Candace Weddle is an archaeologist, art historian, and adventurer whose expertise in ancient cultures and religions have led her all over the world, from the Mayan ruins of Tulum in Mexico to the rock-cut wonders of ancient Petra in Jordan. She is a professor of Art History at the South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University, where she teaches courses on the art and architecture of all areas of the world from earliest prehistory to the present day. As a student, she was urged by a professor to learn constantly in order to make her head an interesting place to live for the rest of her life. This philosophy led her to devote her life to travel and discovery, and to passing her discoveries on to others. She has a Ph.D. in Greek and Roman Art History from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in Medieval Art History from Tulane University, and a B.A. in Greek and Latin from Baylor University. Although her primary research interest is reconstructing the experience of blood sacrifices in ancient Greece and Rome, she is knowledgeable about many aspects of ancient religions and culture, as well as about the history and culture of more modern periods.
As an archaeologist, Candace has participated in excavations spanning thousands of years of history. She served as a member of an Italian team excavating the Roman imperial naval fleet harbor at Classe, outside of modern Ravenna (where she uncovered the mortal remains of a Roman), and as part of a Romanian team investigating a Chalcolithic (Copper Age) habitation site in the mountains of Transylvania. She has experience conducting geophysical field surveys using high-tech equipment such as magnetometers and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to locate and produce images of still-buried ancient remains, like those of a church at the Byzantine town of Euchaita in central Turkey, where she worked with a team from Princeton University. Most recently, she was selected as a member of the Austrian Archaeological Institute’s expedition to the world-famous site of Ephesus on the west coast of Turkey, the location of one of the Seven Churches in the biblical book of Revelation, where she excavated a Roman temple.
Even when not in the field as an archaeologist, Candace’s research takes her all over the world. She has traveled widely in Eastern and Western Europe as well as in Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, studying historical sites and antiquities in 33 countries, including popular destinations such as the U.K., Italy, Greece, Spain, and Egypt and more exotic locations like Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia, the Ukraine, and Indonesia. She was awarded a Fulbright grant by the U.S. Department of State to live and conduct research in Istanbul for ten months, during which time she traveled extensively in Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East, studying ancient sites in Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank. It was while conducting ethnographic research on the public slaughter of dozens of bulls during the Islamic Kurban Bayram sacrifices in Istanbul that she became interested in what it must have been like to witness bloody sacrifices of animals to the ancient gods, the theme of her research. She has published multiple articles on the topic in scholarly publications in both the United States and the UK and is currently writing a book about her discoveries and theories.
Candace has substantial experience lecturing on topics in ancient, medieval, and Renaissance art, history, religion, and culture to both professional (academic) and general audiences. She has been invited to speak as a featured lecturer or panelist at prestigious universities such as Princeton, UCLA, Durham University in England, the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, and Ataturk University in Turkey. She has a passion for making history accessible to non-specialists as well, and one of her favorite ways to do so is by serving as an enrichment speaker on cruise lines such as Celebrity, on which she has twice served as a Smithsonian Speaker. She is also a frequent lecturer on the British boutique cruise line Voyages to Antiquity (VTA), which specializes in providing expert but entertaining enrichment lecturers to discriminating travelers on itineraries visiting sites of historical importance (and on which passengers have made repeat bookings multiple years in a row in order to travel with Candace as their on-board enrichment speaker). In 2014 she was named one of VTA’s most popular speakers, an honor she shares with luminaries such as British war correspondent and current UN ambassador Martin Bell, esteemed Cambridge professor Robin Cormack, and Sony Gold award-winning BBC Radio 4 broadcaster Ernest Rea. Candace has appeared as an on-camera expert in a 6-part history series on Early Christianity for a major network (TBA) and has provided historical consultation services for the entertainment industry, most recently on an IMAX film about the use of incense in the ancient world.
Candace honed her fact-finding skills working as a Research Assistant at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles from 2005-2007, where she facilitated the work of a diverse range of scholars including one of the world’s foremost experts on Byzantine art, a well-known scholar of Medieval China, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jack Miles. She also served as research assistant for New York Times reporter Sharon Waxman (founder of The Wrap News) during preparation of her 2008 book on the worldwide illicit trade in antiquities.