By Eric Vandenbroeck and co-workers
Despite the fantasies of earlier writers about Archeology in Mesopotamia, it is notoriously hard to find palaces in the usual sense of the word. In the Late Uruk period, "palace" is termed because it is large and has a different plan than temples. In the Early Dynastic, the "palaces" were designated because their shapes were not temple-like. In the Third Dynasty of Ur, there were temples and ziggurats at the end of the third millennium BC, and we have a list of kings, but where is the palace?
There was a Ciutadella for public ceremonies, but there are only arguments about the existence of a royal residence. In Mesopotamia, temples are built and re-built on sacred land. On the other hand, palaces are personal residences and administrative seats of rulers who build them in places distant from the palaces of former kings or historical venues of state ceremonies. Indus Valley city-states look different from Mesopotamian city-states. They were ruled differently and seemed to have different rules about how power was exhibited. Their development and collapse were also different from what they were in Mesopotamia.
No state evolved without the potential to produce large and regular surpluses that could be stored for years. Base camps of hunter-gatherers were transformed into relatively long-lasting villages that subsisted on the emerging plenty and eventually on domesticated plants and animals. Village agriculture narrowed the choices of resources and led to population growth. Given the specific biological changes in humans that prevailed towards the end of the Pleistocene, there was a gradual development, both in the term's demographic and social sense, that was irreversible. The growth processes were not characterized by stable systems whose limitations had to be overcome but by the constant change in unstable post-Pleistocene societies.
We have elaborated this growth model by noting that the earliest villages in Mesopotamia persisted as modest villages for thousands of years, while social roles and identities changed significantly. From the environment of village life, the circulation of goods and marital partners led to institutionalized interconnections among unrelated people and the formation of interaction spheres. Codes of communication and symbols of shared beliefs allowed and expressed new aspects of cultural identity among villagers. Specific individuals, nascent elites, began to access the technology of symbol manufacture and the means of communication and communication venues such as feasts and ceremonies. Control over these symbols and esoteric knowledge became a domain of power in these early villages.
The earliest states appeared in the Old and New World approximately four to five thousand years after the first settled villages that depended on agriculture. Agricultural villages were the necessary but not sufficient conditions for the evolution of the earliest states. Towards the end of the Pleistocene period, which was very cold and dry, Upper Paleolithic hunters and gatherers had invented new technologies that allowed them to expand their subsistence strategies and establish campsites. In the cycles of amelioration of the harsh climatic conditions at the beginning of the Holocene in Mesopotamia, following 10,000 BC,' natural resources for people flourished, and bands of people, probably extended families, founded longer-lasting settlements. These settlements subsisted on the extensive stands of grasses and other local resources.
Some of these earliest village sites in the 9000's and 8ooo's BC, like Abu Hureyra 1 (the early occupation) in Syria and Hallan Çemi in Anatolia, were pre-agricultural villages, were by no means small (Abu Hureyra was about 1o hectares in size). At Hallan Çemi, considerable feasting and ceremony occurred - celebrations of residence, as it were. Nemrik, Qermez Dere (both in northern Iraq), and Abu Hureyrâ and Mureybit (both in Syria), in the later 8000's and 7000s, were villages in which plants and animals were domesticated after the sites were founded. Domestication occurred not to relieve hunger but as a process whereby humans increasingly selected, as part of collection, processing, and reseeding activities, certain genetically recessive traits in the grasses, such as hardiness of plant stems and seeds, at the expense of dominant features that allowed stands of grains to reproduce effectively without human intervention. The seeds from recessive phenotype plants were quickly collected, then; stored and subsequently planted; fields had to be weeded to keep out the dominant forms. People also selected smaller and gentler animals, had more wool, or possessed other traits that made them useful to sedentary people, who protected them from wild competitors. Some early villages were impressive features in the landscape. At the site of Göbekli Tepe, megaliths and pillars were erected, some weighing about 50 tons, indicating the labor of many people, more than could have existed in any village. Furthermore, there seem to be no domestic quarters at Göbekli Tepe, and the entire site "served a mainly ritual function" for those in this region, settled people, and mobile ones alike.
Thus, it appears that in the 7000's and early 6000's people founded villages in new niches, both in the natural habitat zone of wild plants and animals and increasingly to the south along the Mesopotamian plain and away from the region that was the scene of the first villages. In these permanent villages, such as Meghalaya, which were not large, an impressive variety of ground stone implements was used for grinding seeds. Storage facilities, both pits and structures, sturdy houses, and defensive structures were also used built.
