Harbor at 4th millennium Eridu. By Таис Гило [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
We’ll postpone a week our structured study of the Ubaid according to Dr. Morris’s Measure of Civilization. Instead, we’ll review something more personal, an interview of me regarding the Ubaid.
Several weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with Derek Gilbert, an author who is researching and writing a non-fiction book that includes ancient Mesopotamia, including the Uruk and Ubaid periods. While researching the subject, he found this blog showing up on many of his Google searches. Thus, he called me, told me he was researching the non-fiction book, and asked to interview me on his video blog. I agreed, and then watched the latest of his video posts. He has also written an action-thriller novel, which I promptly bought on Kindle and read over two days: an exciting story set in this century and dealing with many issues swirling in the news in this election year. Derek (photo on right) is very much into ancient Middle Eastern history, primarily regarding evidence of its religions, as far back as he can find evidence. He is an amicable and competent video interview host, and I think you would be ill-served if I tried to summarize our one-hour talk. I think you’ll get a better feel for the subject, the Ubaid, by first watching this video.
I’ve inserted a few pictures below, which I or my son took in 2009 at places I mentioned in the interview. In the first, yours truly stands in the Chalcolithic Temple hundreds of feet above the En Gedi Falls, (I think this video with music is true art!) visited after we left Nancy at the Falls with the tourists. Of interest to you, I’m sure, given the one-sided propaganda from the Mainstream Media, was that the tourists were a mixture of Israeli Arabs and Jews, and Palestinians–bathing together, no less. The climb up was, to my mind, dangerous and strenuous. But, if you ever go there, there is a much easier route up to the temple on a fire road from the south, which you’ll see on the Park Map (Yes, buy a ticket from the folks that take care of the National Park, and they’ll give you the map. If you’re going to be in the country for a while, buy a pass to all the National Parks, which yields big savings). The Nahal Mishmar hoard of copper and bronze artifacts was found nearby, the extent of which is best described in these pictures.
Rick at the En Gedi Chalcolithic Temple dated 3,500 BC. Haze obscures Jordan in background.
Ancient Ashkelon figures prominently in my novels. I had researched the site using Google Maps while I wrote the books, and had a very good feel for what I found when we visited. My archaeologist son dug here from his first summer excavation as an undergraduate well into his graduate work. The beach is comparable to San Tropez on the French Riviera, where my brother and I stayed with a French family after graduating from our universities. Don’t miss this excavation, and do use your Parks pass.
Rick and Nancy atop Ashkelon’s (“Askleumon” in his novels) huge tell over its beach
The 10,000 (not 5,000 I underestimated) Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Timna Valley copper mines, discussed with Derek, permeate the malachite floor of yet another National Park (another use for that pass) in the Great Rift Valley between En Gedi and Eilat. I went down into one mine and took pictures, but the ones in the above “copper mines” link are better. Timna is a deadly desert. We were visiting in November and the temperatures were 70-80°F in the daytime. Temperatures are well above 100°F here in the summer. Imagine yourself a slave working in one of the mines in July. In this picture, Nancy and I are walking across the sand-covered desert floor of Malachite. You can see a few chunks in the foreground. In a summer job during college, I surveyed (as the rod man) the desert around Phoenix one summer. We started at dawn and each of us drank most of our allotted 5 gallon jug of water by the time we quit at noon. We can be sure nobody, even the slave masters, got more than a quart a day down in the holes. To my knowledge, the archaeologists haven’t found the burial ground here, but it will be huge. Those distant mountains are in Jordan.
REMINDER: You can go quickly to any numbered post by entering its number in the Search Bar. Put “105.” in the Search Bar, and read that post for instructions on how to data mine the blog and website.
Regarding the subjects, which I discussed with Derek, you can find the background in preceding blog posts. I won’t repeat or review prior posts I’ve written on the Halaf, Ubaid, and Uruk culture. You can locate those by simply entering “Halaf,” “Ubaid,” or “Uruk” in the search bar at the top right of any page in this Raising Up Pharaoh website—and then going back to the earliest post in the list which appears in the results. Read them in numbered order, if you want to build your understanding layer-by-layer. Thinking the preceding might be too time-consuming for many, I did it for you. Here are the abbreviated results of just those “hits” where the search word is in the title (not hidden in the text) or I added it because it’s important. I have also converted each number into a link to that post (how easy is that!).
Note the stunning bowls from Arpachiyah used 7,500 years ago in post 56 .
Note the elongated skull in post 75 and the Ophidian figurine in post 67.
We can impute the earliest Ubaid presence under the Gulf by examining their diaspora ahead of the rising sea, in all directions: north into Iran, south into Arabia, west into Mesopotamia, and probably northeast into Afghanistan and east along the new coast into the Indus Valley. We have ceramics tracking them into Iran, Arabia, and Mesopotamia. I suggest you take a closer look at the ceramics of the Indus Valley and what happened there; a good start is to put “Indus Harappa” in the search bar and read the 10 posts in numbered order. For convenience, I’ve done that for you:
If you google photos of the Ubaid god Enki (and many others), the Harappan god Shiva, and the Egyptian god Hathor (she had a temple at Timna), you’ll see that all three were depicted with horns. I count that as one sure sign that there were some fundamental commonalities and communications among these three civilizations at a very early time. I suspect the horns went east and west from the Ubaid’s Enki.
I think this is enough for today. However, do bookmark this post 114 for future reference. And, no, I don’t think you could do all of this post in one sitting. Take your time, and absorb the sweep of this history.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke