Lectures in Archaeology, 2017-18

Throughout the 2017-18 academic year, the Kentucky Society, in cooperation with the University of Louisville Departments of History and Anthropology and the Liberal Studies Project, will bring internationally-recognized scholars to the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky campuses to present public lectures about their research. Topics range from Nubian archaeology to the commercial connections between imperial Rome and South Asia, and from the early modern exploration of Egypt to the archaeology of colonial America. Unless otherwise noted, all events are offered free of charge. We hope to see you there! 

March 29, 2018 • 6:00 PM

University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library, Room W104

Cities, the Underworld and the Infrastructure:

The Political Ecology and Archaeology of Water

in Hittite Anatolia

Dr. Ömür Harmanşah – University of Illinois at Chicago

The cities of the Hittite Empire during the Late Bronze Age (ca 1550-1175 BCE) are well-known for their massive water features including large urban water reservoirs, dams, and sacred pool complexes built with elaborate ashlar masonry. This focus on water infrastructure in urban and rural contexts is unique in Near Eastern archaeology and has recently been brought to scholarly attention thanks to a series of recently excavated water features at Hattusha, Sarissa and other Hittite cities. Presenting archaeological evidence for the political interventions of the Hittite state to water infrastructure, this paper will discuss the politics of water and the environment in Anatolia in relation to the cultic associations of water with divine ancestors and divinities of the underworld.

Ömür Harmanşah is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Art and Art History. He is an archaeologist and architectural historian specializing in the Ancient Near East. His work focuses on cities, the production of architectural space, critical studies of place and landscape, and image-making practices in the urban and rural environments. He is the author of two monographs, Cities and the Shaping of Memory in the Ancient Near East (Cambridge 2013) and Place Memory and Healing: An Archaeology of Anatolian Rock Monuments (Routledge 2015). His more recent work and teaching centers on the intersection between political ecology, new materialism, and the politics of heritage and archaeological practice in the Middle East. Since 2010, he has been directing the Yalburt Yaylası Archaeological Landscape Project in west central Turkey, a regional survey project addressing questions of Hittite imperialism and borderlands. He is currently the Principal Investigator for the Humanities Without Walls-funded two-year cross-disciplinary project "Political Ecology as Practice: A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene".

Cities, the Underworld and the Infrastructure is presented by the University of Louisville Department of Anthropology.



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