Word into Art, £16.99
Height: 10.300 cm (max.)
Excavated by W.E. Rast and R.T.
Acquired by the British Museum in 1998
Proto-Urban Period (3300-3100
From Bab edh-Dhra, southern Jordan
These three figurines were found in Tomb G2 in the extensive cemetery near the Early Bronze Age site of Bab edh-Dhra, situated on the southern plain of the Dead Sea in Jordan. The tomb had a fairly shallow vertical shaft, 1.3 metres deep, which had been dug into the natural gravel layers. The shaft led to a single doorway, found blocked with boulders, which gave access to an oval tomb chamber measuring approximately 2.2 by 1.8 metres. The tomb contained the disarticulated skeletal remains of two individuals, one adult, the other a teenager.
The tomb also contained thirty pottery vessels and these three crude human figurines. The pottery (and thus the tomb) can be dated to the Proto-Urban period, earlier than any of the pottery found at the town site itself. This suggests that the tomb may have been constructed by people, perhaps pastoralists, who used the area as a burial ground but who had not yet settled in permanent accommodation. This might account for the state of the skeletal remains: the deceased may have died some distance away and their bones collected and deposited in the tomb some time after the flesh had decayed.
The three figurines are made of unfired clay. Although very crude, two clearly represent males. The third might either be female or has lost a small piece of clay.