Thursday Jan 13, 2022

14: Ubaid sea trade & the Persian Gulf, 5500-4500 BCE (Flood myth)

(Formerly episode 13, partially re-recorded as of June 30, 2022)

Guests: Annika, Kelsey

First, we start with the Sumerian flood story (which later inspired the flood stories in the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh), pieced together from fragmentary tablets. What does this have to do with the Arabian Neolithic?

Then, we meet the shepherds & fishers of the Arabian Neolithic during the Holocene Humid Period, living amidst forests, grasslands, rivers, and inland lakes large enough to support herds of hippopotami. 

Then, we visit Dosariyah, a seasonal campsite, oyster processing center on the modern Saudi Arabian coast, and trade outpost. Did they have any boat-related ideas about the afterlife in common with an Ubaid site in northern Syria?

Then, we look at the sea trade between the Ubaid alluvium and the Persian gulf. What can pottery tell us about the role of feasting in bringing together Mesopotamian sailors and Arabian shepherds?

Then, we visit as-Sabiyah on the Kuwaiti coast, a settlement with intensive trade links with the alluvium and possibly an "ethnically Ubaid" population. What would that mean? Can we know for sure?

Finally, the Sumerian goddess Nanshe builds a home for her fish. Who's invited to the housewarming party? Which species of fish isn't allowed as a temple offering? The answer probably won't surprise you!

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Works cited

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