Archaeology in the Near East: Urbanisation and the Birth of State
Free Public Lecture
The Forum Theatre
The 2018 Marion Adams Memorial Lecture
What can archaeological discoveries tell us about the role played by urbanisation in the formation, development and crisis of the earliest centralised and hierarchical societies in the Near East?
Drawing on archaeological findings in modern-day Turkey, Syria and Iraq, this lecture will discuss how the early societies of the Near East show a great deal of variability in different regions and cultural environments in terms of settlement patterns, the role of ruling elites and the degree of their control over the economy, and the types of political and economic systems in place.
In this lecture, Professor Marcella Frangipane will reconsider the role of urbanisation in the development of Near Eastern civilizations, demonstrating different trajectories in different environments and social contexts. She will argue, however, for the crucial importance of the growth of 'cities' in the solidity of early centralized political systems, and demonstrate that its presence or absence, or its stronger or weaker development, appears as a basic factor of stability or instability – development or collapse – of the early Near Eastern state societies in the 4th millennium BC.
Professor Marcella Frangipane is Full Professor of Archaeology (Prehistory) at the Sapienza University of Rome, and Associate Member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Corresponding Member of the DAI in Berlin, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, and the Archaeological Institute of America.