chapter  8
38 Pages

CRAFTS AND CRAFT PRODUCTION

The archaeological record of the Syrian Euphrates well attests to the production of metalwork, textiles, pottery, and other crafted materials. It confirms not only regular, recurring production but also one that was sometimes organized on a scale featuring well appointed workshops and craft specialists. A full picture, however, of the nature and scale of craft production in this region during the third millennium is somewhat difficult to reconstruct owing to a number of factors. The first problem is related to issues of archaeological preservation. We are certain, for example, that some materials, such as leather, hides, wool and wood, were worked into finished products just as they were in other parts of Greater Mesopotamia (Stol 1983; Van de Mieroop 1987; Pollock 1999: 128, 138; Nichols and Weber in press), but their non-permanent, perishable composition makes it impossible to verify their presence. Facilities and tools that probably assisted in transforming these materials into finished, consumable products may also have suffered from the vicissitudes of time and nature.