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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 1962 by a Turkish team led by Nimet Özgüç. Some of the objects from the excavations are in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara; most are in the archaeological museums at Niḡde and Aksaray; and a fine collection of ivories from the site is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Occupation of the mound began at least as early as 3000 bc and the surviving architectural remains and artefacts from the Early Bronze Age settlements (levels IX–VI) testify to the existence of a distinctive local culture that nevertheless maintained close links with contemporary settlements in central Anatolia and Cilicia. The lower town was first occupied in ...

Article

Ai  

Joseph A. Callaway

[‛Ay; now Khirbet al-Tall; et-Tell, Arab.: ‘The Ruin’]

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 1200 bc, pioneer settlers from the coastal region moved inland and established a village of 1.2 ha on the acropolis ruins of the ancient site, which was occupied until c. 1050 bc. The site was excavated from 1933 to 1935 by Judith Marquet-Krause and from 1964 to 1972 by Joseph Callaway. Finds are in the Rockefeller Museum and the Hebrew University, both in Jerusalem. The site has been identified as the biblical city of Ai, captured by Joshua (Joshua 7:2–5 and 8:1–29), although there is, in fact, no evidence of occupation then....

Article

Kathryn Walker Tubb

[Arab. ‛Ayn Ghazāl]

Neolithic site in Marka, north-eastern Amman, Jordan. Excavations have yielded impressive lime-plaster statues and clay figurines dating to the Pre-pottery Neolithic B period (c. 7200–6000 bc). The site covers 11 ha, but less than 1% has been excavated. Houses have been found with walls constructed of undressed stones bonded with a mud mortar. Sometimes they were built on previously levelled ground and often had no foundation trenches. By the late 20th century no complete house plan had been recovered, but a two-room dwelling was probably typical. The main walls were rectilinear. Houses were much modified in design detail and by renovation, indicating long periods of use. The interior walls were covered with a mud plaster to which a finer lime plaster was applied. The floors, incorporating shallow, basin-like hearths, were covered with a thick bed of coarse lime plaster, which levelled the ground and provided a base for a fine, thin lime plaster. Both floor and walls were frequently painted with red iron oxide and burnished, with pigment applied either as solid colour or in splotches and biomorphic patterns....

Article

Ora Negbi

[Tell el-‛Ajjul; anc. Sharuḥen]

Site of a Bronze Age city in Israel that flourished in the 2nd millennium bc. It consists in a large mound 6 km south-west of Gaza, which was excavated by Sir Flinders Petrie in the early 1930s. Petrie presumed that he was excavating ancient Gaza, the Egyptian administrative capital of the southern province of Canaan during the Late Bronze Age (c. 1500–c. 1200 bc). Re-evaluation of the historical and archaeological evidence has confirmed the identification of the site with Sharuḥen, the Hyksos stronghold besieged and plundered by Ahmose (reg c. 1539–c. 1514 bc), the founder of the New Kingdom, at the close of the Middle Bronze Age (the Hyksos were Semitic rulers of Egypt in the 17th and 16th centuries bc). Finds are widely spread, with important collections in the Rockefeller Museum, Jerusalem, the British Museum, London, and the Petrie Museum at University College, London....

Article

Pierre Amiet

Name given to the people responsible for the first Mesopotamian empire, established in the later 3rd millennium bc. The period is noted for a high degree of artistic and technical achievement in statues, carved stelae, cylinder seals and cast metalwork (see fig.).

During the first two-thirds of the 3rd millennium bc, southern and central Mesopotamia (bibl. Chaldaea) were divided into a number of independent Sumerian city states. The Sumerians had established the first urban civilization and had developed a script into which they transcribed their language. They co-existed peacefully with the Semitic-speaking population of nomads or settled descendants of nomads who formed the majority in the north. The Semitic capital was the city of Kish (close to the future site of Babylon), which exercised a theoretical sovereignty over the country as a whole; in fact each state was governed by an independent ruler. Various ill-fated attempts were made to unite the country until, towards the middle of the 24th century ...

