John MacGinnis: “excavating a provincial capital of the Assyrian Empire”. Introduction by Chikako Watanabe
Trinity in Japan history and archaeology festival: John MacGinnis (Trinity 1982) will talk on “excavating a provincial capital of the Assyrian Empire”
On Monday 23 March 2020 we will have our Trinity in Japan History and Archaeology Festival in Tokyo.
John MacGinnis (Trinity 1982) will visit us from the UK, and will talk to us about “excavating a provincial capital of the Assyrian Empire”. Location: in central Tokyo.
- 6:45pm – 7pm arrive
- 7pm Chikako Watanabe (Trinity 1990) introduces John MacGinnis
- 7:05pm – 7:30pm John MacGinnis: “excavating a provincial capital of the Assyrian Empire”
- 7:30pm – 9:30pm dinner
- after 9:30pm – nijikai drinks nearby
The fee including kaiseki dinner and unlimited drinks will be YEN 10,000, nijikai drinks etc are separate. We will meet in central Tokyo.
All Fellows or members of Trinity College (Cambridge University) living in or visiting Tokyo are very welcome.
Registration and prepayment until Monday 16 March 2020. I will send location details and account details for prepayment to those who register.
Usually we go for nijikai nearby.
Excavating a Provincial capital of the Assyrian Empire – abstract of John MacGinnis talk
The Assyrian Empire was the first multinational empire in the ancient near east. By the seventh century BC it had grown to cover all of Iraq, Syria and the Levant, substantial portions of western Iran and south-eastern Turkey and even, for brief periods, Egypt. In the site of Ziyaret Tepe we had a unique opportunity to explore and document Assyrian rule across the whole of this time span. The site lies on the river Tigris, some 60 km east of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey. Known in antiquity as Tushan, it was an Assyrian provincial capital and garrison town from 882 to 611 BC; as an archaeological site it is of exceptional importance. Sadly Ziyaret Tepe is threatened with destruction by the floodwaters of the Ilisu Dam and an international team, of which the Cambridge University expedition was a major component, worked to recovering as much of this heritage as possible before it disappears forever.
The excavations have uncovered the remains of a palace, a major administrative building, the defensive wall with monumental gates and both high and low status housing. The finds have included an archive of cuneiform texts dating to the very end of the empire including a sensational letter written by a military commander during the very process of collapse.
Here the University of Cambridge website on Ziyaret Tepe:
Here the University of Akron website and blog on Ziyaret Tepe:
Dr John MacGinnis
Research Fellow, University of Cambridge McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Curator, Middle East Department, British Museum
Dr. MacGinnis (Trinity 1982) is a specialist in the archaeology and inscriptions of ancient Babylonia and Assyria, on which he has published extensively. He has worked on sites across the middle east including Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Sudan and Cyprus as well as his work in Turkey; he has also worked in India and Pakistan. He is a consultant for UNESCO on the culture of ancient Mesopotamia and has been Field Director of the British Expedition to Ziyaret Tepe since the commencement of the work in 2000.
Here is an article about John MacGinnis’ work on the discovery of an ancient language from more than 2500 years ago:
and here some of John MacGinnis’ books and research publications:
- Ziyaret Tepe: Exploring the Anatolian Frontier of the Assyrian Empire. By Timothy Matney, John MacGinnis, Dirk Wicke, and Kemalettin Köroglu. Edinburgh: Cornucopia, 2017. Book review: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/702170
- John MacGinnis, “Evidence for a Peripheral Language in a Neo-Assyrian Tablet from the Governor’s Palace in Tušhan,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 71, no. 1 (April 2012): 13-20. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/664450
- The Arrows of the Sun. Armed Forces in Sippar in the First Millennium bc. By John MacGinnis, with copies of the cuneiform texts by Cornelia Wunsch. Dresden: ISLET-Verlag, 2012. Book review: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/679680
Chikako E. Watanabe (Trinity 1990) is Professor of Assyriology and Art History in the Faculty of International Studies at Osaka Gakuin University. Her academic interests range from Neo-Assyrian pictorial narratives and animal symbolism to an analysis of the source materials of Assyrian reliefs and cuneiform tablets. She was awarded the Third JSPS (Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science) prize on “Narratological Interpretation of the Art of Ancient Mesopotamia” in 2006. She is the author of Animal Symbolism in Mesopotamia: A Contextual Approach, WOO 1 (2002). She is currently the PI (principal investigator) of two JSPS projects: “Reconstruction of Assyrian reliefs through the analysis of material stone” (2017-20) and “The provenance and manufacturing processes of Mesopotamian clay tablets” (2019-23).
Archaeology at Trinity College (Cambridge University)
If you are Trinity College Cambridge Fellow or member living in or visiting Japan please join us. To register, or for any enquiries contact us here:
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