September 24 AIA Lecture
Program begins at 2 pm in Joslyn's Abbott Lecture Hall

The Omaha-Lincoln Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), in partnership with Creighton University's Department of Fine and Performing Arts, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Joslyn Art Museum are pleased to present the prestigious AIA Norton lecture. The program is free and open to the public.

"Complexity and Contradiction in Diocletian’s Palace” presented by Goran Nikšic, City of Split Archaeological Service for the Old City Core in Croatia.

The meaning of Diocletian’s Palace has been oversimplified in most of scientific research during the past two centuries. Although the original purpose of this building has recently been established as the imperial manufacture of textiles, the consequences of such new historical approach on the understanding of the architecture have not been contemplated. The well-known interpretation of the Palace as a classical monument is being substituted with an analysis based on Venturi’s terms, describing the complexity and contradiction of the building on both formal and functional levels. The general design is both schematic and intricate, utilitarian and symbolic. Architectural elements depart from their usual treatment – columns support themselves and are decorative rather than structural, spaces are at the same time open and enclosed. On the functional level there is a clash between the industrial and domestic use, between the profane and sacred, proletarian and imperial. However, these contradictions and ambiguities were not intentional; they are a result of the pragmatic procedure of the architect obliged to solve the seemingly incompatible requirements by the emperor. Following many centuries of constant change and adaptation to the demands of a living city, today the Palace is faced with a challenge of being reduced to a mere tourist attraction. Understanding of the real meaning of the place as a complex, ambiguous and contradictory building could help rectify such a one-dimensional view.

Goran Nikšic heads a Service team whose main task is planning and coordinating reconstruction and revitalization of Split's historical center, as well as the implementation of rehabilitation and conservation work on individual buildings financed from the city budget. An important component of the Service is to educate the public about the importance of protecting and preserving historical heritage, as well as informing the citizens who live or work in the old town on business services and on the right way to restoration and maintenance of old houses. "Service" therefore conveys a willingness to help - first of all expert and advisory - citizens and other protagonists of life in the core.

What's Pictured: Diocletian's Palace Hebrard,1912 (above); Niksic in a Roman sewer (below).

Founded in 1879, the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) was chartered by the United States Congress in 1906, in recognition of its role in the development and passage of the Antiquities Act, which Theodore Roosevelt signed into law that year. Today, the AIA remains committed to preserving the world's archaeological resources and cultural heritage for the benefit of people in the present and in the future. The Lincoln-Omaha Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, chartered in 1995, provides the residents of Nebraska and western Iowa opportunities to attend lectures by prominent international, national, and local archaeologists.