2008. december 28., vasárnap

Egy ERC-pályázat nyertese: Reconstructing Ancient (Biblical) Israel

Az itthoni kutatókat sem hagyta hidegen a European Research Council pályázata, amellyel igen magas támogatást lehetett nyerni - de csak igen komoly programokra. Nagy örömömre a ERC egy ókori keletes pályázatot is támogatott, mégpedig Israel Finkelsteinét. Minthogy a pályázat absztraktja immár több helyütt is olvasható, én is közzéteszem, mivel roppant tanulságos - nemcsak módszertani szempontból, hanem abból a szempontból is, hogy megmutatja, milyen kaliberűnek is kell lennie egy nyertes ERC-pályázatnak.

Reconstructing Ancient (Biblical) Israel:The Exact and Life Sciences Perspective

The study of Ancient Israel's texts (the Hebrew Bible), material culture and history has been a keystone of European scholarship since the Enlightenment. Biblical exegesis and archaeology contributedimpressively to our understanding of Ancient Israel. Yet, in certain areas conventional research has reached a stalemate. With very few real-time historical records, with the biblical testimony written along time after the events described (if not mythical) took place, and with the strong theological agenda of both the original authors and some modern scholars, reconstructing the world of Ancient Israel is a complex matter.The exact and life sciences are not restricted by these preconceptions and are able to reveal data that is not visible to the naked eye. Advances made in the last decade in archaeological science show that this is the wave of the future. The novelty in this proposal is to deploy an arsenal of 10 research tracks from the exact and life sciences in order to better understand Ancient Israel:

A. The time of Ancient Israel: A1. Radiocarbon: correlating the chronology of Ancient Israel with neighboring lands.
B. The genesis of Ancient Israel: B1. Human genetics and paleodiet. B2. Geo-archaeology: tracking the subsistence economy of AncientIsrael. B3. Palynology: relating paleoclimate to settlement oscillations.
C. The life of Ancient Israel: C1. Ceramic petrography: reconstructing trade patterns. C2. Metallurgy: tracking technological advances.
D. The mind of Ancient Israel: D1. Daily mathematics of dimensions: pottery and architecture. D2. Epigraphy: the use of advanced computational methodologies (e.g., artificial intelligence algorithms) in the study of writing in Israel and Judah.
E. The identity of Ancient Israel: E1. Residue analysis of pottery vessels, and E2. Archaeo-zoology; both aim at elucidating diet, foodways and possibly identity boundaries.

This project has the potential to revolutionize the study of Ancient Israel. Such a broad research plan in the realm of archaeology and the sciences, focused on a single period/theme, has never been conducted anywhere. The project will be directed by Israel Finkelstein and Steve Weiner, with the help of Shirly Ben Dor and Yuval Gadot. The different tracks of the project will be carried out by Elisabetta Boaretto, Alexander Fantalkin and Eliezer Piasetzky (radiocarbon); Ruth Shahack-Gross (geoarchaeology); Thomas Litt, Frank Neumann and Mordechai Stein(palynology); Yuval Goren (ceramic petrography); Naama Yahalom and Adi Eliyahu (mettalurgy); Yitzhak Benenson and Elena Zapassky (daily mathematics); Nathan Intrator, Eli Piasetzky, Benjamin Sass and Arie Shaus (epigraphy); Dvora Namdar (residue analysis). The project will support additional post-doctoral researchers and Ph.D. students.

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