2 Assessing the Politics of Neo-Assyrian Agriculture

Melissa S. Rosenzweig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In this paper, political ecology informs a study of agriculture under the Neo-Assyrian empire. Rather than examining cultivation solely as an economy of subsistence practices, this work considers agrarian laborers, activities, and resources as participants in wider political processes of empire-building. Both material and discursive manipulations of agriculture are discussed in order to demonstrate the ways in which rulers of Neo-Assyria instituted agricultural colonization in Upper Mesopotamia for political gain. An archaeobotanical case study from the provincial capital of Tušhan is then presented to provide a closer look at the impact of these agro-politics on the people and lands in the provinces of the empire. Plant use studies from Tušhan capture the flow of power through agricultural practice, emphasize the Neo-Assyrian monarchy's rhetorical use of agriculture in strategies of imperialism, and, significantly, reveal the shortcomings of the empire's agrarian program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-50
Number of pages21
JournalArcheological Papers of the American Anthropological Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


  • Agriculture
  • Archaeobotany
  • Imperialism
  • Neo-Assyria
  • Political ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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