Scienze dell’antichità

Storia archeologia antropologia

14/1 (2007-2008)

UniverSità degli StUdi di roma «la Sapienza»

dipartimento di Scienze Storiche archeologiche e antropologiche dell’antichità

Direttore responsabile gilda Bartoloni Direzione m. Barbanera, B.e. Barich, g. Bartoloni, g.m. Forni, g.l. gregori, m. liverani, p. matthiae, l. michetti, l. nigro, c. panella Segretaria di redazione i. Brancoli verger

UniverSità degli StUdi di roma «la Sapienza»



Roma, 26-29 Aprile 2006

A cura di Gilda Bartoloni e M. Gilda Benedettini


people engage with it. 193-197. a new funerary tradition (the stone-lined cists) appears first in the Upper euphrates valley and later on. at the beginning of the third millennium.» B. after the so-called Uruk expansion. mCGUiRE 1992. moreover. this is because dead people (either their bodies or their memories) are important for the living as much as the past is fundamental for the cultural and political construction of the present2. pp. ar* Università degli Studi di roma «la Sapienza». the construction of these funerary structures for some elite intramural tombs is also the sign that they were being involved in symbolic dynamics managed and codified by new emerging groups which were challenging the former elites by undertaking a process of social re-organisation which was also accompanied by forms of political and cultural reorientation. re-work it. Bender. LAyTon 1989. appropriate and contest it.RAndSboRG 1981. a friend or the chief of a community are generally a meaningful and symbolic social act1. oxford 1993. whether as individual. HUbERT 1994. CHAPmAn . 124. it is generally accepted that the first emergence of the Kura-araks culture should be located in Southern caucasus (georgia. 1 PARKER PEARSon 1999. crossing the taurus mountains. be s/he a family member. Introduction. GoLdSTEin 1981. Landscape-Meaning and Action. it is part of the way in which identities are created and disputed. group or nation-state. pp. THE KURA-ARAKS CULTURE even if the matter is still under broad discussion. 215-218. 2 . the place and the ritual chosen to bury a dead person. the tranSlation oF role and meaningS oF the Stone-lined ciSt BUrial tradition From SoUthern caUcaSUS to the eUphrateS valley «the landscape is never inert. the adoption of a tradition originating from very distant regions (Southern caucasus or transcaucasia) and from a totally different cultural background (Kura-araks) highlights that a set of profound social and cultural changes were taking place in the Syro-anatolian communities. also in northern Syria.GiULio PALUmbi* From collective BUrialS to SymBolS oF power.

SAGonA 2003. Ant. azerbaijan) around the middle of the fourth millennium Bc3. which does not share any continuity or similarities with the late-chalcolithic cultures from Southern caucasus. But while these initial and «formative» stages can be exclusively located in transcaucasia. 1. the Kura-araks material assemblage shows since the beginning a distinctive and original set of traits. – the Kura-araks cultural area and the directions of its expansion. the history of the development of this culture cannot be split up from the growing involvement of the communities of the nearby regions (eastern anatolia and iranian azerbaijan) in this same phenomenon (fig. . showing an original morphological 3 KiGURAdzE . PALUmbi 2003A.142 g. it is a monochrome and red-black burnished production. 1). menia. Kura-araks pottery probably represents one of the most distinctive traits of this culture. palumbi Sc. Fig.

e) Jar from didube (tbilisi State museum). 103-105. 2. . b) Jar from Samshvilde (tbilisi State museum). lugs and handles which stress daily needs of transportation of the ceramic containers (fig. a-e)4. – a) monochrome burnished jar with relief spiral from Keti (archaeological museum of gyumri). 4 PALUmbi 2003A.14. pp. d) red-black burnished bowl from Keti (archaeological museum of gyumri). repertoire which is often characterised by the constant presence of knobs. 2007-2008 From collective burials to symbols of power 143 Fig. 2. c) monochrome burnished bowl from treli (archaeological museum of tbilisi).

Ant. pl. . 3. pl. palumbi Sc. level d. – a) wattle and daub domestic architecture from Kvatskhelebi level c1 (from dzHAvAKHiSHviLi .GLonTi 1962. 5). wattle and daub architecture (from KivKidzE 1972. b) Khizaant gora. Fig. 19).144 g.

a-b). 6. 6. even if it has not yet been proved. PKHAKAdzE 1963. . Tombs and Settlements apparently. compared with these light and mobile forms of occupation (especially in the earliest stages of development of the Kura-araks culture). there are not precise rules in the spatial relationships between tombs and settlements. from the beginnings. pits. every time the tomb had to be re-opened. spindle-whorls. valuable grave-goods such as metal objects are rare (with some rich exception like tomb 2 at Kvatskhelebi) and they are usually represented by double-spiral headed pins and hair spirals (fig. the funerary structures often represent more solid and permanent traces. d) is an unicum9.SAGonA 2003. 2007-2008 From collective burials to symbols of power 145 «light» wooden architecture. a) . the common practice was to select the bones of the last deceased and heaped them up in the corner in order to make space for the new body (fig. bURnEy . c. 4. funerary areas are close to the nearby settlement10. 1963. KiGURAdzE . 56-57.LAnG 1971. b) these different burial customs can be single or collective. but cases of isolated cemeteries (like at Kiketi. flint and bonetools. 4. 10 miRTSKHULAvA 1975. 4. in some cases (Samshvilde and amiranis gora for instance). c) . 6 7 KHAnzAdiAn 1979. a-b). a-b). p. the diadem from Kvatskhelebi (fig. 5. But while skeletons are generally primary burials in the single tombs. pp. SAGonA 2004.earthen pits (fig. all these aspects taken together suggest that these temporary (and often discontinuous) forms of occupation can be the result of a territorial mobility which could have characterised. Grave Goods the inventory of the funerary goods is generally narrow and rather poor. often skeletons are not complete and are not in anatomical connection in the collective ones. e) (more rarely bracelets. Koda and Keti) 5 8 9 KiGURAdzE shaped tombs (fig. 6.Stone-lined cists (fig. apart from the ceramic vessels (which are common and sometimes abundant). 3. they seem to appear all at the same time and sometimes can be hosted in the same cemetery (like at elar or Kiketi)8. it seems likely that the collective tombs have hosted people belonging to the same group or who were linked together by similar ties of kinship (family tombs). isolated fireplaces and portable andirons often characterise the way Kura-araks communities occupied and used their settlements (fig. the life-style of the Kura-araks communities6. metal pendants. which also seems to be aimed at exploiting the full potential of resources available in the region5. 40. in press. this is also in relation to the enlarged territorial occupation (going from the plains and river-valleys to the highland pastures). this is probably because. CHUbiniSHviLi KHoRidzE . Kura-Araks Funerary Traditions the Kura-araks burial traditions can be summarised as follows7: . daggers or spear-heads).PALUmbi in press. GLonTi et al. lime-stone and semiprecious-stone necklaces usually are the average range of objects found in the Kura-araks tombs (fig.

. Ant. b) Stone-lined cist from elar (from KHAnzAdiAn 1979. pkhakadze). fig. c) collective horse-shoe shaped burial from Kiketi (courtesy of g.146 g. 4. – a) collective earthen-pit burial from aradetis orgora (from KHoRidzE .PALUmbi in press). Fig. palumbi Sc. 42).

pl.14. b) collective stone-lined cists from Samshvilde (from miRTSKHULAvA 1975. 2007-2008 From collective burials to symbols of power 147 Fig. pl. 22. 5. 25). . 32). – a) collective stone-lined cists from Keti (from PETRoSiAn 1989.

Ant. c) double-spiral headed pin from the Kvatskhelebi burials (tbilisi State museum).148 g. . d) diadem from the Kvatskhelebi burials (tbilisi State museum). palumbi Sc. lime-stone) from the Kvatskhelebi burials (tbilisi State museum). rock-crystal. e) Silver hair-spirals from the Kvatskhelebi burials (tbilisi State museum). 6. b) Bone spindle-whorls and incised bone-tool from the Kvatskhelebi burials (tbilisi State museum). – a) necklace (carnelian. Fig.

