Mar 1, 1987
The Antiquaries Journal
and Dilmun in Sumerian texts (M. Tosi). Makkan's links with its trading neighbours are interpreted against its chronology (S. Cleuziou): they changed towards the end of the third millennium with a shift from Mesopotamian to Harappan influences, the latter outlined by S. R. Rao and A. H. Dani. In the Ur III period Meluhhan ships are not recorded as visiting Sumer, but G. Weisgerber suggests that Harappan products may have reached there after transshipment in Makkan, a process possibly leading to their description as 'Makkan goods'. He suggests that Dilmun changed from a refuelling port to a major emporium by extending dominion over Failaka and exploiting its position on the sea lanes in the Old Babylonian period. Dilmun's relations with Mesopotamia are considered in terms of commerce or conquest (J. Reade) and by reference to material from Ur and Susa (T. Mitchell; P. Amiet), notably seals and stone vessels which provide links with the Syro-Anatolian region (D. Potts; P. Kjaerum). In the context of seals a new type made of shell and found only in burial mounds is classified by Shaikha Haya. The identification of earliest Dilmun with Tarut or the east Arabian mainland in the first half of the third millennium is referred to by P. L. Kohl, who cites the absence of carved stone vases on Bahrain in EDII-IIIa, when they were common on Sumerian sites, as supporting a low date for the Barbar and Qal'at sequences. In the absence of a definitive report on the Danish excavations those sequences have for long been controversial so new data are of particular interest. At Barbar the original sequence of three temples stands but the stratigraphy has been revised to take account of five building phases and a north-east Temple comparable to Temple III (H. H. Andersen). Their chronology and foreign relations have been reconsidered and a selective typology of Barbar-ware presented. Temples I a-b are regarded as Akkadian, Temples II a-b bracket Ur III, while the NE and Third Temples are assigned to Isin Larsa times (P. Mortensen). At Qal'at al-Bahrain, City I with its Umm an-Nar sherds is regarded as starting c. 2400/2500 B.C. (T. G. Bibby). A chronology related to Failaka is proposed for Cities II and III extending from Akkadian times to the mid-second millennium or later (F. H0jlund). If these datings are confirmed the 'Amorite Tablet' found with basal City II material may go the way of the Jemdet Nasr sherd of Barbar Temple I now regarded as intrusive! Uncertainties regarding the duration of Kassite City III and the function of its 'warehouse' are mentioned by C. Edens reviewing events in the Gulf during the second millennium B.C. The historical background is extended to the late Assyrian period by D. Oates who suggests that City IV ended with the Persian conquest of Babylonia and he points out that the intrusive 'bath-tub' coffins originally regarded as seventh-century B.C. are of a type which at Ur belongs to the Achaemenid period. P. Lombard also notes that one of those coffins contained a bronze strainer unlikely to be earlier than the fifth-century B.C. and he regards the 'snake bowls' as comparable to Achaemenian 'cream bowls'. Recent French excavations on the Islamic Fort show it partially overlies defences associated with Hellenistic and later pottery (R. Boucharlat; M. Kervran) and new light has been shed on burial customs of that period at Janussan (J.-F. Salles). All in all, the volume is required reading for those interested in Gulf studies and its speedy publication is to be welcomed.