An Afternoon of Learning at the Osher Lecture Series Newport

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The fifth lecture of the Fall 2013 Osher Lecture Series took place Wednesday afternoon inside the Conference Room at the Hebard State Office Building in Newport. The lecture, given by Bob Manning, was titled, “The Neolithic World of Stone: From Gobekli Tepe to Stonehenge.” About 50 people were in attendance.
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It was a bit like attending a college lecture from one of your favorite professors, which is usually someone who has the ability to entertain, as well as enlighten.

Mr. Manning, an art historian, artist, and retired Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts, is a graduate of Pratt Institute and the University of Hartford. His lecture Wednesday focused on two Neolithic sites, Stonehenge and Gobekli Tepe. Gobekli Tepe, located in Turkey, predates Stonehenge by 6,000 years.

“I’m probably one of the only people left in Vermont still using slide projectors,” Manning joked early on during the presentation.

The sound of the fan cooling the light bulb inside the projector, and the snapping of the slides as they changed over, added to the ambiance of the presentation.

Over the years Mr. Manning has traveled throughout the world visiting ancient stone circles, and many of the slides in his presentation were photographs from his travels. He also projected some of his own drawings, many of which were done on site.

The first part of the lecture focused on the more well known stone circle sites in England and Ireland. A large number people attending the lecture raised their hands when asked if they had visited any of the sites.

When the lecture shifted to exploring the known facts about Gobekli Tepe, Manning, using a quote, brought into context what an incredible feat in human achievement the site represents.

“It’s as if someone had built a 747 in a basement with an X-Acto knife.”

Mr. Manning’s presentation was not only full of images and information on Neolithic stone circles, but a good amount of humor as well.

“Living as long as I have, I have years of witnessing many things, including drawings inside the walls of men’s rooms,” Manning said amusingly while displaying some of the more explicit etchings on the stones of Gobekli Tepe.

In summing up the importance of such sites, Manning returned to another quote about stone circles. They are, “a space set apart to harbor the inner life.”

The Osher Lecture Series brings together a community of adult learners who enjoy engaging discussions on a range of topics. The lectures seek to engage the minds and stimulate the senses.

The next event in the series will take place Wednesday, October 30, at 1 p.m. The lecture, “The Best of Broadway and Beyond-Right in Your Own Backyard,” will be given by Lynn Leimer.

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