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Antiquity Volume 55 issue 213 1981 [doi 10.1017%2Fs0003598x0004374x] Oates, Joan -- C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky & J. A. Sabloff- Ancient civilizations- the Near East and Mesoamerica. Menlo Park- Benjamin

and pleasing but unless one is wary, concealing the
fact they may be derived from the originals or from
old illustrations or photographs, allowable in a
secondary but potentially misleading in a primary
source. The author encountered difficulties in access
to some material, not least as a result of the disastrous Florence floods, and as happens to us all has
been overtaken by events, such as the publications of
Littauer and Crouwel on cross-bar wheels (1977)
and on the ancient Near Eastern evidence as a whole
(I 979), and by Cornaggia Castiglioni and Calegari on
the Italian wooden disc-wheels (1978).
Woytowitsch begins with such wheels, now only
surviving for study as plaster casts, and goes on to
the antler cheek-pieces of ‘soft-mouthed’ bits from
North Italy, probably contemporary, not so much
with the Hungarian earlier bronze age examples he
cites, as with the Swiss Urnfield series which he does
not consider. The Italian metal bits have of course
been catalogued by von Hase in an earlier (1969)
volume of PBF. The core of the evidence is formed
by the iron and bronze elements of chariots which,
it is generally agreed, must represent an aspect of the
strong orientalizing movements and imports in the
Mediterranean beginning in the eighth and seventh
centuries BC, side-by-side with the first impact of
western Greek trade and subsequent colonization.
Here derive the garish decorations of the San
Mariano and Monteleone di Spoleto chariots of the
sixth century, and to an oriental origin too must be
assigned the iron types with close set stud-nails in
the seventh, and wider spaced fastening-nails in the
sixth century BC, a technological development hardly
unconnected with the parallel sequence in Hallstatt
C and D north of the Alps. Incidentally, the north
Italian wagon-burials such as Sesto Calende and Ca’
Morta, in the Golasecca area, seem to show closer
links with transalpine than cisalpine traditions.
The catalogue and illustrations include a large
number of vehicle representations rather oddly
assembled. Some (together with models) are welcome
representations of indigenous versions of carts with
cross-bar wheels, or racing chariots, but it seems
misleading to juxtapose these with chariot scenes
from the Egyptianizing Syro-Phoenician imported
metalwork of the seventh century, and still more
from Attic black-figure vases (including the famous
‘FranFois Vase’ by Ergotimos and Kleitias) from
Italian sites. This is like implying that the chariot
frieze on the Vix crater illustrates contemporary
Celtic vehicle technology. The distinction in
Etruscan Italy of the racing chariot from the parade
chariot is not made clear, but as Bronson pointed
out in 1965 and others have since confirmed, the
sport and its specialized light vehicles were of
seventh-century Greek origin, and the adoption of
racing scenes was due to the popularity of Attic
black-figure prototypes in the sixth-thence finding
its way to the ‘Situla Art’ at the head of the Adriatic.
C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky & J. A. Sabloff
Ancient civilizations: the Near East and
Mesoamerica. Menlo Park: Benjamin/
Cummings Publishing Co., Inc., 1979. 350 pp.,
136 illustrations, 11 maps. $10.95.
P. R. S. Moorey (ed.): The origins of civilization (Wolfson College Lectures). Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1979. 166 pp., 42 pls., 52 figs.
Charles L. Redman: The rise of civilization.
From early farmers to urban society in the
Ancient Near East. San Francisco: W. H.
Freeman & Co, 1978.368pp., 183 figs. A6.95.
Some years ago Kent Flannery expressed a wish to
‘declare the origins of agriculture a bandwagon’,
remarking that he had ‘already travelled many
thousands of miles on that particular wagon, and
yearned to step down and tackle other problems.’
The Origins of Civilization has surely become
another such bandwagon, and indeed one on which
this reviewer has also been a passenger. One sometimes wonders who is driving.
