Commerce and Colonization in the Ancient Near East (Book Review)

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Best known for her work on first-millennium B.C.E. Phoenician trade and expansion, particularly in the western Mediterranean, Aubet has now significantly expanded her interests with this wide-ranging study of trade and settlement in Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Anatolia during the fourth to second millennia B.C.E. In the introduction, she lays out the volume’s twofold aims: to counter what she sees as the excessive influence of ideas drawn from modern European colonialisms (“acculturation, civilising mission, centre and periphery, ethnicity, imperialism, domination, indigenous cultural subordination, economic exploitation, asymmetrical power relations or unequal trade” [1]) on studies of the ancient world and to explore the history of Near Eastern colonial experiences as a means of better understanding the situation in first-millennium Phoenicia, especially Tyre. These goals are reflected in the division of the volume into two halves: the first is essentially theoretical, sketching an intellectual history of the ancient economy, while the second principally consists of three case studies—fourth-millennium B.C.E. Uruk, Egyptian interaction with Byblos, and the Old Assyrian karums in Anatolia.

4301 Archaeology, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology
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American Journal of Archaeology
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Archaeological Institute of America