22-24 February, 2019
The BANEA conference for 2019 was hosted by Liverpool University and invited papers across the discipline, interrogating the term ‘ancient Near East’, and its implications in scholarly research.
Research into the ancient Near East (we include Egypt within our conference remit) has a rich history. However, the term ‘ancient Near East’, and the research therein, appear often to lack coherence. Boundaries between periods, areas, and sub-disciplines retain a disproportionate focus in scholarly research, thus inhibiting a comprehensive understanding of ancient Near Eastern societies. Some periods remain poorly studied, with the transitional periods between them lacking adequate research. Similarly, a clear understanding of the area known as the Near East is complicated by questions surrounding its geographic boundaries. Whilst the region has existed throughout time within a wider network of connectivity, it is often discussed as if isolated from its neighbouring regions. In addition, 20th-century borders are frequently projected onto the past, effectively segregating regions which were deeply connected. Partitioning is also observed between the various sub-disciplines of Near Eastern studies, which include textual, biological, material, and digital studies. Integrating older data sets with newer evidence and new methodologies also remains a challenge.
Bridging these gaps within the research of the ancient Near East remains a major challenge which BANEA 2019 aimed to tackle in its consecutive sessions.