Jemdet Nasr time

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The old Orient
The city gate of Nimrud
Timeline based on calibrated C 14 data
Epipalaeolithic 12000-9500 BC Chr.
Pre-ceramic Neolithic 9500-6400 BC Chr.
PPNA 9500-8800 BC Chr.
PPNB 8800-7000 BC Chr.
PPNC 7000-6400 BC Chr.
Ceramic Neolithic 6400-5800 BC Chr.
Umm Dabaghiyah culture 6000-5800 BC Chr.
Hassuna culture 5800-5260 BC Chr.
Samarra culture 5500-5000 BC Chr.
Transition to the Chalcolithic 5800-4500 BC Chr.
Halaf culture 5500-5000 BC Chr.
Chalcolithic 4500-3600 BC Chr.
Obed time 5000-4000 BC Chr.
Uruk time 4000-3100 / 3000 BC Chr.
Early Bronze Age 3000-2000 BC Chr.
Jemdet Nasr time 3000-2800 BC Chr.
Early dynasty 2900 / 2800-2340 BC Chr.
Battery life 2340-2200 BC Chr.
New Sumerian / Ur-III period 2340-2000 BC Chr.
Middle Bronze Age 2000-1550 BC Chr.
Isin Larsa Period / Ancient Assyrian Period 2000–1800 BC Chr.
Old Babylonian time 1800–1595 BC Chr.
Late Bronze Age 1550-1150 BC Chr.
Checkout time 1580-1200 BC Chr.
Central Assyrian Period 1400-1000 BC Chr.
Iron age 1150-600 BC Chr.
Isin II time 1160-1026 BC Chr.
Neo-Assyrian time 1000-600 BC Chr.
Neo-Babylonian Period 1025-627 BC Chr.
Late Babylonian Period 626-539 BC Chr.
Achaemenid period 539-330 BC Chr.
Years according to the middle chronology (rounded)

The Djemdet Nasr period is a prehistoric , cultural stage of development in Mesopotamia . It had emerged from the Uruk period and was then replaced by the early dynasty . Their relatively limited range extends to the center and south of Iraq . Temporally it is in the period 3100-2900 BC. Chr. Dated.

Etymology and type locality

The term Ǧemdet-Nasr period (= ISO, German inscription Jemdet-Nasr , English Jemdet Nasr , also Djemdet Nasr ) corresponds to that in Iraq's Babil - Government located, eponymous type locality . This archaeological site was first excavated by Stephen Langdon in 1926 .


Stephen Langdon was working on excavations in Kisch in 1925 when locals showed him several clay tablets and ceramic pieces from Oemdet Nasr. Langdon was impressed and so he investigated the type locality the following year. He was able to uncover a large clay brick building which, together with ceramics, contained over 150 clay tablets with cuneiform text. This significant find led to a conference in Baghdad in 1930 at which the Ğemdet Nasr times were officially established along with the Uruk and Obed times .


The Ğemdet Nasr period in Uruk correlates with the Uruk III layer (comparable, archaic clay tablet finds came from Uruk III b), which dates from 3100–2900 BC. Corresponds to. In Upper Mesopotamia ( Nineveh ) the horizon Nineveh V is considered simultaneous. In Iran , the Proto-Elamite stage is an equivalent. The Oemdet Nasr period used to be in the period 3200 to 3000 BC. BC, but meanwhile absolute radiocarbon dates are also from 3100 to 2900 BC. Performed.



List of manufactured pottery in proto-cuneiform script

The Ğemdet Nasr period is mainly characterized by ceramic finds painted in one and more colors ( polychrome ) . The motifs are both geometric and figurative in nature. The coloring of geometric ceramics ranges from red-brown to yellow-green, but brown tones usually predominate. Birds, fish, goats, scorpions and snakes are depicted on figurative ceramic finds.

Characteristic for the execution are sharply set off edges and far outwardly drawn vessel edges. Based on excavation finds in Abū Ṣalābīḫ, mainly conically opening bowls ( English coarse conical bowls ) were produced. These were usually quite small and roughly made - their diameter at the opening rarely exceeded 24 centimeters, the base diameter fluctuated between 5 and 8 centimeters and their height rarely reached 17 centimeters. That they have already been made on a potter's wheel can be recognized by the spiral-shaped trigger marks left by the trigger wire or cord on the underside of the base. The conical bowls can be divided into three types, depending on the manufacturing mode of the vessel rim:

  • rounded - average opening diameter: 17 centimeters
  • flattened and drawn outwards - slightly larger - 23 centimeters
  • Band-like (English band-like rim bowls ) - unusual - 35 centimeters

Another independent type are bowls with beveled rim (English beveled rim bowls or BRB ), which are also relatively rare (whereas they were still very common in the late Uruk period). A little more common, on the other hand, are pots , which usually close in a collar attachment. However, large ceramics such as tubs and sideboards are very rare.


