Ruin dynamics: Architectural destruction and the production of sedentary space at the dawn of the Neolithic revolution

Abstract : Monumental architecture in Levantine sites such as Jerf el-Ahmar, Go¨bekli Tepe, or Jericho appears to play an important role in place-making practices and in the organization of a possibly hierarchical sociopolitical life at the very beginning of the Neolithic. This paper focuses on an underdeveloped aspect of this phenomenon: all these buildings were ritually destroyed in a highly spectacular and costly fashion. Their ruins were purposefully curated and accumulated. Far from being static remains, these structures are the meaningful result of the dynamic re-production of monumental space and of its inscription in the landscape. Understanding these actions calls for decentering the dominant vision of architectural valuation associated primarily with ideas of ‘‘creation’’ or ‘‘heritage.’’ Architectural destruction, I shall finally claim, may well be more significant than construction for understanding the Neolithic consolidation of sedentism in the Near East.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 3, 2018 - 8:59:41 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 9:29:14 AM

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Rémi Hadad. Ruin dynamics: Architectural destruction and the production of sedentary space at the dawn of the Neolithic revolution. Journal of Social Archaeology, SAGE Publications, 2019, 19 (1), pp.146960531879424. ⟨10.1177/1469605318794241⟩. ⟨hal-01943530⟩

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