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2014 Call for Papers and Program Guidelines

IV. List of Approved Sessions

* The period for the submission of paper abstracts closed March 1st, 2014.

ASOR-Sponsored Sessions

Member-Organized Sessions for the 2014 Annual Meeting



Descriptions of Sessions

ASOR-Sponsored Sessions


Ancient Inscriptions: Recent Discoveries, New Editions, New Readings

Session Chairs: Heather Parker, Johns Hopkins University; Michael Langlois, Strasbourg/University of France

Theme: The focus of this session is epigraphic material from Syria Palestine, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Anatolia. Paper proposals that consist of new readings (of previously published inscriptions) or constitute preliminary presentations of new epigraphic discoveries are of special interest.

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Archaeology and Biblical Studies

Session Chair: Stephen Wyrick, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Theme: This session is meant to explore the intersections between History, Archaeology, and the Judeo-Christian Bible and related texts.

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Archaeology of Anatolia

Session Chairs: Sharon Steadman, SUNY Cortland; Jennifer Ross, Hood College; Greg McMahon, University of New Hampshire

Theme: This session is concerned with current fieldwork in Anatolia, as well as the issue of connectivity in Anatolia. What, for example, were the interconnections between Anatolia and surrounding regions such as Cyprus, Transcaucasia, Mesopotamia, and Europe?

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Archaeology of the Black Sea and the Caucasus

Session Chairs: Ryan Hughes, University of Michigan; Elizabeth Fagan, University of Chicago

Theme: This session is open to papers that concern the archaeology of the Black Sea and Eurasia.

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Archaeology of the Byzantine Near East

Session Chair: Melissa Bailey, Northwestern University

Theme: This session is open to papers that concern the Near East in the Byzantine period.

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Archaeology of Cyprus

Session Chairs: Erin Walcek Averett, Creighton University; Elisabetta Cova, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Stella Diakou, Bryn Mawr College

Theme: This session focuses on current archaeological research in Cyprus from prehistory to the modern period. Topics may include reports on archaeological fieldwork and survey, artifactual studies, as well as more focused methodological or theoretical discussions. Papers that address current debates and issues are especially welcome.

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Archaeology of Egypt

Session Chairs: James Hoffmeier, Trinity International University; Greg Mumford, University of Alabama

Theme: The focus of this session is on current archaeological fieldwork in Egypt.

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Archaeology of Iran

Session Chairs: Abbas Alizadeh, Oriental Institute; John Alden, University of Michigan

Theme: This session explores the archaeology of Iran.

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Archaeology of Islamic Society

Session Chairs: Bethany Walker, University of Bonn; Bert de Vries, Calvin College

Theme: This session explores the archaeology of Islamic society.

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Archaeology of Israel

Session Chair: J.P. Dessel, University of Michigan

Theme: The focus of this session is on current archaeological fieldwork in Israel.

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Archaeology of Jordan

Session Chairs: Debra Foran, Wilfrid Laurier University; Jesse Long, Lubbock Christian University; Mike Neeley, Montana State University

Theme: This session is open to any research from any period relating to the Archaeology of Jordan. The session is open to papers on recent fieldwork, synthetic analyses of multiple field seasons, as well as any area of current archaeological research focused on Jordan.

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Archaeology of Lebanon

Session Chairs: Helen Dixon, North Carolina State University

Theme: The focus of this session is on current archaeological fieldwork in Lebanon.

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Archaeology of Mesopotamia

Session Chair: Constance Gane, Andrews University

Theme: This session seeks submissions in all areas illuminated by archaeology that relate to the material, social, and religious culture, history and international relations, and texts of ancient Mesopotamia.

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Archaeology of the Natural Environment: Archaeobotany and Zooarchaeology in the Near East

Session Chairs: Jennifer Ramsay, The College at Brockport, SUNY

Theme: This session accepts papers that examine past human resources (flora and fauna) uses and human/environment interactions in the Ancient Near East.

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Archaeology of the Near East: Bronze and Iron Ages

Session Chairs: Erin Darby, University of Tennessee and Eric Welch, Pennsylvania State University

Theme: This session is open to papers that concern the Near East in the Bronze and Iron Ages.

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Archaeology of the Near East: The Classical Periods

Session Chairs: Lisa Çakmak, Saint Louis Art Museum

Theme: This session is open to papers that concern the Near East in the Classical periods.

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Archaeology of Arabia

Session Chair: Michael Harrower, Johns Hopkins University; Peter Magee, Brynn Mawr

Theme: This session seeks contributions covering a wide spatio-temporal swath from the Paleolithic to the present centered on the Arabian Peninsula but including neighboring areas such as The Horn of Africa, East Africa, and South Asia. Contributions might be tied to the region thematically (e.g pastoral nomadism, domesticates, or agricultural strategies), methodologically (e.g. Landscape archaeology, or satellite imagery technologies) or through ancient contacts such as trade along The Red Sea, Persian/Arabian Gulf or Indian Ocean.

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Archaeology of the Southern Levant

Session Chairs: George Pierce, University of California, Los Angeles; Kyle Keimer, University of California, Los Angeles

Theme: The focus of this session is on current archaeological fieldwork in the southern Levant.

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Archaeology of Syria

Session Chair: Andrew Cohen, U.S. Department of State

Theme: This session is concerned with all areas of Syria that are illuminated by archaeology.
These include a discussion of recent archaeological excavations, history, religion, society, and texts.

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Art Historical Approaches to the Near East

Session Chairs: Allison Thomason, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; Kiersten Neuman, University of California-Berkeley

Theme: This session welcomes submissions that present innovative analyses of any facet of Near Eastern artistic production or visual culture.

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Bioarchaeology in the Near East

Session Chair: Megan Perry, East Carolina University

Theme: This session welcomes papers that present bioarchaeological research conducted in the Near East. Papers that pose new questions and/or explore new methods are encouraged.

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Cultural Heritage Management: Methods, Practices, and Case Studies

Session Chair: Katharyn Hanson, University of Chicago

Theme: This session welcomes papers that concern cultural heritage management in terms of methods, practices, and case studies in areas throughout the Near East.

