The archaeological study of neighborhoods and districts in ancient cities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

97 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The spatial division of cities into residential zones is a universal feature of urban life from the earliest cities to the present. I propose a two-level classification of such zones that archaeologists can use to analyze preindustrial cities. Neighborhoods are small areas of intensive face-to-face social interaction, whereas districts are larger areas that serve as administrative units within cities. I review comparative historical data on neighborhoods and districts and outline archaeological methods for their identification and analysis. Illustrative cases are drawn from Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica, and I conclude with a review of the major top-down and bottom-up social forces that generate and shape neighborhoods and districts in preindustrial cities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-154
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Fingerprint

district
present
interaction
Ancient City
Archaeology
Mesoamerica
Urban Life
Top-down
Archaeological Method
Bottom-up
Mesopotamia
Social Interaction
Archaeologists

Keywords

  • Cities
  • Communities
  • Comparative analysis
  • Districts
  • Neighborhoods
  • Urbanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Archaeology
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Archaeology

Cite this

The archaeological study of neighborhoods and districts in ancient cities. / Smith, Michael.

In: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, Vol. 29, No. 2, 06.2010, p. 137-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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