In Search of Canaanite Art

April 1, 2009
7:00 pm, Breasted Hall

Al Leonard, University of Arizona

Co-Sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America

During the Late Bronze Age (c. 1600-1200 BC), the Land of Canaan was one of the most important commercial and cultural crossroads of the Eastern Mediterranean. Canaan’s position astride the land bridge between the Hittite Kingdom to the north and Pharaonic Egypt to the south guaranteed her an important role in the international politics of the day, while her ports played host to sailors from Cyprus, Rhodes, and the Minoan/Mycenaean world beyond.

The degree to which this spirit of internationalism pervaded the upper levels of Canaanite society is well demonstrated by a hoard of carved ivory fragments that were discovered during the University of Chicago Oriental Institute excavations at Megiddo (the Biblical Armageddon) in the last century. Though small in size, these tiny pieces tell a large story, and document artistic stimuli from the many cultures with whom the chiefs of Canaan traded. This presentation first isolates the individual “foreign” influences detectable in the Megiddo Ivories and then probes more deeply in an attempt to recognize pieces that reflect the art of the indigenous Canaanites themselves.

Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance.