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Article

Ian M. E. Shaw

Ancient Egyptian art style that takes its name from Amarna, (Tell) el-, the site of the capital city during the reigns of Akhenaten (reg c. 1353–c. 1336 bc) and Smenkhkare (reg c. 1335–c. 1332 bc). Amarna-style painting and sculpture were characterized by a move away from the traditional idealism of Egyptian art towards a greater realism and artistic freedom. This new sense of vigour and naturalism is most apparent in surviving fragments of paintings from the walls and floors of palaces (Cairo, Egyp. Mus., and Oxford, Ashmolean; see Egypt, ancient §X 2.). The statuary and reliefs, mainly from el-Amarna, Thebes and Hermopolis Magna, represent the royal family and their subjects in a style that was initially grotesque and often crude, as the artists struggled to come to terms with the new approach (see Egypt, ancient §IX 3., (viii)). However, they eventually reached a high degree of sophistication and beauty, exemplified by the painted limestone bust of Queen ...

Article

Anyang  

Robert W. Bagley

[An-yang]

Chinese city in Henan Province, near the site of the last capital of the Shang dynasty or Yin dynasty, occupied c.1300– c. 1050 bc. The site is sometimes called Yinxu, ‘Waste of Yin’, an ancient name for the abandoned city.

At least as early as the Northern Song period (960–1127) Anyang was known to antiquarians as a source of ancient bronze ritual vessels. At the beginning of the 20th century archaeologists were led there by the realization that animal bones and turtle shells found by local farmers were carved with inscriptions in a form of Chinese script more archaic than any previously known (for a discussion of the oracle-bone texts see China, People’s Republic of, §IV, 2, (i)). The bones had been used in divination rituals; their inscriptions, which showed the divinations to have been performed on behalf of the last nine Shang kings, secured the identification of the Anyang site. According to historical texts of the last few centuries ...

Article

Seton Lloyd

[Arab. ‛Aqarqūf; anc. Dur Kurigalzu]

. Site in Iraq of the ancient capital city of the Kassites, which flourished c. 1400–1157 bc (see also Mesopotamia, §I, 2). The ruins of ancient Dur Kurigalzu are 15 km west of modern Baghdad, at the point where an outcrop of soft limestone marks the northern extremity of the alluvial plain. The eroded core of its Ziggurat (now partly rest.) is visible from the highway leading west to Ramūdī and the desert crossing to Jordan. The mud-brick fabric of its structure is reinforced with deep layers of reed-matting and faced on all sides with kiln-baked brick.

Iraqi excavations at Aqar Quf in 1942–5 under Taha Baqir led to the discovery of a complex of temple buildings at the foot of the ziggurat itself. A Kassite dynasty ruled Babylonia from the 16th century to the 12th century bc, apparently maintaining the ancient civic and religious traditions of Mesopotamia. The architecture of this temple precinct was therefore characteristic of the period (...

Article

Armant  

M. S. Drower

[anc. Gr. Hermonthis; Copt. Ermont]

City in Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile, some 10 km south of Luxor. It was at first called Iunu-Shema (Egyp.: ‘the southern Heliopolis’) and Iunu-Montu (Egyp.: ‘Heliopolis of the war-god Montu’), from which subsequent names derive. It was the capital of the fourth nome (administrative province) of Upper Egypt throughout the Old Kingdom (c. 2575–c. 2150 bc), until the rise of the city of Thebes. Armant was the original home of the Mentuhotpe family, the founders of the 11th Dynasty. Preliminary excavations in the town area (1935–7) uncovered stone relief blocks of many periods; a few delicate reliefs of the 11th Dynasty show Sankhkare Mentuhotpe III in the company of Montu and his consorts the goddesses Iuniyt and Teneniyt. Some lower courses of a New Kingdom temple were uncovered, including the base of an 18th Dynasty Pylon bearing a depiction of a lively procession of Nubian captives headed by a rhinoceros. A granite stele, found near by, records various exploits, such as the capture of a rhinoceros by Tuthmosis III....

Article

Aswan  

Edda Bresciani

[anc. Egyp. Abu, Swenet; Copt. Sawan; Gr. Syene]

Egyptian city at the northern end of the first Nile cataract, c. 900 km south of Cairo. The modern town chiefly stretches along the eastern bank of a sandstone valley, which also contains numerous islands formed by the granite outcrops of the cataract; its ancient monuments are found on both the east and west banks and on some of the islands.

