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Field Note terms

Some terms people may be struggling with when they run across them in Woolley and Mallowans notes:

adze - woodworking tool resembling an ax, but with a blade set perpendicular to the shaft.

battered - in architectural terms, a wall that is sloped rather than vertical.

bellum - a form of boat with high bow and stern, models of which are often found in graves.

bitumen - a sticky, black substance that is essentially tar, sometimes called pitch. It was used for many purposes in the ancient world just as today, chiefly in waterproofing.

bugle - tubular shape that flares out at one end to resemble a bugle, usually used to describe certain types of beads

Bur Sin - also written BurSin or Bursin: name of an UrIII king which scholars now read as Amar Sin. Keep Woolley's term when transcribing, however.

burnt brick - Woolley uses this term a lot, probably for 'baked brick' meaning intentionally fired clay bricks rather than burned in a conflagration. It could well apply to burning from destruction levels, though.

carinated - term for a sharp transition in a pot or other vessel, typically at the shoulder or neck. The word is also seen in the noun form 'carination'.

carnelian - a semi-precious red stone.

conoid - a shape of bead that is rounded and somewhat conical.

corbel-vault - an architectural feature; a form of vault made by stepping bricks closer in until they meet at the top of the arch.

drab clay - common description of non-descript pottery material.

double conoid - a bead shape that is rounded/conical at both ends

Dungi - name of an UrIII king which scholars now read as Shulgi. Keep Woolley's term when transcribing, however.

frit - material often used in making beads and amulets; it is similar to glass in composition but not heated enough to vitrify. Also called faience.

frontage - Woolley uses this term something like the word facade, the facing part of a wall. In his handwriting, it often looks like the word portage or pontage.

haematite - iron-bearing stone that is typically dark and dense. More typically today spelled hematite.

inhumation - type of burial not using a coffin or other container, simply placing the body in the ground.

Kassite - general name of the group of people ruling over Babylon in part of the Middle Bronze Age. It is sometimes used as a term for the time period at Ur just after the Old Babylonian period.

kisu - an Akkadian word referring to a revetment wall used to protect an outer wall.

Kurigalzu - name of a Kassite king often used as a temporal marker in Woolley's notes to show the general Kassite time period. Sometimes this name is actually found stamped on bricks at Ur.

lapis or lapis lazuli - a semi-precious blue stone.

larnax - a form of clay coffin, the general shape of a bathtub.

Larsa - a city in Mesopotamia whose name is also used for a time period during which that city was politically ascendant. The period is often called the Isin-Larsa period and it falls between the UrIII and Old Babylonian.

lentoid - elongated oval shape, usually used to describe certain types of beads.

lunate - crescent or moon-shaped, usually used to describe jewelery like earrings.

Nannar - patron deity of Ur. He is the Moon God, typically transcribed tody as Nanna. In Akkadian he was known by the name Sin or Suen.

Nin-gal - consort to Nanna worshiped alongside him. Her name means Great Lady.

plano-convex - a term designating a particular shape of brick that is relatively fat in the middle but narrow at the ends. The use of this type of brick, laid in a herring-bone pattern, was typically seen in the Early Dynastic period at Ur.

reveal - an architectural term for the part of a door jamb that is visible between the door and the outer wall. Reveals can be very decorative and in important Mesopotamian buildings are often stepped in toward the doorway. Note: Mallowan writes this word 'revil' in his notes.

Sin-balatsu-iqbi - a governor of Ur in the Neo-Babylonian period. His restorations to buildings are often documented in inscriptions.

soffit - architectural term; often refers to the eaves of a roof.

spindle whorl - a small, pierced, round object used to weight a spindle when spinning wool into thread.

steatite - a dark stone, often relativley green in color.

stratum - layer of dirt, brick, pottery, or pretty much anything else that forms a vertical division when digging.

strata - plural of stratum.

Tell el Obeid - A site near Ur, now mostly written Ubaid rather than Obeid, that was excavated in the second season at Ur as part of the project.

temenos - enclosed area; at Ur this is the area of the Ziggurat terrace. It is surrounded by an enclosure wall (temenos wall) which is sometimes referred to as the temenos. The wall and thus the area it enclosed was expanded at various periods.

trough - type of burial where the grave is sunk into the ground, comparable to an inhumation grave.