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Vorderasiatische Archäologie

Urban Culture in Northern Syria and Northern Mesopotamia during the 2nd Millennium BC: Settlement Structures and their Social Background

Förderungsbeginn: April 2018

Settlements are structured basically as a response to human needs, with or without a previous plan, and develop continuously along with human life and societies.
In spite of the fact that many 2nd Millennium B.C. settlements in Northern Syria and Upper Mesopotamia have been excavated, and many cuneiform texts which shed light on the everyday life at those sites have been found and published, the gap in connecting these two types of evidences to produce better understanding for the settlements is still widely open.
One of the most important open questions refers to the way of and the concept behind the structuring of settlements. Many settlements look different in the general plan (e.g. Ugarit, Alalakh, Ekalte, etc.), also similarities can be identified within the regions such as the Middle Euphrates, as an example: recent historical research shows that two main governance systems were practiced in Northern Syria and Upper Mesopotamia in the 2nd millennium B.C. In some regions the king played the main role, while others were governed collectively by various institutions such as the city elders side by side with the king. These two systems influenced the peculiar settlements' structure, where no palaces were found in the collectively governed settlements.
By depending on both archaeological and textual evidences and with interdisciplinary approaches I aim to find out: How and behind which concepts were North Syrian and Upper Mesopotamian settlements structured and developed during the 2nd millennium B.C.? What were the common and different features? What was the impact of differences and changes in the social and political situations on the settlement structure? Did it change from the Middle to the Late Bronze age under Mittani and then under the Middle Assyrian rule, and if yes, how?