UNE’s Pella Exhibition to provide new insight into evolution of human society

Published 04 March 2013

The University of New England will offer a remarkable insight into the evolution of human society in the Middle East, when an exhibition of ancient artefacts goes on display this week.

The Pella Exhibition features artefacts from the ancient city of Pella in Jordan, which is considered one of the significant archaeological digs of our time.

The exhibition goes on public display from Thursday, March 7, in the Dixon Library at UNE.

Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at UNE, Dr Pamela Watson, said the generous donation by the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation at the University of Sydney would be a significant addition to UNE’s extensive collection of artefacts from the Eastern Mediterranean region, already on display in the University’s Museum of Antiquities.

Dr Watson has been involved in the Pella project for 30 years and has recently returned from her latest visit to the site, along with two recent UNE graduates.

“Pella is a magnificent site in the eastern foothills of the north Jordan Valley, situated at the confluence of the major north-south and east-west routes for trade and military conquest,” Dr Watson said.

“The site is significant because it has been more or less continually occupied for the past 10,000 years, while regular conquest and earthquake activity mean that the settlement has been destroyed and rebuilt many times throughout history. Evidence for hominid activity in the immediate region goes back half a million years.

“As we work through more than 20 metres of occupation debris at the Pella excavations, we are uncovering a wealth of information and artefacts about the daily life of the inhabitants through thousands of years.

“Recent discoveries at Pella have led archaeologists to re-examine accepted timelines in relation to significant historic events, such as the precise year of invasion by the Jewish king Alexander Jannaeus in the 1st Century BCE, or more generally, the first ever flowering of urban settlement at the beginnings of the Early Bronze Age.”

Director of the University of Sydney’s Pella Excavations, Dr Stephen Bourke will present a public lecture Pella through the Ages: Key discoveries in the light of recent work, at 10am on Thursday, March 7, in the Letters Room at Dixon Library.

The Pella Exhibition will be open to the public from 8am to 5pm, weekdays, throughout March in the Dixon Library at UNE.