Archaeology and Globalization

Hodos, Tamar (ed.) 2017. The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization. Routledge.

This unique collection applies globalization concepts to the discipline of archaeology, using a wide range of global case studies from a group of international specialists. The volume spans from as early as 10,000 cal. BP to the modern era, analysing the relationship between material culture, complex connectivities between communities and groups, and cultural change. Each contributor considers globalization ideas explicitly to explore the socio-cultural connectivities of the past. In considering social practices shared between different historic groups, and also the expression of their respective identities, the papers in this volume illustrate the potential of globalization thinking to bridge the local and global in material culture analysis.
The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization is the first such volume to take a world archaeology approach, on a multi-period basis, in order to bring together the scope of evidence for the significance of material culture in the processes of globalization. This work thus also provides a means to understand how material culture can be used to assess the impact of global engagement in our contemporary world. As such, it will appeal to archaeologists and historians as well as social science researchers interested in the origins of globalization.

There are two papers in this volume dedicated to ancient Iran:

Daniel T. Potts: “Pre-modern globalization and the rediscovery of Iranian antiquity”

The term globalization has a distinctly modern connotation, suggestive of a world ever more tightly integrated by late capitalist modes of economy, transport and communication. Yet periods of geographically broad and culturally diverse integration – in other words, a species of proto-globalization – occurred during the pre-modern era in many parts of the world (this volume: Feinman, Jennings and Knappett). Prior to the spread of Islam, a number of early empires with their capitals in the Near East facilitated contact on many levels over vast distances that, through indirect relationships with neighbouring states, created social and economic networks extending from the Mediterranean to the Korean peninsula. But the purpose of this chapter is not to review the distribution of exotica across the pre-modern empires of the Near East that illustrate pre-modern globalization. Rather, its purpose is to look at how knowledge production about one ancient empire – that of the Achaemenids – saw Iran and Iranian antiquity become part of a phenomenon of knowledge globalization, pre-dating and post-dating the European Enlightenment, by both European and Iranian intellectuals.

Henry P. Colburn: “Globalization and the Study of the Achaemenid Persian Empire”

The Achaemenid Persian Empire was the largest political entity of its day. Founded c.550 bce by Cyrus the Great, it rapidly swallowed up the Median, Lydian and Babylonian kingdoms, adding Egypt c.525. At its greatest extent it extended from the Indus River to the Danube, and included such disparate places as Sogdiana, Egypt, and even, for a time, Athens (Figure 9.4.1). For two centuries it was the dominant political power in the Near East and eastern Mediterranean, until its destruction by Alexander the Great c.330 bce.
In this chapter the author considers how globalization can contribute to our understanding of the Achaemenid Empire. The archaeological study of the empire is characterized by a divide between imperial and local phenomena.