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Michael D. Willis

Site of 20 rock-cut cave shrines in Vidisha District, Madhya Pradesh, India, some 4.5 km west of Vidisha. Udayagiri is a low, narrow hill approximately 2.5 km long. Its cave shrines, which can be dated to the 5th century ad on the basis of two inscriptions (on Caves 6 and 7), were first comprehensively published by Alexander Cunningham in the 19th century. Known for their outstanding sculpture, the caves are Brahmanical except for a Jaina cave halfway up the hill and a Jaina image (c. 11th century) in Cave 1. The most important and best preserved are Caves 4, 5, 6, 13 and 19.

Cave 4 is remarkable for its early 5th-century doorway with delicately carved lotus scrollwork on the jambs and lintel. Following the conventions of the period, the lintel extends beyond the jambs to create a T-shape. Inside the sanctum is a single-faced (Skt ekamukha) Shiva ...



James Graham-Campbell and Erla Bergendahl Hohler

[now Ornes]

Site of a stave church in Sogn, western Norway. The carved ornament on the exterior of the church gave its name to the last of the Viking-period art styles of Scandinavia.

James Graham-Campbell

The present building is a mid-12th-century stave church (see §2 below), but it incorporates decorated timbers from its 11th-century predecessor. These consist of the portal and door, with two planks, in the north wall of the church, the north-west corner post, and the gables at the east and west ends of the church. The portal, planks, and corner post are carved in high, rounded relief (up to 120 mm deep), while the gables and door are executed in the contrasting technique of low, flat relief. The composition schemes and motifs used are, however, the same.

Urnes-style designs are composed of open ‘interpenetrating loops’ consisting of two intersecting loops (or figures-of-eight) or of more complex multi-loop schemes. These patterns of fluent curves are given an additional elegance and sense of movement by the characteristic use of two line widths, which may also gradually swell and taper. The Urnes phase of Viking art represents a re-assertion of the native Scandinavian tradition at the expense of the European influences that had been particularly evident in the preceding Ringerike style phase of the first half of the 11th century, with its lavish use of foliate motifs. The Urnes style is dominated by animal motifs in three main varieties, all of which are used by the Urnes sculptor: a standing quadruped, a ribbon-shaped animal, and a snake. These animals frequently bite one another so as to complete the loop schemes (...



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 ...


V. A. Shishkin

[Barakhshah, Farakhshah, Warakhshah; Dakhfandun]

Site in Uzbekistan, 40 km west-north-west of Bukhara, which flourished c. 1st century bc–12th century ad. According to tradition it served for more than 1000 years as the residence of the Bukhar-khudat, rulers of Bukhara. The 9 ha site was excavated in 1938–9 and 1949–54 under V. A. Shishkin. Varakhsha originated in the first centuries bc as the last halt before crossing the desert between Bukhara and Khwarazm. The fortified city was triangular in plan, with walls built of square mud-bricks and incorporating semi-elliptical bastions and numerous loopholes. A citadel mound (h. 20 m) crowned by buildings and surrounded by a wide moat remained a constant feature of the southern part of the city throughout its history. Surrounding the city was an area of cultivated land farmed by adjacent village settlements. An oasis with irrigation canals conveyed water from Zarafshan River. The site was abandoned from the first centuries ...



V. Beridze

Site on the north bank of the Kura River in the Aspindza district of the Republic of Georgia. A rock-cut complex, it consists of the village of Ananauri (10th–12th century) and a monastery (12th–13th century). An investigation into the site was first undertaken in the 1920s, revealing many layers of occupation. Ananauri lies on the west of the complex, with dwellings and terraces for orchards and vineyards. On the uppermost terrace is a single-nave church (10th century) with 16th-century wall paintings. The monastery (ded. 1185) is one of the most important and impressive monuments of Georgian medieval architecture. It was mostly built between 1156 and 1203 during the reigns of King Giorgy III (reg 1156–84) and his daughter Queen Tamar (reg 1184–1213). There are over 400 houses, comprising 120 residential complexes, several refectories, churches and administrative buildings, all carved into the rock and divided between 13 storeys with interconnecting passageways and staircases: a pipe (3.5 km long) supplied the monastery with water....



