I. Sumerian Panel in Honour of Professor Piotr Michałowski and Professor Piotr Steinkeller
Organizers: Nicole Brisch (University of Copenhagen), Christopher Wood (University of Chicago)
II. Current Research in Cuneiform Paleography
Organizers: Elena Devecchi (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München, Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg), Gerfrid G. W. Müller (Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg, Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz), Jana Mynářová (Charles University, Prague)
In recent years cuneiform studies have witnessed a growing interest in issues variously related to the broadly defined field of paleography. This has led to the establishment of several projects and the initiation of collaboration devoted to the paleographic analysis of different textual corpora as well as to the development of new methodologies and technologies. Whereas paleography has traditionally aimed at finding “typical” forms of signs and characters by deliberate abstraction, new computer-aided approaches are enabling us to deal with great numbers of variations and variation ranges as well, taking into account the idiosyncrasies of scribal hands to a greater extent.
The workshop aims at bringing together scholars from different disciplines who have been working on such topics and giving them the opportunity to share and discuss their results with an international audience of researchers engaged in cuneiform studies. This should provide an up-to-date overview on the current state of the art as well as a setting for discussion of potential developments in philological, historical, cultural and technological research on cuneiform sources.
III. New Sources and Insights on the Middle Assyrian Period
Organizers: Yigal Bloch (Hebrew University, Jerusalem), Stefan Jakob (Ruprecht-Karls Universität, Heidelberg)
The study of the Middle Assyrian period has been undergoing a rapid development in the recent years, due to the publication of a large number of documentary sources shedding light on different aspects of this period. Still, a considerable number of Middle Assyrian sources remain unpublished, and the present workshop will include several lectures whose aim is to present and discuss such sources (ranging from royal epics to administrative documents). In addition, the present workshop will include lectures offering new insights into some aspects of the Middle Assyrian period based on sources already published.
IV. Divination: Science Masked by Religion?
Organizer: Jeanette Fincke (School of Oriental and African Studies, London)
There is no doubt that the Ancient Near Eastern divination is firmly rooted in religion, since all ominous signs were thought to have been sent by gods, and the invocation of ominous signs was embedded in rituals. Still, the omen compendia display many aspects of a generally scientific nature. In their attempt to note all possible changes to the affected objects and to arrange their observations systematically for reference purposes, the scholars produced texts that resulted in a rather detailed description of the world, be it with respect to geography (the urban or rural environment on earth, or celestial and meteorological phenomena observed in the sky), biology (the outer appearance of the bodies of humans or animals, or the entrails of sheep), sociology (behaviour of people) or others. Based on different divination methods and omen compendia, the questions to be discussed during this workshop is whether the scholars had a scientific approach presented under the mask of religion, or whether the Ancient Near Eastern divination should be considered purely religious, and that the term ‘science’ is inappropriate in this context.
V. Patients and Patronage: At the Intersection of the Mesopotamian Technical Disciplines and Their Clients
Organizer: J. Cale Johnson (Freie Universität Berlin, The BabMed Project)
The BabMed panel this year, entitled "Patients and Patronage,” will focus on the interaction between technical disciplines such as medicine and astronomy and their clients and patrons, in particular the way in which the concrete activities of these technical disciplines affected perceptions of fortune and misfortune in their individual lives. This is the second in an on-going series of panels on technical literature in the ancient Near East and welcomes both contributions dealing with cuneiform sources as well as papers on the later history of these materials in the Semitic or Slavic languages.
VI. Beyond Hierarchies: Heterarchy and Gender
Organizers: Agnès Garcia-Ventura (University Autònoma de Barcelona), Saana Svärd (University of Helsinki)
It is useful to research social relationships from the perspective of how elements were ordered from top to bottom or from bottom to top, i. e. hierarchically. However, alternative ways of conceptualizing relations between elements leads to alternative and more complex interpretations. In this respect the application of the concept of heterarchy to archaeological source material as well as to ancient texts is fruitful. Carole Crumley defined the term as follows: “heterarchy may be defined as the relation of elements to one another when they are unranked or when they possess the potential for being ranked in a number of different ways” (Crumley 1995, 3). Therefore, the aim of this workshop is to discuss a specific conceptual approach, “heterarchy”, within the framework of gender and ancient near eastern studies.
A recent excellent discussion on the topic of gender and heterarchy from an archaeological perspective is found in Janet E. Levy’s paper “Gender, Heterarchy and Hierarchy” (2006). An assyriological example would be Saana Svärd’s article “Women, Power and Heterarchy in the Neo-Assyrian Palaces” (2012).
For this workshop we invite papers that reflect on the concept “heterarchy” as a potentially fruitful category of analysis for studying gender in the ancient Near East. For example, how do heterarchical relationships manifest between gender and other categories such as age, status and ethnicity? Or: by analyzing sexual division of labor with the help of the concept “heterarchy”, do we gain a different interpretation on the topic?
We ask those interested in the topic to send us a short abstract (maximum 300 words) before 15th February 2014. Acceptance for the workshop will be delivered by end of February. Please note that all expenses for the conference will have to be covered by the participants. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information.
VII. Beyond Military: Fortifications and Territorial Policies in the Ancient Near East
Organizers: Simone Bonzano (Freie Universität, Berlin), Nathan Morello (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München), Cinzia Pappi (Universität Leipzig)
Fortifications in the Ancient Near East are closely connected to the creation and maintenance of territorial and political control. Embedded in their regional contexts, they represent geographic, economic, and socio-political nodes which thus fulfill a diversity of functions beyond the strictly military. These are reflected in different fortification strategies, including the placement of fortresses or other fortified settlements, their types, functions, and networking, which mold the social systems of regional and local frontiers.
Recent archaeological and epigraphic investigations in Iraq, Turkey and the Levant have focused on the historical borderlands of ancient Near Eastern imperial powers and yielded new historical data. At the same time, developments in both socio-economic approaches and computer-aided models of landscape analysis have placed the nature of frontiers, vassal states, and buffer zones in a new light.
The aim of this workshop is to discuss the epigraphic and archaeological data on historical developments of fortification strategies in Assyria, Babylonia, Anatolia, and the Levant between the Late Bronze and Iron Ages.
The main topics which should be included in the discussion are:
1. Fortification patterns and strategies;
2. Regional and historical developments;
3. Economic and social embeddedness of fortifications;
4. The maintenance and legitimation of power;
5. The creation of political identities and local autonomies.
Specific attention will be given to the areas along the Assyrian borders, though contributions on other areas of the Ancient Near East are welcome. The workshop is open to archaeological, historical and philological papers.
VIII. The Reign of Esarhaddon
Organizers: Andrew Knapp (Eisenbrauns), Amitai Baruchi-Unna (Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
Despite reigning just over a decade, Esarhaddon has been the subject of a vast amount of scholarship. His tumultuous rise to power, his alleged paranoia, his focus on expanding into Egypt, and more aspects of his reign continue to fuel debate about the nature of his reign. This workshop is broadly dedicated to Esarhaddon and will accept papers on any aspect of this enigmatic figure and Assyria during his rule.
IX. In memoriam Pierre Bordreuil
Organizer: Valérie Matoïan & Michel Al-Maqdissi (Mission archéologique syro-française de Ras Shamra - Ougarit)