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Coclé  

Joan K. Lingen

Pre-Columbian culture of central Panama. It flourished in Coclé Province on the Gulf of Panama, and together with the Pre-Columbian culture of Veraguas Province (see Veraguas) it comprises the central Panamanian culture area. This is classed more broadly by archaeologists as part of the Intermediate area (see South America, Pre-Columbian, §II). The nature of Coclé culture has been variously interpreted: according to Richard Cooke, Coclé and Veraguas cultures are homogeneous, with local differences of degree, not kind. The earlier view held by Samuel K. Lothrop considered Coclé to be a distinct archaeological or cultural region comprising Coclé Province and the eastern Azuero Peninsula provinces of Herrera and Los Santos. Lothrop based his interpretation on the presence of Coclé artefacts throughout this area, inland from the lowlands of the Pacific watershed to the mountainous areas, from sea level to over 4000 m, culminating at the continental divide in northern Coclé Province. The eastern portion comprises a narrow, desolate coastal strip and a wide savanna grassland plain, cut by numerous rivers, and the western and northern parts the high peaks of the continental divide. The annual rainfall in this tropical forest region varies from marked wet and dry seasons in the flat eastern coastal area to year-round rains in the western and northern sections....

Article

George F. Andrews

Pre-Columbian Lowland Maya site on the broad coastal plain of Tabasco, c. 3 km north-east of the modern town of Comalcalco, Mexico. There were two major periods of occupation: an early period from c. 1200 bc to ad 100 and a late period from c. ad 800 to 1350. The earliest description of the ruins was provided by (Claude-Joseph-)Désiré Charnay, who visited the site in 1880, while a more complete account was provided by Frans Blom and Oliver La Farge in their pioneering study of little-known Maya ruins in Tabasco and Chiapas during the 1920s. During 1956–7, Gordon Eckholm of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, carried out a preliminary exploration and ceramic study at the site, and this was followed in 1960 by a limited programme of excavation and stabilization by a team of archaeologists from the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico. In 1966 an extensive mapping project was conducted by a team from the University of Oregon, and several years later a major programme of excavation and reconstruction was initiated, again by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Directed by ...

Article

Corinth  

Susan Langdon, C. K. Williams II, Charles M. Edwards and Mark Whittow

[Korinth; Korinthos]

Greek city, capital of the nome (department) of Korinthia and seat of a bishopric, near the isthmus between central and southern Greece. It flourished throughout Classical antiquity.

Susan Langdon

Backed by the steep citadel of Acrocorinth, which served as its acropolis, ancient Corinth derived its prosperity from its access to both the Corinthian and Saronic gulfs and hence the Adriatic and Aegean seas. Its twin harbours at Lechaion and Kenchreai, linked by a paved slipway, offered sea merchants a safe alternative to the passage around southern Greece and established Corinth as a transfer point between East and West. Population pressures in the 8th century bc led Corinth to participate in Greek colonizing activities by founding settlements at Syracuse and Kerkyra (Corfu), while in the 7th century bc it became the foremost artistic centre in Greece, promoting the development and spread of Doric architecture and dominating pottery production. Corinthian pottery, with its distinctive animal friezes and exotic vegetation, was ...

Article

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....

Article

Irene Bald Romano

Image of a divinity that served in antiquity as a focal-point for worship and cult rituals. Most cult statues were housed in temples or shrines, although outdoor worship of images is also attested. Although aniconic worship (i.e. of a non-anthropomorphic symbol of a deity such as a rock or pillar) is known in Near Eastern, Greek and Roman cults, most deities by the late 2nd millennium bc were worshipped in an anthropomorphic form and were, as such, earthly substitutes or humanized manifestations of the presence of a deity.

Anthropomorphic cult statues are well attested in the Ancient Near East, Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt. Near Eastern cuneiform records going back at least to the 2nd millennium bc indicate that Mesopotamian cult images were made of wood and opulently clad in tiaras, robes and jewellery. The garments of the statue were ceremonially changed, and ritual meals were served up to the cult image. Specific attributes and attire aided identity. From ...

