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The period for the designs submission of paper abstracts is from January 15th – February 15th, 2018.

ASOR-Sponsored Sessions

Member-Organized Sessions and Workshops for the 2018 Annual Meeting

Descriptions of Sessions & Workshops

ASOR-Sponsored Sessions

Ancient Inscriptions: Recent Discoveries, New Editions, New Readings

Session Chairs:, Strasbourg/University of France;, Tel Aviv University

Description: The focus of this session is epigraphic material from the Near East and Wider Mediterranean. Paper proposals that consist of new readings (of previously published inscriptions) or constitute preliminary presentations of new epigraphic discoveries are of special interest.

Approaches to Dress and the Body

Session Chair
:, Manhattanville College

Description: Traces of practices relating to dress and the body are present in many ways in the archaeological, textual and visual records of the ancient world, from the physical remains of dressed bodies, to images depicting them, to texts describing such aspects as textile production and sumptuary customs. Previous scholarship has provided useful typological frameworks but has often viewed these objects as static rappings of status and gender. The goal of this session is to lluminate the dynamic role of dress and the body in the performance and construction of aspects of individual and social identity, and to encourage collaborative dialogue within the study of dress and the body in antiquity.

Archaeology and Biblical Studies

Session Chair:, Gratz College

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


Archaeology and History of Feasting and Foodways

Session Chairs:
, Albright Institute of Archaeological Research,, Baylor University, and, Grand Valley State University

The Archaeology and History of Food and Feasting session addresses the production, distribution, and consumption of food and drink. Insofar as foodways touch upon almost every aspect of the human experience—from agricultural technology, to economy and trade, to nutrition and cuisine, to the function of the household and its members, to religious acts of eating and worship—we welcome submissions from diverse perspectives and from the full spectrum of our field’s geography and chronology.

Archaeology of Anatolia

Session Chair: University of Nevada – Las Vegas

Description: 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?

Archaeology of Arabia

Session Chairs
:, University of Wisconsin-Madison;, Florida State University

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.

Archaeology of the Black Sea and the Caucasus

Session Chairs:, University of Michigan;, University of Chicago

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

Archaeology of the Byzantine Near East – Cancelled for 2018

Session Chair:, Northwestern University

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

Archaeology of Cyprus

Session Chair:, Arizona State University

Description: 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.

Archaeology of Egypt – Cancelled for 2018

Session Chairs: , Brigham Young University

Description: This session is open to research on all areas related to the archaeology of Egypt, including current and past fieldwork, material culture, textual sources, religious or social aspects, international relations, art, and history.

Archaeology of Iran

Session Chairs:, University of Pennsylvania;, Harvard University

Description: This session explores the archaeology of Iran.

Archaeology of Islamic Society

Session Chair:, Bridgewater State University

Description: This session explores the archaeology of Islamic society.

Archaeology of Israel

Session Chair:, University of Michigan

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

Archaeology of Jordan

Session Chairs:, Sapienza Università di Roma; and, Queen’s University

Description: 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.

Archaeology of Lebanon

Session Chair:, ASOR

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

Archaeology of Mesopotamia

Session Chair:, University of Pennsylvania

Description: 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.

Archaeology of the Near East: Bronze and Iron Ages

Session Chair:, University of Kansas

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

Archaeology of the Near East: The Classical Periods

Session Chair: , Bridgewater State University

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

Archaeology of Arabia

Session Chair:, Johns Hopkins University;, Brynn Mawr

Description: 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.

Archaeology of the Southern Levant

Session Chair: , North Central Michigan College;, Capital University

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

Archaeology of Syria

Session Chair:, University of Toronto

Description: 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.

Art Historical Approaches to the Near East

Session Chairs: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville;, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

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

Bioarchaeology in the Near East

Session Chair:, University of South Alabama

Description: 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.

Cultural Heritage Management: Methods, Practices, and Case Studies

Session Chairs: , American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR); , Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan

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

Environmental Archaeology of the Ancient Near East
Note: When submitting an abstract online for this session, select the session titled “Archaeology of the Natural Environment: Archaeobotany and Zooarchaeology in the Near East”

Session Chairs:, Miami University; , University of Connecticut

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

Gender in the Ancient Near East

Session Chairs:, Southern Methodist University

Description: 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.

GIS and Remote Sensing in Archaeology

Session Chair:, University of Central Florida

Description: 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.

History of Archaeology

Session Chair:, University of Lethbridge

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

Landscapes of Settlement in the Ancient Near East

Session Chairs
:, Dartmouth College; University of Pennsylvania

Description: This session brings together scholars investigating regional-scale problems of settlement history and archaeological landscapes across the ancient Near East.  Research presented in the session is linked methodologically through the use of regional survey, remote sensing, and environmental studies to document ancient settlements, communication routes, field systems and other evidence of human activity that is inscribed in the landscape.  Session participants are especially encouraged to offer analyses of these regional archaeological data that explore political, economic, and cultural aspects of ancient settlement systems as well as their dynamic interaction with the natural environment.

