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Different Types of Egalitarian Societies and the Development of Inequality in Early Mesopotamia Author(s): Marcella Frangipane Reviewed work(s):

Source: World Archaeology, Vol. 39, No. 2, The Archaeology of Equality (Jun., 2007), pp. 151176 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: . Accessed: 31/01/2012 22:32
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Different types of egalitarian societies and the development of inequality in early Mesopotamia
Marcella Frangipane

Abstract horizontal Thereis no singleformthatequalitytakes in past societies.Some societies, egalitarian manifest absenceof hierarchy, butin othersocieties (vertical systems) egalitarian privileged systems, statuscoexistswithsubstantial equality.A detailedcomparisonof the Halaf cultureof northern of centraland southern Mesopotamiaand easternAnatolia withthe Samarra and Ubaid cultures settlement economyand burial customs,revealsthe ways the pattern, Mesopotamia,examining in thesetwo contrasting and enableskeyvariablesdetermining the vectors of egalitarianism systems of equalityto be distinguished. natureand distribution

Keywords settlement; houses; social systems; economy;Halaf; Ubaid. Equality;hierarchy

'Equality' and 'inequality': are they useful concepts for classifyingsocieties?

withits opposite of the concept of 'equality',comparedand contrasted The definition the natureand the when to understand in itself a crucial issue is seeking 'inequality', difference between It is obvious that there is a radical of social relations structure systems. These are sufficient of and societies of societies equals categories not,however, unequals. theconsiderable differences of societies, formakingan analytical considering description whichin fact that existbetweenvarious formsand spheresof equalityand inequality, examination of of equals or unequals.A morethorough different reflect typesof societies which these would also helpto explainthedifferent thesedistinctions differing pathsalong have evolved. social systems clear The crucial importanceof the 'equality/inequality' parametersis manifestly thanours, more'simple'and 'closed' societies and defining are used in analysing whenthey
WorldArchaeology Vol. 39(2): 151-176 The Archaeologyof Equality 1470-1375 online 2007 Taylor & Francis ISSN 0043-8243 print/ DOI: 10.1080/00438240701249504

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152 Mareella Frangipane thanis the i.e. less intrinsically connected withothersocial,economicand politicalsystems case with complex contemporary societies which de facto form part of one single 'globalized' world. The enormous complexityof the ways in which contemporary and difficult makesit verycomplicated societies capitalist-type operateand are structured and all the social, economicand political to analyse simultaneously all the components which are the subject of specializeddisciplines. relationsat work withinthe system, in a moderncapitalistsocietythe natureof relationsbetweenits Among otherthings, or inequality ofequality members and theprevalence maynotbe thesamein every sphere, There also variesdepending private). (forexample, publicversus upon theareas concerned is obviouslya basic and remarkableeconomic inequalityin modern societies,which howeverclashes with the ideological need for - and, in some sectors,the substantial and behavioural pursuitof - social equality,achieved throughgeneralizedlifestyles of the capitalist at mass level. Social equalityis itselfalso a real requirement patterns The mostbasic economicsystem, whichdemandsan everbase of 'consumers'. widening is a highly This in of what? to be is asked and thereforQ: question unequal respect equal means of as a basic criterion and the versus complexpicture, inequality simpleequality societiesdoes not the distinctive and dynamics of contemporary features understanding work. The equality versus inequality criteriondoes, conversely,become a meaningful a givensociety, within whenit defines and accountsforall thebasic relations parameter i.e. the relationsthat give the societyformand structure. The potentialoffered by the themback to periodsin can be clearly seenby tracing conceptsof equalityand inequality which theywere historically crucial,that is to say, to when the prevalenceof one or other type of relations characterizedlong and formativestages in the historyof marked to theother societies and in whichtheshift of relations from one of thesesystems the primary, and often irreversible, transition leading to the emergenceof the first hierarchicalsocieties and power structures.Addressing primary processes, which means going backwardsto the formative phases and the 'origins' of the phenomena which are wholly unknown and extremelyremote to us, makes the analysis most of whichare difficult of the phenomena, methodologically (the materialindicators and partial,have to be verycarefully only fragmentary considered).Yet the long time of the essential period involved makes it possible to gain a better understanding and features characteristics of different typesof societyby comparingtheirdistinctive observingthe changes that occurredduringthe transitional processes (Feinman and Neitzel 1984: 78; Feinman 1991: 229-30). A diachronicstudyof the phenomenaalso behind makes it more feasibleto investigate the reasons forchangesand the dynamics the role played by the various social, economic, political and them, highlighting a given systemof or subverting ideological componentsin determining, maintaining relations within a society. Different thecase of earlyMesopotamian societies egalitarian systems: forthereare are not univocal concepts,even in earlysocieties, Equality and inequality different forms of there are of many inequality,which, despite equality, just as