Article

Donald F. Easton

[Alaca Hüyük; Alaja Hüyük]

Site in north-central Turkey, c. 40 km south-west of Çorum and 160 km east of Ankara. It was occupied in the Bronze Age (from c. 3400 bc) and later. Of greatest artistic interest are 14 Early Bronze Age (eb) royal tombs and the sculptures from the Hittite city gate (see fig.). The ruin mound is on a natural hillock; it measured c. 250×320 m and had c. 14 m of deposit. A lower town has not been identified. Early investigations of the site were conducted by Ernest Chantre (1863), Georges Perrot (1865), Henry John Van Lennep (1869), Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (1881) and Théodor Macridy (1906). The Turkish Historical Society began systematic excavations in 1935 under Remzi Oǧuz Arık, and these continued under Hamit Zubeyr Koşay, assisted by Mahmut Akok, in 1936–49 and 1963–79. In the excavations up to at least ...

Article

Donald F. Easton

[Alishar]

Site in north-central Turkey, c. 45 km south-east of Yozgat, once occupied by a town of considerable importance in the development of Anatolia, ancient. It flourished from the Early Bronze Age (eb), before c. 3000 /date BC, and reached its apogee in the Middle Bronze Age (mb), c. 2000–c. 1500 /date BC, when it boasted an Assyrian trading colony and was probably the seat of an Anatolian king. It comprises a mound (245×145 m), which rises 32 m beside a tributary of the Konak Su, and a lower terrace (520×350 m). The site was excavated by the University of Chicago from 1927 to 1932, clearing the mound to Post-Hittite levels and then trenching down to ground-water level; virgin soil was reached only on the terrace. Nineteen occupation phases were distinguished on the mound and fourteen on the terrace. Finds from the excavations are housed in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara....

Article

V. M. Masson

[Altyn-Depe]

Site of Neolithic and Bronze Age activity near Mian, 150 km south-east of Ashkhabad, in southern Turkmenistan. The site of 25 ha, surrounded by a further tract (w. 30 m) of cultivated land, was extensively excavated in 1965–6 by the Academy of Sciences, southern Turkmenistan, and the Institute of Archaeology, Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg. Altyn Tepe exemplifies the gradual development from a farming culture to an urban centre. The earliest layers, dating from the 5th millennium bc, contained bronze objects and ceramics with large geometric designs, similar to those from Namazga I (a comparable settlement also in southern Turkmenistan). From the end of the 4th millennium bc, the greatly expanded settlement was fortified with a mud-brick wall and rectangular towers. Typical finds of this period include polychrome ceramics of the Geoksyur type, limestone vessels, flat seals, and statuettes of women with ornate hairstyles. During the 3rd millennium bc, specialized trades developed: pottery was made on the wheel, while copper and bronze mirrors, pins, daggers and other items were widely produced. Sanctuaries had oval altars, and mass burials were placed in mud-brick tombs. By the end of this millennium, monumental gates with two turreted pylons, and an artisans’ quarter had been built. In the separate quarter for the nobility, lavish burials were found containing ornaments and seals of bronze, silver and gold. In the centre of the city was a religious complex that had a monumental stepped tower similar to the ziggurats of Sumer. A tomb in this complex appears to have been dedicated to a lunar god resembling the Mesopotamian Nanna and contained numerous gold, silver, azurite and turquoise ornaments and gold heads of wolves and bulls, the latter with inset azurite crescents on their foreheads. Finds of inscribed Harappan seals and ivory objects provide evidence of close links with the Indian site of ...

Article

E. Haerinck

Area in the province of Gilan in northern Iran that has given its name to a series of ancient objects. Since the 1950s the area around the village of Amlash has served as a local market for clandestinely excavated objects from the surrounding valleys. Although the term ‘Amlash’ should only be used in a geographical sense, to indicate material from Gilan, it has often wrongly been given a chronological meaning. Many objects purporting to come from this area (including fakes) have entered collections and museums, but their dating is often problematic.

