31 Works

The visible dead: dolmens and the landscape in Early Bronze Age Jordan

James Fraser
Overview:Dolmens are usually described as part of a regional megalithic phenomenon that spanned the 5th-2nd millennia BC. However, this presentation assumes that most ‘dolmens’ are mis-identified. When strictly defined, dolmens better reflect a local funerary tradition of the 4th millennium BC.Definitions:The term dolmen includes a variety of features whose only similarity is their use of large stone slabs. This presentation defines a dolmen as a freestanding,rectangular chamber formed by two upright orthostats along each long...

Akkadian in context

Sara Manasterska
Contextual approaches to utterances (or other forms of texts) have been developed by scholars working within the pragmatic paradigm in linguistics. Defining and analysing different levels of context can be also of great use to an assyriologist, and it is my intention in this presentation to show how. Now that one has multiple editions of texts at our disposal, one can focus not only on a single type of context, such as historical, political or...

Syro-Hittite iconography and food in practice

Nicole Herzog
Figure 1. Map of Syro-Hittite kingdoms (Niehr, Herbert. The Aramaeans in ancient Syria. Leiden: Brill, 2014.)Alongside the rise of the independent Syro-Hittite kingdoms in the 1st millennium BC, a distinctive category of banquet scenes also developed in the northern Syria/southern Anatolia region. Iron Age Sam’al—modern Zincirli Höyük—was one such kingdom. This talk will explore how these scenes relate to the archaeology of food and identity by addressing the following concepts:Stylistic elements and local/regional identityLimitations of...

The motive of Hieros Gamos in Jesus’s Baptism in the Jordan River and in Jewish Kabballah

Ofir Jacobson
This paper suggests an alternative interpretation of Christ’ baptism, and more precisely, of the dove's role in it. One of the main rituals in the Ancient East was the 'sacred marriage' (Hieros Gamos), the purpose of which was to assure abundance, prosperity, and cosmic fertility, and to validate the status of the king. In many cases, the actual crowning, which followed the main ritual, was performed by a dove, one of the symbols of the...

The Iron Age I in the Northern Levant: New perspectives from Lebanon

Hanan Charaf
The beginning of the Iron Age in the Levant has been for the past three decades the focus of intense studies and debates. The main reason that had triggered this interest is the turmoil characterizing the end of the Late Bronze Age coupled with the migration of newcomers dubbed the “Sea People” to the coastal Levant. This phenomenon has been studied to a length in the southern Levant where evidence of destructions followed by a...

Visualizing the Provenance of Sumerian Literary Texts

Sebastian Borkowski
1) DatingOld Babylonian (ca. 1800–1500 B.C.)2) Place namesAbu Salabikh, Babylon, Ḫattuša, Isin, Kiš, Lagas, Larsa, Mari, Me-Turan, Nippur, black market, Sippar, Susa, Tutub, Uruk, Ur3) Text corporaThe Decad: a group of ten literary texts presumably taught at the beginning of the advanced phase of the Old Babylonian scribal curriculum.Sumerian disputation literature: a corpus of 24 Sumerian literary texts classified as debate poems, dialogues, edubba’a-texts, and diatribes.4) Further termsCollective tablet: cuneiform tablet with two or more...

The never-ending Quest for the Elites:New Approaches to the Study of Cemeteries and Social Organization

Pınar Durgun
The Early Bronze Age (EBA) in Anatolia (3100/3000-2000 BCE.)[1] is considered a period of great transition when urban societies developed and when extramural cemeteries started to emerge. Western Anatolian sites like Troy and Külloba have yielded monumental walls, or architecturally distinct quarters. However none of these sites have yielded extramural cemeteries. Extramural cemeteries of the EBA are only associated with small-scale sites such as Karataş (southwest Anatolia) and Demircihöyük (northwest Anatolia) which have been referred...

Provincial Administration in Babylonia: A Case of Kassite Nippur

Marina Redina-Thomas
The talk gives an overview of the system of provincial administration in Babylonia during the rule of the Kassite dynasty (ca. 1531-1155 BC). Since about 90% of all written sources from this period (almost 12000 cuneiform tablets) come from a single location – the city of Nippur, the religious center of the country – this study is based for the most part on the economic and administrative documents from that place. The available texts cover...

