Imported ceramics from Early Bronze Age contexts in southeast Arabia illustrate a complex multidirectional network of material and social interactions at this time. Significant socioeconomic changes that occurred in the Hafit (3200–2800 B.C.) and Umm an-Nar (2800–2000 B.C.) periods have been linked to external demand for copper, which is argued to have stimulated a change in subsistence patterns. Similarly, disruption to long-distance exchange networks by external factors has been cited as driving change at the end of the Umm an-Nar period. Archaeological evidence from the region suggests a shift in the direction of exchange from Mesopotamia to the Indus occurred around the middle of the third millennium B.C. However, a recent analysis of Mesopotamian historical sources has highlighted the scale of state-organised textile production for export to the lower Gulf in the later third millennium B.C. The site of Kalba 4 has a stratified sequence of occupation deposits dating from the Umm an-Nar and Iron Age (1300–300 B.C.). In this study, a typological analysis of imported ceramics is used to locate the Kalba in the chronological framework of the region and discuss the changing networks of long-distance exchange that were operating. The imported pottery at Kalba 4 indicates that the inhabitants of the site were exchanging goods with a range of polities, including southern Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley (Meluhha), southeast Iran (Marhashi) and Bahrain (Dilmun). A significant quantity of Late Akkadian ceramics at the site suggests it became an important location for Mesopotamian trade at this time.
Eddisford, D. (2022). Exchange networks of the Early Bronze Age Gulf: The imported ceramics from Kalba 4 (United Arab Emirates). Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, 33(1), 23-48. https://doi.org/10.1111/aae.12208