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Glazed pottery from Mesopotamia appeared in southeastern Arabia during the late pre-Islamic period (c. 300 BCE – 7th century CE) and neither the mechanisms through which it arrived nor its use in local contexts is fully understood. It is found alongside a set of objects that signal increased connectivity with the wider worlds of the Indian Ocean, MENA region, and the Mediterranean. Previous scholarship has focused on the extent to which the imperial powers of the Seleucids, Parthians, and Sasanians controlled trade routes in the region. Such approaches overlook local agency and simplify encounters to a center-periphery model. This paper seeks to invert this model and return agency to local groups through an analysis of the trade in glazed pottery. Geochemical analysis, on the one hand, suggests the non-local pottery was transported into the region via both overland and maritime trade routes. The consumption of glazed pottery at Mleiha, Ed-Dur, and Dibba, on the other hand, demonstrates its shifting value over the long centuries of the late pre-Islamic period and its role in negotiations of local identity outside the purview of imperial interest.
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The weekly Classics Colloquium provides an informal meeting ground for the College's lively community of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty who are interested in classical subjects. Each year, the series brings to campus a number of distinguished speakers on a variety of literary, archaeological, and historical subjects.