Although the domestication of plants and animals is defined as a process in which certain naturally occurring recessive traits are increased and reproduced by humans so that these plants and animals are dependent on the activity of people, people also become dependent on domesticants. In settled agricultural villages fewer species were exploited than earlier. The tasks of harvesting plants and tending to animals in villages exerted a "pseudo-pressure" such that labor needs for harvesting, weeding, storage, tending animals, and distribution of surplus products restricted the movement of a certain number of individuals in a village, whereas others were progressively occupied in tasks, such as manufacturing crafts and exchange, that had little to do with the production of that surplus.
Population in early villages grew as lengthening the spacing between births, normal in mobile societies, became less of a concern, and children became a valuable source of labor in agriculture and animal husbandry. More sites were founded, and there was an expansion of villages into new niches. The new villages, however, were probably not only a result of population growth. Rather, the earliest villages were subject to the vagaries of drought and other climatic changes, the onset of disease, which was easily communicated in villages, and crop failures. In sum, there was a change in the amount or proportions of natural risk and the reproduction of a labor force, which people could calculate, and which led to a new strategy of mobility in early agricultural societies. Villagers forced to move took with them domesticated plants and animals, and these could prosper in new zones in which natural competitors were absent. Mobile populations in these zones also began to adopt domesticated products brought to these areas.
Because early villagers, who had become increasingly specialized in the exploitation of local resources, knew a great deal about near and more distant places and the resources in those areas, village life led also to increased exchange with distant villages, although much exchange was probably "down-the-line," from village to village, rather than direct, long-distance travel . Some of the resources gained through this exchange, such as obsidian, were practical for daily life. Others, such as semi-precious stones, symbolized the status of certain individuals who acquired them. Exchange had social ramifications, since it could also create status. Whereas tasks of production and distribution in early villages could be negotiated within the kinship and social system, exchange required individuals to establish ties to people who were not relatives.
The existence of village life also provided opportunities for those who could exploit areas that were marginal for agriculture. Some people (often, presumably, kinsmen of villagers) could convert calories from less fertile land by tending animals and moving them seasonally to better pastures. These specialized herders could only flourish, however, by exchanging animal products for agricultural goods and craft products produced by villagers. Consequently, new divisions of labor arose in villages, in which women occupied with larger numbers of childen and food preparation also produced textiles and craft items, which could be exchanged with other villages and with the pastoral nomads. Partial crania of animals, figurines, wall paintings, and feathers (of raptors, whose bones are found) were employed in dances and ceremonies in early villages, which were also the scenes of social and economic interactions between settled and mobile people.
If these early settlements were scenes of new economic activities and social rules, village life also affected the local environment in unprecedented ways. Both the new socioeconomic behaviors and environmental degradation can be discussed with reference to the early agricultural village in Jordan, `Ain Ghazal, which flourished in the late 7000s-early 6000s. The excavators have investigated the planning of houses, construction of stone walls, roofing material, plastered floors and walls, and, surprisingly, extensive remodeling in the houses. The alterations in these structures produced smaller units, re-routed circulation paths in the houses, and in general resulted in subdivisions of the structures. The excavators were perplexed by the nature of these re-buildings: why should people in a newly settled village expend a great deal of energy and expertise in planning and maintaining houses and then repeatedly re-model them? Why should these re-buildings result in cell-like subdivisions of the original structures?
In historic periods in Mesopotamia, about five thousand years after the abandonment of 'Ain Ghazal, there are plenty of recorded instances when houses were remodeled on the death of the male owner. At this time we know that property was partible and all children inherited sections of paternal (really bilateral) estates. It was common for one of the adult heirs to buy the property of his brothers and sisters and so reassemble the dispersed estate.
It may be possible that such re-modelings of houses in the early village of 'Ain Ghazal were the result of the changing nature of property ownership and inheritance rules. Indeed, it seems logical that, precisely in early sedentary communities, rules of intergenerational transfer of immovable property were developed and significantly affected the nature of the newly settled families themselves. Kent Flannery once argued that social changes were reflected in domestic architecture in the transition from round houses, typical of most early villages, to rectilinear forms, which encompassed extended family units and kept discrete certain activity areas. Although this interpretation now seems excessively mechanistic, the process of social change in early villages might have led to the cell-like forms such as those in 'Ain Ghazal. Indeed, the repeated plasterings that accompanied such subdivisions at 'Ain Ghazal, and which requirid the burning of enormous quantities of trees to make the lime plaster, seems to have led to the deforestation of the region and so the abandonment of the site.
