In the Orbit of Empires: Ceramics from Urartu to Rome
Author(s): Susannah Fishman
Imperial borderlands are drawn into the orbit of their powerful neighbors through a combination of economic interests, cultural affiliations, and martial threat. The site of Oğlanqala, Azerbaijan, has long been positioned at the periphery of empires, making it an excellent case study for dynamics of incorporation and resistance. This research uses ceramic petrography to compare patterns of ceramic production and exchange in the Middle Iron Age (MIA, 800-600 B.C.E.) to the Roman Period (100 B.C.E.- 100 C.E.). During the MIA, Oğlanqala lay at the edge of the Urartian Empire. The ceramics from the MIA are primarily local, yet contain a significant proportion of non-local ceramics that indicate wide-spread regional trade. Local and non-local production methods and aesthetics are highly diverse. In contrast, while Oğlanqala was part of Rome's contested periphery at least half of the ceramics were imported from a single site under Roman control. Moreover, both local and non-local ceramics from the Roman period display a narrow, unified stylistic repertoire. The distinct patterns of economic and stylistic incorporation evident at Oğlanqala during two different regimes, first Urartu and later Rome, demonstrates the diversity and specificity of imperial control.
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In the Orbit of Empires: Ceramics from Urartu to Rome. Susannah Fishman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405191)