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Craft Practice and Resource Perception in the Southern Urals During the Middle Bronze Age

Pitman, Derek (2015) Craft Practice and Resource Perception in the Southern Urals During the Middle Bronze Age. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The thesis characterises metallurgical production at two Middle Bronze Age, Sintashta communities in the Southern Urals and presents a new model for the organisation of metal production in the region. Current models argue for intensive and centralised production that contributed to social complexity and the development of long-range exchange networks. Middle Bronze Age groups are characterised as complex warrior chiefdoms or even proto-states. The thesis examines these interpretations through the detailed characterisation of metallurgical debris. Particular attention is given to the identification of local practices at two Sintashta settlements and to characterising specific technological choices. An integrated methodology is employed, which incorporates fieldwork, an extensive study of metallurgical debris and a programme of experimental archaeology. The results demonstrate that the scale and organisation of primary copper metallurgy is greatly misrepresented in the published literature. While some aspects of production practice were shared among communities, specifically smelting technique, other aspects, such as the procurement of resources, were locally articulated. This has important implications for interpreting the organisation of Sintashta groups and their role in wider Eurasian society. The thesis argues that the persistent use of metallurgy as an indicator of complexity is inappropriate when craft practice is considered in its social context. The conclusion is that Middle Bronze Age communities in the Southern Urals were not complex hierarchies or proto-states that controlled production and access to resources. They were locally distinct groups that maintained a collective direction through a restriction and mediation of production practices.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Archaeology (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Archaeology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: MR Derek Pitman
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2016 08:40
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 08:40
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12331

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