Naturally, processes of social change must be considered in appropriate temporally, spatially, and developmentally specific sequences, and I do not mean to imply that social organization at late-Neolithic (PPNB) 'Ain Ghazal is any way similar to early-second-millennium Babylonia. Nevertheless, the re-modeling of houses at Ain Ghazal may reflect the earliest example of how inheritance practices of subdividing house property are worked out in many cultures, in historic Mesopotamia as well as other places in other times - for example, in Ptolemaic Egypt (Bowman 1986). Unlike domestication, which was part of a post-Pleistocene growth trajectory that was irreversible, sedentism is a social process that is often begun and never quite finished.
Emergent properties of villages dependent on agriculture in northern Mesopotamia led to the formation of new rules of social behavior, the appearance of new rituals, ceremonies, and beliefs, the co-ordination of labor to schedule tasks and promote exchange, the alteration of the natural and cultural landscape, the beginnings of new statuses and social relationships, and expansion into new regions. These changes were largely encompassed within individual villages that were relatively modestly differentiated socially and economically, moderately stable for several thousands of years, and without notable aspects of powerful leadership structures. The emergent properties of the earliest villages, however, also led to the formation of "interaction spheres" in which the identities of villagers were significantly altered, and new social and political relationships emerged.
In the Hassuna, Samarra, and Halaf periods of Mesopotamia, sometimes called the "later Neolithic" (roughly in the 6000’s and 5000’s BC), sites are scarcely larger than those of the earlier Neolithic villages (but see below for possible exceptions). New sites in the Hassuna are in the northern plains of Mesopotamia, but Samarra sites cluster farther south in the central alluvial valley. The Hassuna and Samarra were interaction spheres.
The Hassuna, Samarra, and Halaf cultures were first known as decorated ceramic assemblages. At the type site of Hassuna and other sites as well, the stratigraphic sequence of ceramic types indicates the following stylistic overlaps: Hassuna wares are the earliest, but are partly contemporary with Samarra wares, which are in turn earlier than, but partly contemporary with, Halaf wares. At Yarim Tepe I probably the most important Hassuna site in terms of its architectural elaboration, the characteristic Hassuna ceramics of the early levels are mixed with Samarra wares in the upper ones. The Halaf village of Yarim Tepe II was founded on a small Hassuna village, and the cemetery of Yarim Tepe II was placed on top of the abandoned village of Yarim Tepe I. The architecture of Yarim Tepe I, consisting of both rectangular and circular structures, forms a rough oval with the center of the site unoccupied, which was presumably the scene of dances and ceremonies as well as other communal activities.
Samarra wares are found mainly in sites in central Mesopotamia, the most important of which are Tell es-Sawwan and Choga Mami. At the former there are notably large houses of similar T-shapes, about 160 m2, one apparently in part an infant necropolis with 200 burials beneath its floor, of which 75 percent of those with skeletal material are infant and child burials. At Choga Mami there were irrigation constructions, necessary for agriculture in an area well outside the dry-farming regions of the north.
Joan Oates has written that the Samarra culture was an adaptation to the needs of irrigation agriculture in central Mesopotamia, whereas Hassuna reflects an adaptation to the northern dry-farming zone. However, the decorated pots, which were - among other things - expressions of cultural identity, and which form the basis for these cultural distinctions, were not ecologically adaptive. Rather, people living in each zone interacted more intensively with their neighbors than they did with those living in other zones.
The distribution of Halaf ceramics, which overlap in time with Samarra wares but continue later than Samarran examples, barely reaches the Mesopotamian alluvial plain. Rather, decorated (as opposed to the standard undecorated) Halaf pottery, often described as the finest prehistoric ware in Mesopotamia, is found from Lake Van in the north and perhaps as far as Transcaucasia to the Mediterranean in the west and into Iran on the east. Remarkably, over this wide expanse the pottery shows significant similarity in construction and in designs (although there are also important variations in space and time in designs as well as in the proportions of the pots that were decorated.
