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Alphabetic bibliography of general interest

     Titles are listed by author, with keywords indicating the category into which the title fits. Keywords are given to the right of the title, and brief comments are occasionally added after the titles.
     Some titles are included here to provide a general background to the history and archaeology of Syro-Mesopotamia, others are included because they are cited within the website.


     Go to the following letter:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Agnew, Neville
2001 "Methodology, Conservation Criteria and Performance Evaluation for Archaeological Site Shelters,"
Conservation Management of Archaeological Sites 5, 7-18.

     A classic and fundamental formulation of principles to be followed in the use of shelters to protect archaeological sites. Dealing exclusively with broad base shelters, it assumes that implementation takes place only after excavations have been completed, rather than concurrently, in which case it is important to articulate the conservation needs for an architect who come in, extrinsically, from the outside (p.7f.).
     Five criteria are spelled out (p.8), which are prioritized in order of importance (see also p.9):
  1. effective protection
  2. "in harmony with the context of the site and the landscape"
  3. serve well the "interpretive/display function"
  4. provisions for adequate maintenance
  5. monitoring based on clear "qualitative and quantitative indicators".
     The author then provides examples where the decision to use shelters proved to be the wrong one, showing how wrong initial decisions may develop a negative multiplier effect (p.13). In the process, other criteria emerge, such as the need to involve all the stakeholders from the beginning (p.13) and the need for adequate security (p.14).
     It is a singular fact that shelters have escaped the normal validation routine of planning, testing and monitoring, for a variety of reasons: "Often there is a naïveté when it comes to designing and constructing shelters which translates into a self-deception that the shelter will function well. Perhaps this arises from a natural enthusiasm for the project, the opportunity to create the shelter, and the lack of perceived need for review and critique" (p.14). The almost total lack of research on shelters, in contrast with other types of conservation, is probably "due to the fact that shelters are invariably constructed in response to an immediate need as a once-only enterprise" (p.15).
     While sophisticated monitoring is desirable, one should not discount simpler evaluation approahces: a " "hard" assessment is clearly the most important, and convincing, but 'soft' assessment, based on subjective judgments, are also valuable and should not be overlooked" (p. 18).
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Agnew, Neville and Janet Bridgland
2006 Of the Past, for the Future: Integrating Archaeology and Conservation
Proceedings of the Conservation Theme at the 5th World Archaeological Congress, Washington, D.C., 22-26 June 2003
Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute

     Note. The cover illustrates the localized shelter system of the Royal Palace AP at Urkesh.
cited
conservation
site presentation
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Agnew, Neville and Martha Demas
2004 "Monitoring through Replication. Design and Evaluation of the Monitoring Reburial at the Laetoli Trackway Site,"
Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, pp. 295-304

cited
conservation
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Akrawi, Aysar
2006 "NGO and Government Collaboration in Archaeological Site Management: The Case of Petra in Jordan"
Agnew & Bridgland 2006, pp. 29-34

     The Petra National Trust is an NGO that supervises a large Archaeological Park (265 km2) and an even larger protected area (900 km2). The main difficulties that had to be overcome,in the formative period between 1968 and 2000, related to the interaction among different governmental bodies.
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park
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Amiet, Pierre
1966 "Il y a 5000 ans les Elamites inventaient l'écriture"
Archéologia 12, 16-23.

