Texts, Archaeology and Science. Material Investigations of the Amarna Tablets and other Ancient Near Eastern Texts Unveiling Levantine Egyptian Interactions – Yuval Goren
Ever since their discovery, the Amarna tablets have supplied significant information about the political and cultural interactions between Egypt and the Near East during the New Kingdom period. The archaeological as well as the historical data point to the existence of an Egyptian administrative system in Canaan, controlling the satellite city-states, which maintained a limited degree of autonomy. However, the texts contain numerous tablets whose origin is unknown: letters sometimes do not contain the name of the sender, other times the letterhead is partly or entirely missing. Worst of all, the location of some ancient Near Eastern countries and cities has not yet been clearly established. The application of scientific techniques to the study of archaeological materials is an increasingly important dimension of archaeological research. Using suitable analytical methods, it is possible to uncover patterns associated with the selection and provenance of raw materials, the manufacturing processes and applied technologies behind archaeological objects, the technical knowledge of past makers, the direction and pattern of past trade and exchange systems and the persistence of particular cultural traditions and interactions. The lecture will present the results of an ongoing research project, which aims at using such scientific tools in order to “decode” the secrets of the Amarna archive and other major ancient Near Eastern archives and texts.
Yuval Goren is Professor of Archaeology at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev since 2016. In 1992 he received his PhD at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and worked for several years as Head of the petrographic Laboratory at the Israel Antiquities Authority. In Tel Aviv University he served as the Head of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures and as Vice Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. Goren was the initiator and head of the graduate program in Archaeology and Archaeomterials and the Laboratory for Comparative Microarchaeology at Tel Aviv University. In the Ben Gurion University of the Negev he established the Track for Archaeomaterials and Conservation Sciences (TACS), now part of the European Erasmus Mundus and MSCA-ITN ARCHMAT PhD consortia and the formal group leader of Israel in the COST-SAGA project. His research focuses on early technology and provenance of ceramics, plasters and metallurgy, using mineralogical, structural and geochemical methods. Goren directed archaeological excavations of Chalcolithic sites in the Western Negev desert of Israel and the 1st millennium BC city at Tel Sochoh. Since 2019 he co-directs the renewed excavations at the Chalcolithic shrine at Ein Gedi in the Judean Desert.
The conference will be held in English and will be introduced by Christian Greco, Director of the Museo Egizio.
The event will be broadcast via streaming on the Museum's Facebook page and Youtube channel.