New paper by Louise Hithcock and Aren Maeir

A new paper by Louise and Aren has appeared.

The full title is:

Hitchcock, L. A., and Maeir, A. M. 2017. Hesperos and Phosphoros: How Research on Aegean-Eastern Interactions Can Inform Studies of the West. Pp. 253–60 in Hesperos: The Aegean Seen from the West, eds. M. Fotiadis, R. Laffineur, Y. Lolos and A. Vlachopoulos. Aegaeum 41. Leuven: Peeters.

See here for a copy of the corrected proofs.

The paper deals with: the recursive extent of influence between the Aegean interactions with neighboring regions remains an area of investigation that continues to generate enthusiastic scholarly interest and lively debate. Here, we outline the importance of current theoretical perspectives on Aegean interaction with the East (particularly Philistia and Cyprus), which may be conceptually helpful to the study of similar interactions with central and western Europe. We also draw on a couple of very interesting examples from the conference to illustrate our positions. The archaeological, historical, and anthropological approaches we touch upon include gift exchange, entanglement, transculturalism, transnationalism, and piracy as a model of limited migration.


Very interesting find: Possible bulla of Isaiah from Jerusalem

Reports are out on a very interesting find from Jerusalem – an Iron Age IIB bulla (clay sealing) mentioning a person by the name of Isaiah, which the excavator (Dr. Eilat Mazar) is suggesting as possibly being the well-known biblical prophet of that name!

If this is correct, this would be another item to add to the list of biblical figures known from the archaeological finds.

See here and here for articles discussing this, presenting some of the arguments for, and against, the suggested identification.

Very interesting – and without a doubt – something that will be much debated, discussed and noted in the future.

New paper on Mesoscopic analysis of EB pottery from Safi

A new paper from the Safi project has appeared, spearheaded by Jon Ross from the University of Manitoba – a PhD student of Haskel Greenfield, and Safi team member for the last several years.

A copy of the proofs can be found here.

Here is the abstract:

In this paper, we propose an alternative analytical method for identifying vessel shaping techniques at the mesoscopic scale to complement current micro and macro methods in ceramic analysis. We demonstrate how this simple and low cost method permits clear and rapid identification of the signatures indicative of different pottery shaping techniques. The datasets that are generated using this method provide a new perspective on vessel structure for characterising neglected stages of the chaîne opératoire, with the analytical potential to shed further light on economic life, learning frameworks, and group identities. Material from the Early Bronze Age III of Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath, Israel are used to demonstrate the utility of the method on a site assemblage. We identify different combinations of coiling techniques used to make different vessel types and propose that potters are
specialising in the production of specific parts of the repertoire.

The full title is:

Ross, J., Fowler, K., Shai, I., Greenfield, H. J., and Maeir, A. M. 2018. A Scanning Method for the Identification of Pottery Forming Techniques at the Mesoscopic Scale: A Pilot Study in the Manufacture of Early Bronze Age III Holemouth Jars and Platters from Tell es-Safi/Gath. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 18: 551–61.

Conference on “Priests and Priesthood in the Near East” – TAU, March 19-21, 2018

The full schedule for the upcoming conference on “Priests and Priesthood in the Near East: Social, Intellectual and Economic Aspects” is available (HT Jack Sasson).

This very interesting meeting (at which I’m also giving a paper), will be held at Tel Aviv University on Monday-Wednesday, March 19th-21st, 2018.

Here is the schedule:

Priests and Priesthood in the Near East: Social, Intellectual and Economic Aspects
Tel Aviv University, 19 – 21 March 2018

Monday, March 19
Bnei Zion Hall, Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People
09:30 – 10:00 Gathering
10:00 – 10:15 Greetings and opening remarks

Opening Address: Recent Discoveries from Ur / Tell Muqayyar (10:15 – 11:00)
Priests of Ur in the Old Babylonian Period: A Reappraisal in the Light
of the Discoveries at Ur / Tell Muqayyar in 2017
Dominique Charpin (Collège de France)

Keynote Session I: Origins of Near Eastern Priesthood (11:00 – 12:30)
Close to the Ruler and to the Gods: The Cultic Duties of the Cupbearer
and the Role of Priestesses and Priests in Early Dynastic Mesopotamia
Walther Sallaberger (LMU, Munich)
Babylonian Priesthood during the Third Millennium BCE: Between Sacred
and Profane
Piotr Steinkeller (Harvard University)

12:30 – 14:00 Reception

Gilman Building, Room 282
Priestly Identity in Mesopotamian Art and Material Culture (14:00 – 15:00)
Fashioning the Priesthood’s Identities in 3rd Millennium Mesopotamia
Through Objects and Images
Christina Tsouparopoulou (Cambridge University)
Identity Through Appearance: Babylonian Priestly Clothing
Louise Quillien (EPHE, Paris)