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Gender in the Ancient Near East

Session Chairs: Beth Alpert Nakhai, The University of Arizona; Stephanie Langin-Hooper, Bowling Green State University

Theme: Session explores the interface between gender and archaeology, and the ways in which archaeology and related disciplines can reconstruct the world of women and other gender groups in antiquity. Papers should explore subjects such as the household and domestic life, industry and commerce, religion, etc. Other topics may also be included.

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GIS and Remote Sensing in Archaeology

Session Chair: Kevin Fisher, University of British Columbia

Theme: This session will present papers that describe significant advances or interesting applicationsof geographic information systems and remote sensing methods thatpertain to the archaeology of the Near East.

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History of Archaeology

Session Chair: Rachel Hallote, Purchase College SUNY

Theme: Papers in this session examine the history of the disciplines of Biblical Archaeology and Near Eastern Archaeology.

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Maritime Archaeology

Session Chair: Justin Leidwanger, Stanford University

Theme: This session welcomes papers that concern marine archaeology in terms of methods, practices, and case studies in areas throughout the Near East.

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Myth, History, and Archaeology

Session Chair: Gregory Areshian, University of California Los Angeles

Theme: This session examines archaeological evidence as it is used or abused to support mythological and/or historical reconstructions of the past as revealed in textual and art historical sources.

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Prehistoric Archaeology

Session Chair: Gary O. Rollefson, Whitman College

Theme: This session is open to papers that concern the Prehistoric Near East, particularly in the Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Chalcolithic

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Reports on Current Excavations - ASOR Affiliated

Session Chair: James Osborne, Johns Hopkins University

Theme: This session is for projects with ASOR/CAP affiliation.

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Reports on Current Excavations - Non-ASOR Affiliated

Session Chair: Matthew J. Adams, University of Hawai'i

Theme: This session is for projects without ASOR/CAP affiliation.

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Technology in Archaeology: Recent work in the Archaeological Sciences

Session Chairs: Andrew Koh, Brandeis University

Theme: This session welcomes papers that examine the issue of technology in archaeology.

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Theoretical and Anthropological Approaches to the Near East

Session Chairs: Leann Pace, Wake Forest University; Emily Miller Bonney, California State University Fullerton

Theme: This session welcomes papers that deal explicitly with theoretical and anthropological approaches to ancient Near Eastern and east Mediterranean art and archaeology.

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Member-Organized Sessions


Agency and Identity Through Dress in Ancient and Classical Near East

Session Chair: Allison Thomason, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

Theme: This session focuses on the production of dress objects.

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Archaeologies of Interaction: East Asian and Iranian Western and Central Asia

Session Chair: Matthew Canepa, University of Minnesota

Theme: This panel invites papers from art historians and archaeologists interested in problems of cross-cultural interaction between the peoples of the Iranian cultural sphere, Central and East Asia.

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Archaeologists Engaging Global Challenges

Session Chair: Oystein LaBianca, Andrews University

Theme: The purpose of this session is to connect ASOR scholars interested in exploring ways that the long-term perspectives of archaeologists working in the Ancient Near East might contribute to international efforts by governments, international organizations and futurists to identify and address key challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century.

Description: An example of an international collaboration to identify and address key challenges facing humanity in the future is the Global Millennium Project ( The UN-Smithsonian sponsored project has, with the input of an international team of collaborators, identified 15 global challenges as representing the most pressing issues facing humanity in the 21st century. These include sustainable development and climate change, clean water, population and resources, democratization, long-term perspectives, rich-poor gap, health issues, capacity to decide, peace and conflict, status of women, transational organized crime, energy, science and technology, global ethics. Those interested in contributing to this session should acquaint themselves with the goals and methods of the Global Millennium Project as explained in their web site. They should then craft abstracts that explain how the research project with which they are involved provides a long-term perspective on one or more of the fifteen global challenges. Depending on the nature of submissions received, the session will either focus on a particular global challenge (for example, clean water) or feature examples of different types of global challenges to which archaeologists can contribute a long-term perspective.

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Archaeology of Feasting and Foodways

Session Chairs: Janling Fu, Harvard University; Johnathan Greer, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary; Cynthia Shafer-Eliot, William Jessup University

Theme: This session explores the production, consumption, distribution, and meaning of feasting and foodways as attested in the textual and material record primarily, but not limited to, the ancient Near East. In 2014, we will focus on the production of the feast.

Description: The session is a continuation and renewal of the Archaeology of the Meals in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East session, which had focused in its three years on theoretical and methodological issues of the feast, interactions between East and West (Near Eastern and Classical) traditions of the feast, and the iconography of the feast. Recent interest in the anthropological and archaeological study of the feast (see Dietler and Hayden 2001) shows its importance as a mechanism of aggrandizing power by individuals in the maintenance and building of social complexity. We continue to explore the feast, and of foodways more broadly, by interrogating these events and the formative processes they engender and are read within. For instance, how did feasts function to help coalesce polities? How much surplus was invested into feasting? What defines a "feast" in various contexts; that is, what cultural particularities might be noted from an insider, emic perspective? Or, on the other hand, what universal traits may help define the feast as applied to the Classical and ancient Near Eastern worlds? More broadly, how might foodways influence social interactions or help explain cognitive and affective processes? While we welcome papers addressed to any aspect of feasting and foodways, we will focus, first, on aspects of production, then, its semiotics, and, finally, the expression of resistance or the reconstruction of incidents of feasting "failure."

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Archaeology of Monaticism

Session Chair: Asa Eger, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Theme: Explores the monasteries in the Late Antique and Medieval worlds by looking at them as settlements, religious and social spaces, rural sites, and nodes in larger economic and travel networks. A wider geographic space will include the Near East, Anatolia, Cyprus, Egypt, and Greece.

Description: The ultimate purpose for the three-year series of panels is to encourage scholars working on the archaeology and material remains of monastic communities to discuss what is the nature of monastic archaeology and whether there is anything inherent unique to the study of monastic settlements, site formation processes, and the research questions used to examine monastic sites. A larger question in looking at monastic archaeology is whether it is a field of study that fully illustrates the study of the archaeology of religion (Timothy Insoll, Kit Welser, etc.). To examine the challenges of studying monastic settlements and assessing whether there is an archaeology of religion to consider, three sessions will have the following topics to problematize the nature of monastic settlements: 2014: "Why and where did monastic settlements emerge?" 2015: "Interactions between and within Monastic Settlements." 2016: "Monastic Builders, Construction Methods, Resources."

