I attended the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Boston, and overall I had a great time. This was the first year in which the meeting was arranged by Morag Kersel and myself as co-Vice Presidents for Programs, with much help from Jennie Ebeling and Yorke Rowan as Program Committee Chairs. I used to think that ASOR officers were snobs and only came to the most popular sessions. Instead, it turns out they were in meetings all day long. And I do mean all day, from 7AM until 11 PM in some cases. Some personal highlights of the meeting include:
- The opening night included the plenary address by Martha Joukowsky, who gave a paper entitled "From Censure to Acceptance: Women Archaeologists in Near Eastern Archaeology." This was preceded by Sarah Kansa from the Alexandria Archive Institute, who spoke about Open Context, of which I'm a big fan.
- I love hearing about inscriptions, and Yossi Garfinkel's 10th century inscription from the Elah Fortress is amazing. I was also amazed by the 8th century BCE inscription found at Zincirli in which the deceased's soul inhabits the stele. Also Garth Gilmour presented an incised potshard he claims is Yahweh and Asherah. I sort of agree with him, though the Yahweh figure looks like the Hey Koolaid guy. Oh Yeah!
- The reception at the Semitic Museum in honor of Larry Stager was nice though crowded. Luckily we got there early, and Kalypso and Gilgamesh got to check out the four room house and some cool artifacts. Also the reception in honor of CAARI turning 30 and ACOR 40 were very nice.
- I was able to be at the announcement where Carol Meyers found out she was receiving a Festschrift, and also to be at the presentation of Dick Friedman's Festschrift. It was great seeing all of my old friends from UCSD.
- I ran over to SBL for a short time Saturday to present in a session on Service Learning and Biblical Studies. Thanks to Bobby Duke for launching this.
- The best part was seeing everyone. These are people I lived with at oversea schools, and friends I excavated with, so I know them pretty well. I was especially happy to work on the program with Morag.