In ancient times Aswan was a garrison town marking the traditional boundary between Egypt and Nubia; as such it served as the capital of the first nome (province) of Egypt and the seat of its governors. The town’s wealth was generated by its position on an important trade route between the Nile Valley and the African lands to the south and by its granite quarries, which provided the material for countless ancient monuments. The islands of the cataract enjoyed religious status as the mythological source of the annual Nile inundation, while the Temple of Isis at ...

Article

Asyut  

Diana Magee

[Assiut; anc. Djauty, Gr. Lycopolis, Arab. Siūt]

Capital city of the 13th Upper Egyptian nome (administrative province), situated on the west bank of the Nile at the end of the caravan route from the el-Kharga oasis. The ancient town, with its temple dedicated to Wepwawet, the local canine deity, probably lies under the modern one. The necropolis was excavated by Emile Chassinat in 1903. The most important periods at Asyut were the Herakleopolitan (c. 2130–c. 1970 bc), when Asyut supported the northern kings against Thebes, and the Middle Kingdom (c. 2008–c. 1630 bc), although two Ramesside tombs have also been found.

The rock-cut tombs of the Herakleopolitan nomarchs are single-chambered, containing biographical inscriptions describing campaigns against the south. The Middle Kingdom tomb of Hepdjefa I, famous for its texts of contracts with funerary priests, introduced a new type: a series of chambers leading to a central shrine at the rear. The scanty remains of the reliefs indicate that a school of fine craftsmen was established in the Herakleopolitan period, producing good, formal work at a time when other provincial art was eccentric. A scene of soldiers in the tomb of ...

Article

Avaris  

M. Bietak

[now Tell el-Dab‛a, eastern Delta, Egypt]

Ancient capital of Egypt that flourished during the Hyksos period (c. 1640–c. 1530 bc). The Greek name ‘Avaris’ derives from an ancient Egyptian name meaning ‘royal fortified settlement of the district’. The northern part of Tell el-Dab‛a was at first occupied by the town of Rowaty in the Middle Kingdom (c. 2008–c. 1630 bc). Avaris itself was founded c. 1720 bc as the capital of a local Delta kingdom independent of the ruling 13th Dynasty. The community was at that time largely of Syrian origin, employed originally by the Egyptian navy and treasury. A local Asiatic dynasty took control of Avaris and continued the existing cult of the god Seth. During the subsequent Hyksos rule (15th Dynasty, c. 1640–c. 1532 bc) Egypt was governed by monarchs of Asiatic origin. According to a late tradition of Flavius Josephus, Avaris was strongly fortified, and Egyptian sources suggest that it served as the ...

Article

Avebury  

Rob Jameson

Village in Wiltshire, south-west England, the site of a Late Neolithic ceremonial complex, including a massive Henge and stone circle (see fig.; see also Prehistoric Europe, §IV, 2, (iv), (a); Megalithic architecture, 2). The Avebury monuments are close to the contemporary earthwork at Silbury Hill, the earlier causewayed camp at Windmill Hill and the megalithic tomb at West Kennet. Alexander Keiller excavated and partially restored Avebury in the 1930s.

At the centre of the complex is the great henge, consisting of a ditch (originally 9 m deep) and an outer bank. Sherds of Windmill Hill ware, Peterborough ware and Grooved ware pottery were excavated from the bottom of the ditch. No material from Avebury has yet been dated by radiocarbon analysis, but finds of these pottery types and comparison with other large henges in the locality (such as Durrington Walls) suggest that construction began after c. 2500 bc. The ditch may have been dug in sections allotted to gangs of workers, which would explain irregularities in the shape of the earthworks, as well as the barely circular layout of the stone ring (diam. ...