societies 153 Different types of egalitarian systemsof social relationsand economic and political appearances, reveal different the One initialand fundamental of communities. distinction thatI would organizations like to draw here, and which is appropriate for the sixth- and fifth-millennium with which I shall be dealing shortly, is betweentotally Mesopotamian communities egalitariansystems)and basically egalitariansocieties egalitariansocieties{horizontal which are ideologicallyand politicallyrepresented by their chief members(vertical in In former addition to the theabsence of differences between case, egalitarian systems). and access,all themembers of thecommunity distribution wereessentially resource of the tasks were horizontally distributed both withineach same statusand decision-making - religious electedchiefs, and mediators, warriors) group(by sex and age or by function means of flexible between 'related' communitiesin a given territory (by enlarged and periodic communal events, such as sodalities, assemblies,religious institutions feasts,etc.) accordingto a model that Lucy Mair (1962) called 'diffuse ceremonies, Conversely,in the verticalegalitariansystem,substantialequality and government'. of social and kinship wereaccompanied relations which economicself-reliance bya system kind of status to certain members of the a and privileged community gave legitimized trueor presumed, themto represent position, genealogical entitling upon their depending These relationships fit thewell-known 'conical and takeup itsgovernance. thecommunity unlikethe former clan' model (Kirchhoff 1959). In thesesocieties, type,the role of the of householdgroupsplayeda very moreor less extended important part,and membership of the a as whole. These societies thanmembership was moreimportant thefamily group have been often definedas 'rank societies' or 'chiefdoms'(Flannery 1994: 104-5). within thecategory is considerable variation there However, (Earle 1987,1991),I although of which do not show actual that societies any 'system graduatedranking'or a suggest relations and and dailylivesof themembers theeconomic ranksystem political affecting even thoughtheremay be 'some shouldnot be called 'rank societies', of thecommunity witha vertex are not all 1991: Social social of heritable 1). systems (Earle ranking' degree be considered to be a variant of and someofthemshould,in myopinion, ofthesametype, societies. theegalitarian on the Mesopotamian earliest fully agricultural The archaeological information of egalitarian societiesdescribedabove societiesshows thatthe two contrasting systems whichare not modelsof social,economicand politicalstructures are to be seenas different to explain succession.It is, of course,verydifficult and evolutionary in a chronological in rather thanin the werestructured one manner how and whysomekinship relationships case we shallbe to answerin theparticular And thatquestionis evenmoredifficult other. of the second model: an with here to namelythe example provide archaeological dealing of whose of Lower societies Ubaid Mesopotamia, originsand direct (Ubaid 0-2) early to show thatthetypeof We we have no clear knowledge. shall,however, antecedents try below are perfectly forthe societiesconsidered we will be hypothesizing social relations established in theregions ofMesopotamia withthetypeofsubsistence consistent economy thattheyoccupied. I shall now attemptto analyse the Mesopotamian societiesof the sixth and fifth and structural their to take a comprehensive millennia BC,1trying approach to interpret and evolutionary characteristics dynamics.From the data we possess today, while thisanalysisofboththenorthern as are all archaeological data,we can attempt incomplete

154 Marcella Frangipane and southern in Northern societies, represented respectively by theso-calledHalaf culture in the alluvial Mesopotamia and EasternAnatolia and the Samarra and Ubaid cultures plains of Centraland SouthernMesopotamia. In both cases I shall use the conceptsof equalityand inequalityand theirpossible variationsas a usefulanalysistool. It is my of thesetwo and to a certainextentopposite,structuring contention that the differing, to the two modelsI have proposed(thehorizontal referring respectively typesof society, lie at the basis of the far-reaching and the vertical egalitarian egalitarian system), system ofthe demise of the former that led to the cultural (Halaf) and thetransformation changes Late Chalcolithic latter(Ubaid) into the hierarchical, and increasingly differentiated, societiesuntiltheemergence of the great'unequal' Uruk civilization. theHalaf culture Horizontal systems: egalitarian which The groups belongingto the so-called Halaf cultureoccupied a vast territory in and the hillside zones the Taurus not the Jezira area but also comprised only Syro-Iraqi in south-eastern of Eastern Antitaurus foothills mostof themountainous Turkey, regions Anatolia running fromLake Van to theprovince of Karamanmarasand theTigrisbasin almostas faras theBaghdad region(Fig. 1). The wholeof thisvast area was not occupied

1 TheNearEastwith inthetext. themain sites mentioned Thethree Samarra areasofHalaf, Figure and Ubaidcultures areindicated with different shades ofgrey.

societies 155 Different types of egalitarian butwas theobviousresult ofa gradualprocessofexpansion simultaneously bythisculture by the Halaf groups from the original Jezira core outwards in various directions and towards different and the ecological zones, in both the north/north-westerly directions. It was this decisive to into new territories south/south-easterly tendency expand a major distinguishing feature of thesesocieties. thatconstituted The qualityof the archaeological documentation on the lifeof the Halaf communities varies considerably fromone regionto another,whereresearchhas also had different withdiffering and has beenconducted ofintensity. histories Yet sufficient evidence degrees a reconstruction of the way of lifein thesevillages,and the existsto be able to attempt in whichthey and to aim at conducting wereorganized, a structural manner analysisofthe basic featuresof these societies. Here I shall try to follow a number of constant take up again for comparativepurposes,for which I shall subsequently parameters, Ubaid communities. theclose and widelydiffering analysing 1 Small unstable villages Halaf villageswere almostalways small,in some cases verysmall,and theywere often abandoned and subsequently a tradition thatbegan in reoccupiedfollowing temporarily the previousHassuna period.A veryobvious case in point is the site at Yarim Tepe in JebelSinjar. A few isolated examplesof what seem to have been large Halaf villages in south-eastern suchas Domuztepe,in theKahramanmaras Turkey, province (Campbell et al. 1999;Carteret al. 2003), or Kazane, in theUrfaplain (Bernbacket al. 1999),should be more closely examinedafterthe excavationsare completedand the reportsfully have been theresultof size of thesesitessuggests The exceptional theymight published.2 of areas duringa relatively On the of theinhabited theshifting long period occupation.3 behavioursof some Anatolian otherhand, these sitesmightalso indicatethe different fertile located in well-watered communities plains whose productivity may have allowed of concentrations population. larger structures 2 'Scattered' standard dwelling - wereall quite tholoi-like structures in theHalaf villages- thewell-known The dwellings annexes(Fig. 2a). in shape,some simpleand otherswithrectangular and circular similar features in the dimensions and construction of the tholoido not variations The frequent of importance or hierarchy between thehouses,but seemto have been due to differences uses to which they were put in domesticlife were more likelydue to the different (Frangipane 1996; Forest 1996). Some were perhaps used as homes, pure and simple (probably the largest ones), others seem to have been used for specificactivities with wereused forstoragepurposes(structures whileothers (cookingor otheractivities), thicklayersof plasteron the floorsand walls, absent in the othertholoi, probablyto create an insulating surface)4 (Akkermans 1993). There was no regular distribution patternfor these various structures, large or small, in the settledspace, and different features were all mixed together, constructions just as if theywere exhibiting different domestic functionsin each areas for performing architectural different household.

