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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....


Alasdair Whittle

Site of a prehistoric settlement that flourished in the 5th millennium bc in north-east Romania. It is of interest for the sequence of painted pottery found there. Cucuteni is near Tîrgu-Fromoş in the district of Iaşi, between the Prut and Siret rivers. It was first excavated by Hubert Schmidt in 1909–10 and then by Mircea Petrescu-Dîmboviţa in 1961–8. Material recovered from the site is held in museums in Iaşi, Bîrlad and Bucharest in Romania as well as in Berlin. The settlement is stratified, revealing several phases of agriculture-based occupation, although this did not result in the build-up of a mound. The site has given its name to the Cucuteni culture, which is usually linked with the Tripolye culture of Moldova and the western Ukraine and had several phases; Cucuteni itself was occupied in the main phases. Cucuteni pottery took various shapes, from bowls and pedestalled bowls to tripartite pots and large bellied jars. Early ‘Pre-Cucuteni’ forms had incised decoration on fine dark wares, a feature that continued into later phases. Most striking, however, are the polychrome vessels of the main phases of the Cucuteni culture. In the Cucuteni A phase, painting was both bichrome and trichrome, using red, black and white; in Cucuteni A-B and B it was mainly bichrome, using black and orange. Some Cucuteni A pots were painted in white slip over an unslipped orange surface, with black lines for borders; the paint was applied before firing. The decoration is dominated by abstract, interlocking spiral and curvilinear motifs, which usually cover most of the outside of the vessel. The amount of variation and the rate of innovation are as interesting as the technical details. It is not known if pottery production in the region was in the hands of specialists. In addition to the pottery, small fired-clay anthropomorphic figurines, skilfully made flintwork and copper tools and ornaments were produced....



Ann Kendall

revised by Michael Schreffler

City in Peru, in the heart of the Andes, 3560 m above sea-level. Cuzco occupies the head of the fertile valley of the Huatanay River. The climate is temperate, with a rainy season from December to March. It was the capital of the Inka Empire. Now a city of over 400,000, a majority of whom are native Andeans, it is the present-day capital of the department of Cuzco.

Ann Kendall, revised by Michael Schreffler

Archaeological evidence shows that the larger Cuzco region was inhabited by c. 1200 bce; this early phase is represented by pottery in the Marcavalle style and subsequently the Chanapata style. There is also evidence for settlements of later pre-Inka cultures in the valley, such as Wari (Huari), and the Killke ceramic style has been defined as a precursor of the Inka style. Initially, archaeological work was carried out under the auspices of the Patronato de Arqueología de Cuzco and subsequently by the Instituto Nacional de Cultura....



R. J. Leprohon

[Arab. Dahshūr]

Site of an ancient Egyptian necropolis consisting of Old and Middle Kingdom pyramids, on the west bank of the Nile, 75 km south of Cairo. The oldest pyramid is that of King Sneferu (reg c. 2575–c. 2551 bc), which is the first to have been designed from the start as a true pyramid. The angle of its sides was decreased halfway up, giving it a rhomboidal appearance, hence its name of Bent Pyramid (see Pyramid, fig.b). Inside the pyramid is a complicated system of corridors and portcullises, and some inner chambers have high, corbelled ceilings. Reliefs in the pyramid’s valley temple depict processions of female figures representing Sneferu’s estates throughout the country. The pyramid is still in very good condition, retaining most of its outer casing. Sneferu’s other monument, the Red Pyramid, lies 2 km north of the Bent Pyramid. The angle of its sides is the same as that of the upper part of its southern predecessor. Although the pyramid’s casing was almost completely removed by later builders, its capstone has been found; this ...


G. A. Pugachenkova

[Dal’verzin-tepe; Dalverzine-tépé]

Site in Uzbekistan, on the Surkhan River between Denau and Shurchi. The fortified first settlement of the Greco-Bactrian period (3rd–2nd century bc) had evolved by the 1st century bc into a citadel, while a walled city (650×500 m) developed on the north side. The city is thought to have been the earliest Kushana capital, called Huzao in the Chinese Han shu (‘History of the Han’) by Ban Gu (ad 32–92). In the Great Kushana period (1st–3rd century ad) the city flourished but had declined by the 5th century, although a small 6th–7th-century settlement on top of the former citadel survived until the Arab conquest. Excavations have been carried out since 1960 by the Uzbekistan History of Art Expedition under G. A. Pugachenkova.

Within the fortifications the densely packed buildings are regularly arranged in quarters. Public utility services included an underground sewerage system with large ceramic tanks. The quarters are divided according to social class or trade. Religious buildings are found both within and outside the city. Dalverzin Tepe is typical of north Bactrian architecture of the Kushana period (...


