Two ancient states that flourished from c. 1300
A. R. Millard
Two ancient states that flourished from c. 1300
Helen M. Strudwick, Claude Vandersleyen, Dimitris Plantzos, William A. Ward, William H. Peck, Dominic Montserrat, John Baines, Gay Robins, J. Ruffle, Lise Manniche, Rosemarie Klemm, Jean-Luc Chappaz, Joachim Śliwa, Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Ann Bomann, R. G. Morkot, Peter Lacovara, Delia Pemberton, Rita E. Freed, Philip J. Watson, Robert S. Bianchi, Henry G. Fischer, Jaromir Malek, S. Curto, Nadine Cherpion, James F. Romano, Karol Mysliwiec, Richard A. Fazzini, Edna R. Russmann, Eleni Vassilika, updated by Dimitris Plantzos, Edda Bresciani, Claude Traunecker, T. G. H. James, W. J. Tait, J. H. Taylor, Dorothea Arnold, Jack Ogden, Jean Vercoutter, Carol Andrews, Donald P. Ryan, E. Finkenstaedt, Paul T. Nicholson, Rosemarie Drenkhahn, Willemina Z. Wendrich, Robert Anderson, Barbara G. Aston and Morris Bierbrier
Civilization that flourished in the Nile Valley for three and a half thousand years, from c. 3000
Helen M. Strudwick
The boundaries of ancient Egypt were formed by substantial natural barriers: to the south the 1st Nile cataract, to the north the Mediterranean and to the east and west the deserts ( see fig. ). There are only three basic components of the physical geography of Egypt: the Nile, flowing from south to north between fertile banks, and the two areas of desert on either side. In the north the Nile branches into many streams through the Delta and finally flows out into the Mediterranean.
The fertile plain through which the Nile runs is solely the result of the annual flooding of the Nile and the deposition of silt carried in suspension by the flood waters. The silt deposition is most noticeable in the areas closest to the river, and consequently the land there is slightly higher. The annual inundation of the Nile was a natural phenomenon caused by the large amounts of rain that normally fall in the summer months in the highlands to the south of Egypt and the ...
Inhabitant of Elam, an ancient state that flourished intermittently from the 4th millennium
The frontiers of the original Elam are uncertain, but its heart was the city of Anshan (or Anzan; now Tall-i Maliyan in Fars), on the plateau north-west of Shiraz. The other great city that was sometimes under Elam’s sphere of influence was Susa, some 400 km to the north-west of Anshan, the capital of Susiana (now Khuzistan), which was a rich agricultural plain with a mixed population of settled Semitic peasants and townspeople, and nomadic Elamites from the surrounding uplands and from the plateau. During the periods when Susa fell under the influence of Mesopotamia (now Iraq, to the west) the state of Elam lost all political importance. Thus the history of Elam alternates between periods of prosperity, when the Elamites of Anshan controlled Susa and the main east–west trade route, and periods of obscurity when Susa came under Mesopotamian rule and the Elamites returned to a nomadic existence. The Elamites were frequently in conflict with Mesopotamia throughout their history....
Greek city situated on the island of Crete, by the north-west foothills of mount Psiloritis (anc. Ida), 30 km south-east of the present-day city of Rethymnon. It was a centre for Aegean and Greek culture from the Prehistoric to the Byzantine periods (4th millennium
Ancient Eleutherna is a typical example of a Cretan polis (city) inhabited continuously from at least from the 9th century
M. J. Mellink
Town in the district of Antalya, south-west Turkey. Elmalı is set in a fertile plain c. 1100 m above sea-level, which is dotted with ancient sites that belonged to Lycia or the Milyad in Classical times. Roads from Lycian coastal sites lead through mountains and river valleys to Elmalı, from where connections upland to Pisidia and Burdur are easy. Excavations of a site of the 3rd millennium
At Karataş-Semayük, excavations revealed a fortified mansion of the early 3rd millennium
Modern and perhaps ancient name of a site on the south coast of Chios. It was excavated by the British School at Athens in 1952–5. The first settlement, at the foot of a rocky hill by the harbour, revealed an occupation sequence with ten periods (X–I) from Neolithic (before c. 4000
Bronze Age site at the mouth of the River Pedieos in eastern Cyprus, c. 8 km north-west of Famagusta. The settlement, the ancient name of which is uncertain, was founded towards the end of the Middle Cypriot period (c. 1700
The prosperous unwalled city of the mid-14th century
[now Tell Abu Shahrein.]
