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Showcase: Excellence in UG and HDR Research @ Macquarie

By Departmental Research Seminar

Tuesday 4 Sep (Week 6), 2-3.30pm

Recreation Room (S2.6), Level 3, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University

The Department of Ancient History in conjunction with the Macquarie University Ancient History Association (MAHA) offers a research seminar series, intended to bring together those within Macquarie and outside who have an interest in the languages, histories, and cultures of the ancient world. View the schedule for the research seminar.

All are welcome! Please arrive on time and join us after the seminar for coffee, tea and biscuits!

Convenor: Dr Alexandra Woods Twitter


Lyndelle Webster | PhD Candidate, Macquarie University

Re-evaluating the dating of Late Bronze IB-IIA strata at Tel Lachish and Tel Azekah with radiocarbon, and implications for synchronisation with Egypt

The chronology of the Late Bronze Age in the southern Levant (LBA; ca. 1550-1140 BCE), has long been heavily based upon the Egyptian historical chronology. The aim of my PhD research is to improve the body of radiocarbon data available for this period at southern Levantine sites, and move us closer to a locally-based absolute chronology. This will, in turn, enable an independent evaluation of the synchronisation of archaeological remains with Egyptian history in a period when Egyptian-Levantine relations were particularly close.

While the beginning and end of the Late Bronze Age are the most frequently debated portions of the period, in this paper I wish to highlight the contribution that new radiocarbon datasets are making to central parts of the LBA (LB IB-IIA) – a timeframe that is illuminated by textual evidence such as the Amarna Letters, Taanach Letters and Papyrus Hermitage 1116A.

This paper will present new radiocarbon datasets and Bayesian chronological models from Tel Lachish and Tel Azekah – two important LBA sites in the Shephelah, the foothill region of southwest Israel that has been the main focus of my research until now. The results lead to significant corrections in the identification of occupation evidence during the late 15th and 14th centuries BCE, contemporary with Thutmoses III / Amenhotep II through to the Amarna period. While archaeological remains for this timeframe in south-central Israel have been surprisingly limited, the current research alters this picture and suggests improved agreement between archaeology and text.

Laura Pierce | PhD Candidate, Macquarie University

Foreigners at Karnak: A Study of Egyptian Identity and Spatial Distribution

Research to date on foreign peoples in Egypt has focused largely on the smiting and battle scenes that dominate temple walls in the New Kingdom. This paper reports on a quantitative and qualitative study of representations of foreigners within the Temple of Amun at Karnak that covers the Second Intermediate Period to the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty (1794-1292 BC). All references to foreigners were catalogued, resulting in over 270 sources from a range of text types including textual sources, symbols, and artistic representations. The study has shown conclusively that the majority of portrayals of foreigners are not the ubiquitous smiting scenes, but smaller micro-aggressive captions that border scenes, doorways, and pillars.   The purpose of the research is two-fold. One goal is to study the characteristics that represent the ethnic and cultural identities of foreigners and of Egyptians. Though representations of foreigners are habitually stereotypical portrayals of the Egyptians’ ideas of the “other”, art and literature can highlight features considered to be un-Egyptian, contrasted with representations of Egyptians within the same scene. In turn, the paradigm of antithesis can determine how a cohesive sense of cultural identity is reflected and created in these sources. A second objective is an investigation into the placement of references to foreigners within the architectural space of the temple. This is to determine trends in spatial distribution that are unique to Karnak or homogenous across other religious sites. These two goals have resulted in a multi-faceted approach to the methodology that includes a mix of art historical, philological, semantics, and narratological methods, together influenced by the theory of cultural memory.  In sum, this paper will discuss current findings from research on representations of foreigners at Karnak from 1794 to 1292 BC, including discussions on the concretion of Egyptian cultural identity and spatial distribution.

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Departmental Research Seminar

The Department of Ancient History in conjunction with the Macquarie University Ancient History Association (MAHA) offers a research seminar series, intended to bring together those within Macquarie and outside who have an interest in the languages, histories, and cultures of the ancient world.