Mind the Gap - Call for Papers
Research into the ancient Near East (including Egypt within the conference remit) has a rich and extensive history. Investigations into the periods spanning and preceding the emergence of agriculture, to those long after the establishment of complex urban societies, have provided insights into many key transitions in human society.
However, the term ‘ancient Near East’, and the research within, appear at moments to lack consistency. Boundaries between periods, areas, and sub-disciplines retain a disproportionate focus in scholarly research, therefore inhibting a comprehensive understanding of ancient Near Eastern societies. Bridging these gaps within the research of the ancient Near East represents a new frontier to be conquered.
While much effort has gone into establishing long-term chronologies, some periods remain poorly studied, with the transitional periods between them lacking adequate research. Similarly, a clear understanding of the area known as the Near East is complicated by vagaries surrounding its geographic boundaries.
Although the region has existed throughout time within a wider network of connectivity, it is often discussed as if isolated from its neighbouring regions. In addition, 20th-century borders are frequently projected onto the past, effectively segregating regions which were deeply connected.
Working in the Near East has itself become increasingly complicated due to modern geopolitical issues, rendering certain areas inaccessible for fieldwork and datasets for research. These issues result in significant research biases which greatly affect our understanding of the past.
Partitioning is also observed between the various sub-disciplines of Near Eastern studies, which include textual, biological, material, and digital studies. Although these approaches have undeniable potential to complement each other, there is still extensive progress to be made.
Comprehensive studies integrating various lines of evidence within single interpretive frameworks have great potential, and are proving to be invaluable in advancing the discipline. Likewise, new opportunities arise in the wealth of (excavation) data accumulated over the decades, and which is still accessible in our archives and museum collections.
We would like to encourage contributions to BANEA 2019 to cross the boundaries mentioned above, and as such make an attempt to stop ‘minding the gap’ and bridge these gaps more effectively. We welcome lectures and posters on these themes and session/workshop proposals on additional themes.
Proposed sessions/workshops to date:
- Domestic/settlement archaeology
- Working with old data sets
- Bronze Age Syria
- The origins of sedentism
- Epipalaeolithic Near East
- Archaeological traditions, borders and gaps
- Screening and panel discussion of documentaries relating to destruction of cultural heritage in the Near East
- Sumerian beer tasting
Please submit expressions of interest to BANEA19@liverpool.ac.uk