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Lecture - Applying Forensics to Archaeology by Andrew Shortland


As an Egyptologist trained in geological sciences, Dr. Andrew Shortland became interested in applying scientific analysis to the identification and interpretation of material culture from the ancient and historical worlds. Today Shortland uses the latest technology to answer questions about valuable or historically important objects. Typically these involve queries about provenance, date, identification of past restoration or conservation—and even the detection of deliberate fakes and forgeries.


Using examples from his cases, Professor Shortland will describe a wide variety of different analytical techniques in his work including SEM-EDS, microprobe, XSRF, LA-ICPMS and optical microscopy.


Dr. Andrew Shortland is professor of archaeological science at Cranfield University in UK. He is Deputy Director of Cranfield Forensic Institute, where he runs a group that specializes in the application of scientific techniques to archaeological and forensic problems.


Tickets $18, Members $12

Lecture - Critical Mass: Hiroshima Bomb and Nazi Uranium by Carter Hydrick


A guarded secret for decades, learn how enriched uranium from Nazi Germany came to be used in United States' atomic bombs. Researcher Carter Hydrick will detail the surrender of U-boat 234 and its cargo of 1,120 pounds of uranium that was concealed in nose of the U-boat in sealed cylinders lined with gold. Hydrick has tracked this shipment to the Manhattan Project and both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.


Book signing following lecture.


Members $12, Tickets $18

Lecture - Fabergé Symposium - The Wonder of Fabergé


More than doubling in size since the 2013 Houston Fabergé Symposium, the McFerrin Collection now totals nearly 600 objects and will be displayed in its entirety for a limited time. Recent acquisitions focus on rare Imperial pieces with fascinating stories. Join us at the Houston Museum of Natural Science as renowned Fabergé researchers discuss the genius of Fabergé and his place in history as related to the royalties of Europe.


The Fabergé symposium "The Wonder of Fabergé, A Study of the McFerrin Collection" hosted by the Houston Museum of Natural Science features sessions presented by world-renown Fabergé experts with space allotted for Q&A. The confirmed speakers include Tim Adams of San Diego, Dr. Galina Korneva of Russia, Christel McCanless of Alabama, Mark Moehrke of New York, Mikhail Ovchinnikov of Russia, and Dr. Wilfried Zeisler of Washington DC.


Lunch will feature an informal discussion with collectors Artie and Dorothy McFerrin who will tell entertaining stories behind the building of their collection and also entertain questions from symposium participants.


The afternoon includes a viewing of the McFerrin Fabergé Collection, the Museum's world-renown Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals and Smith Gem Vault which features several Fabergé pieces from a private Houston collector. A selection of Fabergé books will be available for signing with Dorothy McFerrin and Dr. Wilfried Zeisler.


Unique to Houston, the Energy Capital of the World, is the high concentration of geologists. To utilize the specialized talent of HMNS staff and docents who have a unique knowledge in geology, mineralogy, gemology and Fabergé, you will be able to bring your Fabergé pieces for these experts to identify the unprecedented variety of materials-from precious gems to ordinary stone-that Fabergé craftsmen used in their objects works. You will be amazed at what you will find out about your piece. Not only what the material is, but where it came from.


A demonstration of gemstone-cutting and metalsmithing techniques used by Fabergé craftsmen-cabochon and stone faceting, stone carving, enameling, guilloche, chasing, repoussé-will be presented by artists of the Houston Museum of Natural Science Volunteer Guild.


Early-bird registration by June 30: Tickets $65

Regular price starting July 1: Tickets $100


Symposium tickets include breakfast and lunch. Tickets must be purchased by October 20 and are based on availability. Tickets are not refundable after October 20.


The Welcome Dinner with presentation by Dr. Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm of Finland requires a separate ticket purchase.


Museum Admission Discount: Symposium attendees will receive a discounted rate for all Houston Museum of Natural Science attractions and exhibition halls-including the McFerrin Faberge Collection-on November 3 and 5.


Hotels: Conference hotel information is available at

Lecture - Family Talk - Secrets of Ancient Games


People all over the ancient world played games. Dr. Irving Finkel of the British Museum has decoded several ancient games. He will share how these games were played 5,000 years ago. An ancient game tournament will follow the presentation. You can try your hand at Senet, the Royal Game of Ur, Parcheesi and Go and Chess with 12th century Lewis chessmen.


Suggested for ages 6-12 and adults.


Cosponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America Houston Society.


Tickets $5

Lecture - More than Genes: Predators, Parasites and Partners of the Human Body by Rob Dunn


A great deal of recent research has suggested that many modern health problems relate to recent changes in our gut microbes. As we have started to look at skin and the environment of our homes, it looks as though the changes in what we are exposed to and covered in externally may be equally as great.


We evolved in a wilderness of parasites, mutualists, and pathogens, but we no longer see ourselves as being part of nature and the broader community of life. In the name of progress and clean living, we scrub much of nature off our bodies; however, a host of species still cling to us and always will. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Join biologist and author Robert Dunn as we explore the influence these wild species have on our well-being and the world.


Dr. Robert Dunn is a biologist with the Department of Biology at North Carolina State University. His lab studies the species around us in our everyday lives, species we tend to think of us as well known. Most of those species are not well known and so there are many things to discover in your backyard, in your bedroom, or even on your roommate. Book signings of "The Wild Life of Our Bodies" and "Every Living Thing" following lecture.


This program is sponsored by The Leakey Foundation.


Tickets $18, Members $12


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