For the second time this year, hopes for a sabbatical to work on the final report about the NIP have yielded to the needs of students. A second faculty search has failed, and so I will be in the classroom this spring teaching about the Bible, interpretation, and the story of Jesus, rather than publishing archaeological research about early Christianity. Although I am disappointed, my students always come first. I am sprinting to be ready for classes beginning 13 January. Archaeological remains were in the ground for centuries. The final report will come in less time.
My final session at #ASOR2019 looked at archaeology in the Late Antique period. A careful study of signatures on mosaics showed a shift from the Roman period when most work was done in domestic circumstances to the Late Antique period when most work was done in churches and synagogues. In the later case signatures are less for advertising and instead show that the mosaicists became valued members of the community. A second study of red slip shows shifts in usage that are helpful for dating (e.g., the rise of PRS). Lastly, a paper shows construction inspired by Hadrian was significant following his visit to the east is 129/130 and imitated Hadrian’s methodology in reconstructing Antioch and Apamea following the earthquake of 115. Builders were not just inspired by Hadrian’s visit but also by his own methods.
Friday at #ASOR2019 was again a fascinating day. As I am about to prepare a final report on the NIP in digital format, I started the day with a session on Best Practices in Digital Publishing. Publishing of 3D materials is still a challenge. But I learned a lot more about Open Access publishing, ORCID, and the problems with Academia.edu (surveillance capitalism). The next session focussed on the archaeology of Israel, specifically Galilee in the Roman period with report on mosaics (241T per square decimeter) and coins (Hasmonean concentrations in the west) at Magdala. But most fascinating was the discussion to two sites (Einot Amitai and Reine) that were used for the production of stoneware vessels for Jewish communities. In particular, I learned more about the use of a lathe in the productions of bowls and mugs. The final session of the day looked at classical archaeology: the Roman bust of Alexander at Scythopolis (dated to 2nd/3rd CE!), Roman domestic cult practice in rural Judea, and the use of urban dwelling architecture to display status in Roman Palestine. Got some good descriptors for the House of Tyche from that paper. What a day! #WeAreCSP
Afternoon sessions of Thursday (#ASOR2019) covered a range of topics. I found helpful the methodology and use of GIS mapping to identify locations prone to malaria in eastern Turkey, on the assumption that the avoidance of those areas by Paul on his second journey had to do with his own experience with malaria. I was less convinced by a paper that argued Eutychus fell from the window on the fourth floor of an apartment insulate at Troas, as no such structures have been found in the Greek east (only at Ostia and Rome). Above is a poster showing a technique of digital construction on top of a model produced with photogrammetry. This approach might be helpful in the final report on the NIP at Hippos. #WeAreCSP
I spent the morning listening to lectures about Jerusalem (#ASOR2019). Along with esoterica about swine bones, I found most fascinating discussions of the tower at the Gihon spring and the eastern “walls” of the city — not fortifications but terraces for wealthy homes. Jerusalem was unwalled until later in the Iron period. Hezekiah was responsible for tunnel 2, not the larger tunnel 8 often attributed to him. That latter tunnel was from the prosperous period under Manasseh and watered royal gardens. And Persian Jerusalem was tiny with hovels built into the ruins of the Babylonian destruction. The Persian and Hellenistic Jerusalem of literary sources was aspirational rather than actual. Good stuff requiring some rethinking. #WeAreCSP