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Cities and the Shaping of Memory in the Ancient Near East

$46.99 (C)

  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107533745

$ 46.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book investigates the founding and building of cities in the ancient Near East. The creation of new cities was imagined as an ideological project or a divine intervention in the political narratives and mythologies of Near Eastern cultures, often masking the complex processes behind the social production of urban space. During the Early Iron Age (ca. 1200–850 BCE), Assyrian and Syro-Hittite rulers developed a highly performative official discourse that revolved around constructing cities, cultivating landscapes, building watercourses, erecting monuments, and initiating public festivals. This volume combs through archaeological, epigraphic, visual, architectural, and environmental evidence to tell the story of a region from the perspective of its spatial practices, landscape history, and architectural technologies. It argues that the cultural processes of the making of urban spaces shape collective memory and identity as well as sites of political performance and state spectacle.

    • Interdisciplinary, engaging with archaeological, textual, architectural, and visual evidence - the book's sources are from excavated remains, monumental inscriptions, landscape archaeology (regional surveys), art historical analysis, and environmental research
    • The discussion seamlessly moves from broad regional overviews of landscape histories to specific examples of foundations and urban context, to specific architectural technologies that operated as royal insignia and shaped urban spaces
    • This book is a product of the spatial turn in the humanities and social sciences: it pays close attention to hotly debated questions of space, place, and landscape, while relating spatial processes to questions of social memory and identity, political discourse, and desire
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Well written and illustrated, this work is must-reading for students and scholars of the ancient Near East as well as urbanization in general. Summing up: highly recommended."

    "Cities and the Shaping of Memory in the Ancient Near East is a much-needed and welcome project, investigating through the lens of archaeology the built environment of this cosmopolitan and still relatively poorly understood area together with that of northern Iraq."
    Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

    "… the book is a well researched and undeniably analytical, making use of a variety of sources and case studies from a substantial geographic area … the book persuasively supports its central argument: that focusing on architectural spaces rather than architectural plans, sections and abstract representations is a far more effective means for demonstrating the dynamic relations of constructed spaces."
    Georgia Marina Andreou, Archaeological Reviews from Cambridge

    "… this book offers some useful summaries of major archaeological sites, asks significant social questions, and advances new ideas in interpreting ancient Near Eastern cities."
    The Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research

    "The author’s focus on bringing ancient cities to life is commendable, and he has in my view succeeded in making some interesting and new points on a subject that has arguably been a focus of research for 175 years."
    American Journal of Archaeology

    "This book takes a fresh approach to some of the issues addressed, deeply embedded in theoretical considerations from recent general archaeological and anthropological literature."
    Landscape History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107533745
    • length: 372 pages
    • dimensions: 259 x 178 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.93kg
    • contains: 51 b/w illus. 9 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Landscapes of change: cities, politics, and memory
    3. The land of Aššur: the making of Assyrian landscapes
    4. City and the festival: monuments, urban space, and spatial narratives
    5. Upright stones: architectural technologies and the poetics of urban space
    6. Cities, place, and desire.

  • Author

    Ömür Harmanşah, University of Illinois, Chicago
    Ömür Harmanşah is Associate Professor of ​Art History at ​the University​ of Illinois, Chicago​. ​His research focuses on the history of architecture and cities in the ancient Near East, as well as questions of place, landscape and memory.​ He has been directing​ the Yalburt Yaylasi Archaeological Landscape Project, a regional survey in west-​​central Turkey ​since 2010​. In the past he has worked on archaeological projects in Turkey and Greece, including Gordion, Ayanis, Kerkenes Dağ and Isthmia. His articles have been published in journals such as the Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Archaeological Dialogues and the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.

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