Meat distribution in late Uruk diacritical feasts: second-order bookkeeping techniques and their institutional context in late fourth millennium BCE mesopotamia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Colleges, School and Institutes


The decisive question, if we are to make sense of meat distributions in the Late Uruk period (ca. 3300–3000 BCE), is how were the individual units or portions defined. Since only some individuals within the major institutions received meat rations (and multiple portions are closely linked to the highest levels within these hierarchies), the identification of this metric and its metrology within the Late Uruk documentation is of central importance to the question of Late Uruk diacritical feasting. Unlike feast ledgers such as MSVO 1, 93, which document how various different economic sectors contributed to a single festive event, the Late Uruk accountants were also rather fond of second-order descriptions of meat distributions, what we might these days see as a kind of auditing. These auditing records focus exclusively on the distribution of portions of meat and seem to be rooted in the organisation and hierarchy of individual offices within a concrete institution. For lack of a better name, we can refer to this unnamed entity as the UKKIN institution on the basis of a well-known lexical list that seems to have originated as its organisational plan


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCulture and cognition
Subtitle of host publicationessays in honor of Peter Damerow
Publication statusPublished - 2018