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List of Approved Sessions

* The period for the submission of paper abstracts is from January 12th - February 15th, 2017.

ASOR-Sponsored Sessions

Member-Organized Sessions for the 2017 Annual Meeting

Member-Organized Workshops for the 2017 Annual Meeting

Descriptions of Sessions & Workshops

ASOR-Sponsored Sessions


Ancient Inscriptions: Recent Discoveries, New Editions, New Readings

Session Chairs: Heather Parker, Johns Hopkins University; Michael Langlois, Strasbourg/University of France

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.

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Approaches to Dress and the Body

Session Chair
: Megan Cifarelli, 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
trappings of status and gender. The goal of this session is to
illuminate 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.

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Archaeology and Biblical Studies

Session Chair: Jonathan Rosenbaum, Gratz College

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

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Archaeology and History of Feasting and Foodways

Session Chairs:
Margaret Cohen, Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Deirdre Fulton, Baylor University, and Elizabeth Arnold, 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.

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Archaeology of Anatolia

Session Chair: Levent Atici, 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?

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Archaeology of Arabia

Session Chairs
: Mark Kenoyer, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Steven Karacic, 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.

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Archaeology of the Black Sea and the Caucasus

Session Chairs: Ryan Hughes, University of Michigan; Elizabeth Fagan, University of Chicago

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

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Archaeology of the Byzantine Near East

Session Chair: Melissa Bailey Kutner, Northwestern University

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

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Archaeology of Cyprus

Session Chair: Nancy Serwint, 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.

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Archaeology of Egypt

Session ChairsKrystal Pierce, Brigham Young University; Greg Mumford, University of Alabama

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

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Archaeology of Iran

Session Chair: Holly Pittman, University of Pennsylvania

Description: This session explores the archaeology of Iran.

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Archaeology of Islamic Society

Session Chair: Beatrice St. Laurent, Bridgewater State University

Description: This session explores the archaeology of Islamic society.

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Archaeology of Israel

Session Chair: J.P. Dessel, University of Michigan

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

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Archaeology of Jordan

Session Chairs: Marta D' Andrea, Sapienza Università di Roma; and Barbara Reeves, 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.

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Archaeology of Lebanon

Session Chair: Hanan Mullins, ASOR

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

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Archaeology of Mesopotamia

Session Chair: Lauren Ristvet, 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.

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Archaeology of the Natural Environment: Archaeobotany and Zooarchaeology in the Near East

Session Chairs: Mellisa Rosenzweig, Miami University; Madelynn von Baeyer, 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.

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Archaeology of the Near East: Bronze and Iron Ages

Session Chair: Eric Welch, University of Kansas

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

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Archaeology of the Near East: The Classical Periods

Session ChairMichael Zimmerman, Bridgewater State University 

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

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Archaeology of Arabia

Session Chair: Michael Harrower, Johns Hopkins University; Peter Magee, 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.

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Archaeology of the Southern Levant

Session ChairOwen Chesnut, North Central Michigan College

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

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Art Historical Approaches to the Near East

Session Chairs: Allison Thomason, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; Kiersten Neumann, 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.

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Bioarchaeology in the Near East

Session Chair: Lesley Gregoricka, 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.

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Cultural Heritage Management: Methods, Practices, and Case Studies

Session Chairs: Glenn Corbett, American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR); Suzanne Davis, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan; LeeAnn Gordon, Peabody Museum of Archaeology, Harvard University

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

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Gender in the Ancient Near East

Session Chairs: Stephanie Langin-Hooper, 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.

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GIS and Remote Sensing in Archaeology

Session Chair: Kevin Fisher, University of British Columbia

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.

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History of Archaeology

Session Chair: Kevin McGeough, University of Lethbridge

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

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Landscapes of Settlement in the Ancient Near East

Session Chairs
: Jesse Casana, Dartmouth College; Emily Hammer, University of Chicago

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.

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Maritime Archaeology

Session Chair: Caroline Sauvage, 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.

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Prehistoric Archaeology

Session Chair: Yorke Rowan, University of Chicago

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

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Reports on Current Excavations - ASOR Affiliated

Session Chair: Jack Green, Corning Museum of Glass

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

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Reports on Current Excavations - Non-ASOR Affiliated

Session Chair: Robert Homsher, Harvard University

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

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Technology in Archaeology: Recent work in the Archaeological Sciences

Session Chairs: Andrew Koh, Brandeis University

Description: This session welcomes papers that examine the issue of technology in archaeology.

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Theoretical and Anthropological Approaches to the Near East

Session Chairs: Leann Pace, Wake Forest University; Emily Miller Bonney, 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.

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Member-Organized Sessions

Altered States: Alternative Trajectories to Complexity in the Ancient Middle East

Session Chair: Geoff Emberling, Kelsey Museum, University of Michigan

Description: Our understandings of the forms and development of ancient polities in the Middle East are still fundamentally predicated on Egypt and Mesopotamia, the states that VG Childe emphasized in his early work in the 1930s that were given new primacy as “primary states” in the New Archaeology.

Yet there were a wide variety of political formations in the ancient Middle East that were complex and even state-like, even if they do not conform to Mesopotamian or Egyptian forms of state organization.

