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Palmyra, Pastoral Nomads, and City-State Kings in the Old Babylonian Period: Interaction in the Semi-Arid Syrian Landscape
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.
2016 (English)In: Palmyrena: City, Hinterland and Caravan Trade between Orient and Occident: Proceedings of the Conference Held in Athens, December 1-3, 2012 / [ed] Jørgen Christian Meyer, Eivind Heldaas Seland and Nils Anfinset, Oxford: Archaeopress, 2016, 1-10 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This article rests on results of the Palmyrena project and its landscape surveys, and of some initial studies of a recently initiated project concerning the activities and economics of pastoral nomads, within the Syro-Mesopotamian Bronze Age landscape, and how such activities promoted interaction and symbiosis with the surrounding urban societies. In this paper I am focusing on pastoral nomadic economies of trade mediation and caravan escort.

Similar to the separation and unification of cultures affected by the proximity of the Mediterranean Sea, the Syro-Mesopotamian semi arid desert functioned likewise between those societies existing along its edges. Crossing difficult terrains of seas and deserts required some form of professional assistance. While the desert's harsh environment posed a threat to passing caravans, pastoral nomads overall acclimatization to its environment, and their knowledge of routes and water sources, easily supported the business of escorting caravans through the desert's hazardous landscape.

The investigation shows that the settled population of the oasis Palmyra and the surrounding nomadic goups played an important role in the maintenance of the caravan routes through Palmyrena in the Bronze Age.

Besides landscape surveys the paper draws upon ancient documents describing the interaction between pastoral nomads and urban societies. Additionally it is supported by comparative anthropological studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Archaeopress, 2016. 1-10 p.
Keyword [en]
Palmyra, Pastoral Nomads, Caravan Trade, Old Babylonian Period
National Category
Research subject
Archaeology; Assyriology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-293695ISBN: 9781784912796OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-293695DiVA: diva2:928187
Palmyrena: City, Hinterland and Caravan Trade between Orient and Occident
Palmyrena: City, Hinterland and Caravan Trade between Orient and OccidentEconomic Integration between Pastoral Nomads and City-States in the Bronze Age Syro-Mesopotamian Landscape: A Network Perspective
Swedish Research Council, 421-2013-1435
Available from: 2016-05-15 Created: 2016-05-15 Last updated: 2016-05-15

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