NEAF | ‘Dispatches from the Trenches’ Saturday series – School of Humanities NEAF | ‘Dispatches from the Trenches’ Saturday series – School of Humanities

NEAF | ‘Dispatches from the Trenches’ Saturday series

Peta Seaton | Anne Dighton
Dr Peta Seaton AM
It’s the Pits – what they tell us about Chalcolithic Pella in Jordan

Pits are more than holes in the ground. They are the larders, cookers, and food-processors of prehistoric households. The talk will bring together results from the Wooster College Ohio, Hennessy and Bourke field results including the enormous structure on the lower slopes of Sartaba, and canvass its function and implications. Peta will outline new research and analysis on pits on Tel Husn and Jebel Sartaba where pits and their contents are revealing new insights about the emerging role of olive and other products in the pre-urban Jordan Valley, and provide a background to Anne Dighton’s exciting botanical research in the lecture immediately following.

The First Oil Age:

Olive and the origins of horticulture – new insights from the southern Levant

The First Oil Age:

Anne Dighton
Olive and the origins of horticulture – new insights from the southern Levant

The olive tree is an unlikely plant to produce one of the world’s first food commodities. The tree takes years to produce fruit, which is considered inedible without processing. Yet up to 8000 years ago, at the archaeological site of Pella in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, it seems this process may have been well underway. Much remains to be understood about this iconic tree and the nature and timing of its “domestication”. In this seminar, we will discuss some of the new methods and approaches being taken to better understand the role of the olive tree and its fruit in these very early stages of human-olive interaction.


Peta Seaton is President of NEAF and an Honorary Associate of the University of Sydney. She was in the team for the first season of the Pella Archaeological Project in Jordan with which she has been a core field staff member in numerous field seasons up to the present.

She has a PhD from Sydney University with doctoral studies focused on the Chalcolithic sanctuary precinct at Teleilat Ghassul in the southern Jordan Valley. She works closely with the director, Dr Stephen Bourke AM on the prehistoric material from Pella.

A former Parliamentarian, she is published in and active in government and public sector policy. She serves on the Board of the NDIS and is a Board member of the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, a past Chair of Hearing Australia, former Director of Bundanon, CARE Australia, the Menzies Research Centre and the Bradman Foundation.

Anne Dighton is an archaeologist specialising in archaeobotanical and anthracological research, with a focus on the prehistory of food, including the origins of horticulture and its associated environmental impact. She is currently undertaking her PhD at The University of Queensland looking at the origins of olive and grape exploitation. Anne is the Project archaeobotanist for the Pella Project in Jordan and has also conducted extensive fieldwork in Turkey and Italy.

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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.

Once payment is received a receipt, Meeting ID and non-transferrable password will be sent to you.
On admission to the Zoom lecture, participants will be matched to names of financial participants. Please ensure your zoom log-in screen name correctly identifies you. If you are dialling in via telephone, please ensure the number listed when booking on our website is the same used when connecting via telephone.

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)




Oct 22 2022


10:00 am - 12:00 pm




+61 2 9351 4151

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