Alasdair Whittle

Site of Neolithic cemetery of the 5th millennium bc on the Black Sea coast of eastern Bulgaria. It is famous for its spectacular grave goods, including artefacts in copper, clay, stone, flint, bone, shell and gold, which exhibit an exuberant range of craft skills. A settlement may have existed near by. The cemetery was discovered by chance in 1972 during construction work and was excavated by Ivan Simeonov Ivanov and others from 1973 to the early 1980s. The material recovered from the site was removed to Varna Archaeological Museum; in 1989 a new museum for finds from the cemetery was under construction. The cemetery comprised at least 190 simple earth-cut pit graves containing individual burials of both men and women. Many contained just a few simple grave goods, or none at all. However, one grave (no. 43) was much richer, yielding over a thousand gold objects. There were also c...


D. Evely

Site in eastern Crete on low hills flanking the north–south route across the Ierapetra Isthmus, inhabited c. 3500–c. 1050 bc. First investigated by R. B. Seager (1903–6), it has been substantially reinterpreted by A. Zoïs (from 1970). Although there are traces of Early Minoan (em) i (c. 3500/3000–c. 2900/2600 bc) pottery, the first clear signs of habitation are of early em ii (c. 2900/2600–c. 2200 bc) date. Buildings belonging to several phases had covered the main hilltop by Middle Minoan (mm) ia (c. 2050–c. 1900 bc). The main surviving structures are two buildings of early em ii date and, to their south, two of late em ii. The settlement was destroyed in a great conflagration towards the end of em ii. The southern pair (now the Red/East and West houses) were regarded by Seager as a single ‘House on the Hill’. Zoïs showed that they were separate buildings, which somewhat weakens earlier theories that Vasiliki anticipated features of Minoan palatial architecture (...


T. F. C. Blagg

[now Vaison-la-Romaine]

Site of a Roman city (fl mid-1st century adc. 475). It originated as a native settlement of the Vocontii and occupied hillsides north of the River Ouvèze, southern France, over which a single-span Roman bridge still stands. The theatre (1st century ad) is the main surviving public building. Its cavea, cut into the north side of the Puymin Hill, has been extensively restored. The stage building was of western type with doors set in curved and rectangular exedrae. In front of it, rock-cut shafts contained the curtain mechanism. Statues of emperors and local dignitaries from the theatre are displayed in the nearby Musée Archéologique. The excavated town houses are the best-preserved in France, notable for their Hellenistic peristyle courtyards. Among those on the southern slopes of the Puymin Hill, the House of the Messii (2nd century ad) had at the east end large rooms paved in ...


Marco Rendeli

[Etrus. Vetluna]

Site of an Etruscan city, now a village, on a hilltop c. 18 km north-west of Grosseto, Italy. In ancient times the city overlooked Lake Prilius, as did nearby Rusellae. There are few excavated remains: a main street c. 3 m wide, crossed obliquely by two smaller roads, has been uncovered. The buildings were small, crowded mud-brick or stone structures, as at Veii and San Giovenale. The city walls (?6th century bc) can be traced, as can the remains of a 3rd-century bc temple. Most information about ancient Vetulonia comes, however, from its necropoleis. The Early Iron Age is characterized by cremation burials and repositories containing many imported artefacts. Indigenous metalwork and small-scale three-dimensional sculpture is represented in this and the following Orientalizing period by some fine bronze figurines, decorated vase stands and other objects (see also Etruscan §VI 2., (i)). In the 7th century bc many ...


Perween Hasan

Site of a ruined city 25 km south of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Most of the city, which was situated between the Dhaleswari and Padma rivers, has been lost through erosion and floods. Rampal and neighbouring villages mark its original location.

Located in the ancient region of Vanga, Vikrampur was an important city in the 10th–13th centuries during the rule of the Chandra, Sena and Deva dynasties. The Senas made it their capital when they were forced to withdraw to south-eastern Bengal under pressure from the sultans of Delhi in the early 13th century. Vikrampur itself came under Muslim rule at the end of the 13th century. A broad ditch is all that remains of the Ballal Bari, the fortified palace of the Senas. There are several ruined temples in the area, and many stone and wooden images have been unearthed. These include a 4 m-long wooden column carved with human and animal figures (Dhaka, N. Mus.) recovered from a ruined temple in the village of ...


Clay Mathers

Site of Copper Age settlement 7 km north-west of Cartaxo in the Tagus Valley, Portugal, dated to c. 3500–c. 2200 bc. Among the important features of the site are its fortifications, evidence of the development of copper metallurgy and the range of exotic goods found there, including Bell Beaker pottery, stone plaques and idols, decorated bone vessels and North African ivory (Barcelona, Mus. Arqueol.; Madrid, Mus. Arqueol. N.; Oxford, Ashmolean). The site was discovered in 1936 and successive excavations were undertaken by Afonso do Paço and Eugénio Jalhay between 1937 and 1950 and continued by do Paço until 1961. Occupying a flat, narrow promontory, the settlement was protected on three sides by steep slopes, and on the fourth by a series of manmade fortifications. Although the relative dates of these fortifications have not been established, three main construction phases have been identified in the innermost part of the site. Characterized by a lack of fortification, the earliest phase had a wide, rock-cut ditch and a domed pottery kiln measuring 5 m in diameter. The next phase was represented by the erection of a massive stone rampart 4–5 m thick forming an irregular, square-shaped enclosure measuring ...



Alasdair Whittle

Site of prehistoric settlement on the right bank of the River Danube, east of Belgrade, Serbia. It flourished during the 6th–4th millennia bc. Vinča is the type site of the Vinča culture, which extended throughout Serbia and part of western Romania. A major agricultural settlement, it has yielded evidence of the development of Neolithic crafts, especially pottery and fired clay figurines ( see also Prehistoric Europe, §IV ). It was partially excavated by Milan Vasić in 1908–12, 1924 and 1928–32, and the material recovered is in the National Museum, Belgrade, and in the Faculty of Archaeology, Belgrade University. The large mound is over 10 m high and comprises a 2 m-deep base-level of Starčevo culture occupation debris, overlain by c. 7 m of Vinča culture deposits, dating from the 6th–5th millennia bc. Vasić suggested four main phases of development (A–D), sometimes simplified into Early or Vinča–Turdaş and Late or Vinča–Pločnik....



Sara Champion

Site of burial mound near the Iron Age settlement of Mont Lassois in the Côte d’Or département, France. The tumulus of Vix has been dated by its contents to c. 500 bc. It was excavated in 1953 by René Joffroy after part of its stonework was revealed during agricultural activity. Originally 42 m in diameter and 5–6 m high, the circular mound of stone covered a timber-lined grave dug into the ground and slightly trapezoidal in shape (3.10×2.75 m). Changes to the water-level of the River Seine had rendered the grave partly waterlogged, hampering excavation; nevertheless, it was possible to plan carefully its spectacular contents (all works mentioned in this article, except the harness and the cloth edged with roundels, are in Châtillon-sur-Seine, Mus. Archéol.).

The burial was of a woman aged 30–35, found lying on her back across the remains of a four-wheeled vehicle. The wheels had been removed and propped against the east wall of the chamber, and the metal decorations from the vehicle, the harness and a goad (?or sceptre) lay scattered over the eastern half of the chamber. The whole of this area, including the corpse, appears to have been covered with a cloth edged with roundels, from which pigments seen on the floor during excavation may have come. The woman wore, or was buried with, a considerable amount of jewellery, comprising bronze leg-rings, a bronze torque (heavy neck-ring) found in the waist region, three bracelets of schist and two of amber, a necklace of stone and amber beads and seven brooches (five of bronze and two of iron), some with gold, amber or coral inlay. The most spectacular personal ornament was a gold ring, found around the skull and originally described as a diadem but now generally considered to be a torque. This ring weighs 480 g and is slightly oval in shape, ending in lions’ feet with highly decorated globular terminals. A little gold figure of Pegasus adorns the joining-point of each terminal and lion’s foot. Without exact parallel anywhere, this piece is thought by some to be of Iberian manufacture, while others believe it to have been eastern European in origin....



Franz Georg Maier

Site on the north coast of Cyprus, c. 8 km north-east of Lefka. Here the extensive remains of a 5th-century bc palace, a complete plan of which was recovered ( see Cyprus §II 2., (iii) ), were excavated by the Swedish Cyprus Expedition in 1928–9. The reception rooms of the original palace (Vouni i; first half of the 5th century bc) were arranged around a central square court surrounded on three sides by a portico. On the fourth side, at the south-west, a magnificent flight of stairs led to the palace’s main entrance with its flanking state apartments. The strict axiality in the arrangement of the court and the entrance block is to be noted. Service wings to the south contained living-rooms, baths, kitchens and storerooms. During a rebuilding in the later 5th century bc (Vouni ii) a second court, flanked by a number of storerooms and other apartments, was added to the south-east, and the main entrance block was walled up. A new main entrance was devised, which followed a winding route into the courtyard by way of rooms in the north-west corner of the court. The palace shows the influence of contemporary Near Eastern architecture (...



Marco Rendeli

[Etrus. Velc ; Gr. Olkion; Lat. Volcii]

Site of Etruscan city near Montalto di Castro, Italy. It occupies a tufa plateau overlooking the lower reaches of the River Fiora c. 120 km north-west of Rome and c. 15 km inland from its ancient port, Regisvilla, on the Tyrrhenian coast. Vulci was a member of the Etruscan 12-city league but is seldom mentioned in ancient sources, and most evidence relating to its pre-Roman history consists of finds from its surrounding necropoleis. Already a substantial settlement by the Late Bronze Age, Vulci flourished during the 9th and 8th centuries bc as a metalworking centre, and the earliest imports of Near Eastern and Sardinian artefacts date from this time. From around 630 bc Vulci experienced remarkable prosperity and productivity. There were copious imports of Greek and Near Eastern artefacts which, together with the arrival of immigrant craftsmen, stimulated the establishment of local fine pottery workshops. In the 6th century bc...



Susan Bergh


Pre-Columbian civilization that, between 600 and 1000 CE, created one of the ancient Andes’ major art styles, drawing inspiration from contemporary and earlier traditions, such as the Nasca.

During the Middle Horizon period (600–1000 CE), the Wari people forged the most politically complex and geographically expansive civilization to have existed in the central Andean region since settled life emerged there in about 5000 BCE. Only the later Inka Empire (1400–1532 CE) had greater influence and territorial extent. The eponymous Wari capital city was in Ayacucho in the south-central highlands of Peru; underexplored due to the vagaries of history, the enormous urban center covers more than 6 sq. km (2.3 sq. miles). Smaller but still impressive are the often better-documented provincial centers the Wari built in far-flung areas of the highlands, western foothills, and eastern slope, including Pikillacta; Cerro Baúl; Jincamocco; Viracochapampa, which was never finished or occupied; and Espíritu Pampa (respectively, ...



Henri Metzger and Thorsten Opper

Site in south-west Turkey, once the principal city of ancient Lycia. Xanthos flourished from the 7th century bc to Byzantine times, and its ruins occupy an impressive situation on a steep cliff above the River Xanthos near the modern village of Kınık. Inside the ancient city walls the two main areas are the Lycian acropolis and above this the later, Roman acropolis. Exploration of the site began in the mid-19th century after its rediscovery by the English traveller and archaeologist Sir Charles Fellows (1799–1860). Many of the important remains are in the British Museum, London.

Until the Macedonian conquest in 334 bc the architecture of Xanthos and the nearby Sanctuary of Leto (Letoön) demonstrated three main influences: Lycian or Anatolian, Persian and Greek. Though the first generally appeared before the others, they do not represent distinct chronological phases. From the end of the 4th century bc, however, the architecture of Xanthos and the Letoön conformed to the general evolution of the Hellenistic, Roman, then Byzantine Near East....



John Paddock and Trent Barnes

Site in Mexico, in the Valley of Oaxaca, inhabited as early as c. 400 bc; an extremely compact small city flourished there in the Late Post-Classic period (c. ad 700–1521). Its present name derives from the Zapotec terms for tree (yaga) and old (gula). Its centre occupies a large natural terrace on the south side of a high hill; the top was fortified, and houses covered the slopes. Since no modern community covers the Yagul remains, its temples, palace, secular public buildings, ballcourt, and streets are clearly visible.

Around 400 bc ceramic sculptures with Olmec traits were placed in burials at Yagul (Oaxaca, Mus. Reg.). The site was nearly uninhabited until c. ad 700. When nearby Lambityeco was abandoned c. ad 700, its inhabitants apparently moved to Yagul, where they undertook the first major constructions at the site. However, the preservation of later buildings has left their work covered over. After ...


C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky

[Pers. Tappa-yi Yaḥyā]

Site in the province of Kirman in south-east Iran, which has provided a sequence for the archaeology of the area from the early 5th millennium bc to the Parthian or Sasanian period in the early centuries ad ( see Iran, ancient §I 2. ). The site is a mound 19.8 m high with an almost circular base 187 m in diameter. It was excavated by C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, from 1967. The finds are in the Archaeological Museum in Tehran and at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University.

Neolithic (Period VII, c. 4900–c. 3900 bc) and Chalcolithic (Periods VI–V, c. 3800–c. 3300 bc) remains include numerous houses with spacious storage facilities, a large number of clay figurines of sheep or goats and some stone figurines; one female figurine of chlorite was found in a storage magazine, resting face down and associated with numerous stone and bone tools. Carved chlorite vessels (made from locally quarried stone), a miniature human head and a large alabaster ram are particularly fine examples of 5th-millennium ...


C. A. Burney

Site in north-western Iran, 32 km south-west of Tabriz. This settlement mound is 16.5 m high and extends over c. 8 ha. A long Chalcolithic (4th millennium bc) sequence and Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium bc) levels were excavated by Charles Burney between 1960 and 1962. Finds are in the Archaeological Museum in Tehran.

The Early Bronze Age sequence consisted of 14 Early Trans-Caucasian II levels with round houses (circles) of relatively flimsy mud-brick construction with wattle-and-daub roofing; these houses tended to become larger and more densely located in successive levels, and the bigger ones had a central post. There was often a high threshold, and the standard kitchen fittings—bin, working surface and hearth—were invariably immediately to the right of the door. Pottery with intricate incised decoration was found in enormous quantities in the circles and their surrounding courtyards. Each circle had its range of storage vessels, smaller jars, bowls and lamps. The decoration is predominantly geometric, with patterns derived from woodworking or textiles, perhaps kilims, consistent with a nomadic tradition. Animals and birds also occur in profusion but are too stylized to be readily recognizable. Parallels lie in Trans-Caucasia, and the pottery belongs to a sub-tradition of Early Trans-Caucasian culture within this zone. It may have been brought by an intrusive Indo-European element from the north. There followed five Early Trans-Caucasian III levels with rectangular buildings and undecorated pottery. The surface of the mound bore extensive traces of burning....