11th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East

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Workshop Kopeztsky/Wygnanska

Middle Bronze Age Tombs and their Funerary Environment from Syria to Egypt

Organizers: Karin Kopeztsky (Austrian Academy of Sciences) / Zuzanna Wygnanska (University Warsaw)


The transfer of values and ideas and in rare cases even of people can be seen best in funerary traditions. During the Middle Bronze Age we can detect the transfer of ideas and beliefs manifested in the arrangements of the cemeteries, tomb architecture and burial customs. This workshop wants to shed more light on the similarities and differences of spatial organisations (intra vs. extra-mural) and layouts of cemeteries, on the types of tombs used in various regions and the burial customs and rituals during and after the entombment of the deceased over a wider geographical region from Northern Syria down to Egypt. In recent years the focus of funerary archaeology has shifted from concentrating solemnly on the tomb and its content to the whole ritual life circle of a cemetery by thoroughly investigating and incorporating its environment and the activities that have taken place around the tombs (e.g. feasting as commemoration). While many of these activities were of local importance, there are several evidences of supra-regional similarities. The way how an individual was buried (in single or collective tombs) defines its relationship to a group and in a further step the structure of a community. Not only similar burial goods found over a wider geographical region define the mobility of ideas and beliefs, but also their combination and the way they were deposited inside the tombs underline common traditions. In this workshop we would like to stress the local and the foreign elements found in cemeteries along the Levantine coast.


Panayiotis Andreou (University of Tübingen)
Stephen Bourke (University of Sydney)
Susan Cohen (Montana University)
Claude Doumet-Serhal (British Museum)
Rafał A. Fetner (Department of Bioarchaeology, University of Warsaw)
Raz Kletter (University of Helsinki)
Karin Kopetzky (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Paula Phillips (University of Melbourne)
Andrea Polcaro (La Sapienza Roma)
Rachel Sparks (Institute of Archaeology, University College London)
Zuzanna Wygnanska (University Warsaw)


9:00 Rafał A. Fetner: What bones can tell us about the Middle Bronze Age burial rite: case study from Bakr Awa Iraqi Kurdistan)
9:30 Zuzanna Wygnanska: An ideal Amorite burial? The Middle Bronze Age burial customs from a Mesopotamian perspective
10:00 Andrea Polcaro: The Ideology of Death in Ebla during the Old Syrian Period: Exclusive and Inclusive Funerary Traditions and Beliefs in Tell Mardikh during the Middle Bronze Age
10:30 Panayiotis Andreou: When the lights went out, did they always close the door behind them? A discussion of results derived by comparative analysis of ritual activities in funerary deposits across Syria/North Palestine during the Middle Bronze Age
11:00 Coffee break
11:30 Claude Doumet-Serhal: Mortuary practices and feasting activities on Sidon’s College site
12:00 Stephen Bourke: BA Tombs at Pella in Jordan: The Intramural Graves and the Extramural Cemetery
12:30 Raz Kletter: Rishon le Zion: a “Central Place” Cemetery?
13:00 Lunch break
14:00 Susan Cohen: Transfer and continuity in the Middle Bronze Age tombs at Gesher
14:30 Rachel Sparks: The Necessities of Death? Funerary patterns and Practice in the Bronze Age Intramural burials of Tell el-‘Ajjul Area G
15:00 Paula Phillips: The Cemetery 1000 at Tell Fara South
15:30 Karin Kopetzky: Buried in Avaris – a fusion of Egyptian and Near Eastern Funerary Customs