Ancient Mesopotamian Materials and Industries: The by P. R. S. Moorey

By P. R. S. Moorey

This can be the 1st systematic try to survey intimately the archaeological facts for the crafts and craftsmanship of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians in old Mesopotamia (c. 8000-300 BC). P.R.S. Moorey studies in brief the textual facts, and is going directly to study intimately a variety of crafts and fabrics: stones, either universal and decorative, animal items, ceramics, glazed fabrics and glass, metals, and development fabrics. With a complete bibliography, this generously illustrated quantity may be a key paintings of reference for archaeologists and people drawn to the early background of crafts and know-how, in addition to for experts within the historical close to East.

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By the end of Early Dynastic III it is clear that domestic use of stone vessels, if that is what their presence in graves may be taken to indicate, was in gradual eclipse. By the Akkadian period their disappearance had accelerated. Thereafter, in homes and graves, there are few stone vessels and what there are seem either to have been cosmetic containers or vessels for grinding and pulverizing. The dedication of inscribed vessels in temples is first evident in Early Dynastic II and endured, if intermittently, through to the Achaemenid period.

Here the significant changes are the apparent eclipse of the lavas and, perhaps more surprisingly, of gypsum, and the marked increase in the usc of various types of calcite. If gypsum may be regarded as a low~status stone, since it was the most readily available, its absence from high~status graves may be explained. Limestone remains a vital minor constituent of the materials repertory and steatite grows in importance. As might be anticipated, the rarer stones concentrate in the royal tombs of Early Dynastic ilIA, notably single vessels of lapis lazuli and obsidian; the former as a small spouted bowl (Woolley 1934: RC type 44, 1'1.

They correspond to the predominant undecorated shape in Tepe Yahya IVBI and IVA (Kohl 1974: 218, pI. LXa, b). Comparable vessels may be noted at Shahdad (Hakemi 1972: pI. IXe) and Tarot (Zarins 1978: pI. 74:593). 'The different sizes could have been stacked for shipment one inside the other, and it is probable that the largest vessels, if traded in finished form, had to have been transported by sea' (Kohl 1974: 220). A plain, nat-based bowl with concave sides recorded at Ur is also matched at Yahya (Kohl 1974: pI.

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