Introducing the Shohet Scholars for 2022-2023

For Immediate Release on 13 May 2022

The officers and directors of the International Catacomb Society are pleased to announce the Shohet Scholars for 2022-2023:

Jennifer Barry, Ph.D. (University of Mary Washington)
Project: Unfolding the Theotokos

"The proposed research project examines how the debates associated with the virginal status of the Theotokos overlap with the larger discourse of gender-based violence. I argue that this discourse gave life to both the literary and material representations of Mary’s reproductive body. More specifically, this study examines how art and text overlap in the depictions of the vaginal folds, hymen, and womb of the virgin preserved on the walls of the Chora Church (Kariye Camii) in Istanbul. With the support of the Shohet Scholar Program, I plan to complete the final research for chapter two of my second monograph during the fall semester of 2022. In the chapter titled, “Unfolding the Theotokos,” I will explore the literary thought-world that set the standard for how the Virgin Mary’s reproductive body was envisioned in the apocryphal texts of the third and fourth centuries and then became the source of anxiety of later Christological controversies. These discourses gave life to the visual representations of Mary’s body. Here, I will assess various mosaics that focus on Mary’s reproductive body. More specifically, I plan to examine how art and text overlap in the depictions of the vaginal folds, hymen, and womb of the virgin preserved on the walls of Kariye Camii."

Rachel Catherine Patt, Ph.D. (Emory University)
Project: Pothos: Longing from Classical Portrait Image to Byzantine Icon

"With a grant from the International Catacomb Society, I will be positioned to conduct all
the necessary new research to expand my dissertation successfully into my proposed book
project, Pothos: Longing from Classical Portrait Image to Byzantine Icon. The book examines the trajectory of Late Antique portraiture as sculpted formats waned, small-scale and precious formats persisted, and eventually secular imagery gave way to icons. I contend that throughout such transformations, the conceptual heritage of pothos, or a longing desire for that which is absent, remains crucial to these images’ interpretation. In doing so, the project generates a more comprehensive understanding of cross-Mediterranean visual trends that transcend one chronological period.  In order to advance this project, I will rely on my training in Classical and Byzantine art history and propose to spend a significant portion of 2023 in Europe conducting new objects-based research and working firsthand with collections of Late Antique and Byzantine portraits and icons."

We congratulate these scholars on the quality and impact of their work.

Sincerely,

Robin M. Jensen, Ph.D.
Executive Officer and Chairman of the Scholarship Committee

Jessica Dello Russo, Ph.D.
Executive Officer and Secretary to the Board

About the Shohet Scholars Program:
The Shohet Scholars Program of the International Catacomb Society desires to support
scholars of demonstrated promise and ability who are judged capable of producing
significant, original research within the sphere of the Mediterranean world from the late
Hellenistic Period to the end of the Roman Empire. Of special interest are
interdisciplinary projects that approach traditional topics from new perspectives.
One or more Shohet Scholars will be selected each year and supported for a period of
one year. Grants may be made to seed innovative approaches and new ideas or to cover
specific expenses or phases of a larger project under the direction of the applicant. At
this time, awards in the range of $2,000 to $30,000 will be made.
If you have any questions about the suitability of proposed projects, application
procedures, or any other matters related to the Shohet Scholars Program, please
contact ICS at: internationalcatacombsociety@gmail.com.

Shohet Scholars Showcase 2022

Dear ICS Community:

On behalf of the ICS Executive Board, I am pleased to share with you the complete program and Zoom registration links for the upcoming series of virtual presentations by Shohet Scholar grant recipients to be held on 3 April and 1 May 2022 at 1 p.m. (EST). These events are free and open to all.

Shohet Scholars Spring Showcase 2022

Sundays at 1 p.m. EST, on 3 April and 1 May 2022

Free and open to the public by registering at the Zoom links for each session.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday 3 April 2022 at 1 p.m.

Zoom link: https://notredame.zoom.us/.../tJwode6prz8uGtRkYcQLjoW05Ii...

