Gift exchange has an important role in the embedded economies of the ancient Near East since the IIIrd millennium BC, as revealed by the administrative texts from Syria and Mesopotamia. Circulation of valuable goods at interregional and international levels can be explained according to a reciprocity model, although it is evident that the complex system of long-distance exchanges was based on an interlaced web of economic procedures involving also the redistributive and archaic market spheres. The detailed registration of weights and values of the goods indicates that through gift exchanges more wide trade systems and networks could be strengthened or created. In this regard, an evaluation of the silver circulation (objects, ingots, rings, scrap metal) which takes into account the archaeological and epigraphic evidences can be useful to shed light on the relation between gifts and trade, since the precious metal was used as a reference-value and a medium of exchange in the pre-coinage economies of the Near East. Specific silver items (i.e. bowls, rings) were exchanged as gifts but they were manufactured according to standardized weights and shapes, thus their ‘value’ was precisely identified and always indicated in the written record. In other cases (i.e. the Egypt-Alashiya exchange of gifts during the Late Bronze Age) the silver ‘value’ of the gifts was indicated, probably revealing that international trade was presented as gift-exchange according to specific socio-ideological and diplomatic mechanisms shared by the elites. The main objective is therefore to analyze the silver economic functions, starting from the material evidence, in relation with the different interaction modes of exchange, ancient mental maps, social and ideological constraints, public and private agencies.

Between the Archaic Market and Gift Exchange: The Role of Silver in the Embedded Economies of the Ancient Near East during the Bronze Age / L. Peyronel (AKADEMIEKONFERENZEN). - In: Gift Giving and the 'Embedded' Economies in the Ancient World / [a cura di] F. Carlà, M. Gori. - Prima edizione. - Heidelberg : Universitätsverlag Winter, 2014. - ISBN 9783825363314. - pp. 355-376 (( convegno From Social Altruism to Commercial Exchange: Gift Giving and the ‘Embedded’ Economy in the Ancient World tenutosi a Heidelberg nel 2012.

Between the Archaic Market and Gift Exchange: The Role of Silver in the Embedded Economies of the Ancient Near East during the Bronze Age

L. Peyronel
2014

Abstract

Gift exchange has an important role in the embedded economies of the ancient Near East since the IIIrd millennium BC, as revealed by the administrative texts from Syria and Mesopotamia. Circulation of valuable goods at interregional and international levels can be explained according to a reciprocity model, although it is evident that the complex system of long-distance exchanges was based on an interlaced web of economic procedures involving also the redistributive and archaic market spheres. The detailed registration of weights and values of the goods indicates that through gift exchanges more wide trade systems and networks could be strengthened or created. In this regard, an evaluation of the silver circulation (objects, ingots, rings, scrap metal) which takes into account the archaeological and epigraphic evidences can be useful to shed light on the relation between gifts and trade, since the precious metal was used as a reference-value and a medium of exchange in the pre-coinage economies of the Near East. Specific silver items (i.e. bowls, rings) were exchanged as gifts but they were manufactured according to standardized weights and shapes, thus their ‘value’ was precisely identified and always indicated in the written record. In other cases (i.e. the Egypt-Alashiya exchange of gifts during the Late Bronze Age) the silver ‘value’ of the gifts was indicated, probably revealing that international trade was presented as gift-exchange according to specific socio-ideological and diplomatic mechanisms shared by the elites. The main objective is therefore to analyze the silver economic functions, starting from the material evidence, in relation with the different interaction modes of exchange, ancient mental maps, social and ideological constraints, public and private agencies.
Settore L-OR/05 - Archeologia e Storia Dell'Arte Del Vicino Oriente Antico
Settore L-OR/01 - Storia del Vicino Oriente Antico
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/578941
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