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Article

Dominique Collon, Donald F. Easton, Jeanny Vorys Canby, J. D. Hawkins, K. Aslihan Yener, Oscar White Muscarella and A. Nunn

Region roughly equivalent to the modern state of Turkey. The name Anatolia was first used by Byzantine writers in the 10th century ad, as an alternative to Asia Minor, and is now often used in its Turkish form, ‘Anadolu’, to describe Turkey in Asia. In this article the term ancient Anatolia covers the cultures and civilizations that flourished in the region from possibly as early as the 14th millennium bc to the 6th century bc. A wealth of remains from the Neolithic period (c. 8000–c. 5800 bc) to the Early Bronze Age (c. 3400–c. 2000 bc) testifies to the advanced prehistoric culture of Anatolia. During the 2nd millennium bc this was succeeded by the civilization of the Hittites (see Hittite), the demise of which was followed by a Dark Age lasting some two centuries. Eastern and south-eastern Anatolia were dominated from the ...

Article

D. T. Potts, J. Schmidt, Paolo M. Costa and Alessandro De Maigret

Region in which diverse cultures and civilizations flourished from c. 4500 bc to the rise of Islam in the early 7th century ac. Throughout history the term Arabia has varied according to changing political and cultural conditions. In this article it denotes the Arabian peninsula as far north as the borders of Jordan and Iraq. For regions north of this modern boundary see Syria-Palestine and Mesopotamia.

A supraregional survey is not always possible for the art forms discussed below, either because of distinct regional diversity or because archaeological excavation is more advanced in some parts of the peninsula than in others. In some cases, therefore, this article simply discusses those works of art and architecture that are most noteworthy, either stylistically, technologically or iconographically. Generally, the earliest material considered dates to the latter part of the late prehistoric period, c. 4500–c. 3400 bc. Thereafter there is a range of sites and finds that span the protohistoric (...

Article

Izumi Shimada

Region in La Leche Valley on the north coast of Peru, which contains numerous archaeological sites. The central part of the valley, over 55 sq. km in area, has been designated the Poma National Archaeological and Ecological Reserve because of the concentration of some 30 major Pre-Columbian cemeteries and mounds nested within dense semi-tropical thorny native forest. The most notable period of local cultural development was the Middle Sicán (see Sicán), c. ad 900–1100, when the Sicán funerary–religious precinct (see fig.), the dominant feature of Batán Grande, was built. Delineated by some dozen monumental adobe pyramids, it covers an area extending c. 1.6 km east–west and 1 km north–south.

The long-term funerary and religious importance of the Poma Reserve is underlined by the limited evidence for widespread or intensive agricultural activity there, despite its abundant fertile alluvium. As the beginning and end of various major canals, Batán Grande controlled the vital local water supplies and thus held political control over the adjacent valleys. Although a Late Sicán shift of settlement away from Batán Grande removed much of this political significance, the site clearly retained its eminence as a key burial and metallurgical centre up to the Spanish conquest. The Spanish name for the area in fact derives from the hundreds of large ...

Article

Carnac  

P. R. Giot

Region of north-west France, centre of the principal concentration of prehistoric megalithic monuments (see Megalithic architecture, §2) in Brittany. Situated south-west of Vannes, the area includes the parishes of Carnac and Locmariaquer, extending to Quiberon. The monuments include more than a hundred passage graves (dolmens) and many standing stones (menhirs) arranged singly or in groups including large alignments (see also Dolmen and Menhir). Curiously, these numerous and often huge stones did not attract the attention of scholars before the 18th century.

The typical large alignments, three of which are at Carnac and another at Erdeven, have one or two oval structures of contiguous stones at each end. Between these, ten to twelve apparently parallel lines of more or less equally spaced stones extend over a distance that can exceed a kilometre (see fig.). In reality, these lines are irregular and undulating, and the structures are very ruined; some stones are missing, while others have been restored. The stones decrease in size from the ends of the alignments towards their centres. Neolithic-period material, including flints, stone axes and pottery, has been found in the packing around their bases. The blocks are of local granite; a few are quite large and heavy. Wild speculations concerning their alignments’ ritual or symbolic significance have flourished, particularly in the 19th century, when the first theories about astral worship and astronomical use originated. The alignments differ in orientation, however, and there is no scientifically conclusive evidence to support even the most recent hypotheses, although some large isolated menhirs could have served as foresights for solar or lunar observation....

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 ...