1994. fixed and mobile house-furnishings (such as portable andirons and horse-shoe shaped zoomorphic or anthropomorphic hearts) are all clearly inspired to the Kura-araks traditions and share with them a wide range of similar traits14. EXPAnSion oF THE KURA-ARAKS CULTURE Starting from the end of the fourth millennium it is possible to record a clear and powerful process of expansion of the Kura-araks culture towards eastern anatolia which is witnessed by the growing presence of traits of clear transcaucasian provenance in the cultural substratum of the eastern anatolian communities. 2007-2008 From collective burials to symbols of power 149 are also quite common11. pp. figg. KHoL 1992. p. bAdALjAn et al. figg. p. 1993. 5-8. 138-139. alliances or group affiliation. maps c-d. 14 TURFAn 1959. it is rather the opposite. 14. PETRoSiAn 1989. KözbE 2004. it seems likely that in the Kura-araks culture the separation between the living and the funerary areas is rather sharp and that intramural tombs are not a common practice. pp. it has already been pointed out that they should be contemporary with the other Kura-araks burial customs. a realistic interpretation of this process should take into account the interaction between multiple factors. 5-8. 39-40. pp. 138. RoTHmAn 2003. Kura-araks burial customs do not emphasize any clear status differentiation. building traditions. periodical waves of pastoralists (or small farmers) moving from Southern caucasus to the surrounding regions have often been the traditional explanation for this phenomenon15. 11 12 13 PKHAKAdzE 1963. Focusing now on the collective stone-lined cists. descent or membership. For sure this was the effect of the intensification of the relationships between the southern caucasian and the eastern-anatolian communities and of the absorption of the latter into the Kura-araks sphere of influence. 4. KoSAy ¸ p. Koda and Samshvilde and one c14 dating from the horom cist (3350-3050 1 sigma) confirm that these structures were in use in Southern caucasus in the last quarter of the fourth millennium (if not earlier)13. ÇiLinGiRoG LU 1986. ˘ 15 SAGonA 1984. bAdALjAn et al. KUSHnAREvA 1997. especially in the case of the collective burials.14. that is time-enduring stone boxes hosting in the same place bodies of people related to each other through ties of kinship. where Kura-araks tombs seem to stress the centrality of the family and of horizontal social relations founded on marriages.SAGonA 2003. . the ceramic assemblage from the stone-lined cists of the cemeteries of Kiketi. But what do the Kura-araks burial traditions want to express and what are the basic principles structuring their funerary representation? according to the quantity and quality of the grave goods on display. 389-408. pp. 45-49. this process is clearly visible in many aspects of the material culture of the few excavated settlements of eastern anatolia (Sos höyük and Karaz in the erzurum region and Karagündüz and dilkaya in the van area) where ceramic production. or vertical social stratification12. KiGURAdzE .

2005. pp. and not only did these changes affect the material forms of the daily life. pp. FRAnGiPAnE et al. FRAnGiPAnE . its funerary representation witnesses the cultural complexity of this region at the beginning of the third millennium. their ceremonial and their ritual practices. 19 . pottery and metalwork productions from phase viB2 belong to the «late-reserved Slip horizon». 542-560. FRAnGiPAnE 2001A. Arslantepe VIB1 and VIB2 after the violent destruction of the palace in phase via (somewhere around 3100 Bc). Ant.PALmiERi 1983. the communities of the malatya and elazıg regions (now politically reorganised) were inter˘ acting and negotiating between an eastern area (of mountains and highlands) now part of the Kura-araks world and a southern region (of lowlands and steppes). highlighting the fact that local powers were not only transforming their structural nature. we are dealing with such profound changes. stretched from the altinova plain (elazıg to northern Syria and linked the communities north and south of the taurus ˘) mountains in one single cultural area20. 529-536. The Arslantepe Royal Tomb it is very likely that the construction of the tomb can be dated between phases viB1 and viB2. 7. Faunal data from phase viB1 witness a specialised animal husbandry clearly focused on the ovicaprines (70%) and suggest that the viB1 settlers were local groups of pastoralists who. 20 PALmiERi 1985.150 g. where the «post-Uruk» transition probably was less traumatic than in the north16. but they also had profound consequences on their beliefs. a-b) and producing a hand-made monochrome and red-black pottery of clear Kura-araks influence (fig. c-d)17. FRAnGiPAnE . bARToSiEwiCz 1998. a massive mud-brick wall (which probably protected an acropolis) is surrounded by a small (and probably later) village organised into a set of residential units19. 80-86. palumbi Sc. the picture from the following phase viB2 (2900-2750 Bc) is radically different from the former. were entertaining stable relationships with the Kura-araks communities from eastern anatolia and transcaucasia18. FRAnGiPAnE 1993. at the beginning of the third millennium and for approximately one century. nevertheless reiterated arrivals of newcomers cannot alone account for the deep impact which the Kura-araks model had on the eastern anatolian populations. p. but they were also changing referents according to the needs of the new political and cultural environment. owing to their subsistence activities and to their mobile life-style. 7. 205.PALmiERi 1983. THE UPPER EUPHRATES vALLEy the end of the late-Uruk phenomenon in the Upper euphrates valley was rather abrupt. 16 17 18 PALmiERi 1985. this is a homogenous cultural facies which. that it is impossible not to hypothesise a direct and positive involvement (a will of change) of the anatolian communities in their relationships with the southern caucasian ones. the site of arslantepe became a temporary settlement (phase viB1 3100-2900 Bc) occupied by groups living in wattle and daub structures (fig. in a mature phase of the eBi.

