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Rupert L. Chapman

People who inhabited coastal Syria, Lebanon and Palestine between c. 3000 bc and c. 1200 bc. Although there were dialects and regional variations, the Canaanites shared a common language and material culture. ‘Canaanite’ is an ethnic name possibly derived from the Akkadian word kinahna (purple), referring to the purple dye produced from a gland of the murex snail. Similarly, the descendants of the Canaanites, the Phoenicians, bore a name derived from the Greek word for purple, phoinikes. The dye, which varied in colour from scarlet to purple, was the most conspicuous and expensive product of the coastal region of the eastern Mediterranean and became closely linked with royalty. The date of origin of the Canaanites is disputed, although there is a growing recognition of continuity from c. 3000 bc. The distinction between Canaanites and Phoenicians in c. 1200 bc is artificial: there is no evidence to suggest that the Phoenicians came from elsewhere, and every reason to treat them as autochthonous....


Muriel Porter-Weaver

Pre-Columbian culture and ceramic assemblage found in Mexico. It is named after the Capacha ceramics from Colima and part of Jalisco and the site of El Opeño in Michoacán, which flourished during the Early Pre-Classic period (c. 2000–c. 1000 bc). Similar ceramic assemblages from these sources, along with other shared cultural features, indicate early contact between Mesoamerica and north-west South America (see below).

The Capacha ceramic assemblage, radiocarbon dated to c. 1350 bc, was named by Isabel Kelly. It consists largely of pottery once placed in graves or tombs but subsequently looted. Although no living sites or mounds are known, the ceramics are the oldest so far found in Colima. The pottery is predominantly monochrome and made of a thick, heavy, grainy paste. The most common form is a large, open-mouthed jar with a cinctured body, measuring up to 380 mm high and locally called a bule...


J. D. Hawkins

[Lat. Europus; now Jerabis, Jerablus]

Site in Turkey on the west bank of the River Euphrates, now on the Turkish-Syrian border. This ancient city is extensively attested in cuneiform records from the mid-3rd to mid-1st millennia bc and mentioned in New Kingdom Egyptian records, c. 1500–1200 bc, and in the Old Testament. It is the source of indigenous sculpture and associated hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions dating c. 1000–700 bc. Excavations commissioned by the British Museum (1878–81) recovered some inscribed sculptures. Regular excavations under C. L. Woolley (1911–14 and 1920) were broken off by war, and latterly the establishment of the Turkish–Syrian frontier immediately to the south of the site has precluded further excavation. Finds are in the British Museum in London and in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

Carchemish has produced evidence of occupation stretching back to the Chalcolithic period (c. 5300 bc) and has a long recorded history. First attested in the Ebla archives ...



Ancient country in south-west Asia Minor (now Turkey), south of the Maeander (Menderes) River and west of modern Fethiye (excepting the coastal cities of Ionia). The Carians claimed to be an indigenous people of mainland Asia Minor, though in Greek tradition they were originally islanders. Until the 4th century bc they lived mainly in mountain villages organized into local federations and grouped around sanctuaries such as that of Carian Zeus at Mylasa (Milas). The Carian language is imperfectly understood, owing to a paucity of surviving inscriptions. The script is alphabetic, and some forms are the same as Greek letters, but surviving fragments are virtually unintelligible, and it is not even certain that the language is Indo-European.

Minoan, Mycenaean and Greek colonization of the region touched only the coasts, leaving the interior Carian until the arrival of the Romans. At Muskebi, near Halikarnassos (Bodrum), there is evidence of Mycenaean settlement, possibly refugees from the upheavals of the Greek mainland at the end of the Bronze Age; Minoan imports found at ...



P. R. Giot

Region of north-west France, centre of the principal concentration of prehistoric megalithic monuments (see Megalithic architecture, §2) in Brittany. Situated south-west of Vannes, the area includes the parishes of Carnac and Locmariaquer, extending to Quiberon. The monuments include more than a hundred passage graves (dolmens) and many standing stones (menhirs) arranged singly or in groups including large alignments (see also Dolmen and Menhir). Curiously, these numerous and often huge stones did not attract the attention of scholars before the 18th century.

