Imperial Architecture in the Ancient Mediterranean and Middle East

We are pleased to announce that the "Imperial Architecture in the Ancient Mediterranean and Middle East" workshop will take place on Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 April, 2019. In the workshop, scholars based in Egypt, Finland, Iraq, Oman, Poland, the UK, and the USA, will discuss a range of methodologies and theoretical understandings of Imperial identities through the medium of architecture.

The workshop is organised by Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires ( and the Centre of Excellence in Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions (, in collaboration with the ERC project Law, Governance and Space: Questioning the Foundations of the Republican Tradition (SpaceLaw).

This workshop objective is to address the issues of variation within architecture, specifically Imperial architecture, examining in which ways variation and continuity are perceived and presented. Likewise, the workshop seeks to create a new methodological framework to study Imperial architecture, both polite and religious, and its relationship to community identity.

The workshop is free to attend, but please register your participation using the following link: (registration closes on Monday 22 April).


Monday 29 April (Vuorikatu 3, 5 th floor, Room 531)

9.00–9.30 Opening address

9.30–10.15 Naima Benkari (Sultan Qaboos University): On the Formation and Influences of Islamic Architecture: the Case of Oman in Al Ya’ariba Period (1624–1742)

10.15–10.45 Break

10.45–11.30 Marek Z. Barański (Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk): Imperial Architecture and Its Reimplementation: A Case Study of Al Zubarah and Qatar

11.30–12.15 Nawala Al-Mutawalli (University of Baghdad): Iraqi Excavation at Umma, Shara Temple and the Administrative Building

12.15–14.00 Lunch break

14.00–14.45 David Kertai (ISAW New York University / Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Architecture and Kingship during the Reign of Sargon II (722–705 BCE)

14.45–15.30 Marta Lorenzon (University of Helsinki): From architectural analysis to architectural theory: the case study of Syro-Levantine urban planning  and ontology of public spaces

15.30–16.00 Break

16.00–16.45 Nora Shawki (American University at Cairo): Political Power Through the Patronage of Cults

16.45–17.30 Antonio Lopez Garcia (University of Helsinki): Public Libraries in the Roman Empire: An Analysis of the Architectural Typology


Tuesday 30 April (Vuorikatu 3, 5 th floor, Room 531)

9.00–9.45 Samuli Simelius (University of Helsinki): Imperial architecture and private space in the Roman Empire

9.45–10.30 Louise Revell (University of Southampton): Power, politics and imperialism: the forum in Rome’s western provinces

10.30–11.00 Break

11.00–11.45 Rick Bonnie (University of Helsinki): Religious Architecture in Ruins? Standing Synagogue Remains in Early Islamic Galilee

11.45–13.00 Closing discussion