Book Reviews

Brian Janeway, Sea Peoples of the Northern Levant? Aegean-Style Pottery from Early Iron Age Tell Tayinat
Emanuel, J. P. (2019). Brian Janeway, Sea Peoples of the Northern Levant? Aegean-Style Pottery from Early Iron Age Tell Tayinat. American Journal of Archaeology , 123 (3). Click Here to DownloadAbstract

Publisher's description:

Did an invasion of the Sea Peoples cause the collapse of the Late Bronze Age palace-based economies of the Levant, as well as of the Hittite Empire? Renewed excavations at Tell Tayinat in southeast Turkey are shedding new light on the critical transitional phase of the Late Bronze/Early Iron Age (ca. 1200–1000 B.C.), a period that in the Northern Levant has until recently been considered a “Dark Age,” due in large part to the few extant textual sources relating to its history. However, recently discovered epigraphic data from both the site and the surrounding region suggest the formation of an Early Iron Age kingdom that fused Hieroglyphic Luwian monumental script with a strong component of Aegeanizing cultural elements. The capital of this putative/erstwhile kingdom appears to have been located at Tell Tayinat in the Amuq Valley.

More specifically, this formal stylistic analysis examines a distinctive painted pottery known as Late Helladic IIIC found at the site of Tayinat during several seasons of excavation. The assemblage includes examples of Aegean-style bowls, kraters, and amphorae bearing an array of distinctive decorative features. A key objective of the study distinguishes Aegean stylistic characteristics both in form and in painted motifs from those inspired by the indigenous culture.

Drawing on a wide range of parallels from Philistia through the Levant, Anatolia, the Aegean Sea, the Greek Mainland, and Cyprus, this research begins to fill a longstanding lacuna in the Amuq Valley and attempts to correlate with major historical and cultural trends in the Northern Levant and beyond.

 

Peter M. Fischer & Teresa Bürge (eds.), 'Sea Peoples' Up-to-Date: New Research on Transformation in the Eastern Mediterranean in the 13th-11th Centuries BCE
Emanuel, J. P. (2019). Peter M. Fischer & Teresa Bürge (eds.), 'Sea Peoples' Up-to-Date: New Research on Transformation in the Eastern Mediterranean in the 13th-11th Centuries BCE. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research , 381, 246-248. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

Publisher's description: 

This volume presents the outcomes of the European Science Foundation workshop “Sea Peoples” Up-to-Date. New Research on Transformations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the 13th–11th Centuries BCE, which took place in November 2014 at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. It offers up-to-date research on the Sea Peoples phenomenon during the so called “crisis years” at the end of the Bronze Age. This period encompasses dramatic changes in the political and cultural landscape of mainly the Eastern Mediterranean around 1200 BCE and most of the 12th century BCE. In geographical terms, these changes are noticeable in a vast area stretching from the Italian peninsula over the Balkans, the Aegean, Anatolia and Cyprus, to the Levant and Egypt. The term “Sea Peoples phenomenon” should be considered as an encompassing term, which – in addition to the written records on hostile activities of various ethnic groups in the Eastern Mediterranean – is synonymous with the effect of this turbulent period as reflected in the material remains. As a consequence, these events ended the Late Bronze Age, the first period of “internationalism” in human history. The papers are presented in five sections: “Overviews: From Italy to the Levant”; “Climate and Radiocarbon”; “Theoretical Approaches on Destruction, Migration and Transformation of Cultures”; “Case Studies: Cyprus, Cilicia and the Northern and Southern Levant”; and “Material Studies”. The reader of this volume gains insights into very complex changes during this period. It will become clear that these changes manifest themselves over decades and not years, and include numerous underlying factors: One single wave of migration, one general military campaign and other simple explanations should be dismissed. The breakdown of Late Bronze Age societies and the transformative processes that followed in its wake occurred in a vast area but they are mirrored in differing ways at local levels.

Donald B. Redford, The Medinet Habu Records of the Foreign Wars of Ramesses III
Emanuel, J. P. (2018). Donald B. Redford, The Medinet Habu Records of the Foreign Wars of Ramesses III. Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections , 20, 75-78. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

Publisher's description:

The Medinet Habu Records of the Foreign Wars of Ramesses III is a new translation and commentary of the Textual record of Ramesses III’s military activity. As such it dwells heavily upon the inscriptions dealing with Libyans and Sea Peoples. Since the format is oral formulaic, the texts are scanned and rendered as lyric. The new insights into the period covered by the inscriptions leads to a new appraisal of the identity of Egypt’s enemies, as well as events surrounding the activity of the Sea Peoples. The exercise is not intended to dismiss, but rather to complement the archaeological evidence.