d) red-black burnished jar from arslantepe viB1 (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale).14. 7. . c) monochrome burnished jar from arslantepe viB1 (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale). 2007-2008 From collective burials to symbols of power 151 Fig. b) wattle and daub architecture from phase viB1 at arslantepe (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale). – a) post-holes from phase viB1 at arslantepe (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale).

10. an early Bronze age i dating for these cemeteries is confirmed by the retrieval of both plain-Simple and red-Black Burnished vessels in the tombs (fig. moreover. additionally (and very surprisingly). 2002. which is clearly a prestige and rank burial. palumbi Sc. b. pp. 21 mUnCHAEv 1975. its location on the artificial mound means that after the destruction of the palace and the collapse of the centralised political organisation. f. group and kinship relations. f)22. 67-83. gouges and metal containers) (fig. if on the one hand. rescue excavations carried out in the Karakaya dam brought to light two small stone-cist cemeteries (very similar to the transcaucasian ones) near the village of Suyatag on the left ˘ı. c) recall the same grave goods typical of the rich funerary assemblages of the early caucasian kurgans of the majkop culture (fig. a. spear-heads. plain-Simple and late-reserved Slip vessels are a direct development of the late Uruk cultural heritage (fig. foregrounded the existence of vertical social differences and of hierarchical relationships. CHERnyK 1992. b). 43-53. where the focus is on the horizontal. past is as important as present. 8. 2001. reflects a period where the borders of the malatya plain were highly fluid. on the other hand double spiral headed pins. hair spirals. But unlike the Kura-araks tombs. g). a. PALUmbi 2004. 22 PALUmbi 2003b. the scene and the centre of this funerary representation is a stone-lined cist: a tradition originating from the Kura-araks culture and chosen at arslantepe as the most suitable structure for an elite intramural tomb (fig. 9. the frantic sequence of events which characterise its history at the beginning of the third millennium could be the sign that this was contented between culturally and socially different communities which had chosen different political referents outside the plain. e. in the royal tomb of arslantepe. and the old Uruk-derived traditions dialogue with the new northern and southern caucasian ones in a context which reflects the changing political climate of the period. as a consequence of the political and cultural redefinition of the local polities after the fall of the late-Uruk oriented groups of power and in connection with the growing influence of the Kura-araks pole over the whole region. chisels. a. c. this place was probably still central and meaningful in the memories and geographies of the local people. the rest of the metal artefacts from the tomb (axes. 9. 23 dARGA 1989. what i think it is important to stress is the strong cultural ambiguity expressed by the funerary goods on display21. without going into a detailed description of the rich metal equipment of the lord buried in the tomb and of the complex and dramatic ritual which also involved the sacrifice of four young individuals. the Kura-araks stone cist funerary tradition seems now readapted and encapsulated in the system of representation FRAnGiPAnE et al. if probably the arslantepe royal tomb is one of the earliest cases of stone-lined cists found sofar in the Upper euphrates valley. pp.152 g. b. 23 bank of the euphrates river . the arslantepe royal tomb. 10. 197-255. d. pp. Ant. the Suyatag cemeteries could be the sign that this funerary ˘ı tradition was being progressively adopted in the malatya plain and that the arslantepe royal tomb was not an isolated case. the arslantepe royal tomb. . d). diadems and the red-black burnished vessels are clearly inspired to the contemporary Kura-araks styles and repertoires (fig. the site did not loose its importance. 8. c). e. HAUPTmAnn et al. with its rich display of funerary goods.

