chapter  2
16 Pages

Material and Craft Networks in the Prehistory of Asia Minor: Transformations in Values and Societies


Exchange networks have become well established in the prehistory of Asia Minor from the Epipalaeolithic onwards, 1 during which obsidian found its way to the Levant. In this chapter, it is argued that despite frequent interactions between the Fertile Crescent and Asia Minor, as manifested primarily, but not only, by obsidian distribution, there was little cultural exchange between the two regions. Instead, it is proposed that the prime incentive of exchange was the procurement of exotic and prestigious materials. By contrast, in the Chalcolithic period of Asia Minor, we can document the rise of exchange-oriented production of labour-intensive goods such as stone vessels and figurines, and, later in the period, metal artefacts. These artefacts originally may have served as a mechanism for the creation and maintenance of long-distance relationships and cultural identities and might have facilitated the rise of stratified societies.