Maritime Archaeology

Session Chair:, Loyola Marymount University

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

Prehistoric Archaeology  – Cancelled for 2018

Session Chair:, University of Chicago

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

Reports on Current Excavations – ASOR Affiliated

Session Chair:, ACOR

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

Reports on Current Excavations – Non-ASOR Affiliated

Session Chair:, Elon University

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

Technology in Archaeology: Recent work in the Archaeological Sciences

Session Chairs:, Brandeis University

Description: This session welcomes papers that examine the issue of technology in archaeology.
Theoretical and Anthropological Approaches to the Near East

Session Chairs:, Wake Forest University;, California State University Fullerton

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

Member-Organized Sessions

ACOR at 50: A Retrospective and Prospective for the American Center of Oriental Research
Session Chair:, North Carolina State University

Description: ACOR turns 50 years old in 2018. Thus is seems appropriate to present session that both reviews in a critical fashion the institute’s history and looks ahead to the future as it faces a myriad of challenges in a rapidly changing region.

Ambiguity in the Ancient Near East: In-Between Spaces and Otherworldly Encounters

Session Chairs:, Syracuse University;, New York University
Description: This section is a continuation from the 2017 Ambiguity in the Ancient Near session, which explored ambiguity as a fruitful strategy of signification across Ancient Near Eastern cultures. This year, we invite papers that focus on conceptualizations of and communications across boundary spaces. Often, our own senses of classification and reasoning confound our interpretation of the ancient evidence because ancient categories themselves can be fluid. We invite presenters to identify ambiguity in the historical record and then go on to discuss its affect on ANE art, religion, epistemology, politics, or culture in general.
Papers on in-between spaces could examine, for example, notions of boundaries or the treatment of peripheral zones in ancient verses modern scholarship; personifications or representations of space that are both familiar and strange; or the possible logic behind inexact or fantastical maps. Papers on otherworldly encounters could examine, for example, the practices of astronomy, divination, and necromancy; modes through which contact with the dead or the divine could be sought and/or maintained; or the certainty of messages from above and below. We welcome papers that are based upon archaeological, written, or visual evidence.

Antioch – A Legacy Excavation and its Aftermath

Session Chairs:, Florida State University;, Princeton University

Description: In the 1930s the Antioch excavations conducted by Princeton University and other institutions produced a remarkable wealth of finds that opened up new vistas onto a city that played a fundamental role in the shaping of politics and cultures in the eastern Mediterranean for more than a millennium. Although most of the monuments that this enterprise had targeted were missed, its cumulative -and complicated- archaeological record still entices throngs of scholars. Pavements, sculpture, coins -these are but some of the ephemera that have long attracted attention and, despite their often fortuitous character, still enable the writing of new, fascinating narratives about Antioch.
Today, most of the finds and records are housed at the Princeton University Art Museum and are only partially documented by the three volumes of post-war publications. In re-examining these collections and their cultural context the “New Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and its Vicinity” makes it now possible to further our understanding of the city’s evolution and transformative qualities. The 2017 speakers will illustrate these momentums in research by bringing to the fore various aspects of Antiochene material culture and topography.

Application of Geoarchaeological Research Methods to Near Eastern Archaeology (Workshop)

Session Chairs:, University of Tennessee and, University of Lethbridge

Description: Geoarchaeology has long been a component of Near Eastern archaeological research programs. Recent innovations in geoscientific techniques and sample collection strategies have greatly increased the variety of information available through geoarchaeological studies. Geoarchaeology complements other multi-disciplinary archaeological specialties such as paleobotany, isotope analysis, faunal analysis, and archaeo-geophysics. However, of these specialties, geoarchaeology seems the least accessible to the general archaeological community. With continued interest in environmental reconstruction, landscape analysis, environmental archaeology, and political ecology, the methods and techniques of geoarchaeology have much to offer Near Eastern archaeological research programs. The primary objective of this workshop is to increase the accessibility and applicability of geoarchaeological studies to Near Eastern archaeologists. The session will be conducted as a round table discussion open to all interested in the application of geoscientiAc techniques to the archaeological record. Since inter-disciplinary research strategies will play a role in much of the discussion, archaeological specialists are encouraged to attend.


The Archaeology of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Session Chair:, Harvard University

Description: This session highlights research on all aspects of history and archaeology focused on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and adjacent areas.

Archaeology of the Near East and Video Games

Session Chair:, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Description: For centuries, the written word was the preferred medium for transferring archaeological academic knowledge to the broader public. With the advent of modern communication technology like radio, TV, and the internet the possibilities to interact with the audience were broadened. Video-games have since the 1980’s been a part of this new wave of telecommunication, but they remain underrepresented as a Aeld of study in academic scholarship. In this session, we aim to correct this by offering a multidisciplinary discussion of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of archaeology and video gaming. Archaeogaming, as it is often called, is a systematizing framework that includes the use of archaeological methods within game worlds, the creation of video-games for, or about, archaeological practices, or the critical study of how archaeology is represented in video-games. Themes can include using archaeological tools and methods to conduct archaeological investigations into synthetic worlds, exploring heritage through play, and the use and ethics of virtual reality in digital spaces. In this session, we aim to present a diverse array of topics that sit on the intersection of the archaeology of the Near East and video games, opening up debate on the multifunctionality of this medium for research, education and heritage management.