Biblical Priests between Text and Context (15:00 – 16:00)
“The priests, the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no
part nor inheritance with Israel” (Deut 18:1): Is There Archaeological
Evidence of Priests and Priesthood in Iron Age Israel and Judah?
Aren Maeir (Bar Ilan University)
“Is there a Priest in the House?”: Identifying Jewish Priests
(Kohanim) in the Archaeology of Roman Judaea/Palaestina
Yonatan Adler (Ariel University)

16:00 – 16:30 Coffee Break

Keynote Session II: New Perspectives on Near Eastern Priesthood (16:30 – 18:00)
Priests in the City, Priests in the Kingdom: Discourse and Social
Change in the Babylonian Chronicles
Caroline Waerzeggers (Leiden University)
Near Eastern Priests: A Graeco-Roman perspective
Julietta Steinhauer (University College London)

Tuesday, March 20
Gilman Building, Room 496
Priesthood Identity in City-State and Empire (09:30 – 12:00)
Kings, Priests, and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Period
Shana Zaia (University of Helsinki)
In the Shadow of Oannes: Priesthood, Scholarship and Politics in
Hellenistic Babylonia
Kathryn Stevens (Durham University)

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee Break

The Two Wings of a Bird: Buddhism and the State in Early Medieval Japan
Mikael Adolphson (Cambridge University)
Altered by devotion (bhakti): Kings and Brahmins, Royal Courts and
Temples in Second Millennium South India
Ilanit Loewy-Schacham (Tel Aviv University)

12:00 – 13:30 Lunch Break

Social and Cultic Geographies (13:30 – 15:00)
Priests on the Move: Migrations of Priestly Families in First
Millennium Babylonia
Paul-Alain Beaulieu (University of Toronto)
Lower-ranking Priests: The Reed Workers from Borsippa
Kathleen Abraham (KU Leuven)
Geographies of Expertise and Entitlement: Brahman Priestly Migrations
in India Over the Longue Duree
Polly O’Hanlon (University of Oxford)

15:00 – 15:30 Coffee Break

Ethnic and Social Markers of Priesthood (15:30 – 16:30)
The Cults of Old Babylonian Susiana within its Socio-economic and
Ethno-linguistic Framework
Ran Zadok (Tel Aviv University)
Priests Associated with Hurrian Religious Beliefs and active in the
Hittite Kingdom
Stefano De Martino (University of Torino)

Wednesday, March 21
Gilman Building, Room 496
Choosing and Becoming a Priest (09:30 – 11:00)
Preconditions for the Priesthood in the Ancient Near East: A
Comparative Investigation
Jonathan Stökl (King’s College London)
The Economic, Social, and Religious Significance of Local Priests in
Hittite Anatolia
Michele Cammarosano (University of Würzburg)
“As a priest I offered to the goddess for myself”: The Hittite Kings as Priests
Amir Gilan (Tel Aviv University)

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee Break

Festival and Cultic Performance (11:30 – 13:00)
Priestly Colleges in North-Central Anatolia. Some Remarks on the
Tradition and Organization of Local Cults in the Second Millennium BCE
Piotr Taracha (University of Warsaw)
The Nissan Ceremony in Ezekiel in Light of the Akītu Festival
Tova Ganzel (Bar Ilan University)
The Role of the kalû-Priests in the Ancient Mesopotamian Temple Cult
Uri Gabbay (Hebrew University)

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch Break

Economy and Administration of the Cult (14:30 – 15:30)
Priests and Prebends in Old Babylonian Nippur
Wiebke Meinhold (University of Tübingen)
How to Run Your Neo-Babylonian Temple: A šatammu’s Guide
Yuval Levavi (Bar Ilan University)

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee Break

Concluding Session (16:00 – 17:00)
The Urukean Priesthood Between City and State Religion
Michael Jursa (University of Vienna) & Shai Gordin (Ariel University /
Tel Aviv University)
In Lieu of a Conclusion: Results and Open Questions
Michael Jursa (University of Vienna)

Review of Brian Janeway’s book

My review of Brian Janeway’s very nice volume on the Aegean-style early Iron Age pottery from Tell Tayinat, in the Amuq Valley in southern Turkey, has just appeared.

While dealing with a site quite to the north of Tell es-Safi/Gath specifically and Philistia in general, the Aegean style pottery from Tayinat has generated a lot of interest due to the possible connections with the Philistine material culture and the dynamics of its appearance.

See here a link to read it.

The full title is:

Maeir, A. M. 2018. Review of Janeway, B. 2016. Sea Peoples of the Northern Levant? Aegean-Style Pottery from Early Iron Age Tell Tayinat. Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant 7. Harvard Semitic Museum: Cambridge, MA. Review of Biblical Literature 2018/02.