Article

Baoji  

Li Liu

[Pao-chi]

Chinese city in Shaanxi Province, where several important sites from the Neolithic to Eastern Zhou periods (c. 6500–256 bc) have been discovered. A Neolithic village site was excavated in 1958–60 and 1977–8 at Beishouling. The cultural deposits found belong to the Laoguantai culture and the Yangshao culture, dated by radiocarbon analysis to c. 5000–c. 2500 bc. The ceramics are reddish in colour, and some vessels are painted. Major pottery types include the pointed-bottom vase, flat-bottom jar, round-bottom bowl and suantou hu (garlic-head) vessel (for illustration of shapes see China, fig.). The most elaborate ones are a boat-shaped vessel with a net design and a garlic-shaped vessel with a design of a bird pecking at a fish.

At Rujiazhuang, Zhuyuangou and Zhifangtou, three cemeteries of the Western Zhou period (c. 1050–771 bc) were excavated in 1974–81. They belonged to the state of Yu, a Western Zhou feudal state not recorded in ancient texts. The excavations uncovered 27 tombs, two sacrificial pits containing chariots and horses, and four pits containing only horses. More than 2600 grave goods, including bronze, jade, stone, bone, shell and ceramic objects, were unearthed. The findings provide evidence of a culture combining a unique local style with influences from the Western Zhou, the Siwa culture in Gansu Province and the Shu culture in Sichuan Province. Many stone and jade ornaments and bronze vessels are decorated with animal motifs, and bronze figurines depict details of dress and hairstyles suggesting that the Yu people were culturally closely related to the Di and Qiang peoples in north-western and south-western areas....

Article

J. D. Hawkins

[Boğazkale]

Village in central Anatolia, Turkey, adjoining the site of ancient Hattusa, capital of the Hittite kingdom, c. 1650–c. 1200 bc. Most of the remains belong to the Hittite empire period, c. 1400–c. 1200 bc (see fig.). Excavations have recovered extensive ruins of walls and gates, a citadel and temples, and thousands of clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform that formed the royal library and archives of the Hittites. With interruptions for World Wars I and II, formal excavations have been conducted under H. Winckler, Kurt Bittel and P. Neve since 1906; the site continues to be highly productive. Finds are in the Pergamonmuseum, Berlin, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara, and the Archaeological Museum, Boğazköy.

Traces of settlement stretching back to the Chalcolithic have been identified, but no substantial remains have been found earlier than the Assyrian Colony period (...

Article

Byblos  

Muntaha Saghie

[anc. Gebal, Gabla; now Gebeil, Jbeil]

Ancient city built on a low cliff (h. 24 m) on the Mediterranean coast c. 40 km north of Beirut, Lebanon. Founded in the 6th millennium bc as a fishing village, it later developed into a cosmopolitan centre where trade and various industries flourished. During the 3rd and 2nd millennia bc it was the foremost harbour town in the eastern Mediterranean. The Phoenician alphabet was developed there (see Ancient Near East §I 3..). The word ‘Bible’ is derived from the Greeks’ name for the city whence they obtained the parchment (Gr. biblos) from which they made books (biblia). The site was excavated from 1921 onwards by Pierre Montet (until 1924) and Maurice Dunand. Most of the finds were deposited in the Musée National in Beirut.

The flimsy houses of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods (6th–4th millennia bc) consisted of one big room, rounded or oval for the earlier period, rectangular or apsidal for the later. In the Early Bronze Age (...

Article

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 (...

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

Damghan  

Chahryar Adle

[Dāmghān]

Town on the road to Mashhad in northern Iran, 344 km east of Tehran. On the southern edge of the modern town are the ruins of the prehistoric site of Hissar, Tepe. Of the numerous Parthian and Sasanian sites near Damghan, the most important is Shahr-i Qumis, located 32 km to the south-west. In ad 857 Qumis was hit by a violent earthquake that destroyed the town’s system of underground irrigation channels (Pers. qanāt) and hastened its decline, to the advantage of Damghan, which received its water supply from the source of Chashma ‛Ali. The walls, bazaar and main streets of Damghan were determined before the mid-12th century. The earliest remaining Islamic monument is the Tarik-khana Mosque (9th century). Its elliptical arches and massive columns, resembling those of Sasanian palaces, show the adoption of pre-Islamic techniques for the construction of an Arab-type hypostyle mosque. The Imamzada Ja‛far complex includes one of the earliest funerary stelae in Iran; it commemorates the martyrdom (...

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

[Satra]

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 bc–7th century bc).