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Dominique Collon

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Dominique Collon

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Dominique Collon

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Dominique Collon, Judith Pullar, Pierre Amiet, Michael Roaf, Eric de Waele, David Stronach, Guitty Azarpay and E. Haerinck

[Persia]

Region in which several cultures and civilizations flourished from the Palaeolithic period until the Arab conquest in ad 651. There is evidence that ancient Iran was inhabited from c. 100,000 bc, but the earliest named inhabitants were Elamite (c. 3000–mid-6th century bc), whose language, insofar as it has been deciphered, bears no relation to any known group. The ancestors of the present Indo-European or Indo-Aryan inhabitants of Iran, including the Medes and Persians, entered the country only in the second half of the 2nd millennium bc. Besides the Elamites, the three major Iranian dynasties of the pre-Islamic period are the Achaemenid or Persian (550–331 bc), the Parthian (250 bcad 224) and the Sasanian (c. ad 224–651).

This article covers the major art forms in pre-Islamic Iran. Each major bold subsection has cross-references to individual sites that have made a particular contribution at a certain period or in a given field. The development of some types of object, such as seals or jewellery, and the use of some materials (e.g. faience, glass and ivory) are best seen in the wider context of the ...

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John Curtis

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Article

Eric de Waele

[Pers. Luristăn]

Region of Iran, near the border with Iraq, which has given its name to a remarkable series of ancient bronze objects, especially those produced between c. 1200 and 600 bc .

Luristan is situated in the central part of the Zagros mountain range, which runs north-west to south-east along Iran’s frontier with Iraq. The region can be divided into two parts: to the west is the Pusht-i Kuh (‘behind the mountain’), which descends towards the plains of Mesopotamia and Susiana, while to the east, at a higher altitude, lies the Pish-i Kuh (‘before the mountain’). Nomadic Lurs inhabit its high, fertile valleys.

The nomads who lived in the valleys of Luristan in antiquity were shepherds, horse-breeders, hunters and warriors. It is not known what they were called, for they have left no written sources, and suggestions that they might have been Kassites or Cimmerians must be rejected. They should perhaps be equated with the Ellipi, whose kingdom was overthrown by the Medes in ...

Article

Lydia  

Crawford H. Greenewalt jr

Region in western Asia Minor (now Turkey) that formed an independent kingdom ruled from Sardis during the 7th century bc and earlier 6th, but later fell under Persian, Greek and Roman control. It covered an area of 24,000–25,000 sq. km consisting of mountain ranges and fertile valleys (of the rivers Hermos, Kayster and Maeander, now respectively Gediz, Kücük Menderes and Menderes), which created natural corridors, and thus trade routes, between the Aegean and the central Anatolian plateau.

The history of Lydia before the 7th century bc is shrouded in legend. In the Iliad Lydian heroes were allies of the Trojans, while the early Lydian kings Meles and Kambles have the same semi-mythological status as Tantalos, Niobe, Omphale and Arachne, whose stories were also set in Lydia. During its period of independence (c. 680–546 bc) Lydia controlled an empire that extended over most of western Asia Minor, as far east as the River Halys (now Kızıl ırmak), and was ruled by a dynasty of native kings, of whom the most celebrated are the first and last, Gyges and Croesus. After its conquest by Persia in ...

Article

K. A. Wardle

Region in northern Greece between the Aegean Sea and Balkan massif. Its location, climate and natural resources fostered the development of a distinctive culture but also attracted invaders and settlers. Alone of the provinces of Greece, it provides fertile, well-watered plains, cut by the great rivers Haliakmon, Axios and Strymon, and mountains rich in mineral resources, such as the gold of Mt Pangaion. The Mediterranean climate of Chalkidike encourages widespread olive production while, inland, cereals are widely cultivated and there is good grazing for cattle and sheep. From the Classical period (c. 480–323 bc), if not earlier, the surplus cereal production of the lowlands and the abundant shipbuilding timber of the hills were the envy of those in the south of Greece. Good harbours provide easy access to the trade routes of the eastern Mediterranean while the river valleys and mountain passes leading west, north and north-east allow good routes of communication....

Article

Mesara  

Keith Branigan

Region in southern central Crete that flourished in the Bronze Age. One of the most fertile parts of Crete, this flat alluvial plain is about 50 km east–west, but never more than 10 km north–south, and it is surrounded on the north, east and south by foothills and mountains. It was in and around the Mesara plain in the Early Bronze Age (for discussion of Bronze Age absolute dates see Minoan, §I, 4) that a distinctive culture developed, characterized by small village communities, perhaps composed of extended family groups, who buried their dead in circular communal tombs known as the Mesara type. The wealth of attractively painted pottery, finely carved sealstones and stone bowls, well-made bronze weapons and gold jewellery from these tombs suggest that the Mesara was a prosperous area and that its people were inventive and skilled. Early in the 2nd millennium bc the whole area was presumably dominated by the Minoan palace at ...

