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

New volume on Iron Age archaeology of the Shephelah in press

Eisenbrauns has put up on its website the pre-publication announcement for a new volume edited by Oded Lipschits (TAU) and Aren Maeir (BIU) that deals with recent archaeological excavations and studies in the Shephelah. The volume is based on a session that was held at the World Congress of Jewish Studies in 2013, and includes most of the papers from that double session and a few additional papers. What is nice about this volume is that it enables a very broad view of the rich and varied archaeological research being conducted in the Shephelah in recent years. In fact, almost all the project directors excavating Iron Age remains in the Shephelah agreed to submit papers!

The volume should be out in December 2016, but can be ordered now. Jim Eisenbrauns has promised that a pre-publication copy will be available for viewing at the upcoming ASOR meeting in San Antonio, in November.

The full title is:

Lipschits, O. and Maeir, A. M. eds. In press. The Shephelah during the Iron Age: Recent Archaeological Studies. Eisenbrauns: Winona Lake, IN.

Here is the publication blurb:

The area of the Judean Foothills – the biblical Shephelah – has in recent years become one of the most intensively excavated regions in the world. Numerous projects, at sites of different types and utilizing various methodological approaches, are actively excavating in this region. Of particular importance are the discoveries dating to the Iron Age, a period when this region was a transition zone between various cultures—Philistine, Canaanite, Judahite, and Israelite. The current volume includes reports from eight of the excavations currently being conducted in the region (Azekah, Beth Shemesh, Gezer, Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tel Burna, Tel Halif, Tell es-Safi/Gath, and Tel Zayit), as well as a general study of the region by Ido Koch. The importance of this volume lies not only in the fact that it collects up-to-date reports on most of the current excavations in the region but also demonstrates the lively, at times even boisterous, scholarly discussions taking place on various issues relating to the archaeology and history of the Iron Age Shephelah and its immediate environs. This volume serves as an excellent introduction to current research on the Iron Age in this crucial zone and also serves as a reflection of current trends, methodologies, and approaches in the archaeology of the Southern Levant.

Lemba and Edgar Peltenberg

I visited the Chalcolithic site of Lemba today – both the site and the experimental village. Very interesting site – even if it is from the Protohistoric periods (:-).

In light of the fact that Prof. Edgar Peltenburg, excavator of this site, passed away last week, it was a nice way to pay tribute to one of the more important near eastern archaeologists of this generation. May he rest in peace!


Maa Paleokastro

Today I had a chance to visit the very interesting site of Maa Paleokastro in NW Cyprus. This is an important LC III site, connected to the changes seen in the eastern Mediterranean in the transition between the 13th and 12th cent. BCE. It is often suggested that this is a site connected to the initial Mycenaean colonization of Cyprus at the time and connected to the Sea Peoples phenomenon (although other suggestions have been raised as well). It is particular interesting to me in the context of understanding the Philistine phenomenon, and more so regarding our recent papers (with Louise Hitchcock) on the role of piracy among the Sea Peoples and Philistines. In any case, it was nice to visit a site that I had dealt with extensively for many years.

Here are some pictures – including some modern pirate ships (:-)

New article on the importance of the donkey in the Early Bronze Age!

It’s nice to report yet another article resulting from the joint efforts of several members of the Tell es-Safi/Gath team (see here a link to the full version).

The article, by Itzik Shai, Shirab Albaz, Annie Brown, Haskel Greenfield and Aren Maeir, deals with the importance of the donkey in the Early Bronze Age Levant, based on the finds from Tell es-Safi/Gath and other sites.

Here is the abstract:

In this paper, we review the evidence for the use of the domestic donkey as a mode of transportation in the Early Bronze Age. The study will present the domestic donkey remains (artefactual and zoological) and their archaeological context from the Early Bronze Age III domestic neighborhood at Tell es-Safi/ Gath. The remains indicate the significant role that donkeys played in the daily life of the inhabitants. This reflects on our understanding of their role in the trade networks and mode of transportation that existed within the emerging urban cultures in the southern Levant during the 3rd mill. B.C.E.

The full reference is:

Shai, et al. 2016. The importance of the donkey as a pack animal in the Early Bronze Age southern Levant: A view from Tell es-Safi/Gath. ZDPV 132: 1-25.