Biblical Archaeology Lecture Series and Discussion

Speaker
Multiple
Location
Online through the Rye Free Reading Room, 1061 Boston Post Rd, Rye, NY
Date
October 7, 2020 - October 30, 2020
Time
10:00 am  to  11:15 am  

The following four lectures will be offered by Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center over four consecutive Wednesdays in October. They are free to the general public. On each Friday at 10:00, two days after each lecture there will be a discussion about the lecture moderated by Peter Feinman, President, AIA Westchester Society. Both the lectures and the discussion can be registered through the Rye Free Reading Room site at the Calendar of Events. You can also register for the lecture(s) directly at the Temple. Each lecture and discussion must be registered for individually for eight in total. There is no system requirement to register for a lecture to participate in the discussion but as with reading a book before attending a book club meeting, it will help if you do.

October 7 10:00 – 11:15
DR. ZIONY ZEVIT:
THE BIBLICAL PAST AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE

Archaeology takes us into a world we can barely conjure up, throwing the past into an entirely new light. Dr. Zevit will lead us into the realities of our ancestors, the ancient Israelites, based not on the Bible but on the work of archaeologists. Using an examination of Kuntillet Ajrud, a small, isolated archaeological site in the Sinai, he will provide a window into Israelite history and the religious beliefs of those who built and decorated the site.

Dr. Ziony Zevit is Distinguished Professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles

October 14 10:00 – 11:15

DR. ROBERT R. CARGILL:
GOOD FAITH ARCHAEOLOGY – BIBLICAL CLAIMS CONFIRMED AND CHALLENGED BY ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE

Many people today use archaeological evidence to prove — or disprove — myriad claims made in the Bible. But how can we tell which evidence and which claims are trustworthy? Dr. Cargill, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, will discuss how to discern legitimate evidence from suspect claims and survey evidence that both corroborates and challenges many of the Bible’s teachings.

Dr. Robert R. Cargill is Associate Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Iowa. He is a specialist in the literature and archaeology of Second Temple Judaism.

October 21 10:00 – 11:15

DR. ISRAEL FINKELSTEIN:
RECONSTRUCTING THE HISTORY OF ANCIENT ISRAEL: THE BIBLE VS. ARCHAEOLOGY

Discovering the history of ancient Israel demands bridging the gap between biblical texts and archaeological findings. How should we balance the stories we read against the evidence uncovered in the field? How do we manage the tension between theology and history?

Dr. Finkelstein will discuss the rules he follows and the advantages and limitations of each kind of evidence in the context of an examination of the dichotomy in power and prosperity between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the rise of literacy in ancient Israel and when and why biblical texts were composed. Dr. Israel Finkelstein is Jacob Alkow Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze and Iron Ages at Tel Aviv University and director of the Megiddo Expedition.

October 28 10:00 – 11:15

DR. ERIC CLINE:
BIBLICAL CONUNDRUMS: FROM THE EXODUS TO THE TEN LOST TRIBES

Every year, new archaeological evidence is discovered that is relevant to the Bible. But despite thousands of hours of efforts, archaeologists have uncovered scant — perhaps nonexistent — proof of the Exodus, the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Lost Tribes. Citing his book From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible, Dr. Cline will discuss the Exodus story, the historical context for the Lost Tribes, where the Ark might have gone and what we can — and cannot — demand of archaeology.

Dr. Eric Cline is Professor of Classics, Anthropology, and History at George Washington University. He directs the Tel Kabri Expedition and co-edits the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.

Recent Research Resolves Easter Island’s Greatest Mystery

Speaker
Terry Hunt, University of Arizona
Location
Online through the Rye Free Reading Room, 1061 Boston Post Rd, Rye, NY
Date
November 8, 2020
Time
2:00 pm  to  3:15 pm  

Easter Island (Rapa Nui) has long held the interests of scientists, travelers, and a curious public.  Among the persistent “mysteries” is the question of how hundreds of multi-ton megalithic statues (moai) were transported to every part of the island. Researchers have proposed methods using sleds and rollers of various configurations to move moai in a horizontal position.  Others have proposed various means of transport in a vertical position. Over several years of field and analytic research, we have documented important variations in details of moai form relating to their successful transport.  Using 3-D modeling and experimentation, we show how moai form converges with the physics of movement. Our results explain much of the archaeological record previously unrecognized, resolving this longstanding “mystery.”  Our results also align with Rapa Nui oral traditions.

Dr. Terry L. Hunt, Dean, Honors College, is an internationally renowned anthropologist, archaeologist, and educator. Dr. Hunt is one of the world’s foremost experts on the human and environmental histories of the Pacific Islands, where he has conducted field research for more than four decades. Dr. Hunt has led study-abroad courses for the past 18 years to Rapa Nui (Easter Island), where he involves students in his field research. Dr. Hunt previously served as dean of the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. He is the author of “The Statues That Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island,” co-authored with Carl Lipo, details Rapa Nui’s ancient history. The book won the Society for American Archaeology’s Book of the Year award in the public audience category in 2011. Dr. Hunt’s research was the focus of a National Geographic magazine cover story in July 2012 and a Nova-National Geographic TV documentary that first aired on PBS in November 2012. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Hawaii in 1976, his master’s degree at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1980, and his Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of Washington.

Were Secret Societies Part of the Upper Paleolithic World?

Speaker
Brian Hayden
Location
Online through the Rye Free Reading Room, 1061 Boston Post Rd, Rye, NY
Date
December 20, 2020
Time
2:00 pm  to  3:15 pm  

There are two radically different views about the nature of Upper Paleolithic societies.  The traditional view holds that Upper Paleolithic societies were nomadic, egalitarian groups living off scarce resources comparable to the ethnographic hunter/gatherers like the Bushmen in southern Africa, Australian Aborigines, or some Eskimo groups.  The newer view, which I represent, holds that in favorable locations, some Upper Paleolithic groups were at least seasonally sedentary, produced surpluses and wealth, and displayed important inequalities.  In this view, they were comparable to more complex ethnographic hunter/gatherers like those of the Northwest Plateau, many California Indians, and the Japanese Ainu.

Adopting this newer perspective radically changes our understanding of life in the Upper Paleolithic.  Notably, we must ask such questions as what strategies ambitious individuals might have developed, and whether secret societies were one of those strategies.  If so, what roles they could have played in creating social and economic inequalities.  Secret societies were certainly common ethnographically in the more complex kinds of hunter/gatherers so that secret societies might have existed in complex groups of the Upper Paleolithic.  I suggest that the painted caves of the period provide some of the most compelling arguments for the presence of secret societies 12,000-30,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic of Southwestern Europe.

Brian Hayden is a professor emeritus of archaeology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia (Canada), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.  He has had a longstanding interest in understanding what artifacts from the past can tell us about the societies and cultures that left things behind in the archaeological record.  He went to Australia to study what Aboriginals of the Western Desert used stone tools for.  He carried out a major study of traditional material culture in the Maya Highlands and it’s relation to social and economic roles of households.  His last ethnographic study involved the role of feasting in traditional Southeast Asian societies and how feasting can be inferred from archaeological remains.  He has also spent the last 30 years excavating at a large housepit village in the Interior of British Columbia.   He is author of numerous books and articles, including: The Power of Ritual in Prehistory: Secret Societies and the Origins of Social Complexity