The American School of Oriental Research (ASOR) hosts a conference once a year where Near Eastern Archaeologists can come together to share recent research and learn about the new and exciting strides that are being made in the field. This year the conference occurred from November 15th-18th in Boston, Massachusetts. The conference was attended by MSU’s Dr. James Hardin and Dr. Joe Seger, as well as four graduate students, including Lydia Buckner, Dylan Karges, Kara Larson, and Erika Neimann. ASOR was opened by a plenary address by Irene J. Winter, followed with a reception on Wednesday night. Thursday through Saturday hosted a number of panels and sessions focused on a variety of archaeological subjects in the Near Eastern region.
Lydia Buckner, along with University of Wisconsin PhD candidate and fellow Tell el-Hesi member, Geoffrey Ludvik, organized and co-chaired a session entitled, “Border Dynamics in the Tenth Century B.C.E. Levant: A Junior Scholars’ Panel”. The panel was designed to address recent research by graduate students into strategies of border administration and inter-cultural interaction in the Early Iron Age of the Levant. The papers focused on key sites and discoveries in ancient Israel, Judah, and the Transjordan. Lydia presented the opening and closing remarks for the panel, which took place on Thursday afternoon.
Erika Neimann presented a poster, co-authored with recent MSU Master’s graduate, Billy Wilemon, entitled, “PRXF and Vessel Form Analysis” during the Projects on Parade session on Saturday. The poster explored if portable X-ray Fluorescence (PXRF) can be used in archaeological analysis as a tool to identify whole vessel forms of pottery sherds based on similarities among elemental compositions in the Iron II stratum at Tel Halif. The research analyzed if different ceramic forms used specific clays or pastes, indicated a level of informed decision making toward clays for particular types of vessels.
On Saturday afternoon, Kara Larson was invited to attend the Eurasian Archaeology Isotope Research Group meeting to discuss future avenues for isotopic research in the field. Furthermore, all four of the graduate students, along with Dr. James Hardin, attended the Tell el-Hesi Board and Publications Committee meeting to establish future endeavors for the Tell el-Hesi project. Following the meeting, the graduate students attended the conference reception held at the Semitic Museum at Harvard University. The students were able to view the artifacts on display, and were especially excited by the Iron Age reconstruction of an ancient Israel household.
The conference was highly successful and allowed MSU’s attending faculty and students to make connections in their academic field, as well as invigorate their passion for Near Eastern Archaeology. Everyone is excited to bring back the information that was gained during the course of the conference and apply it to their own research projects and course work.
By Kara Larson