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H 290 x W 205 mm

280 pages

Illustrated throughout in colour and black & white

Published Aug 2018

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781784919924

Digital: 9781784919931

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Soapstone; vessel; trade; Arabia; Prehistory; Middle East; Stone containers; chlorite

British Foundation for the Study of Arabia Monographs 20

Softstone: Approaches to the study of chlorite and calcite vessels in the Middle East and Central Asia from prehistory to the present

Edited by Carl S. Phillips, St John Simpson

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Stone containers have been made and used in the Middle East for over eleven millennia where they pre-dated the invention of pottery. This is the first attempt to bring together different approaches to the study of softstone vessels, particularly those carved from varieties of chlorite, and covering all periods from prehistory to the present.



Foreword – by Carl S. Phillips and St John Simpson; Introduction – by Carl Phillips and St John Simpson; Middle Holocene Omani jewels: thoughts on the production of softstone earrings – by Donatella Usai; Wood-worked and metal-shocked: softstone vessels in the Bronze and early Iron Age eastern Mediterranean – by Andrew Bevan; Alabaster vessels: manufacture, function and distribution (4th to 2nd millennia BC) – by Michèle Casanova; Three examples of 3rd millennium BC softstone vessel imports found in Syria – by Hélène David; Un exemple de production et de diffusion du style ‘Interculturel’ : les representations architecturales en Mesopotamie, Iran et dans le Golfe Persique au IIIe millenaire av. J.-C. – by Adrien Berthelot; A painted chlorite ‘hut model’ vessel in the British Museum – by St John Simpson; Remarks on the iconography of the ‘Intercultural Style’ – by Sylvia Winkelmann; The question of workshops and chronology in the Wadi Suq period – by Christian Velde; The steatite cooking bowl of the 1st millennium BC and early 1st millennium AD in South Arabia: archaeological views and cultural dynamics – by W.D. Glanzman; The distribution and provenance of ancient South Arabian steatite-tempered pottery: a thin-section analysis – by Alexandra Porter; Ancient South Arabian softstone vessels in the British Museum – by Carl S. Phillips and St John Simpson; ‘Of cooking pots let him choose those made of stone’: the manufacture, circulation and function of chlorite cooking pots and other objects in the Middle East and Central Asia during the Sasanian and medieval periods – by St John Simpson; Softstone at Siraf – by Sarah Jennings; Imported medieval stone vessels and other items from Merv and Nysa – by L.A. Kuraeva; A collection of stone utensils from the Merv oasis, southern Turkmenistan – by Z.I. Usmanova and V. Tikhomirov; Notes on the production of stone cooking pots in Mashhad, Iran – by M.G. Konieczny; Yemeni stone vessels: a different perspective. The use and interpretation of stone vessels by the Jews of Yemen – by Ester Muchawsky-Schnapper; The contemporary softstone industry in Jabal Rāziḥ, north-west Yemen – by Shelagh Weir; Cumulative bibliography

About the Author

CARL S. PHILLIPS works in the Université Paris Ouest, specialises in Arabian archaeology and has excavated extensively in Oman, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates; ST JOHN SIMPSON is a senior curator in the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum, specialises in the archaeology of the Sasanian and early medieval periods and has excavated extensively in the Middle East and Central Asia.