Painted Pottery from the Samarra Culture

Painted Pottery from the Samarra Culture


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Samara culture

Samara culture is the archaeological term for an eneolithic culture that bloomed around the turn of the 5th millennium BC, [note 1] located in the Samara bend region of the upper Volga River (modern Russia). The Samara culture is regarded as related to contemporaneous or subsequent prehistoric cultures of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, such as the Khvalynsk, Repin and Yamna (or Yamnaya) cultures. [1] The Proto-Indo-European homeland is often linked to one or more of these cultures.

Samara culture
Geographical rangeMiddle Volga
PeriodEneolithic
Dates5th millennium BC
Preceded by?
Followed byKhvalynsk culture


Forget-me-not

The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

War in the Fertile Crescent
https://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent

Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.


Samarra culture

1914 by the German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld. Samarra became the type site for the Samarra culture Since 1946, the notebooks, letters, unpublished
Samarra is a city in central Iraq, which served as the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate from 836 to 892. Founded by the caliph al - Mu tasim, Samarra was
The excavations have revealed 16 occupation layers, ranging from the Samarra culture sixth millennium BCE up to the ninth century CE. The finds of level
include painted, incised, and painted - incised ware. The decoration of the Samarra Painted Fine Ware is always monochrome, but it seems as if three types
kilometres 68 mi north of Baghdad, and south of Samarra The site is a primarily Ubaid, Hassuna, and Samarra culture occupation with some later Babylonian graves
shores of the Persian Gulf. This phase, showing clear connection to the Samarra culture to the north, saw the establishment of the first permanent settlement
Halafian adoption of the Ubaid culture which is supported by most scholars including Oates, Breniquet and Akkermans. Samarra culture Mario Liverani 2013 The
in northern Mesopotamia Akarcay Tepe II The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to
Reconstitution of Neolithic dwelling in northern Mesopotamia Akarcay Tepe II Samarra culture Levantine pottery The oldest pottery Neolithic of Upper Mesopotamia :
Abdullah Sallum al - Samarra i 1932 1996 was an Iraqi Ba athist politician and leading member of the Arab Socialist Ba ath Party in Iraq. He was a member
Dark Faced Burnished Ware and a Fine Ware that resembled Hassuna Ware and Samarra Ware. Bowls and jars often had angled necks and ornate geometric designs

in the world. In 836 the caliph al - Mu tasim transferred the capital to Samarra The Abbasids began to lose control over the outlying parts of the empire
derived from the Samarra culture to the north, characterised by the building of canals, and mud - brick buildings. The fisher - hunter cultures of the Arabian
geometrical shapes, and a few ibex designs. The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to
Ceramics or Incised Ware culture and falls within the Danubian I culture of V. Gordon Childe. The densest evidence for the culture is on the middle Danube
in Samarra Bahjat was born in Samarra Her mother was a Shia and her father a Sunni. Bahjat began her career working as a reporter in the culture department
Abbasid s official secretaries who had purchased land for the founding of Samarra flogged him 18 lashes and he was incarcerated in Baghdad in the Matbaq
Imhof, Traditio vel Aemulatio? The Singing Contest of Sāmarrā Expression of a Medieval Culture of Competition Der Islam, 90 2013 1 - 20 p. 4 DOI
النجف An Nasiriyah الناصرية Al - Qa im القائم As Samawah السماوه Samarra سامراء Al - Shamia الشامية Ar Ramadi الرمادي Ar Rutbah الرطبة As
25.95000 N 32.73333 E 25.95000 32.73333 The Naqada culture is an archaeological culture of Chalcolithic Predynastic Egypt ca. 4400 3000 BC named
Yarmukian culture Hebrew: ה ת ר ב ו ת ה י ר מו כ ית was a Pottery Neolithic A PNA culture of the ancient Levant. It was the first culture in prehistoric

Uralic studies v.10, Leiden, 2005, ISBN 978 - 90 - 04 - 14252 - 7 Samarcande et Samarra Elites d Asie centrale dans l empire abbasside, Peeters, Louvain, 2007
material has been found include Tell Shemshara. The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to
The Badarian culture provides the earliest direct evidence of agriculture in Upper Egypt during the Predynastic Era. It flourished between 4400 and 4000 BCE
The Peiligang culture was a Neolithic culture in the Yi - Luo river basin in modern Henan Province, China that existed from 7000 to 5000 BC. Over 100
the caliphs from Baghdad, as they made the recently constructed city of Samarra their new capital. When Ishaq died in 849 he was succeeded first by two
under Umayyad rule. Their name, in fact, may be derived from the city of Samarra in Iraq. They sometimes are claimed to be of Rajput descent, although no
Imhof, Traditio vel Aemulatio? The Singing Contest of Sāmarrā Expression of a Medieval Culture of Competition Der Islam, 90 2013 1 - 20 p. 1 DOI
Anarchy at Samarra which lasted until 870 and brought the Abbasid Caliphate to the brink of collapse. Thoroughly assimilated into the Arabic culture with
Amratian culture also called Naqada I, was a culture of prehistoric Upper Egypt. It lasted approximately from 4000 to 3500 BC. The Amratian culture is named

  • 1914 by the German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld. Samarra became the type site for the Samarra culture Since 1946, the notebooks, letters, unpublished
  • Samarra is a city in central Iraq, which served as the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate from 836 to 892. Founded by the caliph al - Mu tasim, Samarra was
  • The excavations have revealed 16 occupation layers, ranging from the Samarra culture sixth millennium BCE up to the ninth century CE. The finds of level
  • include painted, incised, and painted - incised ware. The decoration of the Samarra Painted Fine Ware is always monochrome, but it seems as if three types
  • kilometres 68 mi north of Baghdad, and south of Samarra The site is a primarily Ubaid, Hassuna, and Samarra culture occupation with some later Babylonian graves
  • shores of the Persian Gulf. This phase, showing clear connection to the Samarra culture to the north, saw the establishment of the first permanent settlement
  • Halafian adoption of the Ubaid culture which is supported by most scholars including Oates, Breniquet and Akkermans. Samarra culture Mario Liverani 2013 The
  • in northern Mesopotamia Akarcay Tepe II The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to
  • Reconstitution of Neolithic dwelling in northern Mesopotamia Akarcay Tepe II Samarra culture Levantine pottery The oldest pottery Neolithic of Upper Mesopotamia :
  • Abdullah Sallum al - Samarra i 1932 1996 was an Iraqi Ba athist politician and leading member of the Arab Socialist Ba ath Party in Iraq. He was a member
  • Dark Faced Burnished Ware and a Fine Ware that resembled Hassuna Ware and Samarra Ware. Bowls and jars often had angled necks and ornate geometric designs
  • in the world. In 836 the caliph al - Mu tasim transferred the capital to Samarra The Abbasids began to lose control over the outlying parts of the empire
  • derived from the Samarra culture to the north, characterised by the building of canals, and mud - brick buildings. The fisher - hunter cultures of the Arabian
  • geometrical shapes, and a few ibex designs. The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to
  • Ceramics or Incised Ware culture and falls within the Danubian I culture of V. Gordon Childe. The densest evidence for the culture is on the middle Danube
  • in Samarra Bahjat was born in Samarra Her mother was a Shia and her father a Sunni. Bahjat began her career working as a reporter in the culture department
  • Abbasid s official secretaries who had purchased land for the founding of Samarra flogged him 18 lashes and he was incarcerated in Baghdad in the Matbaq
  • Imhof, Traditio vel Aemulatio? The Singing Contest of Sāmarrā Expression of a Medieval Culture of Competition Der Islam, 90 2013 1 - 20 p. 4 DOI
  • النجف An Nasiriyah الناصرية Al - Qa im القائم As Samawah السماوه Samarra سامراء Al - Shamia الشامية Ar Ramadi الرمادي Ar Rutbah الرطبة As
  • 25.95000 N 32.73333 E 25.95000 32.73333 The Naqada culture is an archaeological culture of Chalcolithic Predynastic Egypt ca. 4400 3000 BC named
  • Yarmukian culture Hebrew: ה ת ר ב ו ת ה י ר מו כ ית was a Pottery Neolithic A PNA culture of the ancient Levant. It was the first culture in prehistoric
  • Uralic studies v.10, Leiden, 2005, ISBN 978 - 90 - 04 - 14252 - 7 Samarcande et Samarra Elites d Asie centrale dans l empire abbasside, Peeters, Louvain, 2007
  • material has been found include Tell Shemshara. The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to
  • The Badarian culture provides the earliest direct evidence of agriculture in Upper Egypt during the Predynastic Era. It flourished between 4400 and 4000 BCE
  • The Peiligang culture was a Neolithic culture in the Yi - Luo river basin in modern Henan Province, China that existed from 7000 to 5000 BC. Over 100
  • the caliphs from Baghdad, as they made the recently constructed city of Samarra their new capital. When Ishaq died in 849 he was succeeded first by two
  • under Umayyad rule. Their name, in fact, may be derived from the city of Samarra in Iraq. They sometimes are claimed to be of Rajput descent, although no
  • Imhof, Traditio vel Aemulatio? The Singing Contest of Sāmarrā Expression of a Medieval Culture of Competition Der Islam, 90 2013 1 - 20 p. 1 DOI
  • Anarchy at Samarra which lasted until 870 and brought the Abbasid Caliphate to the brink of collapse. Thoroughly assimilated into the Arabic culture with
  • Amratian culture also called Naqada I, was a culture of prehistoric Upper Egypt. It lasted approximately from 4000 to 3500 BC. The Amratian culture is named

Hassuna culture.

The Hassuna culture is a Neolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia dating to the early sixth millennium BC. It is named after the type site of Tell Hassuna in Iraq. Other sites where Hassuna material has been found include Tell Shemshara. Early Agricultural Settlements in the Sinjar Plain, Northern Iraq. Samarra culture Самаррская культура. Making Samarra Fine Ware JStor. View of mihrab in the Great Mosque of al Mutawakkil in Samarra, For the Art and Material Culture of the Middle East, University of Oxford. Gemita Samarra @gemitasamarra Instagram photos and videos. The main objective of this assessment is to analyze if markets will be able to respond to increased demand resulting from the introduction of.

Samarra culture pedia.

Samarra became the type site for the Samarra culture. Since 1946, the notebooks​, letters, unpublished excavation reports and photographs have been in the. Saving Iraqs Cultural Heritage Middle East Institute. Ubaid culture originated in the south, but still has clear connections to earlier cultures in the region of middle Iraq. The appearance of the Ubaid folk has sometimes. Mesopotamia: Earliest Cultures Infoplease. Samarra tradition and start of Ubaid tradition. the Halafian culture reach into higher regions, such as material culture, including tholoi, high proportions of.

Category:Samarra Period media Commons.

The Ubaid material culture, including ceramic decorative styles, artifact types and architectural forms, existed between about 7300 6100 years. Samarra World Heritage Site. This phase, showing a clear connection to the Samarra culture to the north, established the first permanent settlement south of the 5 inch rainfall isohyet. Ubaid period Sumer a Fandom. Find samarra culture stock images in HD and millions of other royalty free stock photos, illustrations and vectors in the Shutterstock collection. Thousands of new​.

Samarra culture Visually.

SAMARRA There is evidence of a prehistoric Chalcolithic culture around Samarra, but the site was only sparsely populated in ancient times. Ubaidian Culture and the Roots of Mesopotamia ThoughtCo. Also known as: Samarra. Scope note: Material Culture: Chalcolithic, Early Islamic​. Production Place: Iraq. For the Department of the Middle East, this usually. AKDCs Visual Resources Librarian to present on marble. Our Samarra material also showed relationships with the true southern cultures of the Eridu ca. 5300 5000 B.C. Hajji Muhammad Ubaid sequence. One sherd of.

Search Results Archaeology Wordsmith.

