Saturday, January 15, 2022

What Are The Ubaidian Lizard Figurines?

quora |  Al Ubaid archeological site in Iraq is a gold mine for archeologists and historians. It has yielded numerous objects from a pre-Sumerian time called the Ubaid period (5900–4000 B.C.). Strangely, just as with the Sumerians, the origin of the Ubaidian culture remains a profound mystery for modern-day scholars. It is as if these ancient cultures came into existence one day and disappeared the next.

 ell al-'Ubaid (Tell al-'Ubaid - Wikipedia

A small mound of about half a kilometer in diameter and two meters above ground, the site was first excavated by Harry Reginald Hal in 1919.[1] Subsequent excavations were conducted by C.L. Woolley in 1923 and 1924[2] followed by Seton Lloyd and Pinhas Delougaz in 1937, the latter working for the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.[3]

The lower level of the site featured large amounts of Ubaid pottery and associated kilns. Evidence for Ubaid period pottery manufacture has also been observed on the surface of the site.[4] The size of the surface scatter indicates that pottery production was a specialized craft, and this confirms finds from other Ubaid sites like Eridu.

The site also yielded a cemetery and some finds from the Jemdet Nasr period. The temple of Ninhursag at the summit was on a cleared oval similar to that at Tell Khafajah. The wall surrounding the temple was built by Shulgi of the Ur III Empire.[5]

Interestingly, according to scholars, it was during this period that numerous advancements were made by Ubaid communities. During this time, our ancestors started acting and thinking differently. Ubaid Culture started building large unwalled settlements, mainly characterized by their multi-room rectangular mud houses. This culture is also credited appearance of the first temples of public architecture in Mesopotamia, with a growth of a two-tier settlement hierarchy of centralized large sites of more than 10 hectares surrounded by smaller village sites of less than 1 hectare.[6]

Archaeologists firmly agree that it was during the Ubaid Period when society began the transformation towards social, cultural, political and economic complexity..[7] The Ubaid Culture built incredible T-shaped houses, open courtyards, paved streets, and used food processing tools.

However, some of the earliest 'Ubaid artifacts are quite unnerving. Excavators unearthed caches of 7,000-year-old artifacts - humanoid figurines with lizard-like features. These male and female lizard-like humanoid figures exhibit unique, unceremonious poses, dramatically different from the Venus statues and Mother Goddess and fertility figures of the preceeding periods. Some appear to be wearing helmets, while others have shoulder padding. Other figurines hold a scepter or staff, while other female statues breastfeed or hold infants possessing reptilian features as well.[8]


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