The typical large alignments, three of which are at Carnac and another at Erdeven, have one or two oval structures of contiguous stones at each end. Between these, ten to twelve apparently parallel lines of more or less equally spaced stones extend over a distance that can exceed a kilometre (see fig.). In reality, these lines are irregular and undulating, and the structures are very ruined; some stones are missing, while others have been restored. The stones decrease in size from the ends of the alignments towards their centres. Neolithic-period material, including flints, stone axes and pottery, has been found in the packing around their bases. The blocks are of local granite; a few are quite large and heavy. Wild speculations concerning their alignments’ ritual or symbolic significance have flourished, particularly in the 19th century, when the first theories about astral worship and astronomical use originated. The alignments differ in orientation, however, and there is no scientifically conclusive evidence to support even the most recent hypotheses, although some large isolated menhirs could have served as foresights for solar or lunar observation....


A. F. Harding

Site of an Early Bronze Age settlement and cemetery in south-east Sicily, near the modern village of the same name some 25 km inland from Noto, and the typesite of the Castelluccio culture. The remains of a prehistoric settlement with rich rubbish pits was found on a high spur of land running north–south. Cut into the nearby hillsides are numerous rock-cut tombs, often less than 1 m in diameter, some of which have a small antechamber. In some cases the façades have pillars carved out of the rock flanking the doors. The doorways were closed with dry-stone walling or stone slabs, some of the latter being decorated with relief designs, mainly spirals. These represent the only stone-carving known from Bronze Age Sicily and are reminiscent of the rather earlier relief slabs found in Maltese temples. Cemeteries with tombs of this type are found over much of south-eastern Sicily, and in some cases there are settlement sites near by. Less elaborate rock-cut tombs of the same age are found also in central-southern Sicily....


Paul G. Bahn

Cave site in northern Spain, near the village of Puente Viesgo, Santander. It is the most important of several caves in the hill of Monte Castillo that contain cave art of the Upper Palaeolithic period (c. 40,000–c.10,000 bp; see also Prehistoric Europe, §II, 1). El Castillo is at an elevation of 197 m and was discovered in 1903 by Hermilio Alcalde del Rio (1866–1947), who published the first studies of its art. Material recovered from excavations in the 20-m thick layer of Palaeolithic deposits at the cave mouth includes a major collection of engravings on the shoulder-blades of deer, now housed in the Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid.

Although only c. 164 m in length, the cave contains c. 1 km of galleries. These can be divided into two main parts: the first comprises a large initial chamber (the ‘Gran Sala’), measuring 30×25 m, and its side passages, and the second a series of corridors and galleries. These two parts are separated by an enormous mass of large blocks, which in prehistoric times left only two narrow connecting passages. Since the deposits at the cave entrance span the entire Palaeolithic period, with the earliest occupation levels dating back at least 100,000 years, some scholars believe that the art is quite heterogeneous, belonging to a number of different phases and thus defining El Castillo as a ‘multiple sanctuary’. Proponents of this theory have distributed the attribution of the 155 animal figures in the cave across all the cultures from the Aurignacian to the Upper Magdalenian. The French scholar ...


Donald F. Easton

Neolithic site (7th–6th millennia bc) in the delta of the River Çarşamba, on the Konya plain in central Turkey. It was excavated by James Mellaart from 1961 to 1965. The mound has at least 20 m of deposit (virgin soil was not reached) and occupies 13 ha, of which 0.4 ha was excavated, revealing a sequence of 15 building phases. Dairy farming and simple irrigation agriculture, supplemented by hunting and gathering and aided by a good location, provided a strong economic base for a town with, at its height, an estimated 5000 to 7000 inhabitants. It was the largest known Neolithic settlement of the Near East and artistically the richest. Its shrines were decorated with reliefs and wall paintings and contained artefacts, such as figurines of stone and clay, that offer a unique insight into the beliefs of such an early period and into the origins of many motifs found in later ...


