Cuneiform texts from the early historic period in Mesopotamia document the existence of corporate groups, including large corporate families, temples, and the crown (e.g. Diakonoff 1969; Gelb 1979; Yoffee 1977). Such corporate groups have a long history in this region, and continue to exist in various forms today (Fernea 1970). It has been suggested (Adams 1974a; Fernea 1970) that corporate landholding is the most efficient means of controlling resources in this region; a large group can effectively control more land than can be worked by a nuclear family. Using both archaeological and historical data, this paper will demonstrate that there is evidence for corporate family groups in the archaeological record of agricultural populations in western Asia. Such household groups developed within an intensive agricultural system that expanded and "extensified" with time. Political efforts to intensify the system were made long after the establishment of complex states in Mesopotamia (Adams 1974a).
Keywords: Mesopotamia, Agriculture
How to Cite: Hall B.A., (1985) “Corporate Land-Holding and Agricultural Extensification in Early Mesopotamia”, Atlatl 5.