Rethinking Ceramic Degeneration: An Ancient Mesopotamian Case Study



A primary research concern of archaeologists is the explanation of social change. Since archaeologists must deal with change as it is manifested in the variability of material culture, it is not surprising that special attention has been given to studies of pottery, one of the most abundant forms of archaeological evidence, and one most sensitive to temporal change. Unfortunately, interpretations of changing pottery repertoires have usually failed to consider the socioeconomic factors which also may be responsible for ceramic variation. This has been notably true when trends of change are judged to be "degenerative." A study of ceramic change in the 'Ubaid and Uruk periods of Mesopotamia illustrates how "degeneration" can be correlated with the development of complex societies in the region.

Keywords: Ceramics, Mesopotamia, Degeneration

How to Cite: Falconer, S. E. (1981) “Rethinking Ceramic Degeneration: An Ancient Mesopotamian Case Study”, Arizona Anthropologist. 2(0).