Evaluating regional mortuary culture during the Southern Mesopotamian Early Dynastic III period
This study aims to assess the validity of the assumption that the shared administrative language of Sumerian in the Southern Mesopotamian EDIII is indicative of a shared cultural practice through the study of burial practices at Kish, Ur and Nippur. It initially assesses the 150 EDIII graves from Kish, 435 from Ur, and 14 from Nippur in isolation. This has allowed for trends present at the individual sites to be identified and then compared against each other in order to establish levels of similarity and difference. This indicates that the sites display diverse, although intersecting, burial practices, which would indicate that the homogeneity of cultural practice between sites has been vastly overstated. However, beyond this surface assessment, this study also addresses the motivations underlying these burial practices and takes the social and political contexts of each site into account. This level of analysis reveals that many disparate burial practices appear to stem from similar underlying cognitions that have manifested in different ways due to the unique contexts of the sites. This allows this study to present a nuanced picture of the complex relationships between burial practices in city states across the Southern Mesopotamian EDIII.