This session aims to explore and compare these “altered” states and the historical trajectories of their development. Typically located on the margins of—or in between—Egypt and Mesopotamia, they differed in aspects of subsistence, in settlement and mobility, in economy (particularly in the role of trade), and in the constitution of political authority.

Among the cases to be considered are Elam, polities of the Caucasus, areas of the southern Levant, and Nubia.

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Ambiguity in the Ancient Near East: Mental Constructs, Material Records, and their Interpretations

Session ChairsElizabeth Knott, New York University, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Lauren McCormick, Syracuse University

Description: Many ancient Near Eastern texts, images and spaces include aspects that evade classification and confound interpretation. Such ambiguities are often attributed to missing information, and are not considered in light of their cultural contexts. More recent trends have shown, however, that ambiguity was a fruitful strategy of signification in the ancient Near East.

This session seeks to explore the possible intentional motives behind such ambiguities, using archaeological, textual, and visual evidence to explore the role of ambiguity in the construction of meaning and the functions of ambiguous representations. Papers could, for example, discuss the roles of deliberately undecipherable writings and images in their ancient contexts, conflicts between objects and their inscriptions, the (im)possibility of transferring personal items (e.g., cylinder seals) and spaces (e.g., palaces, burials), the reinterpretation of objects and sites in ancient and modern times, the relationship between ancient and modern systems of classification and categorization, ambiguity in the expression of socially- (e.g., gender, ethnic) or politically-based identities, or ambiguity as a source of, or response to, cross-cultural interaction. We welcome papers that explore ambiguity as it pertains to archaeology, writing, visual culture, systems of thought, and/or historiography.

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Ancient Texts and Modern Photographic and Digital Technologies

Session ChairsChristopher Rollston, George Washington University and Annalisa Azzoni, Vanderbilt University

Description: The purpose of this session is to showcase some of the most recent and innovative technologies for the study of ancient inscriptions from the ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds.  Some of the technologies will be photographic in nature (e.g., RTI, multi-spectral imaging), some will focus on manipulation and enhancement via software (e.g., Photoshop, Autocad), and some of the technologies will focus on digital drawing and the application of such technologies in classroom contexts.

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Antioch – A Legacy Excavation and its Aftermath

Session Chairs: Andrea De Giorgi, Florida State University; Alan Stahl, 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.

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Antiochia Hippos of the Decapolis and Its Territorium

Session Chair:  Michael Eisenberg, The Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of  Haifa

Description:  Antiochia Hippos (Sussita) of the Decapolis is the last polis to be unearthed in the Land of Israel and one of the largest archaeological enterprises of the Classical period in the region. The city, founded upon Sussita Mountain crest in the first half of the second century BC, is the center of an on-going archaeological research started at 2000 and published in a series of monographs and articles. In recent years the research expanded to Sussita’s saddle-ridge area and the Khôra/Territorium of Hippos. Hippos administrative region covered the central and southern Golan during the Roman period and is the core of a new regional and inter-regional study using archaeological, geo-spatial and lab-based analytical methods. The research aims to gain a better understanding of the urban – rural relationships in the region. 

The session welcomes new studies dealing with Hippos or its region during Hellenistic-Umayyad period. The study may encompass a wide array of disciplines, i.e. urban planning, rural settlements, architecture, military and administration, pottery, trade, small finds, numismatics, analytical analyses and geo-spatial based research.

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Archaeologists Engaging Global Challenges

Session Chairs: Catherine Foster, Ancient Middle East Education and Research Institute; Erin Darby, University of Tennessee

Description: This session will facilitate research among scholars of the ancient Near East to provide long-term viewpoints on global challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. The United Nation's Millennium Project ( has identified 15 Global Challenges including peace and conflict, energy, sustainable development, and democratization. Participants will tackle these issues through their original research and explore ways archaeologists can contribute uniquely informed, deep-time perspectives to international efforts by governments, international organizations and futurists addressing these challenges. This session will raise awareness about the role archaeology can play in overcoming the Global Challenges, provide case studies for direct engagement with one or more of the issues at hand, and create an interface between archaeologists and policy makers.

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Baths and Bathing in the East

Session Chair: Craig Harvey, University of Michigan

Description: Baths and bathing practices have long been important aspects of archaeological investigation, and they still remain crucial for the examination of the ancient world. New discoveries, technologies, and lines of questioning have greatly advanced our understanding of these cultural institutions and have shed more light on their development and evolution throughout antiquity. This session aims to bring together international and North American scholars to present and discuss resent research on baths and bathing in the Near East from the Hellenistic to the Early Islamic periods. By inviting papers on recent fieldwork, comparative analyses, architectural studies, the social use of baths, and other topics, this session will facilitate and inspire a holistic examination of baths and bathing. The wide geographic and temporal spread of this session will also encourage discussions to focus on comparative issues.

