Patricia Wattenmaker

Associate Professor

Ph.D. University of Michigan 1990


Southwest Asia, complex societies, political economy, regional analysis, zooarchaeology.

My research focuses on the archaeology of complex societies, particularly those in the ancient Near East. I am currently involved in a long-term archaeological project in southeast Turkey, examining the formation and organizational dynamics of complex societies in Upper Mesopotamia from 5500- 2000 B.C. One component of my research in Turkey involved excavating at a town site. I was particularly interested in how and why non-elite households altered their patterns of production and consumption as state society formed. I considered how elite values, consumption patterns, and tributary demands impacted non-elite production and consumption. Building on this study of rural households, I am now conducting excavations at the urban site of Kazane to examine the long-term interaction between households and polities. Current research at the site focuses on the period of urbanism to determine why urban societies formed in north Mesopotamia ca. 2500 B.C. Future research will investigate the antecedents of urban society.

In addition to research in Turkey, I have investigated complex societies in Syria (looking at urbanism through regional survey) and North Africa (Egypt and Morocco, where I utilized both historical records and faunal remains to examine the impact of broad political and economic changes on households). Some of my recent papers include an analysis of collapsed state societies in Upper Mesopotamia, a critique of world systems theory as applied to ancient Mesopotamia, and consideration of the relationship between political structure and gender relations in Greater Mesopotamia.

Selected Publications

1998 - Household and State in Upper Mesopotamia: Specialized Economy and the Social Uses of Goods in an Early Complex Society. Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Institution Press.

1994 - Political Fluctuations and Local Exchange Systems: Evidence from the Early Bronze Age Settlements at Kurban Häyük. In Chiefdoms and Early States in the Near East: The Organizational Dynamics of Complexity. G. Stein and M. Rothman, eds. Pp. 193-208. Madison: Prehistory Press.

1994 - Household Economy in Early State Society: Material Value, Productive Context and Spheres of Exchange. In Economic Anthropology of the State. E. Brumfiel, ed. Pp. 93-118. Lanham: University Press of America.

1994 - State Formation and the Organization of Domestic Craft Production at Third Millennium B.C. Kurban Köyük, Southeast Turkey. In Village Communities in Early Complex Societies. Glenn Schwartz and Steven Falconer, eds. Pp.109-120. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

1990 - The 1987 Tel Leilan Survey: Preliminary Report. MASCA Journal 7:8-18.