Shelley Wachsmann, The Gurob Ship-Cart Model and Its Mediterranean Context
Emanuel, J. P. (2015). Shelley Wachsmann, The Gurob Ship-Cart Model and Its Mediterranean Context. Rosetta , 17, 150-155. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

Publisher's description: 

When Shelley Wachsmann began his analysis of the small ship model excavated by assistants of famed Egyptologist W. M. F. Petrie in Gurob, Egypt, in 1920, he expected to produce a brief monograph that would shed light on the model and the ship type that it represented. Instead, Wachsmann discovered that the model held clues to the identities and cultures of the enigmatic Sea Peoples, to the religious practices of ancient Egypt and Greece, and to the oared ships used by the Bronze Age Mycenaean Greeks.

Although found in Egypt, the prototype of the Gurob model was clearly an Aegean-style galley of a type used by both the Mycenaeans and the Sea Peoples. The model is the most detailed representation presently known of this vessel type, which played a major role in changing the course of world history. Contemporaneous textual evidence for Sherden—one of the Sea Peoples—settled in the region suggests that the model may be patterned after a galley of that culture. Bearing a typical Helladic bird-head decoration topping the stempost, with holes along the sheer strakes confirming the use of stanchions, the model was found with four wheels and other evidence for a wagon-like support structure, connecting it with European cultic prototypes.

The online resources that accompany the book illustrate Wachsmann’s research and analysis. They include 3D interactive models that allow readers to examine the Gurob model on their computers as if held in the hand, both in its present state and in two hypothetical reconstructions. The online component also contains high-resolution color photos of the model, maps and satellite photos of the site, and other related materials. Offering a wide range of insights and evidence for linkages among ancient Mediterranean peoples and traditions, The Gurob Ship-Cart Model and Its Mediterranean Context presents an invaluable asset for anyone interested in the complexities of cultural change in the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age.

Shelley Wachsmann, The Gurob Ship-Cart Model and Its Mediterranean Context
Emanuel, J. P. (2014). Shelley Wachsmann, The Gurob Ship-Cart Model and Its Mediterranean Context. Antiguo Oriente , 12, 229-234. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

Publisher's description: 

When Shelley Wachsmann began his analysis of the small ship model excavated by assistants of famed Egyptologist W. M. F. Petrie in Gurob, Egypt, in 1920, he expected to produce a brief monograph that would shed light on the model and the ship type that it represented. Instead, Wachsmann discovered that the model held clues to the identities and cultures of the enigmatic Sea Peoples, to the religious practices of ancient Egypt and Greece, and to the oared ships used by the Bronze Age Mycenaean Greeks.

Although found in Egypt, the prototype of the Gurob model was clearly an Aegean-style galley of a type used by both the Mycenaeans and the Sea Peoples. The model is the most detailed representation presently known of this vessel type, which played a major role in changing the course of world history. Contemporaneous textual evidence for Sherden—one of the Sea Peoples—settled in the region suggests that the model may be patterned after a galley of that culture. Bearing a typical Helladic bird-head decoration topping the stempost, with holes along the sheer strakes confirming the use of stanchions, the model was found with four wheels and other evidence for a wagon-like support structure, connecting it with European cultic prototypes.

The online resources that accompany the book illustrate Wachsmann’s research and analysis. They include 3D interactive models that allow readers to examine the Gurob model on their computers as if held in the hand, both in its present state and in two hypothetical reconstructions. The online component also contains high-resolution color photos of the model, maps and satellite photos of the site, and other related materials. Offering a wide range of insights and evidence for linkages among ancient Mediterranean peoples and traditions, The Gurob Ship-Cart Model and Its Mediterranean Context presents an invaluable asset for anyone interested in the complexities of cultural change in the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age.

Adam Zertal, El-Ahwat: A Fortified Site from the Early Iron Age Near Nahal 'Iron, Israel: Excavations 1993-2000
Emanuel, J. P. (2013). Adam Zertal, El-Ahwat: A Fortified Site from the Early Iron Age Near Nahal 'Iron, Israel: Excavations 1993-2000. Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections , 5 (2), 57-60. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

Review of Adam Zertal, "El-Ahwat, A Fortified Site from the Early Iron Age Near Nahal 'Iron, Israel: Excavations 1993-2000" (Leiden: Brill, 2012).

Publisher's description: 

The excavations at el-Ahwat constitute a unique and fascinating archaeological undertaking. The site is the location of a fortified city dated to the early Iron Age (ca. 1220–1150 BCE), hidden in a dense Mediterranean forest in central Israel, near the historic 'Arunah pass. Discovered in 1992 and excavated between 1993 and 2000, the digs revealed an urban “time capsule” erected and inhabited during a short period of time (60–70 years), with no earlier site below or subsequent one above it.

