Brown Bag talks are held Thursdays from 12:00-12:50 pm in Rhode Island Hall 108. These talks are free and open to the public. The schedule for the Spring 2023 semester is below.
February 16, 2023: Celebrating 2023 Anthropology Day
February 23, 2023: Morgan Clark (Department of Anthropology, Brown University) “True Stories” and Narrative Control: Speech and Image in Classic Maya Mythohistory
March 16, 2023: Cicek Beeby (Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Brown University) Parodies of Sexual Violence in Art and Media: A Parallel Study of Ancient Greece and Modern Turkey
March 23, 2023: Ana Gonzalez San Martin (Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Brown University) The Hammer and the Sickle: Tracing the Landscape of Labor Organization in Prehistoric Cyprus
April 6, 2023: Leah Neiman (Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Brown University) Translating Clitoral Pain in the Kahun Papyrus and What Medicine Doesn’t Have To Say About It
April 13, 2023: Elizabeth Davis (Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Brown University) Lived Religion and the Making of Early Christian Identity in Late Antique Asia Minor
April 20, 2023: Gerasimoula (Mina) Nikolovieni (Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Brown University) Reading Textile Traces of Modern Greece
May 4, 2023: M. Elizabeth Gravalos(Department of Anthropology, Brown University and Postdoctoral Scientist in the Negaunee Integrative Research Center at the Field Museum) Casma Statecraft? Examining Politics and Pottery Production on Peru’s North Coast, ca. 1000-1450 CE
Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
Abstract deadline: 31 January 2023
Mediterranean Archaeology sits at an often complex intersection of the fields of Archaeology, Classics, Anthropology, History, and Art History. While several of these fields, in particular Classics and Anthropology have begun periods of significant critical self-reflection that explicitly question their present and future, Mediterranean Archaeology is doing so in a more fragmented manner. This lack of coherence may perhaps be ascribed to institutional fragmentation, in particular in US academia, but it can also be traced to its intricate location at the intersection of multiple academic traditions. As a result, Mediterranean archaeology has struggled to identify its own priorities and find its own voice for challenging traditional narratives and approaches and, as a result, risks being subsumed by adjacent disciplines with louder voices, despite many possible valuable contributions.
In light of these challenges, and especially considering the rapid pace of developments in archaeological methods and theory, the time is ripe to consider both the state of our field at this moment in time and to discuss where it can and should go in the future. Nearly every facet of Mediterranean Archaeology may be questioned and, indeed, we must do so in order to guarantee the continued relevance of our subject in both the ancient and modern worlds.
Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World will host a conference titled State of the Field 2023: Archaeologies of the Mediterraneanon April 14-15, 2023. This meeting builds on a tradition of ‘State of the Field’ workshops hosted by the Joukowsky Institute since 2011 that reflect upon current trends in archaeological practice. This year’s conference discusses the place of Mediterranean Archaeology in the modern world in North America, Europe and the Mediterranean. We intend to examine academic traditions and assumptions as well as contemporary institutional and political structures that frame our theoretical and methodological engagement with the material culture of the ancient Mediterranean and adjacent regions in order to ensure that the field maintains relevance into the future.
We invite submissions for papers of approximately 20 minutes by sending an abstract of no more than 350 words to [email protected] by 31 January 2023. We will cover travel expenses and accommodation for speakers, and especially encourage submissions from early-career researchers.
Suggested themes can include, but are not limited to:
● Diversity – How has the field fared in diversifying its participants at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty levels? This can include topics of gender, class, race and any other background. Have we succeeded in teaching and researching more diverse subjects that better account for ancient realities? What remains to be done?
● Definitions – How do we define our field of study? What is its geography, chronology, and cultural scope? What subjects should we include, and what theories and methods should be used? How do we fit into current academic and university structures? Why does US academia not have Archaeology departments anymore? What are the consequences of this departmental division and what can we do about it? What do we have in common with other fields, and what is unique about our own?
● Relationships – How do we relate to non-academic structures, especially State-run or commercial (i.e., rescue or preventative) archaeology? What role do foreign schools and institutions serve in forming these relationships? How do we engage responsibly with local communities in the places where we conduct fieldwork?
● Historiography – How have the last two centuries (or more) of archaeological practice shaped the modern field, and should they be maintained or discarded? Have we done enough to examine and change the colonial foundations of the discipline? What can we do better?
● Responsibilities – How do we communicate the significance of our field to the public, both at home and abroad? What role does public archaeology play in our field? How has pedagogy changed, and how might it change further? What role do museums and archaeological parks play in our public relationships? How should items and exhibits be displayed?
● Narratives – How has our field shaped knowledge of the past? Are current practices changing narratives? What existing narratives remain to be challenged?
Object Number: 185 Object Title: Ceramic cup Object Type: cup (drinking vessels) Material: ceramic (material)
This light brown, buff colored vessel with dark brown geometric designs may seem fairly innocuous at first glance. However, its production, shape, and decoration are all tied to dramatic shifts in trade and exchange in the Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1650-1050 BCE).
The Late Bronze Age Mediterranean, particularly the eastern Mediterranean, was characterized by heightened amounts of contact between different regions. The Hittite and Egyptian empires were vying for control of the Levant – the western coast of the Middle East. Archives excavated at the Egyptian site of El-Amarna (founded by the one and only Akhenaten) and the key trade center of Ugarit (located in modern Syria) have produced a staggering amount of letters exchanged between the rulers in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, the Levant, and, most importantly within this discussion, Cyprus. These correspondences demonstrate a network of “kingly exchange” where rulers send gifts with the expectation of receiving something in return.
