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histor y • arc hae olo g y • sc ie nce
IN THIS ISSUE • A Brief History of Greek Helmets • Rebelling Against The Gods: Egyptian Tomb Robbery • Colour Symbolism In Ancient Mesopotamia • Pseudo Script at Gebel el Silsila • A Summary of Vampires In The Archaeological Record • Beer In The Ancient World • The Beguiling Taino Of The Ancient Carribean
... and more
VOL. 02 • JUNE/JULY • 2012
AncientPlanet Online Journal
Volume 02 June/July 2012 Editor/Publisher: Ioannis Georgopoulos Email: email@example.com Web: www.ancientplanetmag.com
Notice: The editors accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by persons using the resources contained within the journal and/or websites mentioned herein. Editorial and contributors views are independent and do not necessarily reflect those of AncientPlanet. © 2012 AncientPlanet Online Journal, founded by Ioannis Georgopoulos. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, microfilming, recording or otherwise, without the prior written consent from the authors. Permission of the author is also required for all other derivative works, including compilations and translations. Unless stated otherwise, all photos and illustrations are by AncientPlanet and its authors. Reproduction of the material published in AncientPlanet in any form by any person without prior consent is a violation of copyright and appropriate action may be taken against any person(s) violating the copyright.
Rebelling Against the Gods:
Egyptian Tomb Roberry
A Summary of Vampires in the Archaeological Record
Front Cover: Corinthian helmet from the tomb of Denda. From a Greek workshop in South Italy, 500– 490 BCE. [Credit: Matthias Kabel/Wiki Commons]
Beer in the Ancient World
Pseudo Script at Gebel el Silsila
A Brief History of Greek Helmets
18 Colour and Symbolism in
Souvenir from the Peloponnese:
Heritage Crime Is Big Business
110 Sites and Sounds
Capo Colonna, Calabria, Italy
Sir Leonard Woolley
150 Letter from... 154 What’s On
The Beguiling Taíno of the Ancient Caribbean: An Interview with Dr. José R. Oliver
Exhibitions in Europe & the USA
Six Great Websites
Aegean and Near Eastern Bronze Age. Mark. Phd Classical archaeologist/ancient historian specializing in Graeco-Roman iconography and religion in Egypt. Charlotte Booth. religion. historian and lmmaker. MA Historian who is passionate about research and the dissemination of knowledge to scholars and laymen alike. Joshua J. MA Historian and published author with advanced degrees in both English and Philosophy. including magaizine articles as well as eleven books. 4 Amy Talbot Archaeology student interested in Palaeopathology. MA Archaeologist / General Editor whose research interests include Aegean archaeology and the writing systems of Bronze Age Crete and Greece. Jame Blake Wiener. Phd American archaeologist. Monty Dobson. MA Egyptologist who has written extensively on Egyptology. Melanie Chalk Freelance proofreader and owner of Spellsure Proofreading Services. . MA Archaeologist whose research interests are mainly focused on Aegean prehistory. BA Classical Archaeologist specializing in Warfare in Antiquity and currently sitting for an MA in Ancient History. Egyptian art and iconography. Biblical Archaeology and Gender Studies. language and art.Contributors Ioannis Georgopoulos. Andrea Sinclair. Lisa Swart. Jesse Obert. whose curiosity and passion for the human story has led him to travel the world. funerary customs and theology Aikaterini Kanatselou. based in the Costa del Sol. Phd Egyptologist specializing in the Egyptian Third Intermediate Period. Maria Nilsson. MA Classical scholar specializing on the interconnections and iconographic issues for the Egyptian. Spain.
In ‘Conversation’. Dr. The next series of articles deal with various aspects of Mesopotamian. José R. what is more alarming is the ultimate destination of this money! Next we present a short article by Amy Talbot tackling the issue of vampires in the archaeological record. the well-travelled Charlotte Booth takes us to Capo Colonna in Calabria. Egyptian and Greek archaeology respectively. the ever studious James Wiener presents an in-depth discussion with Spanish-born archaeologist Dr. Dr. Dr. Lisa Swart. Dobson notes. both on and off the tourist map. In this article Amy presents three case studies of actual vampire burials unearthed by archaeologists and formulates an objective definition of ‘vampirism’ based on their common elements. on the worldwide trade in illicitly gained antiquities. provided by our resident Egyptologist. and an equally compelling discussion of Greek helmet types by our ancient warfare expert Jesse Obert. The number of heritage crimes committed annually is staggering to say the least but. In ‘Souvenir from the Peloponnese’. where we are introduced to the ancient Greek settlement of Kroton. From Elgin to the Taliban. in what is the first installment of a two part article. In this issue. written by our newest team member Andrea Sinclair. worth billions of dollars each year. we have also introduced a new column titled ‘Letter from…’ which presents communications sent to AncientPlanet by archaeologists currently engaged in research projects around the world. We have all read about the recent discoveries of alleged vampire graves in Bulgaria. another newcomer to the AncientPlanet team. This is followed by an engrossing account of tomb robbery in Ancient Egypt. Greek archaeologist Aikaterini Kanatselou takes us to several archaeological sites in the Peloponnese. The first of these is a fascinating journey into the art of Ancient Mesopotamia. while Joshua Mark treats us to a history of beer through the ages. Maria Nilsson. South Italy. in addition to our regular columns featuring current exhibitions and website reviews. Monty Dobson. Finally. introduces her latest research project on Graeco-Roman masons’ marks found at the Egyptian quarry of Gebel el Silsila.From the Editor In this somewhat hefty and much awaited second issue of AncientPlanet we begin with a disturbing report by outspoken American archaeologist. our letter is from Azerbaijan and describes the current excavations at Agsu conducted by Dr. Fariz Khalilli. Gafar Jabiyev and Dr. of the evil Mayor of Sozopol whose corpse had been staked to the ground lest he rose from the dead to further torment his poor subjects. Ioannis Georgopoulos Editor/Publisher 5 . In ‘Biography’. trafficking in looted art and antiquities is certainly big business. Lisa Swart discusses the life and times of the great British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley and his contributions to the field of Mesopotamian archaeology. Dr. Oliver on the subject of the mysterious Taino Indians of the Ancient Caribbean. as Dr. Likewise.
000 heritage crimes in the UK in 2011. criminal gangs and terrorist organizations. most international law enforcement agencies agree that regional conflict zones are fertile ground for heritage crimes. manuscripts. Zones of conflict offer opportunity to thieves. it is far more widespread than generally acknowledged. The United States FBI notes that local farmers in Afghanistan are known to be digging up cultural heritage items and selling them to “criminal or government organizations. an astoundingly high number were. according to official US government reports the market is likely somewhere in the region of $US 6 billion per year. with many more crimes going undetected or unreported.000 Grade II buildings were targeted.” Elsewhere in Europe.000 Grade I or II* buildings were subject to criminal acts while more than 63..” Thereby indirectly funneling funds to the Taliban which in turn uses those dollars to buy 6 . the 9/11 terrorist mastermind Mohamed Atta is known to have attempted the sale of looted antiquities to fund the terror plot against the World Trade Center in New York City. recent high profile thefts from museums and archaeological sites in Greece have been blamed on Government cuts to heritage protection. Indeed. In addition to the high profile 9/11 terrorist connection to looting. The illicit trade of cultural property is a growing international business worth billions annually. Around the globe. in 1999. According to the Telegraph: “The study found nearly a fifth of the country’s 31.” and that “more than 15 per cent of scheduled monuments – defined as unoccupied ‘nationally important historic structure significant for its archaeological value’ – were damaged by unlicensed metal detecting and illegal vehicle access.. ancient monuments to objects of ethnographic and archaeological significance are illegally sold on the international market. Indeed. heritage sites are often a silent casualty of conflict and the long tail of the crime is often deadly. While not all of these were theft.Heritage Crime is Big Business By Monty Dobson W hile heritage crime today is not on the same scale as the wholesale removal of antiquities like Lord Elgin’s thefts of the early 19th century. the global statistics are truly staggering: in Italy alone last year there were more than 20. the United States Department of Justice Art Crime. A recent article by Britain’s Daily Telegraph cited one study that concludes there were more than 75. While it is impossible to determine the exact market value of illicit trade in cultural items. is the third highest grossing area of criminal activity in the world behind only Drugs and Arms trafficking. But the numbers alone only tell part of the story. Organized criminal gangs and fundamentalist terrorist organizations both benefit from the black market trade in illicit art and antiquities more than any other group. While the dollar value of the illegal trade in art and antiquities is enormous. It isn’t just the staggering scale of the market or the number of crimes that should concern us. According to the Historical Museum of Basel Switzerland “hundreds of thousands of items of cultural significance ranging from works of art. including the illicit trade in antiquities. it is the ultimate destination of the money that is alarming.000 thefts reported.
2010 [AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis] Ancient vases and cups recovered by Italian authorities [Credit: AP photo/Riccardo De Luca] 7 .o p i n i o n Two illegally excavated ancient male statues recovered from antiquities smugglers in southern Greece. May 18.
given a false provenance. the case illustrates just how legitimate players in the art and antiquities market are duped by unscrupulous middle-men who are more than happy to forge the necessary documents.000-old Gandhara civilization. Roman ruins. damages. theft and looting during this period of turmoil. historic premises and places of worship are particularly vulnerable to destruction. For example in 1995 Italian police raided warehouses belonging to Italian Art Dealer Giacomo Medici located in a Swiss tax free zone outside Geneva.” The antiquities then are smuggled abroad. Authorities in Pakistan’s financial capital seized dozens of precious antiquities belonged to 2. 2012 “a Swiss court has ordered the confiscation of a very rare ancient silver coin that was allegedly illegally excavated . The seedy underbelly of the illicit art and antiquities market is the seemingly respectable network of dealers and middle-men who knowingly violate the 1970 UNESCO con8 vention for the sake of profit. archaeological sites. and sold. According to the Interpol website: “The on-going armed conflict in Syria is increasingly threatening a significant part of the cultural heritage of mankind. There Italian authorities seized hundreds of stolen items. While there is no indication the auction house acted illegally. dug-up illegally from the country’s terrorism-torn northwest [Credit: AFP] arms and attack NATO troops. According to an Associated Press story dated January 12.a n c i e n t p l a n e t A police official inspects seized ancient statues at a police station in Karachi on July 6. In Syria heritage sites are under severe threat. 2012. Medici was convicted in Italy in 2004 and sentenced to 10 years in prison and a record fine of 10 million euros.” The story doesn’t end with the theft of these items as they are not likely to be sold on supportaterroristshop. The complex web of middle-men is illustrated by the recent case of early fifth century B. Many of the items Medici moved were sold through a certain prominent London auction house.C. Greek coin seized in Switzerland.com. often on an open market to unsuspecting museums and collectors who never would imagine that their purchase might indirectly fund the Taliban.
about five years after eBay was established. published by the Archaeological Institute of America. 16 January 2012 10:20 9 .o p i n i o n in northern Greece and sold at auction in Switzerland. The University of Glasgow’s project with the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.” Greek and Swiss officials believe that the coin was sold back and forth among a number of offshore companies before being sold in Switzerland in 2009 to an unidentified collector for $106. more needs to be done to track down and prosecute those who profit from the destruction of our collective heritage. Associated Press Monday. and their customers are legitimate and follow the law. it seems to be a case of buyer beware.int/Crime-areas/Works-of-art/ Works-of-art UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import. A couple of recently announced online initiatives are promising to aid law enforcement agencies and the heritage communities do just that. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA.. from major auction houses to online dealers.com website aims to create an open source web platform for the publication and analysis of primary source records and photographs documenting the illicit trade in looted antiquities. On May 18. Director. While many dealers. 2012 an AFP news story noted that Italian police announced that they were investigating more than 70 people for trading thousands of looted archaeological artifacts on Internet auction site eBay. rings and ceramic vases Notes and Links in addition to 10 metal detectors.unesco. Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 1970: http://portal.gov/stats-services/publications/ law-enforcement-bulletin/march-2012/protectingcultural-heritage-from-art-theft Greece wins Swiss court ruling over ancient coin. Trafficking Culture. Similarly WikiLoot. How can this be? According to Professor Charles S Stanish. Stanish wrote: “many of the primary “producers” of the objects have shifted from looting sites to faking antiquities. founded by the chaps behind the chasingaphrodite.php-URL_ ID=13039&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.org/en/ev. By some estimates as many as 90% of the antiquities traded online on sites like ebay or unclbobsusedantiquities.interpol.com are outright fakes. Italian police noted that they had seized more than sixteen-thousand artifacts ranging from bronze and silver coins. I’ve been tracking eBay antiquities for years now.fbi. and from what I can tell..” For those intent on ignoring the 1970 UNESCO Convention then.000. By COSTAS KANTOURIS. this shift began around 2000. Buying your illicit coins and looted antiquities from seemingly legitimate online retailers like ebay may be no guarantee of authenticity of the object or legitimacy of the seller either. *** Interpol Works of Art Crime Area Webpage: http://www. html FBI: http://www. seeks to create an online encyclopedia of looted sites and artifacts. Elsewhere on the internet there are many small time dealers who sell everything from coins to artifacts to art with little or no apparent concern for provenance as defined under the 1970 UNESCO convention. In a 2009 article for the online magazine ARCHAEOLOGY. the looters simply find it more profitable to manufacture multiple fakes than dig up genuine relics.
a n c i e n t p l a n e t 10 .
o p i n i o n 11 .
12 Nosferatu [Credit: Wiki Commons ] .
and so there is plenty of scope for this area of archaeology to be better understood and discovered. in a relatively short space of time. a medical and pathological acceptance into the norm. Discussion This evidence can tell the archaeological community a vast amount of information about social customs towards a perceived unnatural. Poland: The Drawsko Vampires In traditional Slavic culture a vampire is defined as a “manifestation of an unclean spirit possessing a decomposing body” where a vengeful spirit would take the blood and life force of a living person in order to survive. one body is that of a juvenile and this has been found potentially tied up with stones placed on the throat. have sickles placed on their necks. both of whom are adults.Mythology. all very different and all dated differently. it appears vampires have also crept into the archaeological funerary and osteological record. as traditional Christian inhumations face the east 13 . was novel and abnormal. vampires are very much an everyday concept (Oinas 1982). introduced to the Slav people between the 10th and 11th centuries while the heads facing west show the inhumations are against a Christian norm. The three examples below. From the traditional Dracula. films and theatre shows. In the Drawsko cemetery in southern Poland. This perceived state of unnatural processes led to a change in attitudes towards the dead and. due to the pathological and funerary arrangement of the burials and the circumstances in which the individuals passed away. It is worth a mention that there is relatively little published research on this topic. particularly in the medieval and late antiquity from the 16th century up until the 19th century (Roberts and Manchester 2005). where cases of “vampirism” have emerged recently. while the other two bodies. all show cases of “vampirism”. However. relating to an unnatural concept. This article will attempt to give an informative take on the vampire phenomena from an archaeological perspective. Body decay. to the romantic view of vampires in the Twilight franchise to countless TV shows. three examples have emerged in the excavations of potential vampires. Folk lore and Archaeology A S u m m a r y o f Va m p i r e s i n t h e A rc hae olo g ic al Re c ord By Amy Talbot V ampires are everywhere. The inhumations themselves are Christian customs. This is not an understatement. while looking at interesting social customs and folk tales. Evidence All the inhumations are supine with heads facing west. where a traditional Slavic culture thrived from 17th to 18thcentury AD. although well known to us as the bacterial process that all living things go through.
Org] 14 . Below: Drawsko vampire grave 28/2009 with a sickle on throat [Credit: Slavia.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Above: Drawsko vampire grave 29/2009 with stones on throat.
Therefore these “vampires” were people who died an unnatural death that went against social and religious customs. It should be noted that at the time of research there was no evidence of a pathological cause to their deaths. Oinas 1982). were clearly seen as on the fringes of society and did not deserve a Christian burial (Fine 1987. where the head would be removed and placed by the feet (Fine 1987. Oinas 1982). the superstition comes from the Kashubes 15 . The items found with the inhumations. cremation was the traditional way of removing the entire vampire as the entire body would be destroyed (Oinas 1982). Also the corpse would sometimes be found face down. Italy. and this example is the only example where the individuals were already ostracised from their community. it appears the fear of vampires spread down to Italy potentially from the Balkan influence of the neighbouring Slavic and Balkan states (Fine 1987). rites and ethics. however. Oinas 1982). However. the sickles and the stones. This means potential reasons for death include suicide. These individuals. According to Matteo Borrini of the University of Florence. Tying up a perceived “vampire” is again a preventative measure to keep it from arising from the grave. while the stones are to prevent the vampire from swallowing the blood as well as being a preventative measure in the arising of the vampire. drowning. unbaptized individuals. was the partial body and skull of the woman with her jaw forced open by a brick—an exorcism technique used on suspected vampires [Credit: National Geographic News] in traditional style. Other ways that have been observed amongst the Slav community to prevent a vampire from arising and claiming victims are the deposition and decapitation of the head. Sickles and knives are seen as apostrophic. Italy: The Venetian Vampire This is also a newly discovered find and as such there is relatively little published information.a r c h a e o l o g y Among the many medieval plague victims recently unearthed near Venice. A key term is “apostrophic” which means to ward off evil (Oinas 1982). However. while staking the body with ash was another apostrophic device. and heathens (Fine 1987. are methods deployed to destroy or suppress the vampire.
it is no wonder such a horrific sight was these accounts there is also a sad story of a parent believed at first to be demonic (Fine 1987).was found to have a post-mortem regraves would be opened up constantly showing the arrangement of skeletal remains.a n c i e n t p l a n e t of north-central Poland and 13th century Bohemia and Moravia. Being only two hundred years from the mouth. knew about algor mortis or the cooling of the body. it is a pathological reason why she was believed to be a vampire. and culosis. would be done after the ent.and folk tales. The female was found with a brick in her mouth. There was also osteoarthritis presing a brick in the mouth. although this was not a norm for social customs. a very protestant area traditionally held by colonists. as the woman was not already on the fringe of society. how. bringing a pathological note into this scale. which would often decompose any ago. Evidence and rigor mortis. (Sledzik and Bellatoni 1994). It is interesting to note in this example.ribs (see below). ing alive and so would take preventative measures is not just limited to Central Europe and was rife up against it. Skeletons were accepted. and so with the pandemic of the plague.one individual out of the 29 buried there . It is worthwhile noting Medieval ignorance of the body’s natural stages of early on. never opened up. in in the open. It is accepted that the medieval Venetians until the 20th century. The tubercuton. these accounts are the most modern and show material placed over. such as the bacterial decay of the shroud from losis was shown by periostisis present in the distal the mouth and the fluid discharge which made the left tibia and the distal left fibia (see below) as well as Venetians believe a vampire was alive and drinking periostisic legions in the left second. vampires entered America and were most commonly found in the New England area. New England: Connecticut In the 19th century. as well as cremation of the body. However. but decay and putrefaction were unknown. especially as many saw the plague victims decompose As well as the “vampire” to be discussed below. Discussion where 12 accounts have been told. Other measures included staking the body. a build-up of a gas and fluid discharge and Bellatoni 1994). showing that the same fears “breathe”.ignorance. who took out his daughter’s heart post-mortem in modern forensic science tells us now that bloating order to ward off her apparent “vampirism” (Sledzik of the body. the old male . Evidence A female skeleton dated to the 16th century was found in Lazaretto Nuevo Island in North Venice from a mass grave of plague victims dated to 1576 AD. as well as the same medical ignorance.the impact of folklore and fear in a modern nonrial decay. It is not just ignorance here of the body’s state of decomposition.pathological evidence of tuberculosis. as graves were In the small Walton family cemetery in Connecticut. archaeological and mythological viewpoint to prevent the vampire from taking any blood and so it would starve. all based around This one skeleton sums up in a word the attitudes Rhode Island. It is interesting to note that this superstition arose at the same time as Christianity was spreading up the Balkans into Central Europe. that 11 of these accounts all died of tuberpreservation and decay was inherent at the time. as well as palaeoprocess in between the rigor mortis and the skele. but instead of medical and pathological knowledge of the effects the plague has on the body. however this was apparent in all the skeletons death of the individual. However. These post-mortem measures.a 55 year ever. giving it a more gruesome and unnatural aspect than just of the decomposition (Fine 1987). The brick in the mouth was and so potentially depicts a farming community 16 . such as plac. causing ripples among the archaeologists excavating her from both an anthropological. Connecticut and Central Vermont of the medieval Venetians at the time . where a nachtzehrer or “night waster” was a being who was controlled by satanic forces. is part of the natural bacte. seeing the bodies apparently European community. the stiffening of the body. third and fourth blood. the Venetians saw this as vampires com. where the Devil had entered a body through various means and was using the body for its own purposes.
This was apparently common at the time and so could have helped inflame the fears of an undead creature. This draws in the ignorance. whose clinical term is Erythropoietic protoporphyria or an allergy to sunlight (Sledzik and Bellatoni 1994). The tibia and the fibia refer to the lower leg bones (Roberts and Manchester 2005). led to a belief in Vampirism. and the earlier account of the removing of the heart. after the death of the male. Other methods heard of include burning the corpse as well. which seems to be fairly consistent with other findings. about lack of awareness of this condition. but it would be interesting to see whether the “vampire” above had this disease. where a lack of understanding and ignorance to pathology and medical knowledge rather than the decaying corpse. By using an apostrophic remedy in the post-mortem rearranging of body parts. which would have caused fear to the rest of the family as they saw other members potentially waste away. and commonly new bone formation on 17 .a r c h a e o l o g y Mass plague graves found on Venice’s “Quarantine” Island [Credit: National Geographic News] (Sledzik and Bellatoni 1994). a brief section is useful here to clarify the diseases and the terminology used. a wasting disease. who were also allergic to the sun. Sadly this disease is almost invisible in the archaeological record. Tuberculosis As tuberculosis and consumption are the diseases referred to in these passages. giving rise to the belief that an undead creature was in the family feeding off them. as seen above in Italy. also shows the measures taken in apparently curing the “vampirism” and bringing in some overkill of the corpse. In the research a note about Gunther’s disease came up. which being long are more susceptible to receiving infections. causing the wasting way of relatives. Discussion This “vampire” died of tuberculosis.
i. or further away from the centre of the body. that can be summarized from these findings. they summarize nicely four traits across all of the “vampire” cases and reasons for the “vampires” being named as such. Consumption is a more colloquial term for tuberculosis.e. i. and to an extent Poland. there is tuberculosis 18 . In England. however. folkloric myths are more likely to appear here. or closer to the centre of the body. or pulmonary tuberculosis (Roberts and Manchester 2005). where although the cause of death of the skeletons has not been documented. it is interesting to note the small isolated community which would have helped inflame the mythological rumours. However.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Left tibia showing the new bone formation indicating active infection (periostitis) at the time of death. it appears there was an awareness of infectious diseases as there is correlation that people with infectious diseases such as leprosy. due to being passed in such close proximity between human to human through airborne disease. treponematosis and tuberculosis were excluded from normal communal mortuary space (Bello and Andrews 2006). with the vampirism of the skeletons found in a small rural community such as Drawsko it would not be surprising if findings revealed tuberculosis in the skeletons. For example. In England as a comparison. when infection did enter it would affect the entire community (Mays 2006). rather than in a city. from the South Tombs Cemetery. Despite the Slavic vampires not being recorded as having tuberculosis. the Christian doctrine and what was the social norm as dictated by religion 4) Some form of post-mortem apostrophic rites on the body Although these four points cannot be taken as definite guidelines. Amarna. 1) Ignorance as to post-mortem decay 2) Ignorance as to medical pathology. Monastic communities were some of the healthiest communities (Mays S 2006) due to the nature of the existence. means: new bone formations on the lower left leg bones (Mays 2006). plague.e. and is the opposite of proximal. much like the American counterpart “vampire”. This is unlike the Americas. The term distal means peripheral. however medically it refers more to tuberculosis of the lungs. So periostisic legions on the distal left tibia and fibia. While periostisis refers to the inflammation of the periosteum. Conclusions There are four main points. making consumption and tuberculosis an “urban disease” (Roberts and Manchester 2005: 186). Egypt [Credit: The Amarna Project] without documented vampire cases. small communities were often immune to infectious diseases due to their isolation. therefore. as is the case of London. The periosteum is a membrane that surrounds the bone and contains cells known as osteoblasts which lay down the new bone (Wingate 1976). due to its common use in records from antiquity. giving rise to some areas clearly not being ignorant as to medical and pathological knowledge. It is also interesting that as tuberculosis is spread more easily in isolated farming communities who are away from medical knowledge. the plague and tuberculosis 3) Religious rites and ethics. particularly in London. However. with the Venetian vampire. However. this is an excellent example these bones can represent not just tuberculosis but also leprosy and scurvy as well as other infectious diseases. it is clear that it was a well recognized disease. where despite huge cases of consumption and tuberculosis in the seventeenth century there are no known documented vampire cases. unlike American farming communities who may not have been as aware.
