Period: Ubaid

Date: mid 6th–5th millennium B.C.

Geography: Mesopotamia, Eridu (modern Abu Shahrein)

Culture: Ubaid

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H. 5.7 x Diam. 24 cm (2 1/4 x 9 1/2 in.)

Classification: Ceramics-Vessels

Credit Line: Gift of Egypt Exploration Fund, by exchange, 1949

Accession Number: 49.133.2


This dish is decorated with a dark brownish paint in three concentric rings. The band around the rim is the widest, while the inner ring is ornamented with three groups of double half-moons in solid paint facing the center of the dish. The dark painted pale pottery characteristic of the Ubaid period has been found throughout Mesopotamia. It originated in the south, and then spread north and west. Over time the designs changed, which helps archaeologists to date sites where it is found. The whole sequence of Ubaid pottery was excavated at the southern Mesopotamian site of Eridu, where this bowl was discovered in a grave (Ubaid Cemetery, Grave 136). Toward the end of the Ubaid period in the south, pottery was less skillfully painted but some of the grave pottery, like this one, has simple but bold and effective designs.