  1. Dr. Nathaniel DesRosiers (Stonehill College): "Suns, Snakes, and Altars: Religious Competition and Solar Cults"
  2. Dr. Sarah Madole Lewis (City University of NY): "Searching for Roman Sarcophagi with Catacomb Contexts: Use, Reuse and the Matter of Interpretation"
  3. Dr. Daniel Ullucci (Stonehill College): "Physical Offerings and the Development of Christian Elite"

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday 1 May 2022 at 1 p.m.

Zoom link: https://notredame.zoom.us/.../tJ0sd...

  1. Dr. Lily Vuong (Central Washington University): The Apocryphal Mary in Text, Pictorial Art, and Iconography
  2. Dr. Ilenia Gradante (Oxford): "A Community Narrative Approach in the Study of Early Christian Syracuse (Sicily) through the Epigraphic Documentation from the Catacombs"
  3. Dr. Lindsey A. Mazurek (Indiana University Bloomington): “The Mediterranean Connectivity Initiative: Digital Approaches to Networks at Roman Ostia.

I attach pdf and jpg files of the program with the hope that you will be able to attend. The annual scholarship program for postdoctoral scholars and others already in possession of the Ph.D. award (by time of award disbursement on 1 July) is a major initiative of the ICS, and one for which we are always in need of your support. We thank in particular Prof. Robin Jensen and the Department of Theology at Notre Dame for providing virtual hosting, and hope to see many of you - virtually - in the coming weeks.

With many thanks for your support of the ICS and kind regards,

Jessica Dello Russo for the ICS Executive Board

Lecturer on Medieval Art and Architecture, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Boston University, College of Arts and Sciences, 725 Commonwealth Avenue #304b, Boston, MA 02215

Dissertation Defense by ICS Executive Board Member Jessica Dello Russo

International Catacomb Society Executive Board Member, Jessica Dello Russo, lecturer on Medieval Art and Architecture at Boston University, will be defending her dissertation at the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology in Rome on 11 January 2022, at 5 p.m. (CET). Dello Russo's thesis, "Devout Curiosity and Dissenting Results: Configuring the Necropolis of Vigna Randanini and Its Catacombs of Jews" incorporates new data and archival materials into a close study of the history of excavation and study of a cemetery of the Late Ancient era on the via Appia Antica just outside of Rome. The event will be held in Italian. For more information, please visit this link. The text of Dr. Dello Russo's presentation is below (in Italian).