The three books reviewed here are only the most
recent in a spate of publications devoted to a subject
which has proved a major challenge to processual
archaeology and must inevitably attract those concerned with the growth of modern society. However, it must be questioned whether there is a real
market for the growing number of books repeating
essentially the same-and far too often old-hatinformation. Archaeology in the Near East, for
example, and especially the prehistory, has itself
proved to be a bandwagon in recent years, and there
is much that is new and as yet unpublished. Indeed
it is becoming increasingly difficult for any single
scholar to keep abreast of recent thinking in the
various and complex areas of archaeology relevant to
analyses of the types attempted here. The volumes
by Redman and by Lamberg-Karlovsky and Sabloff
have been written as introductory textbooks. Both
have their virtues, are eminently readable and will
undoubtedly reach a wide student market. It is
unfortunate, perhaps inevitable, that in some
respects both rely deliberately on ‘readily available’
and thus out-of-date empirical data. Unfortunately
‘key sites’, often no more than those first excavated,
all too frequently prove to be atypical of what they
are deemed to represent.
The volume edited by Roger Moorey, comprising
seven of eight Wolfson Lectures delivered in Oxford
in 1978,is certainly the most interesting of the three,
despite (? or perhaps because of) a deliberate
decision to eschew comment on current hypotheses
about the causes of civilization. ‘It was hoped that
listeners might assess for themselves as the course
proceeded, what it was that “civilized” some
societies and not others, and why the process varied
so markedly.’ These papers have the advantage of
being written by a number of eminent specialists,
and the disadvantage of restriction to lecture-length
summaries. The lectures themselves fall into three
groups, the first two devoted to the emergence of
man and his development as hunter, farmer and
fisher. Of these two lectures one has been printed
elsewhere and is not included in the volume. The
other, by Grahame Clark, provides a comprehensive
and wide-ranging background to the succeeding
area-specific papers: James Mellaart on the Near
East, Stuart Piggott on Europe, William Watson on
China and Warwick Bray on Mesoamerica. It is no
coincidence that each of these four contributors has
been concerned specificallywith the growth of urban
settlements. But only Piggott and Bray provide any
theoretical commentary, and the equation ‘civilized’
= ‘urban’ is nowhere explored. The contributions
by Piggott and Watson are especially welcome in
providing up-to-date syntheses of material not
easily available either to the general reader or the
beginning student. Piggott deliberately omits the
better-known Aegean and its palace-oriented
civilizations, in order to examine the development of
agricultural communities and towns in east and eastcentral Europe, and then, as a separate phenomenon,
the growth of towns in transalpine Europe in the
last few centuries BC, while Watson provides a
fascinating commentary on the city in ancient
China. Warwick Bray’s excellent summary of the
Mesoamerican evidence is both comprehensive and
readable, though one cannot help but wonder
whether the discontinuity he seeks (and fmds), the
‘suddenjump to a new level of complexky’, is more
a factor of archaeological classification than reality.
Mellaart’s reconstructions of the plans of the famous
Eanna precinct at Warka, long denied us by the
excavators, are much to be welcomed, despite some
inaccuracy. The volume concludes with a stimulating, if in parts contentious, discourse by Nancy
Sandars on the role of religion in some early
societies. Her healthy scepticism is only occasionally
marred by the repetition of such hackneyed phrases
as the ‘terrible Assyrian Empire’ and the ‘neolithic
mother-goddess’. The last paper in the volume is a
concise and well-illustrated review by David
Hawkins of the current state of knowledge about the
origin and dissemination of writing in the Near
East, including Egypt and the Aegean. It is also one
of the most valuable, because the topic is not often
discussed, and even more rarely presented with such
Redman’s Rise of civilization deals solely with the
Ancient Near East, including a brief section on
Egypt. His approach is systemic and ecological. The
volume is organized in developmental stages, for
which a few key sites are selected and described in
detail as case studies. ‘The intention is to combine
broad coverage with in-depth treatment of existing
empirical evidence and current hypotheses on
important irinovations.’ Redman offers a more substantial coverage of the Near East than LambergKarlovsky and Sabloff; his chapters on theory and
early agriculture are particularly successful. Indeed
this book provides the most balanced general discussion of the origins of agriculture now in print,
Especially useful is the incorporation of extensive
unpublished information on the important sites of
Cayonu, where the author himself worked, and
Jarmo. The later chapters, dealing with the origins
of urban society, are less satisfactory and far from
up-to-date; here an obvious reliance on secondary
sources has resulted in a number of contradictory
statements, for example with reference to the early
roles of Kish and Uruk, and of the ‘assembly’
attested in the earliest texts and of a hypothetical
‘ruling elite.’ Nonetheless, the book as a whole is
balanced and sensible. Ancient civilizations is the
least satisfactory of the three volumes, but has for
the student the added advantage of including
Mesoamerica and the Indus Civilization; moreover,
the first section on historiography provides a very
useful introduction to man’schanging views of his
past. Unlike Redman’s approach, which is essentially systemic, the principal focus of this book is
‘culture historical’; the final chapter offers a brief
introduction lo recent theoretical thinlung, including
some welcome reservations about the application of
systems models. The bibliography is (deliberately)
less extensive than Redman’s, though even the latter
offers few references after about 1974.
