Rural Archaeology in Early Urban Northern Mesopotamia: Excavations at Tell al-Raqa’i


Series: Monumenta Archaeologica 36
ISBN: 978-1-938770-04-3
Publication Date: Aug 2015
Price: Hb $89, eBook $70
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Glenn M. Schwartz

ASOR 2017 winner of the G. Ernest Wright Award

“… Schwartz provides a masterful updated overview of the points of comparison and contrast amongst the Khabur rescue sites. This new publication provides a stimulating research framework, and adds a huge amount of detail. Schwartz and his team are to be congratulated on shifting the focus of early complexity studies through their systematic work at this small village located in a region of Syria.”
 — Roger Matthews, Antiquity, 2016

This book presents a new perspective on the emergence of urban societies in Mesopotamia, focusing attention on life in a rural village and helping to correct the traditional bias by archaeologists toward the urban and the elite. Reporting on the extensive excavations at Tell al-Raqa’i (early-middle 3rd millennium BC) in upper Mesopotamia/Syria, the authors offer detailed studies on architecture, pottery, animal bones, plant remains, and other varieties of artifacts and ecofacts. These data provide a wealth of information on the nature of life in a small community during the transition to urbanism. Spatial and social organization, household economics, and the significance of enigmatic structures such as the Round Building and a small “temple” are among the issues discussed. ArtifactThe excavations at Raqa’i, with their exposure of a broad segment of an ancient village, reveal important new insights on the nature of rural life in upper Mesopotamia and on the role of villages in early urban societies in general.

Table of Contents
  • Ch. 1: Research Framework: The Archaeology of Rural Communities in Early Complex Societies by Glenn M. Schwartz
  • Ch. 2: Stratigraphic and Architectural History by Glenn M. Schwartz
  • Ch. 3: Spatial and Social Organization of Level 3 by Eric E. Klucas and Glenn M. Schwartz
  • Ch. 4: Ceramics by Glenn M. Schwartz and Peter Chomowicz
  • Ch. 5: Small Finds by Sally S. Dunham
  • Ch. 6: Burials by Barbara Stuart
  • Ch. 7: Technological and Functional Analysis of the Chipped Stone Artifacts Discovered at Tell al-Raqa’i by Jacques Chabot
  • Ch. 8: The Analysis of Metal Artifacts from Tell al-Raqa’i by Kristina A. Franke, Vincent C. Pigott, and Samuel K. Nash
  • Ch. 9: The Plant Husbandry of Tell al-Raqa’i by Willem van Zeist
  • Ch. 10: The Animal Remains from Tell al-Raqa’i by Scott J. Rufolo
  • Ch. 11: Conclusions by Glenn M. Schwartz