1-12 of 12 results  for:

  • Archaeology x
  • 1500–1600 x
Clear all

Article

Algarve  

Kirk Ambrose

Southern-most region of mainland Portugal. Its name is derived from ‘the West’ in Arabic. This region has relatively few medieval buildings: devastating earthquakes in 1722 and 1755 contributed to these losses, though many buildings were deliberately destroyed during the Middle Ages. For example, in the 12th century the Almoravids likely razed a pilgrimage church, described in Arabic sources, at the tip of the cape of S Vicente. Mosques at Faro, Silves and Tavira, among others, appear to have been levelled to make room for church construction after the Reconquest of the region, completed in 1249. Further excavations could shed much light on this history.

Highlights in the Algarve include remains at Milreu of a villa with elaborate mosaics that rank among the most substantial Roman sites in the region. The site further preserves foundations of a basilica, likely constructed in the 5th century, and traces of what may be a baptistery, perhaps added during the period of Byzantine occupation in the 6th and 7th centuries. The period of Islamic rule, from the 8th century through to the 13th, witnessed the construction of many fortifications, including examples at Aljezur, Loulé and Salir, which were mostly levelled by earthquakes. Silves, a city with origins in the Bronze Age, preserves a substantial concentration of relatively well-preserved Islamic monuments. These include a bridge, carved inscriptions, a castle, cistern and fortified walls, along which numerous ceramics have been excavated. Most extant medieval churches in Algarve date to the period after the Reconquest. These tend to be modest in design and small in scale, such as the 13th-century Vera Cruz de Marmelar, built over Visigothic or Mozarabic foundations. The relatively large cathedrals at Silves and at Faro preserve substantial portions dating to the 13th century, as well as fabric from subsequent medieval campaigns. Renaissance and Baroque churches and ecclesiastical furnishings can be found throughout Algarve....

Article

Awatovi  

E. Charles Adams

Site in North America, in north-eastern Arizona. A Hopi village was established there by c. ad 1250 and destroyed in 1700. During excavations (1935–9) by the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, almost 150 wall paintings were discovered in 11 kivas (subterranean ceremonial structures; see Kiva). The wall paintings were first executed c. 1375 using the fresco secco technique and continued up to Spanish contact in the early 17th century. Except for black, inorganic pigments were used, including red, yellow, blue, green, pink, orange, brown, grey and white. Plant, animal and anthropomorphic forms are portrayed, as well as clouds, lightning, water symbols and geometric designs. The subject matter is religious, depicting parts of ceremonies, events and creatures of Hopi oral history, and altars used to perform ceremonies. Later compositions convey a feeling of movement, many showing symbolic combat between two figures. The sudden appearance of elaborate kiva wall paintings seems to coincide with the development of ...

Article

Ayodhya  

B. B. Lal

[Ayodhyā]

City in Faizabad District, Uttar Pradesh, India. Located on the right bank of the River Sarayu, it was the capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom, one of whose kings, Rama, is regarded by Hindus as an incarnation of Vishnu.

Excavations in 17 different parts of the ancient mounds have revealed that the first occupation at Ayodhya commenced c. 700 bc, as is indicated by the occurrence of the earliest variety of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) and a few sherds assignable to a late stage in the production of Painted Grey Ware (PGW). The NBPW is very well fired, thin-sectioned, with a shining surface and showing a variety of colours: steel grey, coal black, indigo, silver, even gold. In the earliest levels the houses were of wattle and daub, but later they began to be constructed of kiln-fired bricks. Terracotta ringwells were used for disposing of sullage water. Concomitantly, systems of coinage (punch-marked and uninscribed cast coins) and weights (cylindrical pieces of jasper, chert etc) also came into being, laying the foundation of urbanization in the Ganga Valley around the middle of the 1st millennium ...

Article

Bam  

Abbas Daneshvari

Town in the province of Kirman, southern Iran, on an important route skirting the southern fringes of the Dasht-i Lut Desert. The old walled city was founded in the Sasanian period (ad 224–632) and flourished until the 18th century; its ruins stand 0.5 km east of the present town of Bam, founded in 1860. On 26 December 2003, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the city, claiming more than 40,000 lives and destroying over 70% of the buildings. Most of the mud-brick remains of the old city date from the 16th century and later, but they give the best impression available of a medieval Iranian provincial town (see fig.; see also Islamic art, §II, 10(ii)). The site is roughly rectangular (300×425 m) with a citadel in the north-west corner. A vaulted bazaar runs from the main south gate to the foot of the citadel, where there is a large open square flanked by stables; to the west of the square is a caravanserai, a two-storey building with a central court. Within the citadel are the remains of the governor’s residence, his reception room and an open rectangle, which was used in the 19th century for the storage of artillery. A congregational mosque of the standard Iranian type, with four iwans facing a central courtyard, is towards the south-east corner of the site, and to its north are a dozen large mansions built for rich merchants. Their public and private quarters, arranged in two storeys around a central court, are decorated with recesses and mouldings; the service areas with stables and kitchens are plainer. In the north-west section of the site, behind the citadel, are smaller houses, perhaps built for peasants, with individual rooms on one or two sides of a courtyard....