Since both volumes will undoubtedly serve for
some time as basic texts, it may be useful here to
note briefly :i few of the more persistent factual
errors. Many of these are widespread in the literature, and one can only hope that current preoccupation with hypothesis-testing will lead in future to reexamination of basic data rather than repetition of
traditional interpretations. For example, ‘professional armies’ were never characteristic of ancient
Mesopotamian society, and the degree to which
warfare played a ‘significant role’ in the rise of
Sumerian civilization, if any, remains to be established. Nor is the specific association of writing with
the temple as opposed to a secular administration
anywhere attested (the Uruk IV tablets have no
informative context). The sections on geomorphology in both volumes are inadequate and often
inaccurate. This is especially unfortunate, since one
of the most difficult impressions to convey to the
beginning student is what the landscape actually
looks like and, as any archaeologist knows, an understanding of environmental potential is crucial to
comprehension of its exploitation. The authors of
both volumes labour under the misapprehensions
that northern Mesopotamia (the Assyria of historic
times) is ‘hilly’ country, and that its inhabitants were
in some way ‘backward’ in not applying the irrigation techniques which contributed so much to the
early economic superiority of Sumer (not Sumeria !
pace L-K & S, 101). As anyone acquainted with the
area knows, before the advent of modem pumps
simple gravity-flow irrigation is possible only on the
alluvial plains of the south and on the river flood
plain, which north of Hit and Baiji is confined
between steep river terraces. Thus statements such
as those remarking the lack of evidence for irrigation
at Hassuna and Halaf sites or in the ‘piedmont areas’
(R, 96, 190, 194, 231, 252; L-K and S, 100,102)
reveal a lack of comprehension of basic geography.
Moreover, in Mesopotamia it is water and not land
that is limited-and remains so today (pace Redman,
210). It is doubtful that dry farming was ever
possible at Sawwan (R, I95), while irrigation ‘by
seasonal flooding’, though highly relevant in Egypt,
is an impossibility in Babylonia. Indeed a section
headed ‘The Ecological Basis: Contrasts and Consistencies’ (L-K & s, 130-1) fails to remark the very
significant differences in the regimes of the Nile,
Tigris, Euphrates and Indus, which are essential to
the understanding of agricultural practices in these
areas. Equally to be regretted is Redman’s environmental map (Fig. 2-4): the designation of the
Mesopotamian steppe (Jazirah) and the fertile
rain-fed plains of Assyria as ‘piedmont’, and the
equivalent Syrian steppe as ‘semi-arid highlands’, is
grossly misleading, especially since the two regions
are indistiguishable on the ground. Southern Iraq is
not true desert, even today, and the unirrigated land
was (and is) of considerable value for grazing;
Euphrates river terraces are hardly the natural
habitat of wild goats, nor are there any ‘salt rivers’
(L-K & S, 50, 122). The sites of Mureybet, Abu
Hureyra and Maghzaliyah clearly indicate that there
is no reason to assume that the earliest farming
villages must be sought in the hills or ‘uplands’, nor,
with the single exception of Chagha Sefid, a site
barely noted in either volume, are there data to
support the widely held view that under conditions
of ‘stress’ people moved from north to south into
‘unpopulated’ zones (R, 231). Indeed, the evidence
from Yarim Tepe I, like that from the later ‘Ubaid
settlements, could be construed to argue a movement northwards from the Samarran zone. There is
now little support for Jawad’s view, following Gelb,
that in northern Mesopotamia there were no early
urban centres; certainly Brak was a city of considerable importance at least as early as the fourth
millennium (unfortunately we are ignorant of the
status of Nineveh at this time), while a number of
major centres are attested in the third millennium
(pace Redman, 221, 293). At Gawra most Uruk
pottery was mt handmade, nor were metal objects
rare (L-K & S, 159).
Redman’s chronological chart (Fig. 8-1) should
be revised in view of the substantial number of
radiocarbon determinations that clearly place Susa A
later than ‘Ubaid 4, as indeed was Le Breton’s view
in I957 (pace p. 252); Warka and Ur were certainly
as old as Eridu. The chronological chart (Fig. 2.1) in
Lamberg-Karlovsky and Sabloff is also highly
inaccurate, with Umm Dabaghiyah, for example,
predating PPN-A Jericho; moreover we learn on
p. 74 that PPN-A Jericho was abandoned c. 7300
BC, while its defensive wall was constructed a
hundred years later! (71). We have no knowledge of
the area of any ‘Ubaid settlement at Eridu (R, 247) ;
there is no factual basis for the assertion that
‘houses of the Blite clustered around the temple’ at
that site, nor indeed have any houses or animal or
plant remains been recovered at Tell al’Ubaid itself
(L-K & S, 110).
In Redman’s book one would like to see the
inclusion of the important palaeobotanical data from
PPN-A Jericho (77,80-1). Graves were found under
more than one building at Sawwan (213, also L-K &
S, 99). At Warka ‘Ubaid temples have been found
beneath the Anu but not the Eanna precinct ( 2 5 5 ) ;
there is no reason to assume that all the Eanna precinct buildings were temples (257), nor were these
Late Uruk ‘temples’ rebuilt in the Jamdat Nasr
period when the design and conception of the precinct were totally altered (260). ‘Few early attempts’
hardly describes the extensive evidence for writing
in Uruk IV, nor is there evidence that single
‘glyphs’ represented owners’ names (260-1). Indeed
neither volume makes any reference to the recent
theories of Amiet, Brandes and Schmandt-Besserat
on the origin of writing. No true ziggurrats are
attested in the Uruk period (277). The sungu was
never a city-ruler (303) nor has the derivation of
the title msi anything to do with en (304); Gilgamesh
was en and not msi of Uruk (305). Mesopotamian
building inscriptions are often found on clay cones,
door-sockets, bricks, etc, but not ‘on buildings’,
while Urukagina’s famous reforms were hardly a
‘legal code’ (306). Nor was the purpose of the later
‘codes’ pragmatic (322). Tell Taya is not in central
Mesopotamia (307). The number of influential
female officials, administrative and religious,
attested in the historic periods hardly supports the
contention of ‘increased inequality of status’ (321).
The alleged distinction between bearded Semite and
clean-shaven Sumerian has long been abandoned
(310). The plan reproduced in Fig. 9-26 should be
attributed to the Old Babylonian period. There are
a large number of typographical errors, e.g. terra
rosa (35), Elizag (37), Enyan (72-3), Tamarkahn
( I ~ s ) , semetic (257), Tenemos (316), qx for
9000 BC (II~), Bau for Blau (272),etc.
Ancient ciwilizutions also has a number of factual
errors. Sun-dried mudbrick was not employed at
Jarmo (62). That Hassuna, Samarra, Halaf and
’Ubaid do not provide a ‘chronologicalsequence’has
long been apparent (94,Fig. 3.1). Sumer was not
uninhabited in Halaf times, and we now know that
Late Halaf was contemporary with ‘Ubaid 2/3 (100,
IW). There is no evidence that any quantity of Halaf
pottery was ‘traded to great distances’ ;Halaf sherds
from Mesopotamian sites tested by neutron activation and thin section show that a large proportion
were of local manufacture, even at sites such as
Choga Mami, well south of what was once thought
to be the limit of Halaf distribution; moreover,
recent data indicate definite regional traditions
among both Halaf and ‘Ubaid potters (102-4).In
Mesopotamia a distinction must be made between
‘state controlled workers’ and slaves, nor were the
former necessarily well-to-do (138,175).E-Anna is
the religious precinct and not the goddess! (145,
172). Not all Sumerian temples were reconstructed
on the same site (147),as can be seen in the different
traditions of the Anu and Eanna precincts at Warka.