This pan-Mediterranean contact was not just limited to a brotherhood of kings. The Uluburun shipwreck, found off the coast of southern Turkey, provides evidence for the more mundane side of these trade networks. The ship contained hundreds of amphorae, demonstrating its vast storage capacity, as well as other trade goods including drinking vessels and copper ingots originating from the island of Cyprus (Hirshfeld 2008).
So how does this little drinking cup fit into these grand trade networks? The vessel can be identified as a typical White Slip II ware, commonly referred to as a “milk bowl” due to its light, almost-white slip. These bowls or cups were produced in Cyprus during the Late Bronze Age, but their presence is found throughout the Mediterranean, from sites in the Levant like Megiddo (Clark 2018: 75-78), to those in Sardinia like Nuraghe Antigori (Vagnetti 2001: 78), as well as in the North Sinai and Egypt (Bergoffen 1991).
One of the key commodities during the Late Bronze Age was, as the name of the period might suggest, bronze. Bronze is not a naturally-occuring metal, and instead is produced through combining copper and tin. Cyprus was a key tradestop during the Late Bronze Age due to its copper-rich mines, and letters to the king of Egypt as well as archaeological evidence from shipwrecks provide solid evidence for the high demand of Cypriot copper.
Of course, materials don’t just travel by themselves. Traders and sailors traveled throughout the Mediterranean and brought small objects along with them, including small drinking vessels like the one in our Vault Collection. Cypriot traders could bring these items with them and exchange them for other goods, and it is likely through this that a demand for White Slip II bowls grew and grew. In fact, they seem to have been more popular outside of the island; scholars have argued that external demand, particularly in the Levant, drove the production of milk bowls in Cyprus.
While this little cup with a fun wishbone handle seems like a simple, everyday object, the wider context of the importance of trade and Cyprus during the Late Bronze Age demonstrates that even mass-produced, less valuable artifacts can hold huge importance.
More examples for Cypriot White Slip Wares:
Bergoffen, C. J. (1991). Overland trade in Northern Sinai: the evidence of the Late Cypriot pottery. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 284(1), 59-76.
Clark, B. A. (2018). Trade in Middle and Late Bronze Age Transition at Megiddo: A Study of Imported Cypriot Pottery. Master’s Thesis. University of Haifa.
Hirschfeld, N. (2008). Cypriot pottery. In J. Aruz, K. Benzel, & J. M. Evans (Eds.), Beyond Babylon: Art, trade, and diplomacy in the second millennium B.C. (pp. 321-323). Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Vagnetti, L. (2001). Some Observations on Late Cypriot Pottery from the Central Mediterranean. In L. Bonfante & V. Karageorghis (Eds.), Italy and Cyprus in Antiquity 1500-450 BC (pp. 77-96). Department of Antiquities Cyprus, Nicosia.
In addition to the activities happen on Brown campus for Community Archaeology Day, we are also opening our excavations on Moses Brown campus to the public on October 22, 2022 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Join us to experience archaeological excavation first hand!
Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
Abstract Deadline: December 15, 2019
The Levant, a loosely defined region
encompassing the modern countries of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine,
and Cyprus, is rich in archaeology and history. The region has been central to
the discipline of archaeology since the nineteenth century, and arguably even
earlier. A long history of colonial rule, political and religious differences,
academic specializations and passions, stark financial inequalities and war
continue to inform and limit dialogue not only among local and foreign
archaeologists working there, but also among scholars, local communities,
government officials, and other stakeholders.
Aware of the ancient and modern importance of the region, the peculiar challenges it poses, the possibilities for collaboration, and the need for creative perspectives, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University will host State of the Field 2020: Archaeology of the Levant on March 13-14, 2020. The event is part of the Joukowsky Institute’s “State of the Field” conference series, a yearly meeting which aims to highlight and reflect upon specific thematic or regional archaeological topics within a community of scholars whose research engages with those topics.
State of the Field 2020: Archaeology of the
Levant will be dedicated to
addressing the unique aspects of the Levant through a series of invited papers
and presentations, aimed to foster constructive discussion of current and
future directions for archaeology in the region. Topics of particular interest
critical trends, and lacunae in archaeological research in any part of the
Levant, or in the region as a whole
Museum, archival studies,
and other investigations that rely primarily on archaeological legacy data
The effects of colonial
rule, modern geopolitics, fluctuating national boundaries, war, and migration,
among many other factors regarding the practice and interpretations of archaeological
work in the region
To expand the conversation beyond conventional
academic papers, the Joukowsky Institute now invites contributions – particularly
from early-career scholars – that touch on the themes of the conference and
highlight new and innovative approaches to the study of the Levant. We welcome
proposals for traditional conference posters, as well as less traditional projects,
such as short films, artwork, podcasts, multi-media installations, or other
forms that engage with the themes of the conference in thoughtful and
Accepted posters and projects will be exhibited
throughout the duration of the meeting and will be presented during a dedicated
time slot shortly before the Friday-night reception. Contributors are
encouraged, though not required, to attend and participate actively in the full
conference and will be provided with lunch on Saturday, but will be responsible
for their own travel and accommodation costs.
To submit a proposal for a poster or project,
please send an abstract of 250 words or less to [email protected]
by December 15, 2019. For questions about this Call for Projects, or
about the conference, please see our conference website, brown.edu/go/sotf2020, or email [email protected].