International conference
3-4 December 2012


The International Conference: “Reading catastrophes: Methodological Approaches and Historical Interpretation. Earthquakes, Famines, Epidemics, Floods between Egypt and Palestine – 3rd-1st millennium BC” is organized within the framework of the Research Program PRIN 2009 (Progetti di rilevante interesse nazionale/Relevant Projects of National Interest), entitled “The seven plagues. Catastrophes and destructions in Palestine and Egypt during the pre-classical period. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, wars, famines and epidemics in the archaeological record and in Biblical and ancient Egyptian sources: an innovative approach”, by Rome University “La Sapienza” and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche.
Central in Biblical accounts and in ancient Egyptian etiological myths and historical elaboration, natural catastrophes (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods), as well as wars, famines, and epidemics, deeply affected the ideological-religious thought of the Canaaneans and the ancient Egyptians. Moreover, such upheavals were not perceived as exceptional by the ancient Syro-Palestinian man (in a region that have always been crossed by armies), and even more by the ancient Egyptian (in a land where Nile floods were in the nature of things). On the other hand, on a strictly archaeological ground, destruction layers are highly evaluable for their potentiality to provide a complete and accurate (as for stratigraphy, chronology, and material culture representation) sketch of the sites subject of the excavations.
Aims of the Conference is an outbreaking discussion which may allow to focus upon methods and indicators of nature or human generated catastrophes in Egypt and Palestine in pre-classical periods, involving a multidisciplinary group of researchers belonging to different institutions, and focusing on the presentation, by means of a multidisciplinary approach, of catastrophic events of natural or anthropic origin between Palestine and Egypt in pre-classical periods, registered both in archaeological and geological records, and reprocessed in literary and epigraphic sources.

Project Directors: Lorenzo Nigro, Giuseppina Capriotti
Conference organization: Maura Sala