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Border Dynamics in the 10th century B.C.E. Levant: A Junior Scholars' Panel

Session Chairs: Geoffrey Ludvik, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Lydia Buckner, Mississippi State University

Description: Questions of where political borders between polities were located and how they functioned are significant in Levantine archaeology. Equally significant is the identification of socio-cultural borders between groups of people possibly separated by ethnic differences. This panel provides a venue for the presentation of current research at sites along ancient borders. Such sites are important archaeological case studies for understanding identity formation and the mechanics of early state-level societies in the Levant in terms of interregional interaction as well as internal affairs. Since the management, fortification, and control over territorial borders implies a high level of administrative bureaucracy, sites identified along border zones provide an opportunity to assess socio-political complexity. These discussions are highly relevant to the scholarly debate surrounding the late 11th/early 10th centuries B.C.E. This panel is unique in that presenters will all be junior scholars. Our goal is to allow such junior scholars (Masters and PhD students and recent PhDs) the opportunity to publically present their research as it pertains to the theme of 10th century B.C.E. border dynamics, both political and social. This panel hopes to foster an environment of increased collaboration and professional connection among a new generation of scholars at sites throughout the Levant.

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Caesarea Maritima:  Renewed Excavations, Recent Discoveries

Session Chairs: Kenneth Holum, University of Maryland; Peter Gendelman, Israel Antiquities Authority

Description: During the 1990's fur teams from various countries excavated simultaneously at the harbor city Caesarea Maritima, Israel, with spectacular results that are now in the final publication stage.  In the meantime, new excavations commenced in 2014, in several cases taking up where the earlier excavations left off.  This session will feature recent advances in knowledge of Caesarea antiquities and will invite discussion of them.  On the Temple Platform (area TP) excavators have clarified the setting of King Herod's temple to Augustus and Dea Roma, recently uncovering the temple's high altar.  North of the ancient harbor, new work in area LL has contributed rich ceramic evidence for the much-discussed Byzantine-Islamic transition.  Ongoing research on tsunamis that struck the coast in antiquity have turned recently to newly-discovered tsunami deposits on land.  The new excavations have also brought new material and new insights on the sculptural environment of Roman and Byzantine Caesarea.  Chance discoveries in the harbor have yielded a shipwreck of the fourth century carrying fragments of ancient bronze statuary intended for recycling, and another of the eleventh century conveying a huge treasure of gold coins.  Apart from their intrinsic interest, these finds illuminate disparate periods in the history of Caesarea's harbor.

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Career Options for ASOR Members: The Academy and Beyond

Session Chairs: Susan Ackerman, Dartmouth and Emily Bonney, 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.

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Connectivities in the Near East: Social Impact of Shifting Networks

Session Chair: Barbara Horejs, Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology

Description: Social-cultural dynamics of former Near Eastern societies form the main focus of this session by analyzing scales and modes of connectivities in a diachronic perspective. Motivations/mechanisms of interaction in spatial contexts allow modeling of agencies on local, regional or supra-regional levels. The actors of interaction in their cultural-spatial contexts (individuals, groups, states etc.) and the impact of their networks let us assume scales, modes and shifts in their connectivities. Case studies from different periods form the framework to present/discuss different archaeological approaches dealing with the concept of connectivity. The Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology (OREA) presents results of current studies achieved with international cooperation partners. Research covers a wide range of prehistoric regions in the Near East, e.g. Egypt, the Levant, Turkey and Greece. Extending research perspectives to adjacent regions, focusing especially on connections/interactions with other identities allows to gain insight into a new spectrum of cultural exchange, trade and connections of ancient peoples in the regions under investigation. This section intends to illustrate the activities of OREA: research from lithics to pottery, from radiocarbon investigations to socio-cultural analyses and modeling for the time span from 7,000 B.C.E. to 1,200 B.C.E. and the ancient networks thus detected and described.

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Death and Dying in the Ancient Near East

Session Chairs: Stephanie Selover, University of Washington; Pinar Durgun, 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 bioarchaeology and the archaeology of death and burial have proven the necessity for a session to start a new conversation 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 of burial spaces, and expressions of social memory, especially in periods that are under-represented in the study of ancient Near East.

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Developing Isotopic Investigations in the Ancient Near East and Caucasus

Session Chairs: G. Bike Yazicioglu, Independent Researcher and Maureen Marshall, 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.

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Encoding Data for Digital Discovery

Session Chairs: Vanessa Juloux, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) Research University; Amy Gansell, 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.

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Glass in the Ancient Near East

Session ChairsKatherine Larson, Corning Museum of Glass; Carolyn Swan, University College London, Qatar

Description: The Near East is the heartland of ancient glassmaking, from the Bronze Age through the Islamic period. Following upon a successful session at the 2016 meeting in San Antonio, we again seek papers which investigate complex historical and archaeological questions using archaeological, art historical, philological, or scientific sources on glass and glass making. We also encourage papers from non-glass specialists who engage with the material in other ways. Possible topics include but are not limited to the role of glass in daily life, trade and exchange, workshop organization and artistic production, identity and taste, materiality, or site-based reports which speak to issues beyond typology and chronology.

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Horvat Kur Synagogue

Workshop Chairs: Byron McCane, Wilkes Honors College at FAU; Raimo Hakola, University of Helsinki; Stefan Münger, University of Bern; Juergen Zangenberg, Leiden University

Description: After six seasons of excavation in the synagogue at Horvat Kur, the leadership team is ready to present a  session on the results to this point.  Important topics for discussion include the synagogue and associated structures, stratigraphy, ceramics, and other finds such as, a mosaic floor, a “seat of Moses” and the so-called “Horvat Kur stone.” The Team looks forward to a substantial discussion of these issues with interested participants at the 2017 Annual Meeting of ASOR.