This report provides a vivid picture of the site, its buildings, and environmental economy as evinced by the stone artifacts, animal bones, agricultural installations, and iron forge that were uncovered here. The excavators of this site suggest in this work that the settlement was inhabited by the Shardana Sea-Peoples, who arrived in the ancient Near East at the end of the 13th century BCE and settled in northern Canaan. In weighing the physical evidence and the logic of the interpretation presented herein, the reader will be treated to a new and compelling archaeological and historical challenge.

Silvia Ferrara, Cypro-Minoan Inscriptions: Volume I: Analysis
Emanuel, J. P. (2012). Silvia Ferrara, Cypro-Minoan Inscriptions: Volume I: Analysis. Oxford University Press, 2012. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION:

This volume offers the first comprehensive examination of an ancient writing system from Cyprus and Syria known as Cypro-Minoan. After Linear B was deciphered by Michael Ventris in 1952, other un-deciphered scripts of the second millennium BC from the Aegean world (Linear A) and the Eastern Mediterranean (Cypro-Minoan) became the focus of those trying to crack this ancient and historical code. Despite several attempts for both syllabaries, this prospect has remained unrealized. This is especially true for Cypro-Minoan, the script of Late Bronze Age Cyprus found also at Ugarit in Syria, which, counting no more than 250 inscriptions, remains not only poorly documented, but also insufficiently explored in previous scholarship.

Today progress in the study of this enigmatic script demands that we direct our attention to gaining new insight through a contextual analysis of Cypro-Minoan by tracing its life in the archaeological record and investigating its purpose and significance in the Cypriot and Syrian settlements that created and used it.

With a new methodology concentrating on a ground-breaking contextual approach, Ferrara presents the first large-scale study of Cypro-Minoan with an analysis of all the inscriptions through a multidisciplinary perspective that embraces aspects of archaeology, epigraphy, and palaeography.
Kurt & Janet von Schuschnigg, When Hitler Took Austria: A Memoir of Heroic Faith by the Chancellor’s Son
Emanuel, J. P. (2012). Kurt & Janet von Schuschnigg, When Hitler Took Austria: A Memoir of Heroic Faith by the Chancellor’s Son. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION:

On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into Austria as Adolf Hitler prepared to annex the country. Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg, who had opposed the Nazi take-over of his homeland, was placed under house arrest and subsequently sent with his wife to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

This is the gripping story of von Schuschnigg and his family as told by his son, who came of age during these dramatic events. His memoir is a tribute to the faith, hope and perseverance of his family and the many people who took great risks in order to help them survive Nazi rule and the Second World War.

The story begins with the junior von Schuschnigg's boyhood and his father's efforts to maintain Austrian independence during the rise of Nazism in Germany, Fascism in Italy, and political unrest in Austria. After the Anschluss, von Schuschnigg's son was allowed to finish his education in Germany, where in order to avoid being drafted into the German army, he went to the naval academy. He ended up on a warship of the Third Reich, serving the regime that held his family captive.

Von Schuschnigg recounts his many harrowing escapes, first as a young naval officer and later as a deserter on the run. At every turn, he is helped not only by his own wits but also by the mysterious working of Providence, which sometimes manifests itself in surprising acts of goodness by others.
Sharon R. Steadman & Gregory McMahon (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia
Emanuel, J. P. (2012). Sharon R. Steadman & Gregory McMahon (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia. Oxford University Press, 2011. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION:

The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia is a unique blend of comprehensive overviews on archaeological, philological, linguistic, and historical issues at the forefront of Anatolian scholarship in the 21st century. Anatolia is home to early complex societies and great empires, and was the destination of many migrants, visitors, and invaders. The offerings in this volume bring this reality to life as the chapters unfold nearly ten thousand years (ca. 10,000-323 BCE) of peoples, languages, and diverse cultures who lived in or traversed Anatolia over these millennia. The contributors combine descriptions of current scholarship on important discussion and debates in Anatolian studies with new and cutting edge research for future directions of study. The fifty-four chapters are presented in five separate sections that range in topic from chronological and geographical overviews to anthropologically based issues of culture contact and imperial structures, and from historical settings of entire millennia to crucial data from key sites across the region. The contributors to the volume represent the best scholars in the field from North America, Europe, Turkey, and Asia. The appearance of this volume offers the very latest collection of studies on the fascinating peninsula known as Anatolia.
Nancy H. Demand, The Mediterranean Context of Early Greek History
Emanuel, J. P. (2012). Nancy H. Demand, The Mediterranean Context of Early Greek History. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION:

