More Rebuttals of the “Discovery” of Noah’s Ark

Tim Harrison on CTV:

Eric Cline on Fox News:

Eric Cline in Time Magazine:,8599,1985830,00.html

Robert Cargill at RobertCargill:

Near Eastern Archaeology 72.4

ASOR is pleased to announce that NEA 72.4 (December 2009) has now been posted online at Atypon Link.

The issue focuses on the Hittite world and contains articles by J. David Hawkins, Timothy P. Harrison, Kay Kohlmeyer, and David Schloen and Amir Fink.

You may access the table of contents here:

As a reminder, the last 3+ years of ASOR journals are available to ASOR members on Atypon Link. For details, please see the following URL:

Call for Papers for ASOR’s 2010 Meeting

Posted by Kelley Bazydlo

We are happy to announce that the UPDATED Call for Papers for ASOR’s 2010 Annual Meeting is now on ASOR’s web site and includes new Member-Organized Sessions that have just been approved by the Program Committee. This year’s meeting will be held at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia from November 17-20, and you can find full information about registration, travel, and accommodations on ASOR’s web site. We encourage you to register for the meeting and to book your rooms today!

The Program Committee has worked hard to develop a diverse offering of sessions. For those who would like to present papers, make sure to review the “List of Sessions for 2010” and begin submitting your abstracts for review and inclusion in the 2010 Annual Meeting.  We are also happy to announce that we are launching a new online system for Abstract/Participation Submissions.  You can access this new online system by clicking here.  The deadline for submission of abstracts is February 15, 2010.

On behalf of Elise A. Friedland and Andrew M. Smith II, Program Committee Co-Chairs, I thank you for considering becoming a part of the academic program. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or comments. I look forward to seeing you this November in Atlanta.

Riddles of the Sphinx on PBS

Posted by T. Barako
For over 4000 years, the Great Sphinx at Giza has puzzled all who have laid eyes on it. What is this crouching lion, human-headed creature? Who built it and why? To unlock its secrets, two teams of archaeologists and sculptors must immerse themselves in the world of ancient Egypt—a land of pharaohs and pyramids, animal gods and human sacrifice, and sun worship and solar alignments.

Watch Providence Pictures’ “Riddles of the Sphinx” on Tuesday, January 19 at 8:00 pm ET on PBS/NOVA (check local listings).

And visit for bonus scenes not available anywhere else and to sign up for future announcements.

Things to Do in New Orleans With Children

When my family and I moved to New Orleans about a decade ago, we were pleasantly surprised to find so many great activities for children. Here are some activities that my wife and I would recommend:

  1. The Audubon Zoo makes for a nice day. You can get there via the St Charles streetcar, or a taxi. They even have a great archaeology section in the South America exhibit where your children can excavate ruins in the sand. Nearby Audubon Park has nice playground equipment, and Tulane and Loyola Universities are nearby as well (6500 Magazine Street, 504-581-4629).
  2. The Audubon Aquarium is also fun and within easy walking distance from our hotel. Though I’ve never been, I’ve heard mixed reviews about the newly opened Insectarium. The Aquarium has an imax theater, but the best bet would be the penguins. Therese says “the aquarium has eye candy for young and old alike, and it is stroller friendly” (Canal Street at the River, 504-581-4629).
  3. The Louisiana Children’s Museum is also within walking distance and is fun for younger children. Therese says it’s pretty much like every other children’s museum though. It’s a good option if it’s raining (420 Julia Street, 504-523-1357).
  4. If you take the Canal Street Streetcar (City Park Line) you can visit the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Sculpture Garden. Plus, there are paddle boat rides where you can chase geese and great walking trails in City Park. There are some great playgrounds also for younger children.
  5. Cafe du Monde is a must stop for beignets and cafe au lait (1039 Decatur Street, 504-525-4544). Nearby you can watch boats on the river, and see street performers around Jackson Square. Get a muffaletta from Central Grocery (923 Decatur St, 504-523-1620) or even better, the Italian grocery next door, and bring it back to Jackson Square for a picnic.
  6. We’ve found that cemeteries are interesting to the old and young alike. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is on the N. side of Basin Street, and within walking distance of the hotel. Be sure to visit the grave of Marie Lavau, the voodoo queen. Check with Save Our Cemeteries for organized tours and visit their visitor’s center (501 Basin Street, 504-525-3377).
  7. There are free boat rides on the Mississippi River with the Canal Street Ferry. The round-trip ferry ride across the Mighty Mississipp is a pretty exciting adventure the first 100 or so times, and feeling the power of Old Man River early in a New Orleans vacation might help younger visitors understand why our city exists where is does and has been rebuilt and reclaimed after wars, fires, and floods.
  8. Therese recommends Mr. B’s Bistro as being kid friendly with great prices for lunch (201 Royal Street, 504-523-2078). Others recommend Arnaud’s Remoulade Restaurant as having authentic New Orleans cuisine at great prices and being kid friendly (309 Bourbon Street, 504-523-0377). I’d recommend the boudin appetizers.
  9. Do a walking tour, or a stroller pushing tour as the case might be. Some of the best walking tours of the French Quarter are done by the National Park rangers. They have pdf files to download with maps and mp3 files with tour information. The HNOC (Historic New Orleans Collection) has a pamphlet of self-guided tours; plus some pretty cool exhibits.
  10. Young and old alike would love a visit to Mardi Gras World (1380 Port of New Orleans Place,  1-800-362-8213).
  11. Finally, be sure to take your kids to Preservation Hall to hear some authentic New Orleans music. Check out the early show at 8 PM (726 St Peter Street, 504-522-2841).