156 Marcella Frangipane 3 Poorlydistinguishable individual dwellings This leads us to the overall organizationof the inhabitedsites,wherethe haphazard of structures in the villagewas combinedwithan intenseuse of the outdoor scattering have been found,as well areas (Fig. 2b). Both minorstructures such as smallreceptacles as rows of low parallel walls that were perhaps used to support raised platforms

2 Dwellings andsettlements oftheHalafculture: a - various oftholoi from Figure types Arpachiyah, and SabiAbyad; b planofYarim V (from 1996: aviTarlasi TepeII, level Breniquet pl. 36); c of Sabi level 3 Akkermans 1993: plan Abyad, (from fig. 3.12).

societies 157 Different types of egalitarian for drying products,and small pits and tracesof daily grounduse, such as fireplaces. to recognize areas belonging to In the Halaf villages it is extremelydifficult individual 'homes' or individual households. In other words, little importanceis and henceto theidentity of individual to architectural domestic attributed recognizability, structures. 4 Communal 'public'buildings - perhapsonlyone werea fewlarger, structures In variousHalaf villagesthere rectangular to extant documentation whichmayindicate thatthey were or twopervillage, according the chiefs for functions as used the 'burnt by 'public' (such large community buildings house' at Arpachiya)(Mallowan and Rose 1935) or forcommunity storagepurposes,as by the large buildingwithseriesof small rooms at Sabi Abyad (Akkermans suggested 1993;Akkermans 1996) (Fig. 2c). redistribution 5 Collective storageand egalitarian The community storage and collectivemanagementof goods was probably another of Halaf society.Even thoughwe have no directevidenceof this in the Halaf feature suggestedby the presence of unequivocal signs of period proper, it is nevertheless that had previouslyoccupied the Jezira in the in the communities collectivestores BC (the Umm Dabaghiyah-TellSotto and Hassuna cultures)with seventhmillennium and subsistence whichthe laterHalaf groupsshareda verysimilarorganization system be or structures that common 1996: stores, might interpreted 51-87). Large (Frangipane halfof the have been found,in thefirst to theirarchitectural as such according features, seventhmillennium BC, at Umm Dabaghiyah and, in the second half of the seventh at Yarim Tepe I and in what is knownas the 'burntvillage' at Sabi Abyad millennium, and and Munchaev 1993a; Akkermans 1996;Akkermans 1974, 1975;Merpert (Kirkbride the hundreds of cretulae5 with latter site At this Duistermaat1996) (Fig. 3). impressions withinthe large storage different seals were foundconcentrated of more than sixty-five in one of the small rooms,in whichtheyhad been piled up and particularly buildings, removal after (Duistermaat1996). This points to the existenceof what was preserved a system,probably intended to control the sophisticatedadministrative already of food stored in common by the community(Akkermans and redistribution of the fact that food was the Duistermaat 1996; Frangipane 2000). Confirmation in some of the small cells in the the from there comes distributed finding by commodity Sabi Abyad store of large quantitiesof charredgrain. The prevailingapplication of sealingsto vesselsand baskets- at least in some cases veryprobablybasketlids on jars (Ferioli and Fiandra 1983; Frangipaneet al. in press: ch. 2) may indicatethe likely conservationof food (either grain or elaborated food), and maybe even other commodities,in containersof various kinds, which were kept for a time in the here is the or arrivedtherewiththe food to be stored.What is important storehouse, where removedand put aside in one of the storerooms, of cretulae of hundreds presence under administrative the transactions 'documents' of as been have performed kept they of numerous of goods. Judging or delivery control, by theimpressions beingwithdrawals

158 Mareella Frangipane

Neolithicat Sabi Abyad (level Figure3 Below: the storebuildingcomplexesof the Early Pottery 6) (fromVerhoevenand Kranendonk, 1996). The different shadingof grey fig.2.7, in Akkermans indicatesthe varying the concentrations of cretulaein the rooms,with darkertone representing fromthe cretulae Above: some iconographic higherquantities. groupsof seal designsrecognized found in these buildings(drawingsselectedfromDuistermaat1996: figs5.3 and 5.4).

societies 159 Different types of egalitarian seals on the cretulaeand the fact that all the clay used at Sabi Abyad was different to operationscarriedout locally by a sourcedlocally,the cretulaemust have referred different members of the number of community.Since these were Neolithic large of the productive societiesat an earlystage of thefull establishment economyand with musthave been evidentsignsof social and economicequality,the redistribution system one of egalitarian redistribution (Frangipane 2000). In other words, the goods the storemusthave been the same goods thatwerelaterremovedand returned entering of the community who wereentitled or at all eventsto the members to their producers, the similarity between the different to them. Furthermore, groups of seal designs, sets (Fig. 3), each of whichwas characterized by veryspecific iconographic comprising thattheseal-holders indicates the of a particular therepetition motif, withdrawing goods of different householdsor clans, each one and representatives musthave been members of this symbol.A system perhaps a kind of identity by a dominantmotif, symbolized kind does not entail accumulation, but was actually intended as a means of redistributing goods in an 'equitable' mannerin situationsin which,for some reason, it became necessaryor advisable to pool staple commoditiesor food surpluses.No in that system, which of the goods was therefore permitted hoardingor appropriation was a trulyredistributive systemin the literal sense of that term,and not with the meaninggiven to it by Polanyi (1957) and his school to describearchaic centralized economies. of the collective clue to what we presumeto have been the continuation One indirect of of food in Halaf societycomes not only fromthe overallarrangement management but also fromthe within theirterritory, and theireconomicorganization the settlements of seals at all the excavatedsitesand in the burials,fromthat of the findings frequency with quite simple seals are Halaf they are mostlygeometric verydistinctive: period. fromeach other,but theyhad not easily distinguishable designs,which are therefore features mostdistinctive (von Wickede verycomplexand variedshapes,whichweretheir in individuals the markers of than More administration, theyseem being 1990) (Fig. 4a). or ethnic individuals of to related to have kinshipbonds, sharingcultural, groups operations.In addition by one or more personsin the withdrawal probablyrepresented withand withouta cord passingthrough to the seals, therewere ovoid-shaped cretulae, we do not know the exact seal them,bearing (Fig. 4b). Unfortunately impressions acts in whichtheywerefound,but theymusthave been linkedto administrative context In document. that some kind of on a transaction of some kind,authenticating typeof Neolithicone in whichwas so similarto the earlyPottery social and economicsystem, it is that and of thesame regions quite likely Hassuna), Umm-Dabaghiyah-Sotto (phases the exercised on control was in which a of administration form openings of any these of the evidence containers operations preserving by sealingthemand temporarily stamped on the clay (the ovoid-shaped (the cretulae)or other formsof certification of goods that had cretulae)had to do with managing the egalitarianredistribution in the was that it is no coincidence It in common. been precisely pooled previously that seals and on collective stores Neolithicsocietieswith northern sealings clay Pottery and chalk were first used, while these were absent from the sixth-millennium Southern Mesopotamian societies based on familiar organization and practising domesticstorage.

