Editorial, SMEA NS 1 2015


Anna Lucia D’Agata

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n the Editorial published in the first issue of Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici (SMEA) in 1966 Carlo Gallavotti, then professor of Greek literature at the University of Rome, expressed the intents of the new journal with admirable clarity, while also celebrating the foundation in those same years of the Centro di Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici within the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR). This marked the beginning of an innovative research approach that – casting off the classicist’s perspectives then prevailing in the field of Greek archaeology in Italy – legitimized the investigation into pre-Classical Greece, linked it with the study of Bronze Age Anatolia, and assigned equal weight to archaeology, philology and history in the study of the ancient Eastern Mediterranean. Since then, and for more than four decades, SMEA has served as the most important Italian journal, and a respected international venue, for scholars engaged in the study of the Aegean and the ancient Near East.

With the publication of the present issue which follows the formation of the Istituto di Studi sul Mediterraneo Antico (ISMA) – the new home for the archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – SMEA Nuova Serie appears completely redesigned in its format, while a dedicated web site has been launched concurrently. As Editor of SMEA Nuova Serie, my main target is to ensure the journal a major role among peer review academic journals dealing with the ancient Eastern Mediterranean. To this end an Editorial board and an Advisory Editorial board have been appointed including internationally renowned scholars from different disciplines who will help to maintain a high quality in this journal which traditionally covers a broad range of topics.

In contemporary archaeology the need to explicate the epistemological assumptions concealed in our approach to the study of material culture and the reconstruction of the past is an unavoidable task. In addition, convergence in methodological discourse around the world makes the study of the Eastern Mediterranean, and especially of the pre-classical Aegean, more and more relevant in comparative studies. On this basis SMEA Nuova Serie will try to include original studies on the history and archaeology of the Aegean, Anatolian and Near Eastern regions over a broad chronological range.

It will encourage submissions of innovative research and interdisciplinary studies, as well as of forum articles on social, political and economic aspects. Topics such as regional studies, ritual and religion, the many aspects of social organization of the ancient states, and social interactions in the Mediterranean are especially welcome. The occasional publication of supplementary volumes will be devoted to mirroring the on-going debates on controversial or particularly contested aspects of the ancient Eastern Mediterranean societies, as well as hosting proceedings of major conferences, which could play a similar role in the development of related studies.

During a period of extended political crisis such as that affecting a number of countries of the Near East nowadays, historians and archaeologists involved professionally in this region cannot view themselves as neutral observers of ancient societies. To contribute to the increase of knowledge of the past and to the development of a methodological conscience helps to add strength to the cultural vitality of a past whose material existence in some of those countries suddenly appears to be threatened by a state of momentary barbarism. In this sense, a journal such as SMEA Nuova Serie can play a role in preserving the cultural and historical heritage of the Eastern Mediterranean, which goes beyond the purely scientific.

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