Here’s a cartoon to get you and your children fired up:

How To Punish Your Liver in New Orleans

New Orleans is the birthplace of the cocktail, and ASOR members know much about hepastocapy. So when you need a break from meetings and papers, here are a few famous places within walking distance to kill a few brain cells.

  1. Get a sazerac at the newly reopened Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel (123 Baronne Street, 504-648-1200).
  2. Get a Pimm’s cup at the Napoleon House (500 Chartres Street, 504-524-9752).
  3. Take a spin with a Vieux Carre cocktail at the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleon (214 Rue Royale, 866-338-4684).
  4. Try a rum based drink at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the oldest bar in America. Then come back to the meeting and talk like a pirate (941 Bourbon Street, 504-522-9377).
  5. Get a a mint julep, or better yet, a Davenportini, while listening to Jeremy Davenport at the Ritz-Carlton on Thursday from 5:30-9PM or Friday/Saturday from 9PM on (921 Canal Street, 504-524-1331)
  6. Get an absinthe frappe at Tujagues’s saloon (823 Decatur, 504-525-8676).
  7. Conjure the ghosts of Frank Sinatra, Jean Lafitte, and Mark Twain with a ramos gin fizz at the Old Absinthe House (240 Bourbon Street, 504-523-3181).
  8. They have over 100 types of martinis at the Bombay Club (830 Conti Street, 504-586-0972).
  9. Join the other tourists by the fire fountain for a hurricane at Pat O’Briens (718 St Peter).
  10. There are several cocktail walking tours. The Original Cocktail Tour is a good one. So is the Southern Comfort Walking Cocktail Tour. The Museum of the American Cocktail is at the Riverwalk Mall which is also near out hotel (504-569-0405).

Voodoo Dolls of the Ancient Near East

On Saturday, November 21st, from 6-8 PM, the American Schools of Oriental Research will close out its annual meeting in New Orleans with an outreach session entitled “Voodoo Dolls of the Ancient Near East.” It’s free and open to the public, including our friends in town for the Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting. The session will be somewhere inside the Astor Crown hotel at the corner of Canal and Bourbon. Here’s the lineup:

  • Michael M. Homan (Xavier University of Louisiana), Presiding
  • Sallie Ann Glassman (Island of Salvation Botanica/La Source Ancienne Ounfou), “Vodou Spirits and
    Sacred Vodou Flags” (20 min.)
  • Gary O. Rollefson (Whitman College), “The Glory Belongs to Our Ancestors: The Neolithic ‘Ain
    Ghazal Statues and Plastered Skulls” (20 min.)
  • Christopher A. Faraone (Univeristy of Chicago), “Voodoo Dolls in the Greek and Roman Worlds: An
    Update” (20 min.)
  • Sara A. Rich (Catholic University, Leuven), “Manipulated Miniatures: Haitian and Mesopotamian
    Figurines Defy Human Destiny” (20 min.)
  • William G. Dever (University of Arizona, Emeritus), “The Judean Pillar-base Figurines: Mothers or
    Mother-Goddesses?” (20 min.)
  • Shawna Dolansky (Northeastern University), “Re-Figuring ‘Fertility’ Figurines: Fetishistic Functions of
    the Feminine Form” (20 min.)
  • ASORMeetingVoodooDolls

    For more information, please email Michael Homan.

