ARCHÆOLOGY OF THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST
Prof. Karl Petruso
The Near East (broadly defined as the region bounded by the Mediterranean littoral on the west and the Tigris River on the east, consisting primarily of Anatolia, Cyprus, Syria-Palestine and Mesopotamia) is traditionally referred to by archaeologists and historians as "the Cradle of Civilization." Agriculture and urbanism--two cultural achievements whose impact on humankind cannot be exaggerated--developed early in the Near East; and the region proved to be fertile ground as well for developments in social organization, religion, law, political organization, art and technology, warfare and other human institutions and activities.
This course will survey the several major archaeological cultures of the ancient Near East from earliest human occupation in the Paleolithic period to the end of the Bronze Age (ca. 1000 BC). Our focus will be on the origins and evolution of the phenomena mentioned above. Each culture will be surveyed on its own terms, and attention will be paid to internal interactions and relationships with selected other regions (e.g., Egypt, Europe, Iran, Arabia and the Indus Valley).
The course has no prerequisites, although ANTH 2339 (Principles of Archaeology) taken previously or concurrently will enhance the student's understanding of the material.
Prof. Karl Petruso
• J.N. Postgate, Early Mesopotamia: Society and Economy at the Dawn of History (London: Routledge) 1994
• J.G. Macqueen, The Hittites (London: Thames and Hudson), revised edition, 1986
• S. Dalley, tr., Myths from Mesopotamia (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 2000
• S. Lloyd, The Art of the Ancient Near East (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 1971
In addition, a required readings packet is available for purchase at Bird's Copies, 208 South East St., Arlington (tel. 817.459.1688). I will provide handouts in class occasionally to supplement lectures on specific subjects.
The following works have been placed on reserve in the Central Library for this course. While no readings will be assigned from them, they should be consulted as relevant in the preparation of your research paper.
• Frankfort, Henri, Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient
• Gurney, Oliver R., The Hittites
• Karageorghis, Vassos, Cyprus: From the Stone Age to the Romans
• Lloyd, Seton, The Archaeology of Mesopotamia: From the Old Stone Age to the Persian Conquest
• Lloyd, Seton, Early Highland Peoples of Anatolia
• Maisels, Charles, The Emergence of Civilization: From Hunting and Gathering to Agriculture, Cities, and the State in the Near East
• Mellaart, James, Çatal Hüyük: A Neolithic Town in Anatolia
• Mellaart, James, The Neolithic of the Near East
• Potts, Daniel T. Mesopotamian Civilization: The Material Foundations
• Roaf, Michael, Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East
The syllabus below includes links to many reading assignments on other websites. I will tinker with them frequently, adding and updating links as I discover useful ones. I will announce revisions in class, but as a matter of course you are urged to get into the habit of consulting the online syllabus regularly.
The links immediately below are reliable scholarly websites. They will provide useful supplements to your readings from the textbooks, and can be valuable resources in preparing your research papers:
Abzu: A comprehensive bibliographic guide to the study of the ancient Near East
American Schools of Oriental Research: Links to pertinent museums, journals and excavations
The Oriental Institute (University of Chicago)
Maps of the Ancient Near East
Hittite Home Page (ASOR)
1. Three exams (combination objective and short essay), spaced at equal intervals through the course and equally weighted. Exam dates are indicated on the syllabus. Each exam is worth 20% of the course grade. The final exam is not cumulative
2. A research paper, due on the last day of class. The paper is worth 30% of course grade
3. A geography and chronology quiz, written in the third week of the semester (10% of course grade). A list of toponyms and dates to be mastered will be provided in advance
4. Contribution to class discussion can raise a final grade on a borderline.
• Reading assignments are to be completed before associated lectures.
• Aside from the exams, paper, and quiz, no other written work will be necessary, and none will be accepted for extra credit or in lieu of missed assignments.
• A missed exam will receive a grade of zero. Except under the most unusual and dire of (documented) circumstances, no make-up examinations will be administered (ditto for granting of incompletes).
• The due date for the research paper is firm; it is to be turned in no later than 5:00 p.m., Thursday, December 5. Late submissions will be docked one full letter grade.
• Attendance will not be taken in this course, although your attendance is expected, and chronic absences will be noticed. You are responsible for all material presented and discussed in class. If you must miss a session, be sure to arrange to read a classmate's notes.
