Our goal for the NEH Summer Institute is to promote effective links among teachers, archaeological research and the cultures of the ancient Near East by bringing together world renowned archaeologists from North America to present the latest findings and thoughts on issues critical for understanding the history, geography, and religions of the Middle East. We want to reinvigorate you by putting ancient artifacts into your hands and offering new data. In our the weekly schedule, you can see details of our program.
Daily lectures and seminars will address how archaeologists work in the field, how artifacts are treated and interpreted, and how history is written. You will learn to evaluate the reconstruction of history presented in the literature. Hands-on activities at the Horn Archaeological Museum at Andrews University will allow you to touch the past while contemplating how to bring history alive for your students of the future.
Presentations by leading scholars will focus on the interplay between environmental and human factors in an area where early agrarian societies and the shift to sedentism occurred on the periphery of the major river valley cultures. It is a region that includes notable societies of the ancient Near East, known largely from texts as well as from the excavations of urban centers. In contrast, less is understood about the smaller towns and settlements in rural areas and the connections among sites of different categories, dimensions and functions.
MADABA PLAINS PROJECT (MPP)Since 1968, the MPP has systematically surveyed and excavated sites of all types in central Jordan specifically to learn about the relationships among them. The Kings' Highway, a major artery in antiquity, passed close to Tall al-`Umayri, which marks one of the few permanent fresh water sources in the region. It is an ideal area to investigate the rise of civilization, complex societies, and trade routes. Who better to guide a tour of the settlement than the archaeologists currently excavating the site!
We can examine the changing relationship and interaction between town and hinterland over the past 5000 years. At times, small rural settlements dotted the landscape in contrast to phases when they became less prominent. It is this ebb and flow that fosters a more realistic perspective of life in antiquity rather than a reliance on urban centers or written sources. In addition, from this corner of the Middle East, we can investigate cultural diffusion in a region peripheral yet vital to the Mediterranean world.
Join us to assess, compare and integrate epigraphic and non-written data to address issues such as migration and diffusion theory, environmental impact, social change, and differentiate between historical facts and interpretations.
return to the home page of Gloria London
return to the NEH/TUTI home page