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Archaeological Field Work in Egypt After the Revolution

By: James K. Hoffmeier, Trinity International University  On January 25, 2011 the Egyptian revolution that toppled the thirty-year dictatorial reign of Hosni Mubarak began. On February 11th, Mubarak resigned. While the political news gripped much of the world, reports of some looting in the Cairo museum surprised everyone. Though limited in scope, security was quickly […]

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A Toast to Our Fermented Past: Case Studies in the Experimental Archaeology of Alcoholic Beverages

By: Kevin M. Cullen  Archaeologists and historians are constantly in pursuit of the tangible human past, whether it is in the form of material culture or primary written sources.  This direct evidence of the past can still leave us disconnected from the full context in which the technology or writings were employed.  Therefore, one exciting […]

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The Big Dig Video Roundup

Sites and Finds Deep Time at Tall Hisban, Jordan In Focus: Abel Beth Maacah (more…)

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Archaeology in Lebanon Today: Its Politics and Its Problems

By: Hélène Sader Lebanon has a long and very rich past, but in spite of the country’s wealth of ancient settlements, compared to neighboring countries archaeological research is far behind. While in the last decades archaeological research has greatly enhanced our understanding of Syria’s, Jordan’s, and Palestine’s past, Lebanon appears to be lagging behind and […]

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Sustainability at Any Price is not Sustainable: Open Access and Archaeology

By: Eric Kansa, UC Berkeley and OpenContext.org This blog post looks at the open access debate, and notes how sustainability is as much of an ideological and political question as it is a financial issue. It is intended to follow up on previous blog posts (first, second, third) that discuss how the Aaron Swartz prosecution […]

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Ten Years after Iraq: Archaeology, Archaeologists, and U.S. Foreign Relations

By: Morag M. Kersel and Christina Luke Ten years ago, in April of 2003, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq. This quickly toppled the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein but also resulted in the loss of life, local unrest, displacement, and the ransacking of cultural institutions, archives, libraries, and the national museum […]

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Archaeology after the Arab Spring

By: Jesse Casana The transformative political events in the Middle East over the past two years have had, among many other unexpected outcomes, profound effects on the direction of research in Near Eastern archaeology.  War and civil unrest act as both a carrot and a stick, forcing the cessation of fieldwork in some areas, while […]

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Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Egypt after Mubarak

By: Greg Williams Egypt’s January 25th revolution was originally seen as part of the larger “Arab Spring” across the Middle East where old political regimes were overthrown by popular protests and replaced by representative democracies. But on January 28th 2011, as chaos reigned in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, reports began circulating around the globe claiming that […]

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ASOR and Archaeological Ethics

By: Lynn Swartz Dodd “There is a tendency at every important but difficult crossroad to pretend that it’s not really there.” —Bill McKibben What should American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) members do if new Dead Sea Scrolls are found? What if our country’s military actions increase uncontrolled looting of ancient sites? Or if war […]

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Using Inscriptions from the Antiquities Market: Polarized Positions and Pragmatic Proposals

By: Christopher A. Rollston Archaeological sites in the Middle East have been ransacked, pillaged, and plundered for many decades. The motivations of the actual pillaging are normally economic: the pursuit of marketable artifacts. That is, the pillagers wish to find objects that can be sold to collectors. Of course, the motivations of the collectors who […]

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The Dilemma of Denial: Scholarly Publication Policies and the Illusion of Power

By: Jonathan Rosenbaum President Emeritus, Gratz College For generations, academic journals have been deemed the appropriate venue for the initial publication of ancient inscriptions and artifacts. Nevertheless, last fall, the New York Times became the source of an editio princeps when it announced the discovery of a “faded papyrus fragment” that seemed to be “first […]

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Wil Gafney: History Channel’s Satan and President Obama

By: Wil Gafney, Associate Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. This entry is reblogged from Dr. Wil Gafney’s blog. You can find the original entry here and Dr. Gafney’s other posts on The Bible series here. Many viewers of the History Channel’s Bible mini-series saw and see a resemblance between the character […]

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The Cultural Afterlife of Mosaics in Turkey

By: Laurent Dissard, University of Pennsylvania Sensational discoveries of mosaics periodically make the headlines of newspapers in Turkey. After being discovered, unearthed, cleaned, and removed, these ancient floors slowly make their way to museums or private collections. For this month’s ASOR Blog on the Archaeology of Anatolia, I wish to examine the curious afterlife of mosaics […]

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Cultural Heritage Month Comes to an End

We have had a successful October here, with a great range of posts on cultural heritage projects, the idea of heritage itself, and current problems in the field. If you haven’t read them all already make sure you do. Check out the list of posts below with brief summaries of each. November 14-17 will be […]

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The Terms of Heritage

By: Kathryn McDonnell Specialized terminology, such as stake holders, the “universal museum,” provenance, or even the phrases, “cultural property” or “cultural heritage,” is often used during discussions between law enforcement professionals, such as Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in the US or the Carabinieri in Italy, diplomats (ICOMOS), lawyers, and scholars, including archaeologists. Although these terms […]

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Contested Heritage and the New Museum(s) in Diyarbakır

By: Laurent Dissard The southeastern provinces of Turkey will soon be home to a series of new, state-of-the-art, archaeology museums. Such buildings are being (or have already been) planned, constructed, remodeled, or expanded. The Gaziantep Museum, for instance, houses many of the Roman mosaics of Zeugma unearthed before the construction of the Birecik Dam. Other […]

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Outrage and the Plight of Cultural Heritage: an Outsider’s Perspective

By: Elena Corbett While this blog post is addressed to ASOR’s archaeological community, I am not an archaeologist, nor do I specialize in the ancient.  And I find the “oriental” in ASOR cringe-worthy.  After getting a Master’s in Islamic Archaeology, I went to the dark side–modern Middle East history.  It’s a better place for people […]

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The Future of Our Past: New Technologies for New Audiences

By: Catherine Foster and Brian Brown  Certain images from the ancient past stand out in popular imagination: the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon,” Moses, David, Goliath and other characters from the Hebrew bible, and the Persian conflict with the Greeks, to name just a few.  But as any specialist knows, there is much more to the […]

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A builders’ heritage at Umm el-Jimal

EnglishEnglishFrenchPowered by TranslateBy: Bert de Vries (Calvin College) and Muaffaq Hazza (Umm el-Jimal) In 2012 the Umm el-Jimal (UJ) Project received a grant from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) to engage in preservation and presentation of House XVII/XVIII, the very large Byzantine/Umayyad House famous for its fourth-floor level double windows (Photo 1). The […]

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From Destruction to Archaeology: the significance of “Operation Anchor” for the Cultural Heritage of Jaffa.

By: Martin Peilstöcker  During spring 1936 the nationalistic uprising of the Palestinian Arab population against Mandatory British rule and Jewish mass immigration became more and more violent. A strike was declared on Jaffa port, in those days still one of most important harbors of Palestine. Groups of Palestinians left the narrow alleys of the Old […]

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