• Although this is primarily a lecture course, interruptions in the form of questions and discussion relevant to the topic under consideration are invited at any time.
• Cell phones and pagers are to be turned off during class.
• If you require an accommodation based on disability, I invite you to meet with me during the first week of the semester so we can ensure that you are appropriately accommodated.
• Student Support Services: The University supports a variety of student success programs to help you connect with the University and achieve academic success. They include learning assistance, developmental education, advising and mentoring, admission and transition, and federally funded programs. Students requiring assistance academically, personally, or socially should contact the Office of Student Success Programs at 817-272-6107 for more information and appropriate referrals.
• Bomb Threats: Anyone tempted to call in a bomb threat should be aware that UTA will attempt to trace the phone call and prosecute all responsible parties. Every effort will be made to avoid cancellation of presentations and/or tests caused by bomb threats. Unannounced alternate sites will be available for these classes. I will make you aware of alternate class sites in the event that our classroom is not available.
• Drop Policy: If you decide not to complete this course, it is solely your responsibility to drop (faculty cannot initiate this action). The drop dates are October 1 (without penalty) and November 12 (final drop date). Failure to meet one of these deadlines will result in a grade of F.
• Finally, it is assumed that all students understand what constitutes scholastic dishonesty (essentially the representation of another person's work as one's own). "Students who violate the University's rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and dismissal from the University" (Regents' Rules and Regulations). Scholastic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this class. Suspected incidences will be turned over to the office of the Dean of Students for adjudication.
Research Papers: Guidelines and Expectations
The following remarks are intended to guide you in the preparation of your research paper. If you have any questions about content and presentation involving matters not covered below, please see me.
You will be provided with a list of recommended paper topics. You may select a topic from that list or you may develop your own (you are encouraged to do the latter). In any event, you should inform me of your chosen topic in writing no later than midsemester (October 15).
All students must meet with me individually by midsemester to discuss paper topics. Topics must be approved by me before you embark on them.
You should spend the first half of the semester scouring the sources on reserve (and especially their bibliographies) for works pertinent to your topic, and reading around in it.
General comments: The intent of this assignment is to encourage you to delve into sources on Near Eastern archaeology beyond the level of the course readings. Your paper will give you the opportunity to demonstrate a mastery of your chosen topic and a familiarity with the relevant scholarly sources. Strive to identify and read the important works that bear on your topic. Since our library collections are not rich in specialized topics in this subject, you will doubtless need to use the services of the Interlibrary Loan Office (Main Library, first floor). Requests for books and articles may be placed online and are often filled within a week or so, but the more obscure titles will take longer. Do not put off ordering seminal works for your paper until the last minute. Interlibrary Loan is a valuable resource for research; it is expected that you will take advantage of it.
This is to be a formal paper, not an essay or creative writing assignment. Avoid using the first person. Subjective opinions and affective conclusions have no place in such a paper. If your thesis demands that you discuss and evaluate the competing arguments of several scholars, do not hesitate to cite which one seems most reasonable to you; but your conclusion should be argued--with reference to specific evidence--rather than simply asserted. Part of the exercise of doing a research paper is to hone your skills in evaluating and making logical arguments.
The best papers (and the ones most worth doing) are problem-oriented, and Near Eastern archaeology is rich in problems to investigate. Your paper should not be simply an exercise in description, but rather an attempt to wrestle with meaning and interpretation at some level within the scope of your topic. You should read generally on your topic, and identify a discrete subject that is worth pursuing. You are not expected to resolve the problem, but you should demonstrate that you can come to grips with it and write cogently about it.
Use of Web resources: In general, you are advised to be very careful in using online sources. Websites are notoriously variable in their scholarly quality and reliability. As a rule of thumb, websites affiliated with universities may be considered reliable. But you are advised to rely primarily on scholarly books unless you have a very good reason to cite web resources (e.g., in the case of recent discoveries and presentations by their discoverers, or new interpretations that have not yet been published). If you have any questions or doubts about the reliability of particular websites, consult me.
All web resources consulted for your paper should be cited in your bibliography. Citation requirements and traditions (for both web and other resources), as well as a great deal of other useful information, can be found on the UTA Libraries' new Online page.
