“The Lives of Pots” by Dr. Morag Kersel

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The Lives of Pots: Grave Goods, Excavated Artifacts, Looted Items, and Collected Objects from the Early Bronze Age Mortuary Sites on the Dead Sea Plain of Jordan

Excavated pots from the Bad Adh-Dhra Tomb (photo Kersel)
Excavated pots from the Bad Adh-Dhra Tomb (photo Kersel)

Dr. Morag Kersel
Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at DePaul University, Chicago
ACOR-CAORC Senior Fellow

Wednesday 29 January 2014 at 6:00pm
Reception to Follow

About the Lecture

The complex interplay between archaeological research into mortuary practices and ancient and modern looting of cemeteries and tombs creates challenging methodological and ethical situations for archaeologists investigating the past. This research project attempts to explore the varied lives of Early Bronze Age (3600-2000 BCE) pots from the Dead Sea Plain in Jordan: as grave goods, as excavated artifacts, as looted items, and as current objects of desire in the antiquities marketplace in order to gain greater insights into the demand for artifacts and the destruction of the landscape with the ultimate goal of archaeological site protection. Archaeological evidence, archival documents, ethnographic interviews, and aerial surveys using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones and hexacopters) all provide valuable clues from the past and the present, enhancing our knowledge of Early Bronze Age society during this vibrant period.

About the Lecturer

Dr. Morag Kersel is currently a ACOR-CAORC Senior Fellow at the American Center of Oriental Research. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at DePaul University. Dr. Kersel earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge (2006). Her research interests include the prehistory of the Levant, cultural heritage policy, and the trade in archaeological artifacts from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant. She has excavated and conducted field research in Canada, Ghana, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, the U.S., and currently co-directs the “Follow the Pots” project in the Dead Sea Plain of Jordan. She is a co-author (with Christina Luke) of the recently published US Cultural Diplomacy and Archaeology: Soft Power, Hard Heritage (Routledge 2013).

To read more about her research visit http://followthepotsproject.org/.