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Understanding Sociopolitical Change through Ceramic Morphological Diversity in the Ancient Nubian Hinterlands

Author(s): Jessika Akmenkalns

Year: 2016

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Summary

Ceramics have played a central role in archaeological studies of ancient Nubia. They have been used to refine the regional chronology and to enhance our understanding of social, political, and economic processes. While many such studies have focused primarily on large, centralized polities, fewer attempts have been made to investigate how hinterland communities engaged with changing life ways throughout the region’s long cultural history. This paper examines a collection of ceramic samples taken from sites in the Upper Nubian hinterland during the UCLA Dongola Reach Expedition conducted in 1997 and 1998 and investigates how ceramic repertoires changed alongside shifting sociopolitical and environmental conditions from the Neolithic through the Islamic period. I employ diversity analysis to examine diachronic changes in ceramic morphological diversity across the sites sampled. The evidence suggests a trend of group conformity, cooperation, and inclusivity across neighboring communities in the Neolithic, Pre-Kerma, and Kerma periods, which I take to indicate the presence of a shared regional habitus. This was followed by heightened exclusivity and variation concomitant with the changing social organization that characterized the New Kingdom through the Islamic period, which I argue indicates the creation of unique, highly localized community identities.


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Understanding Sociopolitical Change through Ceramic Morphological Diversity in the Ancient Nubian Hinterlands. Jessika Akmenkalns. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404870)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
AFRICA


Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America