Borenstein, Gabrielle: Travel Grant - 2017-2018

Graduate School
Project Title: 
The Logics of Egalitarianism: Materiality and Meaning Making in the Kura-Araxes Horizon (3500-2400 BCE)
Project Abstract: 
My research seeks to develop a social archaeology of the Early Bronze Age horizon known as the Kura-Araxes (3500-2400 BCE). At its height, the Kura-Araxes was arguably the most widespread cultural horizon in the ancient Near East. Marked by a common artifactual assemblage, scholars have emphasized the degree of material uniformity and geographical extent of the culture. The nature of Kura-Araxes expansion, however, remains largely elusive. It is unclear how–and why–this seemingly homogenous culture spread over such a vast territorial expanse without political institutions of coercion. Using the site of Gegharot in Armenia as a case study, my work considers if and how the material manifestations of religious practice secured the production of an egalitarian social order and created the conditions for cultural expansion. This proposal seeks travel funding for excavation and collections study in Armenia. Building upon my 2016 pilot research, this work will allow me to continue data collection for my dissertation.