With National Science Foundation support Dr. Mitchell Rothman will conduct two seasons of archaeological investigation at the site of Tibles Hoyuk which is located on the Euphrates River in Turkey. With the construction of the Euphrates River dam, this site and many others which document the rise of state level societies in the Near East will soon be lost to scientific research. The site and associated cemetery date to the Late Copper and Early Bronze ages, during the fourth millennium BC and both precede and succeed the period of Uruk expansion. Together with adjacent sites coincident with the Uruk, Tibles Hoyuk spans a crucial period in Near Eastern prehistory. The Uruk state which was located in southern Mesopotamia is the first of the great regional empires and thus represents an important stage in the development of complex societies. Archaeologists wish to understand how empires, which brought divergent peoples together in a single political structure, functioned and how they were maintained given the difficulties in communication and transportation which characterized technologically simple societies. The Euphrates area in Turkey represents a hinterland at the Uruk's northernmost fringes and thus offers an interesting perspective to examine questions of control and independence. Anthropologists have proposed a number of models which range from conquest and complete dependence to more complex forms of mutually dependent economic interaction. Because Dr. Rothman has a sequence which precedes, coincides with and then succeeds the Uruk expansion into the region, he has a valuable context in which to examine the question. In contrast to larger urban centers, Tibles Hoyuk is a village site typical of those in which most people lived. Through broad horizontal excavations and the analysis of ceramics and other material remains, as well as associated flora and fauna, it will be possible to reconstruct both the economic and subsistence organization of the site and also gain insight into social organization. On these bases, the relative degree of economic and political independence, and how these changed over time, can be gauged. This research is important because it will provide new insight into the emergence of state level societies. It will serve an important salvage function and provide data of interest to many archaeologists.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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John E. Yellen
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Widener University
United States
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