The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic. Chalcolithic copper mine in Timna Valley, Negev Desert, Israel. Painting of a Copper Age walled settlement, Los Millares,. Hassuna Samarra Halaf. Quasi polity ♧ Samarra and Halaf culture ♥ The Halaf Ubaid identity and culture, especially in northern. Samarra British Museum. Archaeological culture a bounded and binding ethnic cultural unit Early Chalcolithic cultures in the Near East: Halaf, Early Ubaid and. Full article: Different types of egalitarian societies and the. Technologies and economic and cultural interactions. Through high resolution analysis of a comprehensive glass assemblage from Samarra.

Samarra culture zero.

C. 5500 – c. 4800 BCE. The Culture of Design and Production in Abbasid Samarra. Iraqs cultural history spans some 10.000 years and is home to more than 10.000 heritage sites including the former Assyrian capital Samarra,.

Samarra Rises History Smithsonian Magazine.

Gemita Samarra. Stunt Performer ‍♀️ Photo by Gemita Samarra in British Columbia with @paulnicklen. Image may Memes Culture Comedy. Follow. Samarra New World Encyclopedia. The paper discusses the culture of design produced by a particular patronage pattern of city building the case study is that of Samarra in the 9th century.

Expedition to Northern Iraq Nature.

Samarra culture. archaeological culture. In more languages. Spanish. No label defined. No description defined. Traditional Chinese. No label. Ancient Near East Cultures, Civilizations & Empires Middle East. This involved the probable emergence of multi settlement cultural units whose members This contrasts with the contemporary Samarra Culture further south. Samarra Trip Planner Plan your Samarra vacation itinerary. Also known as: Herzfeld Sketchbook VII Excavation of Samarra Iraq Finds, Sketchbook VII: Herzfeld Sketchbook VII. Author editor: Herzfeld, Ernst.

Ubaid Seshat: Global History Databank.

A detailed comparison of the Halaf culture of northern Mesopotamia and eastern Anatolia with the Samarra and Ubaid cultures of central and. Samarran Culture definition of Samarran Culture by The Free. Other smaller but still important early cultures are the Samarra culture and the Hassuna culture. Unfortunately, it is difficult to say much more.

Samarra Culture Images, Stock Photos & Vectors Shutterstock.

From the pre WWI excavations at Samarra, including ceramics of both the 7th millennium BC Samarra culture and the 9th century AD Abbasid caliphate. Transition from Stone Age to Bronze Age Hassunna Culture 6000. Mar 14, 2015 Samarra culture The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to 5500–​4800 BCE. Mesopotamia Boundless Art History Lumen Learning. INTRODUCTION WHAT IS SAMARRA. POTTERY? As is well known, the Halaf culture represents one of the most widespread prehistoric cultures currently.


Painted Pottery

The central figure is based on an anthropomorphic pot from Hacilar, similar to many found throughout the region. She is on a scale with the mountains, so she is both mountain and pot. She holds another, smaller pot, into which the dead, in skeleton form, are climbing and where they seem to be having a party (this is the Balkans, and funerals are always occasions for parties).

She is surrounded by artifacts from the region, which populate her world. In the upper right corner is the moon, surrounded by a crescent moon design from a painted pot. The moon is reflected in the pool in front of her, which is fed by a mountain stream, but also milk from her breast.

Clay figurines of horned beasts are drinking from the pool, which is also home to the flock of waterbirds in the upper left. The flock is accompanied by another clay figure of the mother with a bird’s head in a chariot (another vessel).

The clouds and rain gathering at the top of the mountain are also from the design on a painted pot, and cattle and sheep (horned beasts) graze in the background. In the front left corner more clay female figurines bake bread in a model oven found in Bulgaria.

The oven echoes the form of the central figure and is another vessel which produces food for people. The bread in the foreground is used in present-day fertility rituals as observed by Matsen in Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria. To the right is another modern harvest ritual from Koprivshtitsa, with ancient roots

Old World Geometry and Ancient Symbols

Like written language, symbols carry with them meaning that allows us to communicate with each other. But unlike language, many ancient symbols also contain something more. A deep meaning that lies in the base of our subconscious.

Carl Jung called those symbols Archetypes as archaic images or universal thought-forms that influence the feelings and action of an individual. He proposed that these images, patterns or prototypes for ideas are derived from the universal or collective unconscious.

According to Jung, the collective unconscious is an inherited psyche or reservoir of experience and is common to all members of a specific species. Archetypes can be described as blueprints of our souls. These are primordial images or patterns of behavior that we are born with. The great Greek philosopher, Plato is credited with originating the concept of Archetypes.

Symbols from ancient times can often carry more than 1 meaning. For example, a plus sign + can mean cross such as in religion or it can mean the 4 cardinal directions, north, south, east and west.

The ‘Supreme Ultimate’ diagram of Taoism, the Taijitu of Yin and Yang dates back in China to around a couple of thousands years ago, yet its origins can be found much earleir among the Old European cultures like Cucuteni and Trypillia dating to around 7000 years ago.

Painted Pottery Cultures

Because of discoveries of earlier pottery traditions made starting in the 1990s, the time frame for the initial Late Neolithic ceramic period is thought to be roughly 7000-6700 BCE. The earliest pottery of Syria was discovered here it dates at ca. 6900-6800 BC, and consists of mineral-tempered, and sometimes painted wares.

These earliest pottery traditions may be known in literature as ‘Initial Pottery Neolithic’ in the Balikh River area of Syria and Turkey, for example Tell Sabi Abyad. Or it may be known as ‘Halula I’ in the Syrian Euphrates area the main site is Tell Halula. Also, it may be known as ‘Rouj 2a’ in Northern Levantine Rouj basin (Idlib, Syria).

By the earliest PN phase pottery was ubiquitous and it remained so for virtually all periods in the southern Levant until modern times. Exceptions were in desert areas where semi-nomads favored less heavy, fragile and bulky arrangements.

Pottery styles, based mostly on form, fabric and decorative elements have been used to help identify chrono-cultural phases. White ware remained in use, but it seems to have remained rare and the vessels were often small and rather delicate.

It is possible that not a few such vessels were found and identified as pottery. The earliest PN phase in the Southern Levant is associated with the site of Sha’ar HaGolan in the Jordan Valley. This pottery is sometimes called “Yarmukian Ware” (6400–6000 BC).

Painted Pottery Cultures the general name accepted in the literature for archaeological cultures of the late Neolithic period and of the Aeneolithic period. The name is based on the characteristic feature of the cultures – painted decorative pottery.

The painted pottery cultures are characterized by the predominance of farming using the hoe, combined with stock raising, fishing, and hunting the appearance of copper tools at a time when flint prevailed large, usually pisé, houses and clay female statuettes.

The oldest settlements with painted pottery existed in Northern Mesopotamia. Painted pottery cultures later appeared in what is now the Ukraine and Moldavia (Tripol’e culture), Rumania, Bulgaria, Greece, Yugoslavia, the Caucasus, Iran (Sialk), Middle Asia (Anau and Namazga-Tepe), India, and China (Yang-shao).

The painted pottery cultures were created by different tribes. The similarities of the cultures were probably determined by the tribes being at the same stage of economic and social development and living under similar geo-graphical conditions.

The site of Tell Sabi Abyad in Syria offers a superb stratified sequence passing from the aceramic (pre-pottery) to pottery-using Neolithic around 7000 BC. Surprisingly the first pottery arrives fully developed with mineral tempering, burnishing and stripey decoration in painted slip.

The expected, more experimental-looking, plant-tempered coarse wares shaped by baskets arrive about 300 years later. Did the first ceramic impetus come from elsew here?

Hassuna, Halaf, Samarra – Northern Mesopotamia, 7000-6000 BC

Cucuteni-Trypillian

Ukraine Pavilion of Expo 2010

Painted Pottery China:

Yangshao/ Majiayao/ Machang/ Banshan culture

Ornamental Bronze Plaque, Celtic Horse-gear, Santon, Norfolk

Celtic Bronze Disc, Longban Island, Derry

Shield pattern of the Roman Mauri Osismiaci (ca. AD 430), with the dots in each part kept in the same shade of color

Coat of arms of the Roman armigeri defensores seniores (4th row, third from left), dated to ca. AD 430


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Painted Pottery from the Samarra Culture - History

Nieuwenhuyse Olivier, Jacobs Loe, Van As Bram, Broekmans Tom, Adriaens Annemie Mieke. Making Samarra Fine Ware - Technological Observations on Ceramics from Tell Baghouz (Syria). In: Paléorient, 2001, vol. 27, n°1. pp. 147-165.

making samarra fine ware - Technological Observations on Ceramics from tell baghouz (Syria)

O. NlEUWENHUYSE, L. JACOBS, B. VAN AS, T. BROEKMANS and A.M. ADRIAENS

: Neolithic, Near East, Hassuna, Samarra, Halaf Pottery technology. Mots Clefs : Néolithique, Proche-Orient, Hassuna, Samarra, Halaf, Technologie céramique.

Introduction : what is Samarra pottery ?

Neolithic period in Syria and northern Mesopotamia,

however, has made it quite clear that the Halaf phenomenon

is preceded by the spread of Samarra or S amarra- related ceramics, which appears to be of a geographic extent like that of

As is well known, the Halaf culture represents one of the the subsequent Early Halaf. More specifically, in Syria and most widespread prehistoric cultures currently known in the northern Mesopotamia the Hassuna/Samarra-phase has been entire Near East. Recent archaeological fieldwork on the Late shown to correspond to a "transitional" phase between the

Paléorient. vol. 27 1. p. 147-165 < CNRS ÉDITIONS 2001 Manuscrit reçu le 9 février, accepté le 21 juin 2001


Archaeological cultures similar to or like Samarra culture

The history of Mesopotamia ranges from the earliest human occupation in the Lower Sumaya period up to the Late antiquity. Pieced together from evidence retrieved from archaeological excavations and, after the introduction of writing in the late 4th millennium BC, an increasing amount of historical sources. Wikipedia

The art of Mesopotamia has survived in the archaeological record from early hunter-gatherer societies (8th millennium BC) on to the Bronze Age cultures of the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian empires. These empires were later replaced in the Iron Age by the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires. Wikipedia

Neolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia dating to the early sixth millennium BC. It is named after the type site of Tell Hassuna in Iraq. Other sites where Hassuna material has been found include Tell Shemshara. Wikipedia

Prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 BC and 5100 BC. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Pottery Neolithic and is located primarily in the fertile valley of the Khabur River , of south-eastern Turkey, Syria, and northern Iraq, although Halaf-influenced material is found throughout Greater Mesopotamia. Named after the site of Tell Halaf in north Syria, excavated by Max von Oppenheim between 1911 and 1927, the earliest Halaf period material was excavated by John Garstang in 1908 at the site of Sakce Gözü, then in Syria but now part of Turkey. Wikipedia

Historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent. In terms of the modern nation-state it corresponds with much of Iraq, Kuwait, the eastern parts of Syria, Southeastern Turkey, and regions along the Turkish–Syrian and Iran–Iraq borders. Wikipedia

The home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia , ancient Egypt, ancient Iran (Elam, Media, Parthia and Persia), Anatolia/Asia Minor and the Armenian Highlands (Turkey's Eastern Anatolia Region, Armenia, northwestern Iran, southern Georgia, and western Azerbaijan), the Levant (modern Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan), Cyprus and the Arabian Peninsula. Studied in the fields of Ancient Near East studies, Near Eastern archaeology and ancient history. Wikipedia

Neolithic–Eneolithic archaeological culture ( 5500 to 2750 BCE) of Eastern Europe. Area of 350,000 km2, with a diameter of 500 km . Wikipedia

Nine-period dating system of the ancient Near East used by the Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée for archaeological sites aged between 14,000 and 5,700 BP. First published in 1994, ASPRO stands for the "Atlas des sites du Proche-Orient" (Atlas of Near East archaeological sites), a French publication pioneered by Francis Hours and developed by other scholars such as Olivier Aurenche. Wikipedia

Earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia , emerging during the Chalcolithic and early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is also one of the first civilizations in the world, along with Ancient Egypt, Norte Chico, the Minoan civilization, and the Indus Valley Civilization. Abundance of grain and other crops, the surplus from which enabled them to form urban settlements. Wikipedia

