Deep-time Global Processes
Øystein LaBianca (Behavioral Sciences)
Collaborative Research on Six Deep-time Global Processes in the Ancient Near East
The main goal of the proposed project is to foster a new level of collaborative research on global processes within the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA). The current state of archaeological research in this region tends to be site-specific or at best local region specific. In my position as chair of the Committee on Archaeological Policy and Research I am in a unique position to facilitate collaborative research within the entire BMENA. To this end this project will establish collaboration between sixty-five ASOR affiliated archaeological projects in the BMENA. The principal investigators of each of the 67 archaeological projects affiliated with ASOR through CAP will be polled to find out how and to what extent their project has or is producing data that are relevant to illuminating six specific global processes. These are 1) the steady expansion of an ever more potent economic world system (Wallerstein 1974; Kohl 1987; Frank and Gills 2000; Thompson, 2006); 2) the comings and goings of great religious revivals and movements (Amason et al. 2000; Assman 2008; Eisenstadt 2008); 3) the rise, domination and fall of adjacent and distant world empires (LaBianca 2006, 2007a; 2007b ); 4) the episodic recurrence of killer plagues and epidemics (McNeill, 1963); 5) the in-and-out migration of displaced families and whole groups of people in the wake of upheavals wrought by these global pressures (Horden and Purcell 2000); and 6) the gradual erosion of habitat conditions reflected in landscape transformation in the direction of desertification (Cordova, 2007; Lucke, 2008).
The initial step in this research project will involve preparation and sending out of an electronic survey form that will allow all sixty-five ASOR PIs to indicate how their projects are contributing data relevant to the above mentioned global processes. Based on the information received from this survey, a web site will be developed that will showcase how each of them contribute research about one or more of these six global processes. Once this web site is up and mnning, the next step will be to invite these directors to be part of an on-going collaboration on global processes in the Ancient Near East involving electronic data sharing, workshops and research publications. Electronic data sharing will be facilitated by CAP's pat1nership with the developers of the Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land. Workshops will be organized in connection with the annual meetings of ASOR, and research publications will be facilitated by ASOR's publication arm.