Posted by Maude Pattullo on April 01, 1999 at 16:40:00:
In Reply to: Re: woven bags posted by Maude Pattullo on March 31, 1999 at 23:51:03:
Dear Michael, et. al,
This is not the place for a review of the Neolithic and later archaeology of the Middle East. However, I would like to comment on three relevant topics raised here previously.
The earliest decoration on pottery, such as that found at Hassuna (c. 5600 BC), whether painted, incised, or impressed, most likely reflected basketry designs rather than textile designs. By the time of the pottery found at Tell
Halaf (c. 5000 BC), professionalš potters/pottery
painters had probably developed their own
repertoire of patterns quite independent of those
used by basketry weavers. Paint, after all, is a
far more flexible medium.
Impressions of actual woven fabric have been found on jar sealings that can be dated to the Late Uruk Period of southern Mesopotamia and to the contemporaneous Proto-Elamite Period in
Khuzistan and Fars (c. 3200 BC). These impressions
indicate that storage jars were closed with a clay
plug that was then covered by cloth; the cloth
was tied on with cord wound around the neck of the jar. The whole was sealed with a thick coat of clay, which was then marked with cylinder seal
impressions. The purpose of this was to indicate
ownership and to prevent pilfering: in order to
get to the contents of the jar, you had to break
the outer clay shell, thereby destroying the seal
impressions. Since each cylinder seal was unique,
the theft could not be covered up by simply
resealing the jar and impressing just any seal
into the clay.
Modern Kurdish historians seem to be playing a little free and easy with ethnic attributions. The term Ubaid properly applies to an archaeological complex in southern Mesopotamia,
not in Kurdistan or anywhere traditionally
associated with the Kurdish people. And the Medes
were Indo-European, "cousins" to the Persians, and
are not attested in areas south of the Caucasus
until the first millennium BC. By simple
definition, if you are a Hurrian, you cannot also
be a Mede. Perhaps the confusion lies with the
Mitanni, temporary overlords of the Hurrians; it
is believed that they were Indo-Europeans. By the
way, once the Medes entered the Middle East they
located their capital at Ecbatana in the Zagros
Mountains, a site that is generally assumed to lie
under the modern city of Hamadan. Since excavations cannot be carried out there, we have no idea what the Mede's material culture was like, although some are comfortable assuming it was similar to or identical with that of the Persians.
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