Uni-Tübingen

A 06

Pictures of Change. The Development of Iconographic Resources at the Transition from Bronze to Iron Age in the Eastern Mediterranean

 

Academic discipline

Biblical Archaeology,

Near Eastern Archaeology

Project Management

Herrmann, Virginia, Dr.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Institut für die Kulturen des Alten Orients

Schloss Hohentübingen

Burgsteige 11

72070 Tübingen

Telephone: 07071 29 76773

E-mail: virginia.herrmannspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

 

Kamlah, Jens, Prof. Dr.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Biblisch-Archäologisches Institut

Liebermeisterstraße 12

72074 Tübingen

Telephone: 07071 29 72879

E-mail: jens.kamlahspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

PhD candidates and Postdocs

Faust, Steve, M.A.

SFB 1070 RessourcenKulturen

Gartenstr. 29

Room 108

72074 Tübingen

E-mail: steve.faustspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

 

Paradiso Giuliana, M.A.

SFB 1070 RessourcenKulturen

Gartenstr. 29

Room 112

72074 Tübingen

Telephone: 07071 29 78390

E-mail: giuliana.paradisospam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

The project aims to explore developments in the use of resources during the transition from Late Bronze to Iron Age in the Levant. During the first phase of funding the southern Levant was the centre of our research interest. With a PhD thesis the project investigated the importance of transregional exchange as a resource during the southern Levantine Late Bronze and Iron Age within the context of socio-cultural developments. Based on these results and the modified concept of resources applied by the SFB the project now expands to cover the whole of the Levant. In addition, the focus will be on the political aspects of this transition period in order to explore how the political structures, spheres of activity and identities of the Late Bronze Age were continued or transformed during the Early Iron Age period, characterised by fragmentation and formation of new states. To this purpose, the project will investigate the development and re-contextualisation of iconographic resources (media, subjects and styles) closely linked to the forming of new states.

The supra-regional system of interaction during the Late Bronze Age was based on formalised hierarchies and communicated through imperial officials. In Early Iron Age it was replaced by a different range of languages and systems of writing, more independent trade and the competition of smaller states (peer-polities). Certain institutions of centralised states, such as administration based on writing, administrative offices, elites promoting the arts and monumental building were interrupted during this transitional phase and gradually re-introduced later on, partly on the basis of Late Bronze Age traditions. A considerable number of elements of the rich repertoire of the common supra-regional imagery and media, associated to the Late Bronze Age court rituals and elite identities, survived the decline of the older states and reappeared in the Iron Age. During the SFB’s second phase of funding, project A06 will examine the role of these symbolic and communicative resources of the Late Bronze Age in the emergence of new Iron Age states. Two interconnected case studies will study the changes in the use of cylinder seals and the development of monumental sculpture during the transition. Architectural sculpture thrived in the Late Bronze Age Hittite Empire. After its decline it still flourished for centuries during the Iron Age in the smaller states, appearing in formerly Hittite areas of the northern Levant. Here it was primarily assigned to the sphere of state and funerary rituals. Cylinder seals on the other hand, were used in the Late Bronze Age Levant as personalised tokens of authority and administration. During Iron Age their numbers decreased significantly and the few existing examples most often are imported. The two current case studies of project A06 thus allow to examine two contrasting resource dynamics, one with expanding the other with declining tendencies. Both, conducted as PhD studies, will test the validity of the hypothesis, saying that iconographic media serving as evocations of Late Bronze Age political systems were transformed during the subsequent period into a resource for the renewal and legitimation of the special relations of elites and subjects to the gods. They will also investigate whether and how meaning and social significance of images and media changed because of their selective uptake and re-contextualisation. Not only the changes and continuities of the objects themselves are treated, but also their spatial and social context in order to gain a better understanding of the meaning they obtained within the new Iron Age assemblage of the ResourceComplexes arts, crafts, public rituals, trade and administration.

Both case studies will contribute descriptive and spatial data to the ‘Spacialist’ database and work in close cooperation with project S. Intensive research in museums in Europe and the Middle East to study and document sculptures and cylinder seals will be required for both case studies. This work will include the use of ‘Structure from Motion’ photogrammetry to create digital 3D images. In addition, for the cylinder seals XRF spectroscopy to determine material and provenience will be applied whenever possible. By studying images and their media project A06 will apply the understanding of resources developed for SFB 1070 on objects with a primarily symbolic value. Both the concepts of Materiality of Resources and ResourceKnowledge will be central to the project.