fat Ladies and Buried Treasure: The Prehistory of Malta
Explore the unique ruins of the prehistoric Maltese culture: temples and tombs unlike anything else in the Mediterranean and older than the pyramids of Egypt. The island in the middle of the Middle Sea was a stepping stone from palaeolithic times for people moving north to south, east to west, but its simultaneous isolation resulted in a unique ancient culture.

17. Dancing into Eternity: Tomb Paintings of the Mysterious Etruscans
Occupying Italy from Naples to Milan, trading with Greece and erecting sophisticated towns and temples while the Romans were still in mud huts, the Etruscans left behind fantastically painted tombs that reveal a highly developed culture with connections all over the central Mediterranean and beyond. The Romans feared them and ultimately overwhelmed them, but who were they?

18. Keeping Up Appearances: Life in the Pompeiian House
Take a look at life in a provincial, but wealthy Roman town from the inside. What was it like to live in a Roman house in Pompeii in the years just before the fatal eruption of AD 79? A major earthquake in AD 62 meant that many were still in the midst of renovations when Vesuvius blew its top. Tour a typical Pompeiian house and hear an update on the latest excavations.

19. The Roman House: for Gods, Emperors and Men – Roman building design was astonishingly innovative and ambitious, even within a recognized canon of forms, and this lecture looks at examples of the best religious and domestic architecture that survives: from the classic Pompeiian house of the middle-class merchant to Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli, from the theatrical temple to Fortuna at Praeneste to the Pantheon.

20. A Broad Oar to Steer With: Ancient Mediterranean Seafaring
Explore the archaeology of ancient sailing, beginning with Egyptian river and coastal expeditions in the eastern Mediterranean, and tacking through Bronze Age Minoan and Mycenaean sea travel, then Phoenician sea trade in the Eastern Mediterranean, through Greek triremes and trading vessels, to Roman warships, including a look at the most recent underwater excavations of ancient shipwrecks.

21. The Discovery of Egypt, from Napoleon to Agatha Christie
Follow Napoleon as he sends almost 200 scientists, artists and engineers to explore and record the ancient ruins after the French invasion of 1798. Travel with 19th-century tourists and antiquaries from the circus strongman Giovanni Belzoni to the British archaeologist Howard Carter, discoverer of the tomb of Tutankhamun. The early twentieth century explosion of interest in things Egyptian influenced architecture and design, film and fiction, and colour our modern perceptions of ancient Egypt.

22. Life and Death on the Nile: A Day in Ancient Egypt -- Look at daily life under the pharaohs, as it was lived by all classes – from farmers and labourers on state projects, to noble landowners and royal households. A wealth of beautifully preserved wall paintings from tombs in Upper and Lower Egypt, as well as finds of functional and decorative objects ranging from tableware to jewellery, provide fascinating and poignant insights into what ancient Egyptians ate and drank, and how they worked, played and worshipped.

23. From Here to Eternity: The Egyptian Way of Death
Using evidence from both royal and common tombs, as well as sources such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, this lecture examines ancient Egyptian religious beliefs and the complex means by which rulers and the upper classes, especially, guaranteed that Eternity would be as comfortable for them as life on the Nile had been. A good death was the culmination of a good life, and elaborate preparations were made to ensure that the soul was well provided for in the Afterlife.
I have lectured on the Saga Spirit of Adventure multiple times, and on Thompson and Viking cruises in the Mediterranean. My enrichment lectures have often prompted follow-up discussions and friendships with passengers that have extended beyond the cruise itself.
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Viking Star ST190919 Empires of the Mediterranean 9 Piraeus (Athens) Thursday, September 19, 2019
Saga Pearl 11 P2212 Ancient Wonders of the Mediterranean 18 Dover Friday, October 12, 2018
Viking Star ST160207 Mediterranean Explorer 14 Barcelona Sunday, February 7, 2016