University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Events Calendar

Mesopotamia and the Iranian Plateau: Separate but Equal Partners in the Bronze Age of Exchange

Saturday 19 November 2016, 02:25pm - 02:45pm
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Dr. Holly Pittman, Senior Fellow, Bok Family Professor in the Humanities in the Department of the History of Art and Curator of the Near Eastern Section and Deputy Director for Academic Programs at the Penn Museum, will deliver a paper in Session 11A. Locating Mesopotamian Civilizations in Highland-Lowland Encounters at the 2016 ASOR Annual Meeting, November 16–19, San Antonio, Texas.

This paper examines the long-distance interaction between the city states of southern Mesopotamia and the highland communities of the Iranian plateau beginning in 2900 B.C.E. and increasing in intensity through the second half of the third millennium B.C.E. Finds from excavations at Konar Sandal South in the Halil River Valley in the Iranian province of Kerman establish that Mesopotamian merchants traveled to resource-rich zones of the plateau to participate in an already existing and robust highland system of exchange in precious materials and worked commodities. The actual presence of Mesopotamians on the plateau allows for a reconsideration of the process of the consolidation of Mesopotamian kingship and social hierarchy through the acquisition of status markers, giving powerful agency to the highland communities who have, up until now, been the passive suppliers to a superior culture. This allows a reconsideration of the logic behind the construct of the so-called “Intercultural Style” soft stone objects found in temple contexts of Mesopotamia. An alternative interpretation of these exotic objects is presented that is consistent with the reconsidered relationship between the highland Iranian plateau and lowland Mesopotamia in the Early Bronze Age.


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