Introduction to Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology covers what is known about the cultures of the ancient Near East, from 10,000 BCE until 333 BCE. The course will be a chronological overview, including the areas of Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), Egypt, the Levant (modern day Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon), Anatolia (modern day Turkey) and Persia (modern day Iran). The course will also delve into the importance of geography in the ancient Near Eastern landscape, and how this affects what we know and what we cannot know about these ancient civilizations.
As an introduction to the archaeology of the ancient Near East, this course does not seek to cover all possible topics, but rather is a look at the significant cultural developments in the ancient Near East over this long time period. This includes the earliest year round settlements, the emergence of domesticated plants and animals, the invention of metallurgy, the first fortified cities and the rise of complex societies, the first empires and their effects on the rest of the ancient Near East, the rise of long distance trade and an “International Style,” and finally, the arrival of large empires. The purpose of the course is to familiarize the students with the current state of archaeological understanding of the ancient Near East, and the major topics studied in this discipline.
The class will be given through live, recorded lectures, via Zoom.