Alasdair Whittle

Site of prehistoric cemetery of the late 6th–early 5th millennium bc in eastern Romania. It is significant for the range of Late Neolithic artefacts it has yielded, especially two notable fired clay figurines. Cernavoda is in the lower Danube Valley on the western side of the Dobrogea region, south of the Danube Delta. The cemetery was excavated in 1957 by Dimitri Berciu, and the material recovered is held by the Museum of Antiquities in Bucharest. The cemetery belongs to the Hamangia culture, named after a site in the north of the Dobrogea region. The status of this culture is unclear; it may represent an expansion of agricultural populations or a fusion with indigenous communities. Separate from contemporary settlements there are cemeteries, of which Cernavoda, with up to 400 graves, is the largest known; some of the artefacts found there are demonstrably different from material from the settlements. Men and women were buried in an extended position in shallow earth-cut graves. They were usually accompanied by a fine black burnished pot—rather different from the fine shell-impressed bowls and dishes found in settlements—and often by beads of stone and ...


Henning Bischof

Pre-Columbian site near Casma, Ancash Department, on the northern coast of Peru. The site, known especially for its clay and stone reliefs, dates from the late Pre-Ceramic period (c. 2500–c. 1800 bc) or Initial Period (c. 1800–c. 900 bc). There is no evidence for ceramics contemporary with the main construction phases, which are dated by thermoluminescence and radiocarbon analyses to c. 1800–c. 1500 bc. Stratigraphic superimpositions support this date, placing Cerro Sechín before the Chavín culture. There were also several less significant reoccupations, especially during the Chimú period (c. ad 1200–c. 1500).

First excavated by Julio C. Tello in 1937, Cerro Sechín was re-excavated and partially reconstructed by Arthur Jiménez Borja, Lorenzo Samaniego, and Alberto Bueno between 1969–74. Further investigations were carried out from 1979–85 by the Catholic University of Peru. Most of the carvings remain in situ, although some were removed to the Museo Nacional de Antropología y Arqueología, Lima, and a few others were stolen. The ...


John Curtis

Site in north-east Syria occupied intermittently from the 6th millennium bc to the middle of the 2nd millennium bc. Chagar Bazar is situated in the rich agricultural land of the Khabur basin and was excavated by Sir Max Mallowan between 1935 and 1937. It is a large mound measuring at the base roughly 500×300 m. It has been heavily eroded but is still 21 m high. Finds are in the National Museum in Aleppo and in the British Museum in London.

A sounding over 15 m deep showed that early occupation was mainly in the Halaf period, from the later 6th millennium bc to about the mid-5th millennium bc. Much beautifully painted Halaf pottery was found, together with a few small objects including a copper bead, significant as an early example of metalwork. After the Halaf period Chagar Bazar was largely abandoned until about 3000 bc; the next archaeological levels are characterized by painted and incised pottery of the so-called Ninevite 5 type. Two lozenge-shaped clay bullae covered with seal impressions have been found in Early Dynastic and Akkadian levels (...


David C. Grove


Pre-Columbian site in the Central Highlands of Mexico, c. 100 km south of modern Mexico City. A major centre, it was occupied during the Early and Middle Pre-Classic periods, between c. 1400 bc and c. 500 bc, and is the only Central Highland site with a large number of Olmec ‘Frontier’-style low-relief monuments. Excavations have been carried out by Roman Piña Chan (1953) and by David Grove (1972–6).

Chalcatzingo was established in the centre of the Amatzinac Valley between two large hills that dominate the valley floor, the Cerro Chalcatzingo and the Cerro Delgado. The slopes, first occupied c. 1400 bc, were terraced c. 1000 bc. During Chalcatzingo’s zenith—c. 700–c. 500 bc—public and élite earthen and stone-faced platform mounds were built on the upper terraces, while residential structures were spread across the lower terraces. Although excavated artefacts show the Chalcatzingans to have been culturally central Mexican, the monuments indicate close associations with the Gulf Coast Olmec culture. Its public architecture and monumental art distinguish Chalcatzingo from most other Pre-Classic Central Highland sites....