Presentazione testi di Jessica Dello Russo (11 gennaio 2022).
Grazie a tutti voi per la vostra presenza alla discussione della mia tesi di dottorato in Archeologia Cristiana. Sono particolarmente grata al mio supervisore, la prof.ssa Chiara Cecalupo, e a tutto il corpo accademico del PIAC per avermi seguito in questa ricerca e per questa occasione di parlarne. Nei venti minuti a mia disposizione, voglio condividere con voi le principali domande che ho cercato di affrontare nella mia tesi, “Curiosità devota e risultati dissenzienti nel configurare la Necropoli della Vigna Randanini e le sue Catacombe degli Ebrei”. Una sintesi dettagliata di duecentocinquanta pagine di testo densamente informativo non è possibile nei tempi concessi. Quindi, arrivo subito al contesto della ricerca e ai motivi per cui credo che queste domande siano importanti per noi nel 2022 e dove mi hanno portato nella stesura di questo lavoro. Nella’ piu’ ampia panoramica, il filo delle indagini seguite riguarda principalmente la lunga vita ultraterrena - cioe’, il riutilizzo, la spoliazione, e la riscoperta - di reperti di epoca romana che attestano alla presenza di ebrei nella Roma antica e altomedievale. Nello stato attuale della nostra conoscenza, la maggior parte di questi reperti deriva da cimiteri sotterranei di epoca tardo antica noti come "catacombe". Nella mia tesi, mi concentro sulle vicende storiche di un complesso cimiteriale in particolare, quello conosciuto piu’ spesso in epoca moderna come “la catacomba di Vigna Randanini”, sul lato sinistra della via Appia Antica quasi di fronte alla basilica di S. Sebastiano. Da quanto possiamo capire dalle ricognizioni e indagini già fatte fino ad oggi, almeno qualche migliaia di seguaci della fede giudaica nella Roma tardoantica - già nel’ terzo secolo ma soprattutto nel secolo quarto - hanno fatto uso di reti cimiteriali sotterranee come quello di Vigna Randanini per la loro sepoltura. Ecco a sinistra una delle piante cosiddette “tradizionali” della distribuzione dei principali cimiteri cristiani ed ebraici in zona Appia. Alcuni sono conosciuti dai nomi dei cimiteri collettivi notati nelle fonti letterarie tardoantiche e medievali, ed altri che spesso portano i nomi dei proprietari del terreni sotto ai quali furono “scoperti” nella meta’ dell’ ottocento. In questa seconda categoria si trovano almeno due complessi funerari ipogei ancora accessibili, quelli di Vigna Cimarra e Vigna Randanini, che portano chiari segni di frequentazione ebraica nella tarda antichita’. “Collettivo” naturalmente non vuol dire né uniforme, né monotona. Ma resta il fatto che in almeno sei aree sepolcrali antiche a Roma si trovavano nuclei concentrati di tombe demarcate con gli stessi motivi e con le stesse modalità epigrafiche che manifestano l’ identità ebraica dei defunti ivi sepolti. Ripeto, non tutte e non sempre le tombe in questi luoghi ce ne hanno questi segni di appartenenza ad una collettività sociale. Ma diventano elementi unificanti tra siti abbastanza distanti tra di loro. Di più, anche quando questi siti sepolcrali come il complesso catacombale di Vigna Randanini sembrano per la maggior parte strutturalmente identici ai cimiteri utilizzati dai cristiani ed altri gruppi collettivi - largamente detto, ogni luogo, al di là della questione della sua proprietà, ha le sue particolarità - questi segni identificativi non sono state registrati nei cimiteri intensamente sfruttati da gente di fede cristiana, come sappiamo anche dalle testimonianze letterarie dal terzo secolo in poi. Certo, per molti di voi, non c’e’ nessuna novita’ nelle cose che v’ho appena detto. Sostanzialmente, ripeto quello che mi e’ stato detto durante le lezioni al PIAC e in tante pubblicazioni dell’istituto stesso. Sulle cosiddette “catacombe ebraiche”, ovvero di gente che riconosce la Legge mosaica e le osservanze ebraiche, ormai c’e’ una bibliografia specifica, sempre in aggiornamento, e qui mi piace ricordare lo stretto coinvolgimento del PIAC nella realizzazione del un testo fondamentale della disciplina, il Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaicarum, che me accompagno’ per tutto il percorso della mia ricerca. Si vede quanta strada ha fatto la mia copia personale di questo libro! Dopo anni di relativa incuria di questi cimiteri non cristiani in epoca post-unitaria, oggi molte delle cosiddette “catacombe ebraiche” d’Italia - almeno quelle che hanno sopravvissuto il nuovo sacco di Roma da parte dai palazzinari ed altri protagonisti della speculazione edilizia nella capitale - sono diventate oggetti di studi specialistici e multidisciplinari. A questo crescente corpus di dati, la mia tesi fornisce nuovi dati d’archivio - vero che alcune cose ho gia’ pubblicato in altre sedi, ma ora sono rilette con molto attenzione ed arricchite da altre fonti inedite o mal note. Ma a parte i nuovi dati condivisi, e la revisioni delle fonti storiografiche con delle osservazioni originali, integrati con approfondimenti sullo sviluppo topografico-strutturale del complesso stesso, ho dovuto affrontare nella tesi una sfida inaspettata. C'è un grosso bagaglio nelle relazioni ebraiche-cattoliche, esemplificativo di una sistematica repressione degli ebrei nella società romana in molti momenti della storia. Sono vicende a lungo descritte e denunciate, ma solo occasionalmente in maniera veramente approfondita e bilaterale, che le teorie socio culturali fino ad oggi raramente forniscono.