     The first identification of clay tokens (to which Amiet refers with the Latin word calculi) as the forerunners of writing. This particular corpus was found in Susa (Amiet refers to the finds of Uruk as well), and Amiet develops, briefly but pointedly (pp. 20-22), the argument that the gathering of the tokens within clay balls, and the authentication of the whole obtained by rolling a seal on the outer surface (hence the Latin term bulla), served as the springboard for the invention of writing.
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Anati, Emmanuel
1988 Origini dell'arte e della concettualità.
Di fronte e attraverso, Vol. 218.
Milano: Jaca Book. Pp. 200.
     An in-depth presentation of the theory and methodology of the interpretation of rock art. Important for our interests is chapter 6, where he addresses the question of "order and logic": he speaks explicitly of the need to develop a systematic analysis of "grammar and syntax" (p. 107), and he identifies as "graphemes" (ibid. and passim) the minimal constituents of the individual representations seen as texts. Also important is the definition of three categories of graphemes: pictograms are figures with an identifiable referent in nature; ideograms are repetitive signs that "seem to indicate the presence of assumed conventional concepts"; psychograms [an original concept as far as it concerns stylistic analysis of rock art] are signs which are neither representational nor conventionally symbolic, but "express sensations such as heat or cold, light or darkness, life or death,..." (p. 105), "they are signs that have the power to stir the blood and the mind without eliciting any specific association," and while ideograms are synthetic and repetitive, "the psychograms have none of these chracteristics" (p. 114).
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Aruz, Joan; Kim Benzel; Jean M. Evans
2008 Beyond Babylon..
Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.

New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New Haven: Yale University Press

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Buccellati, Giorgio
1966 The Amorites of the Ur III Period.
Ricerche, I
Naples: Istituto Orientale di Napoli, pp. XVIII, 380, Plates I-XIV.

cited
1981 "Principles of Stylistic Analysis".
in Y. L. Arbeitman and A. R. Bomhard, Bono homini Donum: Essays in Historical Linguistics in Memory of J. Alexander Kerns
Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science, Vol. 4, pp. 807-836.
Amsterdam: John Benjamins B.V.

cited
1981 "The Perception of Function and the Prehistory of the State in Syro-Mesopotamia,"
in B. D. Dillon and M. A. Boxt (eds.), Archaeology Without Limits. papers in Honor of Clement W. Meighan,
Lancaster: Labyrinthos, pp. 481-492.

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Carr, Nicholas
2008 "Is Google Making us Stupid? What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains".
The Atlantic July-August 2008
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google

     An insightful review of the processes whereby the Internet is changing our cognitive habits, with an emphasis on the negative aspects such as the decrease of concentration and reflection. It develops an interesting parallel with the theory of "scientifi management" as developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor.
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Darwin, Charles R.
1872 The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London: John Murray. 6th edition.
cited
1958 The autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882. With the original omissions restored. Edited and with appendix and notes by his grand-daughter Nora Barlow.
London: Collins.
The original was first published posthumously in 1887 with several omissions.
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Franklin, Kristine L. and Nancy McGirr (eds.)
1995 Out of the Dump.
Writings and Photographs by Children from Guatemala.
Translated from the Spanish by Kristine L. Franklin.
New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books.

     See also the website Fotokids.
cited  1, 2
 
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Gerth, Hand H. and C. Wright Mills
1958 From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology.
Translated and with an Introduction.
New York: Oxford University Press – A Galaxy Book.
cited 1, 2
 

Gladwell, Malcolm
2005 Blink. The Power of Thinking without Thinking.
New York: Little, Brown and Company.
   An insightful popularization of elements of psychology that are especially helpful for us in two regards. First, the role of perception in anticipating and even defining judgment (see, e. g., pp.160-167, where he speaks of sensation transfer with regard to comemrcial products and advertising). Second, the interrelationship between instinct and an organized system of thought (see, e. g., his discussions about the "structure of spontaneity" on pp. 111-117; about the experts' ability to articulate instinct, pp. 176-186; or about the classification of system of facial expressions, pp. 204-208).
cited
 

Goody, Jack
1986 The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society.
Cambridge: Cambridge University press.
 
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Grafton, Anthony
1997 The Footnote. A Curious History.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

     A thorough historical analysis of the development of the footnote in scholarly discourse, from early intimations to the full-fledged use.
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Haarmann, Harald
2007 Foundations of Culture.
Knowledge-Construction, Belief Systems and Worldview in Their Dynamic Interplay.

Frankfurt am Mein: Peter Lang.

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Hamilton, Edith and Huntington Cairns (eds.)
1961 The Collected Dialogues of Plato, Including the Letters.
Bollingen Series 71.
Princeton: Princeton University Press.

cited
 
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Jones, Siân
1997 The Archaeology of Ethnicity.
Constructing Identities in the Past and Present

London and New York: Routledge.