Gregory L. Possehl

Ancient site of the Indus or Harappan civilization (c. 2550–2000 bc) near the present flood plain of the Indus River in southern Sind, Pakistan. The group of three low mounds was originally part of a Harappan Mature or Urban Phase settlement c. 5 ha in extent. Chanhu-daro was first excavated by Nani Gopal Majumdar of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1930 (Majumdar, pp. 35–44), then in 1935–6 by Ernest J. H. Mackay, who was also responsible for extensive excavations at Mohenjo-daro. A large trench opened by Majumdar on Mound III disrupted much of this area for future digging, although the rest of the site was basically undisturbed. These excavations revealed that the occupation of Chanhu-daro can be divided into four periods, with four occupational sub-levels: Period IV, the Jhangar culture, perhaps datable to the late Bronze Age; Period III, the Trihni culture, of uncertain date; Period II, the Jhukar or Post-urban Harappan Phase; and Period I, the Harappan Urban Phase. Little is known of these upper periods at Chanhu-daro, and the exact relationship between the important Jhukar levels and the Urban Phase has not yet been established....



Pre-Columbian artistic and cultural tradition of the Central Andean area of South America. It is named after the site of Chavín de Huántar, and it flourished during the later part of the Initial Period (c. 1800–900 bc) and the Early Horizon (c. 900–c. 300/200 bc).

The stone sculpture and architecture at Chavín de Huántar first attracted scientific attention in the late 19th century. In 1939 the Peruvian archaeologist Julio C. Tello presented his evidence that the Chavín culture formed the basis of Pre-Columbian civilization in Peru, a view that was soon generally accepted. Although many achievements have been attributed to Chavín, its diagnostic features remain the style and iconography of the stone-carvings found at the ruins at Chavín de Huántar. However, it is no longer thought that this site itself was the source of all related phenomena.

Archaeological finds with Chavín features occur over a range of ...


J. Edward Kidder jr

Japanese site in Shinbohon-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture. It flourished during the Jōmon period (c. 10,000–c. 300 bc). It is a wooden circle site and served as the centre of a vast residential area, apparently rebuilt for thousands of years and finally abandoned in the Latest or Final Jōmon period (c. 1000–c. 300 bc).

The Chikamori site lies on a plain near the Tedori River, 7 m above sea-level and 4.5 km south-west of the Kanazawa railway station. Other Middle (c. 3500–c. 2500 bc) to Late (c. 2500–c. 1000 bc) Jōmon sites are near by. The site was identified in 1909, partially dug in 1954 and surveyed fully in 1974. About 7000 sq. m were excavated by the archaeologist Hisakazu Minami in 1980. At the centre there was originally a circle of standing pillars (now restored to a height of 2 m), a row of paired pillars, and another, smaller, circle. The main circle remained consistently 6–7 m in diameter, ringed with about ten posts of old logs, each ...


Joan Oates

Prehistoric site now in Iraq, on the eastern edge of the alluvial plain north-east of Baghdad, beneath the Zagros foothills. It was excavated by David and Joan Oates (1967–8); finds are in the Iraq Museum, Baghdad, with study collections in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. Choga Mami is noted for the earliest evidence of irrigation agriculture, the discovery of a new ceramic style, termed Transitional, between Samarran (second half of the 6th millennium bc) and early Ubaid (5th millennium bc; see Ancient near east, fig.) and a remarkable series of prehistoric figurines (see Mesopotamia, §III, 1). The earliest levels excavated are Samarran. These and the succeeding Transitional levels contained a great variety of monochrome painted and some incised pottery, the latter including unusual pentagonal-based, skeuomorphic vessels. The painted designs are usually geometric but include a variety of animals, especially horned goats, scorpions and even human figures. Choga Mami Transitional pottery has now been found on sites in Khuzistan (Sefid phase) and in Sumer at Tell el ‛Oueili, near Larsa....