M. Yaldiz

[Dandan-uilik; Dandan-uiliq]

Site on the eastern edge of the oasis of Khotan, on the southern Silk Route, in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. The site, which was investigated by Aurel Stein in 1900–01, contained the ruins of six dwellings and eleven places of worship, probably built between the 7th and 9th centuries ad. Finds include two manuscripts (both London, BM)—a canonical text of Mahayana Buddhism, the Prajñāparamitā (Skt: ‘Perfection of wisdom’), in an East Iranian language, and a Vajracchedikā (‘diamond-knife’; sharp as a diamond) version in Sanskrit—as well as wall paintings and small wooden painted panels (?8th century; London, BM) with various motifs. One of the latter shows two riders, one above the other surrounded by a halo, the one above on a horse, the one below on a camel; each holds a dish in his right hand (Yaldiz, pl. 117). On another small wooden panel are two figures facing each other, surrounded by almond-shaped haloes: on the left a fan-bearer, on the right a figure with an animal-like head (Yaldiz, pl. 118). Stein believed this to be an illustration of the rat legend recorded by the Chinese pilgrim ...



Georges Roux and Jean Marcadé

Site in Phokis in central Greece, c. 165 km north-west of Athens, which flourished from the 8th century bc to the 2nd century ad. It was one of the most important sacred sites of ancient Greece, the home of the Delphic Oracle and reputed to be the centre of the world. High in the foothills of Mt Parnassos, Delphi lies between the twin cliffs of the Phaidriades (‘shining rocks’), overlooking the valley of the River Pleistos and the plain of Kirrha (now Itea) on the shores of the Gulf of Corinth.

Delphi is widely regarded as the most strikingly beautiful ancient site in Greece. The Oracle was formally abolished by the emperor Theodosios I c. ad 385, and thereafter Delphi was almost entirely neglected until the site was rediscovered in 1676. Excavations started in the mid-19th century, and in 1892 a systematic survey was begun by the French School at Athens. Work on the site was intensive until ...



Robin Hägg


Site in the north-eastern Peloponnese in southern Greece, on the eastern fringe of the Argive plain 10 km north-north-east of Navplion. To the settlement, which flourished c. 1350–c. 1200 bc, belong a necropolis near the village of Dendra and the acropolis of Midea east-south-east of the village. In Greek legend Midea was the home of Alkmene, the mother of Herakles. The necropolis was excavated by a Swedish expedition in the 1920s and 1930s, and in 1983 a joint Greek-Swedish excavation project was initiated under the direction of Katie Demakopoulou and Paul Åström; excavation was still in progress in 2006.

In the necropolis a Mycenaean tholos tomb was excavated, as were 16 rock-cut chamber tombs, mostly with long dromoi, one (No. 12) with a vertical entrance shaft. The chambers are rectangular, sometimes with side-chambers. Several of the tombs were unusually rich in metal objects (rings, vessels, weapons and armour). The citadel of Midea was inhabited from the Early Helladic period (...



Michael D. Willis

[Deogaṛh, Devagaḍh; anc. Luacchagira, Kīrtidurga.]

Site of Vaishnava and Jaina temples ranging from the 5th to 11th centuries in Lalitpur District, Uttar Pradesh, India. It appears that the ancient name Luacchagira, known from inscriptions, was changed to Kirtidurga after the Chandella conquest of the 11th century under Kirtivarman.

The earliest extant building at Deogarh (c. ad 475), sometimes called the Dashavatara temple, is sacred to Vishnu, and its images of this god are the finest in situ examples of Gupta-period sculpture in India. The temple, square in plan (about 5 m on each side), stands on a square plinth (Skt jagatī) with remains of shrines at each corner, following a five-shrine (pañcāyatana) scheme. An elaborately carved doorway faces west. The temple has a simple moulding around its base. The plinth also carries mouldings and was once topped with reliefs depicting scenes from the life of Krishna and Rama (e.g. New Delhi, N. Mus.). The temple’s iconographic scheme focuses on various manifestations of Vishnu. The wall sections (...


Michael D. Willis

[Deorī Kālān; Marhia; Maṛhiā Kālān.]

