NEAF Saturday Seminar Series | LIFE AFTER DEATH – Burial practices in the ancient Near East – School of Humanities NEAF Saturday Seminar Series | LIFE AFTER DEATH – Burial practices in the ancient Near East – School of Humanities

NEAF Saturday Seminar Series | LIFE AFTER DEATH – Burial practices in the ancient Near East

Image - Tomb VII at Qatna (Marc Steinmetz Photography 2009)
Lecture 1
Defining a new elite: Early Middle Bronze Age mortuary culture at the Elamite city of Susa

Dr Yasmina Wicks| Macquarie University


Abstract: The end of the early Bronze Age, marked by the fall of Mesopotamia’s Ur III polity at the hand of the Elamites in 2003 BCE, brought a radical reorganization of ancient Near Eastern political, economic, and social networks. As the lowland seat of the powerful Elamite dynasts and the crossroads of important land and water trade routes, the city of Susa in today’s southwest Iran was in many ways a beneficiary of this transformation. A major administrative centre and a thriving commercial hub, it fostered the rise of an elite class of officials and merchants, who can be clearly perceived in the mortuary record.

This lecture will explore the remnants of Susa’s elite burials and attempt to decode information they contain on social dynamics in the face of widespread and profound change in the early centuries of the Middle Bronze age. The presenter will offer the latest results of her postdoctoral research project at Macquarie University, drawing on archives and rarely consulted legacy publications documenting early 20th century excavations of the French archaeological delegation in Persia. In doing so, she will highlight the value of developing critical frameworks for utilizing the often-challenging legacy records of early excavations of ancient Near Eastern settlement sites.

Lecture 2
The royal tombs of Bronze Age Syria

Holly Winter | University of Sydney


Abstract: The great states of Bronze Age Syria were ruled from monumental palace complexes at the centre of huge walled cities. Deep below the palatial complexes the tombs of the ruling elites were located, and filled with lavish grave offerings, to secure passage and sustain spirit in the long afterlife to come. This lecture will explore the great funerary complexes at Ebla and Qatna, as well as at Byblos in Lebanon, detailing some of the extraordinary grave goods contained therein, many drawn from across the Mediterranean world, and often beyond it. We will explore the burial customs, examine the grave goods, and consider what these can reveal about the lifestyles and beliefs of the Syrian ruling elite, four thousand years ago.

The seminars will be held online on Zoom


Please go to book via our NEAF website. foundation.html

You can register for the whole series at a discount, or book for specific Saturdays.

– NEAF Members: $20 per session All 5 sessions: $80
– Non-Members $30 per session All 5 sessions: $120
– All Students are free

Please note – a minimum of 20 attendees is required for each lecture for this series to run – our upper limit is 300 per lecture.


Click here to register
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F | +61 2 9114 0921
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Hosted by the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation (NEAF)




Nov 06 2021


10:00 am - 12:00 pm




+61 2 9351 4151
Click here to register

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