Quindi, ho dovuto occuparmi di tanti argomenti del passato, con lo scopo non di polemizzare, ma invece di capire e di pronunciare su come siamo arrivati oggi a identificare certi reperti e alcuni interi complessi strutturali come “ebraici”. La domanda principale divento’: Come sono state contestualizzate le catacombe degli ebrei nella storia complessiva degli scavi a Roma? Nello specifico per il sito di Vigna Randanini: mi chiedevo come mai iniziamo a “vedere” le “sue” catacombe come un complesso cimiteriale ebraico solo nel 1859, dopo almeno qualche secolo di spoliazione e di riutilizzo dei residui archeologici del luogo. A cominciare, la “decisione fatale” al momento della riscoperta, chi l’ha presa? Fu Giovanni Battista de Rossi, il cosiddetto “fondatore della disciplina di archeologia cristiana”. E cosi’ con questa realizzazione, de Rossi divento’ il vero protagonista del mio studio, anche se di catacombe ebraiche ha pubblicato poco - la maggior parte dei suoi appunti su questi resti monumentali sono rimasti inediti fino al momento in cui molti furono inclusi nel primo volume di CIJ. Ma egli stesso segui’ da vicino le moderne fortune di questo sito. Come membro della Commissione Consultiva di Archeologia, fu un accanito sostenitore dell’ idea di mantenere questa catacomba degli ebrei aperta e intatta, come le catacombe prese in cura dall’allora CDAS. Disse il de Rossi stesso, “le antichità ebraiche sono intimamente connesse a quelle cristiane”. E seguendo le sue orme, ho cercato di manifestare in questo studio come l'indagine archeologica sull'identità ebraica a Roma fosse importante per gli archeologi cristiani del XIX e XX secolo e direi oggi più che mai. In una lettera pubblicata in una rivista americana nel 1980, il padre barnabita Umberto Maria Fasola descrivi’ così il coinvolgimento di de Rossi e i suoi immediati successori nella nascente “archeologia ebraica” a Roma: “Gli archeologi vaticani (cioè quelli coinvolti nel CDAS) li scoprirono, li esplorarono, li restaurarono, e ne scrissero”, sempre in riferimento ai cimiteri ebraici antichi. Per me, la catacomba di Vigna Randanini era un sito ideale per indagare sulla "validità" degli studi di de Rossi, dato che gli ultimi scavi eseguiti sul luogo risalgono alla seconda meta’ dell’ ottocento. Complessivamente, come si vede dall’elenco dei capitoli, ho pensato di strutturare la tesi come una “storia culturale” del sito, fornita di dati non solo archeologiche ma anche di piu’ ampie prospettive storiche. Questa decisione fu sempre ispirata dall’esempio del de Rossi, che in modo magistrale, intrecciò la narrazione cronologica dei fatti con giudizi scientifici e descrittivi. Così si evidenzia nell'organizzazione del mio testo come la catacomba di Vigna Randanini nella seconda meta’ dell’ottocento si trasformo’ da “peculiarità archeologica” non ben definita ad essere un sito di chiara se non proprio “classica” frequentazione ebraica. Quello che mi ha piu’ colpito non è la cosiddetta “magia” dell'intuizione di de Rossi, ma una solida consapevolezza da parte sua di quasi un millennio e mezzo di letteratura e altre fonti relative ai cimiteri e ad altre attestazioni dei monumenti antichi a Roma. Ma de Rossi aveva la mentalità dell'archeologo di guardare oltre il quadro letterario, e così accettò senza scrupoli la designazione ebraica della catacomba di Vigna Randanini scoperta nel 1859. E non era un sentenza pro forma: abbiamo la preziosa testimonianza di Randanini stesso che “ogni volta che trovavo una nuova iscrizione, Lei (de Rossi) veniva a farne una copia”.
Se ci fosse qualcosa di cristiano, oppure una marcata presenza cosiddetta “pagana”, difficile immaginare che questi dettagli poterono sfuggire all’attenzione di de Rossi. E’ importante aggiungere a questo discorso le attività di quei studiosi profondamente influenzati dal lavoro di de Rossi sul campo. Prima di tutto, e’ per richiamare attenzione specificamente al coinvolgimento degli ebrei allo studio del cimitero. Per molti anni, furono limitati al ruolo di consulenti agli studiosi cattolici per questioni di lingua, costumi, e letteratura ebraica. Tuttavia, singoli studiosi ebraici poterono accedere alle catacombe, ed incontrare il de Rossi per averne notizie. Fino alla sua morte nel 1894, era il punto di riferimento per informazioni sulle antichità ebraiche a Roma, nello stesso tempo incoraggiando il suo allievo, Orazio Marucchi, di "specializzarsi" su questo campo.
Non temo che il mio discorso solo ripete un racconto gia’ detto mille volte. L’esclamazione di un collega ebreo ha sintetizzato il valore dell’approccio: "Essa (cioe’ l'esplorazione iniziale di siti ebraici antichi a Roma) era un’ iniziativa cattolica!" Spero di essere riuscita a dimostrare nel mio studio che il progetto “Roma Sotterranea Cristiana” di de Rossi era una svolta prevalentemente positiva per la nascita di “archeologia giudaica” a Roma. Non si scusa il fatto che a Roma la disciplina rimase per molto tempo un “appendice” all'attività di archeologia cristiana, e che il de Rossi stesso perpetua nei suoi scritti molte formulazioni dogmatiche di supersessionismo. Ma guardando le catacombe tramite gli occhi di de Rossi, ho cominciato ad apprezzare il coraggio di questo studioso romano, questo “pio figlio della chiesa”, di accettare la complicata storia strutturale delle catacombe, e parlare delle loro attualita’. Questi approcci sono ancora validissimi per lo studio archeologico del cimitero di Vigna Randanini. Lasciamo, dunque, le catacombe di Vigna Randanini come “ebraiche” - finche’ possiamo seguire attentamente sulle orme di de Rossi ed intraprendere uno scavo scientifico del sito con criteri moderni, non speculativi. Grazie!