Helene J. Kantor

[Pers. Chughā Mīsh]

Site near modern Dezful in south-west Iran, in the ancient province of Susiana. Chogha Mish, which developed from a small village into a large settlement of some 16 ha in the 5th millennium BC (see Iran, ancient, especially §I, 2(i)(c)), was occupied from c. 6000 bc. It was excavated between 1961 and 1978 by Delougaz and Kantor. The main occupation was prehistoric and protohistoric (c. 6000–3400 bc), with intermittent later occupation in the Old Elamite (c. 1800 bc), Achaemenid Persian (c. 600–400 bc) and late Parthian (c. ad 1–300) periods. The most outstanding finds are in the Archaeological Museum in Tehran; other finds are in the Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago, IL.

The excavations at Chogha Mish have added an Archaic Susiana stage to the known prehistoric sequence for the province; it can be divided into three phases by distinctive styles of painted ...


Pierre Amiet

[Pers. Chughā Zanbīl; anc. Dur-Untash]

City built by the Elamites in the second half of the 14th century bc. The site lies some 40 km from Susa in south-east Iran, at the edge of a sandstone plateau that dominates the course of the River Dez, an effluent of the Karun. It was discovered in 1935 by geologists during an aerial survey. Exploration by Roland de Mecquenem in 1936–9 was completed by Roman Ghirshman between 1951 and 1962.

The city, built by Untash-Napirisha, King of Anzan and of Susa (i.e. King of Elam), consisted of three concentric enclosures. The main temple stood at the centre, in the ‘sacred enclosure’ (sian-kuk; 210×175 m). This temple was built in two stages and was initially a square building with a central courtyard, the design of which was not specifically religious; it more closely resembled a large storehouse, with windowless rooms on either side of the door in the middle of each wall. Two groups of rooms were sanctuaries dedicated to Inshushinak, the supreme god of Susa; one sanctuary opened on to the inner courtyard and one towards the outside. Later, three blocks fitting one into the other were erected in the courtyard; they formed the upper storeys of a tower or ziggurat, with the original building forming the lower storey (...


Ursula Moortgat-Correns

[Tell Chuēra]

Site of a city that flourished in the first half of the 3rd millennium bc in the upper Jezira between the rivers Khabur and Balikh, in modern Syria. It was founded by Akkadian families and shows close political and cultural ties with the Diyala region and Kish in central and southern Mesopotamia. The site was discovered by von Oppenheim in 1913 and investigated by the Syrian Antiquities Service in 1955. Excavations by the Max Freiherr von Oppenheim Foundation began in 1958, led by Anton Moortgat until 1976 and since then by Ursula Moortgat-Correns. Finds are in the national museums at Aleppo, Damascus and Ragga.

Tell Chuera is one of the largest ruin mounds in the Jezira. It is almost circular, with a diameter of about 1 km, and it consists of a central citadel mound up to 18 m high and a lower town surrounded by a wall. To the south-east, outside the walls, are a cult building known as the ...



A. F. Harding

Site of a large Bronze Age cremation cemetery beside a lake in the Danube flood plain in southern Oltenia, south-west Romania. The site and its art have been difficult to date precisely. A date between 1500 and 1300 bc is most likely. Rescue excavations have recovered 116 graves out of a probable total of more than 200. Each grave contained three or four vases on average, including a cinerary urn with an inverted-bowl lid. Most of the graves were single.

More than 500 vases were found in the cemetery. The main forms are: urns with a conical body and a cylindrical or flaring neck; storeyed vases, in which the body is composed of two sections or steps; biconical vases with two high handles; conical bowls, usually carinated, often with ‘peaks’ or points on the rim; and a variety of small one-handled cups and jugs, spouted vessels, double vessels etc. Nine figurines, ranging in height from 150 to 230 mm, were found in the urns or on their ‘shoulders’. They are highly stylized, the upper part of the body consisting of a more or less flat circular clay disc with a knob-like projection for the neck, joined to a hollow bell-like base apparently representing a flounced skirt. A few examples have a slot in the neck for the addition of a head-piece, though no such heads were found. On some pieces, the arms are represented folded on the chest, and though there is no clear indication of sex, the overall impression conveyed is female. The decoration includes depictions of objects probably worn by women at the time—belts, necklaces, discs, lunate pendants and so on. Some of the designs may represent woven textile motifs....