Wright_Cultural_Action_Uruk

Wright_Cultural_Action_Uruk - H. T. WRIGHT AND E. S. A....

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H. T. WRIGHT AND E. S. A. RUPLEY secondary and tertiary fills. In any event, it is important for the field archaeologist to report the exact context of each dated sample^ Third, it is important to establish the material being dated, not just wood versus bone, but if possible the genera of plant or animal that produced the material. Short-lived materials, such as seeds, have many advantages over long-lived materials. Fourth, wherever possible, alternative methods of dating should be attempted. In particular, dendrochronology promises precise dates wholly independent of 14 C age determinations. Unfortunately, many of the carbonized wood samples found in lowland Mesopotamia prove to be of genera not amenable to tree-ring dating. Continued submission of samples will eventually provide enough datum points to provide a much more accurate chronology than is possible at present with radio- carbon measurements. Note 1. As of press time, a new version of OxCal (3.5) has been released. Most of the calibrations in this paper were made with the 3.0 beta release. We have rerun all Uruk period dates and models in 3.5 and have found small differences in the reported 95.4% ranges; where these calibrations and pendant results are differ- ent by more than 50 years, we have updated this paper to reflect these changes (which are very few and do not impact our conclusions). The majority of our cal- ibrations, however, are unchanged or changed by less than 50 years, and we have allowed these results to remain. 4 Cultural Action in the Uruk World Henry T. Wright This chapter is an effort to introduce a broader perspective on the larger cultural system of the fourth millennium B.C. in the Tigris- Euphrates-Karun watershed, both the plains of Mesopotamia proper and the valleys of the foothills and the Zagros and Anti-Taurus Mountains. It is stimulated by the challenges laid down in Guillermo Algaze's The Uruk World System (1993) and related writings. In Algaze's conception, complex societies emerge in the Lower Mesopotamian plain early in the fourth millennium B.C. The large and socially differ- entiated populations of this heartland, needing materials scarce on the alluvium but available in the Taurus and Zagros Mountains and the plateau lands beyond, placed enclaves in Upper Mesopotamia and out- posts on the routes connecting these enclaves, drawing indigenous peoples of both the plains and the mountains into exchange relations. These relations led to prosperity and increased social complexity in the peripheries and emulation of Lower Mesopotamian styles in the indigenous communities. When southern Mesopotamia entered into a period of decline, exchange diminished, and northern Mesopotamian enclaves were abandoned. As a result, the dependent indigenous
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HENRY T. WRIGHT societies declined in prosperity and complexity. All Mesopotamianists are indebted to Algaze for proposing a comprehensive understanding that accounts for much of the evidence available in the 1980s and that
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Wright_Cultural_Action_Uruk - H. T. WRIGHT AND E. S. A....

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