Iranian and Japanese archaeological teams explored several sites in Gilan, of which Marlik, Kaluraz, Dailaman (including Ghalekuti, Nouruz and Hassani Mahaleh) and Tomadjan are the best known. Excavation of the cemeteries provided evidence that the objects belonged to several periods, from the middle of the 2nd millennium bc to the Islamic era. The area was probably inhabited only from the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age by nomads, who buried their dead in stone-built tombs or later in vaulted burial chambers cut into the mountain slopes....

Article

Amorite  

Giorgio Buccellati

[Sum. Martu; Akkad. Amurru; Heb. Amori]

Name given to ethnic and political social groups in the Ancient Near East. In its ethnic connotation the term Amorite was used originally to refer to a Semitic, pastoralist and presumably rural population in the Middle Euphrates region in the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium bc. An ethnic connotation may also be recognized behind the biblical use of the term, which is, however, very vague. In its political connotation the term Amorite was used to refer to the kingdom of Babylon under the dynasty of Sumuabum (reg 1894–1881 bc), which included Hammurabi (reg 1792–1750 bc) as its most famous ruler (Old Babylonian period). By extension, scholars have often used the term to refer to various other dynasties of the early 2nd millennium bc, whose rulers bore ‘Amorite’ names (e.g. Larsa, Eshnunna, Mari and Aleppo). A distinct use of the political term refers to a territorial state known as the kingdom of ...

Article

R. T. H. Dornemann

[‛Amq; Plain of Antioch]

Area in Turkey covered by a rich agricultural plain, watered by the Orontes, Afrin and Kara Su rivers, in a strategic location for routes connecting Syria with Turkey, the coast and Mediterranean maritime trade. In the 1930s a series of ruin mounds of varying date were investigated by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, IL, under the direction of R. J. Braidwood, and a chronological sequence for the region was established, extending back to c. 6200 bc (Amuk A, Neolithic). This Amuk sequence is still the basis for the prehistoric chronologies of north Syria and south-east Anatolia. Most of the finds are in the Hatay Museum in Antakya and in the Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago. A further series of sites, of which Atchana, Tell was the most important, was investigated by a team under C. L. Woolley. Finds from these excavations are mostly in the Hatay Museum, Antakya, the British Museum, London, and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford....

Article

Dominique Collon, Donald F. Easton, Jeanny Vorys Canby, J. D. Hawkins, K. Aslihan Yener, Oscar White Muscarella and A. Nunn

Region roughly equivalent to the modern state of Turkey. The name Anatolia was first used by Byzantine writers in the 10th century ad, as an alternative to Asia Minor, and is now often used in its Turkish form, ‘Anadolu’, to describe Turkey in Asia. In this article the term ancient Anatolia covers the cultures and civilizations that flourished in the region from possibly as early as the 14th millennium bc to the 6th century bc. A wealth of remains from the Neolithic period (c. 8000–c. 5800 bc) to the Early Bronze Age (c. 3400–c. 2000 bc) testifies to the advanced prehistoric culture of Anatolia. During the 2nd millennium bc this was succeeded by the civilization of the Hittites (see Hittite), the demise of which was followed by a Dark Age lasting some two centuries. Eastern and south-eastern Anatolia were dominated from the ...