At the site of Sabi Abyad in Syria there is a transition from local assemblages to Halaf ; other Halaf sites seem to be new foundations. Two large Halaf sites, Domuztepe and Kazane, in Anatolia, which are currently being investigated, are 2o hectares or more in extent; the amount of the Halaf occupation of these sites is, however, unknown.
One characteristic feature of Halaf sites is the so-called tholoi, circular buildings, which co-exist with rectilinear ones in Halaf sites. In sites like Yarim Tepe I I: and Sabi Abyad, finds in and/or near the circular structures include pots, beads, h - urines, spindle whorls, pestles, loom weights, bone awls, and clay "sling balls." suggests that these circular structures were women's workgroop displacing Hassunans. Certainly there was a northern component to the Halaf, and new settlements were founded by those using Halaf ceramics. However, Halaf assemblages appear in the later stages of some settlements, and knowledge of obsidian and its sources goes back to the earliest villages in West Asia.
To the identities of villagers in Mesopotamia in the Hassuna, Samarra, and Halaf periods as members of family and kin groups were added new identities as participants in regional and/or interregional interaction spheres. In the succeeding Ubaid period of Mesopotamian prehistory, the shape of interaction spheres changes, as does the meaning of interaction in Mesopotamia.
The size of Ubaid sites does not increase notably over those in previous periods, and there are no prominent Ubaid sites that control other, lesser Ubaid sites. The Ubaid, which precedes the period of state formation in Mesopotamia, has been called a "chiefdom", but it does not look anything like, for example, the classic chiefdoms of the American Southeast, and sites in Mississippian chiefdoms are much larger and more complex than any known Ubaid sites. It is in the Ubaid that region-wide belief systems were formalized in Mesopotamia, certain sites became temple centers, and symbols of cultural commonality were both locally restricted within sites and geographically widespread. If the roots of Mesopotamian civilization were formed in the Ubaid period, it is in the emergent properties of the Ubaid, not the gradual step-upward in site sizes and social complexity, that the phase transition to Mesopotamian cities can be explained.
Both in the northern region of Mesopotamia and for the first time in the south, similar ceramic types and, significantly, temple architecture at the major sites of Eridu in the south and Gawra in the north seem to reflect a cultural unity. The Ubaid is found not only in Mesopotamia but also extends to Syria, Anatolia, and Iran, although some "Ubaid" characteristics might be a reflection of technological change - the use of the slow wheel in pottery manufacture. In a number of sites on the eastern Arabian coast, Ubaid ceramics are found, but these were transported by Ubaid traders from southern Mesopotamia. Evidence of pre-Ubaid sites in southern Mesopotamia and the connection of the earliest Ubaid wares to "transitional" forms, such as at Choga Mami ("Choga Mami transitional" wares), shows that the Ubaid was an indigenous development in southern Mesopotamia, nearly as early as the end of Hassuna in the north . The direction of cultural impact during the Ubaid was south to north, since Ubaid 1 ceramics are not found in the north, and the characteristic temple architecture of the Ubaid period appears early at Eridu in the south but only at the end of the Ubaid at Gawra in the north. The cultural unity of the Ubaid in Mesopotamia also included an originally northern component, as domesticated plants (and animals) had been moved from the north to an environmental niche in which they did not naturally occur in the south. The south provided fertile ground and easy access to water, and so people could ultimately produce much larger surpluses than in the north. Furthermore, in the south there was relatively easy access to seasonal pasture lands in the uplands (in the Zagros foothills and upland valleys), which set in motion the interaction between nomads and settled villagers that persists, to a recognizable extent, to this day.
Houses in Ubaid villages and Ubaid villages themselves were only in a few instances larger than those in earlier periods. The temples themselves at Eridu and Gawra look like domestic houses, and belief systems ritualized domestic relations, eventually on a monumental scale. In literate Mesopotamia, the word for temple is the same as the word for house, and a temple is simply the "house of a god." Of course, the gods needed to be fed and clothed, which required that the temples own agricultural lands and herds, and temples needed to have craftsmen to fashion the rich raiment and ornament of the god. Meals were presented to the god, who ate and drank as much as he (or she) wished, after which the left-overs passed to the priests and retainers of the divine house. The temples at Eridu and Gawra were central places of worship (possibly pilgrimage sites) for Ubaid villagers, who donated food and other items for the well-being of the deity and the priests.
