The Archaic Mode of Production:
Archaic Mesopotamia

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Halaf (5500―4500 B.C. North Mesopotamia-Syria)

[ Halaf pottery ]

1. Halaf period pottery plate from Arpachiyah, upper Mesopotamia. C. 5000 BC. One of many small cultures of Northern Iraq and Turkey that were loosely in communication with each other. London: British Museum.

[ stone figurine from Arpachiya ]

2. Stone figurine without arms and legs. Arpachiya, from upper Tigris, c. 5000 BC. The northern figure style was heavy. London: British Museum.

[ Terracotta Halaf female figurine ]

3. Terracotta Halaf female figurine from Chagar Bazar, c. 5000 BC. The exagerrated female characteristics suggest the object served some religious purpose. Paint traces suggest arm and leg jewellery or decoration and a loin cloth. Breasts seem to be painted or tattood. London: British Museum.

Al-`Ubaid (6―4th millenium, South Mesopotamia)

[ al Ubaid terracotta female heads ]

4. Two terracotta female heads, from Tell al-`Ubaid and from ??. Ca. 4500 BC. The culture, named after the al`Ubaid type site, arose from the earliest settlement of the southern alluvial flood plain in the late 6th millenium. After spreading out in the 5th millenium to displace the Halaf culture in the North, it lasted to at least 4000 BC.

[ Ubaid terracotta figurine from 
	Ur ]

5. Ubaid terracotta figurine from Ur, c. 4500 BC, of a woman suckling a child. Painted jewelery, body paint or tattoos. Slim figure (in contrast to the North), elongated head and protruding eyes characterize the Ubaid figure style.

[ Male figurine from Ubaid grave at 
	Eridu ]

6. Baked clay male figurine from an Ubaid grave at Eridu. Decoration or tattoos from shoulder to shoulder used by both men and women. Southern Ubaid figure style. Baghdad: Iraq Museum.

[ Ubaid pots ]

7. These pots, found at al`Ubaid type site itself are typical of last phase of Ubaid pottery found throughout much of Mesopotamia, including Uruk. London: British Museum.

Uruk Era (mid 4th to late 3rd mill. B.C., South Mesopotamia)

[ Uruk tablet from Kish with 

8. Both sides of a limestone tablet from Kish. c. 3500 BC. Included in this earliest example of pictographs is the sign for head, hand, foot, a threshing sledge and numbers. Oxford: Dept. Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum.

[ Clay tablet of Uruk ]

9. Administrative clay tabled of c. 3000 B.C. The deep circles and cresents are numbers. The rest are pictographs representing high necked jars etc. A simple enumeration. Not until 2600 do we see tablets that are truely writing having grammar and author individuation.

[ Ziggarat of E-anna at Uruk ruin ]

10. Ruin of ziggurat of E-anna at Uruk. Uruk chronology is based on the pottery styles found in a 20-meter deep pit dug at this sacred site.

[ Pottery from Eridu ]

11. Handmade painted pottery from tombs at Eridu. Dark geometric designs on light ground typifies Ubaid Levels XVIII―-XIV. The piece at lower right is in the early style. Baghdad: Iraq Museum.

[ Marble head of woman from Uruk ]

12. Marble head of woman from Uruk. Originally the eyes and eyebrows had colored inlays, and the head was perhaps placed on a wooden body.

Jemdet Nasr (late 4th millenium, South Mesopotamia)

[ Jemdet Nasr pottery ]

13. Wheel-turned painted pottery from Jemdet Nasr that indicate Iranian connections. Polychrome geometric designs in black and plum are characteristic of the period. The shapes often derive from metalware. Oxford: Asmholean Museum.

[ Jemdat Nasr pottery ]

14. Pottery jar of Jemdat Nasr type. It was found in the al`Ain region of the United Arab Emirates, which attests to contacts between Mesopotamia and Oman peninsula—an important source of copper. Ca. 3000 BC. London: British Museum.

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