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von Wickede1990: Figure4 Halaf administrative objects:a - variousshapes of seals (selectedfrom ns. 200, 190,166, 171,147, 161, 150, 156,164); 6 -an ovoid hanging cretula and theseal appliedon it (fromvon Wickede 1990: ns. 54 and 57).

6 Integrated mixedeconomies and groupcooperation The economicbasis of thesegroupsseemsto have been a combinedagriculture/livestock economyfromtheearliestoccupationsof theUpper Mesopotamiaplains,wherehunting continuedto play an important role, as evidencedfromthe presence,stillin the Halaf of in the of theonagerand thegazelle,both of which period, villagesspecialized hunting werevery commonin thoseregions Umm Qseir,on theKhabour,and Shams-ed-Din, (see on theEuphrates). The case of theearlier siteof Umm Dabaghiyah(Kirkbride 1974,1975) continued thatprobably reflects a modelofregional economicintegration and cooperation to workthroughout thewholeof thesixth millennium. This typeof subsistence economy, aimed at the exploitation of many and diverseresources, musthave been linkedto the mixed conditionsthat were createdwhen the first witha fullyproductive communities economyextensively occupied the Jeziraafterthe so-called 'crisis' of the Pre-Pottery in a BC. They found themselves of the seventhmillennium Neolithic,at the beginning a wealth of varied environment of steppe, alluvial plains and foothills,offering from one ecological zone to another, at a time when an opportunities, differing because of its growth was perhapsin crisisprecisely increasingly expandingagriculture the land, population growth followingthe tightercontrol over food (over-farming culturesof availability).This period coincided with the crisis of the most flourishing have B in and it must Neolithic the Levant and the Taurus certainly Pre-Pottery region,

societies 161 Different types of egalitarian werebeingreorganized. beena timein whichsubsistence The needsof production systems mustalso have been combinedwiththenew whatwas probablya developing agriculture in pastoralism, from transhumance whichby now had becomea needsderiving practices The considerable increase in economic activity. major population size, evidenced fromtheincreasing numberof sites,and the factthatin theseareas the archaeologically rain-fed seems to have curbed the development of practising of agriculture possibility and other means of must have techniques intensifying agriculture irrigation productivity of different of a variety led to an exploitation suchtraditional ones as resources, including hunting. The group specialization,with communities devoted, at least partially,to certain eitherpermanently or seasonally,withinone and the same sociosubsistence activities, musthavemade it necessary to integrate thevariousgroups economicand cultural system, on a regular thedevelopment theterritory forexchanging within basis,fostering products and betweenthe members of the of stable formsof cooperationbetweencommunities If part of a villagepopulationhad to be away fora certainperiod of same community. had to guaranteethat their timefor pastoralismor hunting purposes,the community productswerelooked afterforthemand would be available to themat the agricultural had occurredbetweendifferent communities time.Even if an economicdichotomy right would at all events have had to whichspecializedon a permanent basis, thewholesociety and of commodities. This kind of redistribution the regular exchange guarantee the existence of communal and the and storehouses explains justifies system production food redistribution. of administered practice In thistypeof society cooperation prevailedover competition. and diffuse social cohesion 7 Extended government community had to be coupled The need forclose economiccooperationover an extensive territory number of residential with the need for social cohesion among an increasingly large of which createdby theconstant communities departedto foundnew splitting-offgroups villages (Akkermansand Schwartz 2003: 149-53). This was the usual response to which could not support very population growthin highlyegalitariancommunities, The vast territorial same settlement.6 in the extensive expansionof Halaf culture groups and in all aspectsof the close cultural and millennium sixth the kinship similarity during even the materialculturebetweenthe numerousgroups occupyingthis huge territory, thatwere each other,are theproofof theclose relationships thoselocatedveryfarfrom and thenewlycreatedcommunities, and at communities theoriginal between maintained Such a cohesive the same culturalidentity. all eventsevidenceof theirneed to affirm coordination at variouslevels,by have requiredformsof decision-making might system in breadthand stability flexible accordingto varying enlarged'institutions', establishing the type of decisions to be taken, and creatingoccasions for meeting.Some of the are sodalitiesbetweentribesand ceremonies widespreadformsknown to ethnologists the 'ceremonies' werenot communal rituals In this case in common. displaying performed as in thePre-pottery NeolithicB (cult dominant visual and evocative, symbolism', 'highly stelae, statues,masks) (Verhoeven2002: 8), but theyprobablyconsistedof buildings, and cohesionmechanisms. and othersocial regulation feasts meetings,

