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Establishing Group Boundaries: Toward Methodological Refinement In The Determination Of Sets As A Prior Condition To The Analysis Of Cultural Contact And/Or Innovation In First Millennium B.C.E. Ivory Carving

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Chapter Summary

The present paper constitutes a cry for explicit, rigorous, and consciously- applied criteria in arguments related to the establishment of such sets, using the Phoenician and Syrian luxury goods from the Levant-particularly ivory carving-as the ground from which to then speak about artistic production and cultural contact in the early first millennium B.C.E. The study of innovation requires historical depth: the requisite minimum of two measuring points in some temporal sequence permits demonstration of change from a prior state to a new one. If analytic exercises are used as attempts to reconstruct processes of craft production in the Ancient Near East, then consciousness of methodology and analytical rigor must be important. The chapter presents a preliminary list of elements that could serve as discriminators in such analytical enterprises that it might serve as a starting point for future analysis.

Keywords: Ancient Near East crafts; early first millennium B .C .E.; ivory carving; Levant; Phoenician luxury goods; Syrian luxury goods



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