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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Technology and social process : oscillations in Iron Age copper production and power in Southern Jordan

  • Author(s): Ben-Yosef, Erez
  • et al.

Records of technological practice provide an important lens for studying societies and cultures across time and space. This dissertation takes a diachronic view of the role of ancient copper production in the formation and oscillations of power when historical 'state' level societies emerged during the late 2nd - 1st millennium BCE in the southern Levant. The primary study area is Jordan's Faynan district that contains the richest copper ore deposits in the southern Levant and constitutes one of the best preserved records of ancient copper extraction in the world. As demonstrated here, ancient metallurgy played a major role in socio-political processes for south Levantine complex societies during the Iron Age (12th - 6th centuries BCE). The core of this study is the identification of detailed chaînes opératoires of changing Iron Age copper production systems. Based on newly excavated archaeometallurgy material culture, surveys, analyses of large technology-related assemblages, and previously published data, the basic components of the changing production systems are defined, and social meanings are extracted

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