162 Marcella Frangipane The most striking evidenceof the close linksbetweenthe Halaf communities is their similarhighlysophisticated whichcirculated mostlywithopen paintedpottery, widely, own right rather thanas containers fortransporting shapes,and henceas objectsin their to it appears to be a 'luxury' its distribution was not restricted goods. Although product, about this environments or categories of people. A greatdeal has been written particular ware and its significance. If it was made by women,thecirculation of Halaf pottery may used have been a signof widespread it have been or may practices (Forest 1996) exogamy is certain: forgift or exchangeat meetings, or other One thing ceremonies joint activities. in whoseproduction must thispottery, skillswereinvested, so muchenergy and technical have been a verypowerful culturalidentity and a sign of membership marker, ranging thenumerous clans or tribalgroups,and linking households, beyondindividual together Halaf communities in a singleculturalsystem 1993: and to a singleorigin(Akkermans 2002: 10). 318-21; Verhoeven 8 Equalityin the funerary ideology The absence of any differences of rank or social statusevidencedfromthe settlements and various aspects of the materialcultureis also reflected in the burialswhich,albeit not frequently in have been found various documented, sites,mostlywithinor on the of the and in one Yarim case settlements, margins Tepe I in JebelSinjar- also in a kind of extramural on the summitof a small tell previously inhabitedin the cemetery Hassuna period, not far fromthe Halaf settlement at Yarim Tepe II (Merpertand Munchaev 1993a, 1993b). It is interesting to note that,whereasthe burials inside the settlements weremostly in theYarim Tepe I cemetery of infants and juveniles, were they almostall of adults,suggesting thatthe dead were treateddifferently accordingto their of treatment seemsnot to have been rigidand age. But at the same timethisdifference because some adultshave also been foundburiedin the settlements without generalized, II distinctive in features. the burials the Yarim any particular Among Tepe settlement, for example,therewere various different typesof burial, rangingfromsimplepits to from a kind of mortuary burialpractices, chamber,and different complexpits forming inhumationto cremationto cranial burials, and in each of these cases there are individualsof different the age groups,mostly juveniles,but also adults. Furthermore, cremations and cranialburialswereconcentrated in one particular site. This part of the withthe presenceof some 'sumptuary area, together separationin the cemetery goods', has been interpreted of highlyby Flanneryas possible evidenceof burialsof 'children rankedfamilies'(1999: 52). It is, however, possible,accordingto all the otherevidence, thatthedifferent ritualsand funerary customsweredue to thefactthatthedeceasedwas a member of a different clan or kinshipgroup,withdifferent but originsand traditions, now all formingpart of the great Halaf cultural family.The separate burials of whichwerefoundin theearlierlevelsof Yarim Tepe II and also at craniums, moreover, Arpachiyah, belongedto a widespreadand ancienttradition datingback to the initial stabilization of sedentary in Pre-pottery communities NeolithicB. Craniumburialshave also been foundin the westernmost regionof the Halaf culturalarea at Domuztepe on the Kahramanmaras plain in Turkey(Campbell et al. 1999). Numerousskullshad been buriedherein a huge pit witha complexritual,perhapsre-exhuming bodies previously

societies 163 Different types of egalitarian bones have been preserved, some showingtracesof buried,of whicha fewdisarticulated What is interesting burning, perhaps due to particularritesor to partial cremations. the similarities withsome ritualpractices in otherHalaf about thisburialpit,apartfrom fact that this was a collective burial with is the a ritual that must have involved burials, or a broad sectionof it, recalling customstypicalof the earliest the whole community, Neolithicsocieties. of wealthand statuscannot be detectedeven in the funerary Remarkabledifferences in Halaf or even absentaltogether, which, burials,are generally limited, fairly offerings different and do not varymuchbetween typesof burialsand rituals(Hijara 1978; Oates foundare ceramicvessels,often painted,beads made 1978). The objectsmostcommonly the latter most frequently stones and stone ornaments, associated with of different flint obsidian sometimes also or bone But there are tools, objects,stonevessels, juveniles. Nowhere have therebeen found any in some cases made of alabaster,and figurines. or speciallinksbetween some kindof funerary of offerings concentrations gifts particular in theHalaf sites.The finding, in one case, recorded and thevariousritualand burialtypes of a seal in two otherburials- one of a stonemace-headat Yarim Tepe and thepresence in the earliestlevelsat Tepe one adult inhumation and at Yarim burial cremation Tepe concerned to a rolethattheindividual Gawra suggest mayhave onlya possiblereference in life. performed of equals, resulting takenas a whole,appearsto have been a society The Halaf society, traditions borneby of different older Jezira the into the from integration region Syro-Iraqi thewesternmost different variouscommunities groupsof the origins (from probablyfrom Sabi Abyad cultureon the Balikh,to the easternmost groups of the Hassuna cultures, Both whichin turntook root in theeven earlierUmm Dabaghiya-TellSotto traditions). in in this wide the and the which communities the region the hillysteppes plain occupied I as have mentioned BC and thelaterHalaf communities, millennium courseoftheseventh of various economybased on the exploitation above, probablypractiseda subsistence This seems the different between on based a groups. resources, cooperation creating system in is at which risk assumed as 'one described thetypeof society to resemble by Flannery are and 1993: the level of the group' (Flannery competition 110). Cooperation but the clear prevalenceof one over the in all societies, thatare both present dynamics their themand determines thatexistwithin thebasic relations otheraffects configuration and structure. anotherfactorof a more political In additionto the need for economicintegration, of the mustalso have playeda decisiverole in theconfiguration character organizational whichJ. D. Forest has quite correctly Halaf societies:the need forthesecommunities, domesticcommunities' as 'segmentary defined (1996), to move around and agricultural and of divideas a result strong probably pressure, increasing demographic continuously of theirsubsistence conditions because of thehealthy economy. to be made at thispoint: the strongly observation I thinkthat thereis an important of an exclusively whether of lack the and structure elites, political/social likely egalitarian of these in the their system status), organizational privileged by type(leaderslegitimized musthave been the reason whyit was impossibleforthemto respondto communities demographicgrowth by creating more complex communitymanagementsystems. Strictly egalitariansocietiesof this kind do not usually develop into more stratified

164 Marcella Frangipane thesociety whichare alwayspowerful societies, because,I think, mechanisms, reproduction in everysocial system, must which necessarily tends to reproduceand preserveitself, maintain totalsocial and economicequalityand thehorizontal distribution of powers,to avoid alteringthe nature of the systemand throwing it into crisis. The horizontal in otherwords,tendsto remainunchanged.The responseit made to egalitarian system, was probably and expansion,in thecase of theHalaf communities, demographic growth serialsegmentation from and the creationof new villages,as evidencedarchaeologically the gradual territorial and expansion of that culture,with the resultthat integration cohesion mechanismsbetween the increasingly numerous and widely spaced communities of these had to strengthen in orderto maintain theunity and identity themselves, groups. Verticalegalitarian theSamarra-Early Ubaid cultures systems: The features of the early communities that occupied the alluvial plains in centraland - theSamarraculture southern The first Mesopotamiaappear to have differed radically. in theBaghdad regionaroundthemid-seventh millennium BC,whiletheHassuna emerged culture was becoming established to thenorth, and the second- theEarlyUbaid culture millennium, (Ubaid 0-2) - appearedin the southtowardstheend of the seventh roughly with the firstmanifestations in the north of the Halaf culture.These contemporary like the northern and livestock communities, societies,also had a mixed agricultural but the in environmental and climatic those conditions economy, regions,as well as the traditional subsistence and habits of the perhaps organization hillyflankZagros whichthesegroupshad probablyoriginated, createda different populationsfrom way of organizing agriculturalproduction (which needed, albeit rudimentary, irrigation in thoseareas) and different and the betweenthe agriculturalist techniques relationships within the in territorial This resulted a different pastoralist components society. on theone hand,stableand sedentary organization: agricultural villageswereestablished, also practising livestock withlarge size animalssuch as cattleand farming, particularly wereprobablypastoralist pigs (Huot 1994: 129), and on theotherthere groupsdedicated to raisingsheepand goats,perhapsseparatefromthe agricultural population,whichare less archaeologically and werehencepresumably moreunstableand nomadic perceptible, (Adams 1981). The social, organizational and politicalstructure of thesecommunities seemsto have fromthecontemporary Halaf groups,so thattheyhave usuallybeen been verydifferent initialappearancein theplain,as rankor stratified societies with seen,almostfromtheir a chiefdom I will organization (Stein 1994; Flannery1999: 51). In thispaper, however, a possibledifferent in their tryto offer readingof the Samarraand Ubaid societies early which I believe have to be considered as a different phases (Ubaid 0-2), simply typeof egalitariansocietysubdividedinto clearly separated units (families)and based on a system of kinship, social and economic relations which allowed, legitimatedand and coordinator of the probablyneeded a paramountunit,actingas the representative but without and Schwartz 2003: group, any graduatedranking (Akkermans 178). There is no doubt that these societieshad withinthem,in embryonic form,the potentialto

societies 165 Different types of egalitarian whichwere,in fact,subsequently in thesesame structures, develophierarchical generated in my opinion,of an actual hierarchy but thereis no indication, within communities, them.I am goingbeyondFlannery's definition of 'rank societies'as beingdifferent from with 'chiefdoms' where and not necessarily chiefdoms have been coinciding (1999: 51), defined as politiescentrally traditionally organizedat a regionallevel withsome degree social ranking and economicstratification of heritable (Earle 1987, 1991: 1). And I am are and symbolically represented guided by a chief, proposing that, although they societies with an essentiallyuniform population are basically to be considered witha vertex'. 'egalitarian in thelittle, Here I shall be analysing thevariousaspectsthatcan be recognized albeit from southern documentation these the archaeological regions, adopting same significant, in Halaf order to the and used for the culture, highlight similarities analytical parameters of theSamarraand earlyUbaid societies The basic characteristics thedifferences. maybe as follows. summarized 1 Stable villages sizes of varying of thecentraland Even in theearlyphases (Samarra and Ubaid 0-2) in thedevelopment been stableand the the to have southern cultures, quite villagesappeared Mesopotamian of the houses and the from the structures population highly sedentaryjudging been seem to have on the basis of of the settlements, characteristics data, which, survey of varioussizes (Adams 1981; Wright1981: 323-5). structures 2 Large standardized dwelling stanThe houses that have been excavated so far were large and architecturally area into threequite distinct, modulesthatdividedup the internal dardized,comprising purposes (Fig. 5a-b). parallel sectors which were obviously used for different The dimensionsof the houses, which were too large for a nuclear family,and the between a largercentralarea whichwas probablya commonarea (often sharpdifference witha hearth)and two side wingsof more or less symmetrical rooms,suggestthat the domestic structureswere used for an extended family. This inferencecan be further supportedby the comparison with the very similar and betterdocumented Ubaid 3-4 houses (Adams and Wright1989: 447-9; Roaf 1989: 138-9). In the villages no to sixth millennia) phases (Samarra and Ubaid 0-2, seventh datingback to theearliest in terms of the others out from as been attested has so far special standing singledwelling or features dimensions (Fig. 5c). architectural 3 The evident dwellings recognizability of theindividual a clearly and defined well distinguished houseswas architecturally Each of theindividual in with all the distinctive domestichouseholdarea comparison and highly recognizable into separatedunits,is confirmed of the settlement, This structure others. by fragmented social unit The most important outside the dwellings. the veryfew traces of activities and not the group as a whole (Flannery seem to have been the family, would therefore

166 Marcella Frangipane 2002: 431), even thoughthe boundaryof thevillageitself was probablyalso veryclearly as in the case of the Samarravillageat Tell es-Sawwan,ringedby a wall and a defined, trench (Breniquet1991) (Fig. 5c).

5 Housesandsettlement oftheSamarra andearly millennium Ubaidcultures Figure BC):a (sixth oneoftheTelles-Sawwan houses from level oftheUbaid0 houseat Tell I; b - thereconstruction Oueili Huot1994:119);c- theTelles-Sawwan 1991: (from 1);thehouse village (from Breniquet fig. with a concentration ofchildren burials itis indicated under with thegrey colour.