Beyond Language: The Multimodality of Ancient Texts

Session Chairs:, University of Wisconsin-Madison;, George Fox University

Description: This session explores new readings of texts from the ancient Near East and Mediterranean, up through Late Antiquity. We welcome studies that examine how written artifacts not only functioned as communication and record, but also reflected, developed, and actively shaped social contexts through their material instantiations. Papers that investigate interdisciplinary methodologies for their approach to the multimodality of text will be prioritized, so that the session engages with theory ranging from sociolinguistics, literacy studies, art history, visual design, spatial theory, and more. This session purposes to critically vet fresh approaches to the study of ancient literacies and visual communication. A more immediate and field-specific goal is to widen scholarly perceptions of the audiences of texts in the ancient world who were beyond the realm of scribes and political elites.

Career Options for ASOR Members: The Academy and Beyond

Session Chairs:, Dartmouth and, California State University Fullerton

Description: Applicants for tenure-track positions at universities and colleges confront diminished demand for faculty.  Increasingly junior scholars are forced to look for adjunct or temporary appointments and face the possibility of no appointment at all.  This three-year session aims to provide insights into alternative careers for both the next generation of ASOR scholars and those interested in a career change.  Each year one or two panels of four to six scholars who developed careers outside the academy will discuss their careers, answering fundamental questions in 15- to 20-minute presentations.  How did they discover the job opportunities that became a meaningful career?  Did they begin in the academy and leverage that experience to gain access to a different career or were they able to move from graduate school into this work?  How important, if at all, was a post-doc in the choices they had?  How long did it take to get into the position where they have spent most of their professional lives?  What additional training did they need? Have they been able to continue their research and/or excavation projects: that is, what was the overall impact of the career choice on their scholarship?  Sessions will include time for questions and discussion.

Change and Continuity in the Seventh Century Near East

Session Chairs:, Durham University;, Brown University

Description: The nature and extent of the changes caused by the emergence and expansion of Islam in the mid-7th century C.E. continue to generate considerable debate. Due to the nature of the evidence this transitional period has most often been examined in light of broad political, administrative or economic shifts, with increasing emphasis being placed on regional variation and environmental stressors. Yet there are the beginnings of significant cultural transformations occurring during this period as well, and signs of transition at this scale have recently been the focus of much work despite practical and
methodological barriers. The proposed 3-year session attempts to place a renewed emphasis on change and continuity in daily life through this turbulent period asdemonstrated by architecture, art, and material culture. Over three years, the session will examine material practice (2018), changes in the urban and rural environment (2019) and mortuary and zooarchaeological approaches (2020). These sessions provide an opportunity for contributors to explore topics related to daily activity, belief, and interaction among elites and non-elites alike in or around the 7th century.

Creative Pedagogies for Teaching the Ancient Near East and Egypt

Session Chairs:, Colby College;, Wofford College
Description: As enrollments in the humanities continue to drop and students demand ever more immersive class experiences, faculty teaching the Ancient Near East in departments from Art History to Religious Studies to Anthropology are finding themselves looking to more creative pedagogical tools and methods to improve student experience and encourage continued engagement with the study of the ancient world. These pedagogies can range from increasing use of digital tools to semester-long collaborations with faculty in other disciplines and often result in highly successful hybrid class structures. This session invites papers that detail the frameworks and considerations involved in undertaking non- traditional pedagogical approaches to the study of the Ancient Near East. Papers may address the opportunities and challenges of these approaches, the difficulties of learning and introducing new technologies or of working with colleagues outside the field, or the outcomes of experimental work done in the classroom.

Death and Dying in the Ancient Near East

Session Chairs:, University of Washington;, Brown University
Description: Mortuary archaeology has often been hindered by culture-historical approaches that see a direct correlation between burial objects and the identity or social status of the deceased. This session aims to challenge such perceptions. Past ASOR papers presented on the archaeology of death and burial have proven the necessity for a session to continue conversations on understanding diverse reactions to death beyond equating burial objects with social complexity. We would like to invite papers that make use of mortuary data to answer questions about practices of death and dying in the ancient Near East, including change and continuity in mortuary objects and rituals, the use and reuse of burial spaces, and expressions of social memory, especially in periods that are under-represented in the study of ancient Near East.

Developing Isotopic Investigations in the Ancient Near East and Caucasus

Session Chairs:, Independent Researcher and, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Description: In recent years, biogeochemical isotopic analysis has gained pace in the archaeology of the Near East and Caucasus, now embracing a holistic understanding of human ecology. Having focused on Environment and Mobility in 2016, our sessions will continue to provide a collegial, interactive platform for ongoing biogeochemical investigations in the region in 2017 and 2018. The key objective is to keep up with the pace of methodological advances when addressing region-specific challenges in research design.

Digital Archaeology and History
Session Chair:, University of Central Florida

Description: This session is envisioned as a home for studies that focus on how digital technologies contribute to the project of studying the human past in the ancient Near East. Research presented in this session might engage with applications such as 3-D modelling, social network analysis, GIS (also: narrative and participatory models), virtual reality reconstructions, computer simulations, games and gaming, digital storytelling, open-source platforms, publicly-engaged digital projects etc. The ultimate goal of the session is to engage in an interdisciplinary dialog about how digitally-engaged practice improves scholarship.

Encoding Data for Digital Discovery

Session Chairs:, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) Research University;, St. John’s University

Description: Data encoding entails an analog-to-digital conversion in which the characteristics of an object, text, image, or archaeological site can be represented in a specialized format for computer handling. Once encoded, data can be stored, sorted, and analyzed through a variety of computer-based techniques ranging from specialized data-mining algorithms to user-friendly mobile apps. Especially when using linked open data, researchers around the world can collaborate on the collection, encoding, and analysis of data. A single encoded corpus could be analyzed concurrently by multiple projects, and encoded data can be linked across corpuses to facilitate broader, potentially interdisciplinary, studies.
This three-year session offers a venue for the presentation of methodologies, projects, and discoveries based on encoding or encoded data. We describe and demonstrate a wide spectrum of research that will include studies of stratigraphy, object typologies, provenance, cultural heritage, epigraphy, e-philology, and prosopography. Ultimately we will show the value of cyber-research as a powerful resource for revealing otherwise imperceptible information about ancient Near Eastern time. We welcome art historians, historians, epigraphers, philologists, anthropologists, and archaeologists, including prehistorians, Bible scholars, Hittitologists, Egyptologists, Aegeanists, and Byzantinists. This session will inspire new networks and designs for digital collaboration.

The History of the Early Alphabet – Cancelled for 2018

Session Chairs:, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem;, University of British Columbia

Description: In the past decade, the study of the early history of the alphabet has gained new momentum.
On the one hand, the discovery of alphabetic inscriptions in Wadi el-Hol and certain hieratic inscriptions from Egypt may testify to a surprising knowledge of early alphabet orders as early as 18th Dynasty Egypt. This opens a new vista for the understanding of the possible role of Egypt in the early phases of alphabet development and formulation.
At the same time, new research has appeared aimed at reconstructing the process of invention itself—with the Egyptian scripts serving as the inventors’ palette. Naturally, this research and its results bear directly on the question of the roles of Egypt, Sinai, and Canaan in the invention of the alphabet, as well as its later development and dissemination.

The next step forward in the study of the alphabet’s history is an analysis of the astounding success of the early linear alphabet on the cultural marketplaces of the Ancient Near East and Europe during the 2nd and 1st millennia B.C.E.

Houses and Households in the Near East: Archaeology & History

Session Chairs:, CNRS, Collège de France, Paris; , Pacific School of Religion; , SUNY Cortland
Description: Recent studies have foregrounded the importance of the house and household in multiple periods and over varied regions of the Near East and North Africa.  Various methods have been employed including household archaeology and textual studies, viewed through frameworks of anthropological and social theories.  This session aims to continue the conversation between varied sub-disciplines and regions by highlighting the structural, social, and ritual data and interpretations from domestic settings. Themes are not limited, but may include culture, economy, gender, ethnicity, and religion taking a bottom-up approach to understanding the ancient world.  Varied methodologies, including household archaeology, domestic micro-archaeology, 3-D reconstructions, etc. welcome.

The Huqoq Excavation Project
Session Chair:, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Description: We aim to bring to ASOR members the latest information about our discoveries in the ongoing Huqoq excavations. This will be an update from a session we held at the 2016 Annual Meeting.

Interrogating Cultural Change – Punctuated Equilibria Models in Near Eastern Archaeology and Egyptology

Session Chairs:, Charles University, Czech Institute of Egyptology; Thomas E. Levy, University of California, San Diego
Description: The principal aim of these two sections is to reconsider the anatomy and tempo of culture change as reflected through transdisciplinary research that focuses on archaeological, historical and environmental data. The most recent research on complex societies in the Near East and Ancient Egypt indicates that critically important changes repeatedly swept the cultural historical stage in a leap-like manner across time and space. To understand and explain their nature and individual processes that led to their origin and evolution, the punctuated equilibria concept originally developed by Harvard natural scientists Steven J. Gould and Niels Eldridge is examined.

Israel’s Exodus in Archaeology, Egyptology, History, and Geoscience – Cancelled for 2018

Session Chairs:, La Sierra University;, University of British Columbia;, Archaeological Research Group

Description: This is the 3rd annual Exodus Session at ASOR and is a follow-up panel to the groundbreaking Exodus conference held at the University of California, San Diego, in 2013, which brought together 60 international scholars in a dozen disciplines and set new standards in transdisciplinary investigations. The proceedings of the UCSD conference were published in 2015 (Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective, Springer Nature).
Past Exodus Sessions have attracted considerable interest in the ASOR Annual Meetings. The papers have explored new scientific and linguistic approaches to the topic, presented new archaeological evidence, challenged dating methods applied to the Exodus, and discussed the later reception of the Exodus theme. Presenters have engaged directly with many of the debates raised in the 2015 volume.