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Houses and Households in the Near East: Archaeology & History

Session Chairs:  Laura Battini, CNRS, Collège de France, Paris; Aaron Brody, Pacific School of Religion; Sharon Steadman, 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.

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Israel's Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective

Session Chairs:  Thomas Schneider (University of British Columbia); Larry Geraty (La Sierra University); Thomas Levy (University of California, San Diego); Brad Sparks

Description: Following the well-received Exodus session at ASOR San Antonio Nov 2016, the Editors of "Israel's Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective" (Springer Nature, 2015) cordially invite the ASOR community to continue the discussion and interaction with the scholarly community in reviewing the findings, outcome and future implications of the groundbreaking work of the 60 international scholars participating in the Exodus Conference at University of California, San Diego, in 2013.  

Proceedings were published in April 2015, in the monograph, "Israel's Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective," eds. Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider, W.H.C. Propp, Brad C. Sparks. 

We invite assessments of the state of Exodus scholarship in light of the "Israel's Exodus" volume and investigation of new avenues for future research, from the angle of archaeological, historical, textual, cultural and geoscientific disciplines. The session contributions will outline what a more integrated debate on the topic of Israel's Exodus may look like. We plan on reserving the final 30-minute time slot for open panel discussion with the audience, if time permits.

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Madaba Plains Project at 50: Contextualizing MPP at Tall Hisban, Tall al- ‘Umayri and Tall Jalul

Session ChairsDouglas Clark, La Sierra University; Larry Herr, Burman University; Oystein LaBianca, Andrews University; Lawrence Geraty, La Sierra University; Randall Younker, Andrews University

Description: These sessions mark 50 years of research in Jordan by the Madaba Plains Project or MPP. Our aim with each session is to share certain back-stories about the people and the thinking that helped sustain and shape five decades of research by our team in the Madaba Plains region of Jordan. The goal is thus to recall, evaluate and reflect on the intentions, hopes, rewards and disappointments of various stakeholders in the work of MPP, including our lay and academic constituencies, financial sponsors, organizers, invited specialists, local and foreign participants.

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Material Culture and Identities in Eastern Mediterranean

Session ChairsHelen Malko, Columbia University and Serdar Yalcin, Parsons School of Design, The New School

Description: The concept of identity is complicated, paradoxical, and culturally situated in time and place. Identity is both imposed by others and self-imposed, and is continuously asserted and reasserted in ways that are fluid and fixed. It can lie at the individual level and at a broader scale as it defines a person both a part of a group and as individual. By recognizing the notion of material culture as integral to human action and the recurring nature of the relationship between objects and people, the proposed session aims at understanding different identities through examination of personal artifacts, inscriptions, built environment, etc. It explores various facets of identity through examination of material and visual culture throughout the Eastern Mediterranean from as early as the 3rd millennium B.C. to the Islamic Period over two sessions at ASOR 2016-17. The 2016 session will focus on the 3rd- 1st millennium B.C., bringing together scholars working in regions such as Anatolia, the Levant, Cyprus, and Mesopotamia, while the 2017 session will examine case studies dating to Late Antiquity and the Islamic periods. The goal is to gain a diachronic and cross-cultural understanding of individual and community lives along lines of profession, gender, ethnicity, class, age, etc.


Material Interconnections in the Levant During the Second Millennium B.C.E.

Session Chair: David Schloen, University of Chicago

Description: The second millennium B.C.E. in the Levant was a time when economic, political, and cultural interconnections between different regions, and among different polities, reached a peak. Interregional influences and exchanges are evident both from textual archives and from the material culture dated to this period. In this session, we will discuss the archaeological aspects of these interconnections, focusing on similarities and differences in material culture and in consumption patterns within sites throughout the Levant. Papers submitted for this session should explore the occurrence of specific types of material remains at various sites and discuss the patterns revealed and their significance. This session will focus on a different sub-period in each year. In 2017, we will examine the transition from the Middle Bronze Age to the Late Bronze Age.

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Meeting the Expenses: ANE Economies

Session ChairsRaz Kletter, University of Helsinki (CSTT); Lorenz Rahmstorf, 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: Trade and traders.
2019: Prices, salaries, and the transition to coinage

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Mesopotamian Civilizations: The Economic Scope of Institutional Households

Session Chairs: Claudia Glatz, The University of Glasgow; Jacob Lauinger, The Johns Hopkins University; Piotr Michalowski, University of Michigan

Description: Dominant paradigms of Mesopotamian economies conventionally see institutional households as the primary agents of production, distribution, and consumption in society.  However, several publications have challenged these paradigms in recent years.  At present, it remains unclear whether newly emergent conclusions on the relatively circumscribed economic scope of institutional households document moments of limited and punctuated duration only or whether the dominant paradigms need to be changed entirely.  The aim of the session is to bring together scholars working in different chronological periods and geographical areas and with diverse data sets in order to offer a sustained and integrated reevaluation of the economic scope of institutional households, and, more broadly, the fundamental socio-economic relationships that underlay the development of early complex societies in the region.