East European Quarterly 21. “The Osteology of Monasticism in Medieval England”. Gowland R.php?go=drawkso_vampires (accessed 17. The Archaeology of Disease. Gowland R.htm. Oxford: Oxbow. The Penguin Medical Encyclopedia... 2006: 1-13 Fine J.. “In Defence of Vampires”. “The intrinsic pattern of preservation of human skeletons and its influence on the interpretation of funerary behaviours”. The History Press. Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains.. “Bioarchaeological and Biocultural Evidence for the New England Vampire Folk Belief”.5..slavia. Penguin: Middlesex. ed. 1976 www. Uncanny Archaeology) www.2012) 19 . (Samir S..org/online/features/halloween/ plague. 1994: 269-274 Wingate P. As excavations in all sites continue it will be interesting to hear about further discoveries. ed.. 1987: 15-23 Mays S. It is surprising that not more individuals were marked out as vampires because in a mass grave of consumption victims the state of decay and putrefaction would be similar to the female.. and Andrews P.a r c h a e o l o g y Seventeenth century depiction of death and the body after death. and Knusel C. Oxford: Oxbow. Further Reading Bello S. 2006: 179189 Oinas F. Journal of Popular Culture 16 (1). and Manchester K. Stroud. The body goes from body to skeleton without any knowledge of decay and putrefaction [Credit: Infowars] of how quickly a disease affects a community and the mythology surrounding death and the religious influence felt with the idea of satanic possession amongst the religious Venetians. Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains. The American Journal of Physical Anthropology 94 (2).org/fieldschool.. and Bellantoni N. Patel Interview with Matteo Borrini. 1982: 108-114 Roberts C. “East European Vampires and Dracula”. and see whether there is scientific correlation in the idea of vampires and mythology affecting the more rural or religious communities before medical awareness came about. and Knusel C. 2005 (Third Edition) Sledzik P.archaeology.
both symbols of the goddess Inanna/ Ištar. [Credit: Wiki Commons ] .20 Detail from the Processional Way in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum showing a lion framed by rosettes.
For a modern audience. art and architecture. In contemporary culture we are surrounded both in the media and in our environment by vivid unsaturated hues. the use of colour. 21 . was simpler and not distanced from the symbolic and esoteric worlds. In addition. bright colour would instead have been more restricted to (what we may now perceive as clichéd) elements of the natural environment such as flowering plants. however. bold colours would not have been as universal as the modern audience now experiences. but rather was embedded within the nature and T By Andrea Sinclair his article is designed to give a general introduction to a less scrutinized aspect of Near Eastern iconography. In antiquity.Colour Symbolism in Ancient Mesopotamia makes a brief assessment of the available evidence for symbolic values for colour from ancient Mesopotamian texts. The significance of colour in antiquity. colour itself permeates our modern culture in ways which make an assessment of its value in antiquity less straightforward. (Not to mention that moment of self doubt when one stands before a home decoration paint colour display in search of that perfect shade for the living room). partitioned and categorized with obsessive and sometimes even arbitrary precision. Colour is a universal visual ingredient of all human culture and is now understood to bear symbolic qualities for human cognition far beyond mere aesthetic values. and instructed in the complexities of the shadings of the colour palette in our early school years. and Basic Colour Wheel [Credit: Wikimedia Commons] value of materials and objects. However. colours are scientifically defined.
Beyond the natural world. treasuries. While the great cultures which rose and fell during this time frame are many and include the Sumerian. make an assessment of the evidence for symbolic values for colours from the ancient Near East. forged metals. Assyrian. Academic studies of Mesopotamian visual design have in the past focused on issues of artistic style to the exclusion of this essential component of all visual art and architecture. reign of Nebuchadnezzar. the native language system itself remained relatively consistent throughout the entire region. the only theatre for the performance of vivid colour would have been via the polished stones. instead. This article shall. Berlin. I shall briefly define the boundaries both geophysical and chronological that will limit the discussion. clays and other natural phenomena. There were two languages written using the cuneiform script that were employed for literature. Accordingly.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Dedicatory cuneiform inscription in blue and white glazed brick from Babylon. which is approximately the period from 4000 BCE until around 500 BCE. temples and palaces. its successor. and constitutes the regions of modern Iraq. The earliest is Sumerian and the other is Akkadian. Pergamon Museum. sunsets. Iran and Syria. [ICredit: Wiki Commons] the ocean. The title ‘ancient Near 22 East’ refers to the city states and cultures of Mesopotamia (‘between the two rivers’) in the region of the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. Babylonian. But before we dive headlong into this tantalizing subject. the Kassite and Persian. the time frame covered by this examination shall encompass the 3rd to 1st millennia BCE (Before Common Era). Mitannian. correspondence and account keeping. the employment of colour in the construction of an artefact. which came to be employed as . 600-560 BCE. stones. vitreous glazes and mineral pigments used to produce the spectacular artefacts from monuments.
It is these two scripts which supply us with the material for understanding a perception of colour and colour symbolism in Mesopotamia. where conditions were favourable to the preservation 23 . in fact. either yellow or green. orange and The ‘Queen of the Night (Burney) Relief’. 1800-1750 BCE. The background behind the figure was black while the ‘underworld’ goddess figure (Inanna or Ereshkigal) was painted red. [Credit: Wiki Commons] others in the past. purple. pink. Unlike Egypt. In this article it is not my intention to give you an extended analysis of philological approaches to Mesopotamian colour vocabulary evolution. it should be emphasized here that this model is not ‘set in stone’ and has. It does. it is based on linguistic grounds and therefore may not necessarily apply directly to the discussion of a perception of colour from antiquity. green or yellow. Subsequently a language then acquires terms for red. With regard to the visual evidence. however. to blue. black and white paint pigments. Near Eastern scholars have identified five core linguistic terms for colour in Mesopotamian texts.b r o n z e a g e | m e s o p o t a m i a the lingua franca for the entire Near East in the 2nd millennium. However. our view of Mesopotamian art and design is influenced by the passage of time. My object with this discussion is to address the practical significance of colour use and therefore shall attempt an analysis of the symbolic function and value of colour in visual design from Mesopotamia. then brown and so on until finally the more blended tints like grey. It will therefore be necessary to employ the linguistic evidence in combination with the visual. the notion of light and dark. Recent examination of chemical Berlin and Kay’s model is a theoretical template which is a valuable guide to approaching an analysis of colour terminology in developing societies. For it is by examining the employment of colour terms in texts which provides the clues to their possible meaning and value in antiquity. but are relatively consistent with the theoretical model developed by Brent Berlin and Paul Kay in the 1970s. the colours white and black. This model argued that cultures evolve a linguistic vocabulary for colour as social complexity develops. this has been ably handled by residues from this baked clay plaque have established that it was originally overlaid with red. black and white. been disputed in scholarship for not applying to specific ancient cultures. British Museum. provide a solid guide for demonstrating that colour terms in a language first develop systematically out of a simple pairing of contrasting light and dark shades without specific emphasis on hue. London. Feathering on both the goddess’s wings and the owls´ were patterned red. They established a clear seven stage pattern for colour word evolution which begins with the simplest concept. Indeed. These terms do not match modern notions of hue.
British Museum. an isolated term used to describe the idea of The ideogram (sign) evolved from an early coloured or patterned. and should therefore be interpreted as against the derived terms. 2000). Mesopotamia supplies us with meagre material for a practical analysis of colour. terms which may be associated with colour. These included the complementary shades. 2600-2400 BCE. radiance. It is this paucity which necessitates examining the textual evidence for the significance of colour and brings us to the main discussion. To illustrate this idea one may Nanna/Sîn and the planet Venus/the goddess compare the English core terms. holiness. In addition. Wall paintings are scarce and where extant the damage and fading of original colours is extensive. It is difficult to put this impression aside and embrace what was in actuality. green stone) and orange (a fruit). Note: For the following. red and blue Inanna. the noun for ‘day’ and hues. shine. or radiance.a quality of lightness. the Akkadian (but not all variant spellings. there was was derived from a notion of brightness. all colour words written in bold face represent the Sumerian form and all italicised. the name of the white and black. ritual purity and occasionally The Mesopotamian language had five core uncoloured (devoid of colour). [Credit: Wiki Commons] BABBAR or peṣu was equivalent in value to the colour white and was used to describe concepts of light. ‘The Royal Game of Ur’ from the Royal Cemetery at Ur in southern Mesopotamia. core colour terms may be identified by their white was symbolically equated with the existence as a stand alone word not derived precious metals silver and antimony. red and green. turquoise (a blue. particularly 24 of pigment colours. and the warm and cold sun god Utu/Šamaš. It was an auspicious colour. It was from a proper noun for an object of a given also applied as an epithet for the moon god colouring.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Wooden gaming board inlaid with white shell. brilliance. WHITE . for the lexical citations see Black et al. This means that when we view Mesopotamian art we tend to perceive a more monochrome vision of the past. lapis lazuli and red limestone. an artistic palette of rich and translucent colour. It is worth noting that representation of the rising sun. In addition.
sombre hues. ranging from dark grey and dark blue. red and white conical mosaic pegs decorating architectural columns in the courtyard of the Eanna temple of the goddess Inanna from Uruk in southern Mesopotamia. 3400-3100 BCE. the Goddess RED-BROWN of Darkness. It was used to refer to a 2nd millennium Hurrian underworld deity and demon. Predictably. ‘darkness’) was one of red and the colour brown. for it was not. 25 . contrary it was an important component of ṣalmu was considered inauspicious and visual design in compositions with white and associated with the night. sombreness and shadow. through however. [Credit: Wiki Commons] many names for the netherworld where the dead were thought to reside. whom scholars consider to be a northern adoption of the Mesopotamian SU4 or sāmu was broadly equivalent to the demon Lamaštu. infer that the colour was avoided in visual representation. or ṣalmu embraced dark. on the to black proper. This does not.b r o n z e a g e | m e s o p o t a m i a Black. the ideogram. As an abstract concept the noun embraced all subtleties BLACK relating to concepts of darkness. gloom and shadow. associated with the heavenly bodies. GE6. Berlin. misery. colour red. Pergamon Museum. but leaned heavily towards dark when doubled (kukku. red.
This colour then included the aggressive and destructive nature of divinity. ḪUŠ or ḫušša was a derived term which favoured bright red and was employed in the context of blood. was equated with the idea of brilliance and radiance. blue. a title reflective of her character as goddess of the morning and evening star. also bore the epithet ‘she of the red face’. The goddess Inanna/Ištar bore the name ‘red lady of heaven’. like white. bore this noun as its name. the metal copper. which was popular for use in jewellery. Pergamon Museum. again a title reflective of her aspect as goddess of the planet Venus (Barrett 2007.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Yellow. the planet Venus. also embracing ideas of brightness. The semiprecious stone carnelian. GREEN-YELLOW Adjectives of intensification were often applied for shades of red. similar to our usage. particularly in describing the physical features of gods. from yellow through to green. Red was a colour specifically associated with the representation of divinity. Berlin. darkness. it was called the ‘red planet’. pp. but equally this may reflect her role as patron of battle and warriors. The goddess Inanna/ Ištar. and terms derived from nouns. The planet Mars was also associated with this colour for. 26 . 25-6). 500 BCE. battle and the emotion of rage. storm. As one example. fire. [Credit: Wiki Commons] It was auspicious and considered to ward off hostile forces. sāmu was also used to describe the colour of the heavens at both sunrise and sunset and. are in evidence (dāmu). such as ‘dark’ SIG7 or warqu embraced the range of hues and ‘bright’. such as ‘blood’. 146-7). pp. black and white glazed brick frieze of Persian warriors from the palace of Darius at Susa. passion and heat (Landsberger 1967.
such as lions. Green also functioned as a simile for brilliant. Rather. uqnu was employed hides or embroidered textiles. colour green. demons and hybrid monsters. In visual design however. trees and. yellow was often used specifically for the depiction of ‘forces of chaos’. but not neccessarily engaging to BLUE: uqnu contemporary western culture. It would DAR or burrumu ‘polychrome’ was a separate be pointless to suggest that the complete colour concept in its own right and while absence of a word for blue is an indication of equating with the word ‘colour’. This fits reasonably neatly into the theoretical model nonetheless. it was less common. for the power for obtaining and distributing lapis lazuli resided with rulers. This usage has provoked an argument that it must extend out to include the colour blue (perhaps a light blue). These give the mineral a shimmering quality perhaps reminiscent of the night sky. as Landsberger most focussed within an idea of variegation. and would also to describe dark blue. And this idea is reflected in the value primary colour) was subsumed within the of our final core colour term. was perhaps an indifference to the colour. for lapis lazuli was exceedingly valuable throughout the ancient Near East due to its rarity and attractive visual lustre. 27 . It described plants. The stone itself is visually enhanced by small flecks of silvery pyrite and white calcite within the matrix of dark blue. on occasion. dark purple and even explain the Mesopotamian preference for It was auspicious and employed to convey notions of freshness. This precious stone and the colour blue were eminently auspicious and associated A sense of the concept is perhaps conveyed by as symbols of opulence and holiness for its usage to describe the patterning on animal both gods and kings.b r o n z e a g e | m e s o p o t a m i a No doubt the high value related to this stone’s rarity and therefore made it an ideal symbol for royal prerogative. black materials and yet again was associated with notions of brilliance and radiance. it is not blue in isolation that was necessarily ubiquitous to Having examined the four preceding terms for Mesopotamian colour schemes. However. radiant or luminescent with the noun warqu originally stemming from a word for plant or vegetation. it was colour. but we are MULTICOLOURED subsequently confounded by the apparent absence of a core term for blue. ZA. fertility and ripeness.GÌN/uqnu. was also used to describe the sky. a word common for a distinct value for blue in Mesopotamia to other ancient cultures (ancient Greek: from both ancient texts and archaeology. burrumu. The colour blue as a separate entity was ornamentation and ‘intricate’. ripened fruit. and primarily appears as yellow proper rather than green. was an epithet instead expressed by employing the term for of the goddess Inanna/Ištar (but also was confused with red) and was represented by the blue stone lapis lazuli. Interestingly. burrumu was associated with ideas of speckling. It is the usage of this name for a precious stone which reflects the esteem that the colour blue held in Mesopotamian thought. the ideogram for a bull´s horn. As white was symbolically equated with silver. poikilos/ποικιλος and pharaonic Egyptian: seb/s3b). the reader may be interested to note the employment of a balanced composition that there was apparently no core term for the of colours which had its greatest impact on primary colour blue and that yellow (another design. for there is copious evidence patterning or ornamentation. greenyellow was associated with the precious mineral gold. argued in 1967.
604-562 BCE.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Detail of the predominantly blue glazed brick ornamental frieze from the throne room of the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II. Pergamon Museum. [Credit: Wiki Commons] 28 . Babylon. Berlin.
the dominant colour combination in Mesopotamian design For patterning. red and was the pairing of red with blue (or black).This dichotomy has been argued as symbolic sentation throughout the long period under of the fundamental dualities. 3000-2000 BCE. carnelian. Pergamon Museum. the colours white. Apart from this tricolour pattern. In addition. obsidian and gold from southern Mesopotamia. heaven. the term places a much higher value on patterning as a unique colour concept. for Mesopotamian religious thought perceived the universe as composed of three spheres. lapis lazuli. heaven 29 . appear to be accidental and may reinforce the idea of the necessity for balance between the three cosmic elements. one on which we ourselves do not place the same value. earth and the underworld.b r o n z e a g e | m e s o p o t a m i a Necklace of onyx. Berlin. in which the heavens where the gods dwelt lay above the human sphere and the realm of the dead below (Bottero 1992). jasper and chalcedony for luxury jewellery. This colour convention does not force balanced with the feminine. [Credit: Wiki Commons] variegated stones such as agate. the masculine discussion. blue are ubiquitous to Mesopotamian repre. Mesopotamian visual design outwardly reflected both social and religious thought and placed emphasis on ornamentation as a tangible reflection of abstract ideals of universal harmony and abundance (Winter 2002).
was composed of red carnelian. Terms for bright or radiant are common for descriptions of valued objects such as jewellery. LIGHT: namru Beyond the value of patterning. these nouns often stem from the sign for sunlight and therefore. British Museum [Credit: Wiki Commons] with earth. UD/ pe ṣu. the shepherd god Dumuzi/Tammuz. in a text describing is also a relatively recent linguistic development for the heavens. Red paired with blue In opposition or balance with this value for therefore conveyed strong visual messages of light is the idea of dark as an essential complementary negative force. appear to reference varying notions of divinity and the realm of the gods. occurred during the Middle English period. as her (red) figure was traditionally represented adorned with lapis lazuli jewellery (Barrett 2007). 1000-1400 CE also the throne of the god was considered (Hardin and Maffi). After all. alone and together in combination. shell and red limestone. the highest value for colour in Mesopotamia appears to have been the quality of light and brilliance. 30 . white and blue. Perhaps this equally referenced the goddess of love and war’s androgynous nature. dark colours divine presence and worldly harmony. This changeover appears to have god An/Anu. 2600-2400 BCE. to be composed of lapis lazuli and lit with amber (Rochberg 2009). belonging to the sky the English language.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Detail of the ‘War panel’ on the ‘Standard of Ur’ from the Royal Cemetery at Ur in southern Mesopotamia. the colour white. To further illustrate this association of red and The emphasis on brightness over hue in languages is not an isolated occurrence. As would be expected. both the popularity of the pairing of red with blue and the combination of red. for focus on colour blue with the divine sphere. In this instance both colours. Red and blue may also have functioned as a metaphor for the divine pairing of the goddess Inanna/Ištar and her male partner. lapis lazuli. weapons and cult statues and also tend to function as similes for both purity and sanctity. where the female element is inferred by the colour red and the male by the colour blue. Barrett 2007). the highest. and the divine sphere with the human realm (Winter 1999.
specific colours held important symbolic associations. ca. Herodotus (Historiae. Just 1999). outwardly demonstrated the object’s spiritual and aesthetic value. green with abundance and.” (Name of Year 14. the preceding discussion noted that while the Mesopotamian language had a limited linguistic scope for concepts of colour.b r o n z e a g e | m e s o p o t a m i a about the careful choice of colour. the colour blue with ideas of divinely sanctified power and opulence. Perhaps next time you. Therefore minerals. the ancient Near East. however.GIN. Emphasis. eye chalcedony. 450 BCE. the third. To illustrate this point. the construction of precious objects (Winter with evil influences harnessed by the light. as similarly the motif of a ruler demonstrating “Τhe outermost battlement was white. that is the shine.MUŠ type and ZA. materially the colour vocabulary was rich and meaningful. the important feature of royal iconography in fifth orange. luminous colours themselves were considered manifestations of the presence of divinity and of divine sanction and they broadcast to the world notions of holiness and ritual purity (Winter 2002). The second. control over the forces of chaos was an black. think about how the choices made in the design In Mesopotamia the visual qualities of an artwork. carnelian. in addition.” throughout the Middle East as an amulet to avert the evil eye and bring luck to its bearer. I. In addition. dark stones like lapis lazuli may nonetheless be polished to a high degree of shine and gloss. silver and gold which could be worked and polished to a glossy Here the function of dark colours may again and translucent finish were highly prized for incorporate the idea of an ordered universe. were equally essential elements to a balanced and harmonious design. translation by the author. In reflection. lay in qualities of light and shine which equated with notions of spirituality. In addition. but rather. 1792-1750) of the Median citadel at Ekbatana. it was a conscious decision in the entire construction of meaning and value. and in patterning which advertised ideas of harmony and world order. while arguably representing negative and destructive influences. colour and patterning. the reader. importantly. such as lapis lazuli. The fourth dark blue. And the two innermost blue and white glass bead which is still used walls were one entirely plated with silver And the other with gold. dark red. Terms for dark colours such as adaru and da’mu. “Year in which Hammurabi the king fashioned a magnificent dais-throne. Babylon. such as red with divinity. perfected with gold.98. In summary. view an artefact in a book or at a museum.) shared equal footing in visual representation and therefore were considered necessary components of a composition. think about the impact of colour and light on the object of your interest. This value was not just 31 . reign of Hammurabi. silver.TA (lapis lazuli) shining like radiance for Inanna of Babylon to complete her chariot. and this factor should be taken into account when assessing colour perception in antiquity. I would emphasize that lightness and darkness values do not automatically align with the value of shine as opposed to matt. chalcedony of GIR.25) describing the walls Perhaps it is worth noting that it is common for academic literature to equate lightness and radiance with the usage of terms for shininess. it appears that in ancient Mesopotamia the choice of colour in the construction of an object was not at all random. A neat example of In this manner the entire circumference of the this idea from contemporary culture is the ramparts was coloured.
I. . de l’Antiquité à l’Islam. accessed 12/01/12]. 43-58. (1997) Landsberger. E. Cambridge: Cambridge University. Caubet. Postgate. J.a n c i e n t p l a n e t may reflect tangible manifestations of the divine in Mesopotamian thought. New Haven: Yale University. the Mesopotamian Afterlife and the Liminal Role of Inana/Ishtar’. C.upenn. (2000) Bottero. In Cornaline et pierres précieuses: La Méditerranée. Visual Studies. Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 7. In Art History. J. Web Links ePSD. Aesthetics. Color Categories in Thought and Language. editor A. (1992) Hardin. B. ‘Was Dust Their Food and Clay Their Bread? Grave Goods. Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary Project: http://psd. J.edu/epsd/nepsd-frame.L. editors M. Moxey. Reasoning and the Gods. California: Stanford University. J.. Further Reading Barrett. Mesopotamia: Writing. Über Farben im SumerischAkkadischen’. (2007).museum. Winter. Kay. Berlin. C. I.A Holly & K. ‘Defining “Aesthetics” for Non-Western Studies: The Case of Ancient Mesopotamia’. 7-65. A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian: Akkadian-English. & L. London: University of Chicago Press. (2002). ‘The Aesthetic Value of Lapis Lazuli in Mesopotamia’. Maffi. Linguistic Connections to Colour Terminology (and Social Complexity). 139-173 Winter. html [Last edited: 06/26/06. Journal of Cuneiform Studies 21 (1967). & P. George & N. (1999) Black. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. B. 3-28. A. Basic Colour Terms: Their Universality and Evolution. (1999). Paris: Louvre.
[Credit: Wiki Commons] .b r o n z e a g e | m e s o p o t a m i a The bull in the bas-relief on the Ishtar Gate at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
a veritable goldmine The ancient Egyptians believed that the Afterlife was a mirror of life on earth. thus all the . his house to the devouring flame. the temptation these grave goods created led to the plundering of the tombs of rich and poor alike endangered their existence. Paradoxically. By no means unusual.Rebelling Against the Gods Egyptian Tomb Robbery By Lisa Swart architectural devices and divine agency. He shall be handed over to the court. burials have been plundered for the valuable objects within. E ver since the inclusion of funerary goods in Egyptian tombs. The legal system and punishment of thieves is also described. Everything which comes forth from his mouth. Provisioning the dead . his relatives shall abominate him. Consequently. the seat of the glorified spirits. which together with the mummy ensured the survival of the deceased in the afterlife. his name shall not be mentioned among the spirits. his property shall not exist in the necropolis. his farm shall fall to fire. he shall not be glorified in the necropolis. offerings shall not be given to him on the wag-feast and any other beautiful feast of the necropolis. the gods of the necropolis shall repudiate it. and prosecuted accordingly.a sad testament to the prevalence of tomb robbery in ancient Egypt. This article surveys the motives of the robbers. water shall not be poured for him. he shall be an enemy of the glorified spirits whom the lord of the necropolis does not know. his memory shall not endure among those living on earth. who will destroy the inscriptions and damage the statues in the tombs of the ancestors and the temple of Ra-Qerert with no fear of the court. his city god shall abominate him. tomb protection in the form of “As for any rebel who will rebel and who will plan in his heart to desecrate this tomb and what it contains. The very nature of the Egyptian funerary beliefs necessitated the inclusion of grave goods. this tomb curse is part of a vast corpus of “threat formulae” common throughout Egyptian history .” 34 So proclaims the inscription of Tomb III at Assuit serving as a warning to any would-be violators. tomb robbery was taken very seriously by the king and his officials. his children shall be expelled from their tombs.
