Pottery 'Khabur Ware' jar

From Chagar Bazar, northern Iraq
About 1900-1500 BC

Characteristic form of pottery from northern Mesopotamia

Khabur ware is wheel-made pottery with monochrome painted decoration in red, brown or black. The designs are usually geometric, and include plain horizontal bands, hatched and cross-hatched triangles and other simple motifs in various combinations. This pottery was given its name by the archaeologist Max Mallowan after great quantities of it were found by him at the site of Chagar Bazar, within the region of the Khabur River (a major tributary of the Euphrates in Syria). But the pottery's distribution is by no means confined to the Khabur. It spread across northern Iraq and also occurs at a few sites in Turkey and Iran. It is not completely clear what this wide distribution signifies, if anything, in terms of movements of people, or the economic and political situation.

For some of this period northern Mesopotamia was unified under the empire of Shamshi-Adad I (about 1813-1781 BC). He may have originated in a region to the west of Assyria and briefly created an empire stretching from Ashur on the Tigris, through the heartland of the Khabur, to Mari on the Euphrates. Shamshi-Adad's creation largely collapsed on his death.

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More information


J.E. Curtis, 'Chagar Bazar' in Fifty Years of Mesopotamian -3 (Iraq, British School of Archaeology, 1982), pp. 79-85


Diameter: 22.860 cm
Height: 21.590 cm

Museum number

ME 125351



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