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New Discoveries at Beth She'arim

Session Chair: Adi Erlich, University of Haifa

Description: Beth She'arim was an important Jewish town in the Galilee during the Roman period, the home of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, who compiled the Mishnah. After his death, Beth She'arim became a popular cemetery for Jews from Roman Palestine and the Diaspora. Previous excavations at the site focused mainly on the rich necropolis, with only limited excavations in the ancient settlement.
Beginning in 2014, new excavations have been carried out at Beth She'arim on behalf of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at Haifa University, directed by Adi Erlich, focusing on the ancient town on the hill rather than the necropolis below. The excavations have yielded buildings, installations and subterranean facilities. On the top of the hill a large Early Roman building was revealed, as well as buildings and rooms dating to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods along with Mamluk and Ottoman strata. Remains of fortification, probably the town's gate, were discovered on the northern edge of the town. In 2014, below the settlement, a large reservoir was excavated by the Nature and Parks Authority excavations. We aim to present an overview of the finds from the first four seasons, with an emphasis on new observations concerning the chronology of the site.

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New Light on Persian Period Judah – The Archaeological Perspective

Session ChairOded Lipschits, Tel Aviv University

Description: The 205 years between 539/538 and 333 BCE, the so called ‘Persian period’, are a well-defined period from the historical point of view. This period has a clear starting point, when Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon, and it ends with the time when the Persian Empire fell into the hands of Alexander the Great’s army. For Judah, these dates mark the period of the “Return to Zion”, and the beginning of the Persian/Achaemenid period is also the time when, according to the Biblical descriptions, (some of) the Judeans deported to Babylon fifty years before, were allowed to return and to build the second temple in Jerusalem. This is the beginning of the Second Temple Period in the history of Judah. Scholars dealing with this period emphasized the place of it as the single most important period for the development of Jewish thought and practice from antiquity to the present.

Bearing in mind the importance of this period, its uniqueness and the many different processes that took place during these 200 years, and the many Biblical texts that were written and edited in Judah, this session will explore some basic archaeological questions regarding the understanding of the material culture of this period: Are there indications in the material culture for changes that took place in the transition from Babylonian to Persian-Achaemenid rule and from the Persian to the Early Hellenistic period? Are there any reasons to define the 200 years of the Persian-Achaemenid rule over Judah as a clearly defined and separate period from the archaeological point of view? Can the archaeological research define sub-periods within the Persian Period?
Since during the last years many new archaeological finds from the Persian period were excavated and published, especially from Jerusalem and the area around it, as well as from the Judean Lowland (Biblical Shephelah), the goal of this three-year session is to present the new archaeological material and to deal with the different historical interpretations of it:
2015: Judah in Transition from the Babylonian to the Persian Period
2016: Judah in Transition from the Persian to the Hellenistic Period
2017: Judah in the Persian Period

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New Research in Pre-Islamic Central Asia

Session Chair: Jeffrey Lerner, Wake Forest University

Description: This panel looks broadly at the changing human landscape of Central Asia, where urbanism and nomadism coincided for millennia.  We focus on the modern countries of Afghanistan, eastern Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, encompassing the Achaemenid, Hellenistic, nomadic, Kushan, Sasanid, Hephthalite, and Turkic periods. The increasing volume of new archaeological and textual information (ostraka, inscriptions &.) unearthed each year has provided the opportunity to further our understanding of this complex region. It allows new questions to be asked and long running assumptions to be challenged about the nature of Central Asia in Antiquity. How did the frequent political upheavals and the movement of goods, peoples, and ideas affect cultural continuity? Has the lack of political continuity created common characteristics among the seemingly different cultures? This panel seeks to explore these issues and invites contributions from a range of disciplines, including but not limited to Archaeology, Art History, History, Indology, Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and Near Eastern studies, Numismatics, and Sinology. Papers exploring aspects of Central Asia within the period running from the mid-1st millennium BCE to the mid-1st millennium CE are particularly welcome, but papers relating to earlier periods will certainly be considered.

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New Studies on Tel Azekah

Session Chairs: Yuval Gadot, Tel Aviv University; Manfred Oeming, Universität Heidelberg

Description: The aim of this session is to present some new studies based on the five seasons of excavations at the site by The Lautenschlaeger Azekah Expedition. All the new studies are part of a PhD and MA studies by members of the expeditions, in collaboration with different institutions around the globe.

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New Work on Roman Sardis from the Harvard-Cornell Excavations to Sardis

Session Chairs: Nicholas Cahill, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Jane Evans, Temple University

Description: The goal of this session is to update the field on the new interpretations of the excavations of the  ancient city, to be published in final reports of the excavations. The topics will include a consideration of the Lydian domestic architecture, Lydian domestic assemblages, a Roman imperial temple, Roman wall paintings, Roman figurines, and the excavation coins from the Roman period.