Article

Keith Branigan, C. D. Fortenberry, Lyvia Morgan, R. L. N. Barber, Christos G. Doumas, Updated and revised by Dimitris Plantzos, Dimitris Plantzos, P. M. Warren, Reynold Higgins and J. Lesley Fitton

Culture that flourished during the Greek Bronze Age in the Cyclades, a large archipelago in the Aegean Sea between southern Greece and Turkey (see fig.). The islands, whose name derives from kuklos (‘circle’) because they encircled the holy island of Delos, are bounded to the south by the much larger island of Crete. They were both probably first settled in the Early Neolithic period by peoples from western Anatolia (now Turkey), but in the Bronze Age the Cyclades and Crete (see Minoan) developed their own distinctive art and architecture, in each case strongly influenced by the islands’ natural environment.

For the later history of the islands, see Greece, ancient and the modern Hellenic Republic of Greece, Hellenic Democracy of.

J. Bent: The Cyclades (London, 1885)U. Kahrstedt: ‘Zur Kykladenkultur’, ...

Article

Cyprus  

R. S. Merrillees, Nicolas Coldstream, Edgar Peltenburg, Franz Georg Maier, G. R. H. Wright, Demetrios Michaelides, Lucia Vagnetti, Veronica Tatton-Brown, Joan Breton Connelly, Paul Åström, Jean-Claude Poursat, Elizabeth Goring, Louise Schofield, Wiktor A. Daszewski, A. Papageorghiou, Michael D. Willis, Michael Given, Elise Marie Moentmann, Kenneth W. Schaar, Euphrosyne Rizopoulou-Egoumenidou and Helena Wylde Swiny

[Gr. Kypros; Turk. Kibris]

Third largest island in the Mediterranean (9251 sq. km), 70 km south of Turkey and 103 km west of Syria (see fig.). The island’s geographical location and its natural resources of copper and shipbuilding timber have had a considerable impact on the destiny of its inhabitants. Cyprus has throughout its history been vulnerable to the geopolitical ambitions of the powers controlling the neighbouring countries, which have not hesitated to exploit its resources and to use it as a stepping stone or place of retreat. Although it possessed a vigorous and distinctive local culture in Neolithic times (c. 7000–c. 3800 bc), it lacked the population, resources and strength to withstand the external pressures to which it was subjected from the start of the Bronze Age (c. 2300 bc). Since then and over the subsequent millennia Cyprus has been invaded and colonized for varying periods by Achaeans, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Crusaders, Venetians, Turks and the British. While its strategic position has always given it certain commercial and cultural advantages, it has also been the source of most of the island’s troubles since the beginning of recorded history, because too often the interests and concerns of the native inhabitants were subordinated to the ambitions and dictates of the powers around it. Yet, despite the ultimate demise of the native Cypriot style in the Late Bronze Age, the Cypriot craftsman’s ability to adapt and amalgamate the forms, designs and subject-matter of successive incoming groups produced a range of artefacts that ingeniously blended traditional with foreign concepts. While the forms of Cypriot expression after the introduction of outside influences could be mistaken for provincial imitation, the island’s art never lost its essential native characteristics: a strong underlying sense of inventiveness, superstition and wit. This has left a large body of captivating and whimsical material which, in turn, has inspired not only students and collectors of the island’s past art but modern Cypriot craftsmen as well....

Article

Dahshur  

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 ...

