added by archaeologs 6th-millennium be site of the Samarra phase on the Tigris River north of Baghdad in Iraq. Five building levels have been excavated at Sawwan and by level III the settlement was defended by a ditch and wall except on the west, where the land fell away steeply to the river. Inside the wall were complex T-shaped buildings with up to 14 rooms each. The building material was true mudbrick (while contemporary sites further north used pisé, known locally as tauf). A number of graves, mostly of infants, found beneath buildings of level I, yielded a large number of ground stone objects including fine female figurines and bowls of alabaster. The subsistence economy was based on irrigation agriculture (necessary in this arid zone where dry farming could not have been practised): emmer and bread wheat, two varieties of barley, and linseed were grown, probably by flood cultivation on the flood plain of the river. Domesticated animals, including cattle, were kept; a range of wild animals was hunted and fish and freshwater mussels from the river were also eaten. This site, like its contemporary Choga Mami to the southeast, shows an early development towards more complex forms in architecture, subsistence economy and social organization, presaging the development towards urban civilization that characterized the succeeding two millennia in Mesopotamia.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983