Christine Weber

The Tel Kabri Wall and Floor Paintings: Microcosms of Mediterranean Middle Bronze Age Trade and Representations of a Canaanite Palatial Economy

April 3, 2021   /  

Name: Christine Weber
Majors: Archaeology, Art History
Minor: Classical Studies
Advisors: Dr. Kara Morrow, Dr. Siavash Samei

This Independent Study combines art historical approaches to object stylization with archaeological theoretical interpretations in order to create a more nuanced understanding of the Tel Kabri wall and floor paintings as manifestations of Mediterranean Middle Bronze Age trade and political proceedings. The wall and floor paintings of the palace at Tel Kabri, a Canaanite palace located in modern-day northern Israel, are associated with Aegean (i.e., Crete, Santorini, etc.) methods and styles rather than regional, Near Eastern ones. Therefore, the paintings are theoretically interpreted as the manifestations of regional competition between the ruling elites of geographically close polities as well as stylistic emulations of distant and foreign polities. Beyond this Aegean stylistic identification, the present research discussed a possible explanation for the appearance of such imagery within a Canaanite palatial complex as a representation of economic matters. This aspect of Independent Study research stands as the most influential for current scholarship, as comments on Canaanite palatial economics are especially lacking. In seeking to draw conclusions on this aspect, the present research finds that settlement patterns of the southern Levant meant that polities of this region were more inclined to adhere to more traditional, self-sufficient practices and only participated in more urbane systems of interaction when political competition required it. In continuing this Independent Study, attendance at the University of Cincinnati’s PhD. program in Classical archaeology will facilitate the ability to expand that were raised by the present research.

Christine Web Symposium Poster

Christine will be online to field comments on April 16:
noon-2pm EDT (PST 9-11am, Africa/Europe: early evening) and 4-6 pm EDT (PST 1-3pm, Africa/Europe: late evening)

49 thoughts on “The Tel Kabri Wall and Floor Paintings: Microcosms of Mediterranean Middle Bronze Age Trade and Representations of a Canaanite Palatial Economy”

  1. Congratulations on this stellar project, Christine! It is an incredible pleasure to see your work take such impressive shape! Brava!

  2. Congratulations, Christine! So proud of you! Wonderful work showing another example of how interconnected the world was/is.

  3. Congrats, Christine! I’m so proud that you were able to pave your own path in your field of research, all while breaking records on records!

    1. Thanks Carina! I’m so grateful that I get to share this senior season with you!!

  4. I am so proud of you Christine! Can’t wait to hear all about your adventures in getting your Ph.D. I noticed in your poster you mention inappropriate Biblical connections when discussing the Canaanites. Is this a definitive statement or are there ever any examples where Biblical connections can elucidate greater meanings?

    1. Thanks Marloes!! You better believe I already looked up the travel time from Bloomington to Cincinnati! With reference to the Canaanite issue, since my research question and topic were so specific to a single time and region, I never encountered it. However, I wanted to mention it because there is very little work on the Canaanite of the Bronze Age because so many researchers focus on the biblical connections of the region rather than separating religion and science. It can be really difficult to tease these ideas apart, especially in the meaningfully charged landscape of the Holy Land, but when doing this kind of research, I think it’s really important to remember the cultural labels we may or may not be imposing on a group of people by virtue of where they’re from. To the other part of your question, I think there’s a lot of information that can be taken from the bible, but it should always be taken with a grain of salt when conducting truly scientific research, just like with any other form of written media. Hopefully that answers your question!

  5. Congrats again on a superb I.S.! I am really proud of you and can’t wait to see all the great things you are going to do at UC!!

    1. Thanks so much Professor Samei! This IS really would not have been possible without all your help this year!

  6. Congrats on all your hard work, Christine! I’m looking forward to hearing about how you continue to expand on this in grad school!