Ancient Eleutherna is a typical example of a Cretan polis (city) inhabited continuously from at least from the 9th century bc (the so-called ‘Dark Age’ of Greek history) to the late Roman and Byzantine period (6th–7th century bc). Even before that, archaeological finds suggest the existence of a continuous presence on the site from the late Neolithic (4th millennium bc) through to a flourishing Minoan site of the 3rd to 2nd millennia bc. Although later construction all but eliminated traces of prehistoric architecture, there is still significant evidence to confirm unbroken habitation. In historical times (9th century...

Article

Elmalı  

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 bc and of two painted tombs of c. 500 bc were carried out by M. Mellink from 1963 onwards on behalf of Bryn Mawr College, PA. Finds are in the Archaeological Museum in Antalya; the wall paintings remain in situ. In 1986–7 two tumuli excavated by a team from Antalya Museum produced Phrygian and other grave goods of c. 700 to c. 600 bc.

At Karataş-Semayük, excavations revealed a fortified mansion of the early 3rd millennium bc and a village of megaron-shaped houses in which the extensive use of timber is noticeable. In the burial grounds individual and family burials were contained in large jars. Early art is evident in metalwork (e.g. a silver pendant in double-axe shape and a silver pin with boar’s head finial), in designs on terracotta stamp seals and in incised and applied animal figures on pottery. Red polished pottery is decorated with white painted ornament....

Article

Eridu  

Seton Lloyd

[now Tell Abu Shahrein.]

Ancient Mesopotamian city that flourished between c. 5000 and c. 2100 bc. Eridu once lay on the shore of a tidal lagoon created by the Euphrates estuary but is now a table-shaped mound remotely situated in the desert in Iraq. It was regarded by the Sumerians as their oldest city, respected as the religious centre of the god Enki (Sum.: ‘Lord Earth’) rather than as a political power.

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 (...

Article

Peter French

[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 bc). Egyptian excavations (1987–8) have also uncovered stelae and statues dating to the New Kingdom (c. 1540–c. 1075 bc) and the Late Period (c. 750–332 bc), in the area around the temple. Grants of land were made to the temple according to an early Ptolemaic stele, later reused in a Cairo mosque. Apart from a hoard of bronze hawks (Cairo, Egyptian Mus.), few other objects of artistic importance have been found, due to the wet climate, the salty soil and the fact that surface remains are of an industrial city of the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Since ...

Article

Giza  

Dominic Montserrat

[anc. Egyp. Ineb hedj]

Egyptian governorate just west of Cairo, site of a major royal necropolis of the Old Kingdom capital of Memphis. The necropolis, containing the 4th Dynasty (c. 2575–c. 2465 bc) pyramid complexes of Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus (see Pyramid, §1) and their associated satellite burials, is divided by a broad wadi into two areas: the higher plateau, with the pyramid complexes, Great Sphinx and mastaba fields, and other private tombs on an escarpment to the south-west. Although Giza’s period of greatest importance was during the Old Kingdom (c. 2575–c. 2150 bc), the site underwent revivals in the New Kingdom (c. 1540–c. 1075 bc) and the Saite period (c. 664–525 bc). Most of the tombs were robbed in antiquity, and much of the original casing of the monuments has been quarried away, considerably altering their appearance. In the late 20th century the site has come under threat from rising ground water, which is slowly destroying the monuments....

Article

Hama  

Rupert L. Chapman

[Ḥamā, Ḥamāh; bibl. Hamath; anc. Gr. Epiphania]

City on the River Orontes in inland western Syria. The tell has been occupied almost continuously since Neolithic times.

Hama’s location on the Aleppo–Damascus road ensured its prosperity for long periods (see also Syria-Palestine, §I, 1). Its position also exposed it to influence and domination by a wide variety of cultures. In the 9th century bc Hama was ruled by a Neo-Hittite dynasty, which was replaced c. 800 bc by an Aramaean one (see Aramaean). The city was destroyed by the Assyrians in 720 bc and its population deported, as mentioned in the Bible (2 Kings 17:24); occupation on the tell was limited to an Assyrian garrison. Hama was included in the Roman Empire after the conquest of Syria by Pompey in 64 bc. In 1812 J. L. Burckhardt visited Hama and discovered what later proved to be hieroglyphic Hittite inscriptions (see Hittite). The tell, which dominates the modern town, was excavated in ...