Site of ruined 5th-century temple in Madhya Pradesh, India. The temple appears to be the oldest extant example in India dedicated to Vishnu in the form of Vamana, the dwarf incarnation. A broken image of Vamana, still set in its spouted plinth, lies outside. The temple faces west and sits on a low platform (Skt jagatī). The building itself is constructed of large blocks of ashlar and is approximately 3.8 m on each side. The base is dominated by a single half-torus moulding (kumbha). The walls (ja ṅghā) are completely plain, but the entrance door on the west side has a wide jamb (śākhā) with undulating lotus scrolls. The scrollwork is almost identical to the richly carved jambs from Bhumara, now in the Allahabad Museum. Doorguardians (dvārapāla) in high relief flank the entrance. A row of dentils, carved with lion heads, tops the entrance. The interior is devoid of decoration....



Dimitris Plantzos

Site in Northern Greece, approximately 9.5 km NW from Thessaloniki, where seven mostly undisturbed tombs were discovered in 1962, dating from about 320–290 bc.

Five of the Derveni tombs are cist graves, large rectangular chambers dug underground, dressed with large blocks of local limestone; one is a pit grave, and one a monumental tomb of the ‘Macedonian’ type (see Macedonian tomb). The majority of the Derveni cist graves were roofed with stone covering slabs, while wooden planks were also used for some. Two of the tombs were paved with stones, while the remaining three had floors of beaten earth. Many similar 4th century bc examples exist in western and central northern Greece.

The interior walls of the tombs, and the floor of some, were coated with lime plaster, often coloured in wide blue, yellow and red bands or bearing painted decoration, such as the horizontal friezes depicting olive branches in Tomb Beta, and a garland of myrtle leaves and berries in Tomb Alpha. The use of wall paintings in chamber tombs and cist graves was a widely observed practice in northern Greece (Thessaly and Macedonia) in the Classical and Hellenistic periods....


Erberto F. Lo Bue

[Dhum-Vārāhī, a corruption of Skt Dhumra Varāha.]

Site 4 km north-east of Kathmandu, not far from the Bagmati River, important for an early statue of Varaha, Vishnu’s boar incarnation. The magnificent image (h. 1.14 m), carved in a light-coloured stone, appears to have been consecrated by the Lichchhavi ruler Bhaumagupta (reg c. ad 567–90), though it is alternatively dated to the 7th century. As the saviour of the Earth Goddess (Bhūdevī or Pṛthvī), Varaha is shown surging from the watery abyss, symbolized by the cosmic serpent. The goddess is perched in an attitude of adoration on his upraised elbow, in an image type that has been emulated in Newar art up to the present. In the course of time, under the influence of Tantric (or Sahajiya) Vaishnavism, the image came to be understood as an emanation of the Sow Goddess (Dhumvārāhī).

See also Nepal, §IV, 1.

P. Pal: Vaiṣ ṇava Iconology in Nepal, a Study of Art and Religion...


I. Kruglikova

[Dal’verzin; Dil’berdz̆in.]

Site in northern Afghanistan, 40 km north-west of Balkh, which flourished from the Achaemenid period (c. 6th century bc) to the Hephthalite invasion (c. 5th century ad). It was excavated by a Soviet-Afghan team in 1970–77; all finds are in the Kabul Museum.

The fortified town (383×393 m) is enclosed by mud-brick walls with rectangular bastions. There was a circular citadel in the centre, and at the north-east corner of the town a 2nd-century bc temple, perhaps to the Dioscuri, was excavated, which shows several phases of rebuilding. Only a fragment of a wall painting from the earliest period is extant, depicting two nude youths painted red leading white horses by the bridle. Above this are the fragmentary red legs of athletes. To the latest period belongs a polychrome wall painting depicting Shiva and Parvarti on a bull, flanked by two men with four worshippers below. In the main part of the temple a throne ornamented with sculpture was found....



K. A. Wardle


Site in the coastal plain of Thessaly near modern Volos in central Greece. This Late Neolithic settlement on a low hill was occupied from c. 4200 to c. 3600/3000 bc. Like nearby Sesklo, it was first explored by Christos Tsountas. In 1903 he discovered the concentric rings of walls with three entrances, which suggested a strongly fortified village occupying an area of c. 100×90 m. Recent excavation by Hourmouziades has shown that the primary function of each ring of walls was structural, to support terraces on the sides of the mound where small stone-built houses stood. In the centre of the mound there was an open courtyard with a single large building with a porch and main room thought to be the chief’s house (megaron). In the Late Bronze Age (c. 1300 bc) the mound was chosen for the construction of a fine tholos tomb as a result of the spread of Mycenaean civilization into northern Greece....


Elizabeth L. Meyers

[Egyp. Hut-sekhem; now Hiw.]