The presence of Late Uruk colonies on the Upper
Euphrates in Syria must cast some doubt on the
assertion that ‘authority and centralization’remained
limited at this time (147),while the authors appear
unaware of the evidence for ‘collective’ authority in
Jamdat Nasr/ED I times. Contact between Egypt
and Mesopotamia can hardly be described as ‘slight
and superficial’, either in Kassite times (Amarna
letters) or at the time of Esarhaddon, Assurbanipal
and Nebuchadnezzar (cf. Jeremiah 46!) (158).
Sargon of Agade’s titles were comparatively modest
and reflected little more than the titulary used by
later ED kings; it was Naram-Sin who first proclaimed himself ‘King of the Four Quarters’ (162).
Tepe Yahya is not the source of most Sumerian
chlorite (183))as its excavator should know. In the
Indus section no mention is made of textual evidence for ‘Meluhhan’ traders in Sumer. Lagash is in
fact Al Hiba (map 3.3); the site designated Lagash is
Girsu (Telloh).
I have already remarked that no single scholar can
now hope to keep up with all the fields of knowledge
reflected in these books, and it is easier to criticize
than to be right. But many of the errors detailed
above, particularly those relating to environment,
chronology and society, are fundamentally misleading. Both these textbooks have much to recom-
mend them and will no doubt be useful, indeed
invaluable, to students. But perhaps it is time to
declare a moratorium on further ‘overviews’ until
scholars have had time to digest the results of recent
research, and certainly until there is something new
to be said. We are all in a position that we ought to
acknowledge. Too much is unknown, while the cash
value of adlditional information has been inflated
like the price of butter. But we are in danger of
putting the bandwagon of theory in front of the
horse of evidence.
P.-M. Duval8c V. Kruta (eds): Les mouvements
celtiques d u Ve a u Ier si&cle avant notre &re.
Paris: CNHS, 1979. 239 pp., 23 pls., 94 figs.
Frs. 185.
This volume contains 16 important papers by as
many authors, resulting from a colloquium organized
by the Ninth International Congress of Pre- and
Protohistoric: Sciences in Nice in 1976.The subjectmatter, as the title implies, is that of ‘movements’ of
people and things, from the beginning of La T h e
until the Roman Conquest, over much of the ancient
Celtic world, and so covers topics from historically
attested tribal migrations such as that of the
Helvetii by Guillaumet, or those leading to the
formation of known groups such as the Scordisci
by Jovanovic!, to the distribution of technological
processes and works of art, with which many
papers are concerned. In connexion with the former
one might also draw attention to a simultaneously
published paper on historically documented migrations in late prehistoric Europe by Timothy
Champion in the Stockholm Symposium on Transport Technology and Social Change held last year.
Dehn in the present volume, underlining the inevitable complexity of all inferred movements of
peoples in prehistory, takes up again the question of
transhumance, so difficult to pinpoint but so likely in
contexts of pastoralism.
Two important areas of the world beyond the
Celtic heartland receive welcome treatment, north
Italy and Hungary. In the former, Lollini publishes
Picene grave-groups containing middle La Tbne
swords and scabbards, an interesting example of the
adoption by a m alien culture of an important item of
military equipment, and north-east Italy plays a
large part in Kruta’s definition of a DuchcovMunsingen phase in early La T h e . His important
contribution should be taken together with his
earlier paper :in Studi Etruschi for 1978,persuasively
arguing for a ‘Celto-Italic’ origin for the so-called
Waldalgesheiim style as a part of the continuous
transmission of ideas, techniques and styles northwards across the Alps which had begun in early
Hallstatt times. The papers of Szab6, Petres and