societies 167 Different types of egalitarian

168 Marcella Frangipane of largelivestock Croppingwas also coupled withthe rearing (cattleand pigs) and, in thefoothills, in thecoastal areas. Very was also important goats and sheep,whilefishing smallplace was leftto hunting in the lowlands. and the variable The diversity of resourcesfrom the varyingmicro-environments agriculturalpotential of the various plots of land, combined with the assumed must have fosteredcompetition of these communities, family-based kinshipstructure ratherthan cooperation betweenthe groups. Specializationamong different groups in socionot a in an what was vast territory, and internally competitive particularly economic environment, of a centralcoordination probablyencouragedthe emergence authority. 7 Politicalcohesion:villagemembership and reference to an ideological Ireligious authority? Even thoughthese There is no evidenceof any extendedlinks over a wide territory. have workedas an societies a decorated which also produced richly paintedpottery, might it markedout theseculturesin termsof smallergeographical areas in marker, identity withtheHalafiangroups(therewas a clear distinction, forexample,between comparison centraland southern only to a Mesopotamia) and circulatedto verydistantterritories lesserdegree, ofthe as occasional It is that or probably membership exchange gift. possible to its above all in terms of membership of thevillageand belonging groupwas expressed real or symbolic and by reference to some commonreligious 'authorities', ideologyand a commonplace in whichritualswereperformed. 8 Equalityand groupreference to a founder' ideology funerary familyin the The funerary ritual is not evidenced in the early phases of this period in Lower but cemeteries have been discovered at Ur and Eridu datingback to later Mesopotamia, of the Ubaid culture in the fifth millennium developments (Ubaid 4). Burialsof children were nevertheless presentin the Samarra culturevillage at Tell es-Sawwan,while a of the the on Samarra site has providedevidence,also for this earlyculture, cemetery custom of extramuralburials. By combiningthe information we have, albeit not we can makea number scantand geographically scattered, chronologically contemporary, of interesting observations.On the one hand, the burials of infantsat Sawwan were in large quantitiesunder one (Build. 2) of the level I tripartite houses concentrated as and such contained as of (Fig. 5c), funerary objects ideologicalsignificance, offerings 1996: On the alabaster or marble female and vases turquoisebeads, (Forest 49). figurines otherhand, even the most recentcemeteries in the fullUbaid 4 period at Ur and Eridu once again reveala radicalequalityin theway thedead weretreated, and in thefunerary and and Safar 1948: Forest 1983: 111-16;Wright 117-19;Woolley 1955; practices (Lloyd of Pollock 1984: 324-8; Pollock 1999: 199-204). Furnishings almostexclusively consisted potteryvessels,which varied only in numberand were perhaps containersfor food Almostno luxuryor specifically ritualistic offerings. objectswere foundin theseburials beads in children's and women's or otherclay and (occasionally graves,clay figurines stoneobjects).

societies 169 Different types of egalitarian The apparent mismatchbetweenthis funerary ideology and the clear evidence of in Lower Mesopotamia roles in the fifth millennium the emergenceof pre-eminent thattherewas an intentional or ideologicalelimination led Stein(1994) to suggest of the rise to contradictions inside the that were emerging, differences giving society.Stein relianceof Ubaid societyon staple finance:'Chiefly links this traitto a hypothesized to maintain would have dependedon theirability local kin ties' access to ruralsurpluses differentiation' and this would have entailed the need for 'downplayingintra-group (Earle 1989) (Stein 1994: 43). This hypothesisis plausible and very interesting of a staple-based economyin the Ubaid society), agreewiththe suggestion (I especially in my opinion, it may reveal a basic and real equality withinthe but nevertheless, even in the advanced Ubaid period did not yet appear to be really which population, stratified. At the same time,fromthe earliestphases a kind of 'aristocratic' conceptof society social and symbolic role to one particular seemsto have emerged, givinga pre-eminent the whole community, household representing perhaps by virtue of its genealogical The concentration ofburialsofchildren found descent in and the systems. kinship position the initial formation for shows from at Tell es-Sawwan, example, undera dwelling that, one household unit stood as a of these central-southern Mesopotamian communities, and must have been the ideological symbolicbenchmarkfor the whole community, and of the of the deaths),even thoughit did not yet group(births continuity depository was not architecturally or functional (the dwelling pre-eminence displayany politicalor evidenced to notethatthiscustomwas subsequently It is interesting distinct). functionally towardstheend of in thevillageof Tell Abada in theHamrin(Jasim1989) and laterstill, the Ubaid period,in the northof Mesopotamia at Tepe Gawra level XII (Tobler 1950; of the chiefhousehold Forest 1983: 19-110),whenthe social and politicalpre-eminence burialsof infants grouphad by thenbecomequiteclear.For, in bothcases, thenumerous fromall the othersin under one special house, whichwas different were concentrated and the particularobjects found inside (Rothman features termsof size, architectural and theideology thekinship 2002: 75-83) (Fig. 6). The pre-eminent system positionwithin of the group had perhaps by then also been associated with some sort of economic and a politicalrole of community governance. privileges betweenthe sixthmillennium It seems to me that numerouselementsof continuity witha can be identified, Ubaid 3-4 societies millennium and fifth Ubaid-Samarra Early which was initiallyonly wideninggap between the population and a leadership, ideological and kinship-based,and which subsequentlyacquired more social and wealth.It was duringthis politicalroles,leading to an increasedcapacityto centralize witha rising connected was that in established, graduatedranking process, my opinion, in resource differentiations and access, and competition productionsurplus,increasing and often conflicting, the emergenceof new needs for managing these different, households New through delegationsof power emerged probably privileged pressures. to thechief.In otherwords, witha closerkinship of tasksto families and theattribution was able to take in a conical kinshipsystem inherent of social stratification thepotential communities in fullyagriculture-based economiccompetition internal on the increasing I stress environment. And would that it may but unstable in a productive highly living not have been by chance that these kinship relationshipsarose in that particular

170 Marcella Frangipane

6 Settlements ofthelateUbaidphases millennium Figure (fifth BC):a - TellAbada(Ubaid3) (from Jasim 1989: XII (Terminal from Tobler 1950: 2); b TepeGawralevel pl. fig. Ubaid)(re-elaborated areasevidence houses. thepre-eminent VIII). Thehighlighted tripartite

whichI believein its earlystages Ubaid society, ecological and economicenvironment. to have been basically an egalitarian society with a symbolicand representative evolved into a new true rank society,ready to develop later into a fully leadership, stratified system.