Neolithic archaeological culture in southeastern Europe, in present-day Serbia, and smaller parts of Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia and Romania , dated to the period 5700–4500 BC or 5300–4700/4500 BC. Named for its type site, Vinča-Belo Brdo, a large tell settlement discovered by Serbian archaeologist Miloje Vasić in 1908, it represents the material remains of a prehistoric society mainly distinguished by its settlement pattern and ritual behaviour. Wikipedia

Ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia, located on the outskirts of Mosul in modern-day northern Iraq. Located on the eastern bank of the Tigris River and was the capital and largest city of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, as well as the largest city in the world for several decades. Wikipedia

Part of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, a Neolithic culture centered in upper Mesopotamia and the Levant, dating to years ago, that is, 8,800–6,500 BC. It was typed by Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the West Bank. Like the earlier PPNA people, the PPNB culture developed from the Mesolithic Natufian culture. Wikipedia

Site used to define a particular archaeological culture or other typological unit, which is often named after it. For example, discoveries at La Tène and Hallstatt led scholars to divide the European Iron Age into the La Tène culture and Hallstatt culture, named after their respective type sites. Wikipedia

Archaeological site of an early farming settlement that goes back to about 6000 BC. It is located in the Sinjar valley some 7km southwest from the town of Tal Afar in northern Iraq. The site consists of several hills reflecting the development of the Hassuna culture, and then of the Halaf and Ubaid cultures. Wikipedia

Archaeological site in the Al Hasakah governorate of northeastern Syria, a few kilometers from the city of Ra's al-ɺyn near the Turkish border. The first to be excavated from a Neolithic culture, later called the Halaf culture, characterized by glazed pottery painted with geometric and animal designs. Wikipedia

Public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been widely collected during the era of the British Empire. Wikipedia

Middle Bronze Age archaeological culture of the northern Eurasian steppe on the borders of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, dated to the period 2200–1800 BCE, or as recent publication by Stephan Lindner claims, based on another series of 19 calibrated radiocarbon datings, that the whole Sintashta-Petrovka complex belongs to c. 2050-1750 BCE. In 2020 Ventresca Miller et al. still claimed a period of 2400-1800 BCE, based on 44 earlier C14 calibrated datings by Russian Academy of Sciences, which some other researchers consider to be outdated. Wikipedia

Archaeological culture at the start of the Central European Bronze Age, dated roughly to about 2300–1800BC. Located in the central Czech Republic, northwest of Prague. Wikipedia

Late Chalcolithic archaeological culture of the late 5th millennium BC (c. Discovered in several sites near Beersheba, in the Beersheba Valley, in the northern Negev, in the 1950s. Wikipedia


The Ubaid period is divided into three principal phases:

  • Ubaid 0, sometimes called Oueili, (6500–5400 BC) an early Ubaid phase first excavated at Tell el-&lsquoOueili
  • Ubaid 1, sometimes called Eridu[6] (5400–4700 BC), a phase limited to the extreme south of Iraq, on what was then the shores of the Persian Gulf. This phase, showing clear connection to the Samarra culture to the north, saw the establishment of the first permanent settlement south of the 5 inch rainfall isohyet. These people pioneered the growing of grains in the extreme conditions of aridity, thanks to the high water tables of Southern Iraq. [7]
  • Ubaid 2 [6] (4800–4500 BC), after the type site of the same name, saw the development of extensive canal networks from major settlements. Irrigation agriculture, which seems to have developed first at Choga Mami(4700–4600 BC) and rapidly spread elsewhere, form the first required collective effort and centralised coordination of labour in Mesopotamia. [8]
  • Ubaid 3/4, sometimes called Ubaid I and Ubaid II [9] — In the period from 4500–4000 BC saw a period of intense and rapid urbanisation with the Ubaid culture spread into northern Mesopotamia and was adopted by the Halaf culture. [10][11] Ubaid artifacts spread also all along the Arabian littoral, showing the growth of a trading system that stretched from the Mediterranean coast through to Oman. [12][13]

Spreading from Eridu, the Ubaid culture extended from the Middle of the Tigris and Euphrates to the shores of the Persian Gulf, and then spread down past Bahrain to the copper deposits at Oman. The archaeological record shows that Arabian Bifacial/Ubaid period came to an abrupt end in eastern Arabia and the Oman peninsula at 3800 BC, just after the phase of lake lowering and onset of dune reactivation. [14] At this time, increased aridity led to an end in semi-desert nomadism, and there is no evidence of human presence in the area for approximately 1,000 years, the so-called « Dark Millennium ». [15] That might be due to the 5.9 kiloyear event at the end of the Older Peron.


Southern Mesoptamia

The “Jiroft culture” is a postulated early Bronze Age (late 3rd millennium BC) archaeological culture, located in the territory of present-day Balochistan and Kermān Provinces of Iran. Archeological excavations in Jiroft led to the discovery of several objects belonging to the fourth millennium BC.
The hypothesis is based on a collection of artifacts that were confiscated in Iran and accepted by many to have derived from the Jiroft area in south central Iran, reported by online Iranian news services, beginning in 2001.
The proposed type site is Konar Sandal, near Jiroft in the Halil River area. Other significant sites associated with the culture include Shahr-e Sukhteh (Burnt City), Tepe Bampur, Espiedej, Shahdad, Tal-i-Iblis and Tepe Yahya.
The proposition of grouping these sites as an “independent Bronze Age civilization with its own architecture and language”, intermediate between Elam to the west and the Indus Valley Civilization to the east, is due to Yusef Majidzadeh, head of the archaeological excavation team in Jiroft.
He speculates they may be the remains of the lost Aratta Kingdom, but his conclusions have met with skepticism from some reviewers. Other conjectures (e.g. Daniel T. Potts, Piotr Steinkeller) have connected Konar Sandal with the obscure city-state of Marhashi, that apparently lay to the east of Elam proper.
Many artifacts associated with Jiroft were recovered from looters described as “destitute villagers” who had scavenged the area south of Jiroft before 2001, when a team led by Yusef Majidzadeh began excavations.
The team uncovered more than two square kilometers of remains from a city dating back to at least the late 3rd millennium BC. The data Madjidzadeh’s team has gathered demonstrates that Jiroft’s heyday was from 2500 BC to 2200 BC.
The looted artifacts and some vessels recovered by the excavators were of the so-called “intercultural style” type of pottery known from Mesopotamia and the Iranian Plateau, and since the 1960s from nearby Tepe Yahya in Baft. The “Jiroft civilization” hypothesis proposes that this “intercultural style” is in fact the distinctive style of a previously unknown, long-lived civilization.
This is not universally accepted. Archaeologist Oscar Muscarella of the Metropolitan Museum of Art criticizes that the excavators resorted to sensationalist announcements while being more slow in publishing scholarly reports, and their claims that the site’s stratigraphy shows continuity into the 4th millennium as overly optimistic. Muscarella does nevertheless acknowledge the importance of the site.
One of the most notable archaeological excavations done in Kerman Province was one done by a group led by Professor Joseph Caldwell from Illinois State Museum in 1966 (Tal-i-Iblis) and Lamberg-Karlovsky from Harvard University in 1967 (Tepe Yahya Sogan Valley, Dolatabad).
According to Majidzadeh, geophysical operations by French experts in the region indicate the existence at least 10 historical and archaeological periods in the region belonging to different civilizations who lived in this area during different periods of time in history. According to the French experts who studied this area, the evidence remained from these civilizations may be traced up to 11 meters under the ground.
“What is obvious is that the evidence of Tal-i-Iblis culture in Bardsir can be traced in all parts of the region. Tal-i-Iblis culture, known as Ali Abad period (fourth millennium BC) was revealed by Joseph R. Caldwell, American archaeologist,” said Majidzadeh.
The primary Jiroft site consists of two mounds a few kilometers apart, called Konar Sandal A and B with a height of 13 and 21 meters, respectively (approximate location 28.5°N 57.8°E). At Konar Sandal B, a two-story, windowed citadel with a base of close to 13.5 hectares was found.
Helmand culture of western Afghanistan was a Bronze Age culture of the 3rd millennium BC. Some scholars link it with Shahr-i Sokhta, Mundigak, and Bampur. The term “Helmand civilization” was proposed by M. Tosi.
This civilization flourished between 2500 and 1900 BC, and may have coincided with the great flourishing of the Indus Valley Civilization. This was also the final phase of Periods III and IV of Shahr-i Sokhta, and the last part of Mundigak Period IV.
Thus, Jiroft culture is closely related to Helmand culture. Jiroft culture flourished in the eastern Iran, and the Helmand culture in western Afghanistan at the same time. In fact, they may represent the same cultural area. Mehrgarh culture, on the other hand, is far earlier.
An inscription, discovered in a palace, was carved on a brick whose lower left corner only has remained, explained Yusef Majidzadeh, head of the Jiroft excavation team. “The two remaining lines are enough to recognize the Elamite script,” he added.
“The only ancient inscriptions known to experts before the Jiroft discovery were cuneiform and hieroglyph,” said Majidzadeh, adding that” The new-found inscription is formed by geometric shapes and no linguist around the world has been able to decipher it yet.”
Archeologists believe the discovered inscription is the most ancient script found so far and that the Elamite written language originated in Jiroft, where the writing system developed first and was then spread across the country. Other scholars have called the authenticity of the cyphers into question, suggesting they may be examples of several modern forgeries in circulation since the earlier looting at the site.

Marhaši Marhashi, Marhasi, Parhasi, Barhasi in earlier sources Waraḫše) was a 3rd millennium BC polity situated east of Elam, on the Iranian plateau. It is known from Mesopotamian sources, but its precise location has not been identified, though some scholars link it with Jiroft.
Francfort and Tremblay on the basis of the Akkadian textual and archaeological evidence, proposed to identify the kingdom of Marhashi and Ancient Margiana. An inscription attributed to Lugal-Anne-Mundu of Adab (albeit in much later copies) mentions it among the seven provinces of his empire, between the names of Elam and Gutium. This inscription also recorded that he confronted their governor (ensi), Migir-Enlil of Marhashi, who had led a coalition of 13 rebel chiefs against him.
The Awan kings of Elam were in conflict with a Sumerian ruler’s attempt to seize the market at Warakshe, a kingdom apparently near Elam on the Iranian plateau, rich in luxury products of all types, especially precious stones.
During the Akkadian Empire, Warakshe was conquered by Sargon the Great, and king Abalgamash of Warakshe and his general Sidgau, along with Luh-ishan of Awan, rebelled unsuccessfully against Rimush, while Hishep-ratep of Awan in alliance with Warakshe was defeated by Naram-Sin.
King Shulgi of the Ur-III dynasty gave his daughter Nialimmidashu in marriage to king Libanukshabash of Marhashi in his 18th year, in an attempt to forge an alliance, but this proved short-lived, for Shulgi’s successor Amar-Sin records having to campaign against their new king, Arwilukpi.
Hammurabi of Babylonia’s 30th year name was “Year Hammurabi the king, the mighty, the beloved of Marduk, drove away with the supreme power of the great gods the army of Elam who had gathered from the border of Marhashi, Subartu, Gutium, Tupliash (Eshnunna) and Malgium who had come up in multitudes, and having defeated them in one campaign, he (Hammurabi) secured the foundations of Sumer and Akkad.”

Hamazi or Khamazi was an ancient kingdom or city-state of some importance that reached its peak c. 2500–2400 BC. Its exact location is unknown, but is thought to have been located in the western Zagros mountains roughly between Elam and Assyria, possibly near Nuzi or modern Hamadan.
Hamazi first came to the attention of archaeologists with the discovery of a vase with an inscription in very archaic cuneiform commemorating the victory of Uhub (or Utug ), an early king of Kish, over this place, causing fringe theorist Laurence Waddell in 1929 to speculate that it was to be identified with Carchemish in Syria. It is now generally considered to have been somewhere in the vicinity of the Diyala.
One of the earliest references to Hamazi is found in the epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, where Enmerkar prays to Enki about the confusion of languages in the various inhabited lands, at the time of the building of the ziggurats in Eridu and Uruk. Hamazi is the only land mentioned in this prayer with the epithet “many-tongued”.
A sequel, Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana also mentions that the sorcerer of Hamazi, Urgirinuna, went to Aratta after Hamazi “had been destroyed” he is later sent by the Lord of Aratta on a failed mission attempting to bring Enmerkar into submission.
According to the Sumerian king list, king Hadanish of Hamazi held hegemony over Sumer after defeating Kish, but was in turn defeated by Enshakushanna of Uruk.
A clay tablet found in the archives at Ebla in Syria bears a copy of a diplomatic message sent from king Irkab-Damu of Ebla to king Zizi of Hamazi, along with a large quantity of wood, hailing him as a brother, and requesting him to send mercenaries in exchange.
Hamazi was one of the provinces of Ur under the reign of Amar-Sin during the Ur III period two governors or ensis during this reign were named Lu-nanna son of Namhani, and Ur-Ishkur. In ca. 2010 BC, the province was occupied and plundered by Ishbi-Erra of Isin as the Ur III empire was collapsing.

