University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series > Regional Practices in an Interconnected World: Middle Islamic Ceramics (1000-1500CE) from the Erbil Plain

Regional Practices in an Interconnected World: Middle Islamic Ceramics (1000-1500CE) from the Erbil Plain

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This talk presents the research into the regionality of ceramic production on the Erbil Plain (around present-day Erbil in Northern Iraq) dating from 1000-1500 CE. During this period the area went through various political and economic changes and this project seeks to understand the changing nature of production at rural sites. This research presents an analysis of material from six sites across the Erbil Plain focusing on the entire ceramic assemblage (all forms, fabrics, decoration types). These ceramics are all highly related to each other as well as to sites in northern Syria, northwestern Iran, and southern Iraq.

Using Wavelength Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence at the Fitch Laboratory at the British School at Athens, with my previous thin section petrography and portable X-Ray Fluorescence studies, I analyze the locations of manufacture and the nature of craft organization at these rural sites, especially in terms of the unglazed materials. Rural areas are producing all types of ceramics, not just utilitarian wares but also the more decorated, glazed wares. These rural areas are more connected in terms of economics, society, and politics, to both each other and the larger urban centers of Erbil and Mosul than thought before. Therefore, these areas have their own agency and control of these products, it is not just top-down control from the larger centers. This shifts our focus from understanding just the interaction between large cities and urban centers and into understanding the wider rural interactions during the Middle Islamic period.

This talk is part of the Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series series.

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