” these include the famous Papyrus Abbott and Papyrus Amherst – Leopold II. For tomb robbers. confessions. it was not discovered intact. Tutankhamun’s tomb contained a phenomenal amount of valuable tomb goods. resealed. however. [Credit: Wiki Commons] necessities of life and comforts they enjoyed would also be available and necessary in the Afterlife. the promise of untold wealth contained in the tombs proved irresistible. From the Papyrus Amhurst-Leopold. contrary to popular belief. It had been entered at least twice in ancient times. The documents recorded the legal inquiries. such as his solid gold coffin and death mask. We only have to look at the contents of the tomb of Tutankhamun to understand the driving force behind these robberies. our knowledge of the contents of several tombs comes from a series of court documents or the “tomb robbery papyri. forgotten. and inventories of stolen goods regarding series of tomb robberies during the reign of Rameses IX (1126 – 1108 BCE). Ironically. It is one of the best-preserved royal tombs. It is interesting to note that the fabulous wealth of Tutankhamun’s tomb was much less grand than the other royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings. over three thousand objects in all. the testimony of Amunpanefer and his colleagues who robbed the pyramid of King Sebekensaf of the Seventeenth Dynasty provides a tantalizing 35 . and. it weighs 110. which took Howard Carter over ten years to catalogue.4 kilograms and is made of solid gold. Additional objects made from precious materials such as lapis lazuli. The two outer coffins were made from wood and gilded. thankfully. turquoise and amethyst are attested in great abundance. Most of these objects were manufactured from or covered in gold.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t The innermost coffin of King Tutankhamun.
such as the faces and hands of coffins. the thief. impossible to trace back to the tomb once it was sold. [Credit: Wiki Commons] hint at the riches contained therein. Paherihat confessed that “I went to the tombs of the West of Thebes (naming his accomplices)…We entered the tombs of the Robbers were mostly interested in goods West of Thebes and we stripped off all the silver that were easy to transport and dispose of. by shifting the blame elsewhere. the precious metals were either hacked off or the object was burned and the metals extracted. British Museum. In the document. a pharaoh of the Seventeenth Dynasty (1650 – 1550 BCE) was robbed. Paweraa (a seemingly wily fellow) was accused of plundering the tombs in his jurisdiction. Third making it easier to transport the loot. and Prophet of Amun. Paser. only the pyramid of Sobekemsaf II. Of the ten royal tombs purported to have been desecrated. The thieves state that “We opened their sarcophagi and their coffins in which they were. and decorative elements of furniture. When the objects in the tomb were gilded over wood. cohorts “went to the tomb of Thanufer. a large number of amulets and jewels of gold were upon his neck. the mayor of Eastern Thebes. it was discovered that bands of thieves had been systematically looting the private tombs in the area. 1100 BCE. However. and gold which we found in the tombs…” AnObjects made from valuable metals such as other unnamed thief testified how he and his gold. and copper were melted down. and Paser is shown in a very bad light. the malleability of the materials made it relatively simple to divide the spoils between the thieves. The document also records the proceedings from the trial with the thieves’ confessions and the descriptions of the tombs that were looted. sent for an inquiry into the allegations. We opened it and brought 36 . In the same series of tomb robbery papyri. and found the noble mummy of this king equipped with a falchion (sword). His accuser and rival.5 kilograms). (Twentieth Dynasty.” The gold taken from the coffins of Sebekensaf and his queen amounted to 160 deben (14. and his coffins adorned with gold and silver inside and out and inlaid with all kinds of precious stones. Furthermore. London. The noble mummy of this king was completely bedecked with gold. c. and his headpiece of gold was upon him.a n c i e n t p l a n e t The Papyrus Abbott describes a political scandal that erupted during the reign of Rameses IX (1126 – 1108 BCE). silver. Paweraa appears to have exonerated himself in this case.
and the corpse would often be hacked or burned to facilitate the extraction of the valuable metals. Wisconsin. to add insult to injury. cosmetics.500 – 250 BCE. the thieves would strip the wrappings off the mummy. It was believed that gold symbolized the flesh of the gods. precious varieties of wood and ivory were highly valued by thieves. The damaged corpse of “the Elder Lady” found in KV35.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t The gilded facemask from the coffin of Pedusiri. comprised of wood and plaster. c. The hole in the chest is thought to have been made by robbers reaching into the chest cavity to extract gold amulets that were placed on the heart to protect the mummy in the Afterlife. Public Domain) out its contents: we took its mummy and threw it down in a corner of its tomb. Milwaukee Art Museum.” 1912. We took his mummy cases to this boat…we set fire to them in the night. goods such as textiles. perfumes. the mummies themselves were often the targets of robbery as they typically contained jewelry or amulets of precious metals and stones in specific symbolic locations within their bandages. (Late Period or early Graeco-Roman Period. Public Domain) 37 . (From Grafton Elliot Smith’s “The Royal Mummies. We stripped off the gold which we found on them…” similarly. gold leaf was applied to the face.
thus further. these great slabs of to ensure the integrity of the tomb.already in place in the mastaba tombs of the ing the need for Egyptian architects to keep Early Dynastic and Old Kingdom where portadapting and developing new tomb designs cullises were installed. In later tombs. grave goods stairwell to the burial chamber. 38 Booby traps and Camouflage . Security measures were included in Egyptian tombs. more and more luxury items were them above ground. From stone slid into place and blocked the entrance very early on in Egyptian history.a n c i e n t p l a n e t were buried in underground chambers as it was recognized it was no longer safe to store Over time.
in the foreground with the pyramid of Chephren in the background at Giza.But. 2450 BCE.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t The mastaba of Seshemnefer III. dustrious thieves had bypassed the obstacles 39 the entrance was obstructed by rubble. . c. pyramids became a prime target attempt to mislead and discourage robbers. [Credit: Wiki Commons] the architects of the pyramid of Amenemhat III (1855-1808 Bce) at Hawara created a series Due to their immense size and considerable of hidden trapdoors and cul-de-sacs in an treasure. the vizier of ancient Egypt. In a great show of ingenuity. (Fifth Dynasty. for thieves. the inking’s pyramid. archi. to no avail! When Flinders Petrie sent a tects attempted to outwit prospective thieves worker into the burial shaft. he reported that and kept changing the internal design of the only traces of the burial remained. With each successive ruler.
which had been carved from solid granite. [Credit: Wiki Commons] and breached the burial chamber. through the roof blocks (taylor. and funerary goods deposited within the burial chamber. it is unknown whether this pit served as a deterrent for robbers or had a mythical significance.a n c i e n t p l a n e t The pyramid of Amenemhat III (1855 – 1808 BCE) at Hawara contained the most complex security features in Egypt. the tomb entrances were carefully sealed and hidden to make them blend into the surrounding landscape. This was the second pyramid Amenemhat built as the first one at Dashur (the Black Pyramid) was abandoned due to construction problems. A major change in mortuary architecture took place during the new Kingdom when the royal tombs were carved into the cliffs in of the Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the nile at thebes (modern Luxor). however it was robbed in antiquity. the tombs were then decorated. the tombs 40 were painstakingly tunneled deep into the cliffs and a deep pit was excavated before the tomb chamber. 2001: 179). .
basalt.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t no longer serving as a beacon to prospective thieves. and granite. However. and successfully burrowed their way from tomb to tomb. The mummies of royalty and high-ranking officials were placed in thick stone sarcophagi made from the hardest workable stone such as quartzite. industrious thieves succeeded in pilfering the contents by levering the lids open or burrowing the side of the sarcophagi. John Taylor (2001: 179) states that this may 41 . The burial equipment itself was designed to offer additional protection. Locking mechanisms were also added to the coffin lids of royal sarcophagi of the Old Kingdom and on the wooden coffins of the elite of the Middle Kingdom. enterprising thieves found their way in. However. However.
The Egyptian legal system and sible for the burial. The embalming process offered as it threatened the afterlife existence of the an ideal opportunity for pilfering of jewelry deceased.a n c i e n t p l a n e t have been to prevent theft by priests respon. when the tomb of a king was violated by less than honest embalmers. it endangered the stability and security of 42 . retribution Robbing the dead was by no means confined Tomb robbery was reviled in ancient Egypt to the tomb. According to the Egyptian worldview.
the tomb robbery papyri provide a clear picture of the judicial process involved in prosecuting tomb robbers. By their misdeeds. the severity of this transgression commanded the personal attention of the Vizier. who was responsible for the day-to-day administration 43 . the robbers (or rebels) had shown themselves to be agents of chaos and were thus associated with the gods seth or Apophis. who symbolized disorder.” a term that was steeped in egyptian mythology. it appears that harsh sanctions were imposed for tomb violations within the judicial system.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t View of the Valley of the Kings in Luxor [Credit: Wiki Commons] egypt. From these documents. tomb robbers were labeled “rebels. as the deceased king still played a role in assuring ma’at (order and stability).
” These cases were thoroughly prosecuted and no stone was left unturned. The case of the quarryman. whereas he committed several robberies. 44 of the Mummy Extending the range of social institutions such as police and law-courts. the people associated with the necropolis or tomb workers (stone masons. the Mayor of Western Thebes. such as bribery were punished by penal servitude. which had been set by the king himself. Once again. Chief Doorkeeper of the Temple of Amun. and gave them to Khaemope. The covert criminality of tomb robbing necessitated the need for justice and retribution to take place in both this world and the next. This method of interrogation. The death penalty. the Egyptians turned to the metaphysical world for further refuge and protection. or impaled. and it seems were actively involved in pillaging tombs. the Baker. The level of criminality reached well into the upper administrative ranks. judgment was wrought upon the suspect. which were recorded and the specific crimes of the perpetrators were written down. the tomb owner protected himself by calling for divine inter- . Associated crimes. tomb robbery appears to have been a professional operation. Thus. Here. with networked gangs of men working assiduously to enrich themselves. The highest-ranking officials mentioned in these documents were Djehutyhotep. and the Chief Doorkeeper of the Temple of Amun” In the tomb robbery papyri mentioned above. ears or nose cut off). Suspects were then required to swear a divine oath upon penalty if found lying. Finally. they were sent into penal servitude. mutilated (arms. “if I speak a falsehood. is frequently mentioned as typical punishment. artists. “I took 20 deben (almost 2 kilograms) of gold that had fallen to me as my portion.a n c i e n t p l a n e t of the kingdom. the tomb robbery papyri give us great insight into the names and professions of the thieves. the scribe of the quarter…He released me and I rejoined my companions and they compensated me with a portion once again. etc) were very well placed to perpetrate such crimes. whose predations of the tomb of Sebeksenef (mentioned above) and several other tombs with various gangs was disclosed after a formal investigation is a classic example. Amunpanefer confessed that when he was arrested for the second time he bribed the official who caught him and succeeded in escaping. and witnesses were brought in to corroborate the suspect’s testimony. and the trial was held in the Great Assembly (“Great Qenbet”) in the capital city. the suspect was cross-examined.” a euphemistic term to describe the beating in which the alleged robber had the bastinado applied to his feet and hands. appears to have the desired effect of producing a confession. Recipients of stolen goods were punished with mutilation and impalement. The suspects were then “examined. after several applications. may I be mutilated and sent to Kush.” swears one tomb robber after being thoroughly examined. a particularly painful process involving the whipping of the soles of the feet. and Paweraa. The Lifetime Protection Plan: The Curse “The Butcher. I together with other thieves… have continued down to this day in the practice of robbing tombs. The tribunal consisted of a commission of dignitaries from both ecclesiastical and governmental offices. and many officials turned a blind eye to these illicit activities. People suspected of “disturbing the peace of the dead” were arrested and had to appear before a court. Thieves often worked in close collaboration with corrupt priests and well-bribed officials. If the suspect and witnesses were found to have committed perjury. Frequently. craftsmen. Amunpanefer.
45 .Medinet Habu was the administrative seat at Thebes where the thieves from the tomb robbery papyri were detained and tried in a court of law.
The stated penalties typically comprised of removal from office. Egypt’s pharaohs ruled over a declining kingdom. he will not be buried in the West [cemetery]. the Egyptian robber could not expect an afterlife. Even Howard Carter wrote in his diary on the inevitability of tomb robbery.” Brian Fagan states that the plundering of tombs could be considered a timehonoured past time in Egypt. Other threats include far-reaching effects such as expelling the violator’s children from their own tombs. banishment from society. later. royal and private tombs in Thebes were plundered for all their contents to fill state coffers. For example. this practice was especially prevalent from the late New Kingdom. but his entire family. and moved to safer locations. “As regards any ruler who will rule in Mo’alla and who will commit a bad. This would have had a major economic impact on the family for many generations. Additionally. the high priests of Amun had the bodies of the great New Kingdom pharaohs rewrapped.1070 – 712 BCE). the thief would lose his identity and the right to be buried. his god will not accept his white bread. plunging the country into civil war. imprecations that threatened anyone who trespassed and violated a tomb with severe punishments in this life and the next. they have been turned into ones who do not exist. Consequently. and their flesh will burn together with that of the criminals. Essentially. It seems that divine retribution was not a cause for concern when the state or religious institutions supported the pillaging of tombs. Conclusion In his seminal publication “The Rape of the Nile. where many mummies were stripped of their gold. This comprised of curses. who will fail to protect this tomb and its contents. Economic crises and the threat of invasions did little to keep the country on track. conjuring up images of determined thieves painstakingly carving their way through tons of rock to claim their gold. Communication with the gods would cease with the god’s refusal to accept the thief’s offerings and he would be unknown to them. Under the pretext of restoration. any son of man. From the short reigns of the successive kings Rameses IV to Rameses XI (ca. as can be seen in Ankhtifi’s tomb inscription at Mo’alla. “As regards any nome governor. “ I Reappropriation and reuse of funerary goods Despite the abhorrence of tomb robbery in . During the Third Intermediate Period (ca. It is quite clear from the way the robbers treated the mummies and desecrated the tombs that they did not fear threats of divine retribution. coffins were altered to suit the current funerary trends and sold to willing customers. Labelled “recommodification” by Egyptologists. and the death penalty (often by fire or dismemberment). his arm will be cut off for Hemen at his procession… Hemen will not accept his meat offering…and his heir will not inherit from him.” avows an inscription warning any potential violators of Tomb III at Assuit.a n c i e n t p l a n e t vention.1078 BCE). Egyptian society.” Here the punishment also affected his children in that they would not take over his post and inherit any physical property from him. although a suspect in the tomb robbery papyri declared his innocence by stating. it was common practice in times of economic crisis to “reappropriate” and reuse funerary goods from older burials. the authority of the pharaohs became increasingly diluted by the power of the high priests of Amun at Thebes. evil act against this coffin and against any part of this tomb. the harsh legal sentences appear to have had little effect as a deterrent. any noble man or any civilian. Not only would the robbers actions affect him.a worse possible fate could not be imagined. as his corpse was destroyed and his name erased from memory . 1151 BCE .
The plundering of Egyptian tombs and monuments continues to this day.. New York: Hildesheim (1997) Taylor. Crime. 2-64 Peet. J. and van de Walle. (2004). Vol. T. *** Further Reading Assmann.. No. When Justice Fails: Jurisdiction and Imprecation in Ancient Egypt and the Near East. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.. Vol. (2001) Willems. The Rape of the Nile: Tomb Robbers. E. 149-162 Capart. B. 76 (1990). No. J. 27-54 . 1. H. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. Lorton. D. Gardiner. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 78 (1992). The Great Tomb Robberies of the Twentieth Egyptian Dynasty. A. 2 (Dec. it seems that nothing has changed. 169-193 Fagan. 20. J. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. The Treatment of Criminals in Ancient Egypt: Through the New Kingdom. then as now. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. why am I going to seek death deliberately?“ In reading these documents. Special Issue on The Treatment of Criminals in the Ancient Near East (Jan.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t saw the punishment which was done to thieves in the time of Kha-em-Waset (the Vizier). Cult and Capital Punishment (Mo’alla Inscription 8). Tourists. Vol.. 22. and Archaeologists in Egypt. H. 1936). 1977). Truly. the economic benefits of tomb robbery far outweigh the threat of penalties enforced by the law. New Light on the Ramesside Tomb-Robberies. B. as does the corruption and greed well attested in the ancient documents from thousands of years ago. H. Oxford: Westview Press. Vol.
Lyon [Credit: Wiki Commons] .48 Bronze helmet. Found in Montpellier in 1863. On display at the Musée gallo-romain de Fourvière. 7th-6th century BCE.
In Ancient Greece. The tusks were sewn into a felt or leather cap which served as the base of the helmet. studying the evolution of stylistic designs reveals how the unique style of combat in Greece changed war. and boar was often the target. primitive versions of the iconic horsehair crest may have begun to appear on the Boar’s Tusk Helmets (Everson 9). bronze sheets began to be included in the Boar’s Tusk Helmet. but were an improvement over leather or even felt (Everson 10-11). Another decoration. strands were probably tied between the alternating tusks in order to protect the laces (Everson 7). an emphasis on camaraderie and communal reliance developed the concept of unit cohesion and specialization. so leather . In all reality. They were formed from a single vertical series of boars’ tusks. Ultimately.A Brief History of Greek Helmets By Jesse Obert W arfare is a constantly changing aspect of human interaction. Hunting was a frequent theme in Mycenaean art. Boar’s Tusk Helmets did not have a uniform design. Additionally. the laces holding the tusks in place would have been exposed and vulnerable. the boars’ tusks would have shattered after a single blow. Experimentations with helmet design illuminate the limitations and intricacies of warfare as it was developed in the ancient world. Cheek guards were the first and most prominent addition to the helmet. The Boar’s Tusk Helmet was an effective display of skill as each helmet required somewhere between forty and fifty boars (Everson 10). Additionally. The maturation of this mentality can be traced through the stylistic and technological progression of military helmets. The Boar’s Tusk Helmet may have been a prestige item related to hunting prowess (Snodgrass 19). when the Mycenaean Empire controlled Greece. the Boar’s Tusk Helmet was popular throughout the region. was the addition of bulls’ or rams’ horns (Everson 9). which only appeared in the Bronze Age. The transition was by no means a universal one and many Bronze Age helmets restricted bronze to accessories such as cheek guards (Snodgrass 25-26). it initially took the form of small bronze disks which were sewn or clipped onto the 49 The history of the Greek helmet began in the 17th century BCE. When bronze was used on the dome of the helmet. As bronze forging techniques improved. At the time. Greece would become the birthplace of Western military thought. Though the development of any technology is nonlinear. This conically shaped helmet consisted of alternating levels of boars’ tusks in a style and design that may have originated in Western Europe (Snodgrass 19).
a n c i e n t p l a n e t Above Boar Tusk helmets from Mycenae (left) and Crete (right).14 cent BCE. Below: The Warrior Vase from Mycenae. c. depicting soldiers wearing what some scholars believe to be leather helmets with bronze studs [Credit: Wiki Commons] 50 .
horsehair crests became much more popular. but these helmets were extremely thin and had to be attached to a cap (Everson 11). throat. At some point both Because the Illyrian Helmet was forged from sides would have a massive pushing contest two pieces.c l a s s i c a l a r c h a e o l o g y felt or leather cap underneath (Everson 39). two new helmets popular throughout Greece. Although. These crests were rather simple and are often compared to the crests of Assyria and other Eastern states (Snodgrass 43). and techniques.306-310). When the crest ran from that the Ancient Greek warrior was protected back to front it conveniently concealed and from head to foot except at their face. the face widespread adoption is often attributed was left open and the helmet was forged in to the dominant form of combat in the 8th two pieces which were soldered together century BCE. Despite the wide scale collapse of the Bronze Age empires in the 12th century BCE. attempted battle are heatedly debated. They appear to have been a series of small interwoven bronze scales which draped from the back of the helmet (Everson 13). the Boar’s Tusk Helmet continued to be an item of interest. Similar in shape emerged. and for several centuries The first helmet was named the Illyrian Helmet Greek crests almost exclusively ran from front by later scholars because of its popularity to back (Everson 76). The basic shape was maintained through the following Dark Age and had a Illyrian type bronze helmet from Argolis. 51 . strengthened the crease atop the Illyrian Helmet. involved crowds of heavily armoured men ramming into each other. it was especially weak along the all the while trying to stab the enemy with a seam. Additionally. the Illyrian and were products of advanced forging Helmet covered the entire head. which was already spear or sword. Their sudden appearance and even part of the throat. neck guards began to appear in their most primitive form. Near the end of the Bronze Age. However. Eventually full bronze helmets appeared. scholars agree to address the issue. on the Peloponnese and quickly became In the 8th century BCE. They were made entirely of bronze to earlier Bronze Age helmets. 6th–5th noticeable influence on later Greek helmets centuries BCE [Credit: Wiki Commons] (Snodgrass 32). The horsehair crest. Though no Mycenaean helmets seemed to have physically survived. the name is misleading as the Illyrian Helmet was originally developed 8th century BCE (Homer X. This style of crest quickly became a and lower thigh. popular necessity. cheeks. Though the details of Greek a psychological and stylistic asset. amongst the Macedonians and non-Greek Homer references and describes one in the Illyrians. This dramatic style of violence along its peak (Snodgrass 52).
It was remarkably strong as it was forged out of a single piece of bronze (Snodgrass 51). This need for an exact fit meant that the helmet could not be passed through families or recovered from battlefields. The Corinthian Helmet. loose formations. There was little to no padding. . greatly restricted vision. and no ear holes. the forceful collisions involved in early Greek warfare made the structural weaknesses of the Illyrian Helmet a liability. This has led some authors to speculate whether the popularity of the Corinthian Helmet effectively postponed the invention of battlefield tactics as communication on the battlefield was almost certainly impossible (Hanson 71). was immensely more popular. These northern communities utilized light infantry. An additional issue with the Corinthian Helmet was the cost. Right: Corinthian style helmet from Sparta [Credit: Wiki Commons] The Illyrian Helmet had many weaknesses. In Ancient Greece. the helmet left the neck vulnerable and 52 was notoriously uncomfortable and heavy (Snodgrass 56). the Illyrian Helmet became a favourite of the Macedonians and Illyrians. then a glancing blow could turn the helmet in battle and completely blind the soldier (Hanson 72). which appeared around the same time as the Illyrian Helmet. The wearer was partially blinded and practically deaf when he wore the helmet. If the helmet did not fit tightly over the soldier’s head. The open face failed to address the dangers of intense close combat. the face was entirely covered by a long nose guard and two thick cheek guards which almost met over the mouth. Corinthian Helmets had to be made specifically for each soldier (Snodgrass 59). Additionally. and cavalry which all required the visibility of an open faced helmet. In addition. Interestingly.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Left: A later Illyrian helmet with hinged cheek guards [Credit: Author]. The helmet was phased out and ultimately disappeared from Greece by the 5th century BCE (Everson 130). soldiers had to purchase their own equipment and some men must have chosen the cheaper Illyrian Helmet or maybe even a leather alternative. However.
with a ridge around the peak of the head.500 BCE. but still missing ear holes [Credit: Wiki Commons] 53 .c l a s s i c a l a r c h a e o l o g y Corinthian helmet dating to c.
It was named for its popularity in art from the city of Chalcis. the helmet first appeared in southern Italy and seems to have been invented by Greek colonists (Snodgrass 70). large ear holes were cut into the sides of the helmet to allow for communication on the battlefield (Snodgrass 94). The Chalcidian helmet may have given them the visibility they needed while maintaining the protective shape of the Corinthian Helmet. A ridge was added above the forehead encircling the peak of the helmet which allowed extra padding and additional protection from glancing blows. the introduction of battlefield tactics and strategy had encouraged the Greek soldier to prefer more open helmets with better visibility. The Chalcidian Helmet had a helmet was introduced on the western coast rounded nose guard and two large rounded of modern day Turkey. a new for the face. the Chalcidian Helmet had a misleading name. . This addition covered the neck and throat and dissipated the helmet’s weight. The cheek guards and the back of the helmet were extended to rest on the wearer’s shoulders. the by the Athenians who seemed to prefer lighter Chalcidian Helmet began to appear. by the end of the 5th century BCE. The eyeholes were slightly Ionia and was considered Greek. However. At first glance the helmet looks like a rounded and lighter form of the Corinthian Helmet and may have been invented with that intention (Snodgrass 70). These settlers needed a strong helmet that would enable them to defeat the light infantry and cavalry of the local Italians. This solidified the helmet’s popularity in Greece but. the cheek pieces for the ears. This helmets with more visibility (Snodgrass 70). helmet attempted to address the visibility and comfort issues of the Corinthian Helmet At the end of the 6th century BCE. The helmet was popularized on the mainland At the beginning of the 6th century BCE. as Corinthian while still providing adequate protection Helmets became less burdensome. The region was called cheek guards. Finally. the Corinthian Helmet had been adapted to address its defects. The Ionians larger and two slots were left open behind were known to combine eastern and western 54 By the end of the 6th century BCE.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Front and sideview of Chalcidian type helmets [Credit: Wiki Common] Like the Illyrian Helmet.
c l a s s i c a l a r c h a e o l o g y traditions to create hybridized technology. the additional forehead guard and neck guard may have been reactions to a different style of combat (Snodgrass 65). and the neck guard to provide cover from missiles coming from above and behind the soldier. The helmet originally appeared on artistic representations of Athena. the Attic Helmet was an incorporation of the defensive success of the Chalcidian Helmet with the tactical benefits and stylistic popularity of the Ionian Helmet. Additionally. the Athenians heavily relied on naval engagements and coastal raiding. the thick rounded cheek guards attempted to maintain the successful shape of the earlier Chalcidian helmet. In the Peloponnesian War. and the Ionian Helmet was no exception. In the century following the artistic introduction of the Attic Helmet. The Ionians served in eastern armies as mercenaries and brought Greek combat to eastern battlefields (Herodotus II. This noticeable similarity to Above: Warrior head vase from Ephesus or Rhodes representing an Ionian helmet. the Attic Helmet. the forehead had a large flat plate for extra protection. The Attic Helmet was lighter than most Greek 55 . Ionian armourers may have added the thick forehead guard to protect the part of the helmet that stood out above the Greek warrior’s shield. but at the end of the 6th century BCE the Athenians began to develop their own version. the Athenian military tended to avoid pitched battles. At the time. Nevertheless. more versatile equipment. The cheek guards could be tied to the peak of the massive forehead guard. but was eventually forged and utilized in battle (Snodgrass 69). Though the absence of a nose guard or throat guard left the face less protected. or tied together at the chin. [Credit: Penn Museum] Below: Attic Helmet with ornamental forehead guard [Credit: Thefakebusters] the Ionian Helmet and the Chalcidian Helmet has led many scholars to argue that it should not be recognized as a distinct style (Everson 132). It had a distinct neck guard and hinged cheek pieces.152). In many ways. both of which would have required lighter. battle in the Middle East relied much more heavily on missile weapons and loose formations. thereby leaving the face entirely open. 431 BCE – 404 BCE. The Ionian Helmet was especially popular in Athens.
hinge under the brim of the helmet. Additionally. The cheek guards on Thracian Helmets were usually elongated in order to provide additional protection for the neck and throat A Thracian helmet [Credit: Thefakebusters] (Snodgrass 104-105). the region along the northernmost coast of the Aegean Sea. including the Romans (Everson 135). was brought to Greece by Thracian mercenaries in the invading Persian Army (Snodgrass 104).a n c i e n t p l a n e t to a popular style of hat in Thrace. helmets became lighter and lighter. This would The neck guard was shorter than the Ionian have protected the hinge while allowing it to Helmet and left a significant amount of space be significantly lighter (Everson 139). The cheek guards were hinged and sometimes they were even completely detachable (Snodgrass 69). Additionally. The Thracian Helmet had a distinct brim over the face and eyes. the forehead guard seems to have generally lost its practical application in favour of a decorative one. There was a forehead guard. the cheek guards were attached with leather straps to a helmets and left the face completely open. though it was smaller than the guard on the Ionian Helmets. In fact. This new style provided adequate protection and more visibility with a lighter guard. Hinged and fitted cheek guards protected the face while still leaving plenty of space for the eyes and ears. As warfare began to rely more and more on battlefield tactics and troop manoeuvres. for the ears. The Attic Helmet managed to survive this time of transition and became a regular preference amongst later soldiers. or maybe just the style. a new style of helmet appears to have been brought into Greece from the north. The Thracian Helmet is named for its similarities 56 A remarkably decorated Thracian helmet with a Phrygian styled peak [Credit: Thefakebusters] . the cheek pieces were often fitted to each individual soldier’s face. This probably served as extra protection from missile weapons which began to reappear on Greek battlefields at the end of the 5th century BCE. At the beginning of the 5th century BCE. This similarity along with the time of its introduction has led several scholars to suggest that the helmet.
