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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16715

Title: Understanding Community: A Comparison of Three Late Neolithic Pottery Assemblages from Wadi Ziqlab, Jordan
Authors: Gibbs, Kevin Timothy
Advisor: Banning, E. B.
Department: Anthropology
Keywords: archaeology
Late Neolithic
Near East
pottery
community
technology
Wadi Ziqlab
Jordan
Issue Date: 19-Jan-2009
Abstract: This study presents the results of an analysis of three Late Neolithic pottery assemblages from Wadi Ziqlab, northern Jordan. These sites were occupied during the 6th millennium BC (calibrated) and are therefore contemporary with sites in other parts of the southern Levant that are attributed to the Wadi Rabah culture. The assemblages are analyzed from a stylistic perspective, broadly defined, which includes an examination of technological style in addition to a more traditional examination of vessel form and surface treatment. Different stages in the pottery production sequence are investigated using a range of analytical techniques, including thin-section petrography and xeroradiography. While there are some similarities between the assemblages, there are also some noticeable differences. The results of the pottery analysis are used to explore the nature of community in the context of the Late Neolithic. A critique of more traditional archaeological approaches to prehistoric communities leads to a re-conceptualization of community that combines interactional and ideational perspectives. Similarities in pottery among the sites, especially technological similarities, suggest that pottery producers may have comprised a dispersed community of practice. At the same time, pottery may have also been a symbolic marker of community boundaries. Differences in pottery among the sites, including surface treatment, may reflect the flexibility of these boundaries as different parts of the dispersed community negotiated their place in it. The presence of variation among contemporary pottery assemblages in a localized area suggests that social organization during the 6th millennium may have been more complex than is normally assumed for the Late Neolithic in the southern Levant. A dispersed community, with its members spread throughout the wadi, would require a sufficiently complex and flexible system of relationships to maintain it. Failing to acknowledge this has contributed to the difficulties archaeologists have encountered when trying to understand the culture-history of the 6th millennium BC in and east of the Jordan Valley.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16715
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Anthropology - Doctoral theses

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