Call for Applicants to the 2022-2023 Shohet Scholars Grant Program for Research on the Ancient Mediterranean

The Shohet Scholars Grant Program of the International Catacomb Society is now accepting applications to the Shohet Scholars cohort of 2022-2023. Submission deadline is January 15, 2022 (11:59 p.m. EST).

This annual grant program funds research on the Ancient Mediterranean from the Hellenistic Era to the Early Middle Ages. Shohet Scholars may do their research in the fields of archeology, art history, classical studies, history, comparative religions, or related subjects. Of special interest are interdisciplinary projects that approach traditional topics from new perspectives.

One or more Shohet Scholars will be selected each year. The primary intent of the grant is to support significant, innovative research that can be completed and reported upon within and shortly after the award period. Grants may be made to seed innovative approaches and new ideas or to cover specific expenses or phases of a larger project under the direction of the applicant. At this time, awards in the range of $2,000 to $30,000 will be made. A complete history of past and present Shohet Scholars awards is available on the ICS webpage: www.catacombsociety.org.

Scholars meeting the above criteria may apply for Shohet Scholar funding if they are individual or institutional members of the ICS at the time of the application submission deadline of January 15, 2022 and in possession of a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree or the equivalent.

Non-U.S. citizens may apply if a co-applicant is a legal permanent resident (i.e. already in possession of "green card" or Form I-551) or native or naturalized citizen of the U.S.A., meets all eligibility requirements, and has a legitimately active and credited leadership role in the proposal. Co-applicants must submit as individuals all the necessary forms except for the research proposal, list of permissions, and budget proposal, which may be filed jointly. Please click here for additional details about candidate eligibility.

