Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Mapping Minerals, Charting Community: A Petrographic Study of Dalma Ware in the Chalcolithic Near East Public Deposited

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  • The recent recovery of Dalma Ware at the archaeological site of Surezha, Northern Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraqi-Kurdistan), has raised questions regarding the method of its arrival in the region (Stein 2017; Stein & Fisher 2018). In order to assess Dalma Ware’s potential modes of dispersal into Northern Mesopotamia, ceramic petrography and paste analysis was used to identify communities of practice among the local and Dalma ceramics from Surezha, as well as the Dalma assemblage from Dalma Ware’s type-site, Dalma Tepe (modern-day NW Iran). Comparison between the Dalma Ware from Surezha and Dalma Tepe revealed a similar chaîne opératoire of ceramic production, despite results of their contrasting origins of geologic provenance (Minc & Buehlman-Barbeau 2020). However, the Dalma assemblage from Surezha also had distinct differences with the assemblage from Dalma Tepe, including a lower average amount of mineral inclusions per ceramic sample, and larger organic inclusions. Overall, the Dalma Ware at Surezha displayed significant similarities to Surezha’s local wares in addition to its resemblance to the community of practice found at Dalma Tepe. The petrographic and paste results from the ceramics at Surezha and Dalma Tepe were compared with expectations for four possible modes of dispersal to explain the presence of Dalma Ware at Surezha: trade, pastoralism, itinerant specialists, and displacement (i.e., exogamy, migration), and suggest that more than one mode may have been operative. Regardless, the recovery of Dalma Ware at Surezha is highly suggestive of Northern Mesopotamia’s connections with communities in Western Iran during the late 5th millennium BCE.
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