Geographical Society of Philadelphia

Marco Polo

Photo by Tom Tauber

We are a group of active travelers who meet throughout the year in the Philadelphia area to share photographs, stories, experiences, and tips about our numerous trips. We look forward to hearing your story!

Göbekli Tepe: Beyond the Monuments

Join us on April 7th, 2021, 6-7:30 PM, for a presentation by filmmaker Jennifer Stein, and Archeologist Dr. Jill Weber.

Earth’s Northern Hemisphere was covered in enormous Ice Age glaciers when a group of hunter-gatherers in southern Turkey began constructing the world’s first known temple. The site, called Göbekli Tepe, was built roughly 12,000 years ago. However, because the ancient temple is so vast and complex, archaeologists have been busy excavating it since its discovery in 1994. Along the way, they’ve uncovered strange animal carvings, towering stone pillars, and the earliest known evidence of megalithic rituals. They’re still working to unravel the site’s biggest mysteries: Who built it, and why?
Join us on April 7, 2021 as we invite Dr. Jill Weber, an archeologist, and Jennifer Stein, a filmmaker together to cross-check facts and answer your questions.
Göbekli Tepe: Beyond the Monuments
Archaeologists uncover a lot of mundane materials, but sometimes find truly spectacular remains such as the monumental stones and carvings at Göbekli Tepe. These unusual finds very frequently receive widespread publicity. But, they do not exist in a vacuum. To truly understand what, exactly, the “special” finds represent, we need to look to the more mundane materials as a reference point. Animal bones and regional data help us better understand the sometimes-enigmatic monumental materials.
Göbekli Tepe: An Unexpected Curveball in Human History
Göbekli Tepe’s discovery in southern Turkey and subsequent unearthing since early 1995 by German archeologist Klaus Schmidt has changed the world view on early civilizations. Throwing back the time period for societal cultivation by 6,000 years, and raising new questions about hunter-gather societies throwing a curveball at a traditional historical understanding of what catalysts helped to create early human civilizations. Temple building now stands as a possible early cause of early societal cultivation, rather than as a later development of organized communal living.
MEET OUR PRESENTERS:
Jennifer W. Stein is a self-taught filmmaker who never went to film school. She is an entrepreneur who started making films in the 1990s while running non-profit organizations, raising her two children, and running a special events business. A long-time member of the Geographical Society, world traveler, independent researcher, and documentary filmmaker Jennifer will take us on a virtual tour of Göbekli Tepe sharing her insight. Harnessing the power of the moving visual image to educate, inspire and empower, Jennifer uses film to help achieve her goals: to further her causes–global peace, gun control legislation, environmental awareness, and appreciation of ancient archaeology.
Dr. Jill Weber is a Consulting Scholar, Near East Section at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Board President-the Geographical Society of Philadelphia. Since 1992, Jill has worked in Syria, Turkey, Armenia, Oman, Iraq, and Italy.  Along the way, she gained an intimate knowledge of these countries, their cultures, and native cuisines, which inspired her to open a restaurant back in Philly. She is now the proud founder of Sojourn Philly, consisting of restaurants Jet Wine Bar, Rex 1516, Café Ynez, and Sor Ynez. Jill combines her loves for travel, history, and wine in tastings that explore a wine’s other “terroir”, the history found underground! 

PAST EVENTS

A Virtual Tour of the Sacred Valley of Peru presented by Jennifer Stein, December 8th, 2020

Known as the Urubamba Valley, this unique area is home to several historically significant Peruvian sites: Cusco, Sacsayhuaman, Ollanta Tay Tambo, and Machu Pichu.
Jennifer W. Stein is a self-taught filmmaker who never went to film school. She is an entrepreneur who started making films in the 1990s while running non-profit organizations, raising her two children, and running a special events business.
Upon your registration, you will receive a link to join Jennifer’s presentation on December 8th, 7 PM.  

A Virtual Travel to The Great Cities of the Persian Gulf with Tom Tauber, July 2020

We traveled with award-winning photographer Tom Tauber, and explored the Gulf Region through his camera. Tom took us to some of the world’s most modern cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Doha in Qatar and Muskat in Oman.

We Explored Paris, the Balkans and Día de Los Muertos, Mexico, Fall 2019

Paris in the Springtime – Tom Tauber

In June, Paris overflows with flowers, tourists and pickpockets. It has 130 museums and thousands of sidewalk cafes and restaurants. At sunset, the banks of the Seine are crowded with strollers. In the Louvre, the Mona Lisa looks down serenely on frenzied tourists trying to get a three-minute glimpse at her. Notre Dame cathedral still stands proudly after the devastating fire. It’s a wonderful city.

The Balkans – Tom Fitzsimons

The Balkans lie a short ferry ride east of Italy and a culture away. Long a portion of the Ottoman Empire sections of the Balkans broke off into independent countries with distinct and fluid borders and cultures beginning in the early 20th century. Much of the region was included in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in its founding in 1918. The area is rich in cultural and historical significance. Join us for a photo tour of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Montenegro, including a walk up to the ramparts of the Castle used for the TV version of Game of Thrones.

Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), Mexico – Tom Tauber

It is not a Mexican version of Halloween! It is the Mexican celebration of life and death…an explosion of color and life-affirming joy, while showing love and respect for deceased family members.
Included in your ticket,  enjoy a light dinner, drinks, presentations.  
Meet Your Host!

Marco Polo events are now hosted by long-time GEO member and board member, Alyce Stick.  Alyce is an avid photographer and traveler, who has explored a lot of our world. Join Alyce during these special evenings where, in her words, “The sublime marriage of travel and photography creates the opportunity to beautifully blend experience, geography, people and cultures, in a personal art form shareable with others.” 

Join Us!