39 Works

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)...

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)....

Polymorphic iconography common influences or individual features in the Near Eastern perspective

Grzegorz First
Topic: polymorphic iconography in Egyptian religious iconography - special and separate types of mixed, theriomorphic and combined images / icons / forms, always with animal heads, double pairs of wings, phallus, and other magical symbols. Archaeological evidence: images appear on small size flat amulets, papyri fragments (also serving as amulets), bronze statuettes and magical healing statues. Textual evidence: lack of distinctive proper names Place: Egypt, without special area of provenance Date: Late Period (7th –...

Purity without Borders: Material Culture and Jewish Diaspora in the Late Second Temple Period

Friederike Schöpf
Chalkstone vessels, interpreted as objects for certain Jewish purity concerns, found on Tall Zira’a, near Gadara (Northern Jordan), bring up the question how purity obligations were practiced in the early Jewish Diaspora during the Roman Period. In Israel they are mostly known in the region of Galilee and Iudaea, in Jewish religiously observant environments.Growing numbers of those finds in Jordan – also in small scale settlements - in general show a larger distribution of these...

Ideology and Administration in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon

Peerapat Ouysook
Kleber, K. 2008. Tempel und Palast: Die Beziehungen zwischen dem König und dem Eanna-Tempel imspätbabylonischen Uruk. AOAT 358. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag.Eanna Archive Chronology (pp.135–73) Regnal years 1 – 20 ++; Building projects: Etemenanki Ziqqurat; Location: BabylonRegnal years 2; Building projects: Esagil BabylonRegnal years 14 – 32; Building projects: miscellaneous; Location: Opis and SipparRegnal years 14/35 – 42; Building projects: - ; Location: Tyros/ṢuruRegnal years 15 – at least 20; Building projects: - ; Location: JādaquRegnal years...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

Terminology for Children in Sumerian Administrative Records

Vitali Bartash
Region: Southern Mesopotamia = Sumer.Period: Ca. 3200-2000 BC, i.e. Early Bronze Age.Sources: Administrative cuneiform texts from temple and palace archives.Subject: Children of low-rank social status in temple and palace households. Aims: 1) Systematize the terminology for children and offer an overview of its development.2) Identify what biological social characteristics of children are hiding behind these terms.3) Recognize the characteristic features in the terminology for children. Methods: Philological, historical, sociological (sex-age groups/classes). Key facts: 1) Children...

The ethnical history of Kizzuwatna: an onomastic approach

Vladimir Shelestin
The mixed nature of Kizzuwatna’s population is widely accepted by the scholars, considering the Hurrians and the Luwians its main components. Which of these peoples came to the Cilician plain earlier than another one, is the subject of the discussion between archaeologists and linguists. In the course of this discussion, the onomastic and toponymical data were underestimated and became the subject of my investigation.The onomastic data collected from the historical and ritual texts coming from...

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...

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...

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...

At the intersection of material finds and identity

Jeannette Boertien
Tell Abu Sarbut is situated in the Jordan Valley about 80 km north of Amman, the excavation seasons 2012-2015 revealed a small Early Roman hamlet and unexpected and surprising stone vessels were found.The vessels were hand cut or lathe turned, produced around Jerusalem and in Galilee in Capernaum, Sepphoris, Nabratein and also in Gamla in the Golan. Soft chalkstone vessels excavated from Levantine sites dated between 100 BC and 200 AD, are always found together...

«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....

Sacked and Cursed? New data on the transition from the city-state to the Hittite capital Hattuša

Néhémie Strupler
When: Karum Period: First centuries of the 2nd millennium B.C. when Assyrian and Anatolian merchants took part in large-scale commercial exchanges between Aššur and central Anatolia. Most of the epigraphic finds come from the 19th century BC, and the 18th century is less known. We don’t know how the commercial exchanges came to an end. Until the establishment of the administration at the Hittite capital Hattuša/Boğazköy (1650), there is a hiatus in the epigraphical records...

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...

The Characterization of Animals in Sumerian Fables

Jill Marcum
Although classical education is waning and general historical knowledge is at its nadir, many ancient fables are still widely known and commonly cited in spoken language. For example, Aesop’s fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf has resulted in the phrase “crying wolf,” which—even today—is a cultural shorthand for expressing the idea of raising a false alarm. The successful communication of this idea, however, rests on culture: the shared understanding of the wolf as dangerous. If...

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...

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....

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.

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,...

Tiny House, Big Labor: Estimating the labor investment in Iron Age mobile dwellings

Thaddeus Nelson
Tents have an iconic place in anthropologists’ vision of Southwest Asia, largely through ethnographic analogy to the Bedouin black tent. Yet, tent nomadism and tent caravans emerged relatively recently during the Iron Age (c. 1200-568 BCE). Iconography, texts, and archaeology suggest that increased exploitation of tents as temporary or mobile housing would have required the use of large quantities of woven fabric. Yet, archaeologists have not considered the labor that members of the Iron Age...

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