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