Proceedings of the 6th International Congress of the Archaeology of the Ancient near East, Vol. 1: Near Eastern Archaeology in the Past, Present and Future; Ethnoarchaeological and Interdisciplinary Approach; Visual Expression and Craft Production in the Definition of Social Relations and Status

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Proceedings of the 6th International Congress of the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, vol. 1: Near Eastern Archaeology in the Past, Present and Future; Ethnoarchaeological and Interdisciplinary Approach; Visual Expression and Craft Production in the Definition of Social Relations and Status. Edited by PAOLO MATTHIAE; FRANCES PINNOCK; LORENZO NIGRO; and NICOLO MARCHETTI. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2010. Pp. xxvii + 1026, illus. [euro]128.

Proceedings of the 6th International Congress of the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, vol. 2: Excavations, Surveys and Restorations: Reports on Recent Field Archaeology in the Near East. Edited by PAOLO MATTHIAE; FRANCES PINNOCK; LORENZO NIGRO; and NICOLO MARCHETTI. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2010. Pp. xxvii + 768, illus. [euro]98.

Proceedings of the 6th International Congress of the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, vol. 3: Islamic Session; Poster Session. Edited by PAOLO MATTHIAE; FRANCES PINNOCK; LORENZO NIGRO; and MICOLO MARCHETTI. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2010. Pp. xxvii + 537, illus. [euro]68.

The first International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (ICAANE) was held in Rome in 1998, and the proceedings were published in 2000 in two massive volumes totaling 125 papers and 1843 pages of text, all edited by Paolo Matthiae and his colleagues. In his introduction to that volume, Matthiae explained that ICAANE was formed in order for Near Eastern archaeologists to allow for "comparative evaluations and wide historic judgments," discussion of field methods and cultural heritage protection, and to resist "subordination to philologists and historians." Archaeologists had grown dissatisfied with opportunities to discuss archaeological subjects at the Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, which had been the major conference of scholars working on the ancient Near East.

Since that first conference, ICAANE meetings have been held every two years as originally planned, in Copenhagen (2000), Paris (2002), Berlin (2004), Madrid (2006), again in Rome (2008), in London (2010), and in Warsaw (2012). Proceedings of the Berlin conference were published in 2008 in two volumes totaling 1088 pages edited by Hartmut Kuhne and colleagues, while the Madrid conference proceedings were published in three volumes of 2446 pages edited by Joaquin Cordoba. Publications of the other conferences have been promised, and papers from a workshop in the Copenhagen ICAANE have been published separately (Magic Practices and Ritual in the Near Eastern Neolithic [Berlin: ex oriente, 2002]). The work under review is the proceedings of the 2008 ICAANE conference held in Rome, 175 papers published in three volumes and 2332 pages of text, once again edited by Matthiae and colleagues.

One does not normally dwell on the number of pages in books under review, but in this case, the range and sheer bulk of the papers encourage the reviewer to approach the volumes quantitatively, as it is impossible to evaluate papers individually.

The volumes are prefaced with an extremely brief editorial introduction, and then divided into five themes: 1) Near Eastern Archaeology in the Past, Present, and Future. Archaeological Heritage and the Archaeologist's Identity (vol. 1); 2) Ethnoarchaeological and Interdisciplinary Approach [sic], Results and Perspectives in Near Eastern Archaeology (vol. 1); 3) High versus Low: Visual Expression and Craft Production in the Definition of Social Relations and Status (vol. 1); 4) Excavations, Surveys and Restorations: Reports on Recent Field Archaeology in the Near East (vol. …