The secrets of the ancient cities of Palestine

Published 09 March 2014

MosaicPalestine has had a turbulent and fascinating history, and the secrets of its ancient cities will be the subject of a special lecture as part of the University of New England’s ‘Aspects of Antiquity’ series on Thursday March 20.

UNE is proud to welcome visiting academic Professor Carol Meyers from Duke University in the United States, who is visiting Australia with her husband and research partner, Professor Eric Meyers. The pair has spent significant time coordinating the excavations at Sepphoris, a major archaeological site near Nazareth in Israel.

Professor Carol Meyers, an expert in biblical studies and archaeology, will present ‘Mosaics and Multiculturalism: Discoveries at Ancient Sepphoris’ in the public lecture.

“In my lecture I will discuss the city in the Galilee, which was settled at least by the 7th Century BC. It came under Roman rule in 37 BC, and suffered greatly during Jewish rebellions against Rome,” said Professor Carol Meyers.

“The site has yielded up a remarkable diversity of finds to the archaeologist’s trowel: mosaics in grand buildings, a synagogue, theatre, baths, and a myriad of smaller objects. The variety of the finds points to the diversity of the population there, including Jews, Romans and Christians.”

Professor Eric Meyers will also present at UNE during the duo’s visit as part of the School of Humanities Research Seminar Series on Friday March 21 on ‘The challenge of Hellenism and the rise of early Judaism and Christianity.’

Professor Eric Meyers has directed archaeological digs in Israel and Italy for more than 35 years and says that contrary to popular opinion, the rise of Hellenism did not detract from or challenge ancient Judaism and early Christianity.

“The rise of Hellenism actually provided fertile ground for each to convey its message to a much larger world and in a new language: Greek. It did not take away from the authentic tradition of either, but allowed them to be expressed in a more universal language and culture.”

Both Professors Eric and Carol Meyers are leading experts in their fields, and have written many books and articles. They have been widely recognised for their research, and this will be a rare opportunity to hear experts of such calibre speak on two fascinating subjects. They are speaking only in Melbourne, Sydney and Armidale during their visit to Australia, which is sponsored by the Australian Institute of Archaeology in Melbourne.

Professor Carol Meyers’ lecture will take place on Thursday 20 March at 6pm in Lecture Theatre 2 in the UNE Arts building, adjacent to the Museum of Antiquities.

Professor Eric Meyers’ seminar will take place on Friday 21 March at 9am in Lecture Theatre A3 of the UNE Arts Building.

Both the lecture and the seminar are free and welcome to all to attend. In addition, the UNE Museum of Antiquities will be open for visitors.

Image: Joint Sepphoris Project/Eric and Carol Meyers: This richly colored mosaic portrait of an unnamed woman was discovered among the ruins of the Roman city of Sepphoris in the Galilee. The enchanting tilt of her head and near-smile earned her the nickname “Mona Lisa of the Galilee.”