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Title: Making Dilmun seals speak : stylistic elements of Dilmun glyptics and their implications for social and economic life in early Dilmun, c. 2000-1800 BCE
Author: Al-Thani, Haya
ISNI:       0000 0001 3409 2351
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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This study has attempted to explain the emergence and development of the socio-economic complexity detected in Dilmun material culture, particularly its seals, which emerged in the Gulf region c. 2100-1800 BCE. My research aims to present a regional perspective through emphasising the internal dynamic, or endogenous processes establishing Dilmun society. A new perspective is presented as the result of a reassessment of current theories of the relationships between suppliers and consumers in long distance trading networks which suggests important modifications to the models presented by Renfrew and Stein. The complexity of Early Dilmun society is demonstrated by the remains at the Qalaat al-Bahrain period II a-c, by the existence of the central palace and the settlement beside the city wall. There are also the temples at Barbar, Diraz, and Sar settlement and a new settlement was founded on Failaka, all indicators of a process of social complexity (urbanization) taking place in the Dilmun region. Other supporting evidence comes from burials. The corpus of seals is re-analyzed to establish a new and more detailed classification. A particular group of high quality seals can be distinguished which, it is suggested, is evidence for the existence of an elite, or administrative, class in Dilmun society. This proposal is strengthened by an analysis of the original context of the seals which demonstrates a relationship between this group and the relatively rich burials. The appearance of various iconographic themes from neighbouring cultures is discussed: these motifs often combine both prestige and exotic knowledge and appear to have been selected by Dilmun's elite to legitimise their status. This thesis suggests that when the Dilmun entrepot became involved in a network of interregional interaction with many neighbouring cultural centres between end of the 3rd and the early 2nd millennium BC, Dilmun's society witnessed rapid increases in local social complexity. The transformation of foreign symbolic elements would not necessarily carry any implication of economic or political dependency. This justifies the initial formulation of the 'Autonomous entrepot at a distance' model and explains the establishment of developed communities in the Arabian Gulf region at beginning of the 2nd millennium BC.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available