As previously mentioned, the 2nd joint Tiryns/Safi workshop, as part of the joint GIF grant that Joseph Maran and I received last year, was conducted this week at the University of Heidelberg.
Here is the Safi team members outside our hotel, in a snow flurry, on the way to the first day of the workshop
What can I say – the workshop was simply astounding – even better than I could have imagined. We had 2 extremely intensive days of interacting, including papers given by members of the two teams, group discussions, and numerous interactions between the various participants.
Not only did we hear important research that is being carried out on finds from the two sites and their meaning for understanding the history and culture of the sites, themselves, their region, as well as their implication for much broader issues (such as those relating to the LB/Iron Age transition), we had an opportunity to discuss (and even sometimes debate) methodologies, conceptual issues, significance of results, etc.
While the two sites are excavated and recorded using very different methods, I believe that the cross-fertilization between the teams and their methods and approaches was simply hard to believe. For example, while the Safi team is not going to adopt the Tiryns method of excavations (and vice-a-versa), we did hear some nice ideas that I believe we will implement already this season in the excavation at Safi (including, taking pictures of all pottery baskets during the pottery reading, including, and most importantly, those from secondary/tertiary contexts which are discarded).
Not only did we learn new things and left with many ideas, already several potential research ideas have popped up between various members of the team. Hopefully, the collaborations between the different members of the two teams will continue long after this specific GIF grant is over.
No less important was the excellent hosting by Joseph Maran and his team! It created a cordial, collegial and friendly atmosphere, that not only enabled to hold very productive discussions – many new friendships were created – and existing ones were strengthened and deepened!
Just to get a feeling about the location, here is a view of the courtyard in the front of the building of the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Heidelberg (this is where one of the university dining halls is located). The mountain in the background of the picture is located on the other side of the Neckar River, which runs through Heidelberg.
I think that all agreed that even before we have published any of the results of this joint work – we have already demonstrated how important and worthwhile this venture was.
And no less important – we are all looking forward to the 3rd meeting which will be held next year in Tiryns!