The Visible Dead: Dolmens and the Landscape — An ACOR Video Lecture by Dr. James Fraser

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The ACOR Video Lecture Series provides accessible discussions of the new research into the past and present of Jordan and the broader Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean worlds.  This video, adapted from the February 2017 ACOR public lecture delivered by Dr. James Fraser, offers new interpretation of dolmen fields and early societies in the Bronze Age era in Jordan. 

About the Lecture

Megalithic dolmen tombs are some of the most striking features in the archaeological landscape of Jordan. Yet their visibility has made them an easy target for tomb robbers over the last 5,000 years. Consequently, archaeologists have struggled to place these mysterious monuments into their true cultural contexts.

This lecture presents the results of recent fieldwork investigating dolmen cemeteries in Jordan. This fieldwork underscores a new theory that proposes that highly-visible dolmen tombs helped reconfigure the ways in which people engaged with the landscape at a time when the region’s earliest civilizations developed a new urban way of life.


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About the Lecturer

James Fraser is Curator for the Levant at the British Museum. He has worked on archaeological projects in Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kashmir, Greece, Cambodia and the Solomon Islands. He directed the North Jordan Tomb Project as part of his Ph.D. research, investigating dolmens and other megalithic structures in the eastern escarpment of the Jordan Valley. He currently runs the Khirbet Um al-Ghozlan Excavation Project in the Wadi Rayyan. James Fraser completed his Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Archaeology in 2015 and a B.A. with Honors in Archaeology in 2003. Both degrees were awarded from the University of Sydney in Australia.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. So much about what I read about prehistoric cultures sets off my BS meter. It was a joy to listen to so much sense, not assumptions. My first week in medical school we were told “half of what we are teaching you is wrong, we just don’t know which half”. Clearly Dr. Fraser has also learned to reevaluate academic pronouncements ,
    gather more evidence and make his own conclusions. As we say in Hawaii “mahalo nui loa” (thank you very much). Hopefully when i visit Jordan this year I will be able to see some of this for myself.

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