Article

Dominique Collon, Joan Oates, Harriet Crawford, Anthony Green, David Oates, John M. Russell, Michael Roaf, E. J. Keall, Pierre Amiet, John Curtis, Jane Moon and A. Nunn

Region of the ancient world corresponding roughly to modern Iraq, north-east Syria and parts of south-east Turkey. The name Mesopotamia (anc. Gr.: ‘between the rivers’) was coined by ancient Greek historians and originally applied to the land between the River Euphrates and its tributary the Khabur. It later came to mean the land between two of the great rivers of antiquity, the Tigris and the Euphrates, and by extension includes the surrounding regions. Modern political boundaries, however, do not reflect the fluctuating cultural patterns of antiquity, nor did the ancient inhabitants of the Tigris and Euphrates valleys have one name to describe the area, and the term Mesopotamian is therefore used in this article to define various cultures that grew up in the Land of the Twin Rivers. It was here and in Egypt, ancient that two of the earliest civilizations evolved.

This article covers the major art forms in Mesopotamia before the Islamic conquest (...

Article

Nubia  

William Y. Adams, R. G. Morkot, Timothy Kendall, L. Török and Khalid J. Deemer

Region in the Nile Valley, immediately to the south of Egypt, in which several cultures flourished, from the Khartoum Mesolithic period (c. 10,000–c. 5000 bc) to the establishment of the Islamic Funj sultanate c. ad 1505. Ancient Nubia corresponds essentially to the ‘Aethiopia’ of Herodotus and other Classical writers and the ‘Kush’ of the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews. It extends approximately from Aswan in southern Egypt to Khartoum in Sudan (see fig. 1 and fig. 2). The most northerly part, Lower Nubia, has always been regarded as an Egyptian sphere of influence, and it is included within the borders of the modern Arab Republic of Egypt. Egyptian control of the larger, southerly region, ‘Upper Nubia’, was much more sporadic.

Article

Marie Mauzé

Region of eastern Vancouver Island and the adjacent Canadian–US mainland, opposite the Fraser River delta and canyon. It is the homeland of the Native American Coast Salish and the location of a number of Pre-Columbian sites, including Marpole, Glenrose, St Mungo, Locarno Beach and Musqueam around the Fraser delta. The first art, including sculpture in the round, appeared during the Developmental period (c. 3500–c. 1100 bc). The Marpole site, for example, has yielded ground slate fragments decorated with drilled holes, notched or scalloped edges and patterns of incised lines. Similar decorations were applied to bone and antler. From St Mungo come carvings in bone or soft stone resembling segmented insect larvae (Vancouver, U. BC, Mus. Anthropol.). The most impressive example, from Glenrose, is a small tool handle of antler in the shape of a human figure (Vancouver, U. BC, Mus. Anthropol.). It has a large, deeply carved face, perforated earlobes, almond-shaped eyes and eyebrows and nose forming a ‘y’. It is one the oldest anthropomorphic sculptures from the Northwest Coast (...

Article

Dominique Collon, A. R. Millard, Lorraine Copeland, J. B. Hennessy, Rupert L. Chapman, G. R. H. Wright, Pierre Amiet, Ora Negbi, Vronwy Hankey and A. Nunn

Region of the Ancient Near East. The term describes the area now occupied, from north to south, by Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel (see fig.). Syria-Palestine has always been fragmented politically: there has never been a unified name for the area and its boundaries have constantly fluctuated. The etymology of the word Syria is uncertain: it may originally have denoted the hinterland of the coastal city of Tyre (Ṣur), or it could have entered the Greek language when Syria was under Assyrian control in the 8th–7th centuries bc. Palestine was originally the coastal zone settled after c. 1200 bc by the Peleset, later known as the Philistines, but this term came to be applied to the whole area until it was divided between Israel and Jordan in 1948.

This article covers the artistic development of Syria-Palestine from the 13th millennium bc to the 1st, when the region fell under the control, successively, of the ...

Article

Troad  

Donald F. Easton and Reynold Higgins

Region in north-west Anatolia, now part of Turkey, named after the ancient city of Troy.

Donald F. Easton

The Troad is largely mountainous, and most of its sites are therefore situated on the coast. Stray finds of stone tools indicate the presence of palaeolithic occupation, and a neolithic site has been identified at Coşkuntepe towards the south-west tip of the Troad. The earliest traces of occupation in the region are Late Chalcolithic and were revealed by soundings at the coastal sites of Kumtepe (level Ia) and Beşik-Sivritepe, where pattern-burnished ware is characteristic. Early Bronze Age deposits of Kumtepe (level Ib), Beşik-Yassıtepe and Early Troy I, again on the coast, produced finds partly paralleled at Poliochni on Lemnos. Beşik-Yassıtepe was a fortified site with megara and apsidal structures. Clay model axes found there are paralleled at Ezero. Bronze Age Troadic culture is most fully represented at Troy (c. 3000–1050 bc...

Article

Dominique Collon

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