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Archaeology of Ritual and Religion

Session Chairs: Andrea Creel, University of California-Berkeley; Laura Wright, Johns Hopkins University

Theme: This session features papers on the archaeology of ritual and religion in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean.

Description: The Archaeology of Ritual and Religion session aims to elucidate the various aspects of ritual practice and religious worldviews in the Ancient Near East and the Mediterranean. Ritual and religion are closely related terms in the field of religious studies, but point to complementary methodological concerns, the former focused on practices within the greater purview of the latter. Often, ritual is favored among archaeologists as it avoids the modern dichotomies of religious vs. secular that are inappropriate to the ancient world. However, thinking in the wider framework of religion(s) continues to prove useful as it allows for the contextualization of ritual practices within ancient worldviews and acknowledges the complex and diverse intersectioning of ritual and religion with other aspects of daily life. Thus, this session explores the intricacies of ritual practices, ideas and locales, and may include studies of iconography and visual culture, objects, architecture, landscape and space, epigraphic remains, and ritual practices such as votive deposition, ritual meals and burials. Furthermore, these studies may explore the intersectioning of ritual and religion with other elements in ancient life, and so may incorporate discussions of power, gender, the body, memory, identity, socio-economics, interaction, and the family.

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Archaeology of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Session Chairs: Glenn Schwartz, John Hopkins University; Kyra Kaercher, Boston University

Theme: This/these session(s) will provide a forum for the large number of researchers currently engaged in the archaeology of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, bringing together field reports and material studies spanning early prehistory to the Islamic period.

Description: The primary aim of this session is to disseminate results of recent research conducted in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to a larger audience. Given the difficulties (or impossibility) of conducting archaeological fieldwork in many areas of the Near East, such as Syria, Iran, most of Iraq, Lebanon, and (even) Turkey, the opening of Iraqi Kurdistan has resulted in the region becoming the focus of intense archaeological attention in the past five years. Four American projects are now working in this area, as well as many American individuals dealing with the cultural heritage and history of this region. A session devoted to Iraqi Kurdistan will enable scholars to disseminate their latest results, share ideas, and receive feedback. A secondary aim is to encourage participation among scholars working in neighboring regions, particularly western Iran, northern Iraq, and eastern Turkey; scholarship currently suffers from the artificial intellectual barriers presented by political boundaries.

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Conservation and Site Preservation in the Near East

Session Chairs: Suzanne Davis, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan; LeeAnn Gordon, American Schools of Oriental Research

Theme: This session focuses on archaeological conservation and site preservation. Conservators and archaeologists will present successful models of archaeological heritage conservation from various regions of the Near East.

Description: The primary aims of this session are to foster collaboration and promote information sharing among conservators and archaeologists working in the Near East. This session will create a forum where these professionals can come together to present research, exchange ideas, and discuss issues impacting both fields. Contributors’ presentations will examine regional and national trends in conservation as well as site-specific conservation programs. Presenters will also consider how political instability and the need for economic development are impacting the preservation of archaeological heritage in the Near East. Generous discussion time will engage the contributors and the audience, creating a dialogue that will ultimately improve conservation of artifacts and sites in the Near East.

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Continuity or Change? The Hellenistic Near East on a Local Scale

Session Chairs: Kate Larson, University of Michigan; Justin Winger, University of Michigan

Theme: This session will offer focused local and regional investigations of the Hellenistic Near East in order to address questions about the degree to which socio-cultural change accompanied the coming of Alexander and the rise of the Hellenistic kingdoms.

Description: The Hellenistic period is commonly conceptualized and studied via political history and broad themes such as imperialism and resistance, cultural hybridization, and urbanization and cosmopolitanism. This session aims to continue the inquiry that was begun by the “Basileus, Sebastos, Shah” sessions by investigating the Hellenistic Near East through focused probes into the lived, daily experiences of elites and non-elites as they are expressed in the material and historical record in order to understand the defining characteristics of the Hellenistic period on a local scale. “Continuity or Change” will focus on the rhythms of everyday life and the bearing that these routines have on how we conceptualize and define the Hellenistic period as a chronological, geographic, and cultural phenomenon. Papers will include material, historical, and regional case studies that represent a range of inquiries and approaches.

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Cyber-Archaeology in the Middle East Today

Session Chairs: Tom Levy, Univerisity of California-San Diego; Maurizio Forte, Duke University

Theme: Cyber-archaeology is a transdisciplinary endeavor that melds archaeology with computer science, engineering and the natural sciences to investigate the past. The workshop takes the pulse of new develops in data acquisition, curation, simulation, analyses and dissemination.

Description: Cyber-archaeology is a transdisciplinary endeavor that melds archaeology with computer science, engineering and the natural sciences to investigate the past. By transdisciplinary, we mean 'team science.' As such, cyber-archaeology provides a framework for marshalling the power of the information technology revolution for exploring new dimensions of the past in a more integrated interdisciplinary fashion. Large-scale projects at Middle Eastern sites such as Catalhoyuk (Turkey), the Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project (Jordan), and smaller projects around the Middle East have provided test-beds for fielding all the elements that characterize state-of-the-art cyberarchaeology on the world scene. The workshop takes the pulse of new develops in data acquisition, curation, analyses and dissemination in the Middle East.

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Experiencing Mesopotamian Landscapes: Unifying Archaeological and Textual Perspectives

Session Chairs: Matthew Rutz, Brown University; Michael Danti, Boston University

Theme: This session invites contributions that address the empirical and theoretical primacy of landscapes — constructed, conceptual, ideational — for understanding Mesopotamian cultures. Particular emphasis will be on approaches that explore landscapes as envisioned and experienced given the relatively untapped potentials of combining the region’s rich textual and archaeological records.