societies 171 Different of egalitarian types in thepotential forchangein twotypesof egalitarian societies The differences aroundhouseholdunitswith the productionof The combinationof a systemhinging and differences in the qualityof the lands, from highly productive agriculture surpluses and competition, createdeconomicdiscrepancies and withthe need to whichcertainly variousspecialized unitsand water createdthepotential coordinate management probably in ofa central and central Lower fortheestablishment organization powers Mesopotamia. in whichtheoligarchic households exercised thefunction of social The 'temples', probably became places in which mediation and 'mediation with the divinities',increasingly wereperformed the centralizawas exercised and economicfunctions through authority redistribution. This is wellevidenced from and their ceremonial tionof goods (offerings?) Even at EriduVII-VI and theTepe Gawra XIII northern thetemples temples. thoughthis to particularoccasions (ceremonies),it redistribution may still have been restricted fromthe egalitarian redistribution nevertheless practisedby appears to be verydifferent the Jezira Neolithic societies (Frangipane 2000). In the case of the 'centralized unlikewhat happenedin the collectivestoresat Sabi Abyad, only some redistribution', of the mobilizedgoods were subsequently redistributed, laying the foundationsfor a processof wealthaccumulation. and theconcentration of surplus of complexorganizational The establishment systems to the to expandin responseto demographic made it possibleforthesettlements growth, in BC. the fourth millennium of urbanisation an all-outprocess Despite pointof triggering of numerousnew activitiesand specializationsin these new urban the development fora long timeto continued thecentralization and redistribution environments, practices resourcesstill above all, and one of the most important involve staple commodities which the offered sections of the that thelabour remained publicinstitutions, population was of food to theworkers households.The redistribution thedominant meantessentially in the true of resources rather than a real redistribution a formof investment therefore sense of the term.Land, livestockand labour formedthe basis of the 'wealth' and the Mesopotamian society,as shown fromthe hundredsand inequalitiesin proto-urban in the seats of bowls forredistributing thousandsof mass-produced food, concentrated in the by theLate Uruk centres activity performed power,and thecomplexadministrative of goods to the personnel millennium to manage and controlthe redistribution fourth who workedforthe centralinstitutions (Frangipaneet al. in press).7The sophisticated in thenorth was adoptedby communities used in theegalitarian administrative technology of accumulated societies and appliedto thecontrol thenewhierarchical goods,bothin the of function the between The in the and ceremonial-religious linkage spheres. private public themwas stillverypronouncedin the and the elitesembodying the public institutions and stratified thesenewhierarchical thread thegenetic fourth millennium, linking showing in the Ubaid period. antecedents to their'vertical egalitarian' systems Unlike what occurredin the 'horizontalegalitariansocieties',whichneed to remain ofpotentially based on a system in 'vertical to be efficient, societies', egalitarian unchanged containthe which households and economicrelations systems kinship among competitive forreproducing the system the mechanisms in theirrulesof descent, seeds of differences to the point of can themselvesdrive the gradual widening of these differences, the whole societyinto something radicallynew. The dominantrelations transforming

172 Marcella Frangipane is terribly change frombeing 'equal' to become 'unequal'. And the seed of inequality and victorious, able to absorb because it producesmore dynamicsocieties, destabilizing contradictions and readyforchange. As a resultof the impactof the northward expansionof Ubaid groupson the Halaf thelatter communities whiletheformer communities, succumbed, unequal imposedtheir of in conservative societies radical the local Upper system,introducing changes hierarchical and of the Late Chalcolithic the Mesopotamia preparing development societies. di Scienze Storiche, Dipartimento delVAntichitd, e Archeologiche Anthropologiche Roma 'La Sapienza', di Universitd Via Palestro63, 00185 Roma

Notes 1 CalibratedC14 dates BC are used. 2 The excavationof the Halaf settlement small to an extremely at Kazane is stilllimited area and is mostly unpublished. 3 Only an extensiveexcavation,stratigraphicaliy connectingin detail the individual in different could actuallyprove the absence of trenches, buildingphases recognized in the settled areas duringthe course of the same archaeological phase. shifting 4 A certain of charred quantity grainshas been foundat Sabi Abyad in thearea around thesestructures 1993: 52-66). (Akkermans 5 We have suggested theuse of the Latin termcretula to designate clay sealingsand any kind of sealed administrative tools (Frangipaneet al. in press). 6 This, ratherthan exchangeor transhumant pastoralism(Wengrow1998), was in my opinion the main explanationfor the Halaf 'expansion', also according with the extensive, gradual and capillaryoccupationby this cultureof the EasternAnatolian regions. 7 The exchangeof valuablesoverlong distances the was certainly also intensified during a urbanization of metalshad undergone processin Mesopotamia and the exploitation - Esin clearintensification, theend oftheUbaid period(see Degirmentepe from starting in theUruk period.The economicsectors thatweresubjected 1989) and moreevidently to an increasingly and administrative complex apparatus - and were sophisticated therefore undera realcentralized in theLate Urukperiod, control werestill, however, thoserelatedto theproduction as of thelabour force, of staplesand the management documented the in one site both it more than where exists, evidence, by archaeological in thenorth(JebelAruda, Arslantepe) and in thesouth(Uruk-Warka).I am therefore convinced that the basic sources of wealth for the emergingelites were primary products,whereastrade and productionof valuables (the so-called 'wealthfinance') accompaniedthis process as a consequenceof the increasedpower of the high-rank unitsand theirnew requestsforprestige and craftarticles(Algaze 2001; Frangipane 2001; Frangipaneand Algaze 2001).

societies 173 Different types of egalitarian

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Marcella Frangipane

N. and Clark,J. J. (eds) 1993. Early Stages in theEvolution Civilization: Yoffee, of Mesopotamian SovietExcavationsin Northern of ArizonaPress. Iraq. Tucson, AZ, and London: University

of theNear and Middle Marcella Frangipane is Professor of Prehistory and Proto-history in Italy, East at theUniversity of Rome La Sapienza. She has beenengagedon excavations and and the excavations at and leads Mexico, Egypt Arslantepe-Malatya Zeytinli Turkey, and are the development Bahge Hoyiik, Urfa (Turkey). Her major researchinterests She is the editorof two characterization of complex societiesand early state systems. and of theexcavations, thepublication of thefinalresults series, monographic Arslantepe, Studidi Preistoria Orientale (SPO).