Empire in the Ancient Near East, Archaeology of

  • Craig W. TysonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_2298-2


The ancient Near East was home to the world’s earliest empires emanating from the great centers of civilization in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Anatolia. The earliest empires date to the end of the third millennium BCE when Sargon of Akkad and his dynasty (c. 2350–2193 BCE), and later the kings from the Third Dynasty of Ur (2111–2004 BCE), integrated large parts of Mesopotamia and projected their influence even further. The second millennium BCE saw the rise and fall of a number of smaller empires that were often vying for political, military, and economic advantage. The Late Bronze Age (c. 1550–1200 BCE) in particular saw continuous competition for territory and power between the Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Mitanni, and Egypt. The collapse of the economic and political system at the end of the Late Bronze Age brought a period of economic and political reshuffling that would eventually give way to the classic “world empires” of the first millennium BCE: the Neo-Assyrian...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Altaweel, M. 2008. The imperial landscape of Ashur: Settlement and land use in the Assyrian heartland. Heidelberg: Heidelberger Orientverlag.Google Scholar
  2. Chase-Dunn, C., and T.D. Hall. 1991. Conceptualizing core/periphery hierarchies for comparative study. In Core/periphery relations in precapitalist worlds, ed. C. Chase-Dunn and T.D. Hall, 5–44. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  3. Cifarelli, M. 2018. East of Assyria? Hasanlu and the problem of Assyrianization. In The periphery in the Neo-Assyrian Period, ed. C.W. Tyson and V.R. Herrmann. Boulder: University of Colorado Press.Google Scholar
  4. Dalley, S., and A. Goguel. 1997. The Sela sculpture: A neo-Babylonian rock relief in southern Jordan. Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 41: 169–176.Google Scholar
  5. Dietler, M. 2010. Archaeologies of colonialism: Consumption, entanglement, and violence in ancient Mediterranean France. Berkeley: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Joffe, A.H. 2002. The rise of secondary states in the Iron Age Levant. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 45: 425–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mallowan, M.E.L. 1978. The Nimrud ivories. London: British Museum Publications Ltd..Google Scholar
  8. Marcus, M.I. 1996. Emblems of identity and prestige: The seals and sealings from Hasanlu, Iran: Commentary and catalog (Hasanlu special studies 3). Philadelphia: The University Museum.Google Scholar
  9. Matthews, R. 2003. The archaeology of Mesopotamia: Theories and approaches. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Oates, J., and D. Oates. 2001. Nimrud: An Assyrian imperial city revealed. London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq.Google Scholar
  11. Parker, B.J. 2001. The mechanics of empire. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.Google Scholar
  12. Russell, J.M. 1991. Sennacherib’s palace without rival at Nineveh. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Sinopoli, C.M. 1994. The archaeology of empires. Annual Review of Anthropology 23: 159–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Sinopoli, C.M. 2001. Empires. In Archaeology at the millennium: A sourcebook, ed. G.M. Feinman and T.D. Price, 439–471. New York: Kluwer Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Tyson, C.W. 2014. The ammonites: Elites, empires, and sociopolitical change (1000–500 BCE). London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark.Google Scholar
  16. Wilkinson, T.J., J. Ur, E.B. Wilkinson, and M. Altaweel. 2005. Landscape and settlement in the Neo-Assyrian empire. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 340: 23–56.Google Scholar
  17. Winter, I.J. 1997. Art in empire: The royal image and the visual dimensions of Assyrian ideology. In Assyria 1995, ed. S. Parpola and R.M. Whiting, 359–381. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.Google Scholar
  18. Zimansky, P.E. 1985. Ecology and empire: The structure of the Urartian state (Studies in ancient oriental civilization 41). Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.Google Scholar

Further Readings

  1. Alcock, S.E., T.N. D’Altroy, K.D. Morrison, and C.M. Sinopoli, eds. 2001. Empires: Perspectives from archaeology and history. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. D’Altroy, T.N. 1992. Provincial power in the Inka empire. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
  3. MacGinnis, J., D. Wicke, and T. Greenfield, eds. 2016. The provincial archaeology of the Assyrian empire. Cambridge, UK: MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.Google Scholar
  4. Morris, I., and W. Scheidel. 2010. The dynamics of ancient empires: State power from Assyria to Byzantium. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Smith, M.E., and L. Montiel. 2001. The archaeological study of empires and imperialism in pre-Hispanic central Mexico. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 20: 245–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Tyson, C.W. and V.R. Herrmann. 2018. The periphery in the neo-Assyrian period. Boulder: University of Colorado Press.Google Scholar
  7. Van De Mieroop, M. 2007. A history of the ancient near east ca. 3000–323. 2nd ed. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.D’Youville CollegeBuffaloUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Laura Culbertson
    • 1
  1. 1.American Military UniversityCincinnatiUSA