Site in Egypt about 50 km west of modern Qena, occupied continuously from prehistoric to Roman times. A large variety of Predynastic tombs and associated artefacts (including amulets, beads and slate and ivory statuettes of animals) have survived, indicating that Diospolis flourished during this phase. The earliest finds date from the Tasian–Badarian period (c. 4000 bc). The site was first excavated by Flinders Petrie in 1899, providing some of the information for his ‘sequence dating’ system of pottery styles, which led directly to the establishment of a Predynastic chronology. Renewed excavation at the site in the 1980s allowed this ceramic material to be re-examined, producing greater refinement and broad corroboration of Petrie’s system.

The excavations have also revealed about 40 burials of the 4th or 5th dynasties (c. 2575–c. 2325 bc), as well as a number of shallow pit graves dating to the 6th–11th dynasties (...



R. A. Tomlinson

Site of ancient sanctuary in Epiros, north-west Greece. It is in many ways the remotest of Greek sanctuaries: Epiros was largely uninfluenced by the main developments of the Archaic and Classical periods, retaining its tribal organization at a time when more progressive regions were forming city states. The sanctuary was dedicated to Zeus, probably because the high mountains surrounding it attract spectacular thunderstorms. Despite the site’s remoteness, the Greeks were aware of Zeus of Dodona from early times; for example he is invoked in the Iliad (XIV.233) as Achilles prepares to allow Patroklos to lead his Myrmidons once more into battle. The cult was oracular, and the oracles were associated with a sacred oak tree in the sanctuary, whose prophecies (the whispering of its leaves) were interpreted by a hereditary family of priests, the Selloi. The sanctuary offers a good example of an important cult that flourished without the need for a temple. For a long time it had no architectural embellishment, consisting simply of the precinct containing the sacred oak tree surrounded by tripods, though a simple shrine was added at the beginning of the ...


Joachim Hahn

Sites near Břeclav, Moravia [now Czech Republic], on the southern slopes of the Pavlov Mountains, 30–70 m above the River Dyje. It was an important centre of the Gravettian culture (c. 30,000–c. 18,000 bp) of the Upper Palaeolithic period (see also Prehistoric Europe, §II). Excavations at Dolní Věstonice I began in 1924 under the direction of Karl Absolon and were continued from 1947 to 1979 by Bohuslav Klima, who later investigated Dolní Věstonice II between 1985 and 1987. Dolní Věstonice II, situated upslope from locality I, was also excavated from 1985 to 1988 by Jiří Svoboda. It contains more human remains but few art objects. The archaeological level is found deep in layers of stratified loess (loamy material deposited by the wind), dated to c. 26,000 bp. The material excavated from the sites is held by the Moravian Museum, Brno. Klima has argued that the unique nature of the art and artefacts found at Dolní Věstonice supports the case for the existence of the Pavlovian culture (...


John Villiers


Site in northern Vietnam on the south bank of the Ma River in Thanh Hoa Province, first excavated by Pajot in 1924. There are traces of very early settlement, but the chief importance of this site and of several other related sites in the Red River delta lies in the large number of bronze objects, some of them dating from c. 600 bc, found in burial sites on the riverbank. These burials are simple ditches in which the dead were placed in a stretched-out position, in marked contrast to the contemporary Chinese brick-vaulted tombs found in Tonkin and Thanh Hoa. Besides bronze objects, the burials contain arms and other implements made of iron, as well as jade ornaments, polished stone axes and schist tools, indicating that a pre-Bronze Age culture also existed in the region. The bronzes include arms, body plaques, ploughshares and other agricultural implements, receptacles of various kinds and, most important, a number of the decorated kettledrums that are the best known and most characteristic products of the Dong Son culture, as well as objects of Chinese origin. The bronze is composed of 55% copper, 15–16% tin and 17–19% lead. The decoration consists of geometric motifs, birds and animals and human figues, including warriors in plumed headdresses in pirogues, and musicians....



M’Hamed Fantar

[anc. Thugga.]

Site of one of the best-preserved Roman towns in Africa, built on a plateau overlooking the valley of Oued Khalled in north-western Tunisia. A fine collection of archaeological material has been found there. Dougga dates back to the earliest phase of Libyan antiquity and certainly belonged to the kingdom of Numidia long before the reign of Masinissa (d 148 bc); writing on the invasion of Agathalus at the end of the 4th century bc, Diodorus Siculus mentioned the king Ailymas, whose domain included the territory of ‘Tebagga’. During the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage (218–201 bc), Dougga was under the Carthaginians, but it was won back by Masinissa and retained by his successors until the death of Juba I in 46 bc. Of the Numidian town there remain the megalithic wall (4th century bc), the dolmens and the Mausoleum of Atban, one of the finest Libyo-Punic ...