    1. Thanks so much Emma! I only wish my IS had any excuse to make a sweater as cool as yours!!

    1. So there were a couple of factors that indicated how the paintings were completed in a stylistic, material, and technological Aegean methodology. First was the method and technology, which was determined by a litany of material science reports. These reports found that the paintings were done in a combination of al fresco and al secco technique. The difference between these two is that in al fresco, the pigment is applied very quickly after the plaster is applied to the surface and is still wet, creating a chemical bond between the two materials whereas in al secco, the pigment is applied after the plaster has dried. For example, the Egyptians practices al secco, meaning that this technique of painting would have been known in the Near East. However, al fresco was almost exclusively practiced in the Aegean, meaning that there would have had to been some transfer of knowledge or craftspeople to transport this technique from the Aegean to the Near East. Secondly, there is a great stylistic difference between the Aegean and Near East in paintings. Even though the Kabri paintings only survive in a very fragmentary condition, instances of floral, faunal, architectural, and nautical motifs traditional to the Aegean are identified at Kabri. So from these two spheres of material science and art historical analysis, it’s clear that the paintings would have been very Aegean. Hopefully this answers your question!

      1. Yes, I had not heard of the Egyptian hieroglyphics as al secco. I didn’t know the term. Thanks for explaining how the different techniques were used and how they could identify their place or origin.

  7. Christine,
    congratulations on such a well-researched and comprehensive project! I love the way you weave your theoretical perspectives together as well as the multidisciplinary nature tethering art historical and archaeological data and interpretive frameworks! I also appreciate your articulation of how this research addresses gaps in the MBA with respect to palatial economics and the ways that differing data sets really must be in conversation with each other to build a more robust picture of MBA palatial life.
    I’m SO excited for all that you will continue to do at the University of Cincinnati!

    1. Thank you so much, Professor Navarro-Farr! This was such a fun project and I actually read back through the textbook and some of my notes from Methods and Theory to build my theoretical and interpretative framework!

      1. OMG – you just made my month!! That’s great! I’m going to tell the M&T crew exactly that this Tuesday! 🙂

  8. Very interesting, Christine! Have you been able (pre-COVID) to visit this area? Maybe during graduate studies? Congratulations on completing your IS and in your throwing record!

    1. Thanks so much Mr. Bush! I actually completed a field school at this site in the summer of 2019 – that’s when I got the idea for my topic! I hope to eventually go back to help with excavations very soon.

  9. This is excellent, Christine! Your poster makes me want to read your whole I.S.! Congratulations on your thesis and godspeed in your graduate endeavors at Cincinnati!

  10. Congratulations Christine!

    We are so proud of you and all of your hard work! Amazing research and project!

  11. Christine, thank you for sharing such interesting work with us! You have shown me that the concept of “keeping up with the Joneses” goes back much further than I realized. Awesome job!

  12. Christine,
    I am so proud of you! I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing about every aspect of this project over the past year. It is so impressive to see the way you have brought everything together in this presentation. I know that this is just a one in a series of leaping-off points for you as you get ready for the next phase of your life and graduate school. I wish you the best!

    1. Thank you so so much Denise! Working with you and everyone else at the library has been such a wonderful experience that I am very sad to leave. I’m so glad you enjoyed hearing about my IS as much as I enjoyed talking about it!

  13. A true researcher! I’m so glad you’ve grown this project from your APEX Fellowship, to the conference in San Diego and finally beyond Wooster. Congrats Christine!

  14. Congratulations! Your work seems super interesting and like it was fun to work on! I’m excited to see what you do in the future!

  15. Hi, Christine! I’m Prof. Chan Sok Park in Religious Studies. As a scholar of biblical studies and ancient Mediterranean religion on campus, I was drawn to the title of your project, and I got really intrigued after reading the abstract. Congratulations on your important achievement!

    I see that you are starting a graduate program in classical archaeology in fall, and again congratulations! Wishing you the best in your future endeavors.

    1. Thank you so much, Professor Park! I think that this topic and area of research is becoming more and more popular, which is very exciting!

  16. Congratulations on such an interesting project Christine. And also on grad school and setting new records! Leigh ( Emma Busch’s Mom)

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