f) Silver hair-spiral from the arslantepe royal tomb (t1) (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale).14. g) diadem from the arslantepe royal tomb (S150) (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale). – a) plain-Simple ware jars from the arslantepe royal tomb (t1) (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale). d) Spear-head from the arslantepe royal tomb (t1) (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale). b) red-black burnished ware jarlet from the arslantepe royal tomb (t1) (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale). e) double-spiral headed pin from the arslantepe royal tomb (S150) (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale). 2007-2008 From collective burials to symbols of power 153 Fig. . 8. c) Spear-head from the arslantepe royal tomb (t1) (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale).

pl. f) metal containers from the northern caucasian kurgans (from mUnCHAEv 1994. pl. 56). e) chisels and axes from the northern caucasian kurgans (from mUnCHAEv 1994. Fig. c) the metal containers from the arslantepe royal tomb (t1) (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale). 9. – a) chisels and gouges from the arslantepe royal tomb (t1) (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale). b) axes from the arslantepe royal tomb (t1) (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale). Ant. d) metal tools from the cemetery of Klady-novosvobodnaia (from popova 1963: pl. 54. palumbi Sc. 8).154 g. .

b) Stone-lined cists from the cemetery at Suyatag (from dARGA 1989. c) the arslantepe stone˘ı lined cist (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale). 2007-2008 From collective burials to symbols of power 155 Fig. figg. – a) the arslantepe royal tomb with in situ materials (archivio missione archeologica italiana in anatolia orientale).14. 1-3). . 10.

grave goods are represented by ceramic pots and metal objects (although the quantity of metal items seems to be determined by the number of tombs rather than by the high concentration of these artefacts in one single tomb) which basically belong to the same range of objects found in the arslantepe royal tomb: spear-heads.156 g. of a local group of power which. Hacinebi at hacinebi. burying its chief in a monumental and historical place. two other tombs. Birecik more than 300 burials were excavated in the cemetery of Birecik. b) and jar-burials dated to the early Bronze age ¸ i have been excavated very close (but probably not inside) to the local settlement25. this seems to have been an isolated funerary area along the euphrates river with no specific connection with the settlements located in the surroundings. earthenpits and jar-burials were found one close to the other (fig. c)26. were excavated in the 24 25 26 27 28 29 wooLLEy . such as spear-heads. . after the end of the late-Uruk phase the site of hacinebi (like arslantepe) changed its functions and became a temporary settlement. close to the settlement there is a jar-burial cemetery which is contemporary with these levels29. these tombs were built in the ancient mound. STEin et al. pp. palumbi Sc. 12. but their relationship with the contemporary inhabited area is not clear. grave goods are mainly ceramic vessels and more rarely metal artefacts. SERToK . in the eBi. But while jar-burials continue the local late chalcolithic and late-Uruk traditions. 1997. the stone cists. RoTHmAn 2003. single and collective. represent a totally new phenomenon. chisels and axes (fig. b). pp. most of which were stone-lined cists hosting single or multiple burials (fig. pp. bEHm-bLAnCKE 1984. b)27. pins. different burial traditions coexist: stone-lined cists. 12. what is important to stress is the fact that they could have been contemporary with a level of occupation characterised by light architecture (wooden structures) considered as the dwellings of groups of squatters which occupied the settlement after the abandonment of the latechalcolithic levels (fig. 1997. a)28. But the stone-lined cists did not widespread only in the malatya plain.bARnETT 1952. dated to level 0. 11. a long sequence of eBi levels develops after the conflagration of the late-Uruk buildings. 218-222.ERGEÇ 1999. STEin et al. and few decades later they became a common tradition even south of the taurus mountains. 117-118. 11. 122-124. 105-106. THE EUPHRATES vALLEy SoUTH oF THE TAURUS Carchemis ¸ at carchemis stone-lined cists (fig. was in fact claiming and perhaps acquiring a legitimacy to its use and occupation24. 11. LAnERi 2004. however. Ant. axes and gauges (there is also one small double spiral-headed pin) (fig. pp. Hassek Höyük at hassek höyük. 11. d).

