Hacinebi Tepe and the Uruk expansion: A ceramic perspective on culture contact

Julie Ann Pearce, University of Pennsylvania


A significant development in ancient Mesopotamia occurred during the mid-fourth millennium BC, when materials and settlements in the southern Mesopotamian Uruk tradition began to appear in neighboring areas. Some scholars have interpreted this phenomenon as a colonial network. While Uruk settlements in northern Mesopotamia have been excavated, very little is known about the relations between the indigenous population and foreigners at these contact sites. Hacinebi Tepe, a Late Chalcolithic site in southeast Turkey, is one such contact site that has been excavated with the purpose of examining the correspondences and relationships between the two communities. The Uruk expansion of the 4th millennium B.C. and in particular Hacinebi provide an excellent opportunity to study the organization of prehistoric culture contact and the material correlates of ethnic or culturally ascribed identity groups. Excavations at Hacinebi Tepe suggest local Anatolian and southern Mesopotamian Uruk communities interacted and engaged in exchange, yet maintained separate identities over several centuries. The endurance of distinctively different architecture, administrative systems, lithic technologies, food preferences, and ceramic styles provide evidence for the continuity of these separate identities. I focus specifically on the excavated pottery from this period of contact to distinguish the significance of the differences between the communities at Hacinebi. This dissertation seeks to reinforce the meaning of these differences by evaluating the actual behaviors involved in the typical uses of pottery within each assemblage, and assessing whether the behavioral differences in fact represent differing cultural identities.

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Recommended Citation

Pearce, Julie Ann, "Hacinebi Tepe and the Uruk expansion: A ceramic perspective on culture contact" (2008). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3328634.