This course provides students with training in identification and interpretation of primary archaeological evidence from the ancient Near East (Mesopotamia, the Levant, Anatolia/Turkey, Iran, the Arabian Gulf, and Arabia) from sites of the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age (ca.9500-2000 BC). The primary data taught consist of:
- Published site reports
- Archaeological artefacts from collections held by the Institute of Archaeology and the British Museum's Near Eastern section
- Selected unpublished data from research projects directed by teachers of this course (using unpublished data that the teachers have the right to use).
The aim is to teach students how to analyze primary evidence relating to several major transformations in human history:
- The emergence of sedentary villages
- The emergence of agricultural economies
- The emergence of craft specialization; the development of social inequalities
- The evolution of urban and state societies.
Present evidence suggests that the Near East was the scene of the earliest known occurrences of these phenomena.