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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cooperation, the Craft Economy, and Metal Technology during the Bronze and Iron Ages in Central Anatolia

  • Author(s): Lehner, Joseph William
  • Advisor(s): Carter, Elizabeth F.
  • et al.

One of the most important transitions in human evolutionary history is the emergence and development of large-scale complex societies. The role of copper and bronze in the context of the emergence of Bronze and Iron Age states in the Near East is poorly understood due to a relative lack of comprehensive analysis of diachronic archaeometallurgical data. Excavations from Boğazköy and Kerkenes Dağ in central Anatolia have recovered one of the largest, diverse, and stratified corpora of copper objects and metal production debris, spanning the period from the Early Bronze Age, ca. 2300 BC, until the Late Iron Age, mid-5th century BC. Analysis of over 1100 objects employing energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF), in field portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF), and select lead isotope analyses using multiple collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS) demonstrate that the rise of political complexity is closely tied to increases in trade and the management of commodity chains. Textual evidence illustrates how the Hittite state in particular managed the mobilization of metal commodities and finished goods as taxes, gifts, and payments for labor. Metal trade is further linked to state finance systems to explain how production and trade are tied to strategies of economic integration and interregional networking in Anatolia and beyond in the Near East and Mediterranean regions.

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