Unintentional Artifacts: The Material Traces of People and Practice in the Badè Museum Collection
(April 2014-Fall 2014; Badè Museum Gallery)
The primary purpose should be the application of a technique that will enable us to unriddle, by the aid of all scientific means and at whatever pains, the meaning of the human materials embedded in the strata. Often the humblest of these materials - ashes, bones, potsherds, carbonized seeds, etc. - are the most revealing. Even a museum specimen is valuable only in proportion to our knowledge of its human background. Every fact turned up by the spade feeds that knowledge, and any fact overlooked by an excavator, or misread through haste and incomplete study, may be an irreparable loss.”
~ W. F. Badè, first preliminary report, quoted in A Manual of Excavation in the Near East, 1934
A focus on the material traces of people and objects from the Badè Museum Collection reminds us of the individuals that played an important role in the life history of these ancient artifacts. The practices with which objects were made left unintentional, as well as intentional, traces of the people that created them. At times these marks can unite disparate objects with a single individual or historical period, as Dr. Badè demonstrated by matching fingerprints that were left on the surfaces of vessels at Tell en-Nasbeh. Other times these traces can confirm a shared knowledge of a particular crafting technology or speak to a desire for marking ownership. The three sets of objects on display demonstrate such material connections to the people and practices of the ancient world. While viewing the objects on display, look upon each not as static material in a display case, but rather as objects that were shaped by culturally valued practices, that convey aspects of individual identity, and that continue to this day to play a formative, interactive role with the modern audience.
This show is the product of the joint venture between the Badè Museum and the Doug Adams Gallery, entitled Mining the Collection, in which the Badè Museum curators work with a resident artist at the Doug Adams Gallery to explore the Tell en-Nasbeh collection together to create two exhibits that revolve around a shared interest in a particular aspect of the collection. The Doug Adams Gallery exhibit is entitled "Evidence of Life," featuring the work of Marianne Lettieri.
'Behinds the Scenes' at the Badè Museum
(October, 2011-present; Badè Museum Hallway Display Cases)
While the Badè Museum Gallery often stands as a symbol of the larger entity and efforts of the museum, and offers the public a clear and comprehensive visual representation of the Tell en-Nasbeh collection, much of the cutting-edge work takes place out of public view. Ongoing research of specific artifacts and object types from the collection, for example, is often carried out in the museum office and storage areas in Holbrook Hall. Working on these projects are the museum staff and visiting scholars, the latter often carrying out additional work from their home research institutions, both in the United States and abroad.
The summaries and photographs in this exhibit highlight the projects currently in progress at the Badè Museum. While being linked by a common base, the Tell en-Nasbeh collection, this group of projects is truly diverse, ranging from artifact-oriented inquiries, digitizing the Tell en-Nasbeh collection, to the revitalization of the museum’s educational outreach program, our popular traveling exhibit. This display, accordingly, brings to light the innovative and often unknown aspects of museum work by offering a unique window to the “behind of the scenes” of the Badè Museum.
The Current Projects on Display include:
- Cooking at Tell en-Nasbeh: An Archaeological Interpretation of Iron Age Diet and Identity
- The Tell en-Nasbeh Bioarchaeology Project
- The Badè Museum’s Traveling Exhibit Program
- Household Archaeology at Tell en-Nasbeh: A New Approach to Old Material
- Digitizing, Databasing, and Disseminating the Tell en-Nasbeh Collection
- Iron Tools and Agriculture at Iron Age Tell en-Nasbeh
(Permanent Display; Badè Museum Gallery)
This exhibit is the "heart and soul" of the Badè Museum. It displays a wealth of finds from the excavations at Tell en-Nasbeh, Palestine whose objects span from the Early Bronze Age (3100–2200 BC) through the Iron Age (1200–586 BC) and into the Roman and Hellenistic periods.
Highlights of the exhibit include "Tools of the Trade" featuring real archaeological tools used by Badè and his team, an oil lamp typology, a Second Temple period (586 BC–70 AD) limestone ossuary, and a selection of painted Greek pottery.