 
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Kelly Buccellati, Marilyn
1977 "Towards a Quantitative Analysis of Mesopotamian Sphragistics"
Mesopotamia XII, pp. 41-52..

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Leisegang, Hans
1951 Denkformen.
Berlin: de Gruyter (second edition; first edition published in 1949).

cited
philosophy
 
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Mansfeld, Günter
1970 "3. Scherben mit altkanaanäischer Schrft vom Kamid el-Loz"
in D. O. Edzard, R. Hachmann, P. Maiberger, G. Mansfeld, Kamid el-Loz–Kumidi, Saarbrücker Beiträge ur Altertumskunde, Band 7
Bonn: Rudolf Habelt, pp.24-41.
cited
 
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Michalowski, Piotr
1951 Tokenism.
A review article of Schmandt-Besserat 1992 Before Writing.
American Anthropologist 95 (1993) 996-999.

     A critical assessment of Schmandt-Besserat's work, it raises especially two major concerns. (1) Given the crucial importance of repeatability [i.e., distributional patterns] in establishing a semiotic system, it is difficult to so conceive the vast assemblage of tokens, which is too highly differentiated and spread over too wide a geographical area and too broad a temporal span. (2) The argument in favor of writing developing directly from tokens, and "literacy from numeracy" is not convincing: "The complex social and political changes ... toward the end of the fourth millennium represent a quantum leap of unprecedented dimensions and not a gradual evolutionary historical development. The invention of writing was part of this punctuated metamorphosis; while the inventor, or inventors, relied on earlier communication systems, ... proto-cuneiform writing was materially and structurally a completely new semiotic form."
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Moser, Stephanie and Darren Glazier, James E. Phillips,
Lamya Nasser el Nemr, Mohammed Saleh Mousa, Rascha Nasr Aiesh,
Susan Richardson, Andrew Conner and Michael Seymour
2002 "Transforming Archaeology through Practice: Strategies for Collaborative Archaeology and the Community Archaeology Project at Quseir, Egypt'
World Archaeology, Vol. 34, No. 2, Community Archaeology (Oct., 2002), pp. 220-248 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/827910

     Strong advocacy is presented for a direct involvement of the stakeholders in the interpretive process of an archaeological site. The dialog with locals should be a true two-way street, that involves serious "consultation with indigenous and descendant communities" (p.223), evolving into a "democratic sense of archaeological practice" (p.224). A radical theoretical stance is defended that challenges "the false distinctions between scientific, mythic and historical domains of knowledge" (p.224): in other words, local oral history and perceptions must be placed on the same level as the archaeological analysis proper.
     The Community Archeological Project of Quseir is presented as a case study, with a strategy based on seven components, (1) Communication and collaboration: local people and organizations are systemically and institutionally involved in defining how the information is to be presented. (2) Employment and training: this entails the "sharing [on the part of the foreign experts, of] knowledge and skills associated with archaeology" (p.233). (3) Public presentation, including exhibitions for which local input is actively sought with regard to themes (a special interest in modern history developed in the process). (4) Interviews and oral history. (5) Educational resources, with emphasis on visit by school-children. (6) Photographic and video archive: people photos that tend to get lost are archived next to the "scientific" photos [quotes in the original, seemingly in deference to the "false distinction" against which the authors spoke earlier. – In Mozan, people photos and videos are carefully archived among incidentals.] (7) Community controlled merchandising.
     In the conclusion, some practical results of the Quseir project are mentioned, such as a visit to an active mosque and the sharing of local knowledge about a now disappeared fishing village.
     [The "false distinction" decried in the text seems in fact to be upheld – inevitably, in my view, because it is not false. The source of information, employment, training remain clearly one-way approaches, as they well should be. – At Mozan, we have in fact followed the seven components of the strategy, but within a different theoretical framework and a different understanding of "non-colonialism."]
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Oakes, Guy and Arthur J. Vidich
1999 Collaboration, Reputation, and Ethics in American Academic Life: Hans H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills.
Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois press.

