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Heartlands and Hinterlands: Alternative Trajectories of Early Urbanization in Mesopotamia and the Southern Levant

Steven E. Falconer and Stephen H. Savage
American Antiquity
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 37-58
DOI: 10.2307/282075
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/282075
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Heartlands and Hinterlands: Alternative Trajectories of Early Urbanization in Mesopotamia and the Southern Levant
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Abstract

Comparative rank-size analyses reveal highly variable courses of urbanization in ancient Mesopotamia and the southern Levant during the fourth through early second millennia B.C. While traditional rank-size methods do not consider the effects of archaeological sampling, we propose a revised approach based on Monte Carlo simulation, which incorporates site-recovery rates and demonstrates the advantages of "full-coverage" survey. We highlight the rapid development of urban primacy in southern Mesopotamia's heartland (Adams 1981) and the more static rural integration of the Diyala hinterland (Adams 1965). In contrast, Bronze Age urbanization in the southern Levant describes a mosaic of urban and rural systems following independent trajectories. We call for greater attention to small sites, which often define the shape of rank-size distributions. Our approach illuminates modest cases of urbanization in terms of structure, rather than simply of reduced scale, and avoids a tendency to categorize such cases as derivative.

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