economyThis workshop aims to attract all those in Topoi (and beyond) interested in discussing and reflecting on diverse aspects of economic and political interaction in the ancient world, but choosing a specific focus to keep ourselves from wandering. Our concept is that by allowing ample time for both the invited participant speakers and those interested to pose questions and discuss some of the issues related to this theme, we can gain an idea of how one can develop certain approaches.

The workshop is organised with three days of papers and discussions centring on trade, trade networks, identities, etc., but concentrating specifically on contacts in the peripheral zones of ancient empires. We begin with a broad treatment of empires, states, and early trade from the 4th Millennium BC through the end of the Roman Empire. From there, we go on to discussions of models, themes, case studies, geographical issues, and theoretical approaches.

The workshop is meant to offer a platform for discussing and reflecting on the factors characterizing or distinguishing aspects of the ancient economies but narrowing down the focus to the question of the fringes (which necessarily allows room for issues relating to overall activity where relevant). Obviously, questions relating to the formation and transformation of economic space are central, but the discussions should hardly be restricted to this theme, as we must also accommodate identities and specialisation, etc. In principle, the relevance of networking, core-periphery relations and globalisation (insofar as this latter term can be viewed as justifiable) would have their place, but the nature of, e.g., borders may prove to be more important in determining behaviour. Thus one can go into depth or propose alternative paths to explore. For example, some types of interaction might have evolved so much that they are not really comparable, while other types might offer fundamental insights into the ancient world. And both issues are of considerable importance for understanding the ancient world – and how to approach it. Developments in identity, technology, skills and material culture are among the subjects discussed here.

The workshop is prefaced with an evening lecture (in German) on June 25 at 6:00 PM by M. Weszeli on water transport in Mesopotamia, illustrating one aspect of connections in these economies.

To facilitate our planning, please send a note to by June 20, 2014, if you plan to attend the workshop.


18:00 - 20:00
Wassertransport in Mesopotamien in der Mittleren und Späten Bronze- sowie in der Eisenzeit
Lecture within the workshop "Economic and Political Interaction on the Edges of the Ancient Empires" and lecture series "Archäologie und Ökonomie" at the Topoi-Building Dahlem
Michaela WeszeliUniversität Wien, Austria
09:00 - 09:15
Greetings and Introduction
Kerstin P. HofmannDAI Römisch-Germanische Kommission (RGK), Frankfurt a.M.
Michael MeyerInstitut für Prähistorische Archäologie, Freie Universität Berlin
David Alan WarburtonExcellence Cluster Topoi
09:14 - 11:15
Chair: Michael Meyer
09:15 - 09:45
Reinhard BernbeckInstitut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie, Freie Universität Berlin
09:45 - 10:15
Producing Income and Re-Producing Identity: The Long-Term Trajectory of a Mesopotamian Trade Diaspora in the 4th Millennium BC
Gil SteinUniversity of Chicago, USA
10:15 - 10:45
The Rise of Globalization: Long-Distance Trade and State Development in Western Asia, ca. 3000 - 1500 BCE
Gojko Barjamovic Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA)
10:45 - 11:45
11:15 - 11:30
Coffee break
11:29 - 13:00
Chair: Reinhard Bernbeck
11:30 - 12:00
Networks and Identities in an Early Bronze Age Metallurgical Centre at Çukuriçi Höyük in Western Anatolia
Barbara HorejsÖsterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
12:00 - 12:30
Long-distance Trade and Identity: Cultural Encounters in Objects and Practice in Western Asia c. 2000-1500 BCE
Agnete Wisti LassenYale University, New Haven CT, USA
12:30 - 13:00
13:00 - 14:00
Lunch break
13:59 - 16:00
Chair: Kerstin Hofmann
14:00 - 14:30
Identities and Exchange in the Minoan and Mycenaean Worlds
Irene Nikolakopoulou Archaeological Institute of Aegean Studies
14:30 - 15:00
Economics, Political Practices and Identities on the Nile: Convergence and Conflicts at the End of the Second Intermediate Period
Roxana Flammini Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina
15:00 - 15:30
Central or Marginal? Insularity and Interaction in the Central Mediterranean Bronze Age
Helen DawsonTopoi, Freie Universität Berlin
15:30 - 16:00
16:00 - 16:15
Coffee break
16:14 - 18:00
16:15 - 16:45
Roman Imports in the Barbaricum: Economic Influences or Cultural Encounters?
Michael MeyerInstitut für Prähistorische Archäologie, Freie Universität Berlin
Stefan SchreiberInstitut für Prähistorische Archäologie, Freie Universität Berlin
16:45 - 17:15
Contested Borders, Contested Loyalties. The Ostrogothic Defense of the Hesperia
Kai GrundmannFriedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin
17:15 - 17:45
Variations on a Theme of Empire: Comparing Mediterranean Imperial Systems in the Longue Durée
John BintliffFaculteit Archeologie, Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands
17:45 - 18:15
09:59 - 11:45
10:00 - 10:30
Tracing Networks: Crafts, Knowledge and the Movement of Ideas in Antiquity
Lin FoxhallUniversity of Leicester, UK
10:30 - 11:00
Changing Commerce and Merchant Power in the Indian Ocean: Impacts on Afro-Asian Core and Peripheral Polities, ca. 300 BCE - 1800 CE.
Rahul OkaUniversity of Notre Dame du Lac, Indiana, USA
11:00 - 11:45
11:45 - 12:30
Lunch break
12:30 - 14:30
Discussion: World Systems and Networking
Chair: Helen Dawson
14:30 - 15:00
Coffee break
15:00 - 17:00
Discussion: Central Place and Central Flow; Markets
Chair: Daniel Knitter
19:00 - 22:00
10:00 - 12:00
Discussion: Borders (Temporal, Geographical, Ethnical, etc.)
Chair: David Warburton
12:00 - 12:30
Lunch break
12:30 - 14:30
Discussion: Comparing Anatolian Interaction with Interaction along the Limes in Germany/ Europe
Chair: Michael Meyer
14:30 - 14:45
Coffee break
14:45 - 16:45
Discussion: Diasporas
Chair: Gil Stein
16:45 - 17:00
Coffee break
17:00 - 19:00
Discussion: Innovations and Skills
Chair: Christian Barth