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Uruk Mesopotamia & Its Neighbors

Cross-cultural Interactions in the Era of State Formation

Edited by Mitchell S. Rothman

In Uruk Mesopotamia & Its Neighbors, ten field and theoretical archaeologists working in the area today offer an overview and analysis of new data and interpretations for Greater Mesopotamia during the late fifth and fourth millennia B.C. They radically reassess the chronological framework for the region, assemble the basic data sets on both local and regional levels, and interpret and synthesize these data in order to put local patterns and dynamics into their widest regional context. Their contributions have applications beyond the cultural history of Mesopotamia itself, reaching into the wider fields of anthropology, history, and political science. With its thorough documentation and comprehensive scope, this volume is an indispensable reference on the state of Mesopotamian archaeology at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

2001. 582 pp., 119 black-and-whie illustrations, 18 tables, notes, references, index, 6 x 9

Contributors: Guillermo Algaze, Terence N. D’Altroy, Marcella Frangipane, Hans J. Nissen, Holly Pittman, Susan Pollock, Mitchell S. Rothman, Glenn M. Schwartz, Gil J. Stein, Henry T. Wright

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“…a seminal interim contribution to specialists’ understanding of Mesopotamia and early complex societies.”
—Dr. Richard L. Zettler, Religious Studies Review

“The best regional syntheses in archaeology—and this book is a superb example of the genre—are often, happily, much more than summaries of existing knowledge: they are guideposts for future research. This volume brings together the leading scholars who study Uruk period sites, regions,artifacts, art, and texts. Their presentations on interregional contacts, stratification, and the landscapes of power in the period in which the first states emerged in Mesopotamia are authoritative, and their debates are provocative.This is a landmark volume for Mesopotamianists and for students of early state formation more broadly.”
—Dr. Norman Yoffee, University of Michigan

“The authors begin with a new chronology that has wide-reaching implications for future study, then focus on the spread of Uruk culture in terms of local developments and regional networks rather than an imposition from a politically dominant center. Traditional views of Uruk civilization have largely overlooked the cultural diversity in this broad geographical setting as well as the complex dynamics by which cultural elements were disseminated. Recent archaeological discoveries, radiocarbon data, and innovative theoretical approaches to world systems have called for a general reassessment of this crucial period. This closely integrated set of papers preserves an exciting sense of history in the re-making.”
—S. Langdon, CHOICE, November 2002

Uruk Mesopotamia & Its Neighbors offers readers important new data and compelling interpretations of the era of state formation in Greater Mesopotamia.”
—Dr. Elizabeth Carter, Science 296 (7 June 2002)

“The various papers in this volume… provide a well-thought-out range of possible explanations [for the Uruk expansion and its collapse] and give a solid framework for further study… Although this volume is anthropological in its approach, … it is highly recommended to anyone with a general interest in social evolution, interactions at cultural boundaries, and the nature of colonial systems.”
—Dr. Brian L. Peasnall, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Vol. 9, no. 1 (2003)


  1. The Local and the Regional: An Introduction
    Mitchell Rothman
  2. The Prehistory of Imperialism: The Case of Uruk Period Mesopotamia
    Guillermo Algaze
  3. Calibrated Radiocarbon Age Determinations of Uruk-Related Assemblages
    Henry T. Wright and E.S.A. Rupley
  4. Cultural Action in the Uruk World
    Henry T. Wright
  5. Cultural and Political Networks in the Ancient Near East during the Fourth and Third Millenia B.C.
    Hans J. Nissen
  6. The Uruk Period in Southern Mesopotamia
    Susan Pollock
  7. Syria and the Uruk Expansion
    Glenn M. Schwartz
  8. Indigenous Social Complexity at Hac1nebi (Turkey) and the Organization of Uruk Colonial Contact
    Gil Stein
  9. Centralization Processes in Greater Mesopotamia: Uruk “Expansion” as the Climax of Systemic Interactions among Areas of the Greater Mesopotamian Region
    Marcella Frangipane
  10. The Tigris Piedmont, Eastern Jazira, and Highland Western Iran in the Fourth Millenium B.C.
    Mitchell S. Rothman
  11. Mesopotamian Interregional Relations Reflected through Glyptic Evidence in the Late Chalcolithic 1-5 Periods
    Holly Pittman
  12. A View of the Plains from the Mountains: Comments on Uruk by an Andeanist
    Terence N. D’Altroy

There are no working papers for this book at the present time.