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Article

T. Dothan

[Peleset]

Name given to the inhabitants of the south coast of Palestine in the late 2nd millennium bc and the early 1st. Philistine art and architecture offer a syncretistic blend of Aegean, Canaanite and Egyptian elements. The dominant element is Aegean, as demonstrated by cult practices, burial customs, funerary rites, architectural styles and decorative motifs on pottery. The Philistine people were among the invaders known from Egyptian records as the Sea Peoples. These were probably of Aegean origin and first appeared in the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the 13th century bc. At that time the Egyptians and the Hittites controlled the Levant, but both were politically and militarily weak. The Sea Peoples exploited this opportunity by invading areas previously subject to Egyptian and Hittite control and launched land and sea assaults on Syria and Palestine. The Philistine people or Peleset are first mentioned as invaders during the reign of ...

Article

Robert C. Henrickson

[Umm Dabaghiyah]

Prehistoric site in the Jazira in northern Iraq, c. 100 km south-west of Mosul. Umm Dabaghiya was a specialized settlement and trading post that flourished c. 6200–c. 5750 bc and is an early ceramic site with distinctive architectural features. Many of the finest objects from the site are now to be found in the Iraq Museum, Baghdad. Diana Kirkbride conducted four seasons of excavation (1971–4), clearing a large area (c. 3000 sq. m). Periods of abandonment separated the four levels of occupation (IV–I). In the better-preserved earlier levels (IV–III) three blocks of double or triple rows of small, well-built, rectilinear compartments (each c. 1.5×2.0 m) defined three sides of a large open area. Their size and lack of household features indicate they were used for storage; the overall layout suggests a planned construction. Beyond these were small, irregular one- to three-roomed houses. Exterior ovens opened into the interior for hearths that had chimneys. Plastered steps and toeholds in the upper walls and the absence of doorways suggest that entry was from the roof. Some of the white-plastered interiors, especially in levels IV–III, had painted bands around the floor and naturalistic frescoes on the walls, one of which seems to depict an onager hunt (Baghdad, Iraq Mus.; ...

Article

Uruk  

Joan Oates

[Bibl. Erech; Class. Orchoë; now Warka]

Site in southern Iraq of an important Sumerian city, once situated on a branch of the Euphrates, continuously occupied from the 5th millennium bc to Sasanian times (7th century ad); it is noted especially for remarkable architecture of the 4th millennium bc (Uruk period) and for the world’s earliest written documents. The site was excavated in 1850 and 1854 by William Kennet Loftus; since 1912 German teams have worked there under J. Jordan (1912–13, 1928–31), A. Nöldeke (1931–3, 1934–9), E. Heinrich (1933–4) and, since 1954, under H. Lenzen and later J. Schmidt. Most of the finds are in Baghdad (Iraq Mus.), although some of Loftus’s are in London (BM) and some from the earlier German excavations are in Berlin (Pergamonmus.).

The city of the legendary Gilgamesh, Uruk is believed to have consisted originally of two settlements, Kullaba and Eanna, of which Kullaba, the site of the later Anu precinct, is believed to be the earlier. Here two temples of the 5th millennium ...