This course is open to all students of the Classics and Ancient Civilizations programme with knowledge of the archaeology and material culture of the Ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean. This course is also open to MA students from the Faculty of Archaeology with a similar background who have participated in courses on Near Eastern archaeology and material culture. Please contact the course instructor in advance for specific questions on admission.
Tell el-Dab’a, identified with ancient Avaris is one of the most important sites in the Eastern Mediterranean. Due to its favorable location in the Egyptian Eastern Nile Delta it developed into a major trade hub in the second millennium BC and became the capital of the Hyksos dynasty, the first foreign dynasty ruling over Egypt. With its mixed population of Egyptian and Asiatic settlers from the neighboring Levantine region (Syria-Palestine) the site offers the opportunity to link the material culture of both regions and to discuss cross-cultural topics such as trade connections, migration and the socio-political background of the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East in the second millennium BC. The site’s stratigraphy is furthermore crucial for matching the chronologies of the entire Eastern Mediterranean.
The goal of this interdisciplinary research seminar is to gain insight into the cosmopolite atmosphere of the city, the assimilation and acculturation of foreigners, the role of changing identity and ethnicity as well as the construction of power as it applies to many different areas in the wider Near East and Eastern Mediterranean. Furthermore the layout of the city in its specific environmental surrounding in the Eastern Nile Delta provides an opportunity to discuss settlement patterns in Egypt and urbanism and household archaeology in the wider Near East. Studying such a multicultural site will enable the students to understand the lived experience at the crossroads of different cultural spheres. With an excavation history of 55 years different strategies of investigation and new research agendas will be exemplified and models for future excavations discussed.
This research seminar contributes to the achievement of learning outcomes 1a and b, 2a-d, 3a-c, 4a-4c, 5a of the general criteria and 1b-c and 2a-b of the specific learning outcomes of the study programme Classics and Ancient Civilizations.
The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Mode of instruction
Oral presentation (30%)
To complete the final mark the final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
Re-examination consists of rewriting the final paper.
Inspection and feedback
Students will be invited to discuss their paper and results for this seminar individually with the instructor.
Excavation volumes Tell el-Dabca I-XXIII, Untersuchungen der Zweigstelle Kairo des Österreichischen Archäologischen Institutes, Wien.
Bietak, M. (1996) Avaris.* Capital of the Hyksos, Recent Excavations at Tell el-Dabca,* London.
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.
For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal
The requirements for MA and ResMA students are differentiated: ResMA students are expected to come up with their own original research topic, find literature, and write a scholarly report; MA students may expect more help in choosing their topic and their papers may consist of an assessment of the status quaestionis on a given question.