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Tell Brak: Uruk pottery from the 1984 Season

  • Joan Oates


It has long been evident that by the late fourth millennium Brak was a large urban site, and that at this time its inhabitants were in close contact with southern Mesopotamia. Mallowan's excavation of the Eye Temple provides important evidence in this respect, although we now know that the Eye Temple itself could not have been Brak's major shrine (D. Oates, n.d.). Our own excavations have produced large quantities of Late Uruk pottery, in 1978 in a sounding at the southeast corner of CH and in 1981 in Area TW (Iraq 1982, 189–90, 195–96), but until this past season none of this material has been found in well-stratified contexts. The area of the 1978 sounding yielded no identifiable building remains, but the pottery seemed to comprise a consistent assemblage which, by comparison with that from the Late Uruk levelling fill in Area TW, we decided was likely to derive from a later, final Uruk (Jamdat Nasr) horizon (Iraq 1982, 191). Of particular interest was a hearth surrounded by relatively complete “casseroles” (Iraq 1982, 203). A numerical tablet was found in the level immediately beneath the hearth, still without any associated building remains.

During the 1984 season investigation of the adjacent area by J.-M. Meunier revealed that the ED III levels excavated over most of CH, and published in Iraq 1982, had actually been terraced into the side of a Late Uruk tell, the intervening strata having been largely destroyed in the course of extensive terracing and levelling operations (cf. p. 163, Fig. 3). Both the ED III buildings, and what is preserved of the earlier tell, slope sharply downhill to the north, resulting in a situation where some Late Uruk levels on the southern side of the CH excavations lie, in terms of absolute height, above those of ED III.



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Iraq 1981: Fielden, K., A Late Uruk Pottery Group from Tell Brak, 1978, Iraq 43, 157–66.
Iraq 1982: Oates, D., Excavations at Tell Brak, 19781981, Iraq 44, 187204.
Iraq 1982: Oates, J., Some Late ED III Pottery from Tell Brak, Iraq 44, 205–19.
Nissen, H. J. 1970. Grabung in den Quadraten K/L XII in Uruk-Warka, Bagh. Mitt. 5.
Oates, D. 1982. Tell Brak, in Curtis, J. (ed.), Fifty Tears of Mesopotamian Discovery.
Oates, D., n.d. Different Traditions in Mesopotamian Temple Architecture in the Fourth Millennium B.C. CNRS, Paris.
Oates, J. 1984 Ubaid Mesopotamia Reconsidered, in The Hilly Flanks, ed. Young, T. C. Jr., Smith, P. E. L. and Mortensen, P., 251–81.
Oates, J., n.d. Tell Brak: the Uruk/Early Dynastic Sequence, Tübingen Jamdat Nasr colloquium.
Tobler, A. J. 1950. Tepe Gawra II.


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