b) carchemis. fig. fig. 85). stone-lined cist (from ¸ wooLLEy .14.ERGEÇ 1999. 11. 9-10).ERGEÇ 1999. figg. 2007-2008 From collective burials to symbols of power 157 Fig. . c) Stone-lined cists from the Birecik cemetery (from SERToK . d) metal grave-goods from the Birecik cemetery (from SERToK .bARnETT 1952. 6). – a) the Upper euphrates valley and the sites mentioned in the text.

fig.158 g. b) Stone-lined cists at hacinebi (from STEin et al. Ant. – a) post-hole architecture from the eBi levels at hacinebi (from STEin et al. 8). d) the metal grave-goods from grab 12 at hassek höyük (from bEHm-bLAnCKE 1984. 11). 12. 7). 1997. fig. fig. 8). Fig. . palumbi Sc. c) grab 12 at hassek höyük (from bEHm-bLAnCKE 1984. fig. 1997.

once again. But despite these changes. level 0 should represent the latest moments of the life of hassek. hosted the body of a man in contracted position (fig. contained ceramic vessels and metal objects: one pin. wiLKinSon 1990. more than others. p. like at arslantepe and hacinebi. hacinebi) in the second half of the fourth millennium. 34 35 94-97. the emerging role played by the specialised sectors of textile production and wool trade33. South of the taurus mountains. URUK And PASToRALiSm it is generally agreed that the impact of the late-Uruk phenomenon over the major centres of the periphery encouraged a further leap towards the social complexity in those «peripheral» centres which were already in a stage of internal structural growth32. FRAnGiPAnE . . pp. which was built with stone blocks. the population of the Syro-anatolian euphrates valley seems to have been more dispersed in a territory inhabited by small villages which were probably interacting on a low level of regional economic integration. grab 12a (or Sammelfund). the end of the late-Uruk phenomenon probably had a profound impact over those centres which. where this transition between the late-Uruk and the «post-Uruk» times was probably smoother and without dramatic cultural breaks. grave goods consist of a number of ceramic vessels and 8 metal objects (two spearheads. pp. both dated to level 0. which was heavily destroyed by later disturbances. that is the end of the eBi. grab 12. after which the site was definitely abandoned. 84-85. SCHwARTz 2001. was probably a consequence of these structural transformations. zEdER 1988. triggering off a phase of political transition. STEin 2001. which could have required a more dispersed occupation of the territory for its more suitable exploitation35. the new eBi settlement pattern records a growth in the number of sites and a general decrease of their dimensions34. 32 ALGAzE 2001.SiRACUSAno 1998. the construction of stone-lined tombs in the settlement coincides with temporary and non stable forms of occupation of the site. 1997. GREEn 1980. 33 FRAnGiPAnE 2001b. 241. 12. mCCoRRiSTon LUPTon 1996. had been involved in these interregional relationships of long-distance trade. one axe. these structural changes also involved aspects related to the organisation of the primary and the secondary production. in both cases their funerary inventory is much richer than in the burials from the external cemetery. d)31. 50-53. a chisel and one dagger30. two axes and a dagger. bEHm-bLAnCKE 1981. a chisel a pin and a mace-head) which are very similar to the same set of artefacts found in the arslantepe royal tomb (as in the case of grab 12a) and seem to belong to a man who (like the arslantepe lord) must have played a prominent role (fig. 12. bEHm-bLAnCKE 1984. FRAn31 30 GiPAnE . pp. which could have been encouraged by the growing demand for secondary products. 330. 2007-2008 From collective burials to symbols of power 159 settlement: grab 12a and grab 12. which is recorded on the euphrates valley (arslantepe. FRAnGiPAnE 2001b. faunal data of the first half of the third millennium show that these communities continued the same specialised pastoral strategies of the iv millennium.SiRACUSAno 1998. p.14. the shift towards the specialised animal husbandry. c). Kurban höyük.