It had a presence in the military. 3). and states were 57 . Occasionally. the Thracian Helmet tended to have a more forward rounded peak. As the centuries passed Boeotian Helmet was originally invented as a and warfare became more advanced. By its height. However. the became bigger and more manpower was Boeotian Helmet was named for its similarity required. a soldier could survey the battlefield quickly and without difficulty. the general lack of accessories made it significantly easier and faster for a soldier to prepare for battle. a horsehair crest decorated the top of the helmet. This literary reference has self-funded troops from the top tiers of the led many archaeologists to conclude that the financial hierarchy. and a sudden interest in military professionalism. He could freely communicate with his companions and not be hindered by the helmet’s weight. but usually did not have cheek guards or a neck guard. hearing. smaller shields. By leaving the face entirely open. Even Alexander the Great is said to have worn an elaborately decorated iron Thracian Helmet (Snodgrass 118). as a felt version was often seen worn by Hermes. After the Persian Wars. The Boeotian Helmet was light and efficiently protected the wearer from missiles. it was not as popular as the other helmets. reached its peak in the 5th century and by the middle of the 4th century BCE some soldiers wore almost no armour and carried lighter. The wealthy aristocrats had less of to a popular style of hat (Snodgrass 94). troop specialization. According to Xenophon. This noticeable trend in armour coincides with huge leaps in the understanding of battlefield tactics. Though some cavalrymen may have strapped the helmets to their head to prevent it from falling off. though crests in general had become significantly less common by the 4th century BCE. the Boeotian Helmet was the best helmet available for a cavalryman The Greek military system usually relied on (Xenophon XII. The military mindset at this time explains the immense popularity of the Thracian Helmet and Attic Helmet which provided good vision. the Boeotian Helmet was introduced. The Thracian Helmet continued to be popular amongst wealthier Greeks until the invasion of the Romans (Snodgrass 118). warfare in Greece changed radically. nearly every soldier in the Macedonian Army wore a Thracian Helmet. such as the later Corinthian Helmet and the Attic Helmet. armies cavalry helmet. which had been slow moving over the centuries. After Philip II’s military reforms in the 4th century BCE. At the end of the 5th century BCE. The pattern of lightening the infantry’s panoply. the god of trade and travel (Snodgrass 95). It covered the top of the head and had a large all encompassing brim. and protection from missiles. in the Phrygian style. one of the most significant benefits of the Boeotian Helmet was its low cost. Like the Thracian Helmet. The Boeotian Helmet was one of the lightest and simplest metal helmets in Greece. A Boeotian helmet [Credit: Thefakebusters] been a common image in art for centuries.c l a s s i c a l a r c h a e o l o g y Though the Thracian Helmet was present in 5th century BCE Greece.
the Pilos Helmet occasionally had a horsehair crest. unrestricted vision. Hellenistic hat. when they After Alexander the Great spread Greek adopted the helmet they announced that culture and warfare across the Middle East. the occasional state funded militias. “they had nothing to hide. helmets. The influx of lower class soldiers. as the Hellenistic era and lasted from the end which would have efficiently concealed of the 4th century BCE to the invasion of the their facial expressions (Lendon 53). Spartans argued that by adopting the Pilos Massive. individual protection was 58 . cost (Snodgrass 95).working in unison. In the 5th cen. Like the Thracian Helmet. social pressure on other Greek communities At this time. closely packed infantry dominated Helmet they were exemplifying their bravery. the Pilos Hel. a bronze version began to appear and during the Hellenistic era it was a popular infantry helmet. The Thracian Helmet and the lightest form of the Attic Helmet were still The Pilos Helmet provided unhindered popular. and instigated by the Spartans. but several explanations have been proposed. Some argue that the advancement of battlefield tactics required that infantry have full vision and mobility (Everson 135). and a cheap alternative to contemporary metal in Greece was arguably the simplest. Apparently. the battlefield and this new style of warfare Some scholars argue that this boast put required even lighter and cheaper helmets. The simplicity of the helmet may seem like a strange conclusion to the evolution of the Greek helmet. Another A Pilos helmet [Credit: Wiki Commons] argument suggests that the helmet was forced to recruit from and rely on their poorer adopted because of a cultural competition citizenry. As warfare became more complex Like many of the later helmets.a n c i e n t p l a n e t tury BCE.and sophisticated it was the logical next step met was simply a metal version of a popular in the evolution of the helmet. The Pilos was a brimless travelling cap combat relied on tightly packed groups common throughout Greece. but the most common metal helmet communication. This period is known predominantly used the Corinthian Helmet. they had of lower class citizens. mobility. created a huge demand for equipment that was both The first widespread adoption of the Pilos Helmet occurred in Sparta at the end of efficient and relatively cheap. the Boeotian Helmet became essentially forcing them to adopt the Pilos popular amongst infantry because of its low Helmet (Lendon 63). Another theory suggests that the lower class soldiers enlisted at the time could not afford the full panoply and so neglected the helmet in favour of a sturdy shield and weapon (Everson 136). the 5th century BCE. The Romans in the 2nd and even 1st centuries BCE. no fear or passion the region was gripped by large-scale wars in their faces” (Lendon 63). though crests were generally unusual at the time (Everson 136). Before the Pilos between massive empires with huge armies Helmet was adopted in Sparta.
Print. Battles had grown from single clashes of small communities to complex engagements of huge empires. Print. Nevertheless. 2003. Aubrey De Sélincourt. New York: Oxford UP. Classic Reader.. of the technological and cultural superiority of Classical Greece. Web. 2006. legacy of the Greek helmet became a symbol Dakyns. Print. New Haven. Anthony M. New York. H. 2003. Trans. Warfare in Ancient Greece. N.A. When the Romans invaded and ultimately conquered Greece. On Horsemanship. 1967. the Xenophon. *** Further Reading Everson. The centre of military advancement CT: Yale UP. Ithaca. moved to Italy. Tim. and many Greek helmets Snodgrass. Hanson. 1990. Print. Trans. U. Print.: Viking. the area. Arms and Armour of the were phased out in favour of lighter and Greeks. attributed to a workshop in Vulci [Credit: Bibi Saint-Pol/Wiki Commons] sidelined in favour of troop manoeuvrability. J. they brought peace to Lendon. Soldiers and Ghosts. Homer. 2004.Y. stronger Roman helmets. Trans. The Histories. London: Penguin. beginning of the 5th century BCE. E.S. The Western Way of War. 59 .. Herodotus. G. 1990. Stroud: Sutton Pub. The Iliad. Victor D. NY: Cornell UP.c l a s s i c a l a r c h a e o l o g y Frontage of a bronze Corinthian helmet depicting the dispute of Heracles and Apollo for the Ceryneian Hind. 27 Mar. Blackdog Media. Print. Robert Fagles.
439 square kilometres area of myth and fact. II-VIII). a Turkish chronographer travels extensively throughout the Peloponnese. written in the 14th 60 century. VIII) and Pausanias (Description of Greece.Souvenir from the Peloponnese A modern tour in landscape and history Part One T By Aikaterini Kanatselou he brain wave of this article was a recent trip around the Peloponnese. The subjective structure and the personal narration reflect a diary-like content. the dark-faced king who became a play-thing for the Olympians. in late antiquity. The 15th century Italian scholars Ciriaco de Pizzicolli and Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta. marking the diversity of the Peloponnesian historical landscape. hills. areas (six out of the seven regional units) and natural landscapes (coasts. Welcome to the Moreas! Stories of travelling in the Peloponnese The “island” of Pelops. a weekly sally of a small group of archaeologists. peninsulas. is a 21. was the first Englishman to record his memoirs of the Peloponnese. In the 17th century. The French interest was enunciated by Francois Pouqueville and of course by François-René de Chateaubriand and successively culminated (often with political associations) in early the 19th century (Jean Alex- . Bernard Randolph. hidden sites all over the place. Its aim is to picture a random choice of exciting Peloponnesian sites and places from different periods (Palaeolithic to Byzantine). affected the perception of the West over Medieval Greece. caves). The Chronicle of the Morea. Evliya Çelebi. plains. open to the adventurous individual with a labyrinth of choices. bays. Strabo (Geographica. in 1671-79. You can follow the group day by day. transmitted their discoveries of antiquarian interest. either visiting popular destinations such as Mycenae and Olympia or just chasing the “brown” road-signs of the motorway which lead to less popular. infusing the spirit of the Renaissance. which takes root back in early prehistory to outgrow the classical world and define the nature of modern Hellenism. were the first to attempt a systematic description of the historical landscape.
Edgar Quinet. customs.). The Heraion of Perachora On the way to the Heraion.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e Map of the Peloponnese. lifestyles etc. eras. Isabel Armstrong). A personal story of archaeological travel Day 1 Departure from Athens. northeast tip of the site. a Russian-Estonian in origin.e. studied and excavated in the Peloponnese. William Martin Leak. the British antiquarian interest in the Peloponnese was set alight. destination: Nafplio We depart from Athens early in the morning and hit the highway heading to Corinth. William Gell. Lord Byron. We take the exit to Loutraki and drive 20km westwards to the Heraion of Perachora. Étienne Fourmont. In the orientalising 19th century. curtailed for the sake of the hurried visitor. i. each specializing in different aspects of the historical landscape (regions. material culture. numerous tourist guides present a simpler version of the Peloponnesian past. The number of modern studies is accumulating. the visitor comes across the Fountain. William George Clark. both romantically and practically (Lord Elgin. a 61 . Christopher Wordsworth. Otto Magnus von Stackelberg. marked with the sites andre Buchon. dialects. Henri Belle). At the same time.
a n c i e n t p l a n e t Heraion of Perachora 62 .
where one can enjoy a magnificent view over the sanctuary and the Corinthian gulf. Later. terracottas. before the actual completion of the project in the 19th century (initiative of Ioannis Kapodistrias. as well as Nero (1st cent. situated in a small cove of the gulf.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e series of massive cisterns and rock-cut basins that brought water to the site through water channels. the rural cult practices. As indicated on a panel at the Heraion. Instead of visiting the ancient city of Corinth. we make a short stop at the Corinthian Canal. on the way back to Corinth. occupied from LH IIIA2/B1 continuing at least into early LH IIIC. CE) all attempted to study and/or apply a plan of digging a canal. is a complex of different structures. The Corinthian Canal The Greek word for the Corinthian Canal is Isthmus (meaning neck and referring to the narrowness of the land connecting the Peloponnese with mainland Greece). we head to the sanctuary of Isthmia. The sanctuary of Hera. The tyrant Periander (7th cent. Deep grooves were constructed which allowed wheeled vehicles to drag the unloaded ships over to the eastern port (Kenchreai) or the western port (Lechaion). Since ancient times. as well as the various finds (pottery. Julius Caesar and his successor Caligula. BCE). originally under Corinthian influence. including the temples (Hera Limenia and Hera Akraia). a shortcut was created to save boats from sailing round the peninsula: a stone ramp called the Diolkos (7th cent. bronzes. the apsidal cistern and the banquet building. The site was occupied from the 9th to the 2nd centuries BCE. ivories) have been studied and published mainly by the British School of Athens. The architectural complex and its landscape. executed by prime minister Thrasyvoulos Zaimis and King George I of Greece). A nearby sign leads to the chapel of Agios Nikolaos. 63 . the stoa. BCE). CE) and Herodes Atticus (2nd cent. we decided to visit the nearby Mycenaean necropolis at Skaloma.
Isthmus of Corinth 64 .
Wondering if the location of the sanctuary was prominent enough to be seen from the sea by those sailing to Corinth. when Corinth was chosen to be the capital of the Greek world. it was again renovated together with the rest of the sanctuary’s edifices. CE). The temple of the god was first built in the 7th century. especially when the games were held. This complex of buildings included a small. Fragments of a sacrificial altar were revealed east of the temple. entering the highway and heading to the Argolid. Only the foundations and a few architectural elements were preserved and excavated by the American School. burnt in 390 BCE and repaired once again until its final destruction by the Romans in 146 BCE. The Isthmia festival was probably the most popular of all the Panhellenic celebrations. The most impressive structure at Isthmia is the Palaimonion (1st cent. some 250m to the southeast. a new stadium was built. at first made of pine and later of wild celery. reconstructed in mid-5th century. circular temple to Palaimon. Beginning in 582 BCE. is located in a natural port of the Argolic 65 . athletic and music games were held here in honour of Poseidon. Asine The ancient acropolis of Asine. Northwest from the Palaimonion was the old stadium (6th cent. also known as Kastraki. a large part of the sanctuary’s building material was used for the construction of the Hexamilion wall.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e The Temple of Poseidon at Isthmia Isthmia The sanctuary of Poseidon in Isthmia was one of the most important Pan-Hellenic sanctuaries in the Greek world. while the prize of victory was a simple wreath. During the Justinian era. protector of the games and founder of a mystical cult. BCE). we carried on our journey. We follow a westerly route for 70km and arrive at the site of Asine. At the time of Alexander the Great. and every two years thereafter. During the reconstruction of Corinth in 44 BCE.
a n c i e n t p l a n e t 66 .
as well as with Athens and the southern Peloponnese. shot from the walls. around 700 BCE and its habitants migrated to Messinian Asine (modern Koroni). the successive hills between Asine and the Argive plain seem ideal Bay of Asine. on a triangular cape-hill. were found within the acropolis itself. Bronze Age houses. as well as the historical times up to about 600 BCE. while a large Mycenaean cemetery was uncovered on Barbouna hill to the northwest. 67 . as well as Mycenaean tombs. The Late Geometric period (8th cent. we agree that it is not a rough climb at all. After having climbed the acropolis. at Cape Iria.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e gulf. half of us following the modern and the other half the ancient path. Most evidence comes from the Bronze Age (2600-1050 BCE). very close to the modern town of Tolo. research was carried on by the Swedish Institute of Archaeology and the 4th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. which almost certainly attest to commercial activity between Asine and the Aegean. but has been occupied since the 5th millennium. BCE) marks Asine’s most prosperous point. The strong preserved fortification walls are dated to around 300 BCE and were most probably constructed by Demetrius I of Macedon. This was further corroborated during the 1990s. The walls were repaired during the early Byzantine period (6th -7th cent. CE) and also during the time of the 2nd Venetian rule (1686-1715). Crete and Cyprus. It is first mentioned in the Iliad. actively trading throughout the Cyclades. was destroyed by its rival neighbour. by the discovery of a Mycenaean shipwreck 14km east of the acropolis. Of course. Argos. Asine. an ally of Sparta. the lower town and the Barbouna hill. During the 1970s. According to Pausanias. 52m high. Several chamber tombs were found to contain ample grave goods. The first excavations were carried out by a Swedish archaeological team (1922-1930) which investigated the acropolis. We conclude that the two smooth havens surrounding the cape must have made it easier for invaders to attack.
68 Fortification walls at Asine .
As the light 69 . seed. overlooking the Argosaronic islands of Hydra. There. Though we get inspired by the idea of possible future archaeological surveys in the north. which indicates long-distance sea travel. we head north once again. pastoralism and diet in prehistoric Greece. agriculture. especially from 30. in length. Franchthi Cave is undoubtedly one of the most important archaeological sites in the Aegean world. we enjoy a magnificent (and quite cool) sunset. manage to climb up the hill. we even-tually find the site. Franchthi Cave The cave occupies a rocky limestone headland by the sea. Franchthi Cave was initially excavated in the late 1960s and early 1970s. shell. A member of the group. particularly interested in the early Iron Age. Those of us who are still vigorous. Later. we carry on with a 60km southeast windy drive to Franchthi Cave. entrance for the placement of fire-beacons which would have served as an early warning system for the defenders. the cave has yielded a wealth of information concerning early domestication.000 BP. to the summit of Mount Didimo. Following the indications and photos published in Sarah Wallace’s work. Additionally. The area outside the cave and along the shore has revealed both Neolithic and later material. The exceptional standards of the Franchthi field-work have come to serve as a model for prehistoric excavation in Greece. not only because of the occupation length and the anthropological evidence it has provided (intact burials. intermittently occupied from the Upper Palaeolithic to the present. Prophitis Elias. urges us to visit a fortified site in Kranidi. Indeed. obsidian items from the cave have been traced to the island of Melos (southern Cyclades).s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e Franchthi Cave. and pollen).000 to 5. despite the already intense day. It is a horizontal cavern 150m. by the Universities of Indiana and Pennsylvania and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. and with the assistance of the locals. but also for the quality of preservation of the finds (remnants of animals and plants in the form of bone. as well as isolated human bones and teeth scattered throughout the site). overlooking the Argolic Gulf. Dokos and Spetses.
The only Strabo and Pausanias provide some limited Ancient. In the 12th century the Byzantines we head for the historical city of Nafplio. As far as the antiquity is concerned. as Akronafplia. Archaeological finds are sparse. it is only in the public. where we fortified Nafplio. while Nafplio the Turks manage to predominate in 1532. by reinforcing its ancient walls and towers. dominate the Peloponnese. while Palamidi part of the Mycenaean wall and a large cemetery has been built on the highest point (216m). During the 9th century. Akronafplia is a low been inhabited since the Neolithic period. vestiges of the many different eras and cultural movements that have come and gone over its Unequivocally. A small ascent (85m from sea level). the most impressive remnants long history. Day 2 From 1212 onwards. Nafplio passes into Venetian hands. inspired by our intriguing journey thus far. the town was the spectrum of its long-standing history. In historical Both castles perfectly preserve their medieval times Nafplio develops as a coterminous region character and are today accessible to the wider to Asine and Argos. Likewise. In Sightseeing in central Argolid 1389. However. It still bears the the capital of Modern Greece (1834). while the Venetian and Turkish however. own bishop. can still be seen around the castle. Two more exchanges would take place before the final Nafplio is without question one of the most liberation of Nafplio (1830) and its declaration as picturesque towns in Greece.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Shot from Mt Didimo summit overlooking the Argosaronic islands fades. Byzantine and Frankish castle is known information. the Francs. almost certainly an administrative centre. under Geoffrey of Villehardouin. of Nafplio’s long history are its castles. the town of Nafplio is graced Middle Ages that Nafplio really comes to the with an ample number of monuments. Constantinople by the crusaders (1204). Following the conquest of stay overnight. covering forefront. Nafplio and its wider hinterland have castle is called Palamidi. Boniface I of Montferrat besieged and conquered the town. with its 70 .
Nafplio Palamidi Castle.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e Akronafplia. Nafplio 71 .
the palace and several other buildings within the acropolis were destroyed by fire.a n c i e n t p l a n e t The Lion Gate. Pins on the underside of the gateway are evidence of the great wooden doors that once stood there. regulated in three terraces. but it is thought 72 that they may have reached 18m. The site. The interpretation of the heraldic lions which greet the visitor has kept archaeologists busy for the best part of the last century. located at the north-eastern end of the Argive plain. The site extends outside the citadel. and the so-called Treasury of Atreus to the .5m. During the late 13th century. The Great Ramp (last arrangement in 1200) leads to the area of the palace. During the 16th century it was almost certainly a royal cemetery with shaft graves. Mycenae During the day we visit the Bronze Age citadels of Mycenae. Though the citadel was destroyed. 15km from the coast. where we find Grave Circle B and the famous tholos tombs named after Aegisthus and Clytemnestra to the west. which was first fortified in c. consisting of an open court and the tripartite “Megaron”. Entrance to the citadel was via the Lion Gate. encompasses a total area of about 30 square km. East of the palace we find the storerooms. high. It is sheltered between two steep mountains. The width of the walls varies between 5 to 8m. South of the gate we encounter Grave Circle A. and has a wall perimeter of 900m. Mycenae Mycenae sits on a rocky ascent some 280m. The northeast extension includes the Underground Cistern and the North Gate. Tiryns and Midea. an area with a diameter of 27. Since the 2nd millennium it has been a centre of power and whose rul-ing class was buried with opulent grave goods. Their initial height is not known. the occupation of the site persisted until the early Christian period. In the 13th century a special arrangement of the wall incorporated it into the citadel.1350 BCE.
Mycenae 73 .
a n c i e n t p l a n e t 74 .
Tiryns 75 . the hill gets peripherally fortified and the palace complex is integrated in LHIIB2 (late 13th cent. One of the most impressive architectural features of Tiryns is the Eastern Gallery. The main gate is on the east side and as at Mycenae. surrounding a large hearth. On the upper level is the Propylon.). around 1200. The latter consists of a group of smaller rooms and open areas. it was barred by a large. a 29m long corridor with six small rooms tangent to the east side. Intensive building activity was carried out in EHII (26002200 BCE). From that point and until modern times Tiryns gradually declined. This same room also housed the throne and its walls were decorated with brightly coloured frescoes. The complex was destroyed. on a low (26m) and restricted hill we find the citadel of Tiryns. The Gallery. Tiryns 20km south of Mycenae.5km. Another room. Homer describes it as “strongly fortified”. The site has been inhabited since the Neolithic. demonstrating the importance of Tiryns over the region. After the partial fortification and the erection of a palace in LHIIIA1. though it was never completely abandoned. and by the Hellenic Archaeological Service since 1950. possessed a monolithic floor and has been connected to cult practices. wooden double door.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e southwest. the so-called “bathroom”. A second gallery was also been built in the south part of the wall. Research was carried on by the German Institute of Archaeology during the three first decades of the 19th century. was supported by four pillars. Numerous remains of other buildings and tombs are spread out over an area of 1. but reached its apogee in the 13th century. The first excavation was held in 1831 by Friedrich Thiersch and Alexandros RizosRagavis. It is not certain whether these areas were used as storerooms or for defensive purposes. probably by earthquakes and fires. in the northern part of the building. The central room. the monumental gateway that leads to the Palace complex.
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Midea. Overlooking the Argolic Gulf
Strong fortification walls encircled the east, north and west side of the hill, as well as a large Between the citadels of Mycenae and Tiryns, on section of the northwest slope. It is 450m long, a high hill (268m), Midea has an unrestricted 5-7m thick and 7m high. The citadel encompasses view over the entire Argive plain and the gulf. a total surface area of about 24 acres. There It was already inhabited during Final Neolithic are two monumental gates, east and west. The (5th - 4th millennium) and developed into a East Gate was the main entrance, leading to the flourishing settlement during the Early and upper part of the citadel, called the “Palace Area” Middle Bronze Age (3200-1600 BCE). By the Late by Alex Persson. We observe, however, that Helladic period (1600-1100 BCE) it had become the only “Megaron-like” building on the site is an important centre, reaching its apogee in located in the lower northeast terraces, and we the 14th and 13th centuries. Like Mycenae question Persson’s designation. A large number and Tiryns, its destruction in late 13th century of finds (vessels, tools, figurines, seals, beads, was marked by earthquakes and fires. The first Linear B tablets) were unearthed in the building archaeological investigation was held by the complexes close to the gates, suggesting their German Archaeological Institute in 1907 and by use as storerooms. Alan Persson in 1939. Some further research was carried on by Paul Åström and Nikolaos Verdelis In agreement that the citadel of Midea is probably in the 1960s. The systematic excavation of the the most impressive in terms of location, though site was accomplished by a Greek-Swedish team not as popular with tourists as Mycenae and Tiryns, in 1983. we head northeast, to the nearby site of Dendra.
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Dendra The necropolis of Dendra is supposed to be the “royal” cemetery of Midea from at least the early Mycenaean period. Excavations held by a Greek-Swedish team brought to light one tholos tomb and 16 chamber tombs, dated to the 15th and 14th centuries BCE. Though some of them were looted, important and precious finds were recovered, the most distinctive of which is the bronze cuirass, an ex-cellent example of late 15th century armoury, and which is quite consistent with Homer’s descriptions. After finishing our archaeological exploration for the day, a huge discussion begins, often quite heated. What are the topographic connections between the citadels? How long might it take to walk from one place to the other through overgrown paths? What caused their destruction? Might it have been socio-political conflict? And if so, who were the opposing sides? Was there a Mycenaean elite imposed upon a broader social stratum? Were they of the same racial origin? What was their language? Is the term “Mycenaean” itself valid or does it merely serve an ethnic ideology and archaeological stereotypes? Is an alternative theory for the Bronze Age Aegean world possible? And, above all, could our approaches ever be objective and independent of the present, post-postmodern political and ideological (dis)orientations?
The Dendra cuirass (Museum of Nafplio) Heraion of Argos The Heraion was the greatest sanctuary in the Argolid during classical times. Hera is mentioned as the protector of Argos even in the Homeric poems. It is a pivotal site, prominent, with a commanding view over the plain. The earliest finds date to the Geometric period. Most of the remains, however, date from the 7th through 5th centuries BCE. The upper terrace, supported by a retaining wall of possible late Geometric date, is a level paved area occupied by the Old Temple and an altar. The later, middle terrace supports the New Temple, where a chryselephantine statue of Hera by Polykleitos was housed. Other
Departure from Nafplio, destination: Sparta
We spent the morning at the remarkable archaeological museum of Nafplio, where we enjoyed the finds from Franchthi and Dendra amongst the many other exhibits. Later that day we paid a visit to Argos and its museum to see the finds from Lerna, the Argive Heraion and the ancient city of Argos itself. Before leaving Argos, we visited the acropolis of Larisa (occupied from Mycenaean to Medieval and modern times) and the sanctuaries of Apollo Diradiotes and Athena Oxyderces at the foot of the hill. Our next stop was the Heraion of Argos.
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The castle of Larisa, Argos, from the sanctuary of 78 Diradiotes Apollo
s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e structures located on this terrace included one of the earliest examples of a building with a peristyle court. The Early Helladic III levels at Lerna produced. On the lowest terrace there is a stoa and an Archaic step-like retaining wall. a few examples of a pottery type known as “Minyan” ware. or “rubbish pits” were another unusual characteristic of this settlement. the inhabitants (who supposedly destroyed the earlier settlement) covered the site of the House of Tiles with a low tumulus surrounded by a ring of stones. some of them having an apsidal ‘megaron’ floor plan. inspiring many other publications. which was sometimes wheel-made and is a common feature of the Middle Helladic period. After a long period of Neolithic occupation (Lerna I and II) the site seems to have been deserted for a time before it was levelled off and reoccupied in the Early Helladic II period (Lerna III). The new settlement had a double ring of defence walls with gates and towers and a number of substantial buildings within. In the Early Helladic III period (Lerna IV). In the Early Helladic III period Lerna was an open settlement of smaller buildings. At the end of the Middle Helladic period. 79 . south of Argos. as though to mark off a sacred area. To the west are Roman baths and palaestra. we pay a visit to the Bronze Age site of Lerna. After a 10km stretch heading towards the gulf. The largest building has been named the House of Tiles because of the unusual early occurrence of terracotta roofing tiles associated with the building. Bothroi. but did not continue into the Late Helladic or Mycenaean period. in addition to the typical pottery of that period. which may have served as a banquet hall. whose efforts kicked-off the series of publications on Bronze Age Lerna (Lerna I-V). two rectangular shaft graves were cut into the tumulus of the House of Tiles. Caskey in 1952. Lerna Excavations at the site were initiated under John L. The settlement at Lerna continued to exist throughout the Middle Helladic period.
Lerna Sanctuary of Athena Alea.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Mycenaean shaft grave. Tegea 80 .
perseus. 303-319. We can hardly make out any architectural features.gr/LocInfo..s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e Leaving the Argolid.gtp. 65-80.asp?infoid=49&code=EGR PAR20ASNTOL00020&PrimeCode=EGRPAR20ASNTOL 00020&Level=10&PrimeLevel=10&IncludeWide=1&Loc Id=60056 http://archaeology. with a tour over Laconia.ac. Salzburg.culture. in R.E.gr/h/3/eh351. Messenia and Elis. Demakopoulou.asp?id=61752 http://www. Lerna in the Argolid: A short guide. Macmillan and co. F. T. though we observe piles the scattered pottery. 1994.. London 1911. AlramStern.edu/hopper/artifact?name= Argive+Heraion&object=Site&redirect=true 81 . Voyage en Grèce. Chateaubriand.edu/hopper/artifact?name= Mycenae&object=Site http://www.perseus. J. K. 3-5 February 2005.) Placing the gods: sanctuaries and sacred space in ancient Greece. The role of Midea in the network of Mycenaean Citadels in the Argolid. The Formation of Elites and Elitist Lifestyles from Mycenaean Palatial times to the Homeric Period. AJA 98(2). 1987.gtp. Hesperia 50(4). Vienna 2007. we enter Arcadia and then Laconia.edu/blogs/isthmia/ http://www.L.ioa. Proceedings of the International Conference. Links: *** Acknowledgements I would like to thank my friends Styliani Makarona and Maximilian Buston for their endurance.leeds. The article will be continued in the coming issue.org/en/list/941 http://odysseus. Mylonas.edu/TraceyCullen/ Papers/545133/Scattered_Human_Bones_at_ Franchthi_Cave_Remnants_of_Ritual_or_Refuse http://whc. Salmon. We make brief stops at the classical sanctuary of Tegea (Temple of Athena Alea) and the historical village of Karyes (a classical Arcadian city. We arrive at Sparta and prepare for our medieval encounters of the ensuing day: the eminent castles of Mystras and Monemvasia. E.about. and the Early History of Corinth and Megara. Zangger.tufts.com/od/archa13/a/franchthi. C.W. Before entering Sparta. 1966. Alcock (eds. Nightingale (eds. Osborne & S. Landscape Changes around Tiryns during the Bronze Age.unesco. Without Stella’s artistic sensibility and Max’s inquisitive sagacity.gr/LocPage.uchicago.gtp. G.uk/1970s/70094. 159204. in E... persistence and tolerance during this trip.jsp?obj_id=2573 http://www.. Keimelion.. J. Mycenae and the Mycenaean Age. translation by W.academia. The evolution of a sacral landscape: Isthmia.asp?id=62396 http://www. Franchthi Cave and the Beginning of Settled Village Life in Greece.. nothing would have looked the same. Loeb Classical Library. we follow a sign pointing to the Roman fortress. 1981. American School of Classical Studies. 1972. Nordquist.R. Jones. htm http://ascsa. G.).tufts. G. 189-212. The Heraeum at Perachora. Jacobsen. from which the famous Caryatids of the Erechtheion took their name). BSA 67. *** Pausanias..gr/LocPage. http://www. Princeton University Press. 1977. Description of Greece. 1994. *** For Further Reading Caskey.S.htm http://lucian. A Middle Helladic village: Asine in the Argolid. Academia Ubsaliensis. Morgan. 105-142. Perachora and the early Corinthian state.H.
the family lapis lazuli. and was able tion Society at Tel el-Amarna in Egypt. and additional evidence of human lived on very limited funds. prison camp. Due to the precarious political amassing a large public following all over the situation in the Middle East after World War I. Campbell Thompson as leader many great findings were overshadowed by of the joint British Museum and University of that singular event. including to parents. Never afraid of being wrong. silver. those of Carter’s. Reverend George Woolley and Sarah.Fame and Ur of the Chaldees tant popularizer of archaeology” by H. in 1912. However. his findings did much to further the study of the Sumerian civilization in the third millennium BCE. a great flair for promoting his own discoveries.in Nubia excavating the first known Meroitic fixed by the phenomenal discoveries of the cemetery at Karanog. Assisted by T. Oxford.800 graves. E. he was strongly encouraged by Warden Spooner to pursue a career in archaeology. He had a gift for clear and Woolley went on to dig for the Egypt Exploraarticulate descriptions of his work. which contained her ships. he had always assumed golden headdress. no matter how complicated.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Sir Leonard Woolley (1880 – 1960) “The Prodigal Archaeologist” By Lisa Swart he would follow in his father’s footsteps and enter the church. Due to George’s career as a minister. Winstone. The most extravagant of these is the his way through school and college on scholar. the keeper of the Ashmolean Museum at the time. He soon became the junior assistant to Sir Arthur Evans. and was a regular on BBC radio. upon graduating in theology at the New College. Visitors to his dig sites came from as far there were great diﬃculties in getting permisafield as Japan. he felt that he was better suited to life in the field. Woolley was able to turn archaeology into a The seminal moment in his career came in 1922 mass form of entertainment entrancing millions when he was oﬀered the directorship of the joint of readers in all parts of the world. Woolley frequently gave and spent the last half of the war in a Turkish public lectures. the rich tombs of nobles filled with gold. to bring his research to life to his audiences. world. Consequently.tomb of Queen Pu-abi. Two years later. From childhood. tomb of King Tutankhamun by Howard Carter. but was captured spurred much debate. and royalty alike. As the discoverer of the ancient city of Ur. Woolley was born into a family of eleven children Here. and his work intelligence oﬃcer in Egypt. cylinder seal with her name 84 Sir Leonard Woolley is considered a giant in the field of archaeology of Mesopotamia. he served as an an academic outsider of sorts. expedition of the British Museum and University of Pennsylvania to Ur (in modern Iraq). which were in no way any less spectacular than he excavated until the outbreak of World War I. Woolley’s willingness to conjecture made him During the early part of the war. He led the way in recognizing how much the knowledge of architectural development could contribute to the understanding of ancient societies. . Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). Labeled an “unrepen. he uncovered over 1. It was Toil and Serendipity Woolley’s work at Ur that constituted his greatest contribution to Middle Eastern archaeology. he succeeded R. However. Woolley showed Pennsylvania expedition to Carchemish in Syria. and Woolley worked sacrifice. and joined Randall MacIver Working at a time when the world was trans. After two years. where he entertained laymen sion to work again in Carchemish.
so he turned his attention to Syria. Obituary: Sir Leonard Woolley. and was heralded at the time as proof of the Bible’s historical accuracy.Autumn. London: Secker & Warburg. It was also at Ur. ologists of the time. fine arts.256-257. among many more objects.ary practices. Leonard Woolley at Carchemish in 1913. Memories of Ur. Woolley had a keen interest in finding ties between ancient Aegean and Mesopotamian civilizations. L. preferring the freedom of freelancing. By 1934. Vol. work and literary output. and laid the path for future Woolley’s Legacy research into Mesopotamian studies. whose book. Woolley received great recognition for his work in Mallowan. V. Here. 2 (June 1960). working at the cities of alMina and Atchana in southeastern Turkey until 1949. Of great interest to the public and academic community was Woolley’s discovery of thick mud sediment below the lowest layers of habitation. and was knighted for his services in Retrospect.(1990). his exceptional industriousness in both field. Max Mallowan. he became the Archaeological Advisor to the Civil Aﬀairs Directorate. The development Winstone. forge was widespread. Vol. This was believed by many to be evidence of the Great Flood. Ur archaeology. In England. religion. he discovered the remains of a small kingdom dating to around the fourth millennium BCE with a mainly Hurrian population. In Memory of Sir C. Woolley of Ur: The Life of Sir 85 . Leonard Woolley (Spring . that Christie met and later married one of Woolley’s assistants.b i o g r a p h y in Sumerian. golden tableware. H. No. 126. Woolley’s impact on the science he helped Leonard Woolley. a lyre with a golden bearded bull’s head. Woolley never occupied an academic post or place on a committee in his Further Reading entire career. 22. [Credit: Wikimedia Commons] of archaeological discovery in both India and Pakistan is indebted to Woolley’s recommendations. He also served as an advisor to the government of India for their archaeology program in 1938. Agatha Christie. E. His remarkable discoveries created a lasting legacy in the understanding of ancient cultures. His work was interrupted by World War II where he served as a major in the Directorate of Public Relations. was deeply influenced by her visits to Ur. Towards the end of the war. in art. ranging geographi. Woolley decided that there was nothing more to excavate at Ur. During this time he became good friends with the mystery writer. and funerDespite being one of the most famous archae. The passion for archaeology was demonstrated in Geographical Journal. Murder in Mesopotamia. Iraq. 1960). He was also charged with the creation of a monuments. L. architecture. in 1935. F. responsible for protecting many valuable works of art in Italy. 1-19. and archives branch of Civil Aﬀairs. P. Woolley’s boundless enthusiasm and Kirwan. government. M. cally from Egypt to India.
Reign of Amenemhat I. Middle Kingdom.1975 BCE [Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art] .86 Brewers from Meket-re’s model brewery. c. Dynasty XII.
the intoxicant known in english as ‘beer’ takes its name from the Latin ‘bibere’ (by way of the German ‘bier’) meaning ‘to drink’ and the spanish word for beer. from the fact that the ancient Greeks and Romans. the solution was to drink alcohol. comes from the Latin word ‘cerevisia’ for ‘of beer’. more exalted status. author steven Johnson writes. This article traces the brewing of beer from its ancient origin in Mesopotamia. Mark I n the modern world there persists the idea that beer does not have the same ancient pedigree which wine enjoys. For much of human history. This understanding comes. often. primarily.and How It changed science. the Ghost Map: the story of London’s Most terrifying epidemic . beer brewing 87 . giving some indication of the long span human beings have been drinking beer. cities. who exerted such a powerful influence over present western culture. waterborne diseases like dysentery became a crucial population bottleneck. “As soon as there were mass human settlements. In his 2006 work. even so.” contrary to the peculiar modern-day notion that wine was the alcoholic drink of choice among the ancients. beer enjoyed an equal and. to the present day. ‘cerveza’. the solution to this chronic public health issue was not purifying the water supply.BEER IN THE ANCIENT WORLD By Joshua J. through the various cultural incarnations. and the Modern World. favored wine over beer.
200. pl. [Credit: Wiki Commons] Impression of a Sumerian cylinder seal from the Early Dynastic IIIa period ca. about 3100-3000 BCE. 102 (BM 121545)] 88 . no. recording the allocation of beer. 2600 BCE showing persons drinking beer together from a large vessel using long stalks [Credit: Woolley 1934.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Proto-Cuneiform tablet. dating to the Late Prehistoric period. probably from southern Iraq.
the first beer in the world was brewed in the east by the ancient chinese around the year 7000 Bce (known as ‘kui’). probably for drinking beer. Paintings. the people of ancient Mesopotamia enjoyed beer so much that it was a daily dietary staple. the famous poem Inanna and the God of Wisdom describes the two deities drinking beer together and the god of wisdom. some evidence has been interpreted which sets the date of beer brewing at Godin tepe as early as 10. the city of enki. [Credit: The Trustees of the British Museum] did not originate with the Romans but began thousands of years earlier. and a recipe for beer. becoming so drunk he gives away the sacred ‘me’ (laws) to Inanna (thought to symbolize the transfer of power from eridu. specifically for the purpose of drinking beer.a r c h a e o l o g y Gold spouted cup found in the death pit of the Royal Tomb of Queen Puabi of Ur. however. ninkasi.3100 Bce. it is more likely that beer was discovered through grains used for bread making which fermented.2500 BCE. In the Middle east. to Uruk. the brew was thick. the Hymn to ninkasi is both a song of praise to the goddess of beer. poems and myths depict both human beings and their gods enjoying beer which was consumed through a straw to filter out pieces of bread or herbs in the drink. c. evidence of beer manufacture has been confirmed between these dates but it is probable that the brewing of beer in sumeria was in practice much earlier. In the sumerian epic of Gilgamesh. teaches him to drink beer. the city of Inanna). and the straw was invented by the sumerians or the Babylonians. of the consistency of modern-day porridge. it is thought. the sumerians had many different words for beer from ‘sikaru’ to ‘dida’ to ‘ebir’ (which meant ‘beer mug’) and regarded the drink as a gift from the gods to promote human happiness and well89 . The long spout would have been used like a drinking straw. first written down around 1800 Bce (considered the world’s oldest written recipe). among other things.000 Bce when agriculture first developed in the region. the hero enkidu becomes civilized through the ministrations of the temple harlot shamhat who. While some scholars have contended that beer preceded bread as a staple. beer brewing began with the sumerians at the Godin tepe settlement now in modern-day Iran between 3500 . enki.
2050 BCE from the Sumerian city of Ur [Credit: Wiki Commons]. then shall this woman be burned to death. Beer was commonly used in barter. and these conspirators are not captured the Babylonians brewed many different kinds of beer and classified them into twenty categories. the second law concerns tavern keepers concerning it as paragraphs 108-110 of the code encouraging treason by allowing malcontents to gather in their establishment and the third of Hammurabi make clear: law cited concerns about women who were 108 consecrated or were priestesses of a certain If a tavern keeper (feminine) does not accept corn deity opening a common drinking house or according to gross weight in payment of drink. c. she shall be convicted and drinking beer but objected to one doing so in thrown into the water. the tavern keeper shall be put to death. the tablet acknowledges receipt of 5 silas of ‘the best beer’ from the brewer Alulu (five silas being approximately four and a half litres). however. the same way as common women would. Beer was made from bippar (twice baked barley bread) which was then fermented and beer brewing was always associated with baking. drinking in an already established tavern. or enters a tavern to drink. Right: Detail from the Code of Hammurabi [Credit: Boris Doesburg/Wiki Commons] being. they would be drowned if caught doing so. not for cash Under Babylonian rule. 110 If a “sister of a god” opens a tavern. the original brewers were women. the priestesses of ninkasi. the amount depending on one’s social more commercialized. and women brewed beer regularly in the home as part of their preparation of meals. the but takes money. Mesopotamian beer sale (a daily ration of beer was provided for all production increased dramatically. and laws were instituted status).a n c i e n t p l a n e t Left: Alulu Beer Receipt. shows that beer brewing had become commercialized by that time. the famous Alulu beer receipt from the city of Ur in 2050 Bce. and the price of the drink is less Babylonians had nothing against a priestess than that of the corn. 90 . Law 108 had to do with those tavern keepers who poured ‘short measures’ of beer in return for cash instead of corn (which could be weighed and held to a measure) to cheat their customers. 109 If conspirators meet in the house of a tavern keeper. and delivered to the court. became citizens.
[Credit: into mash in a tall vat. thinking it is a huge pool of blood. they viewed beer in much the same way as the Mesopotamians did. the beer initially had the same thick. especially. incensed at the is highlighted by an inscription from 2200 Bce evil and ingratitude of humanity. it is put into tall crocks to Archaeological Museum. gratitude. goddess of childbirth and protector of the birthing house) whose name derives from ‘tenemu’. describing the diorama. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. the workers at the Giza plateau received beer rations three times a day and beer was often used throughout egypt as compensation for labour.a r c h a e o l o g y recording their various characteristics. the egyptians believed that brewing was taught to human beings by the great god osiris himself and in this. into dough. the egyptian goddess of beer was tenenit (closely associated with Meskhenet. sends sekhmet found at Dendera. the which pre-dates the Biblical tale of the Great association between gratitude. Beer became a regular commodity in foreign trade. as sekhmet’s blood lust with beer”. benevolent deity of. In the brewery two women grind flour. among other things. “the overseer with a baton sits inside the door. As in Mesopotamia. men took over the business of brewing and miniature carved figures found in the tomb of Meketre (Prime Minister to the Pharaoh Mentuhotep II. and other regards. Florence. Hathor’s cult centre: “the to earth to destroy his creation. and wakes as the goddess Hathor. the sky and. 5th Dynasty. After a second man treads the dough Figurine. Hathor and beer. He repents of mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled his decision. According to the tale (which has much in it laughter. which another man works Egyptian female servant filtering beer. she gets drunk. however. porridge-like consistency and was brewed in much the same way. one of the egyptian words for beer. Beer was enjoyed so regularly among grows with the destruction of every town and the egyptians that Queen cleopatra VII lost city. 2050-2000 Bce) show an ancient brewery at work. falls Beer played an integral role in the very popular asleep. women were the chief brewers at first and brewed in their homes. where it was very popular. the myth of the birth of the goddess Hathor. it is poured off into sekhmet. 2400 BCE. music. stops her rampage to drink. Italy] ferment. Later. After fermentation. Flood in Genesis) the god Ra. round jugs with black clay stoppers”. especially with egypt. the most popular beer in egypt was Heqet (or Hecht) which was a honey flavoured brew and their word for beer in general was ‘zytum’. He has a great quantity of beer dyed red popularity toward the end of her reign more for and dropped at the city of Dendera where implementing a tax on beer (the first ever) than 91 .
California.1350 BCE [Credit: Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz/Art Resource. counting the bottles. [Credit: BrokenSphere /Wiki Commons] Egyptian relief showing a Syrian drinking beer through a long straw. with the men on the left mashing the yeast starter in a bowl for fermenting. while the ones on the right are bottling. c. NY] 92 . The rightmost figure with a tablet tucked under his arm is a scribe. on display at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose. Barley beer is being brewed.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Egyptian wooden model of beer making in ancient Egypt.
Early on. In 1516 CE. the craft was primarily taken over by Christian monks and brewing became an integral part of the monastic life (the Kulmbacher Monchshof Kloster. and both cultures considered beer a low class drink of barbarians. says. have unearthed evidence of beer brewing on a significant scale shortly after the community was built in 179 CE by Marcus Aurelius. among others. when you were thirsty you must take one of these into your mouth. The Greeks favoured strong wine over beer. the German Reinheitsgebot (purity law) was instituted which 93 . a brew which has only a very far removed similarity to wine” and the Emperor Julian composed a poem claiming the scent of wine was of nectar while the smell of beer was that of a goat. and suck. ‘zythos’. The beverage without admixture of water was very strong. from the Egyptian ‘zytum’) but did not find the same receptive climate there. While beer never became popular with the Romans.800 BCE [Credit: Israel Antquities Authority] The Germans were brewing beer (which they called ‘ol’. some longer. but the taste must be acquired” and. As beer was often prescribed for medicinal purposes (there were over 100 remedies using beer) the tax was considered unjust. as did the Romans after them. the grains of barley malt lay floating in the beverage up to the lip of the vessel. and of a delicious flavour to certain palates. the Teutons have a horrible brew fermented from barley or wheat. Castra Regina (modern day Regensburg). “To drink. writing of the Germans. says. still produces their famous Schwartzbier. In time. some shorter. without joints. the Romans were brewing beer (‘cerevisia’) quite early as evidenced by the tomb of a beer brewer and merchant (a Cerveserius) in ancient Treveris (modern day Trier). Beer brewing travelled from Egypt to Greece (as we know from the Greek word for beer. however. in a tomb in the Village of Kasendorf in northern Bavaria. among other brews. as it had been in Mesopotamia and Egypt. and reeds lay in them. The playwright Sophocles. clearly. “There were stores within of wheat and barley and vegetables. Even so. in Book IV of his Anabasis.a r c h a e o l o g y for her wars with Rome (which the beer tax went to help pay for although she claimed the tax was to deter public drunkenness). near Kulmbach) and the practice continued into the Christian era. The Roman historian Tacitus. still containing evidence of the beer. also mentions beer and recommends moderation in its use. for ‘ale’) as early as 800 BCE (as we know from great quantities of beer jugs. Excavations of the Roman military encampment on the Danube. The Greek general and writer Xenophon. it was not to Xenophon’s taste. a monastery founded in 1349 CE in Kulmbach. the craft of the brewer was the provenance of women and the hausfrau brewed her beer in the home to supplement the daily meals. today). it had long been favoured by the indigenous people along the Danube. and wine made from barley in great big bowls. Spouted beer strainer from Israel dating to c.
the sea god Aegir and his family brewed beer for the gods which was served in goblets which refilled themselves when empty. basically.fordham. barley. as in the writings of the ancient Sumerians. Famed to cheer the broken-hearted. and the Gods http://beeradvocate. Fill the tongue with ancient legends. in so doing. continued the practice of legislation concerning beer which the Babylonians under Hammurabi had done some 3. Said to make the feeble hardy. Make the timid brave and mighty.com/ . discovers the use of hops in brewing with the help of a bee she sends to gather the magical plant. *** For Further Reading: Egyptian Beer for the Living. trying to make a great beer for a wedding feast. Radegast. The Germans. Grateful acknowledgement is made to Editor Jan van der Crabben.sacred-texts.a n c i e n t p l a n e t regulated the ingredients which could legally be used in brewing beer (only water. like those who preceded them. Houseman when he wrote.edu/halsall/ ancient/hamcode.thefreelibrary. Make the aged young and supple.000 years earlier. The Finnish Saga of Kalewala (first written down in the 17th century CE from much older. “Malt does more than Milton can to justify God’s ways to man” (a reference to the English poet John Milton and his ‘Paradise Lost’). later. Make the brave men ever braver. From the Celtic lands (Germany through Britain. The understanding that beer was a gift from the gods continued on from ancient times as well. From ancient Sumeria to the present day. in Norse mythology. This understanding was cleverly phrased by the poet A. no. The female brewer. was claimed to have invented beer by the Czechs and. In the Finnish saga. also instituted a daily beer ration and considered beer a necessary staple of their diet.com/article/223/ March 2011.htm The Kalevala: http://www. Houseman’s claim would go undisputed among those who have enjoyed the drink of the gods and. the same principles first instituted by the Sumerians (female brewers making beer in the home with the use of fresh hot water and fermented grains). preChristian tales and consolidated in its present form in the 19th century) sings of the creation of beer at length (devoting more lines to the creation of beer than the creation of the world).ancient.E. yeast) and.com/neu/ kveng/ World’s oldest beer receipt? .com/articles/629 Hammurabi: http://www. *** Acknowledgements: A version of the article was first published in Ancient History Encyclopedia.Free Online Library : http://www. The poem expresses an admiration for the effects of beer which any modern-day reader acquainted with the drink would recognize: Great indeed the reputation Of the ancient beer of Kalew. though which country brewed first is disputed) beer brewing spread. http://www. Only makes the fool more foolish. the Dead. Fill the mind with wisdom sayings. Osmata. hops and.eu. Famed to dry the tears of women. always following. that drink is not wine. Fill the heart with joy and gladness. The popular Slavic god of hospitality. peace of mind and happiness. beer was considered a magical brew from the gods endowing the drinker with health.
a r c h a e o l o g y Medieval monk brewing beer [Credit: Web] 95 .