Detecting word endings in an unknown script

Michael Mäder
Date: Around 2200 BC.Location: Western, southern and eastern Iran.Type: Syllabic Script.Text Corpus: 22 (known a long time), plus 15 (known since 2015).Sign Corpus: 110 sign type, 1340 sign tokens.Status: Principally undeciphered, except the sound values for in, šu, uš, ši, na, and k, drawn from the divine name Inšušinak found in the only bilingual inscription. Several further sound values were proposed. In our paper, some of them are being corroborated, and a new one is...

Importing the law? Possible elements of the Mesopotamian legal tradition in New Kingdom Egypt (1549-1064BCE)

Alexandre Loktionov
Features of New Kingdom (1549-1064BCE[1]) justice not attested earlierOracle courts, as attested at Deir el-Medina[2] and elsewhere[3]Increase in severe corporal punishment: for example, mutilation of nose and ears becomes a standard element in oath formulae[4]Detailed protasis-apodosis legal decrees, such as the Karnak Decree of Horemheb[5] (1328-1298BCE) or the Nauri Decree of Seti I[6] (1296-1279). Why might this be connected to Mesopotamia/Semitic law?“Hyksos” period (1650-1549BCE) immediately prior to New KingdomAmarna letters/greater exposure to Akkadian in Egypt...

Following the Collapse: Regeneration or Transformation of the Urban Societies?

Mohammed Alkhalid
In the field of Syrian and Mesopotamian studies we must deal with many changes affecting the urban complexity and the socio-political and economic systems. In Syria, two major regional changes have been identified: one is the collapse of the Uruk system and the beginning of the second urban revolution, the other is the end of the Early Bronze Age and the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age cultures during the late third/early second millennium B.C....

Easy-Going: The Treatment of Written Records in the Ancient Syropalestine

Pavel Čech
Who invented the Proto-Sinaitic writing? Sophisticated scribes, or unlettered workers? Orly Goldwasser, the chief advocate of the second possibility, borrowed from economic sciences the term ‘disruptive innovation’ that “describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market,’ eventually displacing established competitors.”[1] During the years spent with translations of Levantine texts for a Czech kind of „Context of...

Loom weights as a research tool

Jeannette Boertien
The function of loom weights was to stretch and space the warp threads on a vertical loom. The loom weight is often the only preserved remnant of a loom used in antiquity. Because of their ubiquity, loom weights are the main key to the study of textile production in the Iron Age in the Levant.During excavations loom weights are easy to recognize if they are made of metal, stone or ceramics. Within burnt layers, unfired...

The Bay of Kiladha Project (Argolid, Greece): Bridging East and West

Despina Koutsoumba, Patrizia Birchler Emery, Ioanna Kraounaki, Julien Beck, Julien Beck, Ioanna Kraounaki & Despina Koutsoumba
The project, a joint research program between the University of Geneva, under the aegis of the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece, and the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, aims at finding traces of prehistoric human activity in a small bay of the southern Argolid, near the Franchthi Cave, a major prehistoric site used from 40,000 years ago to 5,000 years ago. For most of these 35,000 years, because of global sea-level change in prehistory,...

The Treatment of Troublesome Regions

Boaz Stavi
It is quite clear that after the Old Hittite Kingdom had been established, the Hittites focused their attention on gaining control of Syria. At the same time, they also tried to expand to western Anatolia but soon learned that too great an involvement in the west left them vulnerable to attacks. From that time on, the kings of Hatti sought to keep their military involvement in western Anatolia to a minimum, while thwarting the emergence...

Thoughts on the possible Iranian origins of the Jemdet Nasr painting style

Mouheyddine Ossman
Dates: ca. 3150-2900 B.C.E.Places: Western Iran and Central MesopotamiaMain argument: It is admitted that Iran had an influence on the southern Mesopotamian region during the Jemdet Nasr period, but the mechanisms of this influence are not clear. This talk would like to suggest some Iranian influence arrived in Central Mesopotamia during the collapse of the so-called "Uruk system", which coincides with the reappearance of painting on ware.

Garments and Shrouds of Egyptian and Nubian Pilgrims from Qasr el-Yahud, Ninth Century CE

Orit Shamir
Qasr el-Yahud, situated on the west bank of the Jordan River nearby Jericho, features the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, believed to be the traditional site of the Baptism of Jesus1 and has a centuries-long tradition of ‘washing of the lepers’. Byzantine and Medieval authors attributed the waters of the Jordan river a special power to heal lepers who bathed in them, especially at the spot where Jesus was baptized.After the site became sacred,...