     An insightful study of the collaboration between two prominent scholars, whose uneven successes and reciprocal struggles are analyzed in detail, the book clarifies one aspect that is important for our website (and archaeological work in general), namely the aspect of collective authorship – or, as they describe it, "the distribution of knowledge and power in collaboration and its importance in the social production of authorship, academic reputation and intellectual authority" (p. 9, italics mine).
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Oates, David; Joan Oates; Helen McDonald
1997 Excavations at Tell Brak.
Vol. 1: The Mitanni and Old Babylonian Periods.

McDonald Institute Monographs.
London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq.

cited
 
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Oppenheim, A. Leo
1958 "An Operational Device in Mesopotamian Bureaucracy"
Journal of near Eastern Studies 17, 121-28.

     Publication of a bulla from Nuzi (about 1400 B.C.) that contained 48 small objects called "stones" in the text inscribed on the bulla. The author reconstructs the administrative system that made use of these "tokens" (as the "stones" may be interpreted), whereby each object represented a specific animal. He also colelcts evidence from otehr texts where the same "stones" are shown to have been in regular use in Syro-Mesopotamia.
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Oppenheim, A. Leo; Robert H. Brill; Dan Barag; Axel von Saldern
1970 Glass and Glassmaking in Ancient Mesopotamia.
An Edition of the Cuneiform Texts which Contain Instructions for Glassmakers with a Catalogue of Surviving Objects.

Corning, New York: The Corning Museum of Glass.
cited
 
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Palumbo, Gaetano
2001 "Sheltering an Archaeological Structure in Petra. A Case-study of Criteria, Concepts, and Implementation,"
Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 5, pp. 35-44.

     Assessment of the checkered history of a broad base shelter project. The surprising outcome of a competition was that two first prizes were awarded, but no commission was given for implementation. Instead, an altogether different design was chosen, which was impemented for a cost exceeding a quarter million dollars (a figure that, the author points out, makes the notion of reversibility rather moot, p.42), equivalent to $400 per square meter (p.40). The general evaluation criteria that emerged from the process were: "protection from rain and sun, reversibility, minimal visual impact, visibility of the site, protection against visitors,... rapid construction, long life, low maintenance ..., natural lighting ... and ventilation" (p.38).
cited
conservation
 
2006 "Privatization of State-owned Cultural Heritage: A Critique of Recent Trends in Europe,"
Agnew & Bridgland 2006, pp. 35-39

     The economic exploitation, for profit, of cultural heritage places is a myopic policy that has only in mind a short term economic advantage, but cannot be sustained in the long term. As noted even by economists, "the long-term economic advantage is not necessarily the one that produces revenue bu the one that improves the well-being of the people" (p.36). Thus one should favor a model of cultural heritage use (as opposed to exploitation), which produces a number of benefits (tabulated on p.38): "exploitation sees cultural heritage as a product to manipulate, a product that exists on its own" (p.37).
cited
Park

Roaf, Michael
1990 Cultural Atlas of the Ancient Near East.
Oxford: Facts on File.

A well informed and readable account, with plenty of maps and illustrations.
geography
history
archaeology
 
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Rossi, Marco
2003
" 'Drill-holes – Lewis-holes" a Ebla: Evidenze e considerazioni."
in Contributi e materiali di archeologia orientale 9, pp. 223-268.

     In contrast to standard interpretations, and using especially the irch evidence from Ebla, the author suggests that drillholes in large stone blocks served to anchor pegs and ropes used in dragging the stones and setting them in place within their respective masonry.
manufacturing
 
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Roux, Georges
1964
Ancient Iraq.
Penguin.

     A plain, but thorough, introduction to the historical development of ancient Syro-Mesopotamia. It has been kept updated in several successive editions.
history
 
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Schmandt-Besserat, Denise
1977 "An Archaic Recording System and the Origin of Writing"
Syro-Mesopotamian Studies 1/2, pp. 31-70 (pp. 1-32 of the individual monograph).

