Odyssey Online: Near East

For thousands of years, the needs of daily life in the Near East - shelter, tools, and domestic implements - have been resourcefully and creatively made from available natural materials. Houses were, and in some places still are, constructed of mud-brick, with flat roofs that served as sleeping porches in hot weather. Tools, weapons, and vessels were worked from stone.

Both local and imported wood were used to make storage boxes or household furnishings such as long narrow tables and stools. Plant and animal fibers were used to weave and sew clothing. But wood and textiles disintegrate, leaving archaeologists few remains of either ancient craft. And little evidence of early metalcraft - primarily tools, weapons, and vessels - exists because the objects were melted down repeatedly and the metal reused.

Vase Pottery is one of the most useful and abundant ancient artifacts studied by Near Eastern archaeologists. It was cheap to manufacture and easily broken; and broken vessels were simply thrown away to be rediscovered thousands of years later.
Pottery vessels of all sizes and shapes were used as containers to transport and store the abundant food produced by a flourishing agricultural society.

© Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University,
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and Dallas Museum of Art
For more information please contact odyssey@emory.edu.
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