Ubaid 0, or Oueili, (6500–5400 BCE), an early Ubaid phase first excavated at Tell el-'Oueili

Ubaid 1 is the Eridu phase of the Ubaid period[1] (5400–4700 BCE). This phase is limited to the extreme south of Iraq, on what was then the shores of the Persian Gulf. This phase, showing a clear connection to the Samarra culture to the north, established the first permanent settlement south of the 5 inch rainfall isohyet. The Eridu people pioneered the growing of grains in the extreme conditions of aridity, thanks to the high water tables of Southern Iraq.[2]

  • Ubaid 2[1] (4800–4500 BCE), after the type site of the same name, saw the development of extensive canal networks from major settlements. Irrigation agriculture, which seems to have developed first at Choga Mami (4700–4600 BCE) and rapidly spread elsewhere, form the first required collective effort and centralised coordination of labour in Mesopotamia.[3]

  • Ubaid 3/4, sometimes called Ubaid I and Ubaid II[4] — In the period from 4500–4000 BCE saw a period of intense and rapid urbanisation with the Ubaid culture spread into northern Mesopotamia and was adopted by the Halaf culture.[5][6] The earliest evidence for sailing has been found in Kuwait indicating that sailing was known by the Ubaid 3 period.[7]Ubaid artifacts spread all along the Arabian Littoral zone, showing the growth of a trading system that stretched from the Mediterranean coast through to Oman.[8][9]

Tell el-'Oueili is a tell, or ancient settlement mound, located in Dhi Qar Governorate, southern Iraq. Tell el-'Oueili was occupied during the Ubaid period. The excavations have revealed occupation layers dating from Ubaid 0 (6500-5400 BCE) to Ubaid 4. The phase Ubaid 0 was first discovered at this site and was hence provisionally termed 'Oueili-phase.[10] The site was excavated between 1976 and 1989 by French archaeologists under the direction of Jean-Louis Huot. The excavations have revealed occupation layers predating those of Eridu, making Tell el-'Oueili the earliest known human settlement in southern Mesopotamia.


The site was first noted and surveyed by French scholar André Parrot, who at the time was working at nearby Larsa.[11] Two small excavation seasons took place in 1976 and 1978, and regular excavations commenced in 1981.[10] Four more seasons took place in every uneven year until 1989. All excavations were directed by French archaeologist Jean-Louis Huot.[12]


The site measures Template:Convert/m in diameter and is approximately Template:Convert/m high.[11] It is located ca. Template:Convert/km southeast of Larsa in Dhi Qar Governorate, southern Iraq. The environment of 'Oueili is characterized by temperatures that can reach more than 50º C in summer and less than 250 mm of annual rainfall, making the area unsuitable for rainfed agriculture.[13]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kurt, Amélie Ancient near East V1 (Routledge History of the Ancient World) Routledge (31 Dec 1996) ISBN 978-0-415-01353-6 p.22
  2. Roux, Georges "Ancient Iraq" (Penguin, Harmondsworth)
  3. Wittfogel, Karl (1981) "Oriental Despotism: Comparative Study of Total Power" (Vintage Books)
  4. Issar, A; Mattanyah Zohar Climate change: environment and civilization in the Middle East Springer; 2nd edition (20 Jul 2004) ISBN 978-3-540-21086-3 p.87
  5. Susan Pollock; Reinhard Bernbeck (2009). Archaeologies of the Middle East: Critical Perspectives. p. 190. 
  6. Peter M. M. G. Akkermans, Glenn M. Schwartz (2003). The Archaeology of Syria: From Complex Hunter-Gatherers to Early Urban Societies (c.16,000-300 BCE). p. 157. 
  7. Carter, Robert (2006). "Boat remains and maritime trade in the Persian Gulf during the sixth and fifth millennia BCE". Antiquity 80 (307). 
  8. Bibby, Geoffrey (2013), "Looking for Dilmun" (Stacey International)
  9. Crawford, Harriet E.W.(1998), "Dilmun and its Gulf Neighbours" (Cambridge University Press)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Huot, J.-L. (1985), "Tell el'Oueili. Principaux Résultats de la Quatrième Campagne (1983)" (in French), Paléorient 11 (1): 119–123, doi:10.3406/paleo.1985.4367,, retrieved 2 August 2011 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Huot, J.-L. (1980), "Tell el'Oueili (Iraq): les Premiers Résultats" (in French), Paléorient 6 (1): 207–211, doi:10.3406/paleo.1980.4270,, retrieved 2 August 2011 
  12. Vallet, R.; Huot, J.-L. (1990), "Les Habitations à salles hypostyles d'époque Obeid 0 de Tell El'Oueili" (in French), Paléorient 16 (1): 125–130, doi:10.3406/paleo.1990.4527,, retrieved 2 August 2011 
  13. Huot, J.-L. (1985a), "Travaux en basse Mésopotamie. Les fouilles françaises à Larsa et 'Oueili" (in French), Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 129 (2): 300–318, doi:10.3406/crai.1985.14270,, retrieved 2 August 2011