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For many archaeologists this quote from Godelier encapsulates one of the main goals of our discipline. The formation of states and cities (one of the elements normally accompanying this form of societal organisation) cannot therefore be limited to the study of individual cases. Whatever the specific differences, these cases may, when interpreted under the light of well-founded hypothetical models, constitute a fundamental part in understanding the intercultural processes in the creation of new hierarchies. However, there is not widespread agreement on how this may take place. For some of our colleagues, the notion of ‘state’ (and perhaps the notion of ‘city’ as well?) is just a ‘Western’ construction, which does not have any significance in many other parts of the world. According to this constructivist point of view, the state simply did not exist in these areas.
The Maghrib has a rich tradition of archaeological studies. However, this research has been biased from the chronological and cultural points of view. This is due to different reasons, relating to both the nature of the archaeological record and the ideological and political circumstances that developed successively under colonial rule and, from the mid-twentieth century, in the modern independent states of the area.
In general, comparatively little attention has been paid to the indigenous cultures of the pre-Roman period, in particular as regards dwelling sites, which generally underlie thick stratigraphic deposits of later periods. The situation is somewhat different with regard to funerary archaeology, as North Africa, especially its eastern portion, is characterised by the existence of a surprising number and diversity of pre-Roman sepulchral monuments.
This chapter explores practices of rock carving on the Anatolian peninsula from a diachronic perspective, with special emphasis on the Late Bronze Age and Early-Middle Iron Ages. Linking together the materiality of monuments, rock-carving technologies and issues of landscape imagination, it focuses on the commemorative rock reliefs across the Anatolian landscape. The monuments of concern range from Hittite and post-Hittite commemorative rock reliefs to Urartian, Phrygian and Paphlagonian practices of carving the living rock for cultic, commemorative and funerary purposes. The chapter also critiques the specialised art historical and epigraphic approaches to rock reliefs and rock-cut structures, which portray them as stand-alone monuments and show a certain disregard for their micro-geographical context. Finally, it contributes to studies of landscape and place in Mediterranean archaeology by promoting a shift of focus from macro-scale explanations of the environment to micro-scale engagement with located practices of place-making.
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