Ancient Mesopotamian city that flourished between c. 5000 and c. 2100
In 1855 and 1918–19, the British archaeologists Consul J. G. Taylor and Reginald Campbell-Thompson respectively conducted unproductive excavations at Eridu. The 1946 to 1949 excavations of the Iraq Antiquities Directorate, under Fuad Safar and Seton Lloyd, were more successful, showing that the main mound covered a rectangular precinct (200×150 m) that was raised several metres above ground level and supported by a mud-brick retaining wall. At one end were the ruins of an unfinished ziggurat built by a late king of Ur (...
Early Bronze Age Chinese culture (first half of the 2nd millennium
Excavation began at Erlitou in the 1960s, revealing a cultural layer 3–4 m thick divided into four chronological periods, each lasting c. 100 years, beginning c. 1900
Area in north-western Iraq that was the subject of intense archaeological investigation between 1978 and 1987 as a result of the construction of a dam across the River Tigris. In the course of the Eski Mosul (or Saddam) Dam Salvage Project, numerous sites were excavated along both sides of the River Tigris from a few kilometres upstream of the town of Eski Mosul to the Syrian border. Although the area was not agriculturally wealthy and did not contain the remains of important historical cities, much information about the art and archaeology of the region was recovered.
The earliest works of art from the Eski Mosul region come from the pre-pottery Neolithic site of Nemrik, which is dated to the 8th millennium
The investigations also cast new light on the attractive painted and incised pottery styles of the first half of the 3rd millennium ...
O. T. P. K. Dickinson
Site south-west of Thebes, in central Greece, where Hetty Goldman’s major excavation campaign (1924–7) revealed a long and informative prehistoric sequence, running from the later Neolithic period through almost the entire Bronze Age. Indications of later occupation are present but sparse. Early Helladic (
R. J. Leprohon and T. G. Wilfong
Egyptian semi-oasis region c. 80 km south-west of Cairo on the Bahr Yusuf, an ancient channel of the Nile (see fig.). In the north-west is Lake Qarun, a remnant of the ancient Lake Moeris, an important part of ancient Egyptian cosmogony since it was reputed by some to be the site of Nun, the primeval ocean. Throughout the Dynastic and Greco-Roman periods (c. 2925
Site of an ancient Sumerian city beside the Euphrates, in the middle of Sumer (now in Iraq). The city flourished c. 3000–c. 2000
[Arab. Tall al-Fara‛īn; anc. Egyp. Pr-Wadjit; Copt. Puoto; Gr. Buto.]
Ancient Egyptian city in the western Delta that flourished during the Predynastic and Saite periods. The ancient Egyptian name of the city was Pr-Wadjit (‘House of Wadjit’), and its principal deities were Wadjit, the snake-goddess, and Horus, the falcon-god. More commonly known as Buto, the site was a sacred place of great iconographic importance.
British excavations (1964–9) revealed a major temple, probably dating from the Saite period (664–525
R. G. Morkot
[Egyp. Sehetepneterw; Copt. Pachoras.]
Site in Egypt on the west bank of the Nile, 35 km north of Wadi Halfa. Since the completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970, Faras has been submerged beneath Lake Nasser. There were three important phases in the history of Faras: the later New Kingdom (c. 1540–c. 1075
In terms of Nubian art the Meroitic and Christian phases at Faras are the most important. The large Meroitic cemetery has produced a great quantity of pottery vessels in fine painted wares, and painted pottery has long been recognized as one of the most important aspects of Meroitic art, revealing influences from Pharaonic, Hellenistic and Roman Egypt in its forms and the decorative motifs employed (...
