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Type: Paper
Paper Title: CITY AND COUNTRYSIDE, TEXT AND IMAGE: MODELLING WHAT WE CAN'T KNOW FOR ANCIENT EGYPT
Author: JOHN BAINES (University of Oxford)   
Date/Time: Thu., 11:00 AM
Co-Author(s): JOHN BAINES (University of Oxford) 
Abstract: Norman Yoffee continues to make fundamental contributions to understanding ancient cities, their relations with one another and their hinterlands, and the “ruralization” attendant on explosive urban growth. In his core area of ancient Mesopotamia, he has addressed how cities dominate the material record, and in many respects the ancient ideology. Cities also produce the vast majority of written sources. Ancient Egypt, the parallel civilization from the same period, is in some ways exceptional in its configuration. What is seen as characteristic of its social forms relates in part to the source base, which is as much visual as textual, deriving largely from mortuary contexts. Archaeology has difficulty in addressing the ancient countryside, especially in a floodplain environment that is now very densely settled. Yet while the countryside may not be directly accessible, conceptions of it are richly displayed, especially in images. Positive “ruralizing” values can be contrasted with urbanizing ones that may devalue the rural world. This paper proposes a counternarrative, based primarily on depictions of rural activities. The resulting picture can be set against both material evidence derived from city sites and ideological visions found in texts. Both for Egypt and for Mesopotamia, all these visions belonged to elites and partook in elite exploitation of the wider population. Is there any way in which they tended nonetheless to mitigate distinctions between elites and others? This question about functions of ancient ideologies is close to recurring themes in Yoffee’s work.

Program Number: 2-0225
Session Title: COUNTERNARRATIVES OF STATE, CIVILIZATION, AND HISTORY: PAPERS IN HONOR OF NORMAN YOFFEE
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 8:00 AM-11:45 AM
Organizer(s): GEOFF EMBERLING, ADAM SMITH (University of Chicago), LORI KHATCHADOURIAN (Cornell University) 
Chair(s): GEOFF EMBERLING, ADAM SMITH (University of Chicago), LORI KHATCHADOURIAN (Cornell University)  
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