NEAF | ‘Dispatches from the Trenches’ Saturday series
Dr Melissa Kennedy
Cult and Monumentality in Neolithic Northwest Arabia: The Mustatil Phenomenon
North-west Saudi Arabia is marked by hundreds of thousands of diverse prehistoric stone structures, known collectively as the ‘Works of the Old Men’. Of these, the monumental rectilinear mustatils have received limited attention. New fieldwork in the counties of AlUla and Khaybar, demonstrates that these enigmatic features are more architecturally complex than previously supposed, with chambers, entranceways and orthostats. These structures can now be interpreted as monumental ritual installations dating back to the Late Neolithic (6th millennium BCE. As such, the mustatils are amongst the earliest stone monuments of Arabia and one of the oldest and most widespread monumental building traditions known to date. This talk will outline the results of the Aerial Archaeology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, AlUla and Khaybar projects, which have conducted the most in depth and comprehensive study of these structures to date.
Dr Craig Barker
Recent excavations at the Palaepaphos-Laona tumulus: Rethinking Classical Cyprus
For more than a decade the University of Cyprus’ Archaeological Research Unit has been excavating the tumulus, they believe to contain a burial mound. The 2022 season however has revealed spectacular finds: a Cypro-Classical rampart of probably late 4th century BCE date on top of which the mound was constructed. Further excavations have revealed extensive fortification architecture and sophisticated stairwells. The structure is more than 160 metres long and the rampart walls 5 metres thick.
Laona has not one, but two monuments unique to late Classical Cyprus and the excavators have interesting ideas on the social changes in Cyprus that are reflected in both. It represents one of the most significant finds in Cypriot archaeology in years.
Melissa Kennedy (Ph.D. 2012, The University of Sydney) is a Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia and is the Co-Director of the various AAKSA projects. She has undertaken fieldwork in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, and Australia. Her research interests lie in the Early–Middle Holocene archaeological landscapes of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula.
Dr Craig Barker is Manager of Education and Public Programs for the Chau Chak Wing Museum and the Director of the Paphos Theatre Archaeological Project. Craig received his doctorate in Classical Archaeology from the University of Sydney, and he has archaeological fieldwork experience in Australia, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. Craig’s interests include theatre architecture, the Hellenistic wine trade, Hellenistic funeral practices and perceptions of archaeology in popular culture. He has published on the Nicholson Collection’s Cypriot material, stamped amphora handles and the history of Australian archaeologists in Cyprus. He presents the segment ‘Can You Dig It’ on ABC Radio with Rhianna Patrick each month.
Please note: a minimum of 20 attendees is required for each lecture for this series to run – our upper limit is 300 per lecture.
All lectures will be delivered by Zoom.
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Our Introduction will start at 9.55am.
The lecture will start at 10am and the second lecture will begin at 11.05am and finish at 12 noon.
There will be opportunity for questions following the lectures, time permitting.
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Hosted by the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation (NEAF)