Continuity and change in mortuary customs: the Jordan Valley in the second and first millennia BC

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The ACOR Video Lecture Series provides accessible discussions of new research into the past and present of Jordan and the broader Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean worlds. This video was adapted from the April 2018 public lecture delivered at ACOR by Dr. Jack Green, ACOR Associate Director.  Dr. Green’s recent research and publication focus is the Tell es-Sa’idiyeh (Jordan) Cemetery Publication Project with the British Museum.

About the Lecture:

Throughout human history there have been elaborate and simple ways to assist the dead in their transition to their next phase of existence, as well as varying ways in which the living have honored and commemorated their dead through rituals, feasts, and setting up of monuments. This lecture focuses on the rich and varied burial customs of the second and first millennia BC within the Jordan Valley, from dolmens and cave tombs to inhumation cemeteries. This lecture has a special focus on the findings from the well-preserved pit burial cemetery at Tell es-Sa‘idiyeh in the central east Jordan Valley with phases dating to the end of the Late Bronze Age, Early Iron Age, and the late Iron Age/Persian periods. Here, and at nearby sites, evidence for highly elaborate and diverse burial rituals provides important insights into a range of mortuary practices for other parts of Jordan which are dominated by burial caves that usually have poorly preserved contexts. The study of change and continuity of mortuary customs over deep time provide fascinating insights into attitudes to life, death, the body, and perhaps even beliefs in the afterlife.

About the Lecturer:

Jack Green joined ACOR as the Associate Director in Amman in October 2017. He supports ACOR’s activities, including the USAID–SCHEP project. He also serves as the project director of the Temple of the Winged Lions Cultural Resource Management Initiative (TWLCRM), at Petra.

Jack Green’s academic and professional background is in ancient Near Eastern archaeology, cultural heritage, and museums.  His current research and publication focus is the Tell es-Sa’idiyeh (Jordan) Cemetery Publication Project with the British Museum, which follows on from his doctoral thesis. He has participated in many surveys and excavations, including in Jordan at Khirbat al-Mudayna al-Aliya and Tall Dhiban.

He was curator of Ancient Near East at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (2007–11), chief curator of the Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago (2011–15), and deputy director at the Corning Museum of Glass as well as a visiting scholar at Cornell University, NY (2016–17). Jack Green received his B.A. degree from the University of Liverpool (1999) and M.A. and Ph.D from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London (2001, 2006 respectively).

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