Description: This session will bring together text-based scholars and field archaeologists who work on various aspects of landscape in ancient Mesopotamia’s historical periods with an emphasis on exploring regional distinctiveness as well as broader unifying trends across a region that encompasses what are now northern and southern Iraq. At this crucial juncture in the history of archaeological research in Iraq it is particularly vital that Assyriologists and archaeologists grapple with both textual and archaeological perspectives on the relationships between urban and non-urban spaces and places. To what extent are the historical-literary and archaeological records complementary and, in practical terms, in productive dialogue about ancient Mesopotamian landscapes? What theoretical constructs are various scholars currently using to interpret ancient landscapes, land-use and settlement patterns, and human environmental impact across the region? How commensurable are the different chronological horizons of landscape archaeology and research on cuneiform sources? Particular emphasis will be on approaches that explore landscapes as envisioned and experienced given the relatively untapped potentials of combining the region’s rich textual and archaeological records.

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Hellenism and Power Politics in the Parthian Empire

Session Chairs: Ben Rubin, Williams College; Jason Schlude, The College of St. Benedict and St. John's University

Theme: This panel will explore the legacy and reception of Hellenistic culture in the Parthian Empire. In particular, we will focus on how the Arsacid dynasty used Greek cultural forms to communicate their power to diverse audiences across the Middle East and in Rome.

Description: This panel will explore the legacy and reception of Hellenistic culture in the Parthian Empire. In particular, we will focus on how the Arsacid dynasty used Greek cultural forms, including architecture, literature and religious rituals, to commnicate their power to a wide variety of different audiences across the Middle East and in Rome.

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Historical Context and Material Culture of the Qu'ran

Session Chair: Luke Treadwell, Oxford University, Oriental Institute

Theme: This panel aims to provide a forum for the study of the Qur'anic citations on objects of daily use, as well as elite artefacts and buildings, and for the investigation of scholarly reactions to these developments in hadith collections and other textual sources involving the Qur'an's history and pre-history.

Description: Extending the practice of inscribing the Word of God beyond the mashaf to other materials was a contentious issue in early Islam. In this panel we invite contributions on any aspect of the Qur’an’s history and pre-history that lies outside the manuscript tradition. For example, topics relating to Qur’anic citation in the epigraphic (including graffiti as well as formal inscriptions), architectural, ceramic, numismatic and papyrological records and the use of the Qur’an in funerary, apotropaic and prophylactic contexts would be most welcome. Topics concerning pre-Islamic inscriptions that might have a bearing on the later formulation of the text of the Qur’an are also welcome. This panel is one of two panels which form the IQSA program unit ‘Historical context, manuscripts and material culture’. The aim of this unit is to provide a cross-disciplinary setting to address the variety of interconnected issues that arise when questions concerning the Qur’an’s text are explored in the areas of its manuscript history and its textual representation in Islamic material culture. IQSA and ASOR are joining together in this panel because of shared interests concerning the expression of Qur’anic ideas and texts in the material culture of Late Near Eastern Antiquity.

Note: This is a joint session with the International Qur'anic Sudies Association (IQSA) and will be held at their meeting venue in 2014 in San Diego.

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Integrated Chronologies of the Bronze Age: Combining Historical, Archaeological, and Scientific Approaches

Session Chairs: Felix Hoeflmayer, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago; Aaron Burke, University of California-Los Angeles

Theme: This session will present and discuss recent chronological research that combines different methodological approaches to the chronology of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean.

Description: The last decades have seen considerable advance in the use and application of radio carbon dating and Bayesian modelling (i.e. combining radio carbon determinations with other information, such as the sequence of samples derived archaeological stratigraphy) in the field of chronological research. Past major projects like ARCANE or SCIEM 2000 reviewed the material evidence for the relative chronological phases and aimed to synchronize different regions based on first appearance of certain key-wares. On the other ahdn, the Oxford project on "radiocarbon dating and the Egyptian historical chronology" combined over 200 new radiocarbon determinations with historical information, like the succession of kings and their respective reign lengths and the DAI-Thyssen project "Radiocarbon dating the Bronze Age of the Levant" focussed on acquiring radiocarbon sequences from key-sites in order to synchronize different regions on the basis of radiocarbon dating alone. The aim of this session is to provide a forum for 1) current research that combines different approaches (historical, archaeological, scientific) for refining chronologies, 2) the impact of these data on current chronological schemes, and 3) the issue of how this data could be integrated in a most useful and transparent way.

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Kush and the Ancient Near East After 1000 BCE

Session Chair: Bruce Williams, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

Theme: Kush was traditionally given a marginal role in the Ancient Near East and its appearance on the historical stage in the Eighth and Seventh Centuries BCE has been considered almost accidental. Recent research indicates that the role of Kush was purposeful and sustained, politically and culturally.

Description: For many years, Kush was considered in imitative backwater of Egyptian civilization. Its appearance on the world stage was considered ephemeral and almost accidental. Research since the 1960's has clearly shown Kush to have had vibrant and creative civilization, but the Kushite role in political events has remained marginal and incidental to the stream of historical events in the Near East. More recently, Kushites have been found working in the heart of Assyria, far from their homeland, and new research indicates that their involvement in Egypt and western Asia was not an accident, but the product of deliberate policy. Kush a full cultural, religious, and political project, that began before the emergence of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and lasted long after. This session aims to explore the relationship of Kush to the wider world from the perspective of intentional policy, statecraft, and the experience of Kushites away from their homeland to give a clearer picture of what may well have been a rational process.

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Methods of Historiography in the Study of Ancient Israel and the Levant

Session Chairs: Matthew Suriano, University of Maryland; Jeremy Smoak, University of California-Los Angeles

Theme: The program is organized to facilitate an interdisciplinary discussion of historical methodology by scholars working on the ancient Levant during the first millennium BCE, with a particular focus on the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Description: The historical reconstruction of Israel/Judah has been a controversial topic over the past two decades. It has been over twenty years since the discovery of the Tel Dan stele, yet the inscription continues to be a touchstone for debates over the historicity of the biblical text. In uniting biblical scholars and archaeologists, this session will aim to move beyond the minimalist-maximalist debate in order to refocus the question around historical methodology. Archaeologists prefer social histories modeled along the lines of the Annales School’s longue durée. Conversely, biblical scholars working with large literary-blocks, such as the Mesha Stele or the Hebrew Bible’s Deuteronomistic History, are influenced by the narrative turn in history writing. The approach favored by archaeologists is broader in scope than histoire événementielle and offers a comprehensive understanding of society. Biblical scholars, on the other hand, are attuned to specific aspects of historical thought that are evident in the literary organization of events into historiographical narratives. Yet, historical events (and by extension, historiographies) are inextricably bound up in social processes. Therefore, it is necessary to draw from both socio-historical and narrative-history approaches in order to identify new ways of approaching the historical writings that pertain to ancient Israel.

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Mortuary Perspectives from Outside the Levant

Session Chairs: Lesley Gregoricka, University of Southern Alabama; Kimberly Williams, Temple University

Theme: Mortuary investigations in the Near East have largely focused on a narrow geographic expanse including the Levant and Egypt, where processes of death and dying have been extensively documented and debated. This session will explore death and burial outside the Levant in the ancient Near East.

Description: Major changes in the commemoration of death and the formation of identity amongst the living took place beginning in the Neolithic period across the Near East. However, these mortuary investigations have largely focused on a narrow geographic expanse including the Levant and Egypt, where processes of death and dying have been extensively documented and debated. This session will instead explore death and burial outside the Levant in the ancient Near East. This symposium brings together archaeologists at the forefront of mortuary work outside the Levant to examine continuity and change using state-of-the art mapping and imaging techniques, current excavations of mortuary monuments, as well as bioarchaeological and biogeochemical analyses of human skeletal remains. Moreover, while mortuary practices are typically interpreted as reflecting changes in identity among the living, such transformations are nevertheless also frequently attributed to outside influence. Here, archaeological research seeks to give the inhabitants of the Near East agency over climate change or the collapse of trade networks. This symposium will provide a forum for researchers to hear about regional similarities and differences, new methodologies, and topics for future collaboration. Individual presentations will be organized geographically and chronologically to explore mortuary transitions outside the Levant.

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New Approaches to the Archaeology of Hasanlu, Iran

Session Chair: Megan Cifarelli, Manhattanville College

Theme: This session explores new research on the site of Hasanlu, Iran.

Description: This session focuses on the archaeology of the site of Hasanlu, in Northwestern Iran. The site was excavated by the Hasanlu Expedition, a joint project of the University of Pennsylvania Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Antiquities Authority of Iran, between 1956-1977, under the direction of Robert H. Dyson Jr. Topics may include artifactural Studies, more focused methodological or theoretical discussions, as well as current debates.

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New Discoveries in the City of David, Jerusalem

Session Chair: Oded Lipschits, Tel Aviv University

Theme: The proposed session will focus on presentation of finds from recent excavations in the City of David and how these finds have changed our understanding of ancient Jerusalem. The papers will present of new data from excavations, including four projects, as well as integrated research collaborations joining them together.

Description: Archaeological investigations in the City of David are currently being conducted in several parts of the site, yielding important information on the entire span of Jerusalem’s history, as seen in the different excavations, as well as through joint avenues of research, integrating findings and methodologies from all projects. The current session will focus on the presentation of several of the important finds from recent years in the City of David: Finds from the area of the Gihon Spring which change our understanding of the Iron Age fortification; excavations in the Givati Parking lot, just south of the city walls, where important Hellenistic remains have been uncovered, shedding light on the urban nature of the city in the period; exposure of additional portions of the Second Temple period stepped street and architectural features alongside it providing important information on city planning; and a detailed analysis of refuse remains in Area D, along the eastern slope have provided new information on life in Jerusalem in the Early Roman period. Finally, a joint project on residue analysis of ceramic vessels from three of the excavations will be presented, including differences between the different areas of excavation and the different periods being currently analyzed.

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Return to Iraq: New Archaeological Initiatives in Southern Iraq

Session Chairs: Carrie Hritz, The Pennsylvania State University; Jennifer Pournelle, University of South Carolina

Theme: Presentation of challenges and results of new archaeological fieldwork in southern Iraq.

Description: After a 20 year hiatus in fieldwork, new archaeological field projects in southern Iraq face a number of challenges and potentials related to advancement in tools and methods, variable ground conditions and conservation/heritage management. This session communicates the results of American, European and Iraqi archaeological projects in southern Iraq. The papers in this session will present newly collected ground data resulting from archaeological excavation, survey and heritage planning.

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Seals and Seal Use in the Ancient Near East

Session Chair: Agnete Lassen, Yale University; Irene Winter, Harvard University

Theme: The aim of this session is to explore how seals were owned and used in Ancient Mesopotamia. Topics could include the interface between imagery and owner, reuse and recarving, and contextual/archival studies. Contributions that integrate textual, contextual or archival evidence with glyptic material are particularly welcome.

Description: The aim of this session is to offer a structured setting particularly for seal studies with a purpose of bringing together specialists to unite and compare findings and methodologies. The main focus of the session is on understanding seals in their context. In recent years, a number of seal studies have come out focusing especially on the social aspects of seal use. Most have been integrative in their approach to the material, i.e. they rely on archaeological and textual sources in addition to pictorial evidence. The aim of this session is to develop the integrative approach by addressing broader issues, such as the interaction between seal and owner, the seal's function in archival contexts, and the administrative usage of seals.

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Sinews of Empire: Networks in the Near East

Session Chairs: Eivind Seland, University of Bergen; Kerstin Dross-Krüpe, University of Krappel

Theme: This session addresses the role of networks and social relationships, as facilitators of interaction and integration between imperial, regional and local levels in the history and archeology of the Near East. Contributors are encouraged to situate their papers within theoretical frameworks that facilitate comparison between periods and empirical settings.

Description: From the Neo-Assyrian Empire to the end of the colonial period, the Near East was dominated by a series of large, multiethnic empires, most of them centered outside the region itself. Recent studies have moved emphasis from metropolitan to regional and local points of view, but arguably most have continued to cast representatives of imperialrule as protagonists or antagonists in narratives of domination, resistance, integration and fragmentation. In recent years, a resurgence in interest in network approaches has offered new tools to conceptualize, visualize and arguably even measure interaction in past societies. In this session we aim to utilize network perspectives in an attempt to shift attention to everyday ties of business, religion, power and social interaction. How did networks develop? What where the institutions underpinning interaction and fostering integration? What impact did formal and informal rules have on interaction within these networks? How did networks react to stress on imperial level, such as invasions, economic crisis or civil war? We especially welcome papers situating data within theoretical frameworks such as Network Analysis, Social Network Analysis, Actor Network Theory and Agency Theory, in order to facilitate comparison between groups, over time and between different parts of the Near East.

