• Scientific Topics

    This session aims to explore the recent strides and innovations in Near Eastern archaeology, focusing on the pivotal themes of field reports, excavation methods, new discoveries, and emerging projects. The session will provide a comprehensive overview of how contemporary research methodologies and collaborative initiatives are reshaping our understanding of ancient civilizations in the Near East. Field reports, emanating from ongoing excavations and surveys, will take centre stage as archaeologists share their findings and interpretations. Cutting-edge excavation techniques will be explored as powerful tools for uncovering hidden landscapes and ancient settlements. The session highlights the transformative impact new discoveries have on our comprehension of the past, with a focus on the implications for broader archaeological and historical frameworks. The session will also delve into emerging projects that represent the vanguard of Near Eastern archaeology. Collaborative initiatives, interdisciplinary approaches, and the integration of new technologies will be discussed in the context of fostering a more comprehensive and accessible interpretation of archaeological data. In summary, this session aspires to be a dynamic forum for scholars, and researchers to engage with the latest developments in Near Eastern archaeology.


    Excavations, Survey, Technologies, Field reports, Emerging project

    The session is devoted to the transformation of past environments under the impact of human and natural agents and to environmental resource management, whether animal, plant, mineral, metal ores, or water. Combining environmental and biological markers and archaeological data, it examines anthropised landscapes with a focus on arid regions and archaeohydrology.  The shaping of territories will be addressed through community lifestyles, agro-pastoral practices, exploitation of raw material, and use of water. Studies about the hydraulic facilities (functioning, uses, dating) and their relationship with the social structure are encouraged. In a diachronic approach, the links between technological evolution, water management and environmental changes can be addressed. By combining the tools and methods of humanities, natural science and geosciences, attention will be paid to the anthropogenic causes of recognized changes over "time steps" during the Holocene. This session is also focused on natural and man-made hazards with which human societies have been dealing with. A wide spectrum of natural factors ranging from short-term disaster events/episodes to long-term periods/times series will be part of this session. The spatial and magnitude scales of their impact on societies will be included, as well as how they were translated on adaptation strategies. Concerning the man-made hazards, the environmental pollution issue induced by human activities and overexploitation of natural resources will also be addressed. These issues aim to encourage reflection on the failures and successes of past societies, particularly when faced with arid environments, and draw lessons that echo our contemporary concerns, such as sustainability and resilience.


    Anthropised landscapes, Arid environment, Archaeohydrology, sustainability and resilience, Natural and man-made hazards

    The study, preservation and promotion of cultural heritage, whether monumental, movable or documentary, represent a major challenge both in terms of the diversity of types and materials that make it up, and the multiplicity of approaches: repositories of textual and iconographic sources, monitoring the state of preservation, 2D or 3D digitization, restitution, analysis of forms and recontextualization of museum collections... These processes involve the methodical management of information, bringing to the fore archives, documentation and databases, all of which play a crucial role in promoting the emergence of perennial storage and backup solutions to increase the visibility of heritage and the sharing of data. Faced with the phenomena of alteration, looting, and destruction of heritage, we wish to promote practices for the collection, management and preservation of data, as well as for their dissemination and enhancement.


    Conservation and management; Museums and collections; Endangered heritage; Enhancement

    The message conveyed by text-bearing and figurative objects is not limited to the meaning of the signs and/or images they carry, but also implies their material and composition which can make sense at different levels:
    • The context of conception, such as the choice and relationship between the type of text, the figurative motif, and the material used (clay, stone, metal, papyrus...), or the tools and techniques implemented.
    • The context of display, including the physical, spatial contexts dedicated to the objects, but also the social and cultural implications of their production and experience, as well as the visibility and legibility of the inscription and/or the image, which induce the targeted audience.
    • The context of storage and/or display, implying the durability of the material and the long-term vocation of the message conveyed.
    In short, the materiality of inscribed and figurative objects is of the greatest importance for a holistic appreciation of the object and its meaning(s). We are pleased to invite the submission of papers dealing with any of these aspects.


