My dissertation research tracked the development of urbanized states in Upper Mesopotamia, defined as the area in and around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in southeast Turkey and north Syria. Through a combination of remote sensing, geophysics, surface survey and excavation, I completed a case study of urbanization in the Harran Plain and at the site of Kazane Höyük, Turkey. (Kazane Hoyuk in Google Earth) This site, located outside the modern Turkish city of Urfa, grew into a 100 hectare city in the middle of the third millennium BC. Dr. Patricia Wattenmaker of the University of Virgina has directed research at Kazane since 1992. Building on Dr. Wattenmaker's work, between 2002 - 2005 I conducted magnetometry survey, test trenches, and artifact and ecofact analysis at Kazane to study its urban form and the relative location of households, institutions, and aspects of urban infrastructure within the city. This work revealed storage facilities, ritual structures, and elite housing in the outer town, far from the pre-urban mound that served as the city's citadel. The dispersal of institutional structures and houses for elites shows that city and state institutions were not confined to the fortified citadel, but instead were spread throughout the city. This indicates that the city grew around multiple administrative and social nuclei rather than around an oft-presumed single, central nucleus.
As my study of Kazane shows, the development of urbanism involves complex social processes that are expressed in the dynamic built environment of cities. In comparing the structure of Kazane to other cities, I argue after Setha Low (2000) that the social production and construction of space in complex settlements - the activities that produce the material setting and the daily activities that give it meaning - are best understood through the lens of a life-history approach that incorporates the activities of multiple stakeholders in forming and modifying space. To locate the origin and reworking of settlement plans we must pay close attention to the articulation between aspects of settlement space, such as buildings and streets, public buildings and residences, and infrastructure. Changes in these aspects of the settlement fabric reveal how this space affected and was affected by residents and institutions.
Low, Setha M.
2000 On the Plaza. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Kazane Höyük , Turkey