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

Session Chairs: Sarah Scott, Wagner College; Oya Topçuoğlu, University of Chicago

Description: Papers in the Object, Text, and Image: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Seals, Sealing Practices, and Administration session at the 2016 meeting contributed deeply to the field of glyptic studies in a variety of ways.  Some contributions engaged with seals and sealings as artifactual objects of practice, use and exchange.  Other authors addressed issues of identity of user, audience and/or object by placing agentive action at the forefront of their methodologies.  Finally, a third group of papers tackled questions of Iconography and materiality.  At the heart of this diversity, however, was how glyptic materials relied on both text and image to communicate a visual message.  In the 2017 session we look to build upon the interconnections between text and image in glyptic as we focus more discretely on the interplay between these two modes as a key factor in the agentive power of seals or sealings.  We seek papers that examine seals and sealings as objects capable of possessing the ability to act precisely because they draw upon the communicative interplay of text and image.  We welcome papers that address agency from multiple methodologies such as materiality or identity. 

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Papers in Honor of S. Thomas Parker in Celebration of the Publication of a Festschrift in His Honor

Session Chair: Walter Ward, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Description: The aim of the session is to present papers written for a Feschrift in honor of the career of S. Thomas Parker. The session will also serve as a celebration of the publication of the Festschrift, "The Socio-economic history and material culture of the Roman and Byzantine Near East: Essays in Honor of S. Thomas Parker," published by Gorgias Press in 2017.

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Peoples of the Mountain: Settlement Dynamics in the Galilean Highlands

Session Chairs: Uri Davidovich, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ido Wachtel, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Description: The proposed session wishes to bring together new archaeological studies conducted within the wide mountainous region stretching between the Jezreel Valley and the Litany River, covering the late prehistory to late antiquity time-span. While sometimes regarded as peripheral to the surrounding fertile valleys, and as such drew relatively little scholarly attention, the Galilee nevertheless witnessed significant settlement waves and related socio-economic developments throughout its history. We are interested in discussing a wide range of settlement studies and human-landscape interactions in this region, including the ways in which changing settlement systems influenced the ancient environment, as well as how environmental and geo-cultural conditions shaped regional subsistence patterns, road systems, and the emergence of social/ethnic units and polities. We are especially interested in new fieldwork projects, both site-specific and landscape-based, as well as syntheses focusing on settlement dynamics in the Galilean Highlands in their wider socio-political context. We also welcome presentations of projects which involve innovative ways of data collection and analysis at the landscape level, as well as those which use novel theoretical and methodological approaches to analyze settlement and subsistence patterns of highland regions.

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Religion in “Edom”

Session Chairs: Erin Darby, University of Tennessee; Stephanie Brown, University of California, Berkeley; Andrea Creel, University of California, Berkeley

Description: Religion in southern Israel and Jordan has figured prominently in a number of scholarly debates including the religious characteristics of Iron II Judah and Edom, the boundaries between these two polities, and their relationship to the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires. Despite the prominence with which "Edomite" religion has been featured in these discussions, the actual data upon which various theories are based remains problematic, as are many of the interpretive paradigms, particularly those that continue to rely heavily on the biblical text.

In order to complicate the scholarly discussions of "Edomite" religion, this session brings together scholars currently working to review, revise, and publish data from the region and improve the theoretical paradigms through which the data are currently interpreted. The session includes researchers working in both Israel and Jordan so that cultic sites and artifacts on both sides of the modern political border can be compared and used to evaluate the dominant scholarly theories related to “Edomite” and “Judean” political, ethnic, and religious boundaries. The session will also address the role of built and natural landscape in the religion of the region, socio-economic status, nomadism, “Edomite” iconography, and continuity and discontinuity between Bronze and Iron Age shrine sites in Syro-Arabian desert.

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Senses and Sensibility in the Near East

Session Chair: Kiersten Neumann, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago 

Description: Contributions to the Senses and Sensibility in the Near East session in 2016 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.

The goal for the 2017 session is to narrow the aim of the session by gathering papers that emphasize aspects of intentionality in sensory experience; to explore what forms of sensory experience are intentionally constructed in activities and encounters of past worlds; how we might access such intentionality, whether through text or material culture, for example; and how we might understand such intentions with respect to particular social and cultural contexts. Papers will also be included that explore unintentional sensory phenomena, the involuntary and at times overlooked sensory aspects that are equally formidable and impactful in a variety of encounters between agents and spaces.

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Strategies for Cultural Resource Protection in Libya

Session Chairs: Susan Kane, Oberlin College; Mohamed Hesein, Omar al Mukhtar University

Description: Members of the ASOR CHI team for Libya and the EAMENA Centre in Oxford will present a summary of their strategies for cultural resource protection in Libya, including an overview of their remote sensing monitoring work and the capacity building workshops being provided to assist Libyan colleagues in their ongoing work of damage and risk assessment.

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

Session Chairs: Vanessa Juloux, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) Research University; Leann Pace, 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.

