Two D.C.-Area Archaeology Events

The Washington, D.C.-area Biblical Archaeology Society of Northern Virginia (BASONOVA) and Biblical Archaeology Forum (BAF) will host the lecture “The Lives (and Deaths) of Mesopotamian Monuments” (January 6) and the lecture “The Temple and the Economic Life of Ancient Israel” (January 10) this month. Not in the D.C. area? The Biblical Archaeology Society offers a wide range of travel/study programs in the United States and across the globe.

akkad-headOn Wednesday, January 6, 2016, Dr. Marian Feldman, Professor of art and archaeology of the Ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean at Johns Hopkins University, will deliver the lecture “The Lives (and Deaths) of Mesopotamian Monuments.”

Ancient Mesopotamians regarded crafted representations of divine and human figures as having a life-force such as humans possess. These images were “born” through ritual activities, “lived” through both nurturing and tumultuous encounters, and “died” in a variety of ways. Through marks made on the objects themselves and relevant textual evidence, this illustrated lecture will trace the milestones of some of these objects. For example, statues of worshippers set up in temples carry inscriptions exhorting the figure to pray continuously. Given such significance, it is no wonder the figures received careful burial at the end of their “life” or were violently smashed when their temples were destroyed by invaders. The “life” stories of two ancient Mesopotamian objects in particular will be followed: that of the victory stele of the Akkadian ruler Naram-Sin (c. 2350 B.C.E.) and a life-size copper head of a ruler from the same period. Their stories can be traced from the third millennium B.C.E. up to recent events in Iraq, including the 2003 looting of the Baghdad Museum and, indirectly, the current threat to cultural property in Iraq and Syria.

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The free eBook Life in the Ancient World guides you through craft centers in ancient Jerusalem, family structure across Israel and ancient practices—from dining to makeup—throughout the Mediterranean world.

temple-stevensOn Sunday, January 10, 2016, Rev. Dr. Marty Stevens, Associate Professor in The Arthur L. Larson position of Stewardship and Parish Ministry and Registrar at Gettysburg Seminary, will deliver the lecture “The Temple and the Economic Life of Ancient Israel.”

The worship of God in ancient Israel was directly connected to politics, economics and sociology. In these respects, the Jerusalem Temples during the monarchy and Persian periods likely followed the temples of other nations in the Ancient Near East, especially Mesopotamian temples from the seventh to fifth centuries B.C.E. Rev. Dr. Stevens will illustrate how the Temples sometimes functioned as a community welfare agency where orphans worked in the temple precincts in return for food, clothing and shelter. The Temple officials also made loans of its surplus commodities, especially silver and wheat, and collected taxes from the people for the royal household. Those who manned the Temple gates and the Temple scribes may also have been accountants. This lecture will shine a light on how the Temples participated in, and contributed to, the economic life of ancient Israel.

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Not in the D.C. area? The Biblical Archaeology Society offers a wide range of travel/study programs in the United States and across the globe.


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