Article

Dominique Collon, J. D. Hawkins, Beatrice Teissier, D. Barag, G. Herrmann, Jack Ogden, Annie Caubet, Joan Allgrove McDowell, Michael Roaf, Vesta Sarḳhosh Curtis, Ian Carradice, G. D. Summers, Seton Lloyd and Geoffrey Turner

Area of the ancient world that extends from Turkey in the west to Iran in the east (see fig.). Although the term Near East is often synonymous with Middle East, the adjective ‘ancient’ is always attached to Near East, and ‘Ancient Middle East’ never occurs. The term Western Asia is sometimes preferred. The ancient history, arts and architecture of the countries in this area are treated elsewhere in this dictionary under the headings Anatolia, ancient, Syria-Palestine, Mesopotamia and Iran, ancient. Vast though this area is, the cultures and civilizations that flourished in the Ancient Near East from prehistoric times to the early centuries ad often exerted an influence that reached still further. In general, however, peripheral regions, such as Arabia and Afghanistan, are not included in this survey. From the time of the campaigns of Alexander the Great (reg 336–323 bc) to the Islamic conquest in the mid-7th century ...

Article

Anyang  

Robert W. Bagley

[An-yang]

Chinese city in Henan Province, near the site of the last capital of the Shang dynasty or Yin dynasty, occupied c.1300– c. 1050 bc. The site is sometimes called Yinxu, ‘Waste of Yin’, an ancient name for the abandoned city.

At least as early as the Northern Song period (960–1127) Anyang was known to antiquarians as a source of ancient bronze ritual vessels. At the beginning of the 20th century archaeologists were led there by the realization that animal bones and turtle shells found by local farmers were carved with inscriptions in a form of Chinese script more archaic than any previously known (for a discussion of the oracle-bone texts see China, People’s Republic of, §IV, 2, (i)). The bones had been used in divination rituals; their inscriptions, which showed the divinations to have been performed on behalf of the last nine Shang kings, secured the identification of the Anyang site. According to historical texts of the last few centuries ...

Article

Seton Lloyd

[Arab. ‛Aqarqūf; anc. Dur Kurigalzu]

. Site in Iraq of the ancient capital city of the Kassites, which flourished c. 1400–1157 bc (see also Mesopotamia, §I, 2). The ruins of ancient Dur Kurigalzu are 15 km west of modern Baghdad, at the point where an outcrop of soft limestone marks the northern extremity of the alluvial plain. The eroded core of its Ziggurat (now partly rest.) is visible from the highway leading west to Ramūdī and the desert crossing to Jordan. The mud-brick fabric of its structure is reinforced with deep layers of reed-matting and faced on all sides with kiln-baked brick.

Iraqi excavations at Aqar Quf in 1942–5 under Taha Baqir led to the discovery of a complex of temple buildings at the foot of the ziggurat itself. A Kassite dynasty ruled Babylonia from the 16th century to the 12th century bc, apparently maintaining the ancient civic and religious traditions of Mesopotamia. The architecture of this temple precinct was therefore characteristic of the period (...

Article

Ismail Hijara

Prehistoric site in northern Iraq situated c. 6 km north-east of Nineveh and 9 km east of the River Tigris. Its low mound (120 m in diameter and 11.5 m high) was excavated by Max Mallowan in 1933 and by Ismail Hijara in 1976. These excavations show that Arpachiyah was occupied during the Halaf (c. 5200–c. 4500 bc) and Ubaid (5th millennium bc) periods (see Mesopotamia, §I, 2, (i), (a),1). The finds made in 1933 were divided between the Iraq Museum in Baghdad and Mosul and various other institutions, including the British Museum, London, and the Institute of Archaeology, London University. The finds of 1976 are all in Iraq.

The Halaf settlement is represented by a deposit 7.5 m deep occupying the whole site. On the basis of the finds in this deposit a framework for the classification of Halaf pottery was first established, which has since been elaborated. Arpachiyah provides most of the evidence for the Halaf sequence and is therefore a key site for comparative studies with other sites. Such an accumulation presumably reflects a lengthy occupation and may represent the full extent of the Halaf cultural period. It is the only site so far to yield a wide range of stratified pottery of the Early Halaf period....

