We closed 2016 with the soft opening of the Director’s House, with two days of Levantine Ceramics Project (LCP) workshops hosted by LCP Editor and Albright Trustee Andrea Berlin of Boston University. The first day focused on “Petro-fabrics of the Southern Levant: Soils, Clays, and Marls” and the second on “Wares and Shapes of the Persian period (6th-4th c. BCE) in Israel.” Dr. Berlin described two goals for the workshops: “to work towards better definitions and descriptions of local wares of the Persian period, and second, to add this information, along with drawings and photographs of specific examples, to the LCP. In the end we hope for a more refined and detailed view of the ceramic landscape in the Persian period.” The participants, leading ceramics experts, discussed and debated (sometimes vigorously), and ultimately worked together with great success.
The Levantine Ceramics Project (LCP) is a collaborative venture of archaeologists working on Levantine ceramics of all eras—from the Neolithic era (c. 5500 B.C.E.) through the Ottoman period (c. 1920). Periodic workshops are an integral component of the project. The LCP website is a digital resource where anybody can submit and find information about wares, shapes, specific vessels, scientific analyses, kiln sites, and chronology. The goal of LCP is “to build a robust digital tool that will make available an enormous data set, link scholars, and foster research throughout this vital region,” according to the LCP website. The workshops allow LCP contributors to present new discoveries and discuss issues in common. Workshops are always open to all scholars, students, and anybody interested in the study of Levantine pottery.
This article is as much about the success of the LCP workshops as about the Director’s House as a physical space conducive to collaboration. Dr. Berlin concurs: “The space is wonderful! Big enough so that everybody felt comfortable, but not so big that we felt like we were rattling around.” Adam Prins, in addition to his appointment as the AIAR-JVRP Digital Archaeology Fellow this year, served as a consultant for the technological features of the new space. He agreed that “the DH was the perfect venue; the lecture space allowed for hands-on work with vessels spread out on tables, as well as ongoing presentations and reference materials on the projector in the background. Everyone seemed at home in the new space and really took advantage of it.”
The DH features a completely renovated audiovisual system with state-of-the-art recording and presentation capabilities. The official grand opening of the DH will be next week on Thursday, January 12th. Robert Homsher, an Educational and Cultural Affairs Fellow this year, will present a workshop on his research at the Albright: “Climate Change and Late Bronze Age Transitions: Reassessing the Data.” We plan to live-stream the lecture for the benefit of our friends and colleagues abroad. “Live-streaming will allow us to expand our reach and allow students and scholars abroad access to the scholarship coming out of the Albright,” said Director Matthew Adams. Details to come.
To support these developments and this moment in the Albright’s history, do consider making a gift to the Director’s House Challenge, in any amount. We’ve been lucky to receive the support of our friends, alumni, trustees, and staff on our way to matching the major gift of Trustee Bjorn Lindgren and his wife Beverly. This year, we will celebrate our 117th birthday. As they say, “’til 120” (at least)!