Tripod bowl


Not on view

This round bowl stands on three legs. It is made of a buff clay, with painted brown geometric decoration. It was found in a grave at Kamterlan II, a mound in Luristan in the Zagros Mountains of western Iran. Although it had been a settlement in the late third millennium B.C., by the second millennium the site had become a cemetery. It is difficult to say what purpose this bowl served, or even to determine whether it was a special funerary item or an object of everyday use.

It is often thought that the inhabitants of Luristan in this period were pastoral nomads, who moved with their herds from the high valleys of the Zagros during the summer to lowland pastures in the winter. This theory arises from the dearth of evidence for settlements, and the occurrence of isolated cemetery sites. At the same time, the infrastructure necessary for bronze working, an important industry in Luristan, suggests that some sedentary settlements must have existed. In all likelihood these settlements were not located on mounds, but at lower elevations near water sources where agriculture could be practiced. This is probably the case with Kamterlan II, where an earlier settlement was replaced around 2000 B.C. by another, lower one, and the site at the top of the mound subsequently became a cemetery.

Tripod bowl, Ceramic, Iran

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