Ancient Worlds - BBC Two
Episode 1 “Come Together”
Alabaster “Eye Idols” from the ancient site of Tell Brak, north Mesopotamia.
Tell Brak was clearly one of the most important cities in the region during the early Bronze Age. Monumental buildings appear to have been rebuilt over many centuries. It was at one of these, known today as the Eye Temple, that the archaeologist Max Mallowan (picture n. 6 with his wife, the writer Agatha Christie and the archaeologist Leonard Woolley) excavated hundreds of these miniature figurines, with their pronounced eyes. The temple’s surfaces were richly decorated with clay cones, copper panels and gold work, in a style comparable to contemporary temples of southern Mesopotamia, or Sumer.
The figurines have been grouped into five types. Some have a single pair of eyes, with or without decoration; some have three, four or six eyes; some have small ‘child’ eye figures carved on their front and on others the eyes have been drilled through.
Examples of figurines with drilled eyes have been found at a number of sites of this period across north Mesopotamia. Excavations at Tell Brak confirmed their date, about 3500-3300 BC.