Sphinx on Silsila East overlooking Silsila West.
Pseudo script at Gebel el Silsila
An introduction to Graeco-Roman masons’ marks in an Egyptian quarry
By Maria Nilsson
he ancient Egyptian site of Gebel el Silsila is known for its many pharaonic stelai, funerary shrines and the famous rockcut chapel of Pharaoh Horemheb, but this article leaves the
Pharaohs’ chronicles and explores instead a complex and mysterious marking system that is preserved as engravings in the site’s extensive quarries that run on both sides of the Nile. Here we will investigate Graeco-Roman quarry marks, also known as masons’ marks, to learn about their possible practical and symbolic meanings.
Exploring the Mountain of the Chain
While sailing down the magnificent River Nile, the modern visitor to Egypt can gaze upon the many ancient monuments that are presented in splendour along the shores between the two southern cities of Luxor and Aswan. One of these sites is Gebel el Sisila, the mountain of the chain, known to the ancient Egyptians as Khenu or Kheny, and to the Romans as Silsilis, located between the more famous temple sites of Kom Ombo and Edfu. Using its modern name, Silsila is divided into East and West by the Nile at its narrowest point, providing the spectator a close overview of the many New Kingdom stelai, funerary shrines and the more famous Speos of One may therefore find it surprising that Silsila Horemheb, all of which are located on the West has never been properly excavated, except for
Bank. However, aside its natural beauty and monumental chronicles of famous pharaohs, Silsila holds an important role for also another reason: it features ancient Egypt’s (and possibly the world’s) largest sandstone quarries, which with almost one hundred individual sections run for c. 2.5 km on both sides of the Nile. Preserved within these are thousands of graffiti, including prehistoric pictographs, inscriptions and pictorial representations dating from the Old Kingdom and throughout all later ancient periods, acknowledged for their importance ever since the day when Napoleon’s scientists arrived at the shores of Silsila.
Nile view overlooking a couple of Silsila West’s funerary shrines 99 .
however. G. only the first volume was completed due to the unfortunate passing of Caminos. was not achievable until 1955 when R. James began the first season of totally nine during an almost thirty year period. H. H. we will . Sayce in the late 19th and early 20th century. Weigall. With the first volume focusing on the shrines. Spiegelberg’s publication from 1915. While all other publications have focused on the monumental structures on Silsila West.a n c i e n t p l a n e t minor excavations carried out by G. A. Gardiner visited the site together with A. Legrain and A. It was made the responsibility of Egypt Exploration Society to survey the ancient remains of Silsila already during the early 20th century when Sir A. While three main book 100 volumes were planned. E. This task. Preisige and W. a monograph that is in much need of revision. Caminos and T. making a comprehensive documentation of the site’s inscriptions. P. documentation of Silsila’s graffiti remains limited to F.
characters. which I carry out in cooperation with Dr.A. and within academic circles included in the term ‘pseudo script’. M. generally known as masons’ marks. Pseudo script in Gebel el Silsila The term pseudo script refers to a large and not necessarily comparative group of graphic signs. This topic is now studied in a project called ‘Pseudo script in Gebel el Silsila. Now.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t Overview of the main quarry in Silsila East explore here instead a series of engraved marks. Recognised for such a non101 . symbols. John Ward and Adrienn Almasy. codes and magic’. but which cannot be classified as traditional writing. let us explore the meaning of pseudo script before looking closer at the site itself including its engraved marks. belonging to the Graeco-Roman period in Egypt. non-textual symbols that express a meaning and/or function. a query into quarry marks.
The large sandstone cliffs of Silsila provide us with an exceptional window of information as to the quarrying techniques. ostraca. pseudo script includes graphic signs on seals. located in their original position in the quarries and on extracted blocks placed within temple structure. and the topic to be discussed here – quarry marks. Quarry marks appear in abundance throughout the Egyptian stone landscape.a n c i e n t p l a n e t textual character. but similar to other graphic signs they have not been classified or studied systematically. ceramic vessels. so let us now turn to the site itself. temple and tomb graffiti. which may have resulted in a 102 misconception of their meaning and function. Silsila is one of the most renowned sites to present quarry marks. In Egypt. removal and transportation of the quarried blocks that later formed the structures of so many Upper .
In terms of size and appearance the individual quarries range from smaller open quarry faces 103 . Scattered with ceramic fragments. Set among these mounds is a large network of pathways that winds its way between the numerous quarries. and time itself. surrounded by spoil heaps Egyptian temples and shrines. The by modern hand almost untouched landscape rises from the low shoreline that presents a series of preserved quays and landing stations that during antiquity witnessed the loading of quarried blocks to be delivered to required destinations. wind. Rising from the Nile. the massive debris mounds are easily mistaken for natural foothills as they have become weathered and assimilated with the landscape due to weather. every pathway presents us with a relative timeline for human interaction in the terrain. indicating period of extraction and removal.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t Landscape scene showing a part of the complex system of pathways.
Previously. In general. Staying on this topic. individual workers or groups of quarrymen. they measure from 10 cm up to a meter in height. architectural elements. masons’ marks in ancient architecture could also regulate the position of each element by using identical or associated signs to determine exact location. Drawing of one quarry face showing the placement of quarry marks. Such marks were made even more common in the late 16th century as Scotland issued rules for each mason to register his name or mark in admission to the guild. abstract geometrical figures (hourglasses. for example on individual drums in a column. most of which have been made in a (technically) equal fashion. scholars have alternated between giving them either a symbolic meaning or a purely practical function. Also. tions. weapons (harpoons. the future Akhenaten. resulting in magnificent chamber-like rooms with large square columns lifting up the ceiling. identifying them with stoneworkers’ or masons’ marks. etc. including horned altars. The more traditional viewpoint argues for a practical use. as well as hieroglyphic signs and Greek and Carian alphabetic letters. Binding together the complex system of pathways and ancient road systems are clusters of small stone shelters. enclosed caves.a n c i e n t p l a n e t measuring one or a few meters to the main open galleries that stretch beyond hundreds of meters. etc. obelisks. but including also small stone huts and dwellings that may have offered housing for the workers and the Roman garrisons that were once stationed at this strategic location along the Nile. Silsila shows examples of surface quarrying in an area where one can stroll in a landscape of unfinished criosphinxes. In this respect one can compare them with medieval masons’ marks that were placed on building blocks.). tridents. and in linear series or groups appearing on all heights of the quarry faces and on all displayed directions. offering tables. a few marks have not been identified so far. but returning to antiquity.). cosmic representa104 . Silsila presents also huge. wind. often placed in a clearly visible part of the structure. In addition and more frequently found in limestone quarries. flowers. As such the marks are regarded as representing the owner (of the quarry and/or quarried stone). circles. contractor. as we have been acquainted with the physical appearance of the site of Silsila. Such a function is Gebel el Silsila’s quarry marks The quarry marks in Silsila have been carefully sculptured (engraved) in relief and with a metal chisel creating a single or double outline. pyramids. intentionally destroyed shrines and a naos belonging to the period of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and his son. we shall turn to the quarry marks. Such enclosed galleries provided the workers with protection against the intense summer heat. swastikas. created as the quarrymen extracted block by block from the cliff. likely to have acted as simple shelters from the elements. As a third type of extraction method. just to mention a few. Now. a fragmented falcon. and to explore their possible meaning and function. Their form and style is comparable with concrete pictograms. human-like figures. animals. They are found as individual marks. and other natural elements.
Inside one of the cave galleries 105 .
In addition to the practical and textual function. while the second includes an Egyptian styled star alternatively a form of triangle. Gosline presented a related idea when interpreting quarry marks at Elephantine Island as Carian alphabetic letters. Each quarry or sections within a larger quarry has an individual theme seen in recurring and/ or accentuated quarry marks. but more often it is the combination of marks that differs one quarry from another. whatever meaning and function is ascribed.a n c i e n t p l a n e t referred to as positioning marks. In his study of nearly one hundred carved graffiti from the quarries of elHôsh. and more recently H. The three quarries with this combination of marks are located adjacently and are connected via an ancient pathway which enabled transportation of extracted stone blocks. mostly expressing adoration and without a doubt having a religious or superstitious nature together indicating a continuous stream of pilgrims visiting the site. a situla (sacred vessel) and a tree. Such a theme can focus on a single quarry mark. W. until now. Within temple and tomb structure. which may explain the repetition of the three main marks. also the jug alternatively a solar cross. Accepting the practical function of other signs as indicators of ownership and identity marks. Quarry mark depicting the two eyes of Horus In the various quarries at Silsila. we need to look closer at the individual categories of marks. no academic literature presents any comprehensive study on the topic of quarry marks. symbolic significance. For example. Jaritz interpreted some of the quarry marks on Elephantine Island with religious symbolism. More recent scholar S. early Egyptologist G. and the third a developed form of the Greek letter Eta (H). Egyptian quarry marks have been interpreted also for other aims. the three quarries are separated by the variation of marks that surround the three matching marks: the first quarry displays. However. three main quarries repeatedly depict the combination of an offering table. offering tables. 106 . used by construction managers to control the workers’ performance and the amount of stone. some quarry marks appear repeatedly. To understand why. Legrain suggested that the marks had a linguistic (textual) function and identified them with characters that served to transcribe a foreign language. and other objects that have a clear cultic connection. basing such an idea on the religious character of certain marks. leaving their theories. religious meaning. Other practical purposes include transportation marks. Spiegelberg was the first scholar to attribute the quarry marks a religious. we find also height marks used to assist measurement. for example. written in Greek and demotic (a cursive script used in Egypt from the 25th Dynasty and onwards). This can be combined with a great amount of dedicatory inscriptions. others more seldom. and depth marks painted or carved on walls to specify the depth of smoothing of rough surfaces. such as horned altars. open for debate and questioning. However. a small number of scholars have moved towards a symbolic.
more exactly on the individual stone blocks that were once extracted from the quarry. on the contrary. This dissimilarity in theme may indicate a purely practical function as we discussed briefly above.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t A series of quarry marks depicting. the six smaller sections are clearly differentiated in illustrated marks: in the northern section we find a concentration of offering tables and horned altars. from left to right. Let us use the two temples at Elephantine and in Edfu as we know from above. which combined with textual graffiti can be linked with the falcon-god Horus of Edfu. All these marks appear in also other quarries. but we can explore also the possibility that a specific mark or combination of marks indicates instead an estimated destination. an Egyptian star. which along with an extensive seaside 107 . in the combination of the jug and ankh that we mentioned above. another temple which received its building blocks from Silsila. but the combination with other marks. Below: A group of quarry marks in the form of horned altars and a spiral. or the obvious focus in amount. the western section presents a series of marks that are non-existent in the others. Khnum. the jug (the so called nxmvessel) can be linked with the Egyptian ram-god Above: Quarry mark of a jug. and in the southern section is a combination of jugs and ankhs. an offering table. For this reason it is important that we look closer at also quarry marks that are preserved within the temples. whose name in hieroglyphs begins with this sign. Similarly. For example. separate them from each other. and a situla Within the main quarry. a tree. Then. one part in the main quarry has a high concentration of harpoons. Belonging to the Temple of Khnum at Elephantine Island is a terrace. often combined with hourglasses. possibly connected with the ram-god Khnum. and it is known that the stone making up the Temple of Khnum at Elephantine Island was quarried from Silsila. while the eastern section emphasises harpoons in various forms. possibly indicating a different time period of workmanship.
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A series of seventeen quarry marks indicating a complex use of symbolism
wall contains hundreds of quarry marks: only two depict the jug mentioned above. Additionally, Elephantine’s quarry marks include offering tables, ankhs, trees, swastikas, pentagrams, hourglasses, tridents, and a collection of marks that could be classed as identical or similar with hieroglyphs or Greek and Carian alphabetical letters. Edfu Temple equally displays hourglasses, triangles, tridents, ladders, circles, etc., in addition to a questionable harpoon (which would correspond with Silsila). This great variation of marks makes it very difficult for anyone to pursue a theory of determining the quarry marks as purely practical destination marks or positioning marks. Furthermore, the quarry marking system at Silsila is far too complex to conclude that this
would be the only meaning given to the marks. From the preserved written inscriptions we learn that the quarries of Silsila were regarded as sacred, each one with their own protective god or daemon. The already mentioned harpoon can be connected with Horus of Edfu, known as the ‘Lord of the harpoon’, and in the same quarry we find textual dedications to the same deity and images of falcons wearing the double crown (a traditional symbol for Horus of Edfu). Other marks that may be connected with specific gods or goddesses is the situla, which is often associated with Isis; a set of cow horns enclosing a solar disc, a symbol linked with Hathor; or the lotus, which often, but not always, attributes
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A quarry mark of a tree next to a Greek dedication expressing adoration.
as no. 12, 15) vertical line, 16) stylised falcon, 17) fragmented mark, most likely Egyptian feather/ reed/knife. From this combination it is made clear that a few marks appear only once, while others appear twice or more. To limit a series consisting of totally seventeen marks to a purely practical function as identity marks or estimation marks seem highly unlikely, but to learn more we must turn to the symbolic meaning or possible association of the individual marks presented. The quarry mark group consists of a linear series Let us begin with the stylised falcon, which is of nine marks placed horizontally, with another represented with three examples. eight marks placed directly above or below. Starting with the linear series the individual We know that the figure indeed shows a falcon marks depicted are from right to left (reading (or a bird) since one of the marks includes details them in accordance with the direction they are for a feather and an eye. However, the lower part facing, identically with how to read hieroglyphs): of the figure may cause confusion as it does not 1) stylised falcon, 2) Egyptian star, 3) stylised follow the traditional (contemporary) Egyptian falcon, 4) offering table, 5) tree, 6) Egyptian style. Instead we need to turn to images feather, reed or knife, 7) trident, 8) up-side- belonging to the visiting cultures, those of Greece down offering table, 9) (diagonally) crossed and Rome, and it is in Roman symbolism that we square. Surrounding quarry marks include: 10) find one figure that is comparable. Illustrated on unrecognisable mark (possibly lower part of a magical amulets, but believed to have originated feather/reed/knife), placed above the series, 11) in Persia and mentioned in various Greek magical Egyptian star (to the very right), 12) mark similar papyri, is the so called anguipede: a figure made to the Greek tau (T), 13) offering table, 14) same up with a head of a bird and with eels or snakes Harpocrates. As a result, from a religious practical perspective, the individual quarry marks could be representing deities or mythic figures that were considered as protectors of the quarry. Unfortunately, neither this theory explains alone the great variation of quarry marks that appear not only individually, but even more importantly in groups or series. To learn more let us look closer at one example.
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for legs. If we consider the difficulty in carving fine details and the generally stylised form of quarry marks it is possible to link the stylised falcon with the anguipede commonly known as Abraxas. For your interest, the quarry marks predate the images on the magical gems with at least two-hundred years, and if examples elsewhere support this identification, the quarry marks would prove to be even more important as they create a bridge between the later Roman magical expression and those of the Late Period and the Ptolemaic (Macedonian) Dynasty preserved in textual sources solely. The second quarry mark, the Egyptian star (sba), is known for its many symbolic connections with gods and deacons, and has practical relations with the physical stars in the night sky. Without a framework that specifies its meaning or at least relation, however, it would be impossible to suggest one function in favour of another. One common factor, though, is a form of protective character or quality. The offering table needs little explanation as its symbolic meaning is made obvious from its form. It is a religious symbol signifying piety or practical veneration, creating a link between the carver and the divine world regardless of physical offering gifts (so often seen in Egyptian temple reliefs). From a symbolic aspect, the tree is one of the more frequently appearing universal depictions, and its message of fertility and growth binds together all three contemporary cultures (Greece, Rome, Egypt) existing in Egypt during the time of creation. The following mark is more difficult to analyse since it has a pictorial likeness with three different items known from comparative material. Again, it is a stylised image with a form that is comparable with a straight falcon feather, a reed plant, and a knife; all three represents facets of the traditional Egyptian circle of life – birth, growth, fertility, death and rebirth. The trident is an interesting mark as it is represented as a divine attribute in all three contemporary cultures. For the ancient Egyptians the trident, along with the harpoon, was a symbol primarily connected with Horus the vanquisher and defeater of evil, while in Greece
and Rome it was a symbol linked to the water gods Poseidon and Neptune. Regardless of which cultural setting we choose, the trident has similar mythic qualities that speak of strength, victory over evil, power and control. The following mark, an offering table turned up-side-down is interpreted for now as a regularly positioned table, although it is important that we remain open for other meanings. The crossed square, like many other geometrical shapes, have many plausible meanings and functions: for example, it is one of the most evident forms to signify a pyramid if seen on an architectural plan, but based on the existence of other quarry marks depicting stylised pyramids, seen as a triangle sitting on a base, it is unlikely that the crossed square represent the same object. Examples on Silsila West show the crossed square with two small circles added within the square, to the left and right of the crossed centre respectively: we should therefore refrain from an interpretation since we cannot establishment actual form, at least not until further examples within other contexts can provide us with further information. Already at this point it is made clear that each one of the marks presented in the horizontal series has a complex symbolic character, many with cross-cultural connections. This, of course, comes as no surprise as Graeco-Roman Egypt was a centre for cultural syncretism. With multiple potential meanings and possibilities for use it is interesting to find that in addition to the quarries, one (artistic) medium binds these marks together: each mark or symbol is found represented on also magical amulets, bearing with them a message of superstition and magic. The absolute meaning of the symbols as they appear on amulets is still not fully understood, mysterious some would say, but at least scholars can agree in that they were a part of a complex magical system, used for personal protection or as spell binders.
At this early stage of our research we have to
with plates I-III. Society of Biblical Archaeology (1906). This article has explored just a few possibilities. J. 43-39 Haring. & Kammerzell. 19-20 December 2006 (Egyptologische Uitgaven 25). John Ward. Mainz (1980) Legrain. Göttingen (2009) Caminos. Leiden (2009) Jaritz. and by studying Silsila’s quarry marks in more detail. 1: the shrines. W. S. vol. *** Further reading: Andrássy. They may have had both a symbolic and a practical function. P. Strassburg (1915) 111 . (eds. *** Acknowledgements: The article is written with contribution by Dr. but as the project continues the endeavour is to use a wider range of comparative archaeological material. Architektur und Deutung (Archäologische Veröffentlichungen.. & Spiegelberg. London (1963) Gosline. writing and pseudo script from Prehistory to Modern Times (Lingua Aegyptia – Studia Monographica 8). H.. & Kaper.nach den Zeichnungen von Georges Legrain.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t conclude by surrendering to the fact that there is not one single function or meaning. Preiskge. ‘Carian quarry markings on Elephantine Island’.). R. F. Gebel es-Silsilah. ‘Inscriptions in the Quarries of el Hosh’. B. Pictograms or pseudo script? Non-textual identity marks in practical use in Ancient Egypt and elsewhere. but also Silsila’s cultural role as a working site for stone extraction and as a place of worship to which pilgrims came to express their gratefulness to the divine world. Nontextual marking systems. Die Terrassen von den Tempeln des Chnum und der Satet. step by step a pattern takes shape.). Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Kairo 32). and it provides us a better understanding of not only the complex marking system. T. Proceedings of a conference in Leiden. Budka. 17-26.. Ägyptische und griechische Inschriften und Graffiti aus den Steinbrüchen des Gebel Silsile (Oberägypten) . G.. O.. & James. F.. Having a similarity with characters and signs on magical amulets does not exclude the possibility that the quarry marks were used for also other purposes. Elephantine III. Kadmos 31 (1992). being practical or symbolic. that stands out as more convincing than another. (eds.
112 The column of the Temple of Hera. Capo Colonna .
the site has been dedicated to Mar y. From the six th centur y to the present day. However. and is now sacred to Mary of Capo Colonna. This was once a site of many pilgrimages. the goddess of women and fertility. with Greek and Roman archaeological remains and sixteenth century standing monuments. The site has maintained its re ligious impor tance. Capo Colonna is named af ter the column. he massacred many of the Italian tribesmen who had initially sup 113 . It was a major Greek settlement and was the site of Py thagoras’ school. before leaving for Africa from the por t of Crotone. Capo Colonna’s histor y is not Satellite view of Capo Colonna [Credit: NASA] only one of peace and religious contemplation. Before he depar ted. Capo Colonna has been a sacred precinct for over 2. a place steeped in histor y. Whilst many visitors to Italy interested in histor y and archaeology will travel to cities such as Rome or Venice. Calabria. Italy T By Charlotte Booth he following article is a guide to the archaeological site of Capo Colonna in Calabria in the south of Italy. It is a complex site. and the Roman Empire collapsed. and was the epicentre of the large settled Greek communit y. and numerous miracles attributed to her are said to have occurred in the region. Hannibal the Car thaginian General. along the south coast is the town of Crotone (ancient Kroton). Sadly the cit y itself today has little histor y to of fer other than a seventeenth centur y castle and a museum. even af ter the Greek s lef t Crotone.Capo Colonna. the south of Italy has a great deal to of fer. In the region of Calabria. ended his campaigns in the south of Italy. but also death and destruction.000 years and was originally dedicated to Hera Lacinia. the last remaining standing stone of the Greek Temple of Hera Lacinia. but only 11 kms outside of the cit y you will f ind yourself at Capo Colonna.
it is perhaps best to visit the Archaeological Museum of Capo Colonna f irst as there is no information around the site. A lion waterspout from the Temple of Hera The museum provides meaningful informaLacinia tion which can be applied to the archaeological remains outside. and in the Second World War a number of militar y lookouts sur veying the coastline were added and these are still visible today. This massacre took place at Capo Colonna and. 114 .the Cape. he erected two bronze tablets recording his victories over the Romans in the Temple of Hera.lection of votive of ferings and under water ber of architectural items from the Temple f inds from various shipwreck s. as well as an interesting col. This museum is a relatively new addition to the site. The militar y inf luence was maintained centuries later by the construction of the Tower of Nao. in the sea of of Hera itself. When visiting the site.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Archaeological Museum of Capo Colonna por ted him but refused to leave with him for Car thage. There are a num. according to legend. and tells the stor y of the sacred precinct through their interesting collection of archaeological f inds. a for tif ication against foreign invaders.
s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | i t a l y Nineteenth century engraving of the Temple of Hera Lacinia. Kroton [Credit: Wiki Commons] Remains from underwater excavations 115 .
116 The sacred way leading to the Temple of Hera .
in similar st yle to the remaining column at the site. The archaeological site is now a peaceful retreat with beautiful views of the coastline. never attacked by wild animals or from men. This arcade connected a number of rooms and an open cour t yard. and it was constructed at the time of the height of the temple’s popularit y. perhaps associated with this economic function but they are confused and dif f icult to identif y. The majorit y of f inds from this building all date to the four th centur y BCE. To enter the archaeological park . closed in the middle of fertile pastures where shepherds graze their herds especially at night . but it would have been a bustling place. As you enter the archaeological park at the end of the Sacred Way you will see there are numerous remains visible.. Building H is square in shape.. also held an impor tant economic function. She was the Greek goddess 117 . However. separated by a thick forest and tall trees.. There are at least three buildings. as it is the sole column standing from the Temple of Building B is rectangular in shape and is Hera Lacinia. However.. Building H and Building K . when Hannibal was at Capo Colonna he emptied the treasur y at the temple in order to pay for the ships he needed to depar t for Africa.... It is thought this was probably a guest house for visiting dignitaries and pilgrims.. This whole area was originally covered in dense woodland. Building K was known as the Katagogion. labelled as Building B..s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | i t a l y Whilst most of the signs within the museum are written in Italian. there are no information boards to help make sense of it all. and was known as the Hestiatorion and is divided into several rooms. Unfor tunately. It is thought there was an arcade of columns. and are combined with later structures on the site. as well as interesting archaeological remains which stand as a testament to its vibrant and colour ful past.. These are now on display in the museum. The temple. At the far end of the archaeological park is the column of Capo Colonna which is famous throughout the region.” It is hard to envisage this woodland when standing on the site as it is today... there is a language free video which has a computergenerated reconstruction of the Temple of Hera including the positioning of the structural elements displayed in the museum.. dating from the four th centur y BCE. not only with priests and pilgrims but also sailors and merchants who used Capo Colonna as a resting place before continuing on their journeys. Liv y described the area: “A sacred grove. as people deposited their wealth into the “bank ” at the temple in order to protect it from thieves. thought to be the original temple before the f inal structure was built. There are numerous other buildings. and is also dated to the four th centur y BCE and is L-shaped in construction. Archaeological f inds indicate this building was a canteen to provide refreshments to the pilgrims and priests on the site.. and the Sacred Way cut through this to the temple and the sacred buildings. which originally led to the temple precinct of Hera Lacinia. in addition to of fering a religious ser vice to the surrounding area. this area with the column in the distance comprises the sacred buildings associated with the ancient Greek Temple of Hera Lacinia. This is a reconstruction of the Sacred Way. Many ar te facts were discovered here. one follows a white tiled walk way leading into the trees.
a n c i e n t p l a n e t Building H of the archaeological park Building K of the archaeological park [Credit: Wiki Commons] 118 .
