Safi team at Scientist’s Night at BIU

The Safi lab team was at the BIU “Scientists’ Night” open house this afternoon and evening, with a great hands-on booth on ancient board games. Amit, Shira (who has researched the EB games from Safi), Maria and Lindsay set up a great booth, with actual game-related finds from the excavations, and modern recreations that could be played. Shira also gave a TED-like lecture on the games to the crowd.

See here photos of the families (parents and kids) trying to play the games at the booth.

Well done!


New paper on EB fauna from Safi!

A paper discussing the Early Bronze Age faunal remains from the Area E excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath has just appeared (see link to the paper here).

The full title is:

Greenfield, H. J., Brown, A., Shai, I., and Maeir, A. M. 2016. Preliminary Analysis of the Fauna from the Early Bronze Age III Neighbourhood at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel. Pp. 170–92 in Bones and Identity: Archaeozoological Approaches to Reconstructing Social and Cultural Landscapes in Southwest Asia, eds. N. Marom, R. Yeshurun, L. Weissbrod and G. Bar-Oz. Oxford: Oxbow.


17th World Congress of Jewish Studies – Jerusalem, Aug. 6-10, 2017

As a board member of the World Union of Jewish Studies, please let me bring your attention to the official notice (below) on the upcoming congress in Aug. 2017 in Jerusalem.

And, as a member of the committee for Bible and Ancient Near East at the congress, I would like to invite you all to submit suggestions for lectures and/or sessions relating to Bible, Bronze and Iron Age Archaeology, Ancient Near East, and related topics, on the submission page on the website.

Here is the official notice:

17th World Congress of Jewish Studies

We are happy to announce that the Seventeenth World Congress of Jewish Studies will take place from August 6 to 10, 2017 at the Mount Scopus Campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The World Congress of Jewish Studies convenes in Jerusalem every four years, and is the most important event in Jewish studies worldwide. The last Congress in 2013 brought together thousands of participants from over 40 countries, who attended nearly 1600 lectures in various fields and on many diverse topics in Jewish studies. The lectures were presented by scholars from all the important centers and institutions of Jewish learning. The Congress also features a comprehensive book fair, as well as hosted social and cultural events to give participants the opportunity to share various aspects of Jewish culture.
Proposals for lectures to be presented at the 17th World Congress of Jewish Studies may now be submitted. The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2016.

Louise will be giving a talk in Athens, Sept, 27th, 2016

If any of you are in Athens in the near future, make sure to come to Louise Hitchcock’s lecture at the Australian Archaeological Institute in Athens, on Sept. 27th, 2016, at 7 pm.

Louise will be giving a talk entitled: “Yo ho, Yo ho, a Pirate’s Life for Me: The Maritime Culture of the Sea Peoples”.


Paper at the 12th Cretalogical Congress

The 12th International Cretological Congress will be held in Heraklion, Crete, Sept. 21-25, 2016 (for program and abstract, see here).

Louise Hitchcock will be presenting a paper (with A. Maeir as 2nd author) at the meeting, which I believe will be of interest to many of you:

Pirates of the Crete-Aegean: migration, mobility, and Post-Palatial realities at the end of the Bronze Age

Abstract: Our recent research (Hitchcock and Maeir 2014; in press) has used historical accounts of piracy to briefly examine pirate leadership, pirate culture and social organization, feasting activities, and studies of pirate geography to propose an interpretive framework for understanding the migration of the Sea Peoples as, inter alia, pirate tribes who plundered some of the great centers at the end of the Mediterranean Bronze Age (ca. 1177 BCE, e.g. Cline 2014). We suggest that as Mycenaean control over trade routes collapsed with the destruction and/or eventual abandonment of the Mycenaean palaces, that Crete became particularly vulnerable to piracy, because of certain geographical and topographical features that characterized its coastlines. Unless defended, rocky coastlines, natural harbors, promontories, and river valleys were susceptible to piratical activity, as we shall discuss. Historical records indicate that piracy resulted in a desolation of coastlines, as coastal settlements and coastal plains might be attacked at night, with villages burnt and pillaged, and fields devastated. Inhabitants of such areas were motivated to move to defensible places further inland. Such abandonment and move to defensible areas characterized early Iron Age Cretan settlements, such as Karphi, Kavousi, Kephala-Vasiliki, Chalasmenos, Monastiraki, Thronos-Kephala, and many others, which were relatively inaccessible from the surrounding landscape with the numerous sites documented by Nowicki (2000) in postpalatial Crete representing only a fraction of the total. Our paper will consider the role of piracy at the end of the Bronze Age in influencing migration, new realities, social practices, and changes in the cultural environment and social organization of post-palatial Crete. We will also explore the idea that just as certain areas of Crete were geographically suitable for seeking refuge from pirates, other sites in Crete became geographically suitable for pirate activity to take place. This will eventually be incorporated into an understanding of the larger picture of the major transformation, which occurred in the eastern and central Mediterranean in the transition between the 13th and 12th centuries BCE.

