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Metals, Nomads and Culture Contact: The Middle East and North Africa. By Nils Anfinset. Equinox, London and Oakville, 2010, 256 pp. ISBN 978-1-84553-253-6 (Hardback). £ 60.00.

Metals, Nomads and Culture Contact: The Middle East and North Africa. By Nils Anfinset. Equinox,... Book Review Metals, Nomads and Culture Contact is an ambitious book. It aims to shed new light on aspects of social, economic, and cultural transformation in the fifth and fourth millennia BC: the period of later prehistory that directly preceded the emergence of the world's first large-scale, centralized polities in North East Africa and South West Asia. Throughout the entire duration of this long period, societies on the cusp of those two continents developed in markedly different cultural directions, while nevertheless sharing and exchanging a range of important technological innovations. Anfinset chooses to focus his study on the spread of specialized pastoralism and copper metallurgy, emphasizing the importance of ritual practices and alliances as an organizing principle for both. The choice appears to be strongly informed by his own ethnographic exposure to herding societies, in both African and Asian contexts, which has sensitized him to the social and cultural diversity lurking behind such a seductively simple term as `pastoralism', and also to the importance of mobile groups in sustaining large-scale patterns of interaction. From a traditional, social evolutionary standpoint, state formation is often viewed as the key institutional transformation around which studies of Old World prehistory are to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of African Archaeology Brill

Metals, Nomads and Culture Contact: The Middle East and North Africa. By Nils Anfinset. Equinox, London and Oakville, 2010, 256 pp. ISBN 978-1-84553-253-6 (Hardback). £ 60.00.

Journal of African Archaeology , Volume 9 (2): 231 – Oct 25, 2011

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2011 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1612-1651
eISSN
2191-5784
DOI
10.3213/2191-5784-10191
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Book Review Metals, Nomads and Culture Contact is an ambitious book. It aims to shed new light on aspects of social, economic, and cultural transformation in the fifth and fourth millennia BC: the period of later prehistory that directly preceded the emergence of the world's first large-scale, centralized polities in North East Africa and South West Asia. Throughout the entire duration of this long period, societies on the cusp of those two continents developed in markedly different cultural directions, while nevertheless sharing and exchanging a range of important technological innovations. Anfinset chooses to focus his study on the spread of specialized pastoralism and copper metallurgy, emphasizing the importance of ritual practices and alliances as an organizing principle for both. The choice appears to be strongly informed by his own ethnographic exposure to herding societies, in both African and Asian contexts, which has sensitized him to the social and cultural diversity lurking behind such a seductively simple term as `pastoralism', and also to the importance of mobile groups in sustaining large-scale patterns of interaction. From a traditional, social evolutionary standpoint, state formation is often viewed as the key institutional transformation around which studies of Old World prehistory are to

Journal

Journal of African ArchaeologyBrill

Published: Oct 25, 2011

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