The unique, interdisciplinary nature of the department is demonstrated in the breadth of ongoing research projects by faculty and students alike at the Department of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies.
Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments Project (Cyprus)
Prof. Kevin Fisher co-directs the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments (KAMBE) Project, an interdisciplinary investigation of the relationship between cityscapes, social interaction, and social change on the island of Cyprus during the Late Bronze Age (c. 1700-1100 BCE).
The project offers students opportunities for experiential learning in cutting-edge archaeological methods. A UBC field school is held in some years in conjunction with the KAMBE project.
Apulum Roman Villas Project
Prof. Matthew M. McCarty co-directs excavations of a Roman villa at Oarda (Romania). This is one of the first scientifically excavated villas in the entire province; the key questions driving the project are about the fine-grained diachronic processes of the formation, development, and disintegration of villa socio-economic systems in the region.
A preliminary geophysical survey of the site in March 2018 has confirmed the importance and massive scale of the site. The project piloted a range of micromorphological analyses for studying Roman agricultural production and digital archaeological recording systems. In conjunction with this project, Dr. McCarty led a field school in the summer of 2019.
Previously, from 2013 to 2018, he co-directed the excavation of a Roman temple and a medieval village in Alba Iulia, Romania. The archaeological project focused on reconstructing aspects of ancient cults and practices in the Roman Empire and understanding the dynamics of the post-Roman period in Dacia. The project also served as a field school for introducing students to modern excavation techniques and interpretive practices.
Horvat Midras Excavation
Professor Gregg Gardener leads the archaeological field school at the Horvat Midras site in Israel. This course trains students in the principles and methods of field archaeology as practiced in the Mediterranean and Near East. The course provides students with an understanding of the archaeology and history of ancient Palestine, with special attention to the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Ayyubid and Mamluk and Roman eras (fourth century BCE through sixteenth century CE). It includes fieldwork, guided study trips to other archaeological sites in the area, visits to museums, and lectures. This project collaborates with Dr. Orit Peleg-Barkat of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Students will be doing more than just digging. Instead, you will contribute directly to the research goals of the excavation and create new scholarly knowledge. By excavating, recording, processing, and identifying new archaeological finds, you will contribute to discovering, collecting, and interpreting new sources in the ancient and medieval world.
Your participation in this course will directly enhance our knowledge of the history and material culture of the Near East. The coursework will also illuminate the region’s rural settlement patterns – a topic often overlooked and under-studied as scholars focus on urban sites. In many ways, students’ work in this course will shed new light on the region’s history.
This course can also count as credit toward UBC’s new minor in Jewish Studies.
From Stone to Screen Project
Since 2011, AMNE graduate students have led a digitization project, From Stone to Screen. Strictly on a volunteer basis, students have worked to digitize our extensive squeeze collection (with over 1,000 pieces), collected by Malcolm McGregor, the head of this department, from 1954 to 1975.
This project includes a digital database of a substantial artifact collection donated to the department in 2005. In addition, the project wishes to allow public access to the two collections to facilitate teaching and research opportunities for those without direct access to the collection. Through various online databases and websites, and with the help of the AMNE faculty members, they have catalogued almost the entire artifact collection and have photographed about 70% of the squeezes.
Through the considerable efforts of our students, the project has become very successful and gathered support from the university. In early 2014 it received a Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund Grant and used it to collaborate with the Digital Initiatives Centre at the Irving K Barber Learning Centre.
Project members were invited to present the project at the 2014 EAGLE Conference and wrote a blog for the Biblical Archaeological Review. In addition, they have set up extensive fundraising by selling products featuring squeezes and artifacts, applying for various grants, and soliciting donations on their website.