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In this book, Anne Porter explores the idea that mobile and sedentary members of the ancient world were integral parts of the same social and political groups in greater Mesopotamia during the period 4000 to 1500 BCE. She draws on a wide range of archaeological and cuneiform sources to show how networks of social structure, political and religious ideology, and everyday as well as ritual practice, worked to maintain the integrity of those groups when the pursuit of different subsistence activities dispersed them over space. These networks were dynamic, shaping many of the key events and innovations of the time, including the Uruk expansion and the introduction of writing, so-called secondary state formation and the organization and operation of government, the literary production of the Third Dynasty of Ur and the first stories of Gilgamesh, and the emergence of the Amorrites in the second millennium BCE.Read more
- Draws on a wide variety of sources
- Relevant to those interested in archaeology, anthropology, mobile pastoralism and the Near East
- Covers the Uruk expansion, Gilgames, the ancient city of Ebla and the Third Dynasty of Ur
Reviews & endorsements
"Porter effectively uses the first person to clearly describe and discuss the problems involved and to present the available data as well as her own hypotheses and conclusions."
E. H. Cline, ChoiceSee more reviews
"The volume impressively reflects a great deal of scholarship and depth of thought. It will be useful for scholars and students of the Near East, including archaeologists and historians, and researchers interested in the archaeology of mobile pastoralism more broadly … It is an important volume, offering a bold and radical, realigned account in the central place it gives to mobile pastoralism across this time period. The significance of the book also lies in its consideration of how archaeologists read the archaeological record and conceptualise past societal organisation. Due to the ephemeral nature of mobile pastoralism, scant traces are often left behind with which to understand it (Cribb, 1991). Porter's ideas will no doubt be much debated, but they will re-focus attention on this question, the conceptualisation of ancient nomads in the Near East and the search for their traces."
Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice
"[Porter's] work is a critical resource for understanding both the dynamics of ancient societies and the impact of modern reconstructions on our perception of them."
Brendon C. Benz, Near Eastern Archaeology
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- Date Published: January 2014
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107666078
- length: 400 pages
- dimensions: 254 x 178 x 21 mm
- weight: 0.69kg
- contains: 28 b/w illus. 9 maps 6 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. The problem with pastoralists
2. Wool, writing, and religion
3. From temple to tomb
4. Tax and tribulation, or, who were the Amorrites?
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