Impressions of an Early Urban Landscape: Interpreting a Bronze Age Ceramic Motif from ‘Amlah, Oman

Author(s): Eli Dollarhide

Year: 2016


This paper explores one prominent material correlate of an interconnected ancient Near Eastern world: a category of ceramic vessels termed incised greywares. Archaeological excavations have revealed a significant corpus of incised greyware vessels from across the mid-third millennium BC Near East; they are found in contexts as diverse as the ancient city of Susa to small, communal tombs across the Omani peninsula. The primary focus of this paper lies in investigating an assemblage of this ceramic type from the site of ‘Amlah, located along the Wadi al-Ayn in the interior of Oman.

This research analyzes the physical characteristics of the ‘Amlah greyware assemblage and finds evidence for two different groups of production that share common forms, texture, and decoration. Examining one of these motifs—the sagging lintel—in detail, I offer a reading of the incised greywares as bearers of a uniquely Mesopotamian architectural form, referring to recent work on the earliest urban, littoral landscape in the southern marshlands of the Tigris and Euphrates. The ‘Amlah incised greywares offer insight into the movement of an environmentally-specific image across radically diverse landscapes and provides evidence for deep levels of interconnectivity across even the smallest settlements of third millennium BC Oman.

Cite this Record

Impressions of an Early Urban Landscape: Interpreting a Bronze Age Ceramic Motif from ‘Amlah, Oman. Eli Dollarhide. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404672)

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Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;