Steps toward the study of seasonality and trade: Synchronizing highland and lowland rhythms of material exchange
Toby C. Wilkinson, 2015

For the most part, the study of large-scale trade and exchange in the ancient world remains distanced from the physical hardships of real human travel. Ancient trade or, more neutrally, ancient ‘interaction’ is often discussed as if it took place between actors who inhabited a flat and unchanging spatial surface. In fact, topography, climate and seasonality are essential to understanding the changing forms and intensity of human travel that enabled ‘interdependence’ between communities of the Near East.

In this exploratory essay I want to focus on two aspects of archaeological rhetoric: one textual and one visual, which together frame and inform our discussions of interconnectivity between highlands and lowlands. I ask you to forgive the fact that this is a rather preliminary foray into the topic of seasonality: nonetheless, I hope it might stimulate further discussion on how we might shift our practices to enable a more nuanced discussion of interconnectivity, interdependence and trans-regional exchange in the past and present.