AIA Kershaw Lecturer: “City Planning and Monumentality: Urban Symbolism in Iron Age Turkey” (James Osborne)

Speaker: Dr. James Osborne, Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago

Few subjects have excited the imagination of archaeologists working in ancient societies as have monumentality and urban planning. Yet the two topics are rarely subjected to sustained integrated investigation within a single study, despite the fact that monumental architecture is often considered a primary basis for identifying the presence of urban planning. This lecture shows how both phenomena benefit from a more full consideration of one another, and that the symbolic aspects of monuments and cities need to be considered as much as the formal aspect of monuments and urban layouts. The primary example will be a study of the Syro-Anatolian city-states that were clustered around the northeast corner of the Mediterranean during the early first millennium BCE. The capital cities of these kingdoms were characterized by a program of monumentality that brought royalty, city walls, gates, and monumental sculpture into an unmistakable constellation of symbolic associations.