Naram Sin also campaigned against Magan (Sumerian Magan, Akkadian Makkan), which revolted Naram-Sin “marched against Magan and personally caught Mandannu, its king”, where he instated garrisons to protect the main roads. The first Sumerian mentions of a land of Magan are made during the Umm al-Nar period (2600–2000 BCE), as well as references to ‘the Lords of Magan’.
The location of Magan, an ancient region which was referred to in Sumerian cuneiform texts of around 2300 BC and existed to 550 BC as a source of copper and diorite for Mesopotamia, is not known with certainty, but most of the evidence suggests that it was part of what is now the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
Magan is usually identified with Egypt in later Assyrian texts but the Sumerian localization of Magan was probably Oman. S ome archaeologists place it elsewhere, such as in the region of Yemen known as Ma’in, in the south of Upper Egypt, in Nubia or the Sudan, and others as part of today’s Iran and Pakistan. The latter location, specifically in the neighborhood of coastal Baluchistan, has been suggested on account of the similarity between Baluchistan’s historical name, “Makran”, and “Makkan”, a variant of Magan.
Makran is a semi-desert coastal strip in Balochistan, in Pakistan and Iran, along the coast of the Gulf of Oman. The southern part of Balochistan is called Kech Makran on Pakistani side and Makran on the Iranian side which is also the name of a former Iranian province. The location corresponds to that of the Maka satrapy in Achaemenid times.
In Varahamihira’s Brihat Samhita, there is a mention of a tribe called Makara inhabiting the lands west of India. Arrian used the term Ichthyophagi (Ancient Greek for “fish eaters”) for inhabitants of coastal areas, which has led to a suggestion to derive Makran from the Modern Persian term māhī khorān, meaning “fish eaters”, but this derivation is considered “erroneous”.
Akkadian campaigns against Magan took place in the twenty-third century BCE, again possibly explaining the need for fortifications, and both Manishtusu and Naram Sin and Manishtusu, in particular, wrote of campaigning against 󈧤 lords of Magan’.
Magan was famed for its shipbuilding and its maritime capabilities. King Sargon of Agade (2371–2316 BCE) boasted that his ports were home to boats from Tilmun, Magan and Meluhha. His successor, Naram-Sin, not only conquered Magan, but honoured the Magan King Manium by naming the city of Manium-Ki in Mesopotamia after him.
Trade between the Indus Valley and Sumer took place through Magan, although that trade appears to have been interrupted, as Ur-Nammu (2113–2096 BCE) laid claim to having ‘brought back the ships of Magan’.
Archaeological finds dating from this time show trade not only with the Indus Valley and Sumer, but also with Iran and Bactria. They have also revealed what is thought to be the oldest case on record of poliomyelitis, with the distinctive signs of the disease found in the skeleton of a woman from Tell Abraq, in modern Umm Al Quwain.
Trade was common between Magan and Ur before the reigns of the Gutian kings over Ur. After they were deposed, Ur-Nammu of Ur restored the roads and trade resumed between the two nations (c. 2100 BC).

Sumerian sources repeatedly refer to three important centers with which they traded: Magan, Dilmun, accepted today as being centered in modern Bahrain, and Meluhha, thought to refer to the Indus Valley. Meluhha is also mentioned in mythological legends such as “Enki and Ninhursaga”: “May the foreign land of Meluhha load precious desirable cornelian, perfect mes wood and beautiful aba wood into large ships for you”.
The “red dog from Meluhha”, received by Ibbi-Sin as a tribute of the people of Marhashi, could be a dhole, also called “Asiatic red dog”, a type of red-colored dog native to southern and eastern Asia.
In one of his inscriptions, Ibbi-Sin mentions that he received as a booty from Marḫaši a Meluhha red dog: “Ibbi-Sîn, the god of his country, the mighty king, king of Ur and king of the four world quarters, his speckled Meluḫḫa ‘dog’, from Marḫaši brought by them as tribute, a replica of it he fashioned, and for his life he dedicated it to him (Nanna).”
The qualifier used to describe the dog can be read either dar “red” as an adjective, or gun3 “speckled” as an intransitive verb, and interpretations vary based on these two possible meanings. It is thought that this “red dog” could be a dhole, also called “Asiatic red dog”, a type of red-colored dog native to southern and eastern Asia.
Various figurines of exotic animals in gold or carnelian are thought to have been imported from Meluhha. Many such statuettes have been found in Mesopotamian excavations. The carnelian statuette of an Asian monkey was found in the excavation of the Acropolis of Susa, and dated to circa 2340 – 2100 BCE. It is thought that it may have been imported from India. It is now in the Louvre Museum, reference Sb5884.
Towards the end of the Sumerian period, there are numerous mentions in inscriptions of a Meluhha settlement in southern Sumer near the city-state of Girsu. Most of the references seem to date to the Akkadian Empire and especially the Ur III period.
The location of the settlement has been tentatively identified with the city of Guabba. The references to “large boats” in Guabba suggests that it may have functionned as a trading colony which initially had direct contact with Meluhha.
In an inscription, Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BCE) referred to ships coming from Meluhha, Magan and Dilmun. His grandson Naram-Sin (2254-2218 BCE) listing the rebel kings to his rule, mentioned “(..)ibra, man of Melukha”. In an inscription, Gudea of Lagash (21st century BCE) referred to the Meluhhans who came to Sumer to sell gold dust, carnelian etc…
It seems that direct trade with Meluhha subsided during the Ur III period, and was replaced by trade with Dilmun, possibly corresponding to the end of urban systems in the Indus Valley around that time.
According to some accounts of the Akkadian Empire ruler Rimush, he fought against the troops of Meluhha, in the area of Elam: “Rimuš, the king of the world, in battle over Abalgamash, king of Parahshum, was victorious. And Zahara and Elam and Gupin and Meluḫḫa within Paraḫšum assembled for battle, but he (Rimush) was victorious and struck down 16,212 men and took 4,216 captives.
Further, he captured Ehmahsini, King of Elam, and all the nobles of Elam. Further he captured Sidaga’u the general of Paraḫšum and Sargapi, general of Zahara, in between the cities of Awan and Susa, by the “Middle River”.
Further a burial mound at the site of the town he heaped up over them. Furthermore, the foundations of Paraḫšum from the country of Elam he tore out, and so Rimuš, king of the world, rules Elam, (as) the god Enlil had shown…”
Gudea too, in one of his inscriptions, mentioned his victory over the territories of Magan, Meluhha, Elam and Amurru. In the Gudea cylinders Gudea mentions that “I will spread in the world respect for my Temple, under my name the whole universe will gather in it, and Magan and Meluhha will come down from their mountains to attend”. In cylinder B, XIV, he mentions his procurement of “blocks of lapis lazuli and bright carnelian from Meluhha.” There are no known mentions of Meluhha after 1760 BCE.
Meluḫḫa or Melukhkha is the Sumerian name of a prominent trading partner of Sumer during the Middle Bronze Age. Its identification remains an open question, but most scholars associate it with the Indus Valley Civilization. Most scholars suggest that Meluhha was the Sumerian name for the Indus Valley Civilization.
Finnish scholars Asko and Simo Parpola identify Meluhha (earlier variant Me-lah-ha) from earlier Sumerian documents with Dravidian mel akam “high abode” or “high country”. Many items of trade such as wood, minerals, and gemstones were indeed extracted from the hilly regions near the Indus settlements. They further claim that Meluhha is the origin of the Sanskrit mleccha, meaning “barbarian, foreigner”.
Early texts (c. 2200 BC) seem to indicate that Meluhha is to the east, suggesting either the Indus valley or India. However, much later texts documenting the exploits of King Assurbanipal of Assyria (668–627 BC), long after the Indus Valley civilization had ceased to exist, seem to imply that Meluhha is to be found either in south India or in Africa, somewhere near Egypt.
There is sufficient archaeological evidence for the trade between Mesopotamia and the Indian subcontinent. Impressions of clay seals from the Indus Valley city of Harappa were evidently used to seal bundles of merchandise, as clay seal impressions with cord or sack marks on the reverse side testify. A number of these Indian seals have been found at Ur and other Mesopotamian sites.
The Persian-Gulf style of circular stamped rather than rolled seals, also known from Dilmun, that appear at Lothal in Gujarat, India, and Failaka Island (Kuwait), as well as in Mesopotamia, are convincing corroboration of the long-distance sea trade network, which G.L. Possehl has called a “Middle Asian Interaction Sphere”.
What the commerce consisted of is less sure: timber and precious woods, ivory, lapis lazuli, gold, and luxury goods such as carnelian and glazed stone beads, pearls from the Persian Gulf, and shell and bone inlays, were among the goods sent to Mesopotamia in exchange for silver, tin, woolen textiles, perhaps oil and grains and other foods.
Copper ingots, certainly, bitumen, which occurred naturally in Mesopotamia, may have been exchanged for cotton textiles and chickens, major products of the Indus region that are not native to Mesopotamia—all these have been instanced.
It is possible that the IVC people exported sesame oil to Mesopotamia, where it was known as ilu in Sumerian and ellu in Akkadian. One theory is that these words derive from the Dravidian name for sesame (el or ellu).
However, Michael Witzel, who associates IVC with the ancestors of Munda speakers, suggests an alternative etymology from the para-Munda word for wild sesame: jar-tila. Munda is an Austroasiatic language, and forms a substratum (including loanwords) in Dravidian languages.
There is extensive presence of Harappan seals and cubical weight measures in Mesopotamian urban sites. Specific items of high volume trade are timber and specialty wood such as ebony, for which large ships were used. Luxury items also appear, such as lapis lazuli mined at a Harappan colony at Shortugai (modern Badakhshan in northern Afghanistan), which was transported to Lothal, a port city in Gujarat in western India, and shipped from there to Oman, Bahrain and Sumer.
In the 1980s, important archaeological discoveries were made at Ras al-Jinz (Oman), located at the easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula, demonstrating maritime Indus Valley connections with Oman, and the Middle East in general.
Gudea cylinders inscription A IX:19. Gudea mentions the devotions to his Temple: “Magan and Meluhha will come down from their mountains to attend”. The words Magan and Meluhha appear vertically in the first column on the right. Naram Sin gave the Akkadian title Malek to the defeated Ruler of Magan, a title which survives in the Arabic for king, malek.
The name “Balochistan” is generally believed to derive from the name of the Baloch people. The Baloch people are not mentioned in pre-Islamic sources. It is likely that the Baloch were known by some other name in their place of origin and that they acquired the name “Baloch” after arriving in Balochistan sometime in the 10th century.
Johan Hansman relates the term “Baloch” to Meluḫḫa, the name by which the Indus Valley Civilisation is believed to have been known to the Sumerians (2900–2350 BC) and Akkadians (2334–2154 BC) in Mesopotamia.
Meluḫḫa disappears from the Mesopotamian records at the beginning of the second millennium BC. However, Hansman states that a trace of it in a modified form, as Baluḫḫu, was retained in the names of products imported by the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC). Al-Muqaddasī, who visited the capital of Makran – Bannajbur, wrote c. 985 AD that it was populated by people called Balūṣī (Baluchi), leading Hansman to postulate “Baluch” as a modification of Meluḫḫa and Baluḫḫu.
Asko Parpola identifies Proto-Dravidians with the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) and the Meluhha people mentioned in Sumerian records. According to him, the word “Meluhha” derives from the Dravidian words mel-akam (“highland country”). He relates Meluhha with Mleccha who were considered non-Vedic “barbarian” in Vedic Sanskrit.
Asko Parpola relates the name Meluḫḫa to Indo-Aryan words mleccha (Sanskrit) and milakkha/milakkhu (Pali) etc., which do not have an Indo-European etymology even though they were used to refer to non-Aryan people. Taking them to be proto-Dravidian in origin, he interprets the term as meaning either a proper name milu-akam (from which tamilakam was derived when the Indus people migrated south) or melu-akam, meaning “high country”, a possible reference to Balochistani high lands.
Historian Romila Thapar also interprets Meluḫḫa as a proto-Dravidian term, possibly mēlukku, and suggests the meaning “western extremity” (of the Dravidian-speaking regions in the Indian subcontinent). A literal translation into Sanskrit, aparānta, was later used to describe the region by the Indo-Aryans.
In the Assyrian and Hellenistic eras, cuneiform texts continued to use (or revive) old place names, giving a perhaps artificial sense of continuity between contemporary events and events of the distant past. For example, Media is referred to as “the land of the Gutians”, a people who had been prominent around 2000 BC.
Meluhha also appears in these texts, in contexts suggesting that “Meluhha” and “Magan” were kingdoms adjacent to Egypt. Assurbanipal writes about his first march against Egypt, “In my first campaign I marched against Magan, Meluhha, Tarka, king of Egypt and Ethiopia, whom Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, the father who begot me, had defeated, and whose land he brought under his sway.” In the Hellenistic period, the term is sometimes used to refer to Ptolemaic Egypt, as in its account of a festival celebrating the conclusion of the Sixth Syrian War.
These references do not necessarily mean that early references to Meluhha also referred to Egypt. Direct contacts between Sumer and the Indus Valley had ceased even during the Mature Harappan phase when Oman and Bahrain (Magan and Dilmun) became intermediaries.
After the sack of Ur by the Elamites and subsequent invasions in Sumer, its trade and contacts shifted west and Meluhha passed almost into mythological memory. The resurfacing of the name could simply reflect cultural memory of a rich and distant land, its use in records of Achaemenid and Seleucid military expeditions serving to aggrandize those kings.
During the time of Alexander the Great (356–323 BC), the Greeks called the land Gedrosia and its people Gedrosoi, terms of unknown origin. Using etymological reasoning, H. W. Bailey reconstructs a possible Iranian name, uadravati, meaning “the land of underground channels”, which could have been transformed to badlaut in the 9th century and further to balōč in later times. This reasoning remains speculative.