Kudos to Sharon Staub

Sharon Staub, who was a staff member of the Australian team (led by Louise) for several seasons, has just been awarded a very nice award.

Sharon wrote an undergraduate paper (supervised by Brent Davis) entitled “The Importance of Terebinth Consumption in the Late Bronze Age: Evidence, Religion and Trade”.

Subsequently the paper came to the attention of “The Undergraduate Awards”, the world’s largest academic award program.

The results of this program have now been announced: not only did Sharon place in the top 10% of Classical Studies & Archaeology students worldwide, she has now been named the Regional Winner for Classical Studies & Archaeology in Oceania, giving her priority booking to the Undergraduate Awards Global Summit in Dublin this November!!

Way to go Sharon! Well-deserved!


HT: Brent Davis

Meeting in Warsaw on the Aegean and the Levant at the turn of the Bronze and Iron Ages (27-28/9/16)

Heads up for a very interesting conference that will be held on Tuesday-Wednesday, 27/28/9/16 at the University of Warsaw (organized by Łukasz Niesiołowski-Spano).

The meeting includes lectures from various scholars dealing with the Levant and the Aegean in the LB/Iron Age transition (and beyond). Quite a few very interesting papers will be given, including the opening paper by yours truly (A. Maeir), on changes in the understanding of who and what the Philistines are in light of recent research.

Should be very interesting!

Here is the schedule (which can be found online here as well):

The Aegean and the Levant at the Turn of the Bronze and Iron Age

Institute of History, Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, room 108, (new building of the Faculty of History)
9:30 Opening Greetings
Aren Maeir (Bar-Ilan University), The Philistines: ‘Things ain’t what they used to be’
Rostislav Oreshko (University of Warsaw), Ahhiyawa – Danu(na) – Palasti(na). Aegean Ethnica in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Light of Old and New Hieroglyphic-Luwian Evidence
Zsolt Simon, (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), What do we really know about the Philistine language?

Coffee (11:45-12:15)

Ayelet Gilboa (University of Haifa), Foci of Levantine Maritime Trade across the Late Bronze/Iron Age Transition: Sea People, Phoenicians and other Problematic Entities
Jeffrey P. Emanuel, (Harvard University), Warfare or Piracy? Describing and defining naval combat in the Late Bronze-Early Iron Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean
Stefan Yordanov, (Veliko Tarnovo University Sts Cyril and Methodius), Potestary political cultures in change in the times of change: Interactions in Aegean Region and Eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age

Lunch (14:15-15:15)

Alexander Fantalkin (Tel Aviv University), The Goddess of Ekron in the context of Philistine Migration in the Early Iron Age
Alexander V. Safronov, (Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow), The letter RS 88.2158 and Egyptian-Ugaritic relations under Sethos II
Mariacarmela Montesanto (University of Liverpool), Aegeans in the Northern Levant? A view from Alalakh

Coffee (17:15-17:45)

Jan Paul Crielaard (VU University Amsterdam), Hybrid go-betweens: the role of individuals with multiple identities in cross-cultural contacts in the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age Mediterranean
Irad Malkin (Tel Aviv University), Greek women and Greek colonies in the Archaic period

Vicky Vlachou, (Université libre de Bruxelles – CReA-Patrimoine), New Images, Old Practices? An Imagery of Funerary Rituals and Cult between the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Laszlo Vilmos, (University of Pécs), Pride and prejudice / Piracy and exchange of goods – warriors and craftsmen
Rik Vaessen (independent scholar), An Ionian perspective on Aegeo-Levantine interactions at the end of the second millennium BCE
Sarah C. Murray, (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Imported Objects in the Aegean as Evidence of Elite Interaction: A Flawed Paradigm?

Coffee (11:15-11:45)

Gunnel Ekroth (Uppsala Universitet), Burn, burn, burn… When, why and how the ancient Greeks performed holocaustic sacrifices
Olga A. Zolotnikova, (University of Athens / Hellenic Open University), Elements of the Syro-Phoenician epic / mythic traditions in the Homeric concept of Zeus
Lech Trzcionkowski (The Jagiellonian University), Tradition and Innovation in the Greek Sacrificial Ritual: Epics and the Prehistory of Ritual in the East Mediterranean Context

Lunch (13:45-14:45)

Ian Rutherford (University of Reading), Mons Kasios and Early Greek Mythology
Ismail Gezgin (Ege University, Izmir), The Making of Ionian Identity in Asia Minor
Jesse Michael Millek (The University of Tübingen), Destruction and the Cessation of Trade between the Aegean and the Levant at the End of the Late Bronze Age
Francisco Jesús Núñez Calvo (Independent Scholar) The impact of the Sea Peoples in Central Levant. A revision.
17:00 Closing remarks and discussion