Two Lectures by Lorenzo Nigro, La Sapienza University, Rome

Sunday, Nov. 13, 3 pm   
Building the City in Palestine. Jericho Across the Ages and its Image in the Bible
Eighteen years (1997-2015) of archaeological activities in Palestine at Jericho, a site which epitomizes humankind’s conquests and defeats over ten millennia, also provides a valid example of cooperation in the field of archaeology.  I suggest it as a model of how to build up peace in a very complicated international scenario: What is the Past and to whom does it belong? And can archaeology help us in recognizing the respect due to objects of scientific investigations and of relics of the human past? Do archaeological discoveries strengthen appreciation of the material heritage of humankind, and how? What is the relationship between us and ancient peoples?

 Our experience in Palestine may suggest how to re-start a global conceptualization of cultural heritage and—especially –the field of archaeology in the light of respect for a shared memory of diverse pasts.

As part of this lecture, an overall summary of the finds in ancient Jericho and their historical interpretation will be offered to the audience.
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 Monday, Nov. 14. 6:15 pm.  Coffee at 6.
The Phoenicians at the Ends of the Earth: Motya in Western Sicily and the Creation of Mediterranean Civilization
Fourteen seasons of excavations at Motya (2002-2015) revealed the traces of the earliest Levantine and Phoenician habitation of the central Mediterranean, showing light on the formative phase of Phoenician expansion to the West. The discovery of Building C8 and of a series of wells in the earliest settlement, matched with other recent finds in the Iberian Peninsula (Cadiz), North Africa (Utica, Carthage) and Sardinia (Sulky) have significantly transformed the history of the 2nd and1st millennium BC Mediterranean.

Examining the sea routes across the Mediterranean may help disentangle the intricate roots of our civilization—or suggest that a multicultural/ethnical approach is better for studying the historical scenario of the earliest centuries of the 1st millennium BC, when this enclosed sea became a melting pot for peoples and cultures.