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09/26/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Water in Sumer

Stephanie Rost

Ancient water management, especially for irrigation purposes, has featured prominently in anthropological theories on the development of socio-political and economic complexity. Traditional approaches have assumed that centralized control was needed to meet the managerial requirements of water control on a large scale. However, recent ethnographic and archaeological studies have shown that centralized control is a choice rather than a necessity. To date, there has been no empirical study on the exact nature of state control (if any) in the organization of ancient water control and irrigation due to the lack of empirical data.
09/29/2017 09:00 AM ISAW Lecture Hall

Eastern Iran and Western Central Asia during Late Antiquity (3rd-5th cent. CE): Numismatics, Archaeology, and Art History in Dialogue

ISAW-ÖAW Conference organized by Sören Stark (ISAW)

Late Antiquity in Western Central Asia and Eastern Iran—that is the centuries between the downfall of the Great Kushan dynasty and the beginning of Türk suzerainty—remains a particularly obscure period. Major questions concerning even basic political and cultural developments are still poorly understood. Yet, it is clear that this period was one of important and momentous political, social, demographic, and cultural change—such as the rise of Iran as a new hegemonic power in the wider region, the ascent of Sogdiana as one of the main cultural and economic power-houses of Eurasia, and the influx of new populations and elites, labeling themselves and/or labeled by others as “Huns.”
10/05/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall


Elizabeth Price

10/10/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

There Goes the Neighborhood

Gentrification and Urban Redevelopment in Roman North Africa

J. Andrew Dufton

City life in North Africa during the Roman period is often portrayed as a monolithic image of gleaming marble temples and elites, of unrivalled urban wealth and unquestionable success. Yet amongst these developments the neighborhoods of North Africa also saw periods of disuse, small- and large-scale regeneration projects, and a broad shift from mixed-use to specialized districts. This talk examines these changes using the modern concept of gentrification. By tracing examples of the displacement of urban production and the consolidation of property into larger and more elite residences, we can better understand both the nature of Roman urban renewal and the impact of these changes on local populations.
10/12/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

ARCE Lecture: Conserving Cairo 1882-2012

Nicholas Warner

This presentation offers a retrospective view of the history of architectural conservation in Cairo. Blessed, or perhaps cursed, with an astonishing number and variety of historic structures, Cairo has served as a physical laboratory for different conservation approaches from the time of the foundation of the "Committee for the Conservation of Monuments of Arab Art" in 1882 until the present. The lecture addresses many of these approaches ranging from "honest repair" to "Disney-esque" fabrication, and looks behind them to motivations that vary from the aesthetic to the commercial. Recent attempts to quantify Cairo’s architectural heritage, to devise strategies for its economically sustainable re-use, and to expand the scope of preservation efforts to include late-19th and early-20th century buildings will also be discussed in the context of recent civil conflict.
10/17/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Chinese Bronze Age Economics

A Multi-sited Approach to Shang Dynasty Bone Crafting

Roderick Campbell

10/23/2017 10:30 AM ISAW - 15 East 84th Street

Prospective Student Open House

ISAW's open house for prospective doctoral students will include coffee with ISAW students, faculty, and scholars; an information session about our academic program; a tour of ISAW and the ISAW Library; a Q&A session with current students; and an opportunity to attend an ISAW graduate seminar.
10/23/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

AIA Lecture: Spying on Antiquity

Declassified US Intelligence Satellite Imagery and Near Eastern Archaeology

Jason Ur

In 1995, President Clinton declassified 800,000 photographs from CORONA, the United States' first spy satellite program, in order to make them available for environmental and historical research. Since then, imagery from the U2 aerial missions and from HEXAGON, the CORONA successor, have been declassified as well. Archaeologists working in the Near East have been quick to embrace these newly available resource, which capture images of sites and landscapes in the 1960's. Many of these landscapes have been damaged or destroyed in the intervening 40 years. This presentation will discuss how CORONA imagery has been used to study ancient landscapes in the Near East, with case studies from Bronze Age Syria, Iron Age northern Iraq, and late Antique northwestern Iran.
10/24/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Theology of Liberation in the Second Millennium BCE

The Hurrian Song of Liberation

Eva von Dassow

Around 1400 BCE, Hittite scribes recorded a Hurrian epic poem entitled “Song of Liberation” in a bilingual Hurro-Hittite edition, in cuneiform script on clay tablets. Fragments of these tablets were discovered in 1983 CE in the excavations at Hattusha, capital city of Hatti. The poem tells a mytho-historical tale turning on the gods’ demand that the city of Ebla release the people of another city, Igingallish, whom they have subjected. The storm god promises prosperity and military success if the Eblaites release the people of Igingallish, and threatens to annihilate their city if they do not. But the senate of Ebla refuses to grant release, exercising their liberty as a body of free men to deny liberty to those who serve them. The city of Ebla was indeed destroyed around 1600 BCE, and this poem explains why. What was the condition of liberty to which the gods demanded that the subjected people be released, and why did this interest the scribes of Hatti two centuries later?
11/07/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Language and Deception in the Gilgamesh Flood Story

Martin Worthington

The Flood story in the eleventh Tablet of Gilgamesh includes a mysterious message from the god Ea, featuring a rain of cakes and wheat. Since 1890 scholars have suspected some deliberate ambiguity (a forecast of the Flood disguised as a message about something else), and while the different proposals for how this may work make for a fascinating case study in the history of Akkadian philology, none of them quite work. A new solution is offered in this paper, and its broader implications are explored.
11/13/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall
11/28/2017 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall
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