Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lecture on Neo-Punic Zita

(NEO-)PUNIC WATCH: AAG lecture highlights Carthaginian & Roman Empires (Greenwich Post).
“Empire, Prayer, and Industry at the Roman and Neo-Punic Urban Mound of Zita, Tunisia” will be the subject of Professor Brett Kaufman, Thursday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m., at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich [Connecticut].

Sponsored by the Archaeological Associates of Greenwich (the AAG), the lecture is free to AAG, Bruce Museum members, students with ID and $15 to the public.

Dr. Kaufman is the principal investigator and founding Co-Director of the Zita Project in Southern Tunisia. These excavations and survey are the first to be undertaken by the U.S.-Tunisian archaeological collaboration since the Arab Spring. The site reveals an occupation spanning roughly 800 years (500 BC-300 AD). Zita, meaning Olive City in Punic, was incorporated into the Roman Empire following the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC. Over three seasons (2013-2015), Professor Kaufman’s team from the Tunisian Institute National du Patrimoine, UCLA and Brown have worked to provide a picture of the cultural changes that occurred at Zita over many centuries before its abrupt abandonment around 300 AD.

It's good to see that archaeology is continuing in Tunisia, despite recent events. That's the spirit!

Incidentally, I include posts on Punic and Phoenician as a matter of course, and some readers may wonder why. Phoenician is a Canaanite language that was spoken by various city-states on the coast of what is now modern Lebanon and Syria, Israel's neighbors to the the north. It is closely related to Hebrew and was probably more or less mutually comprehensible with it. The Phoenicians would have been among those peoples the Israelites thought of as Canaanites, although Israelites and Phoenicians didn't have any significant land disputes and so got along with each other more often than not. The Greeks got their alphabet from the Phoenicians. The Phoenicians has a major colony in North Africa (modern Tunisia) called "Carthage" ("New City") and they spoke the Phoenician language, which the Romans called "Punic." "Neo-Punic" is the name for the same language (and culture) after the defeat of Carthage by the Romans in 146 B.C.E. So I keep track of developments concerning ancient Phoenicia and Carthage because they were culturally and linguistically closely related to the ancient Israelites and ancient Judaism.