Unit Book J4


Glyptics from unit J4

Yasmine Mahmoud – July 2023

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Clay plaque

Clay plaque q16.1 pertains to the early Akadian period, and found in an accumulation layer dating to modern time. It depicts a soldier leading a naked prisoner. The only preserved portion of the plaque is the upper right corner. mKB gave a thorough iconographical analysis and style description that is cited here below.

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Iconographic description

Two evenly spaced figures, a soldier on the left and a naked prisoner on the right. The head of the soldier is shown in profile facing right. He is wearing a head band but his hair above is not clear. The beard is shown as short thickened strands with the hint of curls at the bottom. His left shoulder is represented in front view with his arm is rendered as wide near the shoulder, a pointed elbow and a thinner arm to the wrist. His left hand holds a cord used to restrain his prisoner. The prisoner is nude and rendered with his head in profile, shoulders in front view and the rest of his body in a rotated view with the change in direction coming at mid torso so that his legs and genitals are depicted in profile. Since he is shown walking his left leg is forward, his genitals are shown against the middle portion of his left leg. While a cord is tied around his neck, his hands are not fastened behind his back, as we have in other scenes of prisoners; his right arm is indicated as bent up across his chest. Unfortunately, his left arm is not preserved.

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The stylistic characteristics of this plaque indicate that it is early Akkadian in date. These include the details of the beard, the shape of the eyes, the extension of the lower stomach, and especially the rotated posture. The plaque is close in style to the fragment of a stone plaque discovered a number of years ago in A7. Both represent significant interaction between two figures, evenly spaced, with bodies in a rotated view. Other ED III and early Akkadian scenes in registers depict soldiers restraining prisoners who are walking in front of them. While the rest of the plaque cannot be reconstructed with certainty, it probably also depicted other pairs of soldiers and naked prisoners. The imaging of captive prisoners is a favorite theme in late ED III and early Akkadian iconography, not only because the period is one of turmoil as the Akkadian dynasty sought to extend its imperial presence. The victories of the imperial army and the widespread images of their success, extending even in the popular culture of the period, contributed significantly to the image of power and prestige the dynasty wanted to create in the public perception. This perception was important to create not only in the minds of their immediate neighbors but also in the consciousness of states as far away as Urkesh.




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Sealings and seal impressions

Only three seal impressions were recovered in J4. Two of them have an impression on them and one is blank. Q202.1 back side is impressed with a rope while the front has a buffalo impression and legs of a human most probably. The item was found in a Mittani horizon in an accumulation layer.





It is heard to recognize the iconography of q987.1 from the photographs and there was no description on the part of the excavators or the expert. The impression appears to represent animals, but it is very hard to determine in accuracy the scene. This sealing comes from a feature that was assign to sifter dirt, so it is challenging to date the item, even based on iconography because the photo is not very revealing.
The low number of such artifacts is consistent with the nature of J4 as these items are usually related to activities such as storage or administrative quarters, or they could be found in dumping sits and trash pits.

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