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Elizabeth P. Benson

Pre-Columbian Maya site in Retalhuleu, in the Highland Maya region, near the Pacific coast of Guatemala. It is best known for its monumental stone sculptures, some of which were recorded in the 19th century. The site lies partly on the Finca San Isidro Piedra Parada, and it was known by this name when ...

Article

Abaneri  

Walter Smith

Temple site in north-eastern Rajasthan, India. It contains the fragmentary remains of two major monuments of the 8th century ad. The Chand Baori, a stepped ritual bathing tank c. 19 m deep, was probably built by Raja Chandra, from whom its name derives; an enclosing verandah dates to the 17th century. Although the Harshatmata Temple also dates to the 8th century, or early 9th, according to some scholars, a modern temple has been built over the original foundations, which include a broad platform and the lower walls of the original monument. A remarkable sequence of sculptures, showing primarily secular scenes, survives. These include kings with courtiers, musicians and couples (...

Article

Jaromir Malek

Site of the ancient Egyptian sun temple of King Neuserre (reg c. 2416–c. 2392 bc), on the western bank of the Nile north-west of Abusir, almost opposite the southernmost suburbs of modern Cairo. The temple, called Shesepib re (‘joy of the sun god Re’), is situated at the edge of the Libyan Desert, in the area of the Memphite necropolis....

Article

Peter Grossmann

Site of a Christian city and pilgrimage centre in the Maryūt Desert, c. 45 km south-west of Alexandria, Egypt. It grew up around the shrine of St Menas, who was martyred during the persecution of the Christians instigated by Diocletian (reg 285–305). The ancient name of the site is not known, and the position of the saint’s grave had been long forgotten until, according to legend, several miracle cures led to its rediscovery. The place then quickly developed into an increasingly major centre of pilgrimage where, among other things, the so-called Menas ampules were manufactured as pilgrim flasks and achieved particular renown. The first excavations of the site were undertaken by ...

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E. P. Uphill

Site of necropolis in Egypt, 9 km north of Giza, which flourished c. 2925–c. 2450 bc. Mud-brick mastaba tombs of 1st Dynasty nobles are the earliest buildings at Abu Rawash. The largest mastaba (26×14 m) has eight large recesses in its long walls and is flanked by eight servants’ burials on its eastern side. Two funerary boats are associated with Tomb M25. The ...

Article

R. G. Morkot

Site in Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile in Lower Nubia, 280 km south of Aswan. With the construction of the Aswan Dam in the early 1960s, the temple complex was one of a number of ancient monuments saved by being moved to a new site. Having been cut into pieces and reassembled, it now stands on the shores of Lake Nasser, 64 m higher and 180 m west of its ancient site. It is not known whether any small rock-cut chapels already existed at Abu Simbel, but inscriptions from the Middle Kingdom show that it was already an ancient sacred site when ...

Article

Abusir  

Miroslav Verner

Ancient Egyptian royal necropolis that flourished during the 5th Dynasty (c. 2465–c. 2325 bc). The site is 25 km south-west of the centre of Cairo and has been intermittently excavated since the beginning of the 19th century by teams of English, French, German, Egyptian and Czech archaeologists....

Article

Abydos  

John Baines

Egyptian site, c. 50 km south of Sohag, and necropolis of the ancient city of This (perhaps modern Girga), which was briefly the capital of the newly united Egypt in the Late Predynastic period (c. 3000–c. 2925 bc). As the country’s most ancient capital, it remained significant throughout Egyptian history, becoming the principal cult centre of Osiris, a funerary deity who embodied the tradition of kingship. From the later Middle Kingdom (...

Article

Nimet Özgüç

Site in central Turkey that flourished in the first half of the 2nd millennium bc, in a fertile plain watered by the River Karasu. The oval mound of Acemhöyük, measuring 700×600 m, and 20 m high, rises in the centre of the town of Yeşilova, 18 km north-west of Aksaray; it was surrounded by a lower city 600 m wide, now covered by the modern town. Acemhöyük was thus the largest ancient settlement in this agricultural region, and excavations were begun in ...

Article

Marco Rendeli

Modern name of an Etruscan settlement near Viterbo, Italy. It is situated on a small tufa plateau bounded on three sides by streams, one of which runs red. Excavations conducted by the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies during the 1960s and 1970s uncovered the tufa foundations of buildings that comprised various sectors of an ancient town. These provide some of the most extensive archaeological evidence relating to Etruscan domestic architecture and urban organization. The site was already inhabited in the ...

Article

Thorsten Opper

Elaborate monument erected by Octavian (later Augustus) in 29–27 bc on the Preveza Peninsula in Western Greece, north of the present-day town of Preveza, overlooking Cape Actium, to commemorate his naval victory over Mark Antony at Actium in 31 bc. The nearby city of Nikopolis...

