Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften

Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften

Dwellings, Living Conditions and Diet in Western and Central Asia

The topic will be Dwellings, Living Conditions and Diet in Western and Central Asia from the Paleolithic to the Achaemenid Period.. Archaeological research on the Ancient Near East usually attracts public attention when it unearths spectacular finds from palaces, temples or tombs that provide an insight into the world of gods and elites. The daily business of archaeologists, however, is more concerned with the lives of “ordinary” people. Houses form by far the overwhelming majority of excavated structures. The architecture of the dwellings, their furnishings, their decoration and the distribution of inventories provide valuable information on the organisation of households and on activities that were carried out inside/in houses. These archaeological findings are flanked and supplemented by contemporary textual sources, e.g. from the numerous archives, as well as by bio- and geoarchaeological data, including archaeo-zoological and archaeo-botanical traces. From numerous detailed individual findings, a multi-layered picture of living conditions can be drawn. This raises questions such as: Was there domestic production and who carried it out? Did trade and commerce take place in the home? How many people formed a household, and how was it composed: a nuclear family, an extended family or a multi-generational household, with slaves and servants? Were there spatial divisions of groups of people and/or their activities within the house? What role did geography, climate, weather and culture play in the development of specific domestic architecture?

The conference will discuss these questions within a broad geographical and chronological framework. This will take place in the form of selected case studies, offering (also) a balanced variety as regards methods applied and objects/subjects worked upon/investigated. This will provide insight into  conditions in a particular region at a particular time, and should lead to intercultural, diachronic and synchronic comparison.

Programme Structure (Draft):

Tuesday, 19th April 2022

Morning Session: Egypt
Afternoon Session: Arabian Peninsula
Evening Reception

Wednesday, 20th April 2022

Morning Session: Levant
Afternoon Session: Anatolia

Thursday, 21st April 2022

Morning Session: Mesopotamia
Afternoon Session: Iran

Friday, 22nd April 2022

Morning Session: Central Asia
Afternoon Session: Interregional Views
Evening Reception

Saturday, 23rd April 2022

Morning session: ARWA Business Meeting and ARWA Liaison Group Reports