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H 290 x W 205 mm

268 pages

49 figures; 52 tables (85 plates in colour)

Published Sep 2018

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781784919641

Digital: 9781784919658

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Ancient Near East; Mesopotamia; Iron Oxide; Import; Raw Materials

Iron Oxide Rock Artefacts in Mesopotamia c. 2600-1200 BC

An interdisciplinary study of hematite, goethite and magnetite objects

By Martine Marieke Melein

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The flourishing civilisations of Mesopotamia imported all kinds of materials from the surrounding regions. Iron oxide rock was very popular for weight stones and cylinder seals around 2000 BC. This research aims to determine the region of origin for the raw material, what made people start using iron oxide rock, and what led them to stop using it.



List of Figures; List of tables; Acknowledgements; 1. General introduction; 2. Formation, mineralogy and occurrence of iron oxide rocks; 3. The archaeological evidence – a qualitative approach; 4. The archaeological evidence – a quantitative approach; 5. Hematite – the evidence from the cuneiform sources; 6. Material Analyses; 7. Conclusions and synthesis; Summary; Appendix I: Overview of Syrian and Mesopotamian history, and cylinder seal styles ca. 3000-1200 BC; Appendix II: The Database; Appendix III: Reference numbers used in the database; Appendix IV: Concordance of artefacts from the De Liagre Böhl Collection; Appendix V: Medical-magical texts mentioning iron oxide rock; Appendix VI: Material analyses per artefact

About the Author

Martine Melein grew up in the most southern part of the Netherlands. Her interest in archaeology began when she was very young, and her grandfather told her stories about ancient cultures. When she was 17, she left Maastricht to study archaeology in Leiden. She is the first of her family to have completed an academic education. After finishing her doctoral education in Mesopotamian archaeology, and obtaining a post-academic teaching degree in social science, she lectured on various Ancient Near Eastern subjects at Leiden University, as well as for the general public. During her PhD-research she raised a family and earned money as a housekeeper, lunch lady, educational co-ordinator of Geo- and Bioarchaeology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and finally assistant to the director of the academic teacher education, also at Vrije Universiteit. She presented her research at several ICAANE and RAI conferences and participated in the international METROLOGIA-research group, as well as in scientific workshops on themes such as metrology and pigments. One of Martine’s major strengths lies in combining scientific disciplines, thus allowing to tell a more complete and balanced story of our past.