November 1, 2017

Dispatches From The AIA – November 2017

Masna al-Zukkar, Safi, Jordan

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AIA-SCS Annual Meeting is Fast Approaching

We invite you to join us in Boston for the 119th AIA-SCS Joint Annual Meeting from January 4 to 7 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. The meeting begins on Thursday, January 4, with the public lecture and opening night reception. Academic sessions start on Friday the 5th and conclude on Sunday the 7th. The conference also includes the Annual Meeting of the AIA Council. Discounted hotel rooms are available from Monday, January 1, through Monday, January 8. Additional rooms are available at the Westin Copley Place. Please register and make your hotel reservations as soon as possible, as rooms will fill up quickly. For full details, visit the Annual Meeting section of the AIA website at archaeological.org/annualmeeting.

Heritage Educators Conference at the Annual Meeting

In addition to the regular academic program, the AIA will host the Fourth Annual Conference for Heritage Educators on Saturday, January 6. Join heritage educators from a variety of fields to discuss public outreach programs, goals, successes, and challenges. Become a part of this growing community of like-minded professionals who are committed to helping each other succeed in creating a more informed public.

Featured sessions include a hands-on professional development event and a workshop on writing for education-focused publications. The popular lightning show-and-tell will be back. We encourage you to bring your favorite archaeology education program, resource, or activity and share it in a three-minute presentation. The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2017. We are introducing a poster session at the 2018 conference. If you have a project you want to feature as a poster, submit your entry by November 15.

More information about the conference and the details for submission of entries for the lightning and poster sessions are available on the AIA website at archaeological.org/education.

AIA and Hilton Grant will Preserve Historic Sugar Factory in Jordan

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and Hilton Worldwide awarded a conservation and site preservation grant to protect an ancient sugar factory in Safi, Jordan. The factory, Masna al-Zukkar, is the largest and most thoroughly excavated in the region and provides evidence for the earliest known sugar processing in the area. Analysis of artifacts from the site suggests that the factory may have been in operation as early as the eighth century, and was fully operational between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. The complex was abandoned by the late fifteenth century.

The project at the sugar factory, directed by Konstatinos Politis of the University of Athens, will train local residents to conserve archaeological materials and manage the site so the factory can be opened to the public. The conservation effort includes consolidating structures exposed during archaeological excavations, reerecting and protecting more than six collapsed arches, and upgrading the displays at the Museum at the Lowest Place on Earth in Safi.

In addition to the historical and archaeological value of the project, the program at the sugar factory will provide seasonal employment for local residents, and the development of the site will bring in tourism revenue. An outreach program across the Dead Sea region will broaden the appeal and impact of the archaeological and conservation efforts. The program will include community lectures, on-site visits, and an educational program for local schools, universities, and the tourism sector, specifically tour guides and hotels. The Safi project exemplifies best practices in site preservation. It combines conservation with community engagement, enhancing the archaeological heritage of the region and the country and enriching the lives of the local residents and visitors.

This is the second time that the AIA and Hilton Worldwide have joined forces to protect an ancient site. An earlier grant was used for conservation work at the medieval site of Aghmat in Morocco. Aghmat, the capital of the southern districts of Morocco and the center of Berber control of the region, was a key location for commercial, political, and religious exchange in the Middle Ages. The AIA-Hilton grant was used to conserve four of the most important monuments in the central part of the city: the hammam (public bath), grand mosque, the adjoining ablution hall, and the royal palace.

Join a Society Today!

AIA Local Societies organize many events, including lectures, archaeology fairs, conferences, colloquia and symposia, themed dinners, and even garden parties. Societies and their members are the backbone of the AIA. Become a part of this wonderful network of people who are promoting archaeology and preserving the human past. To learn more about our Societies, visit archaeological.org/societies.

122 Years of the AIA Lecture Program

The 122nd year of the AIA Lecture Program is underway and features 77 speakers giving 219 lectures at AIA Local Societies across the United States and Canada. The schedule for the 2017–2018 Lecture Program is online at archaeological.org/lectures. Lectures run from early September to the end of April. As always, all lectures are free and open to the public. Be sure to spread the word to interested friends and family.

Attention Grant and Fellowship Seekers

We have revised the requirements for people applying for AIA grants. Unless stated otherwise, an applicant must have been a member of the AIA for two consecutive years (one year for students) at the application deadline to qualify for the grant. Please review the application requirements for AIA funding at archaeological.org/grants.

Become an AIA Member Today

We encourage you to join the AIA. Your membership dues support archaeological excavations and research around the world. To become a member, go to archaeological.org/join. Archaeology magazine subscribers can upgrade their membership—which will include membership in the AIA Local Society closest to you—for just $40. To upgrade, go to archaeological.org/upgrade.

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The AIA is North America's largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to archaeology. The Institute advances awareness, education, fieldwork, preservation, publication, and research of archaeological sites and cultural heritage throughout the world. Your contribution makes a difference.