The f ishermen believe she will protect their trips out to sea for the coming year. The roof was made of polished marble tiles. warning ships of the approaching coastline. and is accompanied by up to 10.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | i t a l y for the protection of women and fer tilit y. accompanied by f ishing vessels. They therefore believed that it was a power ful piece of ar t. Following the path to the lef t of the column leads to the Church of Mar y of Capo Colonna. star ting at 1am arrives at its destination at dawn. the 11 kms to Capo Colonna and the small church here. it did not consume it. But local quarr ying for the dressed stone to be used in the construction of the castle. hence the name of the site (Cape of Columns). The return is more traditional in this pro cession. the picture is carried by ox.drawn car t. Unfor tunately. The original church was built over the site of a Roman villa. acting as a lighthouse. They tried to set f ire to the picture and. The modern church is much newer but still houses an impor tant image. where rather than returning by sea. creating a covered colonnade. The marble roof tiles ref lected the moonlight. A modern copy of this picture is carried in procession from Crotone.000 pilgrims. with only one nave. and the eaves were peppered with lion headed water spouts. combined with the Roman goddess Juno. depleted the temple until ver y little remained. 119 . who kept it in his house. the patron saint of the Diocese of Santa Severina. Agazio lo Morello. and the furnace and foundation remains can still be viewed to the lef t of the church. it was stolen by the Turk s on one of their many raids of the area in 1519. some on their knees for the duration of the procession. In order to be able to move it and leave the coast. The site was the destination of thousands of pilgrims who lef t votive of ferings for her. There were originally 48 of these columns lining a raised por tico surrounding the temple itself. He only revealed its discover y when he was on his deathbed. During the sunlight the temple would have been visible from miles around. that of the Virgin of Capo Colonna. a combination of centuries of ear thquakes and wars have destroyed much of the temple. and they took it on board their ship. The earliest church at the site is recorded in a six th centur y manuscript called the Book of Miracles and claims there was a sacred image dedicated to St Luke in the church. Each column was over eight metres tall. although in the sixteenth centur y there were still a number of standing columns. Ever y seven years the original picture is used in the procession. the Cathedral in Crotone is the star ting point of the procession that celebrates the ‘Festival of Madonna of Capo Colonna’. As she enters the harbour of Crotone she is greeted by music and f ire work s. However. a Byzantium icon transposed onto canvas brought to Italy in 500 CE. It was then discovered by a local f isherman. However. they were unable to move their vessel once they had the painting loaded. they were forced to throw the picture overboard into the sea. It is a small church. The focus of this festival is the Byzantium image of the Virgin Mar y. but it is an impor tant one in the re gion. Annually on the third Sunday of May. The procession. The picture remains at Capo Colonna until dusk when it is transpor ted back to Crotone by boat. is kept in the Basilica Cathedral of Cro tone. harbour and nobles’ houses in Crotone and the surrounding areas. although it blackened the image. and the festivities are grander than the annual celebrations. The original image.
a n c i e n t p l a n e t Reused elements from the temple in local houses The church of Mary of Capo Colonna [Credit: Wiki Commons] 120 .
s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | i t a l y The Procession of Mary of Capo Colonna. In the 2008 grand festival. which originally had twelve towers. the vision of a woman appeared holding the infant Jesus in her arms. above the remains of the temple. who had been blind since bir th. This for tress is par t of a coastal defence system. Nex t to the Church of Mar y of Capo Colonna is the Torre Nao. Crotone. The nex t grand festival is to be held in 2015. Giullia Vegli. Capo Colonna has been the site of many of the recorded miracles of the Virgin Mar y including in 1519. to protect the 121 . as the originals had been stolen in 1983. the stars on the crown of Mar y in the picture were replaced with diamonds by Gerado Sacco. In 1520 Mar y restored hearing and speech to Giovanni Matteo di Mar tovo and in 1559 she is accredited with restoring sight to a woman in the cit y. She was surrounded by a ver y bright light and a star upon her breast. 2011 followed by the returning pilgrims.
eye view of the Greek and Roman remains which The structure is square in shape with an surround the tower. ing at the views it is easy to see why it was chosen.000 years. leading to a small drawbridge giving access to the third f loor of Whilst perhaps Capo Colonna and Crotone the main structure.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Torre Nao. Af ter the unif ica. ex ternal staircase. including the clear waters of Capo Riz zuto along the coast to the southwest. You will be able to absorb the archaeological f inds from the water sur. although it was completed by the viceroy Parafan Ribeira. which adds another piece to the jigsaw of In 1810 the tower stopped being used as a Italy’s chequered histor y. coast from the Turkish invaders.tranquillit y of a site that has been a sacred rounding the area. although many of these centre for over 2. as well as providing a bird’s. The Torre Nao was constructed in 1568 by the Spanish viceroy Don Pedro de Toledo.you will enjoy in relative solitude. Image courtesy of Brian Billington This tower is not of ten opened to the pub lic. but the bridge gives fantastic views of the coastline. and when lookare now in the museum at the site. you headquar ters for the Guardia di Finanza. 122 . will also enjoy the fantastic views across For a number of years the tower held the the sea. perhaps tion of Italy in 1861 the tower was used as only disturbed by a few dog walkers. and was used by the wonder ful archaeological remains which French Customs system. This drawbridge could may not have the archaeological densit y be raised adding an ex tra level of defence. of Rome or Pompeii it is an interesting site. In addition to the defensive structure.
Dusk at Capo Colonna 123 .
and Puerto Rico. Oliver By James Blake Wiener he Taíno were among the most sophisticated and advanced Pre-Columbian peoples prior to the Voyages of Discovery in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.com/show_family.T h e B e g u i l i n g Ta í n o o f t h e Ancient Caribbean An Interview with Dr. however. T JW the Taíno In this interview. The term.” “tobacco.ethnologue. and trade. I was wondering if you could then redress these misjudgments. Hispaniola. Cuba. While one cannot deny their important place in history as the first indigenous people of the Americas to greet Christopher Columbus. Dr. asp?subid=225-16). José R. Nicaragua. [Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art] JO (1836) and later Daniel Brinton (1871) to refer to the speakers belonging to the large Arawakan family of languages. The early 16th Century . Jamaica. warfare. José R. I would suspect that not many people recognize the Taíno words which litter our vocabulary— “Cuba. Panama. I wanted to begin by asking what you think are the biggest misconceptions people—academic or non-academic—have about the Taíno. Living in the Eastern Caribbean.” and “hurricane”—and that the Taíno had a sophisticated culture characterized by incredible resourcefulness in agriculture. Oliver. was devised in the late 19th Century by philologists Constantine Raffinesque 126 Map of Central America showing the area inhabited by the Taino Indians. James Blake Wiener speaks with Dr. Oliver about these enigmatic people. Perhaps one key misconception about the Taíno lies in the name itself. At a superficial level it seems to refer to ‘a people’. which nowadays is classified within the Northern Maipuran-Caribbean subfamily (see web link http://www. characterized by a homogeneous culture and bounded ethnic group. an area encompassing presentday southern Costa Rica.
non-“Taínos”. Ethnicity. And for that matter. how individuals and groups identify themselves to others and what criteria are deployed to claim or argue membership is complex and fluid. Even the well-known term “lucayo/a” (a compound Arawakan noun: luku = person + kaia = island) is does not designate an ethnic group or a polity: it merely glosses as “islander”. I prefer now to speak of “Tainity” or “Tainoness” to emphasize that the “Indios” identified by the Spanish participated in more dynamic ways in how they. engaged. We probably will never know the terms (ethnonyms) the aborigines in the Greater Antilles used for self-designation. negotiated. as individuals and as whole societies. the material culture that would have been selected.net] Spanish chroniclers never used Taíno in reference to an ethnic or even a linguistic group. or expressed (and sometimes suppressed) identities. can appropriate aspects of Tainoness. from an ample. variable spectrum of social and cultural features form an ample repertoire avail127 . and displayed by natives “Indios” to express ethnic their identity (Tainoness) is quite variable and changeable. but rather referred to the aborigines collectively as “Indios”. Furthermore.‘Taíno’ groups were identified as “Cigüayo” in reference to the men’s distinct hairstyle. or indigenize it. contested. there were non-Arawakan speakers. other non. others.c o n v e r s a t i o n Taino mural by the renowned Puerto Rican artist Miguel Ángel Guzmán. This was what the aborigine in the Bahamas responded when Columbus asked him who was he. contextual and is often a negotiated proposition. In Hispaniola. [Credit: Tribe. nor can one find in the Spanish texts any terms that refer to an ethnic group or polity. much of central to eastern Cuba were not Arawakan speakers. who were labeled (by Taíno/Arawak speakers) as “Macoríx”. It is a myth that only Taíno language (of the Caribbean Maipuran subfamily of Arawakan) was dominant in the Greater Antilles.
traditionally associated with the ancestors of the “Taíno” (Chicoid tradition. like the Island Carib (that is. AD 1000/1200 to AD 1500). La Hueca. Why privilege the so-called Taínos over others in our collective. In southeastern Hispaniola. Given that we know that a large portion of Hispaniola was inhabited by Macoríx groups that did not speak Arawakan (Taíno). 300BC-AD 500). Roderick McIntosh (Yale University) coined the term “reservoir effect” in conceptualizing these issues of identity variability. built-up platform mounds (today eroded into “conical” mounds) and in some areas. Many had a distinct space a rectangular court demarcated with monoliths. as well as enmities. alliances. where the Antillean rubber ball game (or batey) was played. For example. Eyeri. whereas the “Others” were portrayed as unsophisticated or barbarians. Certainly a wide range of commodities circulated throughout the circum-Caribbean and not just between the 128 . it is ironic to see that by-and-large they have disappeared from the modern collective memory of historiography. but not one claims Macoríx or Cigüayo descent! I suspect that one reason might be that the Spaniards (erroneously) described what came to be labeled as “Taíno” (Arawak) as a civilized and sophisticated society. academic memories? There are many modern groups today who actively claim Taíno heritage. Curiously there are two distinct ceramic traditions (going back to AD 700) that coexisted and survived until after the arrival of the Spaniards: the so-called Meillacoid and Chicoid. the tops of elongated hills were artificially leveled for settlement. yet all of these aborigines maintained strong interactions. instead of large plazas framed by earthworks. You mentioned trade. they had smaller plazas but framed by monoliths decorated with petroglyphs. Vieques Island (Hecoid. One can see that architectural as well as other material expressions of “Taíno” identity (especially the objects of political-religious power imbued with a vital force commonly referred to as zemi [cemí]) varied substantially from region to region. the archaeology in the region where the Macoríx were first sighted by the Spaniards. includes sites with large artificial earth ridges framing large plazas.a n c i e n t p l a n e t able to them not just through their tradition (inheritance) but also by their from their social webs that encompass the other’s traditions. What is interesting here is that this region of Macoríx de Abajo was multilingual and multicultural: the non-Arawak (Macoríx) and the Arawak (“Taíno”) live in adjacent settlements within sight of each other. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. and Garifuna). It would not be accurate to say that the “Taíno” were any more or less sophisticated or culturally complex than the Macoríx or any other groups in the Caribbean. the Calina or Calinago. Jadeitite vulture pendant. and thus variously expressed their Taínoness. ridged causeways.
Came as raw materials from what is the Motagua fault running through Guatemala-Mexico. such as yuca (manioc) and arrowroots (Calathea spp. but the sea was as much their landscape as the land was. the Bahamas. These trade networks began to operate with the first colonizers as early as 7600 years ago (from Canímar. Of course. which in fact translates as ‘teehless’ probably in reference to a ‘kernel-less’ corn cob (m(a)[negative] + (a) hi [tooth]+ isi [tip. a number Taíno/Arawak words were certainly incorporated into European languages. but rather integral to their notions of place and geography. The English word canoe is derived from canoa (kanuwa). The circulation of quality gemstones and greenstones. Cuba) but better documented from about 5000 years ago. They were not isolated. even of a whole polity. Granberry and Vescelius (Languages of the Pre-Columbian Antilles. Thus archaeologists like now to speak of a ‘Caribbeanscape’ to emphasize that aboriginal intercommunity networks were multi-vectorial. but also with the neighboring continental areas: raw resources such as nephrite and jadeitite. and –ri mark the gender). There is savannah from sabana. developed. which translates as ‘head of the house’ or head of the lineage. or casabe) and guava (guayaba). 2004) have published a useful study on ancient Caribbean languages. why did the Taíno believe they originated JW 129 . As for language. and French to name a few. For example. of course. which literally translates without trees. The root -sikua. and the Virgin Islands). another is hurricane from huracán. Hispaniola. Instead.] or –te [noun designator]) means). as modern continental landlubbers might think. the Caribbean Sea was not a barrier. different commodities and materials were emphasized. developed much later. that is we are ‘peoples’.means ‘house’ (ka. Can you briefly explain each and then weigh in with your own opinion? Furthermore. Much earlier seem to be the circulation of edible/useful plants. There are two distinct schools of thought on the genesis of the Taíno people and of how they migrated to the Greater Antilles (Cuba. such as wild avocado and maize. And Hispanicized word maíz or Anglicized maíz derives from Taíno mahisi and mahite (ProtoArawak reconstruction: *marisi).prefix means ‘having/with’ and suffixes -li. other networks. thus changed. One last example.). so when they asked the natives for this new crop’s name. Through the centuries. A wide range of plants originated from Central America. whose root is bar[a]bacoa. animals such as the manatee (manatí). all of which indicates shifts in economic as well as social alliance networks. the exotic gemstone-quality materials were largely defunct by around AD 500. and seafaring was key in shaping the nature and character of the Antillean peoples. such as Spanish. most Taíno terms borrowed by English or Spanish refer to things for which there was no counterpart or analogue in Europe. I think that Spaniards were shown a cob with no kernels. for the West Indian aborigines. One popular word in English is the term BBQ (barbecue). English (via sailors). they got the right answer: the ‘toothless’ cob! Perhaps the most widespread is the word for chief. whereas aventurine had to be traded from the Guyana highlands. Alabama Press. The term survives today as kasikua-li and kasikua-ri among modern Arawak speakers of Guiana (whose ethnonym is lokono or lukkunu. Puerto Rico. most of the surving Taíno-derived words refer to plants (or their edible products). Jamaica. the patterns of circulation (between islands and continental areas). however.c o n v e r s a t i o n islands. Thus. or as toponyms. arounbd 400 BC. such as cassava (kasabi. cacique (kasike). and from South America. or the wooden-grill natives used for roasting fish or meat.
was the result of a major population movement from the Orinoco Valley. argued that the Taíno. circa AD 300600. 2400 BC) archaeological tradition that evolved in the Orinoco River known as Saladoid. Perhaps unconsciously. Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico. conquered and quickly replaced the original inhabitants (he called Archaic. Rouse argued that the Saladoid. for example were reached 200 and even 400 years earlier than other islands in the Antilles. They were also responsible for introducing an Arawakan-Northern Maipuan language (ancestral to Taíno). low-tech (no agriculture. although we now know they did not so by jumping from one island to the next. These “South Americans” belonged to an ancient (ca. Guiana and Trinidad.a n c i e n t p l a n e t White-on-red painted saladoid bowl from Guadeloupe. Montserrat. who lacked village-level organization and pottery has its origins in the description of the Spanish of certain groups they saw in western Cuba. they had agriculture and ceramic technology. we now prefer to call them Pre-Arawak). Rouse envisioned the invaders as being characterized by a much more “developed” civilization (i. archaeologically identified by the Chicoid cultural tradition. much in the way as Gordon Childe had to explain the pre-history of Europe in his early work. By 400 BC the migration of Saladoid groups reached Puerto Rico. [Credit: Florida Museum of Natural History] from caves on the island of Hispaniola? One school. where the cultural superiority of invaders could only result in the quick defeat and/or assimilation of the “defenseless” local. that is. The prevalent image of the nomadic huntergatherers. and had a sedentary lifestyle-villages) that contrasted with the Archaic inhabitants regarded as nomadic (no villages). who they named . native groups. in effect. Rouse’s Caribbean pre-Columbian history was colored by models of imperial conquest. no pottery). in a short 130 JO time all the local “Archaic” peoples were either biologically exterminated and/or culturally assimilated by the dominant Saladoid culture. and in sum simpler band societies. best articulated by the late Irving Rouse (Yale University). which spread out toward the coast of Venezuela..e.
and in the Guacayrima Peninsula in southwestern Haiti. But since the term contains the Arawakan (Taíno) root ‘çiba’ (pronounced “seebah”. that is. meaning ‘stone’). Rather. This calcareous cave decorated with pictographs and petrolglyphshas an early Pre-Arawak archaeological component. to him the Ciboney appeared to be less hierarchically organized than the Taíno “newcomers” were. who only survived by appropriating what nature offered. Ciboney. in fact. For centuries the “troglodyte” imagery survived: in the first decades of the 20th Century. of stasis. Interestingly. the term Ciboney is clearly not an ethnonym. who had (in the past) migrated into Cuba from Haiti. as used in the early Spanish chroniclers. seems to have referred to any and all non-Arawakan groups of Cuba. on the veracity of the existence of troglodytes in Guacayarima. not cave dwellers. the perception of cultural ossification. as cave dwellers. eventually the word Ciba/o-[n]ey became associated with “stone people” and hence with the notion of cave-dwelling hunter-gatherers. he talks about a native society that lived among the Taíno in Cuba. SE Dominican Republic. those who were not original or derived from Hispaniola. Like in the case of Taíno. were neither slaves nor captives of the Taíno/Arawak. They were described as troglodytes. Bishop Bartholomew de La Casas engaged in a debate with the Spanish official Royal Chronicler. I speculate that it likely referred to 131 .c o n v e r s a t i o n Cueva de Berna. If we actually follow Las Casas’ descriptions of the Ciboney when he lived in Cuba. among these apparently marginal groups still persisted. the Defender of the Indians. Bishop Las Casas argued that these people were. Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés. but a generic name given by Arawakan (Taíno) to ‘Others’ in Cuba. [Credit: Picasa/Dominican Republic 2010] Guanahacabey or Guanahacabibe. It was a catch-all label. but aborigines who hid in caves fleeing from the battles and conflict raging between Spaniards and natives.
all subsequent cultural development leading to the formation of a Taino culture stemmed from the The key point is that Rouse and other archaeologists Saladoid cultures. From there it eventually expanded westward to Hispaniola. As the Saladoid expanded into at the time. The expanding (via fission) daughter groups would Nonetheless. akin to anthropological and archaeological works was used biology’s founders’ effect. The parental (ancestral) culture: they are all of the same Archaic groups living in the westernmost region of Saladoid tradition. Cuba and the Bahamas and and their immediate ancestors. however. according to earlier scholars (including Irving Rouse). nevertheless. Cuba at the time of Columbus. Ciboney in most of thre earlier only carry part of the parental cultural traits. Further changes Rouse argument continues: since the Saladoid from about AD 900 led to other traditions emerging migration resulted in a population replacement from this Ostionoid background. term Cibao in Hispaniola means stone [hill] region. be closely troglodytes that had ancestors extending well back related to other local cultures that share the same into the Archaic period. remained in an By around AD 400-500. among which is and the rapid assimilation of the Pre-Arawak the Chicoid that represent the direct ancestors of (“Archaic”) into the dominant Saladoid culture. eastward into the Virgin Islands. and the Saladoid tradition gave arrival Spaniard arrested the “inevitable” westward way to the Ostionoid cultural tradition on Puerto expansion of the civilization brought by the Taíno Rico. Jamaica. they experience cultural divergence and differentiation. then the historic Taíno in the Greater Antilles. So each island had a local to classify an Archaic people ( “stone peoples”) a material culture (Rouse used mainly ceramic style to noun that reinforced the false imagery of surviving define culture) that could. much like the different islands (as far north as Puerto Rico). argued that the cultural and historical 132 . even the Lithic Age. major changes Archaic state (hunter gatherer) simply because the began to take place.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Manioc or yuca roots [Credit: David Monniaux/Wiki Commons] all people who lived in the (stone) hills.
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Reconstruction of a Taíno village in Cuba. [Credit: Michal Zalewski /Wiki Commons]
roots of the Taíno can be traced in a single lineage going back to the Saladoid. In this view the preArawak (Archaic), fully assimilated, had nothing to contribute to the emergence of the Ostionoid and the later historic Taíno. In the Lesser Antilles, this process of cultural divergence from a Saladoid ancestry led to a different cultural tradition (than the Ostionoid of the Greater Antilles). Archaeologists call it Troumassoid (after Troumassé, site), eventually developing into Suazoid by around AD 1200. In the last 15-20 years, however, archaeological data has come to refute some of these views and new data has substantially modified our current understanding of Caribbean pre-Columbian or precolonial history. First there is clear-cut evidence that a number of pre-Arawakan groups had invented or developed pottery technology independently of the Saladoid in Puerto Rico, and of the (later) Ostionoid traditions in Hispaniola and Cuba. This technological innovation occurred several centuries, and in some instances a millennium, prior to the Saladoid tradition reached the West Indies or the Ostionoid expanded out of Puerto Rico and the
Virgin Islands. Secondly, paleobotanical studies, especially starch residue analysis, of the foodprocessing lithic implements used by Pre-Arawakan groups have yielded evidence of both domesticated and wild plants such as maize (Zea mays), common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), manioc or yuca (Manihot esculenta), sweet potato or batata (Ipomoea batatas), and two kinds of arrowroot or yautía (Xanthosoma saggitifolium, X. violaceum). Among the wild edibles identified are the marunguey and guáyiga (Zamia, portoricensis, Z. amblyphyllidia) that store starchy carbohydrates in their underground stem (not a rootcrop; the gruya or achira (a tuber; Canna sp.), the New World yam or ñame (Dioscorea spp.) and corozo palm seed (Acrocomia media). It has become clear that many pre-Arawak groups were not only gardeners but also managed forest plant resources. Several of these edible plants were introduced from Central and South America to the islands well before the expansion of Arawakan populations. By around 2000-1500 BC, they were an integral part of a wide-spectrum diet, complemented by fishing and hunting. Some pre-Arawak sites also show complexity in other ways.
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Large decorated three pointed stone (Ostionoid) from Puerto Rico.
At Angostura (starting ca. 4500 BC) site, in the north coast of Puerto Rico, archaeologists have shown that the settlement evolved and grew in situ for several millennia, indicating a much more sedentary rather than nomadic lifestyle. So much so, that in some occupation areas human-made or anthropogenic soil had developed, what archaeologists call Neotropical Dark Earth. (In the Brazilian Amazon, for example, this soil is known as terra preta.) Such an anthropogenic soil can only develop through a sustained, prolonged human occupation. The estuarine-maritime resources were protein-rich and as environmental conditions changed, the inhabitants were successful in adapting to these changes. Nearby, sediment cores from around a nearby lagoon demonstrate that around establishment of Angostura, forest/grassland fires peaked beyond what would expected from natural fires, indicating that inhabitants such as Angostura were deforesting areas for cultivation (slash-andburn). Microbotanical remains of maize found in the sediment cores lend support to the idea that some Pre-Arawak groups were, in fact, farmers. Furthermore, not only in Angostura, but at other sites, such as Maruca in the south coast of Puerto Rico, have yielded evidence of burial grounds, which suggests a close link between ancestors and the settlement, along with more complex notions of territoriality.
Perhaps the most important evidence that changed our views on the origin of the Ostionoid, Chicoid and Meillacoid, the key traditions ancestral to the Taíno, Macorix, Lucayo and Cigüayo (and, in my view, the Ciboney also) is the vastly increased number of radiocarbon dates enhancing our control of absolute chronology. In Puerto Rico, for example, we can now demonstrate that the local Pre-Arawak are not only much earlier than Rouse estimated (4,500> BC, not 1000 BC), but more importantly that pre-Arawak sites continued for over 800 years after the arrival of the Arawak (i.e, the local Saladoid and Huecoid traditions), surviving into at least AD 400. Rouse’s argument of the cultural superiority and domination over the Pre-Arawak, of the latter’s total assimilation or extinction, cannot be supported given that these populations co-existed for 800 years! New research shows that, in fact, what Rouse defined as the emerging, early Ostionoid cultures in the Greater Antilles, is the result of a complex and selective process of interaction between the preArawak, Saladoid and Huecoid groups (Arawaks). In anthropological terms, the ethnogenesis of the Ostionoid cultures is not a linear divergence froma single common ancestor, but a process of Creolization (transculturation, transvaluation, and syncretism) of at least three distinct cultural traditions.
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Chicoid (Taíno) shell guaízas from Dominican Republic.
