Ubaidians (6,500-3,800 BCE)

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Female figurines

Between 9,000 and 7,000 BCE a Neolithic Revolution emerged as populations grew and spread through the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. The major religions’ scriptures (Bible, Qu’ran and Torah) all refer to a great flood legend that most academics now suggest happened around 8,000 BCE in Mesopotamia (from the Greek meaning ‘between rivers’, these being the Euphrates and Tigris). This is also the place and time that is usually cited as the origin of human civilization, despite the earlier existence of Jericho discussed above.

The earliest communities emerged in the Zagros Mountains where they were safely located above flooding river valleys. The world’s earliest drainage system has been found in El Kowm, an oasis in the Syrian mountains, near to where a 450,000 year old Homo erectus skull was discovered. It was only when techniques for irrigation and flood relief were invented that they moved back into the river plains. The inhabitants here were the Ubaidians.

Map source: wikimedia commons

The main site where unusual Ubaidian artefacts were discovered is called Tell Al’Ubaid – although figurines were also found in Ur and Eridu. Al Ubaid is an archaeological site of Ubaidian mud-brick T-shaped houses.


Its mound, or Tell, is half-a-kilometre wide. At Tell Al’Ubaid many pre-Sumerian, 7,000-year-old artifacts were discovered.

Image source: .ancient-origins.net

There were a number of humanoid, male and female, but with long tapered heads, almond-shaped eyes, and a nose that is lizard or snake-like.
These Lizard Men appear to be wearing helmets and shoulder pads. They might be prototypes for the subsequent Sumerian god, Enki, a serpent God.
Other figurines were found to hold a staff or sceptre, perhaps a symbol of rule or imparting justice. Each figurine adopts a different pose, some are female suckling babies, The child is also a lizard-type creature. It is the poses that suggest these are not ritualistic figures.
A number of pottery plates are on show at the Mat Museum. This one jas a simple geometric design and dates from 5,500-4,000 BCE. Later examples used designs that featured snakes, birds and other animals with humans.
Image source: metmuseum.org

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

These female figurines, on show at the Louvre, were found at a later Ubaidian site Girsu or Tell Telloh, dated as 4700–4200 BCE.
This piece of decorated pottery was foud at Girsu and similarly dated to 4700–4200 BCE.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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