Article

A. J. Mills

The largest of Egypt’s western oases (l. c. 120 km), c. 400 km west of Luxor. It was inhabited from earliest times, and although distant from the civilization of the Nile Valley, it was never isolated: most of the preserved monuments show a strong Egyptian influence. The absence of pressure on space and building materials, combined with a kind climate, has left a series of monuments largely complete and in a reasonable condition. Although there is a group of mud-brick mastaba tombs at Balat that dates to the late 6th Dynasty (c. 2325–c. 2150 bc), the best-preserved remains date to the Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine periods (304 bcad 641). The Tomb of Kitinos (1st century bc) at Balat is the only masonry tomb with carved relief decoration known in the southern oases. Its style is purely Egyptian, though rather provincial, and typical of the period. More important are the contemporary tombs of Petosiris and Pedubastis at Qaret el-Muzzawaqa, where the painted decoration bears an unusual juxtaposition of religious scenes rendered in the traditional Egyptian style and three excellent zodiac ceilings and several owners’ portraits executed in the much freer Classical style. The nearby sandstone temple of Deir el-Haggar (1st century ...

Article

Christopher Fung

[Ta-wen-k’ou]

Chinese Neolithic site in Taian, Shandong Province. It gives its name to a Neolithic culture that stretched across Shandong, western Henan, northern Anhui and Jiangsu provinces c. 4300–c. 2400 bc. In the core area, Shandong, the Dawenkou culture developed from the Beixin culture and was succeeded by the Longshan culture.

The beginnings of many of the characteristic features of Longshan pottery may be seen in the ceramics of the Dawenkou culture: the use of the potter’s wheel, elaborate ritual vessels and polished blackwares and whitewares. There is evidence in the pottery produced from c. 3500 bc that on some vessels the rim was retouched on a slow potter’s wheel. Smaller vessels that seem to have been turned on a fast wheel also appeared at the same time. The amount of wheelmade pottery increased towards the end of the period. Although most Dawenkou pottery was undecorated, styles of surface treatment changed significantly on those vessels that were decorated. Early Dawenkou (...

Article

Daxi  

Christopher Fung

[Ta-his]

Chinese Neolithic culture of the middle Yangzi River basin, dating from c. 4400 bc to c. 3300 bc; it is named after the type-site at Daxi Wushan, Sichuan Province. Other important sites exhibiting this culture include Guanmiaoshan Zhijiang, in Hubei Province, Honghuatao, Yidu, in Hubei Province and Sanyuangong, Li xian, in Hunan Province.

The Daxi culture is characterized primarily from burials, although square, clay-plastered house floors have been discovered at a handful of sites. Burials were generally single. Many graves contained few or no grave goods, a smaller number contained as many as 30; several were accompanied by dog sacrifices. The most distinctive artefacts are the ceramics, which are predominantly hand-built red wares. Small numbers of red-ware vessels have grey or black interiors, and some grey and black wares have also been found. Daxi ceramics are generally plain, although some have a red slip. The most common surface treatments are painting, stamping, incising, cord impressions, appliqué and openwork. Painted designs were executed primarily in black on red. Decorative elements include chevrons, intertwined curvilinear designs, flower-petal designs and curvilinear triangular designs. The most important vessel forms are upright vessels such as deep-bowled ...

Article

Dendara  

John Baines

[anc. Egyp. Iunet; Gr. Tentyris.]

Egyptian site on the west bank of the Nile c. 65 km north of Luxor. It was an important provincial centre throughout Egyptian history; its chief artistic monuments are successive temples of the goddess Hathor from the 6th Dynasty (c. 2325–c. 2150 bc) to the 2nd century ad (see fig.). The site stands to the south of the Nile, about 1 km away at the edge of the low desert. The temples stand within a high mud-brick enclosure wall and occupy the north-west part of the sacred space. The site was cleared by Auguste Mariette in the mid-19th century, and work continued sporadically until about 1960.

Activity of Pepy I (reg c. 2289–c. 2256 bc) is referred to in the Greco-Roman temple and attested by a fine statue. The 11th-Dynasty king Mentuhotpe II (reg c. 2008–c. 1957 bc) built a chapel to Hathor and her son Harsomtus which also celebrated his own status (Cairo, Egyp. Mus.). This chapel still stood in the time of Merneptah (...

Article

Dendra  

Robin Hägg

[Dhendrá.]

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 (...

Article

Dimini  

K. A. Wardle

[Dhimíni.]

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....

Article

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 (...

Article

Seton Lloyd

[Arab. Diyālá.]

Region of ancient Mesopotamia, south of modern Ba‛quba and north-east of Baghdad, Iraq. The area incorporates five major cities that flourished first during the Jemdet Nasr and Early Dynastic periods (c. 3100–c. 2340 bc) and has provided numerous examples of Sumerian architecture and sculpture. The region was also important during the Isin–Larsa period (c. 2000–c. 1760 bc).

Until the middle of the 1st millennium bc, the main stream of the Tigris River below Samarra’ followed a line some distance to the east of its present course. In Abbasid times this ancient bed formed part of the Nahrawan canal, which, together with the tributary waters of the River Diyala, created a wide basin of cultivatable land. Later, with the Nahrawan fallen into disrepair and the Diyala deflected by a weir, the whole province became a wilderness strewn with abandoned city-mounds.

There has been much excavation since ...

Article

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 (...

Article

Dvin  

Manya Ghazaryan

[Gr. Doubios; Arab. Dabil.]

Site in Artashat province in the Republic of Armenia, 35 km south of Erevan. The remains of settlements dating to the 3rd millennium bc have been found in its hinterland, including massive structures of cyclopean masonry and the foundations of large temples. Further settlements were established around Dvin in the 2nd and 1st centuries bc, when a temple dedicated to the god Tir was probably built (destr. c. ad 314).

Dvin is primarily known for its Armenian architectural remains, which date from its foundation under Khosrov III (reg ad 332–9) until the early 13th century. Its ruins were first recorded by Armenian, Russian and European travellers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Excavations were begun in 1899 under N. Maṙ and resumed in 1907–8 by Khatchik vardapet Dadyan. From 1936 to 1939 systematic excavations were undertaken by Smbat Ter-Avetisyan, from 1946 to 1976 by Karo Ghafadaryan and from ...

Article

V. M. Masson

[Djeitun; Jeitun.]

Site of a Neolithic settlement in Turkmenistan, on the southern edge of the Karakum Desert, 25 km north-west of Ashkhabad, which flourished from the late 7th millennium bc to the early 6th. It was excavated from 1956 to 1961 by the Turkmenistan Academy of Sciences, and again in 1989 in conjunction with London University. The houses of the settlement each comprised a small single room, of 15 to 35 m sq., containing a large hearth or stove covered with lime plaster. The floors and walls were painted red or black. Finds included flint implements such as trapezoids and segments, small axes of polished stone, slivers of bone, hide scrapers, stone querns, ceramics painted with simple rows of brackets or vertical wavy lines, stone and bone beads, stone pendants of animal forms and small terracotta human or animal figurines.

The main occupation was farming. Single grain wheat (einkorn) was harvested using bone sickles with inserted flint blades. The inhabitants bred cattle, sheep and goats, kept dogs and also hunted antelopes (...

Article

Ebla  

Stefania Mazzoni

[Tell Mardikh.]

Ancient site in northern Syria, some 58 km south-west of Aleppo. It is set in an agricultural region between the last eastern branches of the Jabal al-Zawiya and the swampy lowlands of the Matkh and was occupied from c. 3000 bc to c. 1600 bc with intermittent later settlement until the Byzantine period. Since 1964 excavations by the University of Rome’s Italian Archaeological Mission to Syria have been directed by Paolo Matthiae. Most of the finds, including many of the items mentioned below, are in the Archaeological Museum of Idlib; smaller collections are held in the National Museums of Damascus and Aleppo.

The earliest evidence for settlement consists of locally produced stamp seals in a naturalistic style, bearing pastoral scenes that include animal and human figures, shepherds and heroic animal-tamers. They may be dated to the late Chalcolithic or Early Bronze I (c. 3000 bc). Scattered structures from throughout the first half of the 3rd millennium ...