descent and land.PARKER 1995. HonÇA . what is also interesting to observe is that the adoption of the stone-lined cists in the Syroanatolian euphrates valley was simultaneous with the appearance of grave goods. daggers or knives). . but probably mediated through and by the communities of the Upper euphrates (malatya and elazıg however.ALGAzE 1998.3. the relationships between the local communities and the caucasian ones were not direct. palumbi THE PRoCESS Sc. something originating far-away from ˘). despite this mediation. it might be in connection with these principles that the (eBi) stone-lined cists of the euphrates valley were built in order to host collective burials (see Birecik): that is places where individual identity disappears and merges into group membership. But which relationships occurred between the political. the local communities could have undertaken a process of socio-economic reorganisation. HAUPTmAnn 1993. 14. the appeal that the Kura-araks socio-cultural model exerted on the specialised pastoral groups of the malatya plain is well attested in phase viB1 at arslantepe and the same can be said for the almost contemporary «royal tomb». p. extraneous to the traditional burial customs. But in the euphrates valley. 113. tab. chisels and gauges) are now part of new forms of representation of emerging groups who want 36 ALGAzE et al. the euphrates valley. Ant. south of the taurus mountains. Kura-araks-like body ornaments (double spiral headed pins and hair-spirals) and specialised working tools (axes. was progressively leaking south of the taurus mountains. after the disappearance of the centralised and redistributive political organisations linked to the Uruk system. Firstly because the ceramic inventories from the tombs are exactly the same as those in use in the contemporary settlements and secondly because the widespread diffusion of this tradition also in the eBa ii (titris and lidar höyük for instance) suggests a local and long-term adop¸ tion of this funerary custom36. i think it is hard to believe that the stone-lined cists from the Upper and middle euphrates valley were built to host foreigners on the move or people originating from the caucasus. territorial and economic changes taking place in the middle and in the Upper euphrates valley after the end of the late-Uruk phenomenon and the adoption in these same regions of a new burial tradition which (in its beginnings) probably had foreign connotations and was extraneous to the local ones? it has already been suggested that in the Kura-araks communities the collective stonecists could have expressed a sense of affiliation. consanguineity and group identity. CARTER . which (as in the case of the Kura-araks communities) were characterised by a marked territorial mobility. weapons (spear-heads. a shift towards a pastoral economy. 1995. representing some of the basic principles structuring the organisation of societies. their appearance could probably be the symptom of the new (political) centrality acquired by the family organisation and the expression of restored relationships between family.160 g. the consequent growing mobility and the need to affirm and express new identities and legitimise new forms of power (maybe competing with the earlier ones) could have encouraged the adoption of different socio-cultural models and maybe those connected and originating from the caucasian region could have been the most appropriate to the present historical context.