Dilmun was a Persian Gulf civilization which traded with Mesopotamian civilizations, the current scholarly consensus is that Dilmun encompassed Bahrain, Failaka Island and the adjacent coast of Eastern Arabia in the Persian Gulf.
Dilmun, or Telmun, was an ancient Semitic-speaking polity in Arabia mentioned from the 3rd millennium BC onwards. Based on textual evidence, it was located in the Persian Gulf, on a trade route between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley Civilisation, close to the sea and to artesian springs.
A number of scholars have suggested that Dilmun originally designated the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, notably linked with the major Dilmunite settlements of Umm an-Nussi and Umm ar-Ramadh in the interior and Tarout on the coast.
Dilmun encompassed Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the eastern portion regions of Saudi Arabia. This area is certainly what is meant by references to “Dilmun” among the lands conquered by King Sargon of Akkad and his descendants.
The great commercial and trading connections between Mesopotamia and Dilmun were strong and profound to the point where Dilmun was a central figure to the Sumerian creation myth. Dilmun was described in the saga of Enki and Ninhursag as pre-existing in paradisiacal state, where predators don’t kill, pain and diseases are absent, and people do not get old.
Dilmun was an important trading centre. At the height of its power, it controlled the Persian Gulf trading routes. Dilmun was mentioned by the Mesopotamians as a trade partner, a source of copper, and a trade entrepôt.
According to some modern theories, the Sumerians regarded Dilmun as a sacred place, but that is never stated in any known ancient text. The Sumerian tale of the garden paradise of Dilmun may have been an inspiration for the Garden of Eden story.
Votive relief of Ur-Nanshe, king of Lagash: one of the inscriptions reads, “boats from the (distant) land of Dilmun carried the wood (for him)”, which is the oldest known written record of Dilmun and importation of goods into Mesopotamia.
Dilmun was an important trading center from the late fourth millennium to 800 BC. At the height of its power, Dilmun controlled the Persian Gulf trading routes. Dilmun was very prosperous during the first 300 years of the second millennium.
Dilmun’s commercial power began to decline between 1000 BC and 800 BC because piracy flourished in the Persian Gulf. In 600 BC, the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and later the Persian Empire, ruled Dilmun.
The Dilmun civilization was the centre of commercial activities linking traditional agriculture of the land—then utterly fertile due to artesian wells that have dried since, and due to a much wetter climate—with maritime trade between diverse regions such as the Meluhha (suspected to be Indus Valley Civilisation), Magan (Oman), and Mesopotamia.
The Dilmun civilization is mentioned first in Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets dated to the late third millennium BC, found in the temple of goddess Inanna, in the city of Uruk. The adjective Dilmun is used to describe a type of axe and one specific official in addition there are lists of rations of wool issued to people connected with Dilmun.
One of the earliest inscriptions mentioning Dilmun is that of king Ur-Nanshe of Lagash (c. 2300 BC) found in a door-socket: “The ships of Dilmun brought him wood as tribute from foreign lands.”
From about 2050 BC onward Dilmun seems to had its heyday. Qal’at al-Bahrain was most likely the capital. From texts found at Isin it becomes clear that Dilmun became an independent kingdom. Royal gifts to Dilmun are mentioned. Contacts with the Syrian city Mari are attested. In about this time the largest royal burial mounds were erected.
From about 1780 BC come several inscriptions on stone vessels naming two kings of Dilmun. King Yagli-El and his father Rimum. The inscriptions were found in huge tumuli evidently the burial places of these kings. Rimum was already known to archaeology from the Durand Stone, discovered in 1879.
From about 1720 BC a decline is visible. Many settlements were no longer used and the building of royal mounts stopped. The Barbar Temple felt into ruins. From about 1650 BC there is recovering period detectable. New royal burial mounts were built and at Qal’at al-Bahrain there is evidence for increased building activity.
To this period belongs a further inscription on a seal found at Failaka and preserving a king’s name. The short text readsː [La]’ù-la Panipa, daughter of Sumu-lěl, the servant of Inzak of Akarum. Sumu-lěl was evidently a third king of Dilmun belonging to about this period. Servant of Inzak of Akarum was the king’s title in Dilmun. The names of these rulers are Amoritic.
It seems that Dilmun was after 1500 BC under the rule of the Sealand Dynasty. The Sealand-Dynasty king Ea-gamil is mentioned in a text found at Qal’at al-Bahrain. Ea-gamil was the last ruler of the Sealand.-Dynasty. After his reign Dilmun came under the rule of the Babylonian Kassite dynasty, as they also took over the Sealand Dynasty area.
Dilmun was mentioned in two letters dated to the reign of Burna-Buriash II (c. 1370 BC) recovered from Nippur, during the Kassite dynasty of Babylon. These letters were from a provincial official, Ilī-ippašra, in Dilmun to his friend Enlil-kidinni, the governor of Nippur. The names referred to are Akkadian. These letters and other documents, hint at an administrative relationship between Dilmun and Babylon at that time.
Following the collapse of the Kassite dynasty, Mesopotamian documents make no mention of Dilmun with the exception of Assyrian inscriptions dated to 1250 BC which proclaimed the Assyrian king to be king of Dilmun and Meluhha, as well as Lower Sea and Upper Sea. Assyrian inscriptions recorded tribute from Dilmun.
There are other Assyrian inscriptions during the first millennium BC indicating Assyrian sovereignty over Dilmun. One of the early sites discovered in Bahrain suggests that Sennacherib, king of Assyria (707–681 BC), attacked northeast Arabia and captured the Bahraini islands.
The most recent reference to Dilmun came during the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Neo-Babylonian administrative records, dated 567 BC, stated that Dilmun was controlled by the king of Babylon. The name of Dilmun fell from use after the collapse of Babylon in 538 BC.
The “Persian Gulf” types of circular, stamped (rather than rolled) seals known from Dilmun, that appear at Lothal in Gujarat, India, and Failaka, as well as in Mesopotamia, are convincing corroboration of the long-distance sea trade.
What the commerce consisted of is less known: timber and precious woods, ivory, lapis lazuli, gold, and luxury goods such as carnelian and glazed stone beads, pearls from the Persian Gulf, shell and bone inlays, were among the goods sent to Mesopotamia in exchange for silver, tin, woolen textiles, olive oil and grains.
Copper ingots from Oman and bitumen which occurred naturally in Mesopotamia may have been exchanged for cotton textiles and domestic fowl, major products of the Indus region that are not native to Mesopotamia. Instances of all of these trade goods have been found. The importance of this trade is shown by the fact that the weights and measures used at Dilmun were in fact identical to those used by the Indus, and were not those used in Southern Mesopotamia.
In regard to copper mining and smelting, the Umm al-Nar Culture and Dalma in the United Arab Emirates, and Ibri in Oman were particularly important. Some Meluhhan vessels may have sailed directly to Mesopotamian ports, but by the Isin-Larsa Period, Dilmun monopolized the trade. The Bahrain National Museum assesses that its “Golden Age” lasted ca. 2200–1600 BC. Discoveries of ruins under the Persian Gulf may be of Dilmun.
The population was Semitic with an Amorite presence they used the Sumerian cuneiform, and spoke a language that was either an Akkadian dialect, close to it or greatly influenced by it. Dilmun’s main deity was named Inzak and his spouse was Panipa.
In the early epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, the main events, which center on Enmerkar’s construction of the ziggurats in Uruk and Eridu, are described as taking place at a time “before Dilmun had yet been settled”.
Dilmun, sometimes described as “the place where the sun rises” and “the Land of the Living”, is the scene of some versions of the Sumerian creation myth, and the place where the deified Sumerian hero of the flood, Utnapishtim (Ziusudra), was taken by the gods to live forever. Thorkild Jacobsen’s translation of the Eridu Genesis calls it “Mount Dilmun” which he locates as a “faraway, half-mythical place”.
Dilmun is also described in the epic story of Enki and Ninhursag as the site at which the Creation occurred. The later Babylonian Enuma Elish, speaks of the creation site as the place where the mixture of salt water, personified as Tiamat met and mingled with the fresh water of Abzu. Bahrein in Arabic means “the twin waters”, where the fresh water of the Arabian aquifer mingles with the salt waters of the Persian Gulf.
The promise of Enki to Ninhursag, the Earth Mother: For Dilmun, the land of my lady’s heart, I will create long waterways, rivers and canals, whereby water will flow to quench the thirst of all beings and bring abundance to all that lives.
Ninlil, the Sumerian goddess of air and south wind had her home in Dilmun. However, it is also speculated that Gilgamesh had to pass through Mount Mashu to reach Dilmun in the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is usually identified with the whole of the parallel Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges, with the narrow gap between these mountains constituting the tunnel.
In 1987, Theresa Howard-Carter proposed that Dilmun of this era might be a still unidentified tell near the Arvand Rud (Shatt al-Arab in Arabic) between modern-day Qurnah and Basra in modern-day Iraq.
In favor of Howard-Carter’s proposal, it has been noted that this area does lie to the east of Sumer (“where the sun rises”), and the riverbank where Dilmun’s maidens would have been accosted aligns with the Shat al-Arab which is in the midst of marshes. The “mouth of the rivers” where Dilmun was said to lie is for her the union of the Tigris and Euphrates at Qurnah.
As of 2008, archaeologists have failed to find a site in existence during the time from 3300 BC (Uruk IV) to 556 BC (Neo-Babylonian Era), when Dilmun appears in texts. According to Hojlund, no settlements exist in the Gulf littoral dating to 3300–2000 BC.
In 1922, Eduard Glaser proposed that the Garden of Eden was located in Eastern Arabia within the Dilmun civilization. Scholar Juris Zarins also believes that the Garden of Eden was situated in Dilmun at the head of the Persian Gulf, where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run into the sea, from his research on this area using information from many different sources, including Landsat images from space.
In this theory, the Bible’s Gihon would correspond with the Karun in Iran, and the Pishon River would correspond to the Wadi Batin river system that once drained the now dry, but once quite fertile central part of the Arabian Peninsula.
Southern Iraq
Pre-Sumerians
Samarra
Tell Es-Sawwan
Ubaid period
Eridu
Art of Uruk

