Daily Life, Materiality, and Complexity in Early Urban Communities of the Southern Levant
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This volume emerges from a session honoring Walter E. Rast and R. Thomas Schaub held during the 2003 Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Atlanta, Georgia and includes expanded versions of many of the papers presented in that session. By gathering in Atlanta, and by participating in this volume, the contributors honor the careers and scholarly passions of Walt and Tom, whose work in southern Levantine archaeology began in the 1960s when they were young scholars working with Paul Lapp. The breadth and depth of experience of the contributors’ disciplinary and theoretical interests reflects the shared influence of and esteem for Walt’s and Tom’s own scholarly gifts as archaeologists, mentors, collaborators, and intellectual innovators. The primary disciplinary “homes” for the scholars contributing to this volume encompass a broad range of methods and approaches to learning about the past: anthropological archaeology, Near Eastern archaeology, biblical archaeology, and physical anthropology. Their institutional “homes” include universities and institutes in Canada, Denmark, Israel, Jordan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States; their theoretical “homes” include the broadly-conceived archaeological frameworks of culture-history, processualism, and post-processualism. Collectively, these papers reflect the enormous breadth of influence that Tom’s and Walt’s scholarly contributions have made to EB studies.
Walt and Tom shared a gift that many have benefited from: gentle listening, questioning, and pushing for more sophisticated analyses of Early Bronze Age life. Their eager engagement of younger scholars, as well as their involvement with their peers, arises from their dedication to listening well, devoting time to others’ ideas and perspectives, and a generous willingness to give freely to others out of the rich depths of their lifelong scholarly pursuits and profound understanding of the Early Bronze Age, archaeology, and life in general. Many of the contributors to this volume have gained greater understanding because of Walt’s and Tom’s gift of listening, keen insights, and bottomless enthusiasm for learning more about the past and the present in the southern Levant. The 18 essays presented here are to honor both men for these gifts both to the discipline of archaeology and to so many of us engaged in that intellectual endeavor.
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