Article

Marcella Frangipane

[ Malatya]

Site in eastern Turkey, in the Malatya Plain on the right bank of the River Euphrates. It is a large artificial mound (h. c. 30 m) formed by the superposition of successive dwellings from about the 5th millennium bc to the Islamic period, c. 12th century ad. It was a strategic political and economic centre, especially in the Late Uruk period (c. 3300–c. 2900 bc), and was important in the cultural contexts of both Mesopotamia and Anatolia, ancient. Finds from the excavations are housed in the Malatya Museum and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara.

Excavations in the southern area of the mound have revealed a stratified succession of four monumental public buildings of mud-brick at a depth of c. 8 m; radiocarbon dating has suggested that these structures were built c. 3300–3000 bc. Most have thick walls and stone foundations, and contain several rooms. Many niches, plastered and painted white, or more rarely red, are set in the interior walls. Building I, the most recent, has a recognizable temple plan with a rectangular cella containing a central podium and a basin for sacrifices against the end wall; on one side are two communicating rooms for storage. The walls of the main room are richly decorated with concentric ovals stamped with a mould, comparable to an example from southern Mesopotamia (now Iraq) in Uruk itself....

Article

John M. Russell

Name given to people of the ancient land of Assur (Assyria) in northern Mesopotamia (now Iraq), named after their state god. The Assyrian heartland is bounded on the north and east by the Zagros Mountains and on the south and west by arid plains that receive insufficient rainfall to support agriculture. The area is well watered by the Tigris, Greater and Lesser Zab rivers and their tributaries, some stretches of which are suitable for irrigation, and also by rainfall, which allows most of the region to grow one crop of wheat annually. The Assyrians, a Semitic people speaking a dialect of Akkadian, appear in the historical record as traders at the beginning of the 2nd millennium bc and developed into an important power in Mesopotamia and then throughout the Ancient Near East until the fall of their empire in 612 bc. The most important Assyrian cities in the 2nd millennium ...

Article

Dominique Collon

[ Açana ; anc. Alalakh]

Site in the Amuk region, on the River Orontes in south-eastern Turkey, which is crucial for the study of Syrian history and art in the 2nd millennium bc. The low mound was excavated by Leonard Woolley from 1936 to 1939 and from 1946 to 1949. Finds are mostly in Antakya (Hatay Mus.), London (BM) and Oxford (Ashmolean). A deep sounding produced material dated by Woolley to the early 3rd millennium bc, but it is now acknowledged that the site was probably first occupied c. 2000 bc. It was destroyed by the Sea Peoples just after 1200 bc.

In level VII a palace was excavated, which was in use from c. 1725 bc for about a century; the plan underwent several alterations. The main reception-room had a columned entrance and a stairway to one side. A range of administrative rooms and another staircase lay to the south of a courtyard and here elephant tusks and the palace archive were found. From the clay tablets, written in Akkadian in the cuneiform script of Mesopotamia, it is known that this was the palace of the rulers of ...

Article

Babylon  

[Akkad. Bab-ilim: ‘gate of god’]

Site in Iraq, 80 km south of modern Baghdad. It was once the capital and most important city of Babylonia (see Babylonian). It first rose to prominence under Hammurabi (reg 1792–1750 bc) and reached its peak of development under the Neo-Babylonian kings in the 6th century bc and was occupied until Sasanian times. Babylon was excavated by Austin Henry Layard (1850), Fulgence Fresnel (1852), Hormuzd Rassam (1879–82), and Robert Koldewey and Walter Andrae (1899–1917). Since 1958, excavations have been carried out by the Directorate-General of Antiquities, Baghdad, and the German Archaeological Institute. Finds from the early excavations are divided between the Iraq Museum in Baghdad and the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin. More recent finds are in Baghdad (Iraq Mus.) and in a museum on the site.

Babylon was the largest settlement in ancient Mesopotamia, extending over an area of some 850 ha. The oldest known reference attests the construction of a temple in Akkadian times (late 3rd millennium ...