Brown Bag Series: Between Isolation and Integration: Ritual and Community in the Middle Bronze Age Upper Tigris River Valley
Over the last twenty years the research interests of archaeologists have included the detailed study of smaller communities in rural contexts along with analyses of large-scale urban societies. The Middle Bronze Age region of the upper Tigris River valley, a territory that in ancient times corresponded to the frontier between Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia, provides an excellent contrast to the more urban societies of northern Mesopotamia less than a 100 km to the south. The MBA upper Tigris was characterized by small to mid-sized sites with no clear major urban center or elements of complex administration such as palaces and sealings that are present in Mesopotamia. However this apparent lack of social complexity belies the diversity of production activities and ritual material culture. Moreover the culture of the region highlights the sometimes divergent trajectories of societies in the Ancient Near East. This talk focuses on five season of work at the site of Hirbemerdon Tepe, which contained a prominent well-preserved architectural complex encompassing production areas, public ceremonial space, and ritual paraphernalia.