    Inscribed object, Figurative object, Ancient text, Raw material, Tablets, Manufacture and techniques

    This session aims to focus on the Neolithic and the neolithization in the Near East and the Middle East, a field that has long been central to the academic school of archaeology in Lyon. Our understanding of human developments and trajectories of neolithization has considerably improved during the last decades. Research on the Neolithic develops at such a pace that a constant re-evaluation of the available data and hypothesis is required. The polycentricity of the Near Eastern Neolithic has appeared as research develops in hitherto unexplored or poorly known regions, emphasizing a diversity of human development trajectories. Societies developed a wide range of food procurement strategies, leading to various forms of production economies, throughout what was usually called the “margins” of the Fertile Crescent (including for instance the Arabian Peninsula, the Caucasus, and so on). Specialized fishing on the coastal areas of southern Arabia, or mass hunting using desert kites in the Near Eastern arid landscape are such original and alternative subsistence strategies, thus challenging a simplistic diffusionist model from a unique so-called “core area” of development. Sedentism, and domestication of plants and animals are no longer viewed as a consistent “package” defining the Neolithic and neolithization process. Complex ritual behaviours are also evidenced as a major cultural component in association with these emerging economies, highlighting the importance of the “revolution of symbols” as an aspect of prime importance in our understanding of this shift from hunting and gathering to food production societies.

    In the framework of this session, preference will be given to presentations addressing issues relating to the diversity and variability of the Neolithic and neolithization paths, either through comprehensive synthesis involving thematic and comparative approaches, or through contextualization of specific site-based data related to subsistence strategies, production economy, way of life, long-distance trading routes, and the definition of specific cultural traits including ritual behaviours and symbolism.


    Neolithic and neolithization, Production economies, Cultural markers, Ritual behaviours and symbolism

    This session discusses the multifaceted aspects of life and death in the Ancient Near East by employing an interdisciplinary approach. Through an inclusive examination of Subsistence and Economy, Diet and Health, Funerary Gestures, and Material Religion, the session aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the cultural, social, and religious dimensions that shaped the lives and afterlives of ancient societies.

    The investigation into Subsistence and Economy delves into the practices that sustained life in the Ancient Near East. The discussion about food provision, animal and plant products, and economic structures, aims to elucidate the intricate network of resource management, subsistence strategies and economic systems that influenced daily life and societal organization.

    By combining archaeological evidence with bioarchaeological data, the analysis of Diet and Health seeks to uncover not only the dietary preferences, the physiological consequences but also the overall health and adaptive strategies employed by these ancient communities.

    Funerary Gestures examines deposits investigating the burial practices. Integrating innovative bioarchaeological analyses of human remains and archaeological findings, the session explores the cultural and social dimensions of death through the behavioural responses of population.

    Material Religion focuses on the material manifestations of religious practices. Through the examination of artefacts, ecofacts and features related to ceremonial contexts, the session seeks to decode the tangible expressions of spiritual beliefs in the Ancient Near East.


    Subsistence and Economy, Diet and Health, Funerary gestures, Material religion

    Since its first definition by V.G. Childe, the concept of culture remains a controversial topic. The aim of this session is to examine the relevance, informational value and meaning of a variety of attributes characterising cultural spaces. This implies questioning the contribution of artefacts, ecofacts, architecture, settlement pattern, funerary and social practices in identifying specific cultural entities in their own spaces and territories. Which proxies are most reliable to define culture?

    At the epistemological level, the aim will be to inquire and, if possible, to reframe the notion of culture and its inherent biases using case studies from the whole South-Western Asia, from Late Prehistory to the Late Iron Age. Reflections from recent works based on spatial, linguistic, scriptural, anthropological, architectural or artefact-based criteria are welcome. Moreover, new data and approaches will foster the debate on the most appropriate perspectives and parameters to effectively overcome the culturalist assumptions that are now widely criticised, and still deeply rooted in West Asian archaeology.

    The sociological and historical connotations of terms such as territory, centre, margins and acculturations will be the focus of discussions. Likewise, questions such as the spatial demarcation and cultural characterisation of cultural spaces, the evolution of their perimeters over the longue durée, their overlapping, emergence, disappearance, or replacement will be considered in their chronologically and socially most diverse meanings.


    Material culture, Cultural spaces, Cultural markers, Centre and margins

    The session on Islamic Archaeology aims primarily at providing an overview of the results achieved by recent archaeological research. As in past meetings, papers related to the principal themes of the congress are encouraged. Historical synthesis based on archaeological evidence will be particularly welcomed. Simple single-site field reports should be avoided.

    Geographically, the Islamic session will cover the same areas as the main Congress: from the Eastern Mediterranean to Iran and from Anatolia to Arabia; it will also include Egypt.  Historically, the Islamic session can stretch as late as the Ottoman period.


    Islamic archaeology, South-Western Asia, Medieval and Ottoman

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