Amlaš, a small village in the Gīlān province of northern Iran, has given its name to an assortment of archaeological artefacts recovered from the valleys of the nearby Alborz range. These artefacts range in date from the late second millennium BC through the Partho-Sasanian period, with most dated to the 9th and 8th centuries BC. A main characteristic of Amlash pottery is its intricate sculptural and technical manufacture, deeply influenced by Mesopotamian and Syrian civilisations. Zoomorphic drinking or ritual vessels are abundant in Amlash pottery and usually feature depictions of animals common to that region. Such vessels have been recovered across Mesopotamia and Anatolia, and they were known as BIBRÛ, from the word for “bird” in Akkadian, a Semitic language spoken in ancient Babylonia and Assyria. BIBRÛ vessels usually display a prominent spout on the animal’s back and a secondary tubular opening on the animal’s mouth. Vessels of this type appeared for the first time in Uruk Mesopotamia and might have been produced as ceremonial drinking vessels, dedicated to specific deities. They might also have served as drinking vessels for the social elite and royal family members.
To discover more about Mesopotamian cultures, please visit our relevant post: Civilisations of the Ancient Near East.