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Routes of the Uruk Expansion

DE-GRUCHY, MICHELLE,WINIFRED (2017) Routes of the Uruk Expansion. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The late fourth millennium B.C. of Mesopotamia is best known for an expansion of material culture from Southern Mesopotamia known as the Uruk Expansion or Uruk Phenomenon. The precise nature of this expansion remains unknown, but at its core it evidences unprecedented levels of interregional interaction whether in the form of colonies, trade diasporas, or otherwise.
This thesis uses quantitative route analysis to examine the hollow ways across the North Jazira region of northern Mesopotamia before, during, and after the Uruk Expansion in the late fourth millennium B.C. to learn more about the phenomenon. To accomplish this, new methodologies were required. A bottom up method for reconstructing land cover was developed and the first velocity-based terrain coefficients were calculated to factor both land cover and slope into the route models. Additionally, the first quantitative method for directly comparing route models to preserved routes was developed to statistically assess the significance of three physical route choice variables: easiest, fastest, and shortest.
First, it is statistically proven that, for the North Jazira, physical variables did not play a major role in route choice, highlighting the importance of cultural variables. Second, it is shown that the routes evidence the formation of polities starting in the late fourth millennium. Thirdly, it is demonstrated that the Uruk Expansion was a disruptive force that broke down previous east-west dynamics, spatially polarizing the population. Furthermore, when east-west movement resumes in the early third millennium B.C., the region remains divided in two distinct sub-regions.
Finally, the poor performance of route models based on physical variables frequently used for predicting route locations has implications for the usefulness of this practice, particularly in areas with flatter terrain. What was important to other cultures cannot be assumed, but must be based on evidence from the cultures themselves.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Uruk Expansion, quantitative route analysis, routes, Late Chalcolithic, early third millennium B.C, North Jazira, Mesopotamia
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:30 May 2017 11:54

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