Exploring neighbourhood dynamics: the case of Old Babylonian (2nd millennium BC) ceramics from Chagar Bazar, Syria

Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group
Melissa Sharp
The Richard King Room, Darwin College
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 14:10 to 15:00

Ancient Mesopotamia, situated in modern day Iraq, is known for its large tell sites, where archaeologists have excavated palaces, temples and tombs. These tells not only contain the remains of the rich, but also reveal to us the daily lives of normal people. The site of Chagar Bazar, in north-eastern Syria, has been recently excavated, uncovering houses from the mid-2nd millennium BC. I have analysed the ceramics from two different neighbourhoods to reveal the level of household variation across the site. By assessing how individual households differed, it is possible to talk about much broader topics, such as ethnicity, politics and even climate change. Studying how normal people lived in the past, from what they ate to how they disposed of rubbish, helps us explain history not just from the perspective of kings and priests, but from the perspective of people like you and me.

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