The GRISSO Project

The GRISSO Project, founded by Dr. Silvia Alaura, focuses on “the history of archaeological, philological and historical studies of the ancient Near East and their reception in contemporary and modern society. GRISSO aims at establishing cross-cultural academic dialogue and worldwide cooperation in the field of the history of Oriental studies, which is still in its earliest stages.”
An article on the GRISSO project will be provided by Dr. Silvia Alaura for the next issue of Mār Šiprim. For now, some information will be given as published in the ISMAgazine by Dr. Alaura.

By Dr. Silvia Alaura. From: ISMAgazine, 1 – 2014.

The “Gruppo di Ricerca Interdisciplinare di Storia degli Studi Orientali” (GRISSO) – Group for Interdisciplinary Research on the History of Oriental Studies – was founded in 2013 by Silvia Alaura as a permanent initiative at the Istituto di Studi sul Mediterraneo Antico (ISMA), CNR Rome, in collaboration with the Sapienza Università di Roma, as well as with other Italian and foreign universities and research centres (Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei – Fondazione Caetani, Roma; Università di Torino; Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino per il Medio Oriente e l’Asia; Università di Firenze; Freie Universität Berlin; Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg). GRISSO focuses on the history of archaeological, philological and historical studies of the ancient Near East and their reception in contemporary and modern society. GRISSO aims at establishing cross-cultural academic dialogue and worldwide cooperation in the field of the history of Oriental studies, which is still in its earliest stages.

The GRISSO initiative was presented at CNR, Rome, on 5 November 2013 during an international launch workshop “Scavi d’archivio: dalla storia dell’Orientalistica alla storia delle idee” organised by Silvia Alaura with the participation of Mario Liverani, Jörg Klinger, Stefano de Martino, Marco Bonechi, Davide Nadali, Marina Pucci and Maria Gabriella Micale. The proceedings of the workshop will be published in a forthcoming volume (see below). One of the most important aspects of GRISSO’s work is the identification, study and evaluation of unpublished or insufficiently exploited archive materials. Archives not only provide material documents (correspondence, photographs, drawings, cards, field notes and journals), but also make it possible to retrace the ideas and purposes lying behind an archaeological excavation and philological activity. Archives are a resource which gives the whole of society access to the evidence of our shared past. Awareness of the role of archival documentation in historical and archaeological research has already led some of the GRISSO’s members to work individually in this field. However, GRISSO’s distinguishing characteristic is its interdisciplinary approach: its members represent various disciplines such as archaeology, philology, ancient and modern history, the history of ideas, philosophy, anthropology and archival science.

The GRISSO members working in such diverse cultural fields are organised into three internationally composed research teams:
1) The key figures in Oriental studies and their universities and institutes. Ongoing research projects: Otto Puchstein (S. Alaura, L. Petersen); Leone Caetani (M. Liverani, V. Sagaria Rossi, D. Nadali); Giorgio Gullini and the Centro Scavi di Torino (S. de Martino, C. Lippolis); Giulio Cesare Teloni (M. Bonechi, D. Baldi); Giorgio Levi Della Vida (M.G. Amadasi); the Orient-Comité Excavations at the site of Zincirli, Turkey (M. Pucci, N.-A. Peek); the Oriental Institute Excavations at Chatal Höyük in the Amuq Plain, Turkey (M. Pucci).
2) Oriental studies in the epoch of ideologies. Ongoing research project: Studien zur Entwicklung der Hethitologie in Deutschland in den 20er und 30er Jahren des 20. Jahrhunderts (S. Alaura, J. Klinger). The project was financed in 2012 by a DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) Grant.
3) The acceptance of Oriental studies in society: (ab)use, reuse and adaptation. Ongoing research projects: the use of photography in archaeology (C. Casero, M.G. Micale, D. Nadali); the archaeology of images and words (D. Nadali, M.G. Micale); methodology in classifying archive materials: photographs, drawings, field notes (D. Nadali, M.G. Micale, M. Pucci); philately and the Ancient Near East (A. Ercolani, U. Livadiotti).

Next steps for the GRISSO initiative may be presented as a one-day seminar on a case study, or in a more interactive workshop format focusing on selected topics, process improvement or work strategies.

Bibliography:
S. Alaura, Nach Boghasköy! Zur Vorgeschichte der Ausgrabungen
in Boğazköy-Ḫattuša und zu den archäologischen Forschungen bis zum Ersten Weltkrieg. Darstellung und Dokumente (13.SendschriftDOG). Berlin 2006.

S. Alaura – D. Nadali, Poster presented at the 9th International
Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (ICAANE),
Basel, 9-13 June 2014.

S. Alaura (ed.), Digging in the Archives: From the History of Oriental
Studies to the History of Ideas (Documenta Asiana XI), Rome,
forthcoming.

Head Office and Contact Information
GRISSO – Istituto di Studi sul Mediterraneo Antico (ISMA), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Area della Ricerca di Roma 1, Via Salaria km 29,300 – C.P. 10, I – 00016 Monterotondo (RM)

Email: grisso@isma.cnr.it