     The first monograph (published by Undena Publications under the sponsorship of IIMAS) that launched her series of studies on the tokens.
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history
archaeology
1992 Before Writing
Austin: University of Texas Press

     The complete documentary publication of the tokens, with full documentary apparatus [
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history
archaeology
2007 When Writing Met Art
Austin: University of Texas Press

     A slender volume, the latest in the series on the tokens and writing, it explores the impact of literacy on visual art, and, conversely, of artworks on writing. Even though it is stronger in the exegesis of individual pieces than on matters of theory, and even though it does not take sufficiently into consideration the critique of her earlier work (see in particular Lieberman and Michalowski), this essay is of interest for a consideration of those modes of thought that are co-terminous with the development of writing.
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history
art
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Stanley Price, Nicholas
1995
"Excavation and Conservation"
N. Stanley Price (ed.), Conservation on Archeological Excavations
Rome: ICCROM

     A programmatic document for both "immovable" and movable items.
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Starr, Richard, F.S.
1939
Nuzi.
Report on the Excavations at Yorgan Tepa Near Kirkuk, Iraq conducted by Harvard University in Conjunction with the American Schools of Oriental Research and the University Museum of Philadelphia, 1927-1931.
Vol. I: Text. Volume II: Plates and Plans.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
cited
 
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Tufte, Edward R.
1983 The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Cheshire (Connecticut): Graphics Press

     The work by Edward R. Tufte, especially as reflected in his classic book on Visual Display of Quantitative Information, develops a full theory about the visual organization of data in tabular format. It is based on a careful analysis of a large repertory of examples, which illustrate the pertinent historical background (with even a reference to maps displayed on clay tablets, p. 20). The discussion does not develop the theme of non-linearity, which is of interest to us, but it is implicit in the very emphasis on the "density" of data (chapter 8) that can be represented in such a fashion. [gB]
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Vico, Gianbattista
1744 Principj di scienza nuova dÂ’intorno alla comune natura delle nazioni
Napoli.

     Known as Scienza nuova terza, this is the third and final edition of Vico's work (the first edition goes back to 1725). It marked a milestone not only for historiography, but also for archeological theory. It deals on the one hand with the philosophical issue of epistemology, establishing the fundamental unity of factuality and meaning; on the other, with the methodology through which we can critically evaluate the most distant past. In this he argues against the double arrogance of scholars and nations, whom he accuses of falsely aggrandizing the archaic periods. To these periods he attributes instead a different kind of greatness, that of profound poetic imagination. Seeking to establish his theory ("scienza") on documentary factual grounds, he develops elaborate schemes through which to categorize historical development. While no longer valid in their referential details, these schemes are important because they established the mental framework within which periodization could be argued. [gB]
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history
philosophy
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Wolf, Maryanne
2007 Proust and the squid.
The story and science of the reading brain.

New York: Harper.

     Primarily a biological and cognitive analysis of the process of reading (the title refers to the synergy between novelists and neuroscientists), the book deals at some length with the impact that the introduction of writing had on that process (pp. 24-50).
     Important for us is also the chapter on the development of the alphabet and on Socrates' stance vis-à-vis reading (pp. 50-78). Different drawings render the author's understanding of the "different types of efficiency among languages" (p.61), in a effort to determine, from a neurological point of view, the claim for greater efficiency of the alphabet.
     [A number of elementary mistakes mar the section on ancient Mesopotamia, e.g., the inexistent cuneiform signs in the drawing on p.32, the mispelling of Rawlinson's name (ibid.), the reference to the Epic of Gilgamesh having been preserved on stone tablets or the mispelling of the scribe's name who wrote them (p.41).]
     See also the comments in the excursuses on writing and on reading
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cited 1, 2
history
biology and neurology
 

Zimansky, Paul E.
1993 A review article
of Schmandt-Besserat 1992 Before Writing.
Journal of Field Archaeology 20: 513-517.

     A serious critique, based on the statistical discrepancy between totals of attested tokens and economic importance of the correlative items, e.g., the token for "sheep" occurs only eight times.
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