Format and presentation:
• Papers must be word-processed, double-spaced, on 8 1/2 x 11" white paper, stapled in the upper left-hand corner or bound in a cover.
• Do not use large (>12 point) and/or artsy fonts.
• Length: 10 pages is probably a minimum for a paper of this description, not including footnotes/endnotes, bibliography, illustrations, title page, etc.
• If you have never written a research paper before, I will be happy to help you get started. You should invest in a copy of the latest edition of Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations, which is available in the UTA bookstore and elsewhere. This book will answer your questions about format, citations, and organization.
• On a more general level, you will find it useful to read Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. This little book has been guiding authors for more than half a century. You will find it a gold mine of information and tips on writing clearly.
• All sources used must be fully cited in either footnotes or endnotes. In referencing specific passages, page numbers, not simply titles, should be cited.
• You are required by law and by scholarly tradition to document fully all facts and ideas outside the realm of common knowledge, as well as direct quotations and paraphrases. If you are unclear about what constitutes plagiarism, please educate yourself immediately. Plagiarism is a grave matter, and is quite unacceptable in the academic community. UTA policy on plagiarism provides for several responses, including expulsion.
• Include illustrations as necessary (photocopies of published drawings and photos and/or downloaded images from the web will suffice). These should be referred to at appropriate places in the text of the paper; otherwise they are superfluous. Each illustration should be numbered and accompanied by a caption and must include a credit (citation of the book, article or website from which it was taken), either in the caption or in a list at the end of the paper.
• Be sure to proofread your paper carefully (and/or have someone else do it) before you hand it in. Part of your grade will be based on the presentation of the final product. Organization, grammar, syntax, and spellling are all important, and will be taken into account when assigning your grade. It is difficult to read for content when one is distracted by sloppiness.
• All written works consulted must be listed in a bibliography at the end of your paper. Your bibliography ought to include something on the order of 8-10 sources at least. Journal articles as well as books ideally will be represented. Avoid relying on elementary, breathless, unscholarly coffee-table surveys of ancient civilizations; they will not be relevant for this assignment, and they should not pad your bibliography. Nor should your bibliography contain works you have not consulted.
• You are strongly encouraged to submit a draft of your paper for preliminary critique; this can only improve your grade on the assignment. Submission of a draft is optional. If you wish to take advantage of this, submit your draft no later November 19. It will be critiqued and returned to you for final polishing.
• Graded papers will be available in UH 430 the afternoon of the day final grades are due in the Registrar's office. Papers not picked up will be recycled my midterm of the following semester.
Deadline: Final versions of the papers are due on or before Friday, December 3 at 5:00 pm in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology office (UH 430). Failure to submit a paper by the deadline will result in a drop of one full letter in your grade. "I had software/hardware problems" is the 21st-century equivalent of "The dog ate my homework," and is unacceptable as an excuse for tardy submission of the paper. Please do not leave production of your paper to the afternoon of December 3.
SYLLABUS (Subject to change)
Note: RP = Readings packet (see above; to be purchased at Bird's Copies).
T Aug 24: Introduction. Scope of the course. Objectives. Policies and requirements. Bibliographic resources.
Th Aug 26: Sites formation. Artifacts and ecofacts. Methods and tools of archaeological fieldwork and analysis, with particular reference to the Near East. Use of historical sources.
Recommended: Browse any of Brian Fagan's college-level textbooks on archaeology, particularly In the Beginning; even better is Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn, Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice, which is now in its 4th edition (2004). This book is especially recommended for students concentrating in archaeology.
T Aug 31: Exploration of the Near East, past and present. "Biblical archaeology." Ideology, religion and war.
Assignment: G. Daniel, Short History of Archaeology, selections (RP); Mark Rose's Archaeology Magazine bulletins on recent and ongoing looting of archaeological sites and museums in Iraq.
Recommended: Charles Maisels, The Near East: Archaeology in the Cradle of Civilization , ch. 2 and 3; Seton Lloyd, Foundations in the Dust; Edward Said, Orientalism; Lynn Meskell, ed., Archaeology Under Fire: Nationalism, Politics and Heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.
