Pottery 'Palace Ware' jar

Neo-Assyrian, about 700-612 BC
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.

Find in the collection online

Pottery 'Palace Ware' jar

  • View from other side

    View from other side


More information


J.E. Curtis and J.E. Reade (eds), Art and empire: treasures from (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)


Height: 3.000 inches

Museum number

ME 1932-12-12,37


Excavated by R. Campbell Thompson and M.E.L. Mallowan


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore