This volume contains the papers presented at Sessions 3 (Imperial frontiers: the Assyrian periphery and
interactions between Assyria and neighbouring kingdoms during the first millennium B) and 5 (West vs
East: from Hellenism to the Roman expansion in the Near East) of the 5th edition of the “Broadening
Horizons” Conference, which was held at the University of Udine from 5th to 8th June 2017. Broadening
Horizons is an international meeting that aims to offer an opportunity for relatively informal
discussion, especially (though not exclusively) for young/early career archaeologists specialized in the
ancient Near East and disciplines relevant to the main theme of each congress session. All the papers
have passed a double blind peer-review process and provide significant contributions on a number of
topics – among which material culture (e.g. pottery tradition and architecture), settlement pattern,
social changes, cultural transmission and economic dynamics – that are of fundamental importance for the archaeology of Mesopotamia and the Levant.
Katia Gavagnin is a recognized expert/honorary fellow on the Humanities Department at Ca’ Foscari
University of Venice. She is a member of The Land of Nineveh Archaeological Project where she is in
charge of the study and publications of the Third and First Millennium BC pottery, and she is also
field responsible of one excavation area of the Kurdish-Italian Gir-e Gomel Archaeological Project. Her
interest is mainly dedicated on Third Millennium BC and Neo-Assyrian period in Upper Mesopotamia,
with special focus on pottery and settlement patterns. She is also working in Southern Caucasus as a
member of the Shida-Kartli Archaeological Project and Lagodekhi Archaeological Project in Georgia.
She took part to several excavations in Italy, Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan and Georgia.
Rocco Palermo is a Researcher and Lecturer at the University of Groningen (Netherlands), and
Associate Director of the Erbil Plain Archaeological Survey (Iraqi Kurdistan, Harvard University).
In addition to EPAS, he is also member of the Land of Nineveh Archaeological Project (Udine) and
the Suleymaniah Governorate Archaeological Survey (Paris), both projects operating in the Kurdistan
Region of Iraq. Since 2019 he is also co-field director of the excavation at Tell Aliawa (Iraqi Kurdistan),
within the framework of the Italian Mission in the Erbil Plain (University of Milan). He is currently
involved, as project director, in the intensive survey and excavations at the site of Girdi Matrab (Erbil
plain). He has also carried out extensive fieldwork in Syria (Tell Barri), and Jordan ( Jerash).
His major research interests are the formation and development of imperial landscapes through the
archaeological record, the Graeco-Roman Near East, the Roman borderland in the East, and the role
of remote-sensing and spatial analyses in the archaeological research. He is the author of On the Edge of
Empires. North Mesopotamia during the Roman Period (Routledge, 2019).
Traditionally, unique and novel ceramic shapes, often connected to ‘fine wares’, have found their way into publications, while more common or traditional shapes are overlooked. This has skewed the publication process, wherein only material comparable with these early publications was regarded worth recording and publishing. In terms of ceramics, the association of the Seleucid period with novelty over continuity leaves this period as an enigma in the longue durée history of West Asia. On the interpretative scale, one is left with containers used to present, serve and consume food, but rarely with vessels used to store and prepare what was being served. The quality, quantity and uniformity of material related to this new production horizon is of such ubiquity, its introduction not embedded within a local framework of production and consumption seems unlikely. Integrating ceramic evidence of rural sites into a sequence of preceding material allows a more contextualised understanding of influence, Seleucid political rule over Northern Iraq may have had on a quotidian level.
During the second and third centuries AD the Kingdom of Hatra became an important buffer state in a strategic location between the Parthian, Roman, and later, Sasanian Empires. This paper defines the extent of this large and complex territory by employing interdisciplinary methodology, and through the use of archaeological, historical and epigraphical data to better assess its hinterlands, reconstruct its settlement patterns and evaluate the ecological potential of the area.
Smyrna was founded by Greek colonists; in 132 BC it was incorporated in the Roman province of Asia Proconsular, but only during the period of Augustus (27 BC–14 AD) and the Flavian Dinasty (96-192 AD) Smyrna became “one of the most beautiful cities in the Empire”, especially after the reconstruction of the city ordered by Marcus Aurelius in the third century AD. If it’s possible to see the magnificence of a typical Roman city, it’s also true that the majority of the private inscriptions was written in Greek language throughout the imperial period: so we can deduce that in Smyrna there was a bilingual population, that used the Latin for public institutions and the Greek for the private life. Despite of the lack of information, it’s possible to outline that in Smyrna the Roman influence lasted until the seventh century AD, but after the fall of the Roman Empire the Greek culture became again dominant. To sum up, we can infer that at a local level, the Roman influence was only superficial; in fact the Greek culture turned up until the Middle Age.
Southeastern Anatolia was one of the regions in which the Roman and Eastern empires fought for centuries for supremacy. In the fourth century CE, the Roman/Sasanian border shifted from the Euphrates River to the Tigris River: the upper Tigris River valley was thus embedded in the Eastern Roman frontier between the Roman and Sasanian empires. Changes in settlement patterns during the Late Antique period seem to confirm the limit of Roman control to the area West of the Batman River, one of the tributaries of the Tigris River in its upper course. The integration of new and legacy archaeological data available for this borderland may help in better understanding of local rural landscape and enable an analysis of the relationship between imperialism and the organization of borderlands.
The position of shrines in antiquity was a consequence of a complex relationship between human, deity and landscape. The study of the interaction among these three elements can open up further interpretation of rural sanctuaries. Based on these observations, this essay aims to emphasize the interaction between rural places of worship and their landscape, in order to trace the phenomenon of ‘caravanserai-sanctuaries’ in the Levant from their origin, particularly during Roman times.