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Abstracts

As part of the first paper for the course, students are asked to write a 400-word abstract that summarizes their paper. This abstract should express the core points and arguments of the paper. It should make the archaeological evidence or theory that you have selected understandable to a reader with no previous archaeological experience.

Purdue University’s writing center has a very good outline on how to write an abstract, click here to visit this website.

Here are two examples of a successful abstracts that I wrote with colleagues. The first one was for a paper was given at the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in 2013. The second is for a poster session that will be given at the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of American in 2015.

Temple, Church and Mosque at Luxor: Initial findings of the Upper Egypt Mosque Project

By Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, Mohamed Kenawi, Judith McKenzie, and Andres Reyes

This paper presents the initial findings of the Upper Egypt Mosque Project. This project focuses on mosques erected in, or near, former enclosures of Egyptian temples or churches. It is a collaborative effort with the Late Antique Egypt and the Holy Land: Archaeology, History and Religious Change Leverhulme project at the University of Oxford.

Examination of the major temple sites in Alexandria and elsewhere in Egypt which later had a church beside, or in, them reveals a more complex pattern of conversation of sacred space than is generally appreciated. Furthermore, Egypt is unusual for the survival of temples that remained standing when churches, and subsequently mosques, were erected in their vicinity, showing how the orientations of these later buildings were influenced by them, e.g., at Luxor and Tod.

The temple at Luxor in Upper Egypt was one of the pre-eminent temples of ancient Egypt. The placing of the Mosque of Abu al-Hajjaj on top of the Coptic church in the first court of Luxor Temple is a rare example of direct continuity of the use of sacred space in Egypt, as are the religious practices associated with the site. In Pharaonic times, at the yearly Opet festival statues of the gods were carried in barques, on the Nile or dry land, between the temple at Karnak and the one at Luxor. In the modern mulid at Luxor in honour of Abu al-Hajjaj, held two weeks before Ramadan, boats are carried through the streets. This merits further investigation given the way in the “Holy Land” former temple and/or church sites with a later mosque are generally major shrines – with continuity of meaning but a change in control (e.g. the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus). In this context, a re-evaluation of the archaeological evidence also raises the issue of whether Luxor Temple really was de-commissioned in the late 3rd century A.D.

Thus, this paper argues that at specific temples, such as the temple at Luxor, there is evidence for religious and architectural continuity that spans from Pharaonic to Islamic times.

Title: Introducing the Manar al-Athar Open-access Photo-archive

Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, The Graduate Center, the City University of New York and Judith McKenzie, University of Oxford

The free Manar al-Athar online photo-archive (http://www.manar-al-athar.ox.ac.uk) now has over 10,000 high-resolution images for teaching, research, and publication of art and architecture of the areas of the former Roman empire that later came under Islamic rule, such as Syro-Palestine/the Levant, Egypt, and North Africa (c. 300 BC to the present). “Manar al-Athar” is Arabic for “Guide to Archaeology” and material is labeled in both English and Arabic, facilitating its use in the lands in which the sites are located. Based at the University of Oxford, it is an example of the online presentation of research results, making data immediately available to other scholars for their own research, while also providing teaching material.

The website’s innovative IT uses metadata fields like a database to sort and search images, with the information about each image stored and downloaded with it (visible in Preview, Photoshop, Abode Bridge, Lightroom, etc.). It was developed from the ArchDAMS data image management system in the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford. Users can download images at high resolution for academic publications (free of charge, without form filling, not water-marked) or at low resolution for teaching.

Pilot development of this website is part of the Leverhulme Trust-funded project at the University of Oxford, Late Antique Egypt and the Holy Land: Archaeology, History, and Religious Change (PI: Neil McLynn). Thus, the initial focus and strength is on late antique buildings or sites which have undergone conversion from paganism to Christianity, and sometimes, in turn, to Islam. This includes material of interest to those studying iconoclasm and pilgrimage. With the support of other sponsors, new photographs are being uploaded regularly to widen coverage to Roman architecture and pagan, Christian, Jewish, and Umayyad art. The images of each monument, taken by the team, are presented in a visual sequence to convey the contexts of details.

This wide coverage also makes the Manar al-Athar photo-archive suited for teaching at the secondary, undergraduate and graduate levels. With images demonstrating the common classical heritage in Hellenistic and Roman architecture and floor mosaics from Tripoli to Damascus, the photo-archive is a useful resource for those teaching Classical Civilization courses, as well as the Greco-Roman Near East. Examples will be presented of its use to create non-traditional assignments, such as websites on specific sites and buildings built by students at the Graduate Centre, CUNY, to demonstrate the photo-archive’s usability in teaching contexts.

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