The session evaluates the historicity and cultural motifs of the Biblical Exodus narrative and their socio-cultural relevance in the first and second millennia B.C.E. The emphasis is on advancing research and potentials for future research.

The Life Cycle of Archaeological and Philological Research Data in OCHRE

Session Chair:, University of Chicago

Description: Archaeology and philology projects create massive amounts of data, sometimes without a clear plan for how to manage it. As we continue to adopt a range of digital tools for data capture, analysis, and publication, we only create new challenges for data management in these fields. Too often data remains inaccessible, incompatible, and incorrigible on many levels, thwarting even the best efforts of collaborative projects to share and manage ever-growing datasets.
There are of course many valid approaches to solving this problem. Through the presentation of case studies by project teams which use the integrative database platform, the Online Cultural and Historical Research Environment (OCHRE), this session will illustrate the value of a common platform for all stages of the research data life cycle: acquisition, integration, analysis, and publication/archiving. Each of these active research projects will target just one of these stages, and while providing updates on their own research, together they will demonstrate the wide applicability of a sufficiently generic, yet comprehensive, database system for research data management.

Materializing Emotion in Mesopotamia

Session Chairs:, Auburn University;, University of Michigan

Description: This interdisciplinary session (for the Committee on Mesopotamian Civilizations) explores the emerging and significant topic of emotion in Mesopotamia. It recognizes (1) that the nascent study of emotion in Mesopotamia specifically, and the ancient Near East more generally, is a fruitful pursuit, with very rich and compelling source material on which to draw; (2) that study of materialization of emotions is necessarily a multipronged pursuit, not only examining pictorial and verbal imagery but also drawing on extensive and thorough analyses of philological and archaeological data; (3) that the nuances of emotional states and the complexity of emotional responses, with different emotions frequently entangled or overlapping, often emerge or are even produced by bodily or physical states and action; and (4) that the emotions expressed or recognized by the ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia, though not identical in boundary, perception, or manifestation to our own, are yet accessible and, more importantly, comprehensible to us. It convenes a panel of scholars drawing on art historical, archaeological, and philological approaches to advance our understanding of the materialization and evocation of emotion in Mesopotamia.

Meeting the Expenses: Ancient Near Eastern Economies – Cancelled for 2018

Session Chairs: , University of Helsinki (CSTT);, Copenhagen University

Description: The topic of the session is the economies of the Ancient Near East, moving beyond the  dichotomy between “ancient” and “modern” economy. Planned for two-three years, the sessions will include papers based on written as well as archaeological evidence relating to different ANE cultures/societies, mainly of the Bronze and Iron Ages. The session is open to lectures on economic modes of exchanges (barter, bullion, the transition to coinage); systems of measures and of defining value; wealth deposits (hoards); dynamics of prices and salaries; markets; and trade and traders.
Each year we will focus on a certain subject, though additional lectures (as long as they relate to ANE economies) are welcomed.
2017: Measuring value: hoards and systems of weight
2018: Markets and traders
2019: Prices, salaries, and the transition to coinage

The Megiddo Excavations: New Studies Reflecting on the Archaeology and History of Ancient Israel and Beyond
Session Chair:, W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research

Description: This session will feature papers concerning the ongoing excavations at Tel Megiddo andrelated research. Specifically, papers will focus on results of research impacting Bronze and Iron Age history and archaeology using new data from the current excavations.

Object, Text, and Image: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Seals, Sealing Practices, and Administration

Session Chairs:, Wagner College;, Northwestern University

Description: Papers in the Object, Text, and Image: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Seals, Sealing Practices, and Administration session at the 2016 and 2017 meetings considered glyptic materials through methodologies of practice, function, regional variation, audience, gender, iconography, and materiality. In all of the contributions, authors relied on analysis of both text and image. In the 2018 session we look to build upon two aspects of engagement that have been particularly fruitful in these past sessions. Building on and pushing past the tradition of text and image studies, we want to examine the specificity of the relationship between image and text. In other words, do these objects use text and image, text in image, or text on image; to what extent is the text/image
binary ambiguous; to what extent is the text or image present? Second, we aim to explore how the glyptic material world addresses the concept of identity. Papers may approach the question of identity from any perspective, including but not limited to gender, office, region, ethnicity, body, personhood, and/or profession; papers may also question if identity relates to glyptic material. We seek papers that explore these questions of text/image and identity through the status of seals and sealings as objects; to what extent does the artifact’s object hood speak to these modes of inquiry?

