Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The process of community constitution on the Iranian Plateau during the Proto-Elamite horizon
by Chaharbaghi, Sepideh Saeedi, Ph.D., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2015, 643; 3717914
Abstract (Summary)

In this dissertation I explore the relationship between spatial organization of domestic practices and their role in the process of community constitution at the local and regional levels during an enigmatic time period on the Iranian Plateau called the Proto-Elamite horizon. This horizon spans from the end of the fourth millennium and the beginning of the third millennium BCE (i.e. 3100-2700 B.C.E.) and marks the beginning of a period of widespread social and political administrative complexity on the Iranian Plateau.

For this study, I reviewed the preliminary and published reports of 12 settlements that contain material culture of the Proto-Elamite horizon. I have chosen to investigate the daily practices and patterns of usage of domestic spaces in four of these settlements. I have studied the quality and quantity of macro-remains and artifacts, including architectural features, ceramics and small finds, to infer the types and intensities of daily practices, subsistence patterns and the way indoor and outdoor areas were used in each of these settlements. Then the results are compared in order to examine the similarities and differences among local communities and the possibility of the existence of a larger imagined community in this vast territory during this time period.

In this study, I demonstrate that the perceived uniformity of the Proto-Elamite horizon in different settlements is only superficial. Due to the variations in the types and intensities of daily practices and the pattern of presumed domestic space usage, certainly social practices involved in creating and maintaining the Proto-Elamite communities were far from homogenous. The Proto-Elamite horizon as an imagined community functioned more or less as a network with nodes and links that in some cases bypassed certain geographic areas. The Proto-Elamite phenomenon was constituted of local and imagined communities coexisting as nested and/or cross-cutting entities. Shared living conditions in local communities and frequent interactions among their members gave each local community its own character different from the fluid larger imagined community. Ultimately however, local and imagined Proto-Elamite communities were not fully separate and distinct. The Proto-Elamite network was dynamic and did not penetrate every location into the same cultural mould.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pollock, Susan M.
Commitee: Bernbeck, Reinhard, McGuire, Randall, Robinson, Elizabeth
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Archaeology, Middle Eastern Studies, Near Eastern Studies
Keywords: Archaeology of everyday life, Commuinity, Prehistory of iran, Proto-elamite
Publication Number: 3717914
ISBN: 9781321975598
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