Globalizing the Halaf

Authored by: Olivier P. Nieuwenhuyse

The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415841306
eBook ISBN: 9781315449005
Adobe ISBN:


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Commenting on the organization of Middle Eastern societies in the millennia between the origins of farming and the appearance of the first cities, David Wengrow has remarked, ‘This much neglected phase in world history needs a name. Perhaps it is best described as the first era of the global village’ (Wengrow 2010: 54–55). In appropriating Wengrow’s characterization of the Ubaid, my contribution to this volume will not be to argue that the Near Eastern Late Neolithic is simply ‘an early version of’, nor that we should trace back into the Late Neolithic the ‘roots’ of the globalizing Uruk cultures of the later fourth millennium (Jennings 2011: 57–76; this volume) or those of the third millennium Early Bronze Age (Kohl 1987). Indeed, many colleagues working in the region would argue that extrapolating the concept into the Neolithic world would be anachronistic, an imposition of our modern world views onto others far removed from ourselves. Nor would prehistoric interactions literally qualify as ‘global’, as they connected regions at scales much more modest than during later times of urbanized, imperial states (e.g. Versluys 2015; Vroom this volume; Robertson this volume). Adapting globalization theory to just any prehistoric society might risk losing out of sight the distinguishing aspects of this concept to explain the inner workings of advanced, complex societies.

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