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Social Aspects of the Use and Reuse of Marble in Roman and Byzantine Near East

Session Chairs: Elise Friedland, George Washington University; Moshe Fischer, Tel Aviv University

Theme: This session explores various social, religious, and economic aspects of marble artifacts discovered in the Roman Near East, a massive corpus in light of the fact that there is no natural marble in that region, and every piece had to be imported from marble-rich quarries around the Mediterranean.

Description: It is impossible to imagine the Roman and Byzantine Near East without the marble used for buildings, architectural and sculptural decoration, sarcophagi, and the minor arts. Several studies dealing with these issues have been published in recently, covering both archaeological and artistic matters as well as laboratory examinations revealing aspects of the geographic and artistic origins of some of the artifacts. The aim of this session is to revisit and reinterpret specific finds and phenomena from various sites, both those well-known in the literature and others discovered or re-discovered recently. Following some of the principles of the origin and purpose of Roman art in general and marble art in particular as emphasized by several recent studies (e.g. Stewart, P. 2008. The Social History of Roman Art, Cambridge), this session will present marble artifacts from our region against their political, social, and cultural background. Contributors will present items originating in at least three major cities (Beth Shean/Scythopolis, Samaria-Sebaste, and Umm Qais/ Gadara), by pointing out their particular expression. These "case studies" will be followed by a synthetic overview of the dynamics of use and reuse of such items in various sites of the Roman and Byzantine periods.

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Technology and Texts: New Scientific and Digital Methods for the Analysis of Ancient Near Eastern Writings

Session Chairs: Christopher Rollston, Tel Aviv University; Annalisa Azzoni, Vanderbilt University

Theme: This session will be devoted to some of the newest and most promising photographic (e.g., RTI), digital (e.g., PhotoShop), laboratory (e.g., mineralogical), and mathematical methodologies for the analysis of inscriptions from the ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds.

Description: The study of inscriptions has progressed dramatically during the past twenty years and the purpose of this session is to be a central place for the demonstration and modeling of (1) some of the most sophisticated photographic-digital technologies (e.g., RTI), (2) the newest methods for imaging three-dimensional inscriptions (e.g., a single photographic image of an entire cylinder seals), (3) the most accurate methods of producing digital drawings (e.g., using Photoshop, Illustrator, drawing with a digital tablet, etc.), (4) the most sophisticated methods of photogrammetry (e.g., using a Dino-Soft Digital Microscope), (5) discussion of the usefulness of source analysis for objects of clay, stone, metal, (6) and the development of algorhythms designed especially for measuring the strokes and angles of linear scripts. It is envisioned that the best of these presentations will be published in revised forms in journals such as BASOR, Maarav, JAOS, JCS, JEA, Levant, and NEA. It is also envisioned that the things presented in this session will begin to be used on a regular basis in undergraduate and graduate classrooms, as part of teaching ancient inscriptions.

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The Central Timna Valley (CTV) Project: Revolutionizing a 50-Year Consensus

Session Chair: Erez Ben-Yosef, Tel Aviv University

Theme: The proposed session presents results of recent studies done as part of TAU's new project at the copper ore district of Timna (southern Israel). Focusing on the main copper mining and smelting sites, the first phase of the project revolutionizes the accepted chronology and provides insights into the society engaged in the exploitation of copper.

Description: The session aims at introducing the results of the first phase of the ongoing research at the copper ore district of the Timna Valley. The presentations will provide a coherent summary of the various studies of the project, based on data from surveys and excavations. These studies include new insights on the chronological, technological, cultural and environmental aspects of copper production at this region during the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. As new radiocarbon dates show, most of these data relate to copper production systems of the early Iron Age, calling into question the role of Egyptians in the development of this industry. Furthermore, the new chronological framework ties the evidence there to recent discoveries in Faynan (Jordan) and the central Negev and suggests that Timna played a key role in the formation processes of local Iron Age polities.

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The CRANE Project: Large-Scale Date Integration and Analysis in the Orontes Watershed

Session Chair: Timothy Harrison, University of Toronto

Theme: CRANE is an interdisciplinary initiative aimed at the integration and analysis of data from multiple field projects working within the Orontes Watershed and beyond. This session will present the results of this collaborative effort achieved to date, and will explore prospects for broader collaboration.

Description: The Computational Research on the Ancient Near East (CRANE) Project is an interdisciplinary collaboration that seeks to create a computational framework for the integration and analysis of data from a number of archaeological projects working within the Orontes Watershed and beyond. CRANE also seeks to create computation tools that will facilitate the modeling and visualization of the interrelationships of social, economic and environmental dynamics at multiple spatial and temporal scales in order to address questions about the rise and development of complex societies in this important region. The initial stage of the project involves the integration of data from two ongoing field projects in southeastern Anatolia: the University of Toronto’s Tayinat Archaeological Project and the Oriental Institute’s Neubauer Expedition to Zinçirli Höyük. These sites share a similar occupational sequence, beginning in the Early Bronze Age and continuing through the Iron Age, when both sites emerged as the royal cities of regional kingdoms, with textual and material evidence for the interplay of Syro-Hittite, Levantine, Mesopotamian (Assyrian), and Aegean cultural elements. This session will present papers on the project results achieved to date, including the preliminary results of our initial attempts at cross-project analyses, a paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the Orontes Watershed, and the development of a more robust chronological framework for the Orontes Valley region.

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The Early Bronze Age III of the Southern Levant: Recent Perspectives from Tell es-Safi/Gath

Session Chairs: Haskel Greenfield, University of Manitoba; Aren Maeir, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Theme: This session will present recently gathered and analysed data concerning the nature of early urban centres in the Southern Levant, with particular emphasis on the finds from Tell es-Safi/Gath.

