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ANIMALS OF THE SEALANDS: CEREMONIAL ACTIVITIES IN THE SOUTHERN MESOPOTAMIAN “DARK AGE”

  • Katheryn C. Twiss
Abstract

The Sealand Dynasty ruled in southern Mesopotamia ca. 1740–1460(?) b.c.e., but Sealand archaeological deposits are extraordinarily rare, and the dynasty itself is known almost entirely from a limited number of texts. Sealand Dynasty social and ecological practices remain mysterious, and ceremonial activities are at best poorly understood. Faunal remains from the small site of Tell Sakhariya in southern Iraq provide our first glimpse into the Sealand animal socio-economy. Sakhariya's occupants herded and hunted in multiple environmental zones. In pre-Sealand times Tell Sakhariya was an important ceremonial site, and the large-scale food sharing and possible ritual dog burial in its faunal assemblage might indicate that Sakhariya retained ideological significance into the Sealand era.

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Corresponding author
Katheryn Twiss, Stony Brook University, Dept. of Anthropology, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364 katheryn.twiss@stonybrook.edu
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1

I am very grateful to Elizabeth Stone and Paul Zimansky for the opportunity to study the Tell Sakhariya fauna and for their gracious permission to use Fig. 1. Jane Moon and Eleanor Robson provided information about ongoing work at Tell Khaiber. Elizabeth Newman, Sharon Pochron, Michael Roaf, Eleanor Robson, David Taylor, and an anonymous reviewer provided invaluable comments. All errors are, of course, my own.

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References
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IRAQ
  • ISSN: 0021-0889
  • EISSN: 2053-4744
  • URL: /core/journals/iraq
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