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The Archaeology of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Session Chair: Jason Ur, Harvard University

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

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The CRANE Project: Large-Scale Data Integration and Analysis in Near Eastern Archaeology

Session Chair: Timothy Harrison, University of Toronto

Description: The rapid proliferation of digital data in Near Eastern Archaeology, precipitated by an ever expanding array of data capture technology, has created an urgent need to establish a collaborative research environment with the capacity to address long-standing issues of access, data compatibility, integration and analytical capability. The CRANE (Computational Research on the Ancient Near East) Project is a multidisciplinary consortium of archaeologists, historians, paleo-environmentalists and computer scientists that seeks to facilitate the creation of such a collaborative framework. CRANE has focused on the Orontes Watershed, a cohesive geographical unit and region uniquely positioned as a cultural microcosm of the broader Near East, as an initial operational test case. CRANE also seeks to create computation tools that will facilitate the modeling and visualization of the interrelationships of social, economic and environmental dynamics at multiple spatial and temporal scales of analysis in order to gain more meaningful insight into the rise and development of complex societies in the ancient Near East. This proposal seeks to present a series of papers organized into two sessions, drawing on the results of the CRANE Project achieved to date, with the aim of exploring the analytical capability and research utility of the CRANE collaborative approach.

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The Cultural Mosaic of Maresha: Reconstructing Domestic and Ritual Life from Subterranean Contexts

Session Chair: Ian Stern, Hebrew Union College

Description: The focus of this session will be on the recently completed excavation of Subterranean Complex 169 of Maresha, located in southern foothills of Israel. This complex, located ca. 100 meters southwest of the tel, contains approximately 500 Aramaic and Greek ostraca as well as 100s of terracotta figurines, stamped amphorah handles, and numerous cultic items. The material finds provide us with a large, detailed catalogue of material, primarily from the 4-2nd centuries B.C.E., that allows for insights into the economy, daily life and culture of this diverse, eclectic population. The many divination texts as well as their relationship to the other finds will be explored.

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The History of the Early Alphabet

Session Chairs: Orly Goldwasser, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Thomas Schneider, 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 BCE.

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The Iron Age I in the Levant: A View from the North

Session Chair: Lynn Welton, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

Description: The transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age I in the northern Levant has received increasing attention in the last decade or so, and has been the focus of multiple workshops.  However, conferences and volumes dedicated to examining this transitional period have often focused on either the coastal region or on southeastern Anatolia and inland Syria, and the inter-relationships between these two zones have not been comprehensively examined.  This session aims to bring together researchers from these regions to discuss their relationship during the Iron Age I in order to form a better understanding of this period in the northern Levant.  We aim to focus on the evidence of material culture, including ceramics and evidence of textile production, as well as archaeozoological and palaeobotanical data, in order to address themes such as continuity, change, and cultural regionalism during this transition.

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The Soft Power of Place – Cultural Diplomacy, Archaeology, and the ORCs (Overseas Research Centers)

Session Chair: Morag Kersel, DePaul University

Description: In the groundbreaking The Power of Place Dolores Hayden argued convincingly for the inevitable connection between the environment of a location and the culture, which occupies it. The Overseas Research Centers (ORCs) are the very embodiment of Hayden’s power of place – people, foreigners and locals, connecting in a location. For over a century the ORCs have been the primary place where American scholars in the humanities and social sciences carry out research critical to a greater understanding of, and intersection with other cultures. Not for academic purposes alone, these centers constitute one of the USA’s best foreign policy investments providing neutral spaces for active, dynamic, and positive exchanges and enabling rigorous, on-the-ground research and educational opportunities. The Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) provides much needed funding for the ORCs, but US government support for the program is insecure in the annual budgeting process. A potential decrease of financial support impedes local interaction and may reinforce perceptions that the US doesn’t care about culture. This session will showcase the important role that the ORCs have played and continue to play in supporting research, providing educational opportunities, fostering local engagement, and creating collaborative projects and programs in various countries.

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The Tells of Two Cities: Did Tell es-Sultan and Tall el-Hammam Interact During the Middle Bronze Age?

Session Chairs: Steven Collins, Trinity Southwest University; Lorenzo Nigro, Universita di Roma-La Sapienza

Description: This session is concerned with current archaeological research at both Tell es-Sultan/Jericho and Tall al-Hammam in the Southern Jordan Valley with specific focus on their possible interconnection in the Middle Bronze Age.

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Yerushalayim, Al Quds, Jerusalem: Recent Development and Problems in the Archaeological and Historical Studies from the Bronze Age to Medieval Periods

Session Chairs: Yuval Gadot, Tel Aviv University; Avni Gideon, Israel Antiquity Authority

Description: This session 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 finds from the many excavations conducted within the city and its hinterland, focusing on several major topics in which significant contribution to the knowledge of Jerusalem's history has been made. The 2017 planned session will be devoted for discussing Temple mount/Haram al Sharif in archaeology and history.

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Member-Organized Workshops

Digital Archaeology Demo Showcase

Workshop Chairs: Neil Smith, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology; Thomas Levy, University of California, San Diego

Description: ASOR is known for its high caliber field excavations, methodology and publication. A common theme that is regularly witnessed within many of the annual sessions is the increasing integration and development of cutting edge digital recording and analysis tools that are a product of these principles. In this session ASOR members will have an opportunity to interact with these new digital tools through various demos showcased concurrently. They all share a common theme in being the state-of-the-art in software, hardware and methodology that significantly improve field excavations, analysis, curration or digital dissemination. The digital archaeology demo showcase is an opportunity to highlight these novel digital tools and to promote their dissemination and adoption by the ASOR community and ASOR affiliated archaeological projects. This session provides a unique opportunity for the ASOR community to come see, learn, touch, and try the state of the art in digital archaeology.