The material commonalities of everyday life, as seen in Ubaid ceramics, and the architectural reflections of belief systems, as seen in the temple plans, implied connections between the south and north of Mesopotamia, although there weré distinctive aspects of material culture in each region. It is hard not to think of the Ubaid as the cultural precursor of historic Mesopotamian civilization, in which the northern region of Assyria and the southern one of Babylonia were equally Mesopotamian. They shared the same broad contours of belief, literature, education, and material culture, but also maintained their separate political systems as well as particular customs, divinities, and ceremonies.
The evolution of city-states is a phenomenon of the late 3ooos and early 2000’s BC, and it happened rapidly: at around 4000 BC, the beginning of the Uruk period. Ca. 4000-3100 BC it begins with a change in the nature of decorated ceramics, or more precisely the progressive absence of decorated pottery, -d it ends in history, the first written texts. Although trends in pottery manufacture serve as chronological markers of the change from Ubaid to Uruk (since there is no architecture known from the early Uruk period), they are also witnesses of -massive social change.
Although Mesopotamian writing had precursors in the various forms of sealings and tokens, it was invented, probably in Uruk itself, as a new cmiotic system, a complete transformation of earlier systems of communication -Id record-keeping. The new system, which seems to have been designed by one person (because, according to Piotr Michalowski, how could a committee have done it?) included pictographic signs, abstract depictions, rebus combinations, semantic classifiers, and columnar syntax. It subsequently underwent processes of phonetization and grammatical precision, and syntactic order.
Most of the earliest texts concern commodities and the officials responsible for them. Some of the earliest texts, however, were used in the education of scribes. Such texts include lists of officials and professions, names of cities, and other "encyclopedias" of knowledge.
The proliferation of officials connected with temples and palaces and also the listings of community leaders leads to the impression that in the density of interactions in early cities the state created itself. In the late 3000’s and early 2000’s BC, thousands of people gathered from the countryside into cities. Cities were nodal points for military protection from neighbors and distribution points for agricultural laborers (who as members of temple or palace estates traveled to a patchwork of fields) and for water distribution systems to those fields. Emerging cities were also the locations of important shrines, evolving from pilgrimage sites of earlier periods. In cities, structures of administration were invented to account for workers, to feed dependent laborers, and to simplify the complexities of social life.
The implosive transformations in the division of labor in Mesopotamian cities in the middle and late Uruk periods had explosive repercussions well beyond Mesopotamia. Research along the middle Euphrates in Syria and southern Anatolia and also in Iran has disclosed sites with characteristic Uruk architecture (including the size of bricks), ceramics (especially beveled-rim bowls), seals and sealings, numerical tablets, and decorative arts. Some of these settlements were fortified and seem to have been southern Mesopotamian enclaves in the midst of local cultures.
Guillermo Algaze in 2001 has employed a modified world-systems model in which competitive Uruk city-states established colonies up the Euphrates in order to control important trade routes over which commodities flowed to the comparatively resource-poor cities in the alluvium. This mercantile model was first proposed to account for the Mesopotamian presence on the Iranian plateau at the site of Godin Tepe, where Mesopotamians were considered coresidents with local folk.(1)
The extent of such settlements of the "Uruk expansion" has shorn the complexity of the situation. The site of Hacinebi in southern Anatolia shows that Anatolians were by no means overwhelmed by southern. Mesopotamians, and that Mesopotamians and Anatolians lived peacefully at the site, if in different neighborhoods.
Also called a ‘distance-decay’ model shows Mesopotamians became less dominant the further they were from southern Mesopotamia. Algaze believes that the Mesopotamian settlements in Anatolia may have "budded off" from Syrian colonies. On the basis of stylistic similarits, seal designs, and so on, one can see connections with the city of Susa; that could have been a source of Uruk expansion.
Whereas the world-system model employed by Algaze has been criticized for marginalizing the periphery, denying creative response to a dominant core, and for reducing the clear Mesopotamian presence outside Mesopotamia to that of economic exploitation, the connection of expansionist policies in the social and political life in Uruk city-states in the mid- and late Uruk period seems cogent. The large-scale change in the division of labor that accompanied the formation of temples and temple estates in the south made feasible Mesopotamian expeditionary activities into distant, but scarcely unknown, lands.