    Help ASOR Survey Holt Cemetery in New Orleans

    Posted by Michael Homan
    On Wednesday, November 18th, from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM, members of the American Schools of Oriental Research will be volunteering at Holt Cemetery in Mid-City New Orleans.

    Holt Cemetery

    Graves at Holt Cemetery on a rainy day in Mid-City New Orleans.

    We will be working with Save Our Cemeteries to record the current condition of Holt Cemetery. This includes surveying individual graves and their markers, along with taking photos in order to establish a record of the current state of the cemetery. The data we collect will then be compared to photos taken prior to the 2005 levee failures and can serve for future restoration work.

    Brick Marker

    R.I.P. A.B. Hyman

    Unlike other cemeteries in New Orleans where the dead are housed in above ground vaults, the remains of the deceased at Holt Cemetery are buried below ground. The graves are often marked with simple markers, such as writing on bricks or pieces of wood.

    This “potter’s field” cemetery was established in 1879 as a place of interment for the city’s impoverished, and it is named after Dr. Joseph Holt, who was a member of the New Orleans board of health.

    Buddy Bolden Grave Marker

    Buddy Bolden Grave Marker

    Perhaps the biggest mystery surrounding Holt Cemetery involves the location of it’s most famous burial: jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden, credited by many as the individual most responsible for this great American invention. Bolden was buried in plot C-623, though records of the location of C-623 have long been lost.

    Thus far 14 members of ASOR have signed up, and if you are interested in joining us please email Kelley Bazydlo. (Note: you do not need to be a member of ASOR to volunteer).

    You can see more photographs of Holt Cemetery taken today in this Flickr set. Also, if your hotel is already booked for check in on November 18th, ASOR members who are interested in volunteering are more than welcome to stay at my house the night of November 17th. I’m located within walking distance from Holt Cemetery and the street car line which will take you to the Astor Crowne hotel in plenty of time for the opening session. Write to me here.

    (Inter-) National Treasure 3. A Tale of Junk Science, Pseudo-Archaeology, and the Copper Scroll

    Posted by Eric H. Cline, George Washington University

    Gather ye round, my friends and colleagues, and let me point you to a wondrous tale — the story of an arson investigator from Oklahoma named Jimmy Barfield; a man with no training in archaeology or philology, yet who claims to have “cracked the code” of the Copper Scroll; a man who, by his own admission, cannot read Hebrew and is not an archaeologist, bible scholar, or ancient historian, and yet claims to have located nearly all of the treasures listed in the Copper Scroll. Gather round, I say, and hear a whopper of a tale, which advocates a cause, pays little attention to the investigative process, ignores contrary evidence, and advertises a high moral purpose. Sound familiar? Junk science, anyone? Ah, the stuff of summer — more tales of miraculous discoveries by pseudo-scientists who are able to “think and reason without a PhD.” The fun just never stops, does it? And yet it must. It is up to us, as the group of professionals most affected by such nonsensical claims, to stand up and protest immediately when stories like this are hawked on the Internet and in the popular media to an unsuspecting and gullible public. And we have; Bob Cargill, a member of ASOR’s fledgling Archaeology and the Media Committee, is a first responder; his essay rebutting Barfield’s claims can be found on the Bible and Interpretation website at I urge everyone to read it and to move forward from there. If we do not say anything and do not begin to protect our “brand,” as Microsoft, Coke, IBM, and other entities do with a vengeance, then we shall continue to see such pseudo-archaeology practiced and our field continually sullied.

    Audio of Duke Conference on Archaeology, Politics, and the Media

    The following post contains mp3 files of papers presented at Duke University on April 23th and 24th, 2009. Thanks to the conference organizers, sponsors, and presenters for permission to post the audio.

    For notes on the papers and the conference, see Robert Cargill’s blog (day 1 & day 2). Also note that some of these papers are available from Duke’s itunes.

