The social significance of ceramic change at the start of the Wadi Suq period. Rethinking ceramic continuity and change based on recent evidence from the tombs at Qarn al-Ḥarf
Keywords:Wadi Suq, Umm an-Nar, ceramic change, Qarn al-Дarf, regionality
This paper attempts to draw a more nuanced picture than previously provided of ceramic change at the start of the second millennium in south-east Arabia. Previous research has accentuated the novelty of shapes and decoration of Wadi Suq period ceramics, indicating a clear break at the start of the second millennium. Yet a study of the recently excavated ceramic assemblage from tombs at Qarn al-Ḥarf in Ras al-Khaimah points to a more gradual transition, with some ceramic practices inherited from third-millennium traditions. Building on this observation, this paper aims to place the assemblage within its wider regional context, suggesting that the new features of Wadi Suq ceramics relate to the use of key shapes such as beakers and spouted jars in acts of communal consumption. As such, ceramic change offers an important avenue to study social developments in south-east Arabia at this time. It is specifically in the domain of funerary practices that ceramics find a new niche resulting in particular regional developments throughout the Wadi Suq period.
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Archaeopress Publishing, Oxford, UK