The Mediterranean Context of Early Greek History reveals the role of the complex interaction of Mediterranean seafaring and maritime connections in the development of the ancient Greek city-states.
  • Offers fascinating insights into the origins of urbanization in the ancient Mediterranean, including the Greek city-state
  • Based on the most recent research on the ancient Mediterranean
  • Features a novel approach to theories of civilization change - foregoing the traditional isolationists model of development in favor of a maritime based network
  • Argues for cultural interactions set in motion by exchange and trade by sea
Eric H. Cline & David O'Connor (eds.), Ramesses III: The Life and Times of Egypt's Last Hero
Emanuel, J. P. (2012). Eric H. Cline & David O'Connor (eds.), Ramesses III: The Life and Times of Egypt's Last Hero. Ann Arbor: Michigan, 2012. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION:

In the tumultuous and vivid history of New Kingdom Egypt, Ramesses III's reign was prosperous and culturally rich. He fended off attacks by the "Sea Peoples" and others who threatened the state, he built the great temple of Medinet Habu, and he left wonderfully complete documents describing contemporary social structure and the economy. Amazingly, we even have an account from a contemporary judicial document that describes events leading to Ramesses III's assassination. This edited collection presents a detailed and informative look at the life, career, and world of one of Egypt's most important pharaohs, providing insight both on his reign and its aftermath and on the study of the political and cultural history of ancient Egypt. This collection offers the best new scholarship on Ramesses III, with contributions from Christopher J. Eyre; Ogden Goelet, Jr.; Peter W. Haider; Carolyn R. Higginbotham; Kenneth A. Kitchen; Bojana Mojsov; Steven R. Snape; Emily Teeter; and James M. Weinstein, as well as from David O'Connor and Eric H. Cline. It will be of interest to those with an informed amateur's interest in Egyptology as well as to scholars of Egyptian and biblical archaeology.
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Bin Laden's Legacy: Why We’re Still Losing the War on Terror
Emanuel, J. P. (2011). Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Bin Laden's Legacy: Why We’re Still Losing the War on Terror. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION

In the decade since 9/11, the United States has grown weaker: It has been bogged down by costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has spent billions of dollars on security to protect air travel and other transport, as well as the homeland more generally. Much of this money has been channeled into efforts that are inefficient by design and highly bureaucratic, a lack of coordination between and among the government and an array of contractors making it difficult to evaluate the return on the enormous investment that we have made in national security. Meanwhile, public morale has been sapped by measures ranging from color-coded terror alerts to full-body hand searches.

Now counterterrorism expert Daveed Gartenstein-Ross details the strategic missteps the U.S. has made in the fight against al Qaeda, a group that U.S. planners never really took the time to understand. For this reason, America's responses to the terrorist threat have often unwittingly helped al Qaeda achieve its goals. Gartenstein-Ross's book explains what the country must do now to stem the bleeding.

  • Explains in detail al Qaeda's strategy to sap and undermine the American economy, and shows how the United States played into the terrorist group's hands by expanding the battlefield and setting up an expensive homeland security bureaucracy that has difficulty dealing with a nimble, adaptive foe
  • Outlines how al Qaeda's economic plans have evolved toward an ultimate ""strategy of a thousand cuts,"" which involves smaller yet more frequent attacks against Western societies
  • Shows how the domestic politicization of terrorism has weakened the United States, skewing its priorities and causing it to misallocate counterterrorism resources
  • Offers a practical plan for building domestic resiliency against terrorist attacks, and escaping the mistakes that have undermined America's war against its jihadist foes

Clearly written and powerfully argued by a prominent counterterrorism expert, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what al Qaeda is really after and how the United States can thwart its goals—or help unwittingly to achieve them.

William F. McCants, Founding Gods, Inventing Nations: Conquest and Culture Myths from Antiquity to Islam
Emanuel, J. P. (2011). William F. McCants, Founding Gods, Inventing Nations: Conquest and Culture Myths from Antiquity to Islam. Princeton University Press, 2011. Click Here to DownloadAbstract

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION:

From the dawn of writing in Sumer to the sunset of the Islamic empire, Founding Gods, Inventing Nations traces four thousand years of speculation on the origins of civilization. Investigating a vast range of primary sources, some of which are translated here for the first time, and focusing on the dynamic influence of the Greek, Roman, and Arab conquests of the Near East, William McCants looks at the ways the conquerors and those they conquered reshaped their myths of civilization's origins in response to the social and political consequences of empire.

The Greek and Roman conquests brought with them a learned culture that competed with that of native elites. The conquering Arabs, in contrast, had no learned culture, which led to three hundred years of Muslim competition over the cultural orientation of Islam, a contest reflected in the culture myths of that time. What we know today as Islamic culture is the product of this contest, whose protagonists drew heavily on the lore of non-Arab and pagan antiquity.

McCants argues that authors in all three periods did not write about civilization's origins solely out of pure antiquarian interest--they also sought to address the social and political tensions of the day. The strategies they employed and the postcolonial dilemmas they confronted provide invaluable context for understanding how authors today use myth and history to locate themselves in the confusing aftermath of empire.