Sunday, December 10, 2023

Stamp Seals from the Southern Levant

The project addresses stamp seals, a common but highly valued and multi-functional artefact class, as a privileged media to study various aspects of ancient Levantine social, economic, cultural and religious history especially in pre-Hellenistic times. Its core aim is to develop an online open-access, collaborative and expandable database entitled Corpus of Stamp Seals from the Southern Levant (CSSL) as a sustainable reference tool for future research in several disciplines: archaeology, ancient history, biblical studies, history of religion\s, Mediterranean studies, and others including exact sciences.

Taking its starting point from groundbreaking research initiated since the 1970s by Othmar Keel, particularly through his Corpus of Stamp-Seal Amulets from Palestine/Israel (CSSPI) and the Corpus of Seal Amulets from Jordan (CSAJ), the project will bring that unfinished task to completion while fully engaging the Digital Humanities transition. All relevant data will be translated from a pre-digital format into a digitized research infrastructure. Fulfilling the latest Open Access requirements, the new database will allow for active contributions by all interested scholars worldwide. Conceived to be easily updated and expanded, it will remain operative for decades to come.

CSSPI’s focus will be extended to wider regional concerns by removing modern borders from historical considerations: While “Southern Levant” designates the territories covered by the territories of present-day Israel, Jordan, and Palestine, CSSL will be so designed that it can easily be enlarged to integrate additional data from sites lying beyond that region, e.g., in the Central and Northern Levant, the Egyptian delta, or the Arabian peninsula.

A particular aim of the project is to increase the value of the data by interdisciplinary cooperation involving the specialized expertise of an international network of scholars and institutions. The full and best currently available documentation will allow senior scholars, postdocs, and PhD students of several disciplines (archaeology, biblical studies, history of religion\s) and three universities (Bern, Tel Aviv, Zurich) to conduct a series of innovative studies (see below). The latter will, for example, explore seal designs and their iconography as a resource for religio-historical investigation; questions of social archaeology will be studied alongside matters of political and economic history; gender history, social archaeology and biblical studies will intersect in a study of seal use by women. We want to draw on the full potential of the glyptic material to develop new approaches both to the history of ancient Levantine society, culture, and religion and to the study of biblical texts. Last but not least, a crucial aim is to bring the study of ancient glyptics into conversation with scientists. An overall concern of the project is to transmit established expertise and encourage a new generation of scholars to pursue, consolidate, and renew the study of ancient glyptics as a key medium for understanding historical entanglements in the Southern Levant.

No comments:

Post a Comment