Deutsch Intern
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FOR 2757 (2019 - 2023)

Subproject A: Near Eastern Archaeology

Boğazköy: Local Self-Governance in Central Anatolia from the Iron Age to the end of the Roman era (ca. 1100 BC to 400 AD)

The long-standing excavations of the German Archaeological Institute in the ruins of the Hittite capital Hattusha (an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site) have produced a large variety of findings and finds beyond the Late Bronze Age, especially from the entire 1st millennium BC and the 1st-4th centuries AD. Starting from the premise that social practices are reflected in archaeologically visible, material culture, these will form the basis for an investigation of local self-governance in Central Anatolia during this period. The rich archaeological material reveals strong fluctuations in statehood between egalitarian structures, local forms of state hierarchies and the integration of the settlement into large-scale imperial systems during the observation period. The changes versus the continuity in the settlement structure, the various architectural forms and other elements of material culture (especially ceramics and prestige goods) reveal what level of complexity of statehood could be achieved under the respective conditions. The archaeologically visible differences reflect the field of tension between local self-organizing and general state governance, on the basis of which the forms and the scope of self-governance can be identified. In this way, it is possible to show how society organized itself under changing political and economic conditions and to what extent governance imposed by a central state was able to shape long-lasting regional and local structures. In the absence of written traditions, the possibilities for making detailed statements are somewhat limited, but this approach makes clear, on the one hand, how certain forms of governance and self-governance are reflected in the material culture; and, on the other hand, thanks to the length of the observation period, it is possible to distinguish between constant factors with long-term effects that can hardly be influenced by individuals (e.g. geographical factors) and the elements of cultural or social developments, that can be changed through human action, and to define their respective effectiveness.