The Ubaid culture is an immense prehistoric period of history spanning from about 6500BC to 3800BC and developed from the pottery neolithic era of the Natufians. There are three such cultures (Halaf, Samarra and Ubaid), Halaf being the oldest. The Ubaid’s name came from Tell Ubaid which is a mound close to Ur in Southern Iraq. These three cultures comprise the very beginnings of the Mesopotamian Civilisation which followed.
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Dig Deeper: Learn how to make both the stamp seals and pottery of the Halaf Culture which predated the Ubaid Culture. The Samarran culture also created distinctive pottery. See if you can see the similarities and the developments in the creation of pottery through time.
Also, do check out my MEGA Mesopotamia Unit Study post to find out just where the Ubaid people fit into the history of Mesopotamia. This huge post has lots of printable, videos, science experiments and, as always, stacks of suggestions for easy hands on activities you can do with your children! I am always adding new stuff to this post so do go and check it out.
Where Was the Ubaid Culture?
The Ubaids were the first settled culture. They lived on the alluvial plain of southern Mesopotamia, and were eventually absorbed into the Uruk civilisation. Eridu was one example of a large Ubaid settlements. They also gradually moved into Northern Mesopotamia, replacing the Halaf culture that lived there first. We labeled the Ubaid culture on our paper mache map (watch my video for how to make a paper mache map and how to paint it):
The Ubaids lived in large village settlements in characteristic rectangular houses. These houses, known as ‘Ubaid Houses’, had retaining mud brick walls, plastered floors, walls and roofs, with an open drain running down the outside length of the house. It is these houses which became the prototypes for the first ever temples.
Note Pages to Print!
I have made some note pages to go along with this lesson. Feel free to download and print it for your own children:
Ubaid Culture Pottery
Pottery, one of the key remnants of any ancient civilisation, is always of chronological and cultural significance. Ubaid pottery is no different. As the Ubaid culture stretched over several millennia, changes in the shapes, sizes and decoration of pottery exists. However, in general Ubaid pottery was a buff colour (whitish) which the Ubaid craftsmen painted dark geometric patterns onto.
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The Ubaid people made their pots using the coiled pot method. I have made a video to show how this is done:
Once the Ubaids had coiled their pots and smoothed them down, they began decorating them with their characteristic painted black rim and a geometric pattern. I also made a video showing how I painted my pots to look just like the ones found in the Ubaid settlements:
Ubaid Culture Pendant Seal
The Ubaid people used seals in the same way they were used throughout Mesopotamia. They showed a development from the simple geometric forms of the Halaf Culture. Simple line drawn animals began to appear between 4500-3500 BC. The seal designs of the Ubaid period tended to focus on stylised animals such as snakes, birds and animals with humans. You can see this in the drop pendant below:
Feel free to print this out, especially if you are going to follow my instructions of how to make one… This particular drop-shaped pendant of two long-horned quadrupeds was found in Middle Gawk, in Northern Mesopotamia. It has been dated from the Late Ubaid period.
Oooh, I almost forgot, I made some museum labels for your Mesopotamia exhibition…just in case you wanted to include one in your end of unit presentation. I have a feeling these print large so you might want to pop a few on each page or at least decrease the size of the one you’re printing:
This post is one of many that I am adding to my collection of Mesopotamia library. One day…very soon…perhaps…a full Mesopotamia curriculum will accompany these posts, the videos I make and the notepages I create. I am hoping that this will be an in-depth look into the changing culture of the Levant region at the beginning of man’s recordable history.
If there is anything you’d like me to include, do leave me a comment below and I shall do my very best to incorporate your ideas 💕