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Grant number like: RZ-50222-04

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University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA 90089-0012)
Lynn S. Dodd (Project Director: November 2003 to April 2008)

Collaborative Research
Research Programs

$144,396 (approved)
$144,396 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2004 – 5/31/2007

An Independent Perspective on the Uruk Expansion: Three Local Chalcolithic Communities

Excavation and study of three successive indigenous Late Chalcolithic settlements on the Upper Tigris in Turkey.

The scale of social change that occurred during Mesopotamia's Late Chalcolithic or Uruk period (ca. 4000-3000 B.C.) is a topic of great debate within and beyond Mesopotamian studies. This period saw the rise of the earliest known pristine states in the alluvium of southern Mesopotamia. Recent research has focused on communities in the Mesopotamian periphery that were directly connected to the Uruk interregional network through colonies or enclaves located in or near indigenous host communities. This research has been very profitable, showing that the system of exchange may not have been as asymmetrical as originally believed, and highlighting a degree social complexity in the host communities, but it has yet to directly examine the affect that the Uruk phenomenon had on the development of complexity in the Mesopotamian periphery. If we are to discover how interregional interaction during the Uruk period affected the socio-political and economic organization of indigenous Late Chalcolithic communities in the Mesopotamian periphery, we also need to explore communities that were not home to Uruk colonies or enclaves. This project will address this question through the excavation of three successive indigenous Late Chalcolithic communities at the site of Kenan Tepe in the Upper Tigris River region of southeastern Turkey. By applying methods of "Household Archeology" to well preserved domestic structures dating to the period before, during, and after the height of the Uruk phenomenon, this project will explore whether emergent social complexity is evident before the establishment of the Uruk regional network, if and how patterns of domestic production, consumption and exchange changed through the Late Chalcolithic period, and whether such changes can be linked to influence emanating from southern Mesopotamia via interregional networks. This project will not only build on the growing body of literature addressing the affects of culture contact and the nature of emerging social complexity, but will also document the cultural heritage of an area soon to be destroyed by flood waters that will build up behind one of the largest dams in the Middle East.