Entanglement: A Study in Neolithic Resource Exploitation in the Middle East


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Although Neolithic communities in the Middle East have been the focus of much archaeological research, there has been little agreement concerning how these societies developed. This dissertation examines how Neolithic communities were shaped through acts of resource-dependency – the constraints and limitations which emerge from relying on particular resources. It examines how certain communities came to depend on the use of specific local resources by studying how such resources were acquired and consumed. An evaluation of the long-term effects of this dependency shows that using particular resources not only promoted certain behaviors, but restricted the development of others. Ultimately, it is argued that such intimate entanglements between people and resources produced a cohesive force capable of influencing how the Neolithic developed. Understanding the processes which create these entanglements, and the resulting effects, allows us to more thoroughly address the relationship between economic practices and community development.