Ancient Mesopotamia by Susan PollockAncient Mesopotamia by Susan Pollock

Ancient Mesopotamia

bySusan Pollock

Paperback | June 13, 1999

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This is an in-depth treatment of the antecedents and first flourescence of early state and urban societies in lowland Mesopotamia over nearly three millennia, from approximately 5000 to 2100 BC. The approach is explicitly anthropological, drawing on contemporary theoretical perspectives to enrich our understanding of the ancient Mesopotamian past. It explores the ways people of different genders and classes contributed and responded to political, economic, and ideological changes. The interpretations are based on studies of regional settlement patterns, faunal remains, artifact distributions and activity patterning, iconography, texts and burials.
Title:Ancient MesopotamiaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.98 × 5.98 × 0.63 inPublished:June 13, 1999Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521575680

ISBN - 13:9780521575683

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from All you need to know about Mesopotamian Prehistory Susan Pollock is one of the emerging forces in the study of Mesopotamian prehistory, and this book proves why. While this book is concerned primarily with the archaeological data, the introductory chapter provides a useful survey of past work (to the present), as well as a concern with feminist analysis. The discussion is primarily concerned with economic and social matters, hallmarks of the Anthropological Archaeology of recent decades. She has also joined to this contemprary concerns with ideology, as seen by chapter seven (religion and a marxist notion of political power). The amount of data incorporated belies the books relatively small size - don't be fooled, it is very difficult reading, but well worth the effort that one puts to it! My only criticism, and this is but a minor quibble, would have to be the lack of Pollock's interaction with primary source texts. Granted this book only goes up to 2100 B.C., and she does include smatterings of references to texts, as well as a chapter on the origin of writing, she does not take into the fullest account the importance of the written text for some of her ideas. One prime example would be the oikos, or the house-based economy of the third millennium. The origional idea was proposed by Gelb, and he reconstructed the oikos origionally from texts. Pollock makes no mention of these texts in her discussion. A nice compliment to this book would be Charles Maisel's The Emergence of Civlization (1993), would makes mention of many of the authors and work that old school Near Eastern Archaeologists would be more familiar with. All in all, a great book, thurough and brilliant.
Date published: 2004-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the Best As a summary of current archaeological work done on Mesopotamian prehistory, this is the best there is. While it is truely comprehensive for the time period it covers (5000-2100 B.C.), it does not render other works redundant (like Postgate's for instance). She is absolutely brilliant when she is dealing with the archaeological evidence, but I would have liked her to include many more pieces of textual material. For instance, she only gives summary paragraphs and a short reference to the textual material concerning the oikos economy in the third millenium. This is unfortunate because it was the work of Gelb that created the idea of the oikos based economy in the Near East. He reconstructed this on textual grounds. Her unwillingness to discuss these texts may reside in her anthropological approach (if one prefers to have thier textual material included to a greater extent, look for anything by Charles Maisels). All in all, a fabulous book, and a must for any Mesopotamianist, or Near Eastern Historian/Archaeologist.
Date published: 2004-07-06

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Geographic setting and environment; 3. Settlement patterns; 4. Making a living: tributary economics of the fifth and fourth millennia; 5. A changing way of life: the oikos-based economy of the third millennium; 6. The growth of bureaucracy; 7. Ideology and images of power; 8. Death and the ideology of community.

Editorial Reviews

"...refreshing...." Religious Studies Review