Papers in Honor of Professor Oded Borowski: A Celebration of the Publication of a Festschrift in His Honor

Session Chairs:, Project TABS – TheTorah.com;, William Jessup University;, Emory University

Description: We are pleased to present a festschrift to our esteemed teacher and colleague Oded Borowski, who is retiring from Emory University this year. Professor Borowski has contributed significantly to the field in a variety of ways; however, his books Agriculture in Iron Age Israel and Every Living Thing: Daily Use of Animals in Ancient Israel are considered by many to be essential works in the study of daily life in ancient Israel. The goal of the volume and session is to offer an overview of 8th century Judah – one of the main areas of concentration during Oded’s career. Select authors will reflect on some of their key findings from new material that covers a wide spectrum of topics, from material culture to political life, to biblical literature. In this session we wish to celebrate and honor Oded and his significant contributions to our understanding of ancient Israel.

Performance and the Body in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean

Session Chairs:, Brown University;, Brown University

Description: The concept of the body has recently begun to gain popularity in Near Eastern and Mediterranean archaeology, particularly in regards to the embodied relationships and interactions between human bodies and objects. However, the performative power of the body, as an embodied actor in social and material contexts, has yet to be more fully explored. This session aims to address how the performative body, both living and dead, can be examined through the archaeological record.

We would like to invite papers that make use of material, art historical, and textual approaches to examine the interrelationships between the body and performative practices, incorporating the role of gesture, ritualized and ceremonial behavior, and materiality of performance. Papers that use holistic, theoretical, and interdisciplinary approaches are especially encouraged, so as to flesh out the relevance of this topic for the wider discourses on the agency of people and objects.

Power and Memory: The Transformation of Communities in the Roman Near East from Classical to Late Antiquity (Papers Honoring Kenneth G. Holum)

Session Chairs:, The College at Brockport, SUNY;, The George Washington University

Description: This session is in honor of the late Professor Kenneth Holum (University of Maryland) who was a historian, archaeologist and longtime member of ASOR. In this session we aim to combine his interests by examining the complex nature of community transformation in the Near East from the Classical through Late Antique periods. The provincial history of Roman Judaea (later Syria Palaestina) and Arabia is a complex one marked by the continuation of the process of Romanization that former client kings under Augustus (e.g. Herod and Aretas IV) once sponsored. But rather than any coordinated plan, local elites stepped forward and projected onto their cities their own visions of what being a dutiful and loyal subject was under Roman dominion. The transformations that characterized late antiquity triggered from a number of interrelated factors, which included economic impoverishment, political instability, the militarization of society, Christianization, and ruralization, which was accompanied by urban decline. Every community in the Roman Near East was affected. While causes are more complicated than mapping the effects on late antique society, what we know for certain is that the cultural landscape in late antiquity was remarkably different from that of classical antiquity.

Recent Fieldwork Related to Iron Age II on Jordan’s Karak Plateau

Session Chair:, Johnson University

Description: Karak Resources Project (KRP) completed its seventh season of fieldwork in 2014, and the team is moving data and interpretation toward final publication. In its long-term study of central Jordan, KRP conducted field research on three fronts: (1) excavation at the Iron Age II fort of Khirbat al-Mudaybic (KAM); (2) regional archaeological survey; and (3) multidisciplinary regional studies. Because of its gate plan and proto-aeolic/volute capitals and the importance of its Iron Age IIB pottery assemblage, KAM is pivotal for understanding a region where few specifics regarding Iron Age history have emerged. The proposed session would provide opportunity to report on significant conclusions about this Iron IIB fort and its historical-environmental contexts. KRP included 125 participants from 35 different institutions in six countries. The chair will invite additional KRP staff members to present evidence from this excavation and survey that bears upon the site’s occupational history and function. Members of this CAP-affiliated project have made a number of presentations in various sessions during regional and national ASOR meetings, but we can now offer a more focused perspective from multiple seasons of fieldwork.  This session relates to Jordan, Iron Age, and regional studies.

Religious Interactions in the Medieval Near East

Session Chairs:, Wilfrid Laurier University;, The City University of New York

Description: Too often medieval history and archaeology are approached as if different cultural and religious groups functioned in a vacuum. However, as recent important publications have shown (Amirav and Celia (ed.), New Themes, New Styles in the Eastern Mediterranean: Christian, Jewish, and Islamic encounters, 5th-8th centuries, 2017; Eger, The Islamic-Byzantine Frontier: Interaction and Exchange Among Muslim and Christian Communities, 2015; Griffith, The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam, 2010; Snelders, Identity and Christian-Muslim Interaction. Medieval Art of the Syrian Orthodox from the Mosul Area, 2009), there is much to be learned about the interaction between groups. Jews, Christians, and Muslims shared and contested sacred spaces; negotiated domestic arrangements in urban settings; and influenced art and culture. This session will present topics that illustrate the interaction between these groups, highlighting the fact that these negotiations of space and culture had a significant impact on the developing medieval world. In 2018 we will focus on discussions of pilgrimage. The ultimate goal of this panel is to provide a nuanced understanding of how Jews, Christians, and Muslims interacted with one another, a particularly important topic given the current political climate.

Rural Pasts: Complexity and Variation Beyond the City

Session Chairs:, University of Chicago;, Cornell University

Description: This session seeks contributions from scholars with interdisciplinary backgrounds with the aim to discuss current theories, methodologies, and limitations that pertain to the rural archaeology of the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean, as well as to explore the shifting definitions and complexities of “rural” and “ruralism” in various areas of specialization. We invite speakers to provide syntheses or detailed case studies on topics such as rural economies and agropastoral practices through written, material, ethnographic, and environmental (floral/faunal) sources, recent methods in the identification of rural landscapes (survey, remote sensing), and new theoretical directions that generate innovative approaches to agency, power, and complexity in rural populations.

This session aims to deviate from traditional urban vs. rural narratives and participants are especially encouraged to link their evidence with social and economic theory, to analyze the possibilities of interdisciplinary approaches, as well as to discuss the broader implications of their contribution to the discipline.

Senses and Sensibility in the Near East

Session Chair:, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

Description: Contributions to the Senses and Sensibility in the Near East sessions in 2016 and 2017 took a multiplicity of theoretical and methodological approaches in their exploration of senses and sense-making related to objects, spaces, and practices in the Near East, in order to bring to light culturally meaningful sensory experience and modes of representation, reception, perception, and interaction, as well as social and political dynamics of past worlds and human encounters.

Specifically in 2017, papers emphasized aspects of intentionality in sensory experience. The goal of the 2018 session is to focus on the impact and affect of particular spheres of activity and the unique and meaningful affordances they offer. Papers will consider how built environments and surrounding space act as fundamental contributors to sensory landscapes and experience in the ancient world.

Study of Violence from the Region of the Ancient Near East and Its Neighbors

Session Chairs:, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) Research University;, Wake Forest University

Description: Violence is a common motif that appears throughout the well-studied narrative and historical texts and images from the region of the ancient Near East and its neighbors, from Prehistory to Late Antiquity. Although depicted in both divine and human realms (e.g. Enuma Elish, Stele of Vultures, Chronicles, Battle of Qadesh, Baʿlu Cycle, Torah, Josephus), violence, whether physical or psychological (e.g. interpersonal, corporate, or structural), has been insufficiently studied from the perspectives of intention, motivation and legacy. During this three-year session, we will investigate the topic of violence through different methodological frameworks: (1) in 2017, the anthropology and hermeneutics of text and image analysis, (2) in 2018, the intentions (voluntary or not) and motivations of the authors in their use of violence as part of the narrative arc, and (3) in 2019, the philosophy of a contextualized violence (its social, moral and political questions) based on the understanding of text as well as image. We welcome abstracts from art historians, philologists, historians, anthropologists, and scholars interested in extending their analysis of violence beyond the bounds of traditional text-oriented approaches and determinism. We envision an interdisciplinary session attracting papers from Prehistorians, Assyriologists, Bible scholars, Hittitologists, Egyptologists, Aegeanists, and Byzantinists alike.

Talking About: How to Make Fieldwork Safe from Gender-based Violence, Harassment, and Discrimination (Workshop)

Session Chair:, University of Arizona

Description: The ASOR Initiative on the Status of Women workshop is designed to continue the conversation about how to how to make fieldwork safe from gender-based violence, harassment and discrimination. The workshop will include several short presentations by excavation directors and senior staff members, who will discuss their experiences, and the ways in which they endeavor to improve gender-based safety at their digs. Topics will include establishing best practices, meeting U.S. Title IX requirements (whenapplicable), ensuring safety in foreign countries, and, what works and what doesn’t.

Their presentations will be followed by an open-mic session, during which attendees are invited to contribute their thoughts and concerns regarding this critically important matter. The focus will be on opening conversations, sharing ideas, and considering solutions to problems shared by many of us. Toward that goal, the workshop will steer clear of detailed personal narratives, public accusations, and the like.

Technological Interconnectivity in the Ancient Near East

Session Chair:, Stony Brook University and Suffolk County Community College

Description: Technological innovation has the potential to initiate revolutionary social and economic transformation (e.g. the Neolithic, Secondary Product, and Urban Revolutions). In a recent book, Adams (1997) argues that the technologies at the heart of these revolutions are connected in complex webs. Therefore, social revolutions do not result from a single innovation, but from the unforeseen ripples of development across other technologies. Yet, the ever increasing specialization of archaeologists’ research has lead scholars to approach social upheavals through isolated technologies (e.g. the developments of domestication, ceramics, or metallurgy).

This session seeks to start a conversation about the interconnections of technological developments in the Near Eastern, primarily during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Authors may use material culture or texts in order to address the social and economic impacts of the unforeseen ripples of technological innovation.
Tell it in Gath! Presentations on the Archaeology and History of Israel in Honor of Aren M. Maeir

Session Chairs:, Brigham Young University;, Ariel University

Description: This session will feature speakers who are authors in the 2018 festschrift honoring the career and contributions of Professor Aren M. Maeir of Bar-Ilan University. Professor Maeir will also offer a response. The festschrift in his honor was presented in Jerusalem at the Bible Lands Museum in March, 2018, and is titled, Tell it in GathStudies in the History and Archaeology of Israel: Essays in Honor of A. M. Maeir on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday (eds. I. Shai, J. Chadwick, L. Hitchcock, A. Dagan, and J. Uziel).

