The Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500-1200 BC) constitutes the heyday of the great empires of the ancient Near East (ANE), such as Egypt, Hatti, Mitanni, Babylonia, and Assyria. Centuries of conflicts followed by peaceful relations, marked the interrelations of these superpowers. Rich literary records in the form of archives of cuneiform texts were established. These archives contain abundant tablets whose origin is unknown. Sometimes the letterhead is missing, in other cases, we may have the name of the sender and still ignore his domicile. Further, the location of many ANE countries and cities has not yet been clearly established. Hence, revealing the origin of documents has the potential of shedding new light on the history of the ANE and beyond. The paper will discuss the use of a rich array of nondestructive testing (NDT) and minimally-destructive testing (MDT) methods for studying the composition, technology and provenance of ANE cuneiform tablets. This approach opens new horizons in the interpretation of the clay documents. We applied such analyses on hundreds of tablets from el Amarna, Ras Shamra/Ugarit, Boğazköy/Hattusha, and sites in Cyprus and Israel/Palestine. The research project made during the last decade, serves as the basis for this study. The results raise a set of ethical and practical issues concerning the study and conservation of such precious artifacts.
|Original language||American English|
|Title of host publication||2019 IMEKO TC4 International Conference on Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, MetroArchaeo 2019|
|Publisher||IMEKO-International Measurement Federation Secretariat|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - 2019|
|Event||2019 IMEKO TC4 International Conference on Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, MetroArchaeo 2019 - Florence, Italy|
Duration: 4 Dec 2019 → 6 Dec 2019
|Name||2019 IMEKO TC4 International Conference on Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, MetroArchaeo 2019|
|Conference||2019 IMEKO TC4 International Conference on Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, MetroArchaeo 2019|
|Period||4/12/19 → 6/12/19|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research project was supported by the following funds: German-Israeli Foundation (GIF) grant No. I-1016-272.4/2008: ' An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of the Hittite Archives from Bogazkoy/Hattusha and Other Sites'; Israel Science Foundation Grant no. 241/15: ‘The Production and Dissemination of Scholarly and School Textual Materials during the Late Bronze Age: An Integrated Research Project’. This project has also received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme H2020-MSCA-ITN-2017-EJD: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (European Joint Doctorate) – Grant agreement nº: 766311 – ED-ARCHMAT (ESR6). An internal fund by the Ben Gurion University of the Negev was granted to the project 'On Kingdoms and Grains: New Approach to the Identification of Alashiya'. We wish to thank our many colleagues in these sub-projects.
© 2019 International Conference on Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage.