ETSU's Don Davis to lecture at symposium in Florence, Italy

JOHNSON CITY (May 21, 2013) –In June, Don Davis of the East Tennessee State University Department of Art and Design will be one of 10 international scholars to present lectures at Syracuse University in Florence, Italy.

The event will honor archaeologist Dr. Nancy de Grummond and celebrate her 30th year excavating at Cetamura del Chianti, an ancient Etruscan hilltop town containing an artisan area that includes a kiln excavated in 1997.

Davis will discuss his work during a 2010 project in experimental archaeology, when he designed, built and fired a functional replica of the Cetamura kiln.

During his work in 2010, Davis enlisted the aid of Dr. Richard Kortum of the ETSU Department of Philosophy and Humanities; Olivier Rollin, an artist and designer who resides in Asheville and Paris; Jon Bowers, former ETSU artist-in-residence for ceramics; and John Simmons, an ETSU graduate with a master of fine arts degree.

The replicated kiln fired perfectly, providing answers about how the ancient devices were created and worked while raising new questions for future research.

While in Italy this summer, Davis will also conduct research in Italian polychrome terracotta tiles, as well as teach a course entitled “Italy: Art, Culture and Wood Fired Terracotta” at the Castello di Spannocchia, located near Siena.

The study of ancient kilns is a major research focus for Davis, who was a full-time studio artist for 20 years before coming to ETSU in 2001. 

For further information, contact Davis at (423) 439-7864 or

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