Urban growth at Brak began in the Late Chalcolithic (LC) 2 period [circa (c.) 4200 to 3900 calendar years before the common era (cal BCE)].
We calculated the total settled area at 55 ha, at a time when few contemporary settlements exceeded 3 ha. (...) During the early to mid-fourth millennium BCE (LC 3 to 4, 3900 to 3400 cal BCE, Fig. 1B), outer town settlement expanded inward. Many formerly unsettled areas were then filled. The central mound hosted large industrial structures and at least one elaborately decorated temple. The total LC 3 to 4 settled area grew to 130 ha. We interpreted the abundance of surface ceramics as an indicator of increased density of occupation. Thus, settlement density increased along with spatial extent. At this time, the largest of Brak’s neighbors reached only 15 ha, and only one contemporary settlement in southern Mesopotamia, Uruk, exceeded it in size.
Elite coercion does not appear to be solely responsible for the initial development of urbanism at Brak. It seems likely that urbanism was at least in part the unintended result of the actions of autonomous and nonhierarchically ranked groups.
suggests a greater role for noncentralized processes in the initial growth of Brak and lesser importance for centralized authority; it also suggests that the study of Mesopotamian urbanism must accommodate multiple models for the origins of cities.
2. Cordes, Christian (MPI für Ökonomik, Jena): diverse Publikationen
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