Thursday, September 10, 2009

Midterm Study Image 2009/2 Hassuna Period

Mesopotamia, Hassuna Period, Painted bowls from Samarra c. 6300-6000 BCE.

Proto-Hassuna not that well fired--black core indicates 600-700 degrees C. for one hour, likely in bonfires (no evidence of kilns found). Produced in small villages. Hassuna ware fired better--vestigial kilns--sunken firebox, clay grate, wares separated from fire, sloping stoke hole--upper part likely temporary (piled pot shards etc.) Kilns clustered away from houses in separate district. We don’t know who made them. Samarra ware 6300-6000 BCE--central Mesopotamia--towns enclosed by ditch--extended families--houses up to 14 rooms. Labour coordinated for irrigation etc.--settlements self-sufficient in ceramics--lots of kiln sites, wasters, 850-1050 Celsius. Decoration in red or black or bichrome imitates textiles, basketry, whirling style, bulls etc. Breakage repaired--valuable, but not as valued as stone vessels (found in graves). Some potters’ marks indicate existence of limited trade--pots found around region. There seems to be little agreement about the exact dates of the Samarra culture as well as its precise cultural and ethnic makeup. Extensive evidence of irrigation indicates investment in crop farming, permanent settlements and complex social organization. Samarra culture is noted for its fine painted pottery decorated in dark coloured backgrounds with figures of animals - birds - people and geometric designs. This type of pottery was first recognized at Samarra but was thought to be a southern variant of the Hassuna Culture. It now seems Samarra was roughly contemporary with late Hassuna and early Halaf culture, which built over Hassuna sites. Some archaeologists believe Samarran colonization of the southerly lowland area led to the development of the later Ubaid culture (which later absorbed Halaf to the north.)

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