Follow the Pots
The ‘Follow the Pots’ research program explores two interconnected sides of an archaeological looting story: the conventional archaeological investigation of the emergence of prehistoric urbanism and increasing social complexity in the Early Bronze Age of the southern Levant, and the multiple and contested values of this archaeological heritage to multiple stakeholders today.
What this means is that we study how archaeologists, people living in the southern Ghor, looters, middlemen, museum administrators, government officials, antiquities dealers, and collectors think about, acquire, and use pots and other grave goods from the Early Bronze Age (EBA) cemeteries of Fifa, Bab adh-Dhra` and en-Naqa/es-Safi.
Follow the Pots (FTP) emerges from several years of archaeological fieldwork and analysis by Chesson and Kersel, and more broadly the Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain. In this examination of the social lives of archaeological objects, the artifacts have at least two lives as
(1) as grave goods in 5,000 year old tombs; and
(2) as looted and excavated artifacts in the present, where they are launched on new lives as museum pieces, tourist trinkets, and archaeologically studied objects.
FTP arises from our realization that only by integrating ethnography and archaeology can we hope to produce a holistic and cohesive story about the use and reuse of these EBA materials.
Directors: Drs. Morag M. Kersel (Dept. of Anthropology, DePaul University) and Meredith S. Chesson (Dept. of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame) with much-appreciated support and guidance from Dr. R. Thomas Schaub (EDSP, Emeritus Indiana University of Pennsylvania)