University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Events Calendar

Three Narratives, Three Approaches: Trade, Exchange, and Interaction in Third Millennium Iran

Friday 18 November 2016, 02:55pm - 03:15pm
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Kyle Olson, Junior Fellow, will deliver a paper in Session 7C. Archaeology of Iran I, at the 2016 ASOR Annual Meeting, November 16–19, San Antonio, Texas.

The Royal Cemetery at Ur. The Astarabad Treasure. The Fullol Hoard. What do these three finds have in common? All lie along the route that is purported to have brought lapis lazuli from its source (Sar-i Sang) to Sumer and beyond during the third millennium. Accordingly, these finds, among many others, have been used to argue for the existence of an extensive long-distance trade network during this time. But answers to the questions of exactly when, how, and by whose agency these materials circulated so widely have largely remained elusive. Several models and metaphors have been proposed as solutions, or at least as heuristics, to resolve this problem, including: the prehistory of the Silk Road, World Systems Theory, and Interaction Spheres. While each of these has its own concerns and relative merits, all share in common a desire to “connect-the-dots-on-a-map.” While these models have been used to illuminate certain aspects of third millennium trade, exchange, and interaction, other aspects have remained obscure. For example, given technological and climatic constraints on travel during the third millennium, which routes were likely to have been taken? To what degree do material parallels found over great geographic distances actually index significant interaction? Is there a way to empirically substantiate the analytical categories commonly found in the literature? is paper explores the possibilities of answering these questions by scaling down the geographic scope of analysis and through a combination of regional scale seriation and typology, elemental analysis of ceramics, and GIS-based techniques.


Location : San Antonio Ballroom C, La Cantera Resort and Spa, San Antonio, Texas
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