Article

Delia Kottmann

Italian village in Lazio, north of Rome, known for its church. The church of SS Anastasius and Nonnosus is all that remains of the 6th-century Benedictine monastery, which submitted to Cluny in ad 940. Apart from some re-used fragments, the architecture is Romanesque, with a Cosmati pavement in opus sectile as well as an ambo and ciborium. The church is famous for its wall paintings from the first quarter of the 12th century. The apse and its adjacent walls, showing the 24 elders, are influenced by Romano–Christian motifs. Christ in the middle of the conch is flanked by Peter and Paul in a Traditio legis depiction, with a procession of lambs below. Underneath, Maria Regina has to be reconstructed in the middle, between two conserved angels followed by female saints in a Byzantine manner. No Romano–Christian iconography seems to have influenced the vast apocalyptic cycle painted on the side walls of the transept. A band of prophets runs beneath the roof on all the walls of the transept. An inscription in the apse indicates three Roman painters....

Article

R. Nagaswamy

[Cidambara, Chirrambalam (Skt and Tamil: ‘Consciousness as space’)]

Temple site in Tamil Nadu, India, sacred to Shiva in his form as Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer. The Nataraja temple occupies an area of about 16 ha and consists of a complex series of walled enclosures containing shrines, halls and gateways built between the 12th and 20th centuries. The temple’s origin is ascribed to the sages Vyagrapada and Patanjali, and it has become associated with Appar and other southern saints. The Chola kings, from whose time the earliest surviving portions belong, were devoted to Nataraja and held their coronation ceremonies in the precinct. The active religious and artistic life of Chidambaram continues to the present day.

At the centre of the Nataraja complex are the Chid Sabha and Kanaka Sabha, two small wooden buildings with hipped gable roofs sheathed in copper. While based on earlier prototypes, these structures probably date to the 17th century. Shiva is worshipped here as Nataraja and as the ...

Article

José Alcina Franch

Pre-Columbian city that flourished c. ad 1450–1540, 28 km (by road) north of Cuzco, Peru; excavated by José Alcina between 1968 and 1970. The town centre is on a high plateau, 3720 m above sea level, near Lake Piuray on the old road from Cuzco to the Yucay Valley. Chinchero was ‘founded’ as an Inca imperial city at the beginning of the reign of Tupac Inca Yupanqui (reg ad 1471–93) and became the country residence of his panaka (lineage group). The proximity of Cuzco—15 km by the Inca road—meant that the architecture of Chinchero was heavily influenced by the imperial Inca style (see also South America, Pre-Columbian, §III, 2, (iii)).

The urban nature of the site is evident not only from the size and quality of its buildings but also from the way they are sited. There was an internal communication system and also a drainage system that catered for the whole area, ensuring the draining of all residual waters into the ravine adjacent to the site. The city-plan can be divided into three sectors: a residential and administrative sector, a religious sector and an agricultural sector. The first two evolved around two squares, that of the present village and the ...

Article

Gotland  

Axel Bolvig

Largest island in the Baltic Sea and a province and municipality of Sweden that also includes Fårö, Gotska Sandön and Karlsö islands. The history and economic importance of Gotland is connected to its central position in the Baltic Sea. Culturally it has been compared with Rhodes, Crete and Sicily. Archaeological evidence dating from as early as the 1st millennium bc indicates close interaction with areas as distant as the Indian Ocean as well as a flourishing trade during the Viking age. Throughout the medieval period, the town of Visby attracted many German tradesmen and became a centre of the Hanseatic League. The Danish army invaded Gotland in 1361, destroyed the peasants’ army and extorted large contributions from Visby. Later, Gotland became a centre for pirates and its importance declined. At times it was under Danish control but since 1645 it has been part of Sweden.

Several hundred tombstones decorated during the Iron Age and Viking period are unique to Gotland and offer an insight into a pre-Christian world. During the Middle Ages, 97 churches of great architectural interest were built, and baptismal fonts were widely exported, providing evidence of the area as a centre of intense artistic activity....