    Eric Meyers, Introduction
    Michael Schoenfeld, Welcome
    Byron McCane, Scholars Behaving Badly: Sensationalism and Archaeology in the Media
    Milton Moreland, Forged by a Genius: Scholarly Responses to History Channel Meets CSI
    Christopher Rollston, An Ancient Medium in the Modern Media: Stages of Semitic Inscriptions
    Jonathan Reed, The Lure of Proof and the Legacy of Biblical Archaeology: Scholars and the Media
    Question and Answer Period
    Eric Cline, Fabulous Finds and Fantastic Forgeries: The Distortion of Archaeology by the Media Pseudoarchaeology
    Joe Zias, Response
    Morag Kersel, The Power of the Press Release and Popular Magazines on the Antiquities Trade
    Annabel Wharton, Response

    Chad Spigel, Response
    Mark Goodacre, The Talpiot Tomb and the Bloggers
    A.K.M. Adam, Response
    Patty Gerstenblith, Legal and Ethical Aspects of Cultural Heritage

    Nina Burleigh, Inside the Collector’s Lair and Other Tales from the Biblical Antiquities Trade in Israel and the USA
    Mark Pinsky, The Holy Land Experience
    Tony Cartledge, Walk about Jerusalem: Protestant Pilgrims in the Holy Land

    Bert de Vries, Umm el-Jimal
    S. Thomas Parker, Response
    Eric Meyers, The Quest for the Temple Mount: The Settler Movement and National Parks in Israel
    Rebecca Stein, Response
    Ethan Bronner, Archaeology, Politics and the Media: A View from Jerusalem
    Ray Bruce, Observations
    Moira Bucciarelli, Observations
    Eric Powell, Observations
    Andy Vaughn, Summary of the Conference

    WAC Ramallah Conference

    Posted by Morag Kersel on behalf of the World Archaeological Conference

    True to its foundational principles, the World Archaeological Congress will hold its first “Middle East” meeting to focus on the powerful relationship between archaeology, heritage and politics. The archaeology of the West Bank and its surrounding region is enormously significant as the location where the three monotheistic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam — all trace their origins. Yet the archaeological and cultural heritage of this region suffers constant and extensive damage from political and ideological struggles to control the region.

    Today as Palestine moves closer to official statehood, WAC decries the often destructive politics that define Israeli-Palestinian relationships. WAC notes the on-going damage to the archaeological record but also the potential of a shared cultural heritage to build towards peace. WAC calls for participation in this strategic InterCongress to demonstrate how archaeology can serve political ends for the greater good.

    The focus of this InterCongress is on structural violence: the insidious structures and the stark inequalities that perpetuate conflicts. Structural violence is built into western countries’ relations with much of the rest of the world, preventing most non-western countries from becoming economically and culturally ‘equal’ to the West. Often structural violence is hidden and works without overt physical infringement, making it all the more effective.

    As anthropologists, archaeologists, cultural heritage professionals, and concerned local community members, WAC asks what role archaeological and cultural heritage research has in overcoming these ‘in-built’ obstacles? Must we engage against structural violence outside of archaeological practice, or can archaeological practice confront and impact the ravages of structural violence?

    Sessions and panels will be held on August 9th and 10th. August 11th and 12th are reserved for workshops, “hands on” experiences and tours of the region by regional cultural heritage non-government organizations. Closing sessions and consideration of InterCongress resolutions will take place on August 13th.

    Participants are encouraged to propose creative formats to facilitate critical consideration and discussion of the topics at hand. Proposals for sessions of various forms: read papers, panels, poster sessions, roundtable discussions, or other formats, should be sent to the Program Committee ( by the deadlines indicated below. Sessions may be proposed by individuals or by groups. All sessions, regardless of format, will be provided a 2-hour block of time to meet. Session abstracts of 400 words should include the contact information for the organizer(s). Paper abstracts of 200 words may be sent to either the session organizers or to the Program Committee (

    A Selection of Sessions:

    - Marginalia and Structural Violence in Past Societies
    - Looting, Landscape and Law
    - Structures of Dominance in the Levantine Late Iron Age
    - The Bones of Our Ancestors: The Treatment of Human Remains as a Mechanism for Tolerance or for Intolerance
    - Beyond Causality: Tensions of Time and the Relationships between Instances of Violence and Institutionalized Violence
    - The Future of Palestinian Cultural Heritage

    Sessions & Panels - Friday, May 15th 2009
    Papers - Friday, June 12th 2009

    Early Bird registration deadline: May 30, 2009

    For further information see: