The research on Early Bronze Age (ca 3100-2000 BC) eastern Arabia (encompassing Oman and United Arab Emirates) has since its very beginning been interwoven with the study of the thousands of monumental burials that were built and used during the third millennium BC. Despite our knowledge of early Bronze Age settlements and subsistence activities being increasingly and profoundly expanded - these monumental stone buildings and their content are still the most widespread potential source of information on the past of the region. After evidence of these funerary activities was first uncovered, it started being investigated according to the chronological typology developed by Karen Frifelt (1975a). This comprised Jemdet-Nasr graves (3000 BC), beehive-graves (early third millennium BC, later grouped into Hafit graves with Jemdet-Nasr ones), Umm an-Nar graves (early to late third millennium BC), Wadi Suq graves (ca 2000-1300 BC) and Iron Age graves (ca 1st millennium BC). More recent studies have greatly improved our understanding of the complex funerary practices that can be encountered in this context. Nevertheless, the basic typological subdivision proposed by Frifelt has been maintained as a general reference. Types became broader parameters, stretched in order to encompass the emerging variability of the archaeological record. Today, third millennium BC tombs are commonly divided into Hafit-type and Umm an-Nar-type graves (Cleuziou and Tosi 2007 among others). This subdivision is anyway conventional, as many past and current debates focus on the issue of potentially transitional structural forms (Potts 2012, Williams and Gregoricka 2013, and in this volume). The present work follows this line of enquiry and tries for the first time to produce a tentative phylogenetic tree of eastern Arabian prehistoric monumental tombs dated to the period 3100-2000 BC. Main objectives are: a) to build a systematic description of monumental burials by focussing on variation in the same diagnostic elements over time and space rather than on fixed aggregates of characters (types); b) to experiment with a flexible and theory-laden framework that can benefit from the addition of newly generated data; c) to explicitly link variability in monumental burials to mechanisms of cultural change and transmission; and d) to explore formal models of tomb structural change over time, so that novel hypotheses can be formulated and then tested in following studies, to ultimately address issues of continuity/discontinuity in this particular archaeological record.

Bortolini, E. (in press), A trait-based analysis of structural evolution in prehistoric monumental burials of eastern Arabia, in Williams K. and Gregoricka, L. (eds) ,

BORTOLINI, EUGENIO
In corso di stampa

Abstract

The research on Early Bronze Age (ca 3100-2000 BC) eastern Arabia (encompassing Oman and United Arab Emirates) has since its very beginning been interwoven with the study of the thousands of monumental burials that were built and used during the third millennium BC. Despite our knowledge of early Bronze Age settlements and subsistence activities being increasingly and profoundly expanded - these monumental stone buildings and their content are still the most widespread potential source of information on the past of the region. After evidence of these funerary activities was first uncovered, it started being investigated according to the chronological typology developed by Karen Frifelt (1975a). This comprised Jemdet-Nasr graves (3000 BC), beehive-graves (early third millennium BC, later grouped into Hafit graves with Jemdet-Nasr ones), Umm an-Nar graves (early to late third millennium BC), Wadi Suq graves (ca 2000-1300 BC) and Iron Age graves (ca 1st millennium BC). More recent studies have greatly improved our understanding of the complex funerary practices that can be encountered in this context. Nevertheless, the basic typological subdivision proposed by Frifelt has been maintained as a general reference. Types became broader parameters, stretched in order to encompass the emerging variability of the archaeological record. Today, third millennium BC tombs are commonly divided into Hafit-type and Umm an-Nar-type graves (Cleuziou and Tosi 2007 among others). This subdivision is anyway conventional, as many past and current debates focus on the issue of potentially transitional structural forms (Potts 2012, Williams and Gregoricka 2013, and in this volume). The present work follows this line of enquiry and tries for the first time to produce a tentative phylogenetic tree of eastern Arabian prehistoric monumental tombs dated to the period 3100-2000 BC. Main objectives are: a) to build a systematic description of monumental burials by focussing on variation in the same diagnostic elements over time and space rather than on fixed aggregates of characters (types); b) to experiment with a flexible and theory-laden framework that can benefit from the addition of newly generated data; c) to explicitly link variability in monumental burials to mechanisms of cultural change and transmission; and d) to explore formal models of tomb structural change over time, so that novel hypotheses can be formulated and then tested in following studies, to ultimately address issues of continuity/discontinuity in this particular archaeological record.
Life and Death in Ancient Arabia: Mortuary and Bioarchaeological Perspectives
1
20
Bortolini, Eugenio
File in questo prodotto:
Eventuali allegati, non sono esposti

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/606183
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact