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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

Margaret Cool Root

Name given to a people of Persian origin, who founded an empire that flourished c. 550–331 bc.

The Achaemenid Persian empire was founded c. 550 bc by Cyrus the Great. At its greatest extent under Darius the Great (reg 522–486 bc), it stretched from the Indus into northern Greece and across Egypt. The Macedonian Alexander the Great (reg 336–323 bc) was able to defeat the Achaemenids in 331 bc only after prolonged military campaigns.

This vast Persian hegemony was rich in legacies of administrative expertise and cultural heritage. Its dynastic name was derived from an 8th-century bc ancestor who ruled as a Persian vassal of the Iranian kingdom of the Medes, who were to inherit great power by conquering the Assyrians in the late 7th century bc. Both the Median overlords and Persian vassals enjoyed access to the Mesopotamian/Iranian artistic heritage. Annals of the Assyrian kings describe the Medes and the Persians living in fortified cities as early as the ...

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

J. D. Hawkins

[Ayin-Dara]

Site on the west bank of the River Afrin in Syria, about 5 km south of the town Afrin. Attention was drawn to the ancient site by surface finds of sculpture, and a large Neo-Hittite temple of the early 10th century bc was located below five levels of later occupation. Excavations here by the Syrian General Directorate of Antiquities in 1956, 1962 and 1964 have been reported, but more recent work has not been published. Finds are in situ or in the National Museum in Aleppo.

Parts of the north-west and south-west sides, with a fragment of a south-east façade, have been excavated and published. The remains suggest a structure of regular rectangular plan measuring in total not less than 38×32 m. An exterior terrace wall seems originally to have been faced with continuous slabs of fine black basalt on a dressed plinth; some of these were found in situ...

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

Tahsin Özgüç

Citadel and temple complex of the Urartians, 20 km east of Erzincan, Turkey, which flourished in the 8th and 7th centuries bc. Altıntepe is in the eastern half of the fertile Erzincan plain, on the main Erzincan–Erzurum highway, an east–west trade route of great historical and strategic importance. Systematic excavations began there in 1959 on behalf of the Turkish Historical Society and the Directorate General of Ancient Monuments, under the direction of Tahsin Özgüç, and continued until 1968. The finds are in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

Altıntepe is a very steep and rocky natural hill 60 m high and 200 m across, surrounded by two sets of defensive walls. The outer wall, the older of the two, is 12 m thick. These citadel walls are built of huge blocks of stone with square towers placed at regular intervals. Urartian buildings excavated on the hill include a temple, tombs, an open-air shrine, storerooms and living-quarters, as well as a reception hall (...

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

Amman  

Adnan Hadidi, Alastair Northedge and Jonathan M. Bloom

Reviser Sheila S. Blair

[Arab. ‛Amman; anc. Rabbath Ammon, later Philadelphia]

Capital of the kingdom of Jordan and site of a city that flourished between the 2nd millennium bc and the 14th century ad. The site lies in a fertile, well-watered area in the tableland to the east of the River Jordan, on the biblical King’s Highway (the ancient Roman Via Nova Traiana), which ran from Bosra in the north to the Red Sea in the south.

The ancient city consisted of the citadel, or acropolis, built in three terraces rising from west to east on a steep-sided, L-shaped hill, and the lower town in the valley of the Wadi ‛Amman to the south. The earliest material found on the citadel dates to the 3rd millennium bc; from c. 1100 bc until 582 bc the city was the capital of the kingdom of Ammon. Excavations around the perimeter of the hill have uncovered Ammonite tombs and Hellenistic and early Roman occupation from the ...

Article

Ammon  

A. R. Millard

Kingdom that flourished from the 11th to the 6th century bc, situated in present-day Jordan. Its capital was at Rabbath-Ammon (Amman). The kingdom was in constant contact and conflict with the Israelites to the west and Damascus to the north. Its pottery bears a general similarity to that on the other side of the River Jordan, with some Ammonite idiosyncrasies in the 7th and 6th centuries bc. Most remarkable are the sculptures. More than 30 human heads and statues, up to 850 mm high and carved in limestone or basalt, have been found in the Amman area (e.g. Amman, Jordan Archaeol. Mus.). Six wear the Egyptian atef crown (a high headdress with a feather at either side), but other elements indicate Syrian influence. Four double-faced female heads were excavated in Amman (Amman, Jordan Archaeol. Mus.); they are about 260 mm high, with inlaid eyes and beads of a choker around the neck, and can be compared with ivory-carvings from Syria. They are a local adaptation of a widespread theme, derived from the Hathor head of Egyptian art, and probably supported the balustrade of a window. Ammonite metalwork and jewellery are not distinctive. The number of seal-stones identifiable as Ammonite by script or form of name exceeds 50 (e.g. Paris, Bib. N.). While many carry only owners’ names and patronyms, like common Hebrew seals, or standard motifs of Egyptian or Babylonian origin, one group has lively animals in the centre (deer, bull, ape)....

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

Apadana  

Michael Roaf

Term from Old Persian used to describe a distinctive type of building, found in the royal Achaemenid Persian palaces at Susa and Persepolis. It has a square columned hall with six rows of six columns and three columned porticos, each with two rows of six columns. Apadanas are thought to have been audience halls for the king and his court and for the reception of foreign vassals and ambassadors. The word is found in inscriptions of Darius II (reg 423–405 bc) and of Artaxerxes II (reg 404–359 bc) from Susa and from Hamadan, the old Median capital city, which was used as a royal residence by the Achaemenid kings. One of the texts from Susa was carved on the column bases of a building of this type constructed by Darius I (reg 521–486 bc) and restored by Artaxerxes II. A building of a similar size and with the same arrangement of stone columns, many of which stand ...

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

A. R. Millard

Term for an ancient people of the Near East, prominent in the 1st millennium bc. Their origins are obscure; they were probably semi-nomadic tribesmen driven from the Syrian steppe by drought. By about 1000 bc they had occupied an arc of land from Babylonia to southern Lebanon. In the east the ancient local culture absorbed them. In the west they took over the cities and turned many of them into autonomous tribal centres, principally Aram (Damascus), Arpad (Bit-Agusi) to the north of Aleppo, Bit-Adini east of the bend of the River Euphrates, and Bit-Bahiani at Guzana (Halaf, Tell) on the River Khabur. The earlier inhabitants mixed with the newcomers, and at Hamath (Hama) on the River Orontes a local Neo-Hittite dynasty retained control until c. 800 bc. Hardly had Aramaean kings taken power than they had to fight the Assyrians, who campaigned westwards from c. 900 bc, taking Damascus in ...