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Title: Contextual analysis of economic and social networks : the circulation of Bronze Age soft-stone artefacts in Bahrain and Cyprus
Author: McGauran, Helen Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 3254
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2014
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Archaeological research has afforded trade and exchange a critical role in the developing socio-economic complexity of the Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. There are, however, a number of problems arising from previous research: fragmentation of research and focus on specific regions, chronologies and artefact types rather than adopting integrative approaches; over-emphasis on elite institutions and top-down assessments of socio-economic organisation; and a lack of integration of scientific materials studies. This research aims to address these problems by developing a cross-regional, diachronic, community-based and multi-disciplinary approach to study the mechanisms of trade. It incorporates portable X-ray Fluorescence (pXRF) analysis into evaluation of models of socio-economic networks, to provide scientific data on the access of particular sectors of communities to particular raw material networks. This research focuses on soft-stone artefacts, as durable, portable and frequently exchanged products in the Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. It examines two key networks and trading hubs: Early Bronze Age (c.2300-l700BC) Bahrain (ancient Dilmun), and Late Bronze Age (c.l700-IOOOBC) Cyprus (ancient Alashiya). Evidence for networks in large- and small-scale communities on both islands is examined - the large centre at Qala'at aI-Bahrain and smaller settlement at Saar, Bahrain, and the larger regional centre of Enkomi and smaller centre of Maroni, Cyprus. These sites have been extensively excavated and published and demonstrate evidence for metalworking, stone-production and trade. This research analyses c.430 artefacts, and conducts detailed contextual analysis of the distribution and chemical characteristics of soft-stone artefacts at the four sites. It demonstrates the utility of pXRF as a tool for the characterisation of soft-stone materials, and the utility of an approach that integrates scientific materials studies with contextual and typological analyses. This research contributes to a picture of the two regions that demonstrates the complexity of intense, interwoven networks of Bronze Age interaction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available