Rojas Awarded Major NEH Grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Christopher Ratté (University of Michigan), Felipe Rojas (Brown University), and Angela Commito (Union College) a $220,000 collaborative research grant for continued work in the port city of Notion (western Turkey), the organization announced on Wednesday, August 8.

Since 2013, Ratté and Rojas have led a program of systematic archaeological investigation, that has included topographical mapping, architectural analysis of the city’s major monuments and urban infrastructure, and surface collection. The Notion Archaeological Survey has shed light on the history of Notion and Ionia, especially in the late Hellenistic and early Roman periods. Remarkably, and in contrast to what ancient texts led scholars to expect, Notion appears to have been an aborted urban experiment. The extant ruins existed as a city only for a few hundred years and were largely abandoned by the Roman period. Ratté, Rojas, and Commito’s survey will enhance scholarly understanding of key topics in the archaeology of western Anatolia, including the history of Hellenistic and Roman urbanism in Ionia, the social dynamics of synoecism, and the impact of imperial expansion on urban and rural life in the region.

In addition to co-directing the Notion project, Rojas directs the Brown University Labraunda Project, also in Turkey, and has just completed the first season of Brown University's return to Petra, Jordan -- one of the best-known archaeological sites in the world and one of Brown's most famous archaeological excavations -- where Rojas directs the Brown University Terraces Archaeological Project. His forthcoming monograph, The Pasts of Roman Anatolia: Interpreters, Traces, and Horizons, to be published in 2019 by Cambridge University Press, is the only extended treatment of Roman-period interaction with the physical traces of earlier societies in that region of ancient Turkey. He is Assistant Professor of Archaeology and Assyriology in Brown University's Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World and Department of Egyptology and Assyriology.

The Notion Archaeological Survey project was one of just seven collaborative research grants awarded and was selected for its promise of adding significantly to knowledge and understanding of the humanities, according to a statement from the NEH. Overall, the organization funded 218 humanities projects nationwide. In addition to research, the grants support education, preservation and public programs in the humanities as well as infrastructure and capacity-building activities at cultural institutions and other programs.

“From nationally broadcast documentaries to summer workshops for high school teachers, the projects receiving funding today strengthen and sustain the cultural life of our nation and its citizens,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede.

For more information visit the Notion Archaeological Survey website: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/notionsurvey/