Description: Complex urban societies arose in the southern Levant (Israel, Jordan) during the Early Bronze Age (EBA, 3600-2100 BCE) when regional communities were reorganized into larger and denser agglomerations from villages and towns into small cities. This transformation set in motion the pattern of urban life-ways and social relationships that formed the foundation of city life in the region until its collapse at the end of the EB III. Yet, our knowledge of the nature of these early urban settlements, and in particular the non-elite neighborhoods is still rudimentary. Few investigations have systematically examined the non-elite segments of these early cities and none with a constellation of modern scientific analytic techniques. This session is designed to enhance our understanding of the daily life in these early cities. The session will present the results of recent excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath and other sites in Israel, and discuss their implication for increasing our understanding of early urban life-ways across the region.

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The Iron I to Iron II Transition in the Northern Levant

Session Chairs: Marina Pucci, Università degli Studi di Firenze (SAGAS); Lynn Welton, University of British Columbia

Theme: This session focuses on the transitional period from the Iron I-II in the northern Levant, and aims to discuss the archaeological markers of both periods and their chronological framework. The papers will analyze continuity and change in the archaeological materials from recently excavated sites and compare chronologies and interpretations.

Description: Although much attention has been given to the transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age I in the northern Levant, emphasizing aspects of both continuity and change in the political situation, social structure, and archaeological materials, the passage from the Iron I to Iron II periods in this area has always been somehow neglected. However, during the transition from the Iron I to Iron II, not only did ceramic materials change with the introduction of a new large-scale standardized pottery tradition, but technological developments, labour specialization, and new political formations also became visible and were benchmarks of the Iron II period. During this session, the organizers invite speakers who have been dealing with this topic to present their analysis of materials from recently excavated or recently re-analyzed sites in the northern Levant, which were occupied during this transition. The presentation and discussion of these topics intend to achieve two main aims: first, to discuss the chronological setting of this transition (10th or 9th century BC) in the northern Levant and second, to emphasize the cultural and political processes visible in the transformation of the archaeological material in order to better understand both local developments and external influences.

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The Levantine Early Bronze Age IV: Re-Evaluation and New Vistas

Session Chair: Suzanne Richard, Gannon University

Theme: A re-evaluation of the Levantine Early Bronze Age I-IV. Given the proposed higher chronology for the southern Levant, along with new excavation data, the topic is timely. The session addresses developing trends in the south, but also considers the impact of the new chronology on the interrelations with the northern Levant.

Description: The primary aim of this investigation of the Early Bronze Ageis to re-evaluate current scholarly syntheses in the light of quite extraordinary new data. The new data driving this overarching aim include scientific/technological analyses, as well as results from current excavations. For example, new 14C analytical criteria and Bayesian modeling affirm a higher chronology for the southern Levant of some 200 years. EB III is now 2900-2500 BCE, EB IV is now 500 years (2500-2000 BCE). the ramifications are immense - Is there an EB II? Can EB IV overlap the Pyramid Age? What about correlations with Ebla and its destruction? Moreover, current excavations are rekindling the debate on EBC urbanism, and EB IV fortifications eblie a "pastoral-nomadic" model, etc. Thus, the time is ripe for a re-evaluation. The aim concerns not only the developing trends in the south, but also interrelations in the Levant, particularly in light of the new chronology. Individual presenters will be encouraged to related to one another by framing their new data in terms of current and trending scholarly perspectives in the field and/or by considering their data in light of the new higher chronology and/or by addressing cross-cultural interrelations in the Levant.

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Tracking the Early Judean Kingdom: From Qeiyafa to Lachish

Session Chairs: Yosef Garfinkel, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Michael Hasel, Southern Adventist University; Martin Klingbeil, Southern Adventist University

Theme: Khirbet Qeiyafa provided significant new data that has redefined the debate about the kingdom of Judah in the tenth century. This session will report on the 2013 final season at Qeiyafa followed by the preliminary seasons at Tel Lachish 2013-2014.

Description: This session aims at analyzing new methods and reporting on recent excavations at the sites of Khirbet Qeiyafa and Tel Lachish that impinge on the development of kingdom of Judah from the beginning of the tenth century to end of the kingdom in 586 BCE. Recent excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa have redefined the debate of the tenth century BCE by providing new data for the development of planned cities, complete with fortification and gates, domestic building, sanctury-cult rooms, and public piazzas. The final 2013 season focused on the large administrative building found at the highest point at the center of the site dating to the tenth century. But what took place in the years following the destruction of Qeiyafa - between the tenth century and better known eighth century BCE? This two hundred year gap in the region is the focus of new excavations at Tel Lachish which began with a pilot season in 2013. The scope of this workship aims at addressing fundamental questions of state formation processes as the region developed.

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Member-Organized Workshops


Digital Karnak and VSIM: Real-Time Exploration of 3D Models for Ancient Sites

Session Chair: Elaine Sullivan, Univerisity of California-Santa Cruz; Lisa Snyder, Univerisity of California-Los Angeles

Theme: Introduction to the use of the VSim real-time 3D interface for research, pedagogy and presentation. Participants will download and navigate a sample model of the ancient Egyptian temple of Karnak and learn how to put together a narrative, including commentary, notes and images within the 3D space.

Description: Digital Karnak is a three-dimensional Virtual Reality model which represents the state of knowledge of the published archaeology on the ancient Egyptian temple of Karnak. While resources on the model have been available online since 2008, the Digital Karnak Project is releasing the real-time, high-resolution model of the temple to the academic community and public for the first time using a new real-time 3D interface program called VSim. Using the Karnak model, this workshop will introduce how to use VSim for research, pedagogy and presentation. Participants are urged to bring their laptop computers (PC and Mac) to follow along and create their own custom narrative tour in the temple. The software and the Karnak model will be made available freely to ASOR members in this session. While this demonstration is focused on Karnak, the VSim platform can be used with most 3D modeling programs (including the popular free program SketchUp), so by the end of the workshop, participants will be able to add models posted online or their own 3D data to the program.

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Hesi Regional Project: Revising the Research Design in Light of Newly Excavated Data

Session Chairs: Jeffrey Blakely, University of Wisconsin-Madison; James Hardin, Cobb Institute of Archaeology, Mississippi State University

Theme: Unexpected excavation results from Khirbet Summeily forced a re-evaluation of the project’s overall research design. This workshop will present a summary of a revised research design (paper available before the session) in which the project seeks critical comment and discussion from both project members and the interested scholarly community.