Southern Iraq

The Sumerians spoke a language isolate, but a number of linguists have claimed to be able to detect a substrate language of unknown classification beneath Sumerian because names of some of Sumer’s major cities are not Sumerian, revealing influences of earlier inhabitants.
However, the archaeological record shows clear uninterrupted cultural continuity from the time of the early Ubaid period (5300–4700 BC C-14) settlements in southern Mesopotamia. The Sumerian people who settled here farmed the lands in this region that were made fertile by silt deposited by the Tigris and the Euphrates.
Some archaeologists have speculated that the original speakers of ancient Sumerian may have been farmers, who moved down from the north of Mesopotamia after perfecting irrigation agriculture there.
The Ubaid period pottery of southern Mesopotamia has been connected via Choga Mami transitional ware to the pottery of the Samarra period culture (c. 5700–4900 BC) in the north, who were the first to practice a primitive form of irrigation agriculture along the middle Tigris River and its tributaries.
The connection is most clearly seen at Tell Awayli (Oueilli, Oueili) near Larsa, excavated by the French in the 1980s, where eight levels yielded pre-Ubaid pottery resembling Samarran ware. According to this theory, farming peoples spread down into southern Mesopotamia because they had developed a temple-centered social organization for mobilizing labor and technology for water control, enabling them to survive and prosper in a difficult environment.
Others have suggested a continuity of Sumerians, from the indigenous hunter-fisherfolk traditions, associated with the bifacial assemblages found on the Arabian littoral. Juris Zarins believes the Sumerians may have been the people living in the Persian Gulf region before it flooded at the end of the last Ice Age.

Sumer is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (now southern Iraq), during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Ages, and one of the first civilizations in the world, along with Ancient Egypt, Norte Chico, Ancient China and the Indus Valley.
Living along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, Sumerian farmers grew an abundance of grain and other crops, the surplus from which enabled them to form urban settlements. Prehistoric proto-writing dates back before 3000 BC. The earliest texts come from the cities of Uruk and Jemdet Nasr, and date to between roughly c. 3500 and c. 3000 BC.
The Sumerians spoke a language isolate, but a number of linguists have claimed to be able to detect a substrate language of unknown classification beneath Sumerian because names of some of Sumer’s major cities are not Sumerian, revealing influences of earlier inhabitants.
However, the archaeological record shows clear uninterrupted cultural continuity from the time of the early Ubaid period (5300–4700 BC C-14) settlements in southern Mesopotamia. The Sumerian people who settled here farmed the lands in this region that were made fertile by silt deposited by the Tigris and the Euphrates.

The origin of the Sumerians is unknown. The intriguing question keeps returning into the literature but has so far unsatisfactory answers. The Sumerians were not the first people in Mesopotamia. They were not present before 4000 BCE, while before that time village communities existed with a high degree of organization.

A language (in particular as it appears in proper names and geographical names) may show signs of so called substrate languages (like the influence of Celtic on ancient Gaul compare some Indian geographical names in the US attesting the original inhabitants.

The ”principle of agriculture” was not discovered by the Sumerians. This is evident from words the Sumerians use for items in relation to the domestication of plants and animals. Some professional names and agricultural implements in Sumerian show that agriculture and the economic use of metals existed before the arrival of the Sumerians.

Sumerian words with a pre-Sumerian origin are professional names such as simug ‘blacksmith’ and tibira ‘copper smith’, ‘metal-manufacturer’ are not in origin Sumerian words. Agricultural terms, like engar ‘farmer’, apin ‘plow’ and absin ‘furrow’, are neither of Sumerian origin. Craftsman like nangar ‘carpenter’, agab ‘leather worker’. Religious terms like sanga ‘priest’.

Some of the most ancient cities, like Kish, have names that are not Sumerian in origin.
These words must have been loan words from a substrate language. The words show how far the division in labor had progressed even before the Sumerians arrived.

Some archaeologists have speculated that the original speakers of ancient Sumerian may have been farmers, who moved down from the north of Mesopotamia after perfecting irrigation agriculture there. The Ubaid period pottery of southern Mesopotamia has been connected via Choga Mami transitional ware to the pottery of the Samarra period culture (c. 5700–4900 BC C-14) in the north, who were the first to practice a primitive form of irrigation agriculture along the middle Tigris River and its tributaries.

The connection is most clearly seen at Tell Awayli (Oueilli, Oueili) near Larsa, excavated by the French in the 1980s, where eight levels yielded pre-Ubaid pottery resembling Samarran ware. According to this theory, farming peoples spread down into southern Mesopotamia because they had developed a temple-centered social organization for mobilizing labor and technology for water control, enabling them to survive and prosper in a difficult environment.

Others have suggested a continuity of Sumerians, from the indigenous hunter-fisherfolk traditions, associated with the bifacial assemblages found on the Arabian littoral. Juris Zarins believes the Sumerians may have been the people living in the Persian Gulf region before it flooded at the end of the last Ice Age.

The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to 5500–4800 BCE. It partially overlaps with Hassuna and early Ubaid. Samarran material culture was first recognized during excavations by German Archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld at the site of Samarra. Other sites where Samarran material has been found include Tell Shemshara, Tell es-Sawwan and Yarim Tepe.
Though the present archaeological site covered by mudbrick ruins is vast, the site of Samarra was only lightly occupied in ancient times, apart from the Chalcolithic Samarran Culture (ca 5500–4800 BC) identified at the rich site of Tell Sawwan, where evidence of irrigation—including flax— establishes the presence of a prosperous settled culture with a highly organized social structure.
The culture is primarily known by its finely-made pottery decorated against dark-fired backgrounds with stylized figures of animals and birds and geometric designs. This widely-exported type of pottery, one of the first widespread, relatively uniform pottery styles in the Ancient Near East, was first recognized at Samarra. The Samarran Culture was the precursor to the Mesopotamian culture of the Ubaid period.
At Tell es-Sawwan, evidence of irrigation—including flax—establishes the presence of a prosperous settled culture with a highly organized social structure. The culture is primarily known for its finely made pottery decorated with stylized animals, including birds, and geometric designs on dark backgrounds.
This widely exported type of pottery, one of the first widespread, relatively uniform pottery styles in the Ancient Near East, was first recognized at Samarra. The Samarran Culture was the precursor to the Mesopotamian culture of the Ubaid period.
At Tell Sabi Abyad and other Late Neolithic sites in Syria, scholars adopt increasingly vague terms such as Samarra “influenced”, Samarra-“related” or even Samarra “impulses”, largely because we do not understand the relationships with the traditional Samarra heartlands.
The term may be extended to include sites in Syria such as Tell Chagar Bazar, Tell Boueid II, Tell Sabi Abyad or Tell Halula, where similar pottery is currently being excavated in Pre-Halaf to Early Halaf Transitional contexts.

Tell Es-Sawwan

Tell es-Sawwan is an important Samarran period archaeological site in Saladin Province, Iraq. It is located 110 kilometres (68 mi) north of Baghdad, and south of Samarra. The site is a primarily Ubaid, Hassuna, and Samarra culture occupation with some later Babylonian graves. It is considered the type site for the Samarran culture.
Tell es-Sawwan is an oval mound 350 metres (1,150 ft) long by 150 metres (490 ft) wide with a maximum height of 3.5 metres (11 ft). The main mound was surrounded by a three-metre defensive ditch and a strong mudbrick wall. The village consisted of large houses and other buildings thought to be granaries.
The inhabitants of Tell es-Sawwan were farmers who used irrigation from the Tigris to support their crops, as rainfall was unreliable. They used stone and flint tools similar to those of the Hassuna culture. Their prosperity, probably based on the dependability of irrigated crops, is evidenced by the presence of fine Samarran ware and beautiful, translucent marble vessels.

Tell as-Sawwan was fortified early today in Iraq, 110 km northwest of Badgadista fairly close to Samarra. This early settlement was the central Mesopotamia, the Tigris river, archaeologists running of perhaps about 6300-6100 BC . Tel es-Sawwanin village joined the broader Samarran culture.

Archaeologists have found five levels of occupation at Tell es-Sawwan. The first two are designated as I and II they are generally thought to be of the Tell Hassuna culture. These levels have a tripartite building plan. These tripartite buildings were made around a central room. It was divided into three parts and a corridor bordered it on each side.

The areas were further subdivided into chambers. Some children’s graves have been discovered in the floors. A number of goods were found with the remains of the children. These burial items consisted of pottery and figurines made of alabaster.Radiocarbon dating was made from a floor sample of level I it was dated to 5506+73 B.C. A similar date (also taken from a floor) was given for Level II.

In Level III the architecture has a different pattern. Level IIIA has T-shaped buildings with fortification features. These include walls, ramparts, and ditches. In Level IIIB the buildings are converted into granaries. The radiocarbon dating was made from a floor and is 5349+86 B.C. This level is dated to the Samarra period.
Not all of the pottery of Level III is Samarra some of it is Hassuna. Levels IV and V are also dated to the Samarra. A major change is apparent in Level IV. The fortifications are no longer used. Level V has been dated to the Halaf period. Underfloor graves of adults and children contained terracotta and alabaster statuettes of women and men, in various poses some of these had the eyes and pointed heads typical of the Ubaid period.