The Uruk city-states, however, were hardly problem-solvers (as functionalist neo-evolutionary accounts have read), and the newly restructured countryside provided means for resistance to the rulers and officialdoms in the cities. There were collapses in both Uruk itself and in the far peripheries of the Uruk expansion at the end of the Uruk period. In the distant ends of the Uruk expansion, local populations resumed control of their cities and villages, although the effects of southern Mesopotamian presence as cultural hegemony remained (in the form of Mesopotamian gods and beliefs, literature, and education, which persisted for the next two-and-a-half millenniums). In the south, Mesopotamian city-states like Uruk collapsed and were reformulated on the patterns set in the late fourth millennium. Through vicissitudes of political and social change, Uruk remained a Mesopotamian city until the last days of Mesopotamian civilization.
Newly founded Mesopotamian cities of the late Uruk period and early third millennium BC, through massive structures and monuments, residential quarters and streets, and city walls (best known in Uruk itself and dating to about 2800 BC), presented a sharp differentiation between themselves and their hinterlands. In cities standardizations of administration through writing performed by a scribal class and a uniform numerical system (both of which took centuries to develop in the 2000’s) were the more impressive for their uniformity over city-states that were politically independent, alternately at war, or allied in various confederations. These alliances were built not only for purposes of defense and expansion but because a Mesopotamian belief system connected cities, and offerings and pilgrimages to particularly sacred temples and gods in various cities were stipulated. The memories of the past were not so much created as they were creatively forgotten. In the "Sumerian King List" (composed at the end of the third millennium but referring to earlier history) kingship descended first to Eridu, which was the earliest site of southern Mesopotamian temple construction. Cities were eternal, and so was the ideology that there was only one Mesopotamia, a concept that was hypothetically invented in the Ubaid period, although it was seldom achieved in early Mesopotamian political history. The rules of political behavior, of what kings owed the populace and what people owed the king, and the natural order of officials who served the king, were established in the first cities.
If the ideology of the state was an invention in the late Uruk period, however, it did not dissolve the many other, older forms of power in Mesopotamian society. Leaders of "ethnic groups," whose means of social identification were created or reconfigured in the interactions with many other groups in the new states, were powerful figures in Mesopotamia. Indeed, the number of such groups and the amount of their effective control of land and people did not diminish over time in a Mesopotamia in which political leadership was focused in cities. Such leaders could mobilize followers who lived both in cities and in the countryside, and so had effective means of seizing political power in times of the weakness of urban rulers and their followers. Mesopotamians had many identities, as citizens of cities and members of ethnic groups, of temple communities, and of occupational groups (especially visible in merchant associations). These identities were to a certain extent malleable, as Mesopotamians could privilege one aspect of their identities over others as circumstances dictated.
Finally, in Mesopotamia in the crystallization of city-states in the Uruk period, temples were transformed from modest sites of ritual and ceremony into enormous land-holding units with their own ranks of priests and bureaucrats, craftspeople, and farmers. Some of the clients were votives, that is, poor people, blind people, and handicapped people who were dedicated to service in the temples. Kings enriched temples since they depended on the goodwill of the gods for their rule, and kings performed righteous activities as part of their duties and beliefs. Nevertheless, there was a certain tension throughout Mesopotamian history between on the one hand the temples as estates that were distinct from royal estates, and religious leaders who had much power, and on the other the kings who led ceremonies, required religious legitimacy, rebuilt temples, and often seized the property of temples.
The evolutionary trajectory to Mesopotamian city-states, ideologies, landscapes, and memories, as I have depicted, included periods of important social changes that were hardly reflected in the size and character of village life. Subsequently, cities appeared almost as supernovas, and societies changed utterly. Even these changes, however, did not eliminate power bases of kin-group leaders. Rather, it was the rules of incorporation of social groups, the means by which power could be got, that were altered. As the countryside was rebuilt in the evolution of cities, in a process of urbanization and ruralization, the power of leaders in the countryside increased, and vulnerable cities were their foremost targets. Although some archaeologists and historians seem to have believed the propaganda of the rulers of earliest cities and states that they were all-powerful, it is all too clear that they were not.
1) G. Algaze, Initial Social Complexity in Southwestern Asia: The
Mesopotamian Advantage. 2001, Current Anthropology 42:199-233.