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Integrating Organic Residue Analysis into Archaeology

Workshop Chairs: Andrew Koh, Brandeis University; Kate Birney, Wesleyan University

Description: Organic residue analysis (ORA) remains one of the most dynamic subfields of material culture studies in archaeology, and offers unique opportunities to illuminate past socio-cultural practices otherwise hidden from the naked eye. Resources for such work can be challenging, however, with few opportunities for collaboration between ORA specialists, and restrictive avenues to publication which often results in siloed datasets. OpenARCHEM ( is imagined as an open source, collaborative, and reiterable database to facilitate the rapid sharing of scientific datasets. It is designed to be both a repository and a search engine - useful both to specialists and non-specialists alike - which will connect to archaeological projects, museums, and other educational institutions in the eastern Mediterranean. It will also offer an alternative route to publication, which can complement, rather than compete, with traditional publication outlets. This workshop seeks to gather both specialists in ORA together with non-specialist archaeologists who use ORA to discuss obstacles and best practices for collaboration, and to offer feedback on the beta version of the OpenARCHEM database. We recommend that interested parties download discussion questions at the above link prior to the workshop.

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Putting your PhD to Work: a Panel Discussion on Creating Effective Job Application Materials for Employment in Academia and the Private/Public Sector

Workshop Chair: Tiffany Earley-Spadoni, University of Central Florida

Description: Given the conventional wisdom on the topic, you may be surprised to learn that humanities PhD holders have a much lower unemployment rate than the general population, though the majority of available positions are outside of the tenure-track.  Moreover, according to the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Doctorate Recipients, PhD holders who do not hold a tenure track position can expect higher earnings than those who work in the academy.  Job candidates will benefit, therefore, from exploring all of the options available to them and being prepared to take advantage of them.  The panelists include Frederick Winter of F.A. Winter Associates, who first worked in the academy and subsequently for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Department of Education, and now runs his own consulting firm addressing non-traditional academic employment, and Tiffany Earley-Spadoni, who previously worked both in the private and public sectors and is now an Assistant Professor in History at the University of Central Florida.  They will discuss and answer your questions regarding the often overlooked practical aspects of seeking employment (CVs vs. resumes, dossiers, references, when to apply etc.), both inside and outside of the academy.  This panel is meant to complement the “Careers Beyond the Academy” ASOR session.

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Southern Phoenicia Initiative

Workshop Chair: Becky (S. Rebecca) Martin, Boston University

Description: The Southern Phoenicia Initiative is a newly formed working group that seeks to establish research ties across key sites in the region of Southern Phoenicia. At present these sites include Tell Keisan, Tel Dor, and Tel Shiqmona, which together offer an exceptionally large comparative data base. We intend to share data and resources to investigate the ecology, geology, geomorphology, material culture, and social anthropology of this loosely defined and liminal area. The chronological parameters stretch from the Middle Bronze Age to the Roman Period with the explicit aim of transgressing typical divisions in Near Eastern archaeology (Biblical, Classical) and investigating long-term processes. The workshop is a call to action in which participants will address topics both broad and narrow concerning the archaeology of the longue durée as well as events. We aim to use the workshop to outline common agendas of the group, develop research questions, and propose common protocols for projects. Part I will consider the scientific and socio-cultural advantages of studying Southern Phoenicia, focusing on defining the region and its major research potential. Part II will consider specific topics and methodologies for interdisciplinary research.

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Talking about How to Handle Gender-Related "Situations" in Our Workplaces (Workshop) 

Workshop ChairBeth Alpert Nakhai, University of Arizona

Description: The ASOR Initiative on the Status of Women workshop is designed to open the conversation about how to handle "situations."  We are thinking broadly about gender-related issues that occur in a wide range of settings: in the field, in grad school, in the academy and other workplaces, and more.  Such situations might impede professional development and advancement, hinder or obstruct scholarly engagement, impact family decisions, and/or cause personal trauma or distress.  The workshop will include several short presentations – and will leave ample time for discussion.  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.

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The Enigma of the Hyksos

Workshop Chairs: Manfred Bietak, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Hanan Mullins, ASOR

Description: The exact geographical origin of the Hyksos, ruling the north of Egypt in the SIP, the process of their coming into power and their role in history still remains an enigma, as the period is poorly represented in texts. Nevertheless the Hyksos phenomenon has thus far mainly been studied by text-based Egyptology, ignoring other possible sources, like archaeological remains, burial customs, settlement patterns or biological data. In the last decades new excavations in Egypt‘s eastern Delta have produced new information and one can now, together with finds stored in museums all over the world, resort on huge quantities of objects reflecting the material culture attributed to the carriers of the Hyksos rule as well as related physical remains. These materials were so far largely left aside in the scientific discussion, but can be utilised as first class historical sources.

The workshop’s aim is to shed new light on recent research like archaeological analyses, cultural interference studies, new onomastic studies as well as DNA analyses and other natural scientific methods. Interexchange with other specialized scholars might lead to a closer approach of the origin of this western Asiatic population, their dialogue with the host country, the impact on the culture of Egypt and finally their heritage.

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