Ubaid period

The Ubaid period (ca. 6500 to 3800 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The tell (mound) of al-`Ubaid west of nearby Ur in southern Iraq’s Dhi Qar Governorate has given its name to the prehistoric Pottery Neolithic to Chalcolithic culture, which represents the earliest settlement on the alluvial plain of southern Mesopotamia. The Ubaid culture had a long duration beginning before 5300 BC and lasting until the beginning of the Uruk period, c. 4000 BC. The adoption of the wheel and the beginning of the Chalcolithic period fall into the Ubaid period.
The Ubaid period as a whole, based upon the analysis of grave goods, was one of increasingly polarised social stratification and decreasing egalitarianism. Bogucki describes this as a phase of “Trans-egalitarian” competitive households, in which some fall behind as a result of downward social mobility. Morton Fried and Elman Service have hypothesised that Ubaid culture saw the rise of an elite class of hereditary chieftains, perhaps heads of kin groups linked in some way to the administration of the temple shrines and their granaries, responsible for mediating intra-group conflict and maintaining social order. It would seem that various collective methods, perhaps instances of what Thorkild Jacobsen called primitive democracy, in which disputes were previously resolved through a council of one’s peers, were no longer sufficient for the needs of the local community.
Ubaid culture originated in the south, but still has clear connections to earlier cultures in the region of middle Iraq. The appearance of the Ubaid folk has sometimes been linked to the so-called Sumerian problem, related to the origins of Sumerian civilisation. Whatever the ethnic origins of this group, this culture saw for the first time a clear tripartite social division between intensive subsistence peasant farmers, with crops and animals coming from the north, tent-dwelling nomadic pastoralists dependent upon their herds, and hunter-fisher folk of the Arabian littoral, living in reed huts.
Stein and Özbal describe the Near East oikumene that resulted from Ubaid expansion, contrasting it to the colonial expansionism of the later Uruk period. “A contextual analysis comparing different regions shows that the Ubaid expansion took place largely through the peaceful spread of an ideology, leading to the formation of numerous new indigenous identities that appropriated and transformed superficial elements of Ubaid material culture into locally distinct expressions.”
During the Ubaid Period [5000 B.C.– 4000 B.C.], the movement towards urbanization began. “Agriculture and animal husbandry [domestication] were widely practiced in sedentary communities.” There were also tribes that practiced domesticating animals as far north as Turkey, and as far south as the Zagros Mountains.
Sāmarrā is a city in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris in the Salah ad-Din Governorate, 125 kilometers (78 mi) north of Baghdad.
The remains of ancient Samarra were first excavated between 1911 and 1914 by the German Archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld. Since 1946, the notebooks, letters, unpublished excavation reports and photographs have been in the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
Though the present archaeological site covered by mudbrick ruins is vast, the site of Samarra was only lightly occupied in ancient times, apart from the Chalcolithic Samarran Culture (ca 5500–4800 BC) identified at the rich site of Tell Sawwan, where evidence of irrigation—including flax— establishes the presence of a prosperous settled culture with a highly organized social structure. The culture is primarily known by its finely-made pottery decorated against dark-fired backgrounds with stylized figures of animals and birds and geometric designs. This widely-exported type of pottery, one of the first widespread, relatively uniform pottery styles in the Ancient Near East, was first recognized at Samarra. The Samarran Culture was the precursor to the Mesopotamian culture of the Ubaid period.
A city of Sur-marrati, refounded by Sennacherib in 690 BC according to a stele in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, is insecurely identified with a fortified Assyrian site of Assyrian at al-Huwaysh, on the Tigris opposite to modern Samarra.
Ancient toponyms for Samarra noted by the Samarra Archaeological Survey are Greek Souma (Ptolemy V.19, Zosimus III, 30), Latin Sumere, a fort mentioned during the retreat of the army of Julian the Apostate in 363 AD (Ammianus Marcellinus XXV, 6, 4), and Syriac Sumra (Hoffmann, Auszüge, 188 Michael the Syrian, III, 88), described as a village.
Sumer (from Akkadian Šumeru Sumerian ki-en-ĝir, approximately “land of the civilized kings” or “native land”was an ancient civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age.
Although the earliest historical records in the region do not go back much further than ca. 2900 BC, modern historians have asserted that Sumer was first settled between ca. 4500 and 4000 BC by a non-Semitic people who may or may not have spoken the Sumerian language (pointing to the names of cities, rivers, basic occupations, etc. as evidence). These conjectured, prehistoric people are now called “proto-Euphrateans” or “Ubaidians”, and are theorized to have evolved from the Samarra culture of northern Mesopotamia (Assyria).
The Ubaidians were the first civilizing force in Sumer, draining the marshes for agriculture, developing trade, and establishing industries, including weaving, leatherwork, metalwork, masonry, and pottery. However, some scholars such as Piotr Michalowski and Gerd Steiner, contest the idea of a Proto-Euphratean language or one substrate language.
The Sumerians were a non-Semitic people, and spoke a language isolate a number of linguists believed they could detect a substrate language beneath Sumerian, names of some of Sumer’s major cities are not Sumerian, revealing influences of earlier inhabitants. However, the archaeological record shows clear uninterrupted cultural continuity from the time of the Early Ubaid period (5300 – 4700 BC C-14) settlements in southern Mesopotamia. The Sumerian people who settled here farmed the lands in this region that were made fertile by silt deposited by the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.
It is speculated by some archaeologists that Sumerian speakers were farmers who moved down from the north, after perfecting irrigation agriculture there [note there is no consensus among scholars on the origins of the Sumerians]. The Ubaid pottery of southern Mesopotamia has been connected via Choga Mami Transitional ware to the pottery of the Samarra period culture (c. 5700 – 4900 BC C-14) in the north, who were the first to practice a primitive form of irrigation agriculture along the middle Tigris River and its tributaries. The connection is most clearly seen at Tell Awayli (Oueilli, Oueili) near Larsa, excavated by the French in the 1980s, where 8 levels yielded pre-Ubaid pottery resembling Samarran ware. Farming peoples spread down into southern Mesopotamia because they had developed a temple-centered social organization for mobilizing labor and technology for water control, enabling them to survive and prosper in a difficult environment.
Others have suggested a continuity of Sumerians, from the indigenous hunter-fisherfolk traditions, associated with the Arabian bifacial assemblages found on the Arabian littoral. The Sumerians themselves claimed kinship with the people of Dilmun, associated with Bahrein in the Persian Gulf. Juris Zarins has suggested that they may have been the people living in the region of the Persian Gulf before it flooded at the end of the Ice Age.
During the third millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian on Akkadian (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a sprachbund.
Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language somewhere around the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate), but Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific language in Mesopotamia (Babylonia and Assyria) until the 1st century AD.
The land of Subartu (Akkadian Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri, Assyrian mât Šubarri) or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature. The name also appears as Subari in the Amarna letters, and, in the form Šbr, in Ugarit.
Subartu was apparently a polity in Northern Mesopotamia, at the upper Tigris. Most scholars accept Subartu as an early name for Assyria proper on the Tigris, although there are various other theories placing it sometimes a little farther to the east, north or west of there. Its precise location has not been identified. From the point of view of the Akkadian Empire, Subartu marked the northern geographical horizon, just as Martu, Elam and Sumer marked “west”, “east” and “south”, respectively.
The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (Akkad), and the Martu land (the Amorites). Similarly, the earliest references to the “four quarters” by the kings of Akkad name Subartu as one of these quarters around Akkad, along with Martu, Elam, and Sumer. Subartu in the earliest texts seem to have been farming mountain dwellers, frequently raided for slaves.
Eannatum of Lagash was said to have smitten Subartu or Shubur, and it was listed as a province of the empire of Lugal-Anne-Mundu in a later era Sargon of Akkad campaigned against Subar, and his grandson Naram-Sin listed Subar along with Armani (Armenians), -which has been identified with Aleppo-, among the lands under his control. Ishbi-Erra of Isin and Hammurabi also claimed victories over Subar.
Three of the 14th century BC Amarna letters, Akkadian cuneiform correspondence found in Egypt, mention Subari as a toponym. All are addressed to Akenaten in two (EA 108 and 109), Rib-Hadda, king of Byblos, complains that Abdi-Ashirta, ruler of Amurru, had sold captives to Subari, while another (EA 100), from the city of Irqata, also alludes to having transferred captured goods to Subari.
There is also a mention of “Subartu” in the 8th century BC Poem of Erra (IV, 132), along with other lands that have harassed Babylonia. In Neo-Babylonian times (under Nabopolassar, Nebuchadrezzar II and Nabonidus), Subartu was used as a generic term for Assyria. The term was still current under Cambyses II, who mentions Subarian captives.
Subartu may have been in the general sphere of influence of the Hurrians. There are various alternate theories associating the ancient Subartu with one or more modern cultures found in the region, including Armenian or Kurdish tribes. Some scholars, such as Harvard Professor Mehrdad Izady, claim to have identified Subartu with the current Kurdish tribe of Zibaris inhabiting the northern ring around Mosul up to Hakkari in Turkey.

Ubaid period

An understanding of the rise of complex cultures in Southwest Asia should begin with the Ubaid Period which falls chronologically between the origins of agriculture and the rise of urbanism. Tell (mound) of Ubaid near Ur in southern Iraq has given its name to the prehistoric culture which represents the earliest settlement on the alluvial plain of south Mesopotamia.

The Ubaid culture has a long duration beginning before 5000 BC and lasting until the beginning of the Uruk Period. During the Ubaid a new social order was evolving in southern Mesopotamia and the Susiana Plain (Elam) of Southwest Iran out of which emerged complex societies with a centralized state structure.

Characterized by a distinctive type of pottery, this culture originated on the flat alluvial plains of southern Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq) around 6200 BC. Indeed, it was during this period that the first identifiable villages developed in the region, where people farmed the land using irrigation and fished the rivers and sea (Persian Gulf).

Thick layers of alluvial silt deposited every spring by the flooding rivers cover many of these sites. Some villages began to develop into towns and became focused on monumental buildings, such as at Eridu and Uruk.

It is characterized by large village settlements and the appearance of the first temples in Mesopotamia. Equipment includes a buff or greenish coloured pottery decorated with geometric designs in brown or black paint tools such as sickles were often made of hard fired clay in the south but in the north stone and sometimes metal were used for tools.
Much of Mesopotamia shared a common culture in the period 5500–4000 BC. Ubaid pottery is also found to the south, along the west coast of the Persian Gulf, perhaps transported there by fishing expeditions. Baked clay figurines, mainly female, decorated with painted or appliqué ornament and lizardlike heads, have been found at a number of Ubaid sites.
Simple clay tokens may have been used for the symbolic representation of commodities, and pendants and stamp seals may have had a similar symbolism, if not function. The impressing of carved stones into clay to seal containers had a long tradition in Mesopotamia, with the earliest evidence found in Syria dating to the 7th millennium BC.
During the Ubaid period, the repertory of seal designs expands from simple geometric forms to include animals with humans, animals, snakes, and birds. There is much continuity between the Ubaid culture and the succeeding Uruk period, when many of the earlier traditions were elaborated, particularly in architecture.
The Ubaid period (c. 6500–3800 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The name derives from Tell al-Ubaid where the earliest large excavation of Ubaid period material was conducted initially by Henry Hall and later by Leonard Woolley. The term was coined at a conference in Baghdad in 1930, where at the same time the Jemdet Nasr and Uruk periods were defined.
In South Mesopotamia the period is the earliest known period on the alluvial plain although it is likely earlier periods exist obscured under the alluvium. In the south it has a very long duration between about 6500 and 3800 BC when it is replaced by the Uruk period.
In North Mesopotamia the period runs only between about 5300 and 4300 BC. It is preceded by the Halaf period and the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period and succeeded by the Late Chalcolithic period.
The Ubaid period is divided into four principal phases: Ubaid 0, sometimes called Oueili, (6500–5400 BC), an early Ubaid phase first excavated at Tell el-‘Oueili. Ubaid 1, sometimes called Eridu, corresponding to the city Eridu, (5400–4700 BC), a phase limited to the extreme south of Iraq, on what was then the shores of the Persian Gulf.
This phase, showing clear connection to the Samarra culture to the north, saw the establishment of the first permanent settlement south of the 5 inch rainfall isohyet. These people pioneered the growing of grains in the extreme conditions of aridity, thanks to the high water tables of Southern Iraq.
Some archaeologists have speculated that the original speakers of ancient Sumerian may have been farmers, who moved down from the north of Mesopotamia after perfecting irrigation agriculture there.
The Ubaid period pottery of southern Mesopotamia has been connected via Choga Mami (4700–4600 BC) transitional ware to the pottery of the Samarra period culture (c. 5700–4900 BC C-14) in the north, who were the first to practice a primitive form of irrigation agriculture along the middle Tigris River and its tributaries.
The connection is most clearly seen at Tell Awayli (Oueilli, Oueili) near Larsa, where eight levels yielded pre-Ubaid pottery resembling Samarran ware. The Ubaid period in the south was associated with intensive irrigated hydraulic agriculture, and the use of the plough, both introduced from the north, possibly through the earlier Choga Mami, Hadji Muhammed and Samarra cultures.
According to this theory, farming peoples spread down into southern Mesopotamia because they had developed a temple-centered social organization for mobilizing labor and technology for water control, enabling them to survive and prosper in a difficult environment.
Ubaid 2 (4800–4500 BC), after the type site of the same name, saw the development of extensive canal networks from major settlements. Irrigation agriculture, which seems to have developed first at Choga Mami and rapidly spread elsewhere, form the first required collective effort and centralised coordination of labour in Mesopotamia.
Ubaid 3/4, sometimes called Ubaid I and Ubaid II (4500–4000 BC), saw a period of intense and rapid urbanisation with the Ubaid culture spread into northern Mesopotamia and was adopted by the Halaf culture.
Ubaid culture spread northward across Mesopotamia up the Tigris-Euphrates drainage as far west as Cilicia and the Amuq gradually replacing the Halaf culture during the 5th millennium BC. This foreshadows a similar expansion of what has been interpreted as Uruk trading colonies or enclaves established to obtain essential raw materials lacking in the alluvial plain.
Ubaid artifacts spread also all along the Arabian littoral, showing the growth of a trading system that stretched from the Mediterranean coast through to Oman. The earliest evidence for sailing has been found in Kuwait indicating that sailing was known by the Ubaid 3 period.
Spreading from Eridu, the Ubaid culture extended from the Middle of the Tigris and Euphrates to the shores of the Persian Gulf, and then spread down past Bahrain to the copper deposits at Oman.