Th Sept 2: Post-Pleistocene geography and climate of the Near East. Hydrology of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Assignment: Postgate, ch. 1. Peruse maps of the Near East, including those showing natural features (mountains, plains, river valleys) and climate. A good world atlas should serve you well here, but if you are patient, you might surf around in the UT Country Map collection online. Be able to locate archaeological sites and regions provided on the handout. Make certain you know where the ancient toponyms are with respect to modern states and cities.
Recommended: D.T. Potts, Mesopotamian Civilization: The Material Foundations, ch. 1 and 4.
T Sept 7: QUIZ: GEOGRAPHY AND CHRONOLOGY
Pleistocene landscape and its tranformations. Earliest human presence in the Near East. Paleolithic hunter-gatherers.
Assignment: R. Solecki, "Shanidar Cave" (RP).
Recommended: G. Lees and N. Falcon, "The Geographical History of the Mesoptamian Plains." Geographical Journal 118 (1952):24-39.
Th Sept 9: Epipaleolithic and Mesolithic. The Antalya Caves in Anatolia. The Natufian culture of Palestine.
Assignment: Natufian culture
Recommended: J. Mellaart, The Neolithic of the Near East, ch.1-3.
T Sept 14: Origins of agriculture in the Near East: Historical survey of theories and models.
Assignment: L. Binford, "Post-Pleistocene Adaptations" (RP).
Th Sept 16: Regional expressions of the Neolithic I: Jarmo (Iraq); Çayonü and Hacilar (Anatolia); Tell Abu Hureyra (Syria).
Assignment: Minnesota State University articles on Jarmo, Çayönü and Abu Hureyra.
Recommended: A.M.T. Moore, "A Pre-Neolithic Farmers' Village on the Eurphrates," Scientific American 241 (1979) 62-70; A.M.T. Moore, Village on the Euphrates; Ian Todd, Çatal Hüyük in Perspective.
T Sept 21: Session on using library research resources presented by Mr. John Dillard, Anthropology Librarian. Class will meet in Main Library, Room 315A.
Th Sept 23: Regional expressions of the Neolithic II: Jericho (Palestine). The extraordinary site of Çatal Hüyük (Anatolia).
Assignment: The first 7 bulleted items on this page of Ian Hodder's Catalhöyük website, as well as Hodder's dialogue with a member of the "Goddess community."
Recommended: J. Mellaart, Çatal Hüyük: A Neolithic Town in Anatolia; Ian Todd, Çatal Hüyük in Perspective.
T Sept 28: EXAM NO. 1. THE STONE AGE IN THE NEAR EAST (bring bluebooks to class)
Th Sept 30: The rise of the state and its institutions: Some theories and models. Defining and characterizing civilization. The nature of Mesopotamian urbanism.
Assignment: Robert Wenke, Patterns in Prehistory , ch. 7 (RP).
Recommended: Ruth Whitehouse, The First Cities; Charles Maisels, The Emergence of Civilization; Charles Redman, The Rise of Civilization: From Early Farmers to Urban Society in the Ancient Near East.
T Oct 5: Near Eastern languages. Origins and nature of cuneiform script. Reading Mesopotamian tablets.
Assignment: Denise Schmandt-Besserat's summary of her work on Mesopotamian tokens; Postgate, ch. 3; M.W. Green, "Early Cuneiform" (RP).
Recommended: C.B.F. Walker, Cuneiform; D. Schmandt-Besserat, Before Writing (2 vols.); P. Michalowski," Mesopotamian Cuneiform," Section 3 in Peter Daniels and William Bright, eds., The World's Writing Systems.
Th Oct 7: Ancient Near Eastern mythology: introduction. Sources for Mesopotamian religion. Creation and the Flood. The Gilgamesh epic.
Assignment: Postgate, ch. 6; Dalley: Introduction, Atrahasis and Gilgamesh (Old Babylonian version), Epic of Creation.
Recommended: Michael Roaf, "Palaces and Temples in Ancient Mesopotamia," pp. 423-441 in Jack Sasson, ed., Civilizations of the Ancient Near East; Thorkild Jacobsen, The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion.
T Oct 12: Mesopotamian palace. Life in a Mesopotamian city.
Assignment: Postgate, ch. 4, 5, 7.
Recommended: Jean Bottéro, Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia; A. Leo Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization.
Th Oct 14: Mesopotamian agriculture and economy.
Assignment: Postgate, ch. 8, 9, 10.
