Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

Spring 2014

Thesis Advisor

Lauren Ristvet


The goal of my research is to elucidate the organization of ceramic production at Tell Leilan with respect to gender roles during from 3400 to 1700 BCE through a study of fingerprint impressions on pottery. I have developed and tested a technique for determining the proportion of men and women who formed and finished vessels in a certain ceramic assemblage using the distribution of epidermal ridge densities. There is a discrete change in the sex of potters at Leilan with the rise of urbanism and state formation at the site, but there is no alteration in this pattern that correlates with changes in the various regimes that had hegemony over the site over time during the Early and Middle Bronze Age. This result informs us about the effect of state authority on the public and private organization of crafts as well as the division of society along gender lines. Surprisingly, the change that occurs with the rise of the state at Tell Leilan does not occur at village sites in the Leilan Regional Survey. This result indicates that the changes in social fabric that occurred at urban sites with the establishment of state institutions did not occur to the same extent in hinterland settlements even though the state did control some of the ceramic production at these sites, at least during the Akkadian period. This methodology and research should allow for further evaluation of the highly theoretical literature on the relationship of gender to craft production in the ancient world.

Included in

Anthropology Commons



Date Posted: 08 June 2016


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