Linking a rural sanctuary with ancient metallurgy at Kataliondas Kourvellos (Cyprus)

Patrizia Birchler Emery, Athos Agapiou, Dragos Constantin, Julien Beck, Vasiliki Lysandrou, Kyriakos Themistocleous & Bertrand Merminod
Kataliondas Kourvellos is located at the base of an unusual rock knob, in the lower Troodos foothills, about 20 kilometers south of Nicosia. Recent excavations by the University of Geneva revealed that the site was occupied both in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period, at the end of the 8th millennium BCE, and in the Cypro-Classical period, in the 4th century BCE.During the Cypro-Classical period, the site seems to have functioned as a rural sanctuary, but the...

Political Metaphors in Hittite Diplomatic and Historiographic Texts

Marta Pallavidini
Research topic: In the Hittite historiographic and diplomatic texts some concepts are formulated metaphorically. In particular, we can find metaphors based on expressions of motion; involving body parts; recalling the comparison between a person and an animal; describing the concepts of life and death; concerning the lexicon of the family and relatives. Theoretical approach: These metaphors are to be considered as expressions of a system of thinking, i.e. as conceptual metaphors (Lakoff – Johnson 1980)....

Mesopotamian cylinder seal from Lori Berd (Armenia): An object in an unusual location?

Ruben Davtyan
Archaeological Site: Lori Berd (Northern Armenia); cemetery, dating from Middle Bronze Age till Achaemenid period.Tomb No. 106: stone chamber. Ceramic and part of the finds date to Achaemenid period. Also a pinkish chalcedony cylinder seal with gold caps on gold pin. Iconography: standing figure, seizing two upstanding caprids surrounded by symbolic fillings.Dating: a Neo-Babylonian cylinder seal of late 8th till 7th century BC.Similar example: usage of Neo-Assyrian/Babylonian cylinder seal by Irtashduna (wife of Darius I)...

Some new Linear Elamite inscriptions

Michael Mäder
The Linear Elamite writing system was used in the late 3rd millennium in ancient Iran.The underlying language is supposed to be Elamite – an isolate language otherwise known from cuneiform sources. 40 to 60% of the Elamite words and morphemes are decoded.In early 2016, about ten new inscriptions and fragments were presented at the University of Hamedan, Iran. They are now in the Mahboubian Gallery. Some of these new texts are the longest ones ever...

The Tell 'Uqair temple (4th mill.BC) : colours and iconography

Sarah Dermech
Date: ca. 3400-3100 BC, late Uruk period, first urbanization of south Mesopotamia.Location: Tell ‘Uqair, Babylonia, Iraq.Abstract: This contribution presents the “painted temple” of Tell ‘Uqair, which has provided evidences for bright paintings on the interior. Based on the archaeological report, as well as on in-depth comparisons with other urukean building, we focus on a colorful reconstruction of one of the characters, offering new interpretation of its symbolic meaning.

«All Aram» and «Upper and Lower Aram»: what the Sefire Inscription suggests us about the Aramaean ethnicity

Alessia Venanzi
The Aramaeans are always presented as an “undifferentiated group present from the Lower Khabur to the Mount Lebanon” (Sader 1992), without any ethnic affiliation. The construction of their identity may be given by two opposite viewpoints: their own perspective (internal view) and that perceived by other populations (external view). We will show this through the notion of “all Aram” in the Sefire inscription, and by looking at some passages from Assyrian records and the Bible....

Beauty beyond aesthetics: the abstract thought and the universal language of the natural world to the Sumerian/roman farmer’s eyes

Nelson Henrique Da Silva Ferreira
Signs of meaning - visual marks that identify individual characteristics of an image that can carry a crystalized meaning. For example, in a landscape described as having a lot of fruit trees, we have the sign of quantity and the sign of fertility, materialized by the fruits. A sign is neither positive neither negative. It just marks a specific characteristic that compounds the symbol. For each sign, we identify just one exact semantic value.Symbol -...

Women in Neo-Assyrian Palaces: The case of the ekal mašarti in Nimrud/Kalḫu

Eva Schmalenberger
Ø Basic Facts on Nimrud:Left Bank of the Tigris, North of the Greater Zabcapital of the Neo-Assyrian empire since 878 B.C. under King Aššurnaṣirpal (883 - 859 B.C.)The city wall encloses an area of 380 haThe main architectural features are located on the northern and the south-eastern acropolis, including various palaces and temple buildingsØ The ekal mašarti:Built under King Šalmaneser III. (858 - 824 B.C.)completed 844 B.C.on the south-eastern acropolismainly used for military purposes (Areas...

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