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Nabateans common-ware pottery was simple and similar to the pottery used by the civilizations around them. Its distinctive characteristic was the use of red clay that gave it a bright red color. Most Nabataean common-ware pottery was well made but plain, with little decoration. This, however, was not true of their fine, thin-wares. Nabataean fine thin-ware pottery was all made locally, and some was plain, but the majority was painted. Nabataean fine thin-ware was perhaps the finest ceramics produced in the Middle East up to that time. It has been suggested by some that their taste in fine pottery came from pieces they might have imported from China.

As stated earlier, while the Nabataeans were nomads, they had little use for pottery and used water skins and wooden bowls. Consequently, Nabataean pottery does not generally exist from before 100 BC. Then, suddenly they began to produce their own pottery, both common-ware pottery for every day use and very fine thin pottery for the wealthy and for religious usage. This pottery, especially the later kind, was produced in huge quantities, and large mounds of broken Nabataean pottery lie in Petra today.

Their painted pottery was unique, with figures of ancient mythology, flowering vines, flowers, and even birds with bright plumage. Some of the finest and thinnest of Nabataean painted pottery was found underneath the paved floor of the central altar-shrine of Khirbet Tannur, and is dated no later than the end of the first century BC. Recently archeologists have discovered near complete pottery trays, bowls, and other objects in an unrobed tomb in Jordan.

first century nabatean clay pot clay bottles for insence storage found in petra
In 1980 a series of Nabataean pottery kilns was discovered near the government rest house in Petra, when a new road was being constructed. The kilns were of a late date, probably first century AD, and were abandoned before the Byzantine period.

To view our Nabatean clay pots and other mosaic handmade products please visit our pottery craft store click (here) In association with Mufida Art Mosaic

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