Sherd, Ceramic, Sasanian or Islamic


Sasanian–early Islamic
ca. 6th–8th century A.D.
Mesopotamia, Ctesiphon
Sasanian or Islamic
W. 1 3/4 × L. 3 1/4 × Th. 3/8 in. (4.4 × 8.2 × 0.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1932
Accession Number:
Not on view
Broken pieces of ceramics, or sherds, are used by researchers to understand the dates and extent of archaeological sites. During the Ctesiphon Expedition many sherds were collected from the various areas and sub-sites for inclusion into a study collection of sherds. Sherds are usually selected for diagnostic characteristics such as distinctive shapes or decorations. These sherds are likely not from original deposits but instead are usually found lying directly on the modern surface. This example was collected from the area of West Mound near the Taq-I Kisra.

The city of Ctesiphon was located on the east bank of the Tigris River, 20 miles (32 km) south of modern Baghdad in Iraq. It flourished for more than 800 years as the capital of the Parthians and the Sasanians, the last two dynasties to rule the ancient Near East before the Islamic conquest in the seventh century. Systematic excavations in the Ctesiphon area were undertaken by an expedition in 1928–29 sponsored by the German Oriental Society (Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft). The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Staatliche Museen, Berlin, undertook a joint expedition for one season in 1931–32. Several excavations were conducted, including at the main palace (Taq-i Kisra), in a small fortified area south of the palace at Tell Dheheb, at multiple houses at the mounds of Ma’aridh, and at additional houses at a small mound called Umm ez-Za’tir.
1931–32, excavated by the Joint Expedition of the Staatliche Museen of Berlin and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; acquired by the Museum in 1932, ceded in the division of finds.