Evidences (both Archaeological and Textual) for Long-Distance Trade Networks and Weighted Cross-Cultural Interaction in the Near Eastern Bronze Age (1950-1750 BCE)

Lecture | February 21 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)

 Adam Anderson, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley Digital Humanities

 Archaeological Research Facility

Archaeology in the Middle East or Near East has a long and illustrious history, with more than 150 years of scholarship. From the 1840s onward western archaeologists like Sir Austen Henry Layard made early discoveries of textual artifacts in the heart of Mesopotamia, and awoke a deep curiosity in deciphering the beginnings of human history. Unfortunately, these discoveries inadvertently incentivized a significant amount of looting in the area, resulting in thousands of unprovenanced artifacts. One peripheral Bronze Age site at Kültepe, Turkey, yielded more than 5,000 unprovenanced “Cappadocian” tablets, which were sold in bazaars and collected by western museums. After decades of textual scholarship, my work has focused on situating these texts in a reconstructed social setting, which can be analyzed and described using network analysis. The great question we will pursue is how we get from the holes in the ground and the lumps of clay to the society and the people of the distant past - “a presumptuous journey, it would seem.” (Mogens Larsen, Ancient Kanesh 2015, 4)