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File:Samarra bowl.jpg


English: The Samarra bowl (ca. 4000 BC) at on exhibit at the Pergamonmuseum, Berlin.

The bowl was excavated as Samarra by Ernst Herzfeld in the 1911-1914 campaign, and described in a 1930 publication. The design consists of a rim, a circle of eight fish, and four fish swimming towards the center being caught by four birds. As is typical of cultures from this region, the use of a base six numerical system can be seen in the lines surrounding the bowl, so that there are a total of 120 lines, or four quarters with 30 lines each. At the centre is a swastika symbol.

The bowl was broken, part of the rim is missing, and one crack ran right across the central symbol, so that the swastika symbol should be considered a reconstruction.


  • Ernst Herzfeld, Die vorgeschichtlichen Töpfereien von Samarra, Die Ausgrabungen von Samarra 5, Berlin 1930.
  • Stanley A. Freed, Research Pitfalls as a Result of the Restoration of Museum Specimens, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 376, The Research Potential of Anthropological Museum Collections pages 229–245, December 1981
Date circa 4000 BC
Source own photograph
Author Dbachmann


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