Early Urbanism on the Syrian Euphrates

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2006-07-07
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Until recently, ancient cities established along the banks of the northern Euphrates River were widely regarded as a cultural backwater compared to the civilized, archaic states of southern Mesopotamia in the third millennium BC. Archaeological investigations in recent decades, however, have shown that the northern Euphrates Valley possessed a complex and unique urban culture in its own right. Cities were densely inhabited, and many possessed extensive fortification systems, elite residences, prominent religious structures, well-crafted goods and impressive funerary monuments. Early Urbanism on the Syrian Euphrateshighlights the remarkably rich urban culture of the region, detailing the unique riverine environment of the region, in which a flexible economy based on a combination of agriculture, pastralism and hunting was successfully maintained and played an important role in sustaining the Euphrates' urban character over a long period of time. Cooper examines the persistent tribal backgroundof the populations settled in this region, which prompted a high degree of social stability and heterarchical political relationships, also contributing to the cultural resilience of Early Bronze Euphrates urban communities. The combination of these key factors formed an interesting and enduring settlement history that provides an illuminating counterpoint to that witnessed in other regions of Mesopotamia and the rest of the Near East during the Early Bronze Age.

Author Biography

Lisa Cooper is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsp. vii
List of tablesp. xv
Preface and acknowledgementsp. xvii
Introductionp. 1
Environment and subsistencep. 27
Settlement and socio-political structurep. 47
Defence of Early Bronze Age citiesp. 69
Housing and householdsp. 89
Large-scale secular buildingsp. 126
Communal places of worshipp. 143
Crafts and craft productionp. 164
Death, funerary monuments and ancestor cultsp. 202
The end of the Early Bronze Age: Euphrates settlement in declinep. 257
Conclusionsp. 278
Notesp. 285
Bibliographyp. 290
Indexp. 308
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