Description: The discovery that Khirbet Summeily was not a village, but rather an administrative or military structure, forced the Hesi project to re-evaluate its understanding of how humans may have used the Hesi region from the Chalcolithic through the Mandate periods. Seemingly, sedentary occupation is the rare exception, not the rule, for the region. Given this new perspective we created a regional research design aimed at understanding the anomalous sedentary occupation or military sites through time as well as the wells and roads of the Hesi region as a means to test our understanding of how it functioned and how these functions may have changed. The first presentation in the workshop will summarize the research design and discuss how it seeks to recover the history of the region. The entire draft research design will have been made available to all respondents and other interested scholars on the site's web page. The respondents, who will be both project members and the interested members of the scholarly community, will be asked to critique both the assumptions and the proposed methodologies in an effort to improve the foundations for further research. Discussion in the session will try to engage the interested members of ASOR's scholarly community in the same process.

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Infants as Votive Offerings in Phoenician Carthagae

Session Chair: Joseph Greene, Harvard University; Brien Garnand, Semitic Museum, Harvard University

Theme: Carthaginians allegedly sacrificed their offspring to Baal and Tinnit, as the ancient written sources claim and as modern archaeology seems to confirm. Here we analyze the archaeological and historical context of the rite based on the ASOR Punic Project excavations at Carthage.

Description: The Phoenicians invented the alphabet, established commercial networks, and spread urbanism around the Mediterranean and beyond the straits of Gibraltar, but they were also infamous for allegedly practicing child sacrifice. The Hebrew Bible (e.g. Jeremiah, the Deutronomistic History), Greek historians (e.g. Citarchus, Diodorus) and later Christian apologists (e.g. Tertullian), all condemn the practice and add lurid details — distraught mothers wailing, grimacing infants roasted in the outstretched arms brazen statues, tiny mouths fixed in a rictus of sardonic laughter. In any case, discoveries made at votive infant burial precincts seem to confirm the preferential selection of 1-3 month old infants for dedication. Our workshop brings together specialists contributing to the final report of the ASOR Punic Project excavations at Carthage (1976-1979), as well as other specialists, in order to provide the historical and archaeological context relating to the votive dedication of infants, both in the metropolis and in their colonies.

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Object Biography for Archaeologists: A Practical Workshop

Session Chair: Rick Hauser, IIMAS The International Institute for Mesopotamian Area Studies

Theme: This interdisciplinary workshop aims to link narrative to practice, revitalizing the concept of "object biography."

Description: Telling the story of objects we excavate is nothing new for those of us who work in the field. In the absence of absolute certainty, we construct a compelling new setting for the artifact that weds history and culture in the present moment. In the telling, much may be lost – “find-spot”, assuredly, is not the same thing as “origin”. Where, exactly, did the object first see the light of day? What steps were taken in its fashioning? What has become of it? How does it reflect cultural and political realities?
Make no mistake. "Object biography" is not mere story-telling. It is, rather, a rigorous approach to the creation of artifactual secondary context, taking into account theoretical discussion about things/objects, social networks and the complexities of global culture. In doing so, we archaeologists stand to gain. We restore the greater context of our finds; and we make our work accessible to a larger public.

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Pigments, Paints, and Polychromies in the Ancient Near Eastern Context

Session Chairs: Alexander Nagel, Smithsonian Institution; Laura d’Alessandro, Oriental Institute, Chicago

Theme: This workshop brings together professionals from Conservation Science, Archaeology, Anthropology and other disciplines working on aspects of the role, technology and preservation of polychromy and color in ancient near eastern art. The focus will be on documenting remaining traces of paint and other surface finishes in architectural sculpture and other materials.

Description: With sophisticated and increased technology, documenting and investigating aspects of paint and polychromy of ancient near eastern art has advanced greatly in recent years. The means to understand the process of paint application have greatly improved, not only through the contribution of analytic methods of the natural sciences, but also by increased interest in experimental photography, imaging techniques, pigment analysis, all of which provide a much broader spectrum in looking at the interface between technology, history, archaeology and cultural studies. Until recently, however, the general significance of polychromy in ancient near eastern art has generally been overlooked and published discussions of distinct technologies, the paint processes and raw materials are still missing. Developments in the sciences and technologies, including new photographic and imaging techniques, geochemistry as well as new modes in interpreting ancient polychromy have provided the means to base these debates on more secure grounds. Growing interest in polychromy and paint archaeology has accelerated the study of sites, monuments and single artifacts. In this workshop, professionals from Conservation Science, Archaeology, Anthropology and other disciplines working on aspects of the role, technology and preservation of polychromy and color in ancient near eastern art. The focus will be on documenting remaining traces of paint and other surface finishes in architectural sculpture and other materials

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Women at Work: Making One's Way in the Field of Near Eastern Studies

Session Chairs: Beth Alpert Nakhai, The University of Arizona; Stephanie Langin-Hooper, Bowling Green State University

Theme: This session provides a forum for exploring issues relating to contemporary women working in archaeology and all other sub-disciplines within Near Eastern studies. These issues include the challenges faced by professional women, women and leadership, ASOR and the gender gap, publishing and citing women in ASOR journals, and women and field safety.

Description: This session explores some of the many issues confronted by women working in archaeology and all other subdisciplines within Near Eastern studies. It inquires, “Who are we?” Can this cohort of women be defined? What do women share, and in what ways do their professional experiences differ from those of their male counterparts? It investigates the complex matter of female leadership in ASOR’s target countries. What unique contributions do women make, and what are their unique challenges? Is their work affected by their gender and if so, in what ways? Are women and men in the field safe from sexual harassment and physical violence? What strategies are successful for negotiating this complicated terrain? What policies might ASOR – and excavation projects – adopt in order to support their female members? Another line of inquiry looks into ASOR’s publications. Publication, including being cited in other scholars' work, builds reputations and is a prime factor in professional success, as it builds reputations and is a metric for achieving academic advancement. To what extent do ASOR’s journals support women’s careers? The ultimate question might be, what impact do these factors have on women’s professional accomplishments and intellectual achievements in the field of Near Eastern studies?

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