A. F. Harding
Bronze Age monumental ritual centre and fortified complex in the valley of the Taravo, 6 km from the sea in southern Corsica. The area was known as a source of antiquities for many years before excavations by Roger Grosjean in 1954–9 (never fully published) uncovered an extensive area of fortifications and occupation on the low hill that forms the centre of the site. The excavations demonstrated a sequence extending from the Neolithic period through the Bronze Age (5th to 2nd millennia
The site, on a small rocky hill, has discontinuous Cyclopean walling enclosing an area roughly 135×45 m. Extensive use was made of the natural outcrops in building the walls. In addition to the house foundations, the dominant features are two subcircular tower-like constructions, the ‘Monument central’ and the ‘Monument ouest’. The first contained six complete and thirty-eight fragmentary statue menhirs set on and around the revetting wall. In the interior was a small circular chamber, apparently for cult use. In the second tower were found the remains of a dry-stone-walled round building 15 m in diameter, with a narrow entrance on the uphill side, leading to a cella-like central room with a domed vault. Fine pottery was found in it (Sartène, Mus. Dépt. Préhist. Corse)....
Paul G. Bahn
Cave site in France, in the Beune Valley 1 km from Les Eyzies, Dordogne. It is one of the most famous and historically important sites for Palaeolithic cave art (see also Prehistoric Europe, §II, 1). The cave of Font de Gaume had been known and visited throughout history, but the paintings were found only in 1901 by Denis Peyrony, a few days after the discovery of art in the nearby cave of Les Combarelles. A description of the paintings, largely the work of the Abbé Breuil, Abbé Henri, was published in 1910, but more figures have since been found, and the cleaning of the walls in the 1960s, together with continuing conservation work since then, has improved the visibility of many images.
The cave is c. 120 m long, with a ceiling up to 10 m high and a width of c. 1.5–3.0 m (for layout of cave ...
Stephen T. Driscoll
Scottish royal centre in Perthshire, which reached its zenith in the late Pictish period (8th–9th centuries
The only surviving fabric of the palace is a unique monolithic arch, presumably a chancel arch, carved with three moustached Picts in classical dress flanking a crucifix (now in the Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh). Fragments of at least four additional sandstone crosses indicate the presence of a major church, perhaps a monastery. The celebrated Dupplin Cross (now in Dunning Church) originally overlooked Forteviot from the north. This monolithic, free-standing cross (2.5 m tall) bears a Latin inscription naming Constantine son of Fergus, King of the Picts (...
Philip E. L. Smith
Early Neolithic mound in the Zagros Mountains of western Iran, occupied from c. 7500 to c. 6600
The earliest level had no permanent architecture and was probably a seasonal encampment. The later levels contain buildings of mud-brick and other materials; some are two-storey and are intricately subdivided into cubicles. Skulls of wild sheep were attached to the walls of some buildings, possibly for ritual purposes. A characteristic of this site is the varied and sophisticated use of clay. Soft-baked pottery occurs in small quantities, sometimes used for storage vessels. There are many baked clay animal figurines (probably representing goats, sheep and pigs in most cases) and schematic female figurines. Many hundreds of small geometric clay items also occur: cones, tetrahedrons, balls and discs. There are impressions and incisions on pottery, clay discs and bone artefacts. Personal ornaments are common, consisting of stone and bone beads, perforated shells (some from the Persian Gulf) and pendants....
Paul G. Bahn
Cave site in France, near Montréjeau in the foothills of the central Pyrenees Mountains. It is important for its examples of Palaeolithic cave art (see also Prehistoric Europe, §II, 1). The cave of Gargas had long been known for its abundance in skeletons of Ice Age fauna when, in 1906, its art was first reported by Félix Regnault, a local scholar. The material recovered in subsequent excavations is housed in the Institut de Paléontologie Humaine, Paris, and the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, Toulouse. The cave comprises 530 m of galleries, in two sectors on separate levels. The lower cave originally had a huge porch, which subsequently collapsed; an artificial entry has been punched through to an enormous gallery c. 140 m long and 25 m wide, containing many large stalagmitic formations and several side chambers. The upper cave, reached by a modern staircase, is narrower and more tortuous. There are a few paintings (one in the lower cave and four in the upper) of such animals as bison and ibex, and innumerable meandering finger tracings on the ceiling, some of which form animal figures. However, the fame of Gargas rests on its animal ...