NEST: Near Eastern Studies

Winter 2018

NEST101 Introduction to Near Eastern and Egyptian Archaeology Sections

An overview of the past two centuries of archaeological investigations of the civilizations of the ancient Near East and Egypt.

Instructor(s): Cooper, Lisa
Most of us know about the ancient tombs, temples and pyramids of Egypt, and have heard about the great cities of Babylon, Ur and Nineveh in Mesopotamia. But how did recent archaeologists go about re-discovering these amazing cities and monuments? This course provides an overview of some of the most spectacular archaeological finds of the past two centuries in Egypt and the Near East, and the adventurers, explorers, and archaeologists who uncovered them. In the process, students will also learn about the types of archaeological techniques and tools which are used to unlock the secrets of the ancient past, and what archaeological evidence can tell us about the social, political, economic and religious aspects of life in Egypt and Mesopotamia, the ‘cradles of civilization’. There will be an opportunity for students to handle and study real archaeological artifacts from the Near East in the laboratories of the Museum of Anthropology. Prerequisites: None.

NEST312 Religion in Ancient Egypt Sections

A survey of the religious beliefs, cults, and religious institutions in Pharaonic Egypt.

Instructor(s): Arbuckle, Caroline
This survey course is designed to provide a general introduction to the religion of Ancient Egypt. We will discuss a wide field of topics such as concepts of cosmogony, cosmology, the pantheon of Ancient Egypt, temples and tombs, divine kingship, and the role of the priesthood. Throughout the course written sources will be complemented by archaeological evidence and thus will give the students a first insight into the wealth of material culture from Ancient Egypt. Prerequisites: None

NEST315 Introduction to Akkadian Sections

The basic grammar and introduction to the cuneiform writing system of the Akkadian language of the Ancient Near East.

Instructor(s): Peters, Kurtis
Akkadian is the ancient language of Mesopotamia within the Semitic language family. First finding prominence under Sargon of Akkad (late 3rd millennium BCE), Akkadian became dominant in Mesopotamia in the 2nd and early 1st millennia BCE, for much of which it was also the diplomatic language of the whole Ancient Near East. Written with an intricate system of cuneiform (wedge shapes in clay), we find myths of Marduk, Ishtar and the Babylonian pantheon, epics of Gilgamesh and Atrahasis and the ancient Flood, the so-called “laws” of Hammurabi, the military campaign records and propaganda of Assyrian kings, business accounts recording the sale of slaves, the adoption of children, and much more. This course will explore the basics of the language – grammar, vocabulary, syntax and a small amount of work in the cuneiform writing system. Previous work in a Semitic language (Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, etc.) is an asset, but not required.

NEST319 The Archaeology of Ancient Iraq and Syria: Babylon and Beyond Sections

An overview of the archaeology of the ancient Near East, with special emphasis on the civilizations of Mesopotamia, from the appearance of the first cities (c. 3400 BCE) to the end of the Persian period (c. 330 BCE).

Instructor(s): Cooper, Lisa
This course provides an overview of the archaeology of the ancient Near East, with special emphasis on the ancient civilizations that developed in Syria and Iraq, notably Sumer, Babylonia and Assyria (3100—330 B.C.). The course also includes some Prehistory (beginning with the Neolithic Era), and the world’s first farming communities. Major technological, artistic and architectural achievements of ancient Near East are emphasized, as well as the impact of religion, the emergence of the world’s first writing systems and cities, and the rise of empires. While discussing these themes, the history of archaeological research in the Near East will be surveyed, from the earliest discoveries of 19th century adventurers to the scientific approaches to archaeological recovery and interpretation that are utilized by researchers of today.

NEST401 Literature of Ancient Egypt or the Ancient Near East Sections

The main genres and texts of Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern Literature and their modern Interpretation. Credit will be granted for only one of NEST 401 or 505.

Instructor(s): Monroe, Willis

NEST402 The Archaeology of the City in the Ancient Near East Sections

The material manifestations of urbanism in the ancient Near East, from the 4th millennium BC up to the 1st millennium BC. Credit will be granted for only one of NEST 402 or 506.

Instructor(s): Cooper, Lisa
This course will focus on the origins and development of the earliest cities in the ancient Near East, particularly those that emerged in Greater Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BCE. Such cities include, for example, the ancient urban complexes of Uruk and Ur in southern Iraq, Brak and Hamoukar in Syria, and Susa in south-western Iran. The course will consider theoretical perspectives on the origins of cities and the rise of complex cities. It will then probe the physical manifestations of the development of urban complexes, evidenced through transformations in settlement and landscape patterns, urban planning and the use of space, art, artifacts and architecture. Lastly, the course hopes to take a cross-cultural approach, highlighting salient social, religious and political institutions of ancient Near Eastern cities and comparing them to similar institutions documented at other cities from the ancient world, including those from China and Mesoamerica. The course is not...