Height: 3.000 inches
Excavated by R. Campbell Thompson and M.E.L. Mallowan
Room 55: Mesopotamia
Pottery 'Palace Ware' jar
Neo-Assyrian, about 700-612
From Nineveh, northern Iraq
An example of the finest pottery produced by the Assyrians
This is a typical example of 'palace ware'. The fabric or body of Assyrian pottery vessels is usually quite coarse, due to large amounts of vegetable-based temper used in its manufacture. When the pottery is fired this material burns out, leaving tiny holes and crevices. Occasionally, however, the fabric is very thin, in which case it is described as 'palace ware'. Such vessels are extremely delicate, with no obvious inclusions. The most common forms of 'palace ware' are bowls, though beakers and jars like this were also made, with flared rims and dimples on the body. Potters made the dimples by pressing with their fingers. Finger-marks are visible in some of the depressions.
Large quantities of pottery have been found on most Neo-Assyrian sites and the range of forms is well known. However, the dating of the different types is a problem. This is because much of the pottery has been found in levels dating to the destruction of Assyrian towns and cities in 612 BC when the Babylonians invaded. As a result the pottery could date from as early as the ninth through to the seventh century BC.
J.E. Curtis and J.E. Reade (eds), Art and empire: treasures from (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)