Carinated jar


Not on view

This biconical pottery vessel has a sharp edge around its middle where the two halves of the vessel were joined. It also has an abrupt shoulder and a wide, flaring rim. It is made of grey clay using a potter’s wheel, and decorated with several horizontal registers of hatching.

This vessel was excavated at Tureng Tepe in what is today northeastern Iran, near the modern city of Gorgan. During the Bronze Age Tureng Tepe was a large settlement, possibly even with a mudbrick palace at the center of town. In this period the dead were buried under the floors of houses, indicating perhaps a belief that they continued to play an important role in family affairs. Pottery vessels such as this one were placed in these graves. The shape of this vessel provides no hint of what it was used for. Possibly it was a drinking vessel, to be used with a straw, but this is only a guess. It also unclear whether these vessels were used on a daily basis or specifically for funerary rites, as most of the pottery recovered at the site was found in graves.

The disappearance of this type of burnished grey pottery from the Gorgan Plain around 2000 B.C. has given rise to theories that the inhabitants of Tureng Tepe migrated into western Iran, settling at many of the well-known Iron Age sites there, such as Sialk and Hasanlu. But later pottery from Tureng Tepe has many of the same shapes and features as this burnished grey pottery, and it is just as likely that ceramic tastes and technologies simply changed.

Carinated jar, Ceramic, Iran

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