During the 6th and 5th millennium BC the peoples of Ubaid Mesopotamia and the Arabian Neolithic met and interacted. This was first realised during the 1960’s and 1970’s, when numerous sites, including Abu Khamis, Dosariyah and Ain Qannas, were identified in the Central Gulf region which contained pottery in the Ubaid style. Excavations also occurred at smaller Ubaid sites in Bahrain and Qatar.

These were mostly coastal, and were mainly found in the northeastern province of Saudi Arabia, though sites were also identified in Bahrain and Qatar. The majority were small and ephemeral, but a handful were large, with deep deposits and abundant pottery.

This part of Arabia enjoyed a close and integral relationship with Southern Mesopotamia. Petrographic and compositional analysis have shown that the Ubaid-style painted pottery from the Gulf states originated in Southern Mesopotamia. Ubaid visitors travelled down the Gulf in search of fish and perhaps pearls, trading their pottery with local communities along the way.

The archaeological record shows that Arabian Bifacial/Ubaid period came to an abrupt end in eastern Arabia and the Oman peninsula at 3800 BC, just after the phase of lake lowering and onset of dune reactivation.
At this time, increased aridity led to an end in semi-desert nomadism, and there is no evidence of human presence in the area for approximately 1,000 years, the so-called “Dark Millennium”. That might be due to the 5.9 kiloyear event at the end of the Older Peron. Numerous examples of Ubaid pottery have been found along the Persian Gulf, as far as Dilmun, where Indus Valley Civilization pottery has also been found.
Ubaid culture is characterized by large unwalled village settlements, multi-roomed rectangular mud-brick houses and the appearance of the first temples of public architecture in Mesopotamia, with a growth of a two tier settlement hierarchy of centralized large sites of more than 10 hectares surrounded by smaller village sites of less than 1 hectare.
Domestic equipment included a distinctive fine quality buff or greenish colored pottery decorated with geometric designs in brown or black paint tools such as sickles were often made of hard fired clay in the south.
But in the north, stone and sometimes metal were used. Villages thus contained specialised craftspeople, potters, weavers and metalworkers, although the bulk of the population were agricultural labourers, farmers and seasonal pastoralists.
During the Ubaid Period (5000–4000 BC), the movement towards urbanization began. “Agriculture and animal husbandry [domestication] were widely practiced in sedentary communities”. There were also tribes that practiced domesticating animals as far north as Turkey, and as far south as the Zagros Mountains.
The Ubaid period as a whole, based upon the analysis of grave goods, was one of increasingly polarised social stratification and decreasing egalitarianism. Bogucki describes this as a phase of “Trans-egalitarian” competitive households, in which some fall behind as a result of downward social mobility.
Morton Fried and Elman Service have hypothesised that Ubaid culture saw the rise of an elite class of hereditary chieftains, perhaps heads of kin groups linked in some way to the administration of the temple shrines and their granaries, responsible for mediating intra-group conflict and maintaining social order.
It would seem that various collective methods, perhaps instances of what Thorkild Jacobsen called primitive democracy, in which disputes were previously resolved through a council of one’s peers, were no longer sufficient for the needs of the local community.
Ubaid culture originated in the south, but still has clear connections to earlier cultures in the region of middle Iraq. The appearance of the Ubaid folk has sometimes been linked to the so-called Sumerian problem, related to the origins of Sumerian civilisation.
Whatever the ethnic origins of this group, this culture saw for the first time a clear tripartite social division between intensive subsistence peasant farmers, with crops and animals coming from the north, tent-dwelling nomadic pastoralists dependent upon their herds, and hunter-fisher folk of the Arabian littoral, living in reed huts.
Stein and Özbal describe the Near East oecumene that resulted from Ubaid expansion, contrasting it to the colonial expansionism of the later Uruk period. “A contextual analysis comparing different regions shows that the Ubaid expansion took place largely through the peaceful spread of an ideology, leading to the formation of numerous new indigenous identities that appropriated and transformed superficial elements of Ubaid material culture into locally distinct expressions.”

Eridu (Sumerian: NUN.KI/eridugki Akkadian: irîtu modern Arabic: Tell Abu Shahrain) is an archaeological site in southern Mesopotamia (modern Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq). It was long considered the earliest city in southern Mesopotamia.
Located 12 km southwest of Ur, Eridu was the southernmost of a conglomeration of Sumerian cities that grew around temples, almost in sight of one another. These buildings were made of mud brick and built on top of one another. With the temples growing upward and the village growing outward, a larger city was built.
Eridu, now known as modern Abu Shah Rain, was located by the mound called Abu Shayhrayan. This was one of the most important prehistoric urban centers in southern Babylonia. It was built on sand dunes probably in the fifth millennium B.C. It completely showed the sequence of the preliterate Ubaid civilization.
It had a long succession of super imposed temples portraying the growth and development of intricate mud brick architecture. The apparent continuity of occupation and religious observance at Eridu provide convincing evidence for the indigenous origin of Sumerian civilization. The city continued to be occupied until 600 B.C. but was less important in historic periods.
In Sumerian mythology, it was said to be one of the five cities built before the Deluge occurred. According to the Sumerian King List Eridu was the first city in the world. The opening line reads: When kingship from heaven was lowered, the kingship was in Eridu.
In Sumerian mythology, Eridu was originally the home of Enki, later known by the Akkadians as Ea, the Sumerian god of water, knowledge (gestú), mischief, crafts (gašam), and creation (nudimmud), and one of the Anunnaki, who was considered to have founded the city. His temple was called E-Abzu, as Enki was believed to live in Abzu, an aquifer from which all life was believed to stem.
Adapa, a man of Eridu, is depicted as an early culture hero. Identified with U-an, a half-human creature from the sea (Abgallu, from ab=water, gal=big, lu=man, he was considered to have brought civilization to the city during the time of King Alulim.
In the court of Assyria, special physicians trained in the ancient lore of Eridu, far to the south, foretold the course of sickness from signs and portents on the patient’s body and offered the appropriate incantations and magical resources as cures.
Eridu, also transliterated as Eridug, could mean “mighty place” or “guidance place”. In the Sumerian King List, Eridu is named as the city of the first kings. The king list continues: In Eridu, Alulim became king he ruled for 28800 years. Alalngar ruled for 36000 years. 2 kings they ruled for 64800 years. Then Eridu fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira.
The king list gave particularly long reigns to the kings who ruled before a great flood occurred and shows how the centre of power progressively moved from the south to the north of the country.
The stories of Inanna, goddess of Uruk, describe how she had to go to Eridu in order to receive the gifts of civilization. At first Enki, the god of Eridu, attempted to retrieve these sources of his power but later willingly accepted that Uruk now was the centre of the land. This seems to be a mythical reference to the transfer of power northward.

Art of Uruk

The art of Uruk encompasses the sculptures, seals, pottery, architecture, and other arts produced in Uruk, an ancient city in southern Mesopotamia that thrived during the Uruk period around 4200-3000 BCE. The city continued to develop into the Early Dynastic Period (Mesopotamia) around 2900-2350 BCE.
Considered one of the first cities, the site of Uruk – modern-day Warka in Iraq – shows evidence of social stratification, institutionalized religion, a centralized administration, and what art historians would categorize as high art and architecture, the first in the long history of the art of Mesopotamia. Much of the art of Uruk shows a high technical skill and was often made using precious materials.
Votive sculptures in the form of small animal figurines have been found at Uruk, using a style mixing naturalistic and abstract elements in order to capture the spiritual essence of the animal, rather than depicting an entirely anatomically accurate figure.
The use of animal figures as votive offerings as opposed to human figures probably replaces a ritual act of animal sacrifice and makes it eternal by leaving the image of the sacrificed animal in the temple. Many of these animal votives were discovered at Uruk Level III (c. 3000 BCE) and would have been offered to the goddess Inanna in return for her favor.
Beginning in the Middle Uruk period, traditional stamp seals were replaced by cylinder seals. Uruk was the first civilization to make use of cylinder seals, a practice that would eventually permeate the entirety of the ancient Near East, as well as Bronze Age Greece.
Cylinder seals were used by individuals and were a marker of one’s identity as they acted as a signature and were used for officiating documents. The small objects were cylindrical in shape and were engraved with metal tools.
The carving was done in such a way that the seals could be rolled onto clay in order to make an impression. Broken clay seal impressions have been found amongst the same layers of debris on Eanna Level IV where early clay writing tablets have been found.
Though many of the recovered cylinder seals used to make such impressions are made of stone, there is also evidence that the people of Uruk used metal over bitumen, shell, and clay to create cylinder seals.
The use of stone seals as signatures implies the existence of a complex administrative system in ancient Uruk. The subject matter depicted on the seal varied from kings and livestock to more religious subjects such as symbols of the gods.
Pottery found at Uruk includes wheel made, hand-made and molded pieces. Potters at Uruk specialized in mass-produced functional vessels. The fast potter’s wheel was introduced during the later part of the Uruk period, making it quicker and easier to produce pottery on a massive scale and with a greater sense of standardization.
Thousands of beveled rim bowls have been found at the site, and it has been theorized that they were used to measure rations for families or dependant laborers. Another innovation in pottery invented and used by the potters of Uruk is the ceramic ring scraper.
As the exportation of ceramics began, the weight of a large vessel became problematic when travelling as a trader. The ring scraper allowed excess, unnecessary material to be scraped from a vessel before firing, making the piece much lighter and easier to carry through town or across the desert.
Because of the ability for artists to create pottery on a mass scale, the pottery of Uruk could be distributed to other parts of what is now modern Iraq. Studies have shown that Uruk pottery seemed to be more popular in northern Iraq than it was in southern Iraq.
Archaeologists have found what are considered to be the oldest written texts at Uruk. From the start of excavation at Uruk in the early 1900s, archaeologists found clay tablets with pictographic signs that were recognized as precursors to cuneiform script.
This “proto-cuneiform” was drawn into the clay using a pointed tool and additional circular impressions symbolized numbers. Dated to around 3200 BCE, these earliest tablets were found amongst discarded materials in pits on Eanna Level IV and would most likely have been used to seal containers and doors. Approximately 4000 clay tablets and fragments from this level have been found.
Most of these tablets would have recorded economic transactions and administrative texts such as exchanges of goods and the allocation of rations for workers, and some record the number of livestock born into a given herd, as well as the amount of livestock, such as sheep and rams, that would have been allocated to individual owners.
One written text provides evidence of the social stratification of the city, listing 120 officials including the city leader as well as those who led the law, the plow, and the lambs. This same text also provides special terms for priests, metalsmiths, and potters. By the third millennium BCE, other genres of writing, including poetry, mathematics, and sciences, began to appear.
The largest remaining ruins at Uruk are the temple structures near the center of the city. The ruins, which consist of an approximately 6 square kilometer area, are encircled by a city wall. Uruk temple architecture followed the building plans of the previous Ubaid culture. Structures were made on tripartite plans with a central hall and smaller rooms on either side.
One of the most famous examples of Uruk temples is the White Temple, named after the white gypsum plaster that covered it. The White Temple, dedicated to the god Anu was built upon a platform 13 meters high. This style is a predecessor to the ziggurat formations that would come later in Mesopotamian history. Unlike later temples, the White Temple lacks a central niche.
There is evidence for buildings in Uruk used for cult purposes which were richly decorated and that contained altars for worship to the various gods. For example, within Temple C in the Eanna District, pillars containing cone mosaic panels were discovered by excavators.
To create these panels, dated to around 3300-3000 BCE, 10-centimeter cones of baked clay or gypsum were arranged and pressed into wet plaster and painted to create diamond, triangle, and zigzag patterns.
The Birecik Dam Cemetery is an Early Bronze Age cemetery in the Gaziantep region in southeastern Turkey. This cemetery was used extensively for a very short period of time at the beginning of the third millennium BC.


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