Article

Ye. V. Zeymal’

Site in Tajikistan, 25 km west of Dushanbe above the confluence of the Khanaka River and the Kafirnigan River. The pisé walls of the fortress, arched gateways and flanking towers of fired brick, two madrasas and the nearby mosque date from the 16th–19th century, when the fortress was the residence of the Hissar bek. Excavations (1980–82) by Ye. V. Zeymal’ revealed that the fortress was erected on an artificial hill comprising occupation layers dating at least from the 3rd–2nd century bc onwards. The large Tup-khona burial ground containing Yueh-chih and Kushana burials (1st century bc–3rd century ad) was clearly associated with the inhabitants of the Hissar site. Another burial ground near Hissar appears to be earlier than the 7th century ad in date. The tentative identification of the Hissar Fortress with the town of Shuman, mentioned in written sources of the 10th–12th century, has not yet been substantiated by reliable evidence. The site is now a historical and archaeological museum reserve, and the finds are housed in the Tajikistan Academy of Sciences, Donish Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography in Dushanbe....

Article

George Michell

[Lepākshi]

Town and temple site in Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India. The Virabhadra temple at Lepakshi was constructed by two brothers who served as governors under Achyutadeva Raya (reg 1530–42) of the Vijayanagara dynasty. The temple is built on an uneven outcrop of granite and is surrounded by two enclosures. The outer enclosure, lined by colonnades and carrying numerous inscriptions, is roughly rectangular in plan and has three entrances. The inner enclosure, laid out approximately in a square, is entered on the north and south through two gopuras, one with an incomplete superstructure of brick. Within is a medley of monuments. The open hall adjoining the north gopura has elaborately carved pillars with those on the central bays carrying large Shaiva images. The ceiling paintings are the principal examples surviving from the Vijayanagara period. The vividly coloured murals depict popular epic and Puranic legends, such as the boar hunt of Shiva. In addition there are donor portraits and processions of maidens attending upon Shiva and Parvati. The walls on the south contain narrative reliefs depicting Shaiva legends and the story of Arjuna’s penance to obtain the bow of Shiva. The painted hall connects directly to the main temple, which consists of a closed hall and three shrines. The shrine of Virabhadra, containing a fierce life-size image of that god, is set axially with the entrance. To the west is a shrine of Vishnu and to the east a partially rock-cut shrine of Uma and Maheshvara. The hall ceiling has murals of Virabhadra, other aspects of Shiva and the temple donors. Externally, the building is plain except for the basement mouldings and pyramidal brick superstructures over the Virabhadra and Vishnu shrines. To the south of the main shrine (just inside the south ...

Article

In 16th-century New Spain (Mexico), missions were the principal part of the Spanish crown’s program to convert Native Americans to Catholicism and transform them into loyal subjects in “New World” Spanish society.

With the Pope’s support, the Spanish Crown viewed conversion of the Native Americans as sufficient reason for their conquest and subjugation, financed and directed by the King. The Spanish explorer/conquistador Hernán Cortés (1485–1547) and a small group of armed men landed on the Gulf Coast of Mexico in 1519 to investigate stories they had heard about large cities on the mainland. After two years of fighting the Mexica, more widely known as Aztecs, and making alliances with other native city-states opposed to them, Cortés succeeded in conquering the Aztecs in Tenochtitlán (now Mexico City) in 1521. This led to an unprecedented missionizing effort to convert the native population of what is today central Mexico to Catholicism....

Article

John S. Isaacson and Trent Barnes

[Pucará ; de Lulumbamba]

Military installation (and possibly ceremonial centre) of the Pre-Columbian Inca period in Pinchincha Province, Ecuador. It is sited on a small hill at the confluence of two streams draining into the Río Guayllabamba, a few kilometres to the north. Although the site was severely damaged through centuries of looting for building materials, careful excavation and reconstruction (Almeida and Jara) have provided significant information about the architecture and occupational history at the site. There has been speculation that the site was constructed prior to the arrival of the Inca in northern Ecuador. However, excavation produced no evidence of pre-Inca occupation. All artefacts in the local ‘Caranqui’ style were found in contexts that also produced Inca artefacts, suggesting that the Pucará de Rumicucho was constructed and occupied during the Late Horizon (1476–1534), between c. ad 1500 and c. 1534 (see Inca). The Pucará de Rumicucho differs in significant ways from most forts in the highlands of the northern Andes. These were generally built on an easily defensible site, usually a hilltop, and were often equipped with retaining walls and rooms to house military personnel. The excavation of these sites has produced few artefacts other than ceramic fragments and rare finds of weapons. The Pucará de Rumicucho’s accessible location, only 24 m above the valley floor, and evidence for the occurrence of a wide variety of activities suggest that it was not a defensive fort. The site has been interpreted as an offensive staging area for military campaigns to the north (Almeida and Jara). Its situation close to the equator and the presence of circular structures—associated at other Inca sites with religious and astronomical activities—suggest that it may also have functioned as a ceremonial and astronomical centre....