AMME Seminar POSTPONED -> 23.05.24: ‘Land Management Practices: Migration and Empire’

It is our great pleasure to announce that the final Ancient and Medieval Middle East (AMME) seminar of the spring semester will be organised as a hybrid event on Thursday 23 May (16:15-18:00 EEST/Helsinki time).

**Please note that the seminar was postponed**

**NEW DATE: 23 MAY 2024 **

The session will consist of two papers – by Prof. Daniele Morandi Bonacossi and Dr. Geoff Emberling – as well as a shared question round and discussion on the seminar specific theme of ‘land management practices: migration and empire’.

This seminar is organised in collaboration with Dr. Adrianne Spunaugle, who is also organising workshops on the topic at the 69th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (Helsinki, Finland) and the European Association of Biblical Studies Annual Conference (Sofia, Bulgaria) this summer

In the AMME seminar, we will have the following talks:

‘Forced migration and deportation in the core of the Assyrian Empire: the case of the Land of Nineveh Archaeological Project, Kurdistan Region of Iraq’ (Daniele Morandi Bonacossi)

The study of the early empires of Southwest Asia offers the opportunity to investigate the practice of forced migration/deportation and settler colonization not only through official textual documentation – which very often is imbued with an ideologically-biased approach, but also in the light of archaeological evidence. The talk presents the results of the work conducted since 2012 by the “Land of Nineveh Archaeological Project” of the Udine University in northern Iraq (Kurdistan Region) with the aim of reconstructing the gradual making of the complex and multilayered imperial landscape of the Assyrian Empire. In the hinterland of the last two Assyrian capital cities, Khorsabad and Nineveh, a royal and elite-sponsored programme was imposed on the Assyrian countryside. Through a top-down process, new capitals and administrative centres were established and grandiose irrigation networks were created to irrigate their countryside and increase the agricultural potential of the Assyrian core. However, our work suggests that also many non-elite, peripheral and rural components of Assyrian society must have taken part in the colossal building process of this new imperial landscape. Assyrian royal inscriptions indicate the forced migration and settlement of large masses of deportees as the instrument used by the Assyrian imperial elites to populate the countryside of the new capitals and provincial centres and implement their grandiose landscape engineering projects. The presentation explores how archaeology can contribute to yield evidence of the forcible migration and settlement of deportees in the Land behind Nineveh and the agricultural colonization of the Assyrian countryside via forced settlement of conquered peoples.

‘Mobilities in Ancient Kush, from Nomads to the Royal Court’ (Geoff Emberling)

Centered along the banks of the Nile in what is now northern Sudan, ancient Kush was the dominant political power in the Middle Nile region (also often known as Nubia) over a span of more than 2000 years, from about 2300 BCE to 350 CE. It is often said Kush was an “agro-pastoral” society and that mobility played a larger role in Kush than in other ancient empires, but this is rarely analyzed in more detail. In this talk I will survey aspects of mobility in Kush, including the normal movement of population within Kush, the role of nomads in providing subsistence products (particularly cattle) and labor to settled populations, and the documented movement of the royal court. Kush was also a source of immigrant labor for its northern neighbor, ancient Egypt, and other population movements took place as a result of Egypt’s conquest of Kush during the New Kingdom (ca. 1500-1170 BCE).

The seminar will be hybrid and everyone is most welcome to attend, so please share the invitation and join us in person or online!

Time: Thursday 18 April 23 May at 16:15-18:00 EEST (UTC+3h).

Live venue: University of Helsinki, Fabianinkatu 24, room 524. 

Virtual venue: Zoom (Meeting ID: 678 8979 2118 /

For a recap of the spring program and session summaries, see the ANEE news blog!