If you are starting your Christmas shopping for me early, the Uruk Trading Company would be a good place to start! They make fine modern ceramics based on ancient styles and decorations, most notably from the Halaf Period (ca. 5000 BC). The image here is from their products catalog featuring a reproduction of a very famous plate uncovered at Arpachiyah near Mosul in Iraq. Not only are these table pieces beautifully done they are also microwave and dishwasher safe. Score! File this establishment under "Why Didn't I Think of That?!"
In other news, one of my favorite archaeological places is becoming an open air museum. According to this news brief in World Bulletin, the museum at Arslantepe in eastern Turkey will open June 2011 with a paved road leading up to the site and guides available to tour guests around. My apologies for the poor grammar of the article. I also want to note it contains some factual errors. For example, the site is 5,000 years old, not from 5,000 BC.
Arslantepe is home to one of the earliest (if not the earliest) palaces in the ancient Middle East. Archaeologists excavated a large central complex that held a wealth of objects, including cylinder seals and tabs of impressed clay that were used to seal commerce items. Piles and piles of these tabs were found as evidence of early accounting procedures that predate any written documentation that was to become commonplace a few hundred years later. Arslantepe stands as one of the major examples for heighten levels of trade and interregional interactions between Anatolia (modern Turkey) and Mesopotamia (Iraq).
Apart from commerce, Arslan is also famous for the beautiful wall paintings preserved inside the palace (pictured here). I was fortunate enough to see and photograph this ancient art in person and I am glad to see that others will very soon get the same chance!