Article excerpt

GREGORY L. POSSEHL. The Indus civilization: a contemporary perspective. xi+276 pages, 192 figures, 46 tables. 2002. Walnut Creek (CA): Altamira; 0-7591-0171-X hardback $80, 07591-0172-8 paperback $29.95.

A succinct but thorough and comprehensive textbook, readable, clearly arranged and invitingly designed, The Indus is a most welcome guide to a topic widely known of but not easy, until now, to learn more about. Prof. POSSEHL puts the Indus into the context of the 'Middle Asian Interaction Sphere', all across to the Euphrates.

GIL J. STEIN. Rethinking world-systems: diasporas, colonies, and interaction in Uruk Mesopotamia. xv+207 pages, 24 figures, 4 tables. 1999. Tucson (AZ): University of Arizona Press; 0-8165-2009-7 hardback $40.

J.N. POSTGATE (ed.). Artefacts of complexity: tracking the Uruk in the Near East (Iraq Archaeological Reports Vol. 5). vi+258 pages, 159 b&w & colour figures, 15 tables. 2002. Warminster: Aris & Phillips; 0-85668-736-7 paperback 55 [pounds sterling] & US$99.

ROGER MATTHEWS. Secrets of the dark mound: Jemdet Nasr 1926-1928 (Iraq Archaeological Reports Vol. 6). xiii+192 pages, 62 figures, 48 plates, 2 tables. 2002. Warminster: Aris & Phillips; 0-85668-735-9 paperback 48 [pounds sterling] & US$90.

GEORGINA HERRMANN, HELENA COFFEY & STUART LAIDLAW. The published ivories from Fort Shalmaneser, Nimrud: a scanned archive of photographs. 183 pages, figures, CD-ROM. 2004. n.p.: British School of Archaeology in Iraq; 0-903472163 paperback 18 [pounds sterling].

HARRIET CRAWFORD. Sumer and the Sumerians (2nd ed.). x+252 pages, 95 figures. 2004. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 0521-82596-2 hardback 45 [pounds sterling] & US$75, 0-52153338-4 paperback 19.99 [pounds sterling] & US$31.99.

For the earlier period, Dr STEIN'S concise case study reviews the state of the art for 'world-system theory' and the application to archaeology before turning to, first, the Uruk evidence in general and then his own site, Hacinebi, in particular. Arguing that 'The world-system model' has been abused, he demands more detailed research in order to recognise agency at the 'periphery'. Prof. POSTGATE introduces eleven papers, starting with Uruk itself (H. Nissen) and going on to cover Nineveh (R. Gut), Tepe Gawra (M. Rothman), Godin Tepe (V. Badler), and Brak (J. Oates). There follow reviews of evidence from northern Mesopotamia (M. Frangipane) and Hacinebi (Stein), the Levant (G. Philip) and Egypt (Toby Wilkinson), plus reports on pottery from the Middle and Upper Euphrates (F. Stephen & E. Peltenburg) and households at Jebel Aruda (G. van Driel). Dr MATTHEWS has assessed the features and finds from Jemdet Nasr, including the pottery, sickles, and writing: 'impressions on clay' reveal 'mats very much in the style employed to this day'; in all, 'a hazy and shimmering picture' of a site probably but one in 'a loose network ... engaged in ... almost chaotic ... co-operation' (p. 35) ... To supplement previous publications, Dr HERRMANN et al. have published hundreds of pictures of the ivories organised by the rooms in which they were found.

Sumer has been enhanced with more attention to the economy and a new chapter on Upper Mesopotamia.

CHARLES BURNEY. Historical dictionary of the Hittites (Historical Dictionaries of Ancient Civilizations & Historical Eras No. 14). xxxiii+365 pages, 39 figures, 1 table. 2004. Lanham (MD): Scarecrow Press; 0-8108-4936-4 hardback 61 [pounds sterling].

From 'Absolute chronology', 'Acemhoyuk' or 'bead-rim bowls' to 'Lawrence, Thomas Edward', 'Muwatalli I', 'tin' and 'Zippalanda', the latest of the Historical Dictionaries maintains the standards of the series (although the photographs add little). 'Emerging from the ever-increasing body of data ... is a kaleidoscope ... on which unanimity is never likely to be achieved' (p. xxxiii). …