2012 ASOR Annual Meeting Is a Tremendous Success

The 2012 ASOR Annual Meeting in Chicago
breaks records and is a tremendous success!

A record 925 ASOR members gathered in Chicago from November 14–17 for the 2012 ASOR Annual Meeting. The annual conference is the premier gathering for scholars, students, and lay enthusiasts who conduct research or are interested in the history and archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean region. This year there were more than 450 paper presentations on topics ranging from prehistoric to Islamic periods and the present. Topics covered everything from conservation strategies and the archaeology of Anatolia to current issues in biblical archaeology. While all of the papers were presented in English, many languages could be heard in the hallways with scholars in attendance from Iran, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Australia, Asia, Europe, North American, South America, and Central America. The event truly has become the premier international conference of the year for the history and archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean.

The meetings began on Wednesday, November 14th with a plenary lecture by Prof. Manfred Bietak from The University of Vienna. Prof. Bietak’s lecture was titled “The Discourse Between Historical and Radiocarbon Chronology of the Bronze Age in the Levant.” The lecture focused on radiocarbon dating and Egyptian chronology, but it had broad significance and implications for the dating of archaeological strata throughout the Levant. There were almost 500 people in attendance for the stimulating lecture. Afterwards everyone gathered for a grand Opening Reception which has become a tradition and a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues.

The meat of the academic program took place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with four periods of concurrent academic sessions held each day (8:20–10:25am; 10:40am–12:45pm; 2:00–4:05pm; and 4:20–6:25pm). On Thursday and Friday there were eight concurrent sessions held in each time slot, and there were seven concurrent sessions held on Saturday. When everything was totaled, there were more than 450 different paper presentations—another record for the ASOR Annual Meeting!

In addition to academic papers, there were eighteen (18) posters in the Projects on Parade Poster Session. These posters were available for viewing throughout the conference, and the creators of the posters mingled with participants during a special viewing time over the Saturday lunch period (12:45-2:00pm).

The exhibit tables were also bigger and busier than ever. We had a record 22 exhibitors this year with one platinum sponsor (ISD Book Distributors), four gold sponsors (Brill, Eerdmans, Eisenbrauns, Tandy Institute of Archaeology), one silver sponsor (Beta Analytic), and one bronze sponsor (Tutku Tours). Platinum and gold sponsors helped support the popular coffee breaks, and the platinum sponsor helped support some of the student travel scholarships. Attendees and exhibitors alike reported that this was the most successful meeting to date in terms of materials available for viewing and in terms of the interest shown by ASOR members in the books and services on display. Plans are being made for an even larger and better exhibit in 2013 for the Annual Meeting in Baltimore. Please email ASOR’s director of meetings and events, Kelley Herlihy (asorad@bu.edu) for more information.

Another extremely popular event was a Gala Reception at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago that was held on Thursday evening. The Oriental Institute opened its doors to ASOR and provided a lavish spread for the reception.  ASOR provided coach transportation to more than 350 attendees, and everyone had a wonderful time. Special thanks go to Gil Stein, director of the Oriental Institute, and to all of the staff. A highlight of the evening was the public announcement by ASOR of its “Building a Foundation for ASOR Campaign—Preserving the Past, Securing the Future.” This $1.3 million campaign will focus on endowment support, research and training support, and online resources. President Tim Harrison announced that ASOR has just passed the halfway mark with $670,000 in gifts and pledges, and we plan to complete the campaign by June 30, 2014 (the end of Fiscal Year 2014).

The following are a selection of photos from the Gala Reception at the Oriental Institute:





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