Deadlines and Decisions
The application deadline for the 2022-2023 academic year is January 15, 2022. The award announcement for the 2022-2023 academic year will be made by May 1, 2022, for funding to be disbursed on 15 July 2022. Please note that all funding is awarded directly and exclusively to the USA-based awardee, for distribution among project co-applicants. The ICS does not wire or transfer money to bank accounts outside of the USA. Click here for application forms and instructions and here for assistance.

Questions?
If you have any questions about the suitability of proposed projects, application procedures, or any other matters related to the Shohet Scholars Program, please consult our FAQ page or reach out to us at shohetscholars (at) catacombsociety.org.

Introducing the 2021-2022 Shohet Scholars Grant Program Recipients

The Executive Board and Directors of the International Catacomb Society announce with great pleasure the Shohet Scholar Grant Program recipients for 2021-2022. In this application cycle, the ICS sought to to support specifically
junior scholars without full-time employment, early career (untenured) faculty, or young scholars who
receive little to no institutional support for their research. As always, it was not easy to make a selection, since all the projects had interesting aspects and were well worth funding.

  1. Chris Stantis (Research Fellow, National Museum of Natural History) and Kevin Salesse (Postdoc, Université Libre de Bruxelles) “Awakening the dead: approaching the social fabric of Pompeii through mobility and funerary customs using molecular bioarchaeology.” This project seeks to shed new light on the social fabric of Pompeii through the mobility dynamics and funerary practices of its inhabitants from a longue durée perspective by analyzing 238 human skeletons.
  2. J. Gregory Given (Independent Scholar), “Open Letters: Ignatius of Antioch and the Reconstruction of Early Christianity.” An analysis of the letters of Ignatius of Antioch that argues they are best interpreted as an “open text” and outlines the larger implications for Early Christian Studies, Classics and other related fields.
  3. Rebecca Harris (untenured Assistant Professor, Messiah University), “Living in the Liminal: The Present as a Place of Access in Qumran Literature.” Applying theories of liminality to the archaeology and literature of the Qumran community, this study demonstrates how Qumran group identity and ritual-liturgical practice cultivated a sense of present communion with divine beings and offered the worshiper assurance of future incorporation into the heavenly realm. This project brings together the study of texts and archaeology with theory.

The Shohet Scholars Grant Program of the International Catacomb Society desires to support scholars of demonstrated promise and ability who are judged capable of producing significant, original research that is consistent with the above goal. Shohet Scholars may do their research in the fields of archaeology, art history, classical studies, history, comparative religions, or related subjects. The work need not focus explicitly on the Roman catacombs, but it should be within the sphere of the Mediterranean world from the late Hellenistic Period to the end of the Roman Empire. Of special interest are interdisciplinary projects that approach traditional topics from new perspectives. Project abstracts of past Shohet Scholar Grant Program recipients can be found here. To learn more about the Shohet Scholars Program, and upcoming deadlines for applications, please visit this link.

With many thanks to our colleagues in the jury for giving their time, energy, and wisdom to a successful outcome.

Sincerely,
Prof. Annewies van den Hoek,
President of the International Catacomb Society

ICS Executive Board Report and 2020 Annual Appeal

Boston, December 19, 2020

Dear Friend of the ICS,

This time of year we are all on the receiving end of many letters concluding with the words: “Please be as generous as you can” – even in an unusual year as we just experienced! In how many cases, however, can the works we encourage reach as far back as the dawn of the Common Era? In the last year, our mission, “to increase knowledge about the interconnections between Judaism, Christianity, and the surrounding ancient world” has been carried out through lectures and through our judicious grant program.

In May we awarded our annual Shohet Scholarships to two recipients, who will be able to spread their research out over multiple years because of the ongoing pandemic. The ICS also plans to provide a Zoom forum for future lectures and reports of the grants.

Davide Tanasi (Associate Professor, University of South Florida, Department of History)
Title: The Digital afterlife of the Catacombs of Abbatija tad-Dejr at Rabat (Malta)
Abstract: The research aims at the reappraisal through the application of 3-D Scanning, Remote Sensing and 3-D Visualization of the multifaceted Maltese catacomb complex of Abbatija tad-Dejr, whose occupation phases range from Late Roman to Late Medieval period. The site currently inaccessible and in derelict state was not subject to any excavation or new interpretative study since the 30s. The production of a 3D model combined with a spatial analysis will produce an updated technical documentation necessary to characterize it. An interactive virtual replica of the complex and all it iconographic features will be made accessible on a web platform for public enjoyment.

Joan Connelly (Professor, Classics, New York University) and Monika Więch (Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences, Department of Classical Mediterranean Cultures)
Title: Yeronisos–Meletis Necropolis Project, Peyia, Paphos District, Cyprus
Abstract: The dozen spectacular rock-cut chamber tombs of the small cemetery of Meletis at Agios Georgios tis Pegeias near Paphos in Cyprus had been thought to be fully looted long ago. But the discovery in 2018 of a thirteenth tomb will forever change our understanding of burial practices within a wealthy sector of the local community during late Hellenistic through Roman times. This project calls for excavation, documentation, preservation, and publication of a family tomb established in the 1st century B.C.E. under Ptolemaic Egyptian influence and continuing in use until the 5–6th century C.E. Investigation of this unique sepulcher provides a rare opportunity for us to understand better the social and cultural history of rock-cut tombs in Cyprus and across the Mediterranean world.

Consistent with our goal of supporting significant, innovative research these grants support a wide range of disciplines encompassing archeology, art history, and classical studies. None of this work would be possible without the help of our sponsors and supporters.

In addition to our grant program, in 2021 we look forward to several more lectures, generously offered by former grant recipients and members of our distinguished ICS Board.
If you are a member we hope that you will renew your membership, or, if you are not a member, that you will consider becoming one. Your donations are tax deductible. Further information is available on our website, www.catacombsociety.org. 
Please be as generous as you can.

For the Executive Board of the International Catacomb Society,
with thanks and best wishes,

Annewies van den Hoek, President
Philip Olander, Secretary

International Catacomb Society
217 Hanover Street, Suite 130413
Boston, MA 02113
info@catacombsociety.org

Call for Applications to the 2021-2022 Shohet Scholars Grant Program for Research on the Ancient Mediterranean

The Shohet Scholars Grant Program of the International Catacomb Society is now accepting applications to the Shohet Scholars cohort of 2021-2022. Submission deadline is January 15, 2021 (11:59 p.m. EST).

This annual grant program funds research on the Ancient Mediterranean from the Hellenistic Era to the Early Middle Ages. Shohet Scholars may do their research in the fields of archeology, art history, classical studies, history, comparative religions, or related subjects. Of special interest are interdisciplinary projects that approach traditional topics from new perspectives.

One or more Shohet Scholars will be selected each year. The primary intent of the grant is to support significant, innovative research that can be completed and reported upon within and shortly after the award period. Grants may be made to seed innovative approaches and new ideas or to cover specific expenses or phases of a larger project under the direction of the applicant. At this time, awards in the range of $2,000 to $30,000 will be made. A complete history of past and present Shohet Scholars awards is available on the ICS webpage: www.catacombsociety.org.

Please note: For the grant cycle of 2021-2022, the ICS Shohet scholarship fund seeks to support specifically junior scholars with PhD but without full-time employment, early career (untenured) faculty, or young scholars who receive little to no institutional support for their research.

Scholars meeting the above criteria may apply for Shohet Scholar funding if they are individual or institutional members of the ICS at the time of the application submission deadline of January 15, 2021 and in possession of a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree or the equivalent.

Non-U.S. citizens may apply if a co-applicant is a legal permanent resident (i.e. already in possession of "green card" or Form I-551) or native or naturalized citizen of the U.S.A., meets all eligibility requirements, and has a genuinely collaborative and credited leadership role in the proposal. Co-applicants must submit as individuals all the necessary forms except for the research proposal, list of permissions, and budget proposal, which may be filed jointly.

