Degree Date



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology


This work investigates the adaptive strategies that facilitated the intensification of settlement and trade that occurred between 1100 and 600 BCE in Southeastern Arabia and the ways in which we can use ceramic evidence to investigate them. The ceramic evidence shows that the process cannot be explained using traditional paradigms of intensification used in Near Eastern archaeology, such as evolutionary state-formation or a center/periphery model.

This dissertation examines the ceramic correlates for human behaviors attested at a number of functionally specific sites in the United Arab Emirates. These include Iron Age campsites at Muweilah, a shell-midden field and campsites at Hamriyah, burial sites in the Wadial-Qawr and an elite building at Muweilah. A program of ceramic research involving a combination of both visual and chemical fabric analyses and formal analysis identified both local and foreign pottery types, their sources and the functions of the individual sites.

Anthropological studies have examined issues of flexible mobility and non-state regional power structures, but do not approach the questions from the basis of material culture. My dissertation attempts to develop a framework that applies anthropological concepts of flexible mobility and resource exploitation in marginal environments with a methodology based upon the interpretation of material remains.

The analysis of the pottery suggests that during the Iron Age more than one form of political economy coexisted in a heterarchical system. The introduction of falaj technology and the emergence of local elites involved a power structure based on centralization and elite management at permanent settlements that was dialectically related to the mobile, tribal system that dominated the rest of the landscape. Using Carol Crumley’s concept of heterarchy, I propose that the two systems co-existed to facilitate subsistence in a marginal environment.


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