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Addaura  

David Trump

Cave site in the northern slope of Monte Pellegrino 8 km north of Palermo on the north coast of Sicily. It contains a number of prehistoric figures engraved in the surface of a smooth slab of rock on the left-hand side, which were revealed when a layer of stalagmite was detached by exploding ammunition in the 1940s. The earliest, lightly incised group includes horses, cattle, a hind and a woman carrying a bundle. The main group consists of ten male figures, each about 250 mm high, and a larger figure of a deer. The outlines of the former are bold and assured, though the heads are invariably crude, often animal- or bird-like; hands and feet were simply omitted. Later two bovids were added; these are much more roughly drawn. All had been covered by the stalagmite, which must have taken many centuries, if not millennia, to form. A date of ...

Article

David S. Brose

Prehistoric site in North America. It is the largest of several mounds along the Scioto River north of Chillicothe, OH. Although it is the eponym of the Early Woodland-period Adena culture of the Upper Ohio River Valley (c. 1000–c. 100 bc), the date of the mound itself is unknown. No stylized engraved palettes, characteristic of Adena culture, were found. The mound comprises a penannular earthwork built in several stages to a height of 8 m. A circular structure with sloping sides and double-set wooden post walls was constructed on a floor from which numerous fires had been cleared. Next, burials were placed centrally in rectangular tombs dug into the floor of the structure, a low mound was heaped over them and the funerary structure was burned. The entire area was then covered by layers of black sand incorporating several new cremations and burials outside the central tombs. For some considerable time after this, additional cremated human remains and extended burials were placed in further layers of sand and gravel. The cremation and inhumation burials, and occasionally clay-covered bundles of bones, were accompanied by annular and penannular copper bracelets and rings; cut river mussel shell animal effigies; cut mica headbands; expanded centre gorgets, ground, polished and drilled, of schist and chlorite; and a human effigy carved in the round on an Ohio pipestone tube....

Article

German architect, archaeologist and writer. He was one of the leading figures of Berlin’s architectural establishment in the latter half of the 19th century. On completion of his studies in 1852, he was given the prestigious post of Bauleiter at the Neues Museum in Berlin, designed by Friedrich August Stüler. He subsequently became a lecturer and in ...

Article

T. I. Zeymal’

Buddhist monastery of the 7th century ad to first half of the 8th, in the valley of the Vakhsh River, 12 km east of Kurgan-Tyube, southern Tajikistan. During this early medieval period it belonged to Vakhsh (U-sha in Chinese sources), one of the 27 domains of Tokharistan. Excavations between ...

Article

Timothy Taylor

Iron Age burial mound in Dobrogea, Romania. It is important for a collection of figurally decorated, partly gilded silver objects that accompanied a Getic chieftain in death. The Getae had affinities to both Thracians and Scythians (see Thracian and Dacian art and Scythian and Sarmatian art...

Article

Colin McEwan

Pre-Columbian site in Manabí Province, Ecuador, 8 km inland in the Buenavista River Valley. It was a principal town, controlled by a lord, of the powerful indigenous polity of Salangome, recorded in 1528 by the navigator of the Spanish explorer and conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Human occupation at Agua Blanca spanned at least 5000 years and included components of all the principal ceramic-using cultures identified along Ecuador’s coasts. The ceramic sequence began with ...

Article

Ahenny  

Roger Stalley

Site of an obscure Early Christian settlement formerly known as Kilclispeen (St Crispin’s Church) in Co. Tipperary, Ireland. The only remains are two outstanding stone crosses and the base of a third (c. 750–900), which are situated in a graveyard below the village. The crosses belong to a well-defined regional group and were constructed of three characteristic elements: a square base with sloping sides, a shaft with an unusually wide ring and a peculiar, rather ill-fitting, conical cap (the latter missing on the south cross). With its capstone, the north cross measures 3.7 m in height. The form of the Ahenny crosses is emphasized by a bold cable ornament along the outer contours. Projecting from the main faces are sculpted bosses, the most prominent feature of the ‘Ahenny school’. The ring and shaft of the crosses are covered with dense patterns of carved ornament, including interlace, spirals, frets, entangled beasts and interlocking men. Much of this decoration can be compared with the metalwork and manuscript illumination of the period, and it appears that the sculptors were in effect transposing altar or processional crosses into stone. With the addition of pigment, the analogy with metalwork would have been complete. In contrast to the shafts and rings, the bases bear figure sculpture in low relief. That on the north cross is best preserved and represents Adam and Eve with the animals in the Garden of Eden, a chariot procession (a theme repeated on other Irish crosses), seven ecclesiastics (possibly symbolizing Christ’s mission to the Apostles) and an enigmatic funeral procession with a headless corpse....

Article

Gregory L. Possehl

Fortified site in Bareilly District, Uttar Pradesh, India. It flourished from c. 500 bc to ad 1100, and it was identified by Alexander Cunningham as the capital of North Panchala, an early kingdom mentioned in the Mahābhārata epic of the 1st millennium bc. The fortifications of the site measure 5.6 km in circuit, and the mounds within stand 23 m above the surrounding plain. Early visitors such as the 7th-century Chinese pilgrim ...

Article

Ai  

Joseph A. Callaway

Site of a walled Early Bronze Age city of 11.1 ha, 24 km north of Jerusalem. It was built c. 3100 bc by outsiders from north Syria over a village of c. 3200 bc. It survived through four major phases until c. 2350 bc, when an unknown enemy sacked and burnt the entire city and drove away its inhabitants; even its ancient name was lost. In about ...