Deadlines and Decisions
The application deadline for the 2021-2022 academic year is January 15, 2021. The award announcement for the 2021-2022 academic year will be made by May 1, 2021, for funding to be disbursed on 15 July 2021. Please note that all funding is awarded directly to the USA-based awardee, for distribution among project co-applicants and collaborators. The ICS does not wire or transfer money to bank accounts outside of the USA.

Click here for application forms and instructions and here for assistance.

Questions?
If you have any questions about the suitability of proposed projects, application procedures, or any other matters related to the Shohet Scholars Program, please consult our FAQ page or contact us at shohetscholars (at) catacombsociety.org.

Letter from the ICS Executive Board on Society Events and Programs in 2020

Boston, August 25, 2020

Dear friends and colleagues of the ICS:

We hope that you are keeping safe and well during these difficult times. The corona virus has upended our lives in ways that we could not have imagined six months ago. Just as pandemic dislocations have required us individually to adapt to a new reality, the International Catacomb Society, too, has had to make some adjustments.

À propos, two highly anticipated events supposed to have taken place this year will have to be rescheduled:

The meeting scheduled for May in New York, featuring a lecture by Professor Steven Fine, was a casualty of the lock-down.

The upcoming 40th ICS anniversary celebration, originally scheduled for October at the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East (HMANE), will be postponed.

Both these events will take place at a time when it will be safe to meet.

In a happier development, not even a plague of biblical proportions could deter the Shohet Scholar committee from its appointed task. The committee completed its annual mission by awarding grants to two important archeological projects. It should be noted, however, that these awards will be distributed to cover a period of two years instead of the customary one year: http://www.catacombsociety.org/news-and-events/

Finally, board members will be relieved to know, even in this topsy-turvy world, that the new normal of meetings on Zoom will allow the annual ICS board meeting to take place in September. Please mark your calendars for the 26th proximo.

Details regarding all of the above will be available on our website: http://www.catacombsociety.org/

Until we meet again, please keep safe and well.

With our very best wishes on behalf of the ICS Executive Board,

Annewies van den Hoek, president
Philip Olander, secretary

Inquiries to: info@catacombsociety.org

Introducing the Shohet Scholars for 2020-2021

May 8, 2020

The Officers and Directors of the International Catacomb Society are pleased to announce the Shohet Scholars for 2020-2021:

Davide Tanasi (Associate Professor, University of South Florida, Department of History)
Title: The Digital afterlife of the Catacombs of Abbatija tad-Dejr at Rabat (Malta)
Abstract: The research aims at the reappraisal through the application of 3-D Scanning, Remote Sensing and 3-D Visualization of the multifaceted Maltese catacomb complex of Abbatija tad-Dejr, whose occupation phases range from Late Roman to Late Medieval period. The site is currently inaccessible and in derelict state and has not been subject to any excavation or new interpretative study since the 1930s. The production of a 3D model combined with a spatial analysis will produce an updated technical documentation necessary to characterize it. An interactive virtual replica of the complex and all it iconographic features will be made accessible on a web platform for public enjoyment.

Joan Connelly (Professor, Classics, New York University) and Monika Więch (Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences, Department of Classical Mediterranean Cultures)
Title: Yeronisos–Meletis Necropolis Project, Peyia, Paphos District, Cyprus
Abstract: The dozen spectacular rock-cut chamber tombs of the small cemetery of Meletis at Agios Georgios tis Pegeias near Paphos in Cyprus had been thought to be fully looted long ago. But the discovery in 2018 of a thirteenth tomb will forever change our understanding of burial practices within a wealthy sector of the local community during late Hellenistic through Roman times. This project calls for excavation, documentation, preservation, and publication of a family tomb established in the 1st century B.C.E. under Ptolemaic Egyptian influence and continuing in use until the 5–6th century C.E. Investigation of this unique sepulcher provides a rare opportunity for us to understand better the social and cultural history of rock-cut tombs in Cyprus and across the Mediterranean world.

We congratulate these scholars on the impact and quality of their work.

Sincerely, Prof. Annewies van den Hoek on behalf of the Shohet Scholars Program Committee