Excerpt from an administrative cuneiform text, Uruk III

In addition to the ceramic finds, the Ğemdet Nasr period is characterized by the development of cuneiform script . The oldest clay tablet finds from Uruk date back to the late fourth millennium BC. BC and are therefore somewhat older than that of the Ğemdet Nasr period. However, these are still pictograms . During the Ğemdet Nasr period, the characters were simplified and took on more abstract forms. To represent it, wedges were used for the first time, which were pressed into the still moist clay. It is therefore only possible to speak of a real cuneiform script from the Ğemdet Nasr period . The language used cannot be determined with certainty, but Sumerian can be assumed. The text content should only be lists of an administrative nature. Two different counting systems were used: a sexagesimal system for the number of people and animals and a bisexagesimal system for food. Such archives were found in Uruk, Tell Uqair and Khafajah.


During the Ğemdet Nasr period, the number of found increases palace - or temples sharply. There were architectural changes compared to the Uruk period . The previously common three-way division of the buildings was abandoned and more complex structures were built, which were composed of several functional, complementary sub-units. Examples of this are the rammed earth building by Uruk III and the temple / palace complex by Oemdet Nasr.

In the urban conurbations, three types of buildings can now be distinguished: palace complexes in a complex arrangement, temple complexes that can be recognized by their interior structure, and residential buildings whose square or rectangular central space is surrounded by a garland of rooms.

The complexly constructed palace complexes were made up of lined up, autonomous buildings that were connected to one another by long, internal corridors . Most of these units also had an upper floor. These facilities undoubtedly performed administrative tasks and their basement floors were probably used as warehouses. The rooms on the upper floor must have been reserved for the king as a residence, in which he could also attend representative occasions.

Trade relations

Compared to the Uruk period, the trade relations of southern Mesopotamia expanded considerably during the Ğemdet Nasr period. They extended to Elam ( Susa ), the Caspian Sea ( Tepe Sialk and Tepe Hissar in Iran ), Alişar Höyük in Anatolia , northern Syria , Phenicia , Palestine and Oman . There were also contacts with early dynastic Egypt .

More artifacts found

Cylinder seal made of glazed steatite with a modern imprint - Khafajah

In addition to clay tablets, cylinder seals and general seals were used for administrative purposes .

Barley ( Hordeum sativum ) and wheat ( Triticum monococcum and Triticum dicoccum ) were grown for nutritional purposes, as is shown by grain finds. The harvest was evidently done with hand sickles , which were made either from baked clay or from wood that was set with imported stone blades. The chert used came from Khusestan or the middle reaches of the Euphrates . Bone finds suggest that sheep and goats are kept (for milk, wool and meat), but pigs and cattle are comparatively rare. Fishing was very important and gazelles were obviously hunted . Discovered spindles witness the wool processing .

Bitumen , which was traded in rectangular “bricks”, was used in the wickerwork trade. a. used to make baskets and mats.

Fired clay beads and stone pendants served as jewelry . Small clay figurines and stone statuettes are among the works of art .


The distribution area of ​​the Ğemdet Nasr period compared to the previous Uruk period

Apart from the type locality, artifacts from the Ğemdet Nasr period were found in the following sites:

Individual evidence

  1. in the Levant
  2. a b c d in southern Mesopotamia
  3. a b c in northern Mesopotamia
  4. ^ Roger Matthews: Secrets of the dark mound. Jemdet Nasr 1926–1928 (=  Iraq Archaeological Reports . Volume 6 ). Aris and Phillips for the British School of Archeology in Iraq, Warminster 2002, ISBN 0-85668-735-9 .
  5. ^ Susan Pollock: Bureaucrats and managers, peasants and pastoralists, imperialists and traders: Research on the Uruk and Jemdet Nasr periods in Mesopotamia . In: Journal of World Prehistory . tape 6 , no. 3 , 1992, p. 297-336 , doi : 10.1007 / BF00980430 .
  6. ^ Marc Van de Mieroop : A History of the Ancient Near East. Approx. 3000–323 BC (=  Blackwell History of the Ancient World . Volume 1 ). Blackwell, Malden MA et al. a. 2004, ISBN 0-631-22552-8 .
  7. ^ A b Susan Pollock: Political economy as viewed from the garbage dump: Jemdet Nasr occupation at the Uruk Mound, Abu Salabikh . In: Paléorient . tape 16 , no. 1 , 1991, ISSN  0153-9345 , pp. 57-75 .
  8. Jennifer E. Jones: Standardized volumes? Mass-produced bowls of the Jemdet Nasr period from Abu Salabikh, Iraq . In: Paléorient . tape 22 , no. 1 , 1996, p. 153-160 .
  9. a b Christopher Woods: The earliest Mesopotamian writing . In: Christopher Woods (Ed.): Visible language. Inventions of writing in the ancient Middle East and beyond (=  Oriental Institute Museum Publications . Volume 32 ). Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago IL 2010, ISBN 978-1-885923-76-9 , pp. 33-50 .