The Tenth Century B.C.E. Borderlands of the Greater Hesi Region: Implications

Session Chair:, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Description: Recent scholarship has shown that the greater Hesi region functioned as a pasture or grasslands in the 10th century B.C.E. on which at least two governmental structures were erected, one at Tell el-Hesi and the other at Khirbet Summeily. It is also clear that Philistia was located to the west and the heartland of Judah was to the east. The aim of this proposed session is to investigate more precisely how this region functioned, to determine who controlled it, and to draw implications as to whether control could have been vested in a secondary state.

Thinking, Speaking, and Representing Animals in the Ancient Near East: New Perspectives from Text and Images

Session Chair:, French National Centre for Scientific Research, CNRS, Collège de France
Description: Animals are everywhere in the Ancient Near East: in texts, representations, everyday life (transport, food, work, in the streets, in the houses, in the temple sacrifices), even in furniture, dress, drinking glass… From the birth (amulets) to the death (clay figurines in tombs), man is always accompanied by animals, wild, domesticated and also pets. This session aims to analyse the complex relationships between men and animals.

The Treasure of the Egyptian Queen Ahhotep and International Relations at the Turn of the Middle Bronze Age (1550 B.C.)

Session Chairs:, Independent Researcher;, University of Pisa

Description: The burial of Queen Ahhotep represents one of the most significant finds in Near Eastern Archaeology. A gilded coffin and a trove of magnificent jewels and objects belonging to a queen named Ahhotep was discovered at Dra Abu el-Naga, in Western Thebes by Auguste Mariette in 1859. Many of the objects associated with the burial bore the names of Kings Ahmose and Kamose of the end of the Second Intermediate Period and the beginning of the New Kingdom (1580-1530 B.C.) and reflected the influence of the Aegean and of Nubia. The proposed presentations will detail the circumstances of the treasure’s discovery, its history of display and publication, both the technical and artistic aspects of the individual elements of the material, a review of the history and burial practices of the period and how Ahhotep and the treasure fits into them and to recent scholarship on trade and cross cultural contact in the Bronze Age.

Twenty Years of Excavation at Omrit in Northern Israel

Session Chairs:, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill;, Carthage College

Description: This session marks the 20th anniversary of the start of excavation at Omrit in northern Israel. It features reports on both the Omrit Temple Excavation Project (1999-2011) and the Omrit Settlement Excavation Project (2012-2017). Papers will include analysis of the architecture, painted plaster decoration, and ceramic chronology of the site in addition to several important artifact groups. Concluding responses will consider the overall significance of Omrit in the context of the upper Galilee in the Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic periods.

What’s in a Name? Re-assessing the “Oriental” in the American Schools of Oriental Research (Workshop)

Workshop Chairs:, University of California at San Diego;, Knox College

Description: Almost forty years after the publication of /Orientalism/, Edward Said’s analysis of the racism in scholarship about the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) seems more pertinent than ever. Despite growing numbers of American and European citizens of Middle Eastern and North African descent, greater familiarity has failed to produce a better understanding amongst the general public of the racism and xenophobia directed against people from the MENA region. As an organization dedicated to the study of the Middle East and North Africa, ASOR is in a unique position to bridge the gap in understanding that allows racism and xenophobia to flourish. This workshop addresses these issues through papers about: the history of scholarship that perpetuated racist stereotypes and the power structures that undermine the modern communities in which ASOR members work; the power dynamics that ASOR members encounter when working in the Field; and whether or not ASOR members are ready to give up the “Oriental” in our organization’s name and what might replace it. Through pre-circulated papers, workshop participants investigate what is at stake in keeping or changing ASOR’s name. Panelists will give brief remarks during the workshop and facilitate a discussion amongst
interested ASOR members.

Yerushalayim, Al Quds, Jerusalem

Session Chairs:, Tel Aviv University;, Israel Antiquities Authority

Description: The proposed session/s will be devoted to the presentation of new archaeological and historical research related to the political, social and economic history of Jerusalem from the Bronze Age to the Medieval periods. The importance of Jerusalem for the history and archaeology of the Southern Levant cannot be overestimated. For over three millennia, the city has stood as a center of political, economic and religious affairs. As such it has attracted the attention and imagination of scholars across the globe and finds from the city and its region echo in the public realm. The session will present an assortment of studies relating to the most recent find from the many excavations conducted within the city and its hinterland, focusing on several topics in which significant contribution to our knowledge of Jerusalem’s history has been achieved. The session planned for 2018 will be devoted to discussing scribalism and epigraphy in Iron Age and Persian Jerusalem, as well as hosting lectures presenting new finds from the

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