This study focuses on a major issue in Near Eastern prehistoric
archaeology: the rise of the Halaf culture, ca. 5900 - 5400 cal.
BC. The book presents in a detailed, quantified and lavishly
illustrated manner the ceramics excavated by the National Museum of
Antiquities Leiden at Tell Sabi Abyad, northern Syria.
Concentrating on the 1996 - 2000 campaigns, the book also
synthesizes much earlier work in order to come to a comprehensive
overview. Tell Sabi Abyad thus far remains the only archaeological
site in the Near East where the shift from a Pre-Halaf to an Early
Halaf cultural assemblage can be followed within a continuous,
meticulously stratified sequence. This shift occured during a
short-lived transitional stage, radiocarbon dated at 6100-5900 cal.
BC, In terms of the ceramics, this transition is characterized by
the gradual replacement of plain Coarse Ware by intricately painted
Fine Wares, and by numerous innovations in ceramic technology,
morphology and decorative style.