Recommended: Christopher Eyre, "The Agricultural Cycle, Farming, and Water Management in the Ancient Near East," pp. 175-189 in Jack Sasson, ed., Civilizations of the Ancient Near East.
T Oct 19: A survey of Mesopotamian art. Death and burial.
Assignment: Lloyd, pp. 79-111 and 129-150; Royal Graves of Ur (peruse the images).
Recommended: Henri Frankfort, Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient.
Th Oct 21: Technology and trade. Mesopotamia in the wider world. Locating Dilmun, Magan and Meluhha.
Assignment: Postgate, ch. 11, 12, 13.
Recommended: C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, "Trade Mechanisms in Indus-Mesopotamian Interrelations," Journal of the American Oriental Society 92 (1972) 222-230.
T Oct 26: Ai and Arad. Early Bronze Age society in Palestine. Syria: Ebla and its archives.
Assignment: L. Milano, "Ebla: A Third-Millennium City-State in Ancient Syria" (RP).
Recommended: Paolo Matthiae, Ebla: An Empire Rediscovered; Giovanni Petinatto, The Archives of Ebla.
Th Oct 28: EXAM NO. 2. EARLY COMPLEX SOCIETY IN MESOPOTAMIA AND SYRO-PALESTINE
(bring bluebooks to class)
Nov. 2: Alaca Hüyük in the Early Bronze Age. Kültepe, karu, and the Assyrian Colony period. The curious case of Dorak.
Assignment: Macqueen, ch. 1; T. Özgüç, "An Assyrian Trading Outpost" (RP); Lloyd, pp. 111-113.
Recommended: Seton Lloyd, Early Highland Peoples of Anatolia; Klaas Veenhof, "Kanesh: An Assyrian Colony in Anatolia," pp. 859-871 in Jack Sasson, ed., Civilizations of the Ancient Near East.
Th Nov 4: Hittite origins: Languages and ethnicities. Scripts.
Assignment: Macqueen, ch. 2-3.
Recommended: Oliver Gurney, The Hittites, ch. 6.
T Nov 9: Bogazköy: Citadel, archives and temples. Other major sites.
Assignment: Macqueen, ch. 4-6.
Recommended: Kurt Bittel, Hattusha, ch. 1-3.
Th Nov 11: Reconstructing Hittite religion. Yazilikaya. Foreign relations: trade, warfare and treaties.
Assignment: Macqueen, ch. 7-8; German Institute of Archaeology's photos and drawings of Yazilikaya.
Recommended: Kurt Bittel, Hattusha, ch. 4; Oliver Gurney, The Hittites, ch. 7.
T Nov 16: Syria in the Late Bronze Age: The Canaanites. Ugarit.
Assignment: "Canaanites" (RP).
Recommended: John Gray, The Canaanites; Jonathan Tubb, Canaanites.
Th Nov 18: Cyprus: Conspectus. Human colonization of the island. Survey of Neolithic and Bronze Ages.
Assignment: Vassos Karageorghis, Cyprus: From the Stone Age to the Romans, pp. 82-113 (RP).
Recommended: Cyprus BC : 7000 Years of History. British Museum Publications, 1979.
T Nov 23: Ancient seafaring: Boats and ships. Excavation of the Uluburun and Gelidonya shipwrecks. The metals trade in the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean.
Assignment: Institute for Nautical Archaeology website pages on Uluburun and Gelidonya.
Recommended: George Bass, Cape Gelidonya: A Bronze Age Shipwreck; Cemal Pulak, "The Uluburun Shipwreck: An Overview," International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 27 (1998) 188-224.
Th Nov 25: THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
T Nov 30: The Peoples of the Sea.
Assignment: Ann Killebrew's Sea Peoples website (particularly the "Groups" section).
Recommended: N.K. Sandars, The Sea Peoples; Eleizer Oren, ed., The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment.
Th Dec 2: Troy and the Trojan War. The problem of the end of the Bronze Age in Anatolia and the eastern Mediterranean.
Assignment: "Troy: Legend and Reality" (RP); Michael McGoodwin's summary of Drews's thesis.
Recommended: Robert Drews, The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200 BC.
Th Dec 9: FINAL EXAM, 8:00-10:30 am: ANATOLIA AND THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN
(bring bluebooks to class)