the complex symbolic connection linking tumuli and elite tombs reminds very closely of the same structuring principles which will characterise the later monumental tombs in Jerablus tahtani and in tell Banat38. mounds of history and memories. PARKER PEARSon 1999. as if the leader role was symbolically intertwined with the figure of the carpenter) seem to be the qualities which distinguish the new chiefs in opposition to the older and more traditional powers which. pp. in accordance to the southern mesopotamian influences. 15-25. LyonnET 2000. and because of this the right place to bury the leader of a community or the member of a powerful group. 539-558. 2007-2008 From collective burials to symbols of power 161 to emphasise a more profane connotation of their powers. pp. at arslantepe and hassek höyük. building an elite tomb within or on the top of a settlement could have been a polysemic act. SAGonA 2004. but also a way to build an ancestral place in order to find symbolic and physical connections with the past and legitimise or naturalise present power positions37. PELTEnbURG et al. pp. bRAdLEy 1984. whose past was an important heritage for the present. REzEPKin 2000. 11-22. . 158-164. these transformations could be related to the gradual emergence. seen as a territorial marker to claim rights over the place and the surrounding grazing lands. CHAPmAn 1997. 1995. hosted elite or rank burials. PELTEn- bURG 39 40 et al. KoRyAKovA 2000. pp. 37 REnFREw 1973. A «ToUCH» oF PHEnomEnoLoGy it has been observed that during the transition between the end of the iv and the beginning of the iii millennium. in this historical contingency. strengthen the relationships between descent and territory and shape the group identity. courage and strength (warfare). But maybe they could have been perceived as ancient and meaningful places. in the Upper and middle euphrates valley. by helping to build collective memory40. hacinebi and hassek. KRiSTiAnSEn 1984. looked like. 38 PoRTER 2002. 1996. But these same symbolic codes are also characteristic of the northern caucasian kurgans. Kurgans – that is funerary tumuli – containing the remains of the ancestors proved to materialise kinship. some of which (the early-majkop ones) date back to the end of the iv and the beginning of the iii millennium Bc39.14. intermediation ability (trade of raw materials and metal artefacts) and technical skills (wood carving. after the abandonment or destruction of the previous levels of occupation. how were they perceived by the new occupants and why were these tombs built on them? maybe they were simply considered as ruins belonging to a distant past which did not have any connection with the present. administrative and maybe even peaceful traits. pp. of groups which were increasingly specialised in pastoral activities and leading a mobile life-style. 498-499. 72-100. pp. there is a connection between changes in the use and function of some settlements and the construction of intramural stone-lined cists which. wood clearing or timber working. changes in settlement functions could be related to the new subsistence strategies which also produced a new conception of both the territory and the landscape. could have emphasised more religious. let’s try to imagine how settlements like arslantepe.

pp. palumbi Sc. could have been a reaction to the mesopotamian model focused on the city and founded on bureaucracy. the adoption of traits proposing an alternative social model (the Kura-araks one) which was founded on horizontal social relationships and focused on the land. By stressing the new centrality of the family and of the horizontal social relationships. on the other hand proves that profound changes were occurring in the social and political organisation of the Syro-anatolian communities. . 480-481. 42 bRAdLEy 1998. in the case of the arslantepe tomb. going back to the early iii millennium stone-lined cists in the euphrates valley. 41 For a similar case in Sos höyük see SAGonA 2004. these tombs foregrounded the emergence of kin-groups which. also metal containers) strengthen these analogies. the newly acquired centrality of these funerary structures and of their rituals in the social and political life of the Upper and middle euphrates communities could have been a new context where to channel competition. the act of building an elite stone-cist in an abandoned or a temporarily occupied mound could have been a metaphoric process of translation of meanings which transformed the settlement in a monumental ancestral tomb42. affirm and legitimise new forms of power and naturalise use and acquisition of the land. paradoxically. the similarities observed between the metal artefacts composing the funerary inventories of the caucasian kurgans and those from the euphrates stone-lined cists (axes. by means of new territorial strategies and the manipulation of a new funerary ideology. the decision to build the tomb of a chief on an artificial mound (which was in reality an already-made tumulus)41. chisels. administration and centralised economy. gauges and. the introduction in the middle and Upper euphrates of new funerary traditions (the stone-lined cists) from the Kura-araks world and of new power ideologies from northern caucasus if on the one hand witnesses the powerful impact of the caucasian cultures over the surrounding regions. it is possible that after the collapse of the Uruk system the old and now weak political elites were being challenged by new forms of competing leadership identifying themselves with different symbols of power and proposing an alternative model of social and territorial organisation. p. Ant. that is a prominent and important place which dominated the surrounding landscape. land use and settlement functions in northern Syria and south-eastern anatolia at the beginning of the third millennium could have led to the use of such intramural stone-cists. were acquiring and legitimising stronger power positions established on land appropriation.162 g. could have been the result of the local adaptation of cosmological conceptions and new ideologies of power derived from the caucasian world. control on flows of raw materials and maybe also on a paramount role in the exchange and circulation of prestige goods. SomE ConCLUSionS changes in resources exploitation. 150.

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