Monroe, Lauren: 2012-2013 Seed Grant


Lauren Monroe (Department of Near Eastern Studies)

Project Title: 
Living on the Edge: Identity and Exchange at the Ancient Border Town of Abel Beth Maacah, Israel
Project Abstract: 
This project involves what will be the first excavations at Abel Beth Maacah (ABM), an archaeological site in northernmost Israel, close to the modern Lebanese border and at the frontier of the ancient polities of Israel, Aram and Phoenicia. Archaeology of “borderlands” provides evidence for aspects of social interaction that elite, pious scribes overlooked; it can show how people defined ethnic borders by developing adaptive material culture in international situations. This project embraces recent trends in sociological theory, including post-colonial and network models that focus on the materialization of identity as it was negotiated in border zones and ‘middlegrounds.’ The hypothesis is that ancient middlegrounds, like modern ones, are places where transformative development could be as intense and creative as what took place in the so-called ‘cores’ of civilization. Students participating in the excavations will have the rare opportunity to live in an international, frontier setting while working to discover the remains of an ancient borderland.