Let me give you a few examples. The famous highly decorated and sculptured three-pointed stones, so emblematic of “Taíno art” have their origin in Pre-Arawak groups, where these were miniature, triangular, undecorated specimens. The Saladoid (Arawak) groups throughout the Caribbean adopted this triangular icon via contacts with Pre-Arawak groups, whereas the Huecoid groups (probably Arawakan-speakers too, largely contemporaneous with the Saladoid) did not. Here is an instance where the three-pointer was adopted from Pre-Arawak (Archaic) by Saladoid groups and which became an inherited tradition that evolved into a central feature of Taíno politics and religion, as these triangular figures were imbued by cemí (sweetness), a vital force that rendered the icons as powerful personages −so much for the superiority and dominance of Saladoid culture! After AD 900 or so (middle to late Ostionoid) the miniature three-pointed became much larger and decorated. It seems that the specific identity of the personage depicted became an important element to represent and display in the figure. They evolved from faceless (generic) icons to specific personages. Another example comes in the form of the guaíza artefacts. The term comes from the Taíno/Arawak
waísiba, meaning both ‘my face’ and ‘my living soul’ (in contrast to opía, ‘soul of the non-living’ or the dead). At the time of European Contact, only the chiefs (caciques) or elites (nitaíno) were entitled to wear the guaíza (i.e., their soul) on their chest, as a necklace pendant (or also in an armband, belt, or forehead). The ‘face/soul masks’ are first found in Saladoid assemblages, but not in Pre-Arawak or Huecoid ones, suggesting that this was inherited by the Ostionoid directly from the Saladoid. These iconic “face masks” would become an important instrument of chiefly power, used by caciques to establish far-flung political alliances throughout the Caribbean. A different example pertains to the large skeletal stone heads also emblematic of “Taíno art”. These evolved from miniaturized prototypes (pendants) found in Huecoid assemblages, but not in either Pre-Arawak or Saladoid contexts. Both Huecoid and Saladoid ceramics include ceramic bowls (but in different styles) with two spouts used for inhaling the cohoba powder, a powerful hallucinogen (Anadenanthera peregrina), implying the later Ostionoid and historic Taíno cohoba ceremony was an ancient Arawakan tradition that, thus far, seems not to have been part of the Pre-Arawak cultural
repertoire (although this conclusion may change in the future. Center: A Huecoid skeletal head made of serpentinite. of course. negotiation. Mario Mattioni and Irving the new arrivals. and Pre-Arawak Ortoiroid groups did the aboriginal inhabitants. Much of the archaeological America overwhelmed the original inhabitants was evidence for this was gradually built by the likes overstated. native residents and and 70s of Ripley Bullen. from South Antillean islands. He strongly felt that his remit was about cultures. and Froleich requires a more nuanced understanding of social Rainey and culminating with the work in the 1960s dynamics between the local. Saladoid or Huecoid.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Left: Miniature Saladoid ‘skeletal head’ made of shell. especially in Hispaniola and Cuba. I am afraid that some colleagues critical of Rouse’s work sometimes conflate culture and society. Clearly culture and society are not synonyms. all the evidence points toward a multi-cultural environment of selective exchange. whereas the Saladoid lithic technology followed a different protocol of production.e. he acknowledge these as diffusion. as paleobotanical research advances). But Rouse was unconcerned with the social dynamics or underpinnings of how ‘diffusion’ was effected. The presumption that a migrate from Trinidad and Venezuela into the superior civilization. Finally. during these several centuries of coexistence that contributed significantly to the ethnogenesis of the varied Ostionoid cultures that led to the eventual rise of Taínoness in parts of the Greater Antilles. Migration does not archaeologists today: groups bearing a Saladoid always lead population replacement nor to the tradition did migrate from northeastern South inevitable cultural and/or biological demise of all America. generation can be criticized for their over-emphasis on migration and population replacements and That migrations did take place. is not contested by any history of the Caribbean. borrowing cultural features between Pre-Arawak and Saladoid groups. Migration is a complex process that of Jesse Walter Fewkes. the social implications (i. Rouse did not ignore the fact Rouse to name a few.. Rouse argued that if one wishes address research questions about social dynamics one cannot use his cultural historic (normative) approach. a legacy that continued into Ostionoid and later cultural traditions. one that did not survive into later times. In sum. ethnogenesis) of diffusion he left for others to address. Right: A Chiciud (Taíno) skeletal head made of ignbeous rock. but they should not be confused. as Rouse and his for their far too normative approach to the culture contemporaries argued. Sven Lóven. they are related epistemological concepts. as it was specifically devised to address problems of culture not social Irving Rouse and other archaeologists of his processes. the protocol (chaine opératoire) for lithic tool production was adopted by the Huecoid cultural groups entirely from the Pre-Arawak. or even mimicry. that there were processes of interaction leading to 136 .
In sum. abotic context. over-predation. only tangentially explored or document. the world how smart is archaeology today… I only But since these earlier culture-centered archaeologi. such as hurricanes. as a dynamic part of the Caribbean.wonder what the next generations will have to say cal studies. It is our task to build upon. We have as well situated humans and their interact with the Caribs of the Lesser Antilles or the societies as well as their cultures within a biotic and Guanajatabey and Ciboney people of Cuba? If so. volcanism or sea-level changes or human-induced. refine and. commented rather extensively on the Guanahatabey etc. to name just a few. correct A rarely preserved example Ostionoid/ their legacies. Did they you will). I say this because there is a as passive carriers of cultural traits (norms reflected gathering trend (I am at fault sometimes too) in this by artifact types or modes) distributed through generation to unfairly “demonize” the achievements space and time (Rouse’s cultural chronology). Rouse. a Hispaniolan chief. such as forest pre-Columbian and early Colonial periods. to explore questions about their resilience. and Bullen. at least from my perspective. in the face of environmental changes. There is excellent evidence for intense or lack of. When Christopher Columbus first engaged in diplomatic relations with Gaucanagarí. if with the other peoples in the Caribbean. such Colonial periods. there was a notorious gift JW JO 137 . yes.Columbian (late Ostionoid tradition) and early ed by the earlier generations of archaeologists. have gone from merely tracking (or iden. not to create “straw-men” to show Chicoid cohoba inhaler. are now important questions that were.what was the nature of such exchanges? scape. to of the past generations of archaeologists. as Rouse and Bullen. I already fires.and Ciboney in the previous question.of the achievements of this decidedly more posttifying) these migrations in terms of human groups modern generation. historical ecol. interaction among diverse communities in be these natural. biotic resource management. the advances of my and younger generations of archaeologists is only thanks to the groundwork laid by the likes of Rainey. Human-environmental changes. a hallucinogen.c o n v e r s a t i o n Huecoid effigy bowl for inhaling cohoba. for the the guaíza (“face/soul mask”) example of late Premost part. Let me take ogy. asking more pointed questions about the social I have always wondered the extent to dynamics entailed in this process of expansion and which the Taíno maintained relations about the social mechanisms of inheritance and transmission (or ethnogenesis and Creolization.
We find examples in the Virgin Islands. family through affinal (marital) relations. including glass beads and. animals associated with darkness and nighttime. I will be you alliance-building. To reciprocate. known as guaitiao (a mutually binding pact of friendship and alliance). when we meet again. especially with back to their homeland. involved gifting your own name to the other individual and vice versa. like the case of Guacanagarí divisible person (what anthropologists call a noted earlier. by Guadaloupe natives. etc. we also know that in such reciprocal acts.a n c i e n t p l a n e t exchange between the two parties recorded by Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas. First described by Malinowski. the Kula provided the basis for Marcel Mauss to develop his famous theory of “The Gift” (reciprocity). are found in the Windward Islands embedded in complexes belonging to the Suazoid or late Troumassoid traditions (seemingly pre-Contact). his practice was not unique feature of the so-called name (guaitiao) and his women (in martial alliance) “Caribs” of the Lesser Antilles. with Taíno designs are. as a contrast to the soul of the non-living. the other executed on orders of Caonabó. shell. well beyond their individual bodies. widely distributed. Thus. ceramic. trade and exchange between and you will be me. but actually had given him his living soul. not only the guaíza was exchanged. dating to after AD 1000/1200. Dominica and as far south in the Grenadines.). well beyond the Hispaniola heartland of ‘tainity’. But what Columbus did not realize was that Guacanarí had gifted not only a ‘face’ mask. As it turns out Guacanagarí claimed that two of his wives or women of his lineage had been kidnapped. The shell guaízas. For example. a pair of gloves and redfelt hat. Guacanagarí gifted Columbus his guaíza made of cotton textile with gold eye-mouth and earspools. it would seem to obviously is a mechanism to extend his (or her) have been a more generalized action undertaken persona and power through a wide network of by many different groups under particular socioalliances with ‘Others’ or. whereas Gaucanagarí had ambitions to increase his political power against Caonabó. names) and persons (women as brides) circulated widely in space that is not unlike the well-known example of the Kula Ring in the Trobriand islands. in order to rule his men. Moreover. Guacanagarí’s favorite gift. I described the bare essentials of the exchange mechanisms through which certain valuable things (guaízas. recorded by the alliance could and did change. must become a partible. natives of the Greater and Lesser Antilles did occur since ancient times. so that It would seem then that the social mechanism of from this point on. Anguilla. This exchange had the aim to establish a mutual political alliance. of bringing them into his political contexts. Marie Galante. textile). men and women kidnapped from Boriquén (Puerto go hand-in-hand with the exchange of faces/living Rico) were found in Guadeloupe by Columbus and souls. elements of Taínoness (souls/ guaízas) were to be apprehended and embeded into non-Arawakan groups. The kidnapping of women strangers or foreigners. Columbus gave him various things. possibly ancestors of the Island Carib groups (Calinago. Giving his living soul (guaíza). they begged the Spaniards to take them and maintain alliance networks. These chiefs thus became ‘extended persons’ (to use anthropologist Alfred Gell’s term). not surprisingly. In other words. Munn and many others. Strathern. stone. Eyeri. 138 . a parallel but inverted to the ordinary time/space domain (of the dead). The “Taíno” situated the living soul in the human face. leading to subsequent refinements by Godelier. the cacique. The latter. Montserrat. although infrequent in the archaeolohgical record. but just as often brides and the personal names or titles. Taíno Spaniards among aborigines (not all were “Taíno”). which was (often) represented by the skull of the deceased or its avatars: owls or bats. It turns out that guaízas were made of various materials and combinations of materials (wood. But political and other forms of These wives and name exchanges. one remained captive. Columbus needed the support of local chiefs for his plans of colonization and the exploitation of gold sources in the Cibao. Antigua. clearly suggests that this aggressive dividual person). an important cacique of the Maguana region of Hispaniola. Some of these.
Far right column. blanks) beads. the identification of Caribs (cannibals) in Spanish texts has little to do with linguistic. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century and reassessed in the famous De Iuire Belli (1539) and later pronouncements (in De Indis) by Fray Francisco de Vittoria (his real name: Francisco de Arcadia y Compludo). barite. amethyst.c o n v e r s a t i o n A variety of gemstone-quality btracian-like beads from La Hueca site. while in Montserrat and Antigua were major centers for the manufacture of carnelian beads. but ought not to be portrayed as the “Carib-as-cannibal savages” (caribes. carnelian. Whereas one island produced evidence of all the stages of manufacture of. amethyst or carnelian (waste. for example. The aborigines of Guadeloupe were likely Island Carib-speakers (a mix of Calinago/Carib and Arawak/Eyeri). first column. in other islands only the finished beads are found. caníbales) that the Spaniards constructed to legally justify slave raiding. there existed a widespread. in the 16th century. and even turquoise. and in even more intensely re-examined by Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas in both his Brevíssima Relación (1552) and Apologética Historia de Las Indias (not fully printed until the late 19th century). This legalistic argument was first crystalized in the philosophical-theological writings of St. in the case of the complete specimens. top specimen: jadeitite (material likely from Motagua in Central America) Indeed. from about 200 BC or so. Undoubtedly other items were traded in exchange for the finished beads. cultural or ethnic identity. Their presence there may be the result of war booty (hence. Grenada and La Hueca (Vieques) both seem to have been centers for the manufacture of amethyst beads. I mentioned already nephrite. Vieques island. many exotic to the Caribbean archipelago. ritual decapitation of a powerful enemy icon?). engaging members 139 . This was a micro-lapidary trade network ranging from Puerto Rico to Grenada during early ceramic age (400 BC –AD 400). truly CircumCaribbean trade network of gemstone-quality materials. middle specimen: aventurine bead (material likely from Brazilian uplands). In any event. jaeditite. but their presence could also be the result of emulation (mimicry) or alliance exchanges. aventurine. but with establishing the legal foundation of a ‘just war” to enslave diverse aboriginal groups. not just from the Lesser Antilles. that the Spaniards called “just war”. But recall that in the early period. Guadaloupe has yielded a few large Chicoid (Taino) three-pointed stone cemís. one of which whose head is missing (purposefully decapitated?).
the Spanish would However. and whereas at other times (and places) their exploi. they encountered societies with a different sort of much like fishing in deep sea waters had been a sociopolitical.a different sort from writers such as Oviedo. such as Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés. say the these kingdoms organized and governed? Also did Muiska (Chibcha) of Colombia. they were generally Quickly. over the many centuries. if there was any at all. Some archaeologists have could and did become chiefs too). albeit not all Saladoid or Huecoid sites yielded evidence of such exotic micro-lapidary materials.alliance) or the post-Classic Maya in Yucatán.a n c i e n t p l a n e t were impressed by what they experienced or saw in the Caribbean. The Taíno.The contrast became much more pronounced when tation was likely to be regarded as “common right”. of the sisted in post-Saladoid times was the exploitation of nitaíno class as akin to noblility. economic and religious structure. faded quickly. and did not escape his own Eurocentric prejudices when commenting on Amerindians.that seemed to them to have analogies with the ing and other times contracting. did have a political system ished products have changed. sometimes expand. islands) also in Spain: so they speak of some chiefs being like changed. common right (akin to the ius gens/gentes concepts such as the Mexica (represented by the Aztec triple of late Antiquity) until quite recently in human his. Antigua. and the location of feudal-monarchical system they were familiar with the trading network of partners (sites.speakers in Hispaniola. jasper. the Inca or the the Taíno kingdoms of the ancient Caribbean exhibit Aztec empires were regarded as much simpler and rigid social hierarchies or a clear division of labor farthest removed from what they would regard as a between the sexes? sophisticated civilization. and after the Enlightenment. Oviedo. of naboría class various species of flint. the island or island groups to which the find as illogical or nonsensical the rules of succession Long Island materials were exported seem to have to the office of the cacique or cacica (since females changed through time. JW JO 140 . however. as these were not noted that the exploitation rights of such resources based on rules they were familiar with. albeit in a fuzzy and confusing products.kings (rey. relative to. especially during the of both the Saladoid and Huecoid traditions. again. several of the exotic materials leave to no doubt that their raw sources had to be obtained and procured from Central and South America. It is instructive If one reads the Spanish chronicles and to realize just how many of the early 16th Century texts carefully. although his were of This network of exotic Huecoid/Saladoid microlapi. or captives. they could see at work hierarchical structures that echoed their own experience in the Mediterranenan When the Spanish arrived in the Taíno (empires) and a native tribute system that resonated heartland of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico with the Iberian feudal and monarchical apparatus. At the same time. So the initial admiration. even Las Casas. in the late fifteenth century. There tory. Other exchange systems began to arise and involve other kinds of materials and finished They all recognized.think we can talk of admiration as such. that is the Arawakan native nature and geographic spread of materials and fin. reina) or lesser kings (reyezuelos). was also man of his times. An example of a trade network that per. I don’t dary trade came to a close in the first couple of cen. turies AD. How were scale of complexity. but as for the native’s social and political organization. his Hispano-centric prejudices are all too evident. and chert materials fitting the model of servants or in some cases slaves from major quarry sources in Long Island. Obviously. the Defender of the Indians. the polities and cultures of the Circumimpressed with the political and social organization Caribbean region were rated on sliding Eurocentric of the Taíno kingdoms (caciques in Taíno). were likely to have been strictly controlled by locals. even the most prejudiced prejudices of Eurocentrism were re-invented during of writers. the manner. And. that the “Taíno”. which means that some communities seem to have been left out of this network. reserved his most positive impressions for the Caribbean islands’ plants and animals.
in my view.the Spaniards it was either irrelevant or a non-issue. Moreover. do archaeologists and natives were forced to work for the Spaniards). and via the facing the house (in Puerto Rico) and has more execution and/or imprisonment of many chiefs and recently been extended to include the community preferred heirs to the office that provoked a crisis that lived around such courtyards or plazas (e. (1540s) the Inca.c o n v e r s a t i o n Cuba and Puerto Rico around 1511. for ‘curing’ syphilis). comments one way or the other speaks volumes on the question of admiration. native rebellions and resistance continued for a long time (in Puerto Rico well after 1520. the Crown ball games (but using a paddle) were also played in encouraged marriages between Spanish and elite the Orinoco Valley (the Otomac groups described nitaíno or chiefs (properly baptized!) as a means to by the Jesuits in the 17th Century) and beyond. or the Mexica (Aztec) in the 1520s. there were pockets of armed resistance still going on). including games that were enacted in were forbidden by the Crown (although they were southwestern United States. they scholars know of its primary social purpose? appreciated the medicinal knowledge that behiques (shamans) had of plants (e. is that the Taíno political The name batey. in of succession among natives. as a means to re-organize native labor under the Does the Taíno batey share similarities with the Spanish system of encomienda or repartimiento games of Mesoamerican peoples—the Mayan pitz (in what they called demoras. especially when they contrasted it to the lost in the mist of history. organization of the Caribbean aborigenes were have very ancient. But perhaps the reason for the scant admiration for Taíno.g. derived from tabonuco tree) and the game itself. or the just was adopted. far too alien to the Spaniards expectations of but whose very ancient history of differentiation what an “sophisticated” society or polity ought and divergence through the Americas that is now to be. at the height of colonialism. political systems (much less their religious beliefs). For on the value or worthiness of the native socio. I suspect that originally 19th century. lock-stock-and-barrel. The noun has the Taíno word for chief ) had in essence collapsed survived today to refer to the clean. and a bit later highly unlikely. or periods when the or Aztec ollamaliztli? Also. referred system in Hispaniola (based on chiefdoms. for that matter. deep roots.. and tied into false notion of what “progress” in evolutionary terms meant and on how it was “measured”. the political and social feeling that rubber ball games.g. Oliver. The rather rapid The Spanish texts do not express much admiration collapse of the native political systems already or. their key objective was to secure and impose their Much more we can find about their views on how (“superior”) life-ways so they could lead life of riches. which the to both the rubber ball (made from the sap of the Spanish coined the word cacicazgos. The same occurred in the Dominican Republic). enforce their authority over the native subjects from While there differences in detail with the Native within. American lacrosse. Of course. could be tolerated so long as they facilitated the colonization Dr. according to Las Casas. the natives were to be harnessed and reorganized as a gentleman (caballero) ought to. a common origin. In other words. similar rubber common enough). in all their variants. but later by the 1520s. Early on in Hispaniola. what native elements or structures. from the Maya “discovered” domains of the post-Classic Maya or the Aztecs is pure speculation and. swept courtyard by 1508 through war and disease. mixed race marriages ball games. if any.. I have a In the final analysis. there are striking similarities as well with the batey game in the Caribbean. the old expectations of the gilded cities of the Gran Khan idea that the batey or Antillean rubber ball-game (as rendered by Marco Polo’s writings). JW JO 141 . or to conquer politically under the emerging colonial structure and new souls for Christianity. the Taíno played a ceremonial process: so they respected the caciques’ power game with a rubber ball called batey. Yes there are many similarities with the even though all despised what shamans stood various kinds of Mesoamerican rubber for.
For example. by ceremonially regulating aggression and competition. There was no hoop like in the Mesoamerican versions. Another important feature of the batey game lies in its economic function. men vs.a n c i e n t p l a n e t View of the largest ball court of the civic-ceremonial center of Caguana. They were. gender. but we do not know the rules for betting. besides being a sporting event. were placed in bets. [Credit: Alessandro Cai/Wiki Commons] the term batey. warriors comprised opposing teams but also there were mixed teams. A point (victory) was achieved by the opponents when the ball went out of play (offside) or the ball was allowed to rest motionless. bachelors vs. since we know that a wide range of goods. such as unmarried vs. perhaps children had yet other rules. The distribution of . married women. Perhaps this was a mechanism for what today one might call “upward socio-economic mobility”. gender and status of the players in a team. competitive sports with sets of rules according to gender. but women could also use their knees. referred primarily to the court area where the game was played. Puerto Rico. It ritually controlled 142 the tensions that normally arise within and between communities. means that “winners take all” (hence. it may well be that one could not bet against the “home” team even if the opponent had a better winning record. including human lives (as some Spaniards would find out). the games were played in rectangular courts between two teams of variable number of players. such as married men and women in both teams. Interestingly teams were constituted by different social criteria that reflected age. for example. the various social age. Betting. statuses considered in composing the team are reflections of the social roles played out in everyday life and which can often come into tension and competition (as. married men. hence. men could only use their hips to hit the ball. women. In any event. between genders or between warriors of different factions or towns). sometimes up to 20 and 30 a side. and warriors vs. no reciprocity). The central plaza is in the background. unlike the exchange through reciprocity. The economic implications betting in ball games have yet to be fully explored from an archaeological perspective. indeed. The batey was also a ritual and ceremonial act.
Thus in this Cohoba Judeo-Christian concept of God or Yahvé. the by Peter Martyr of Anghiera’s Decadas de Novo Orbe. The Sotomayor case is a in Christopher Columbus’ archives in Spain was good example of how ball games had many layers integrated into his son’s (Ferdinand Columbus’) of significance. was enacted in order to publication and this is one of your areas of expertise. Cristóbal de Sotomayor. “Yukiyú” is a poor (modern) transcription of a back after three days to ascertain that Sotomayor term originally recorded by Fray Ramón Pané in about was indeed. the major island-wide uprising of the caciques of and in epsitolar form by Columbus himself. It seems that the complete document Spaniards in January. In fact. I should say that it is not quite along with his nitaíno advisors. determine which team of warriors would carry out the raid. described in was largely determined by the decomposition of his Relación (ca. before the game itself. They exchanges. essence. So the three 1497 in Hispaniola. had consulted the accurate to talk about Taíno ‘gods’ and cemí spirits to determine if the Spaniards were ‘godesses’ as they have the dangeor of introducing ordinary human beings and thus experience death in Judeo-Christian theological connotations. to name Boriquén. a lay Jeronimite hermit. Castilian was lost. there was a notorious case where a on cemís or icons for benevolence. warriors would carry-out the raid and the execution. was the cacique of the future he envisioned through ‘Ya’ means benign spirit. areíto. dead (his body corrupted). I argued. the most complete version of the means for betting goods. The raid succeeded and. they rotted too. The original document written in ceremonial acts in sequence. led by Agüeybana “The Brave” against the the key ones. not “immortal”. creative vital force. 1497) ‘Yocahú’as a a cemí being that the flesh (about three days in the humid tropics). Parts of the original were copied and bate. This to celebrate the death of Sotomayor. The key Ceremony. test of the Spaniard’s mortality confirmed. concept of cemí. That Fray the same way. but this manuscript is also lost. but experienced death like ordinary humans. even though being was briefly named by Pané as Yaya (who had the actual killing had yet to take place: so assured a son Yayael) a term that translates supreme spirit. led to Bartolomé de Las Casas in his Apologética Historia. who is immortal and had They were unsure if the Spanish were the same not beginning is not precisely comparable to the species of beings as they were. beyond merely sporting events or a Historia del Almirante. This term among the modern Lokono (or followed by a ball game. a great dance the Greater Antilles had a concept analogous to a and chant fiesta (known as an areíto) was ordered supreme being. the cohoba. 1511. Following the cohoba. worshipped a pantheon of gods and goddesses— Yukiyu and Atabey most prominently—and relied In Puerto Rico. The areíto was then of spirits. JW JO 143 . Can you explain ball game was ordered by cacique Agüeybana “The the importance of the cemís as well as comment on Brave” just prior to a raid planned to ambush and kill their complex role within Taíno religion? From what the Spanish encomedero. The confirmation by the For reasons too long to explain here. the cacique. where Sotomayor’s life Arawak) of Guiana still means “spirit. in fact. I understand. the cacique. and where the winning cause of life”. Apparently. but with the alliteration (yathe hallucinogenic trance and the confirmation ya) it marks the superlative form of the noun: spirit provided by the cemí spirits. Agüeybana went Now. I agree with cemí spirit-beings was the necessary prelude before Antonio Stevens-Arroyo that the aborigines of carrying out the actual mortality test on Cristóbal Hispaniola and likely other “Tainos” elsewhere in de Sotomayor.c o n v e r s a t i o n material culture through bets might not yield the The spiritual life of the Taíno was of same patterns as those circulating in reciprocal great importance to their culture. First. were preludes to war. obtained the confirmation here is that Pané links these two personages to the from the cemí spirits that the Spaniards were in fact. Ramón Pané. among the Taíno of Boriquén. But in this case. first was played (in absentia). Death. an ultimate. you explored this in your most recent The game. can be “seen in the sky”.
the term is most likely Yucahú (or Yocahú).is that of yuca (manioc). a significant number of these terms have been rescued. or cemí. the other has to do with something called cemí or çemí in old Castilian ( /ç/ is a phoneme between /s/ and “soft ‘c’. Manioc [yuca] Being [-hú] + Bagua (large body of water. Apito and Zuimaco. The first to show the etymology of cemí was a famous linguist.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Relación that survived (in print) was that of Alfonso de Ulloa (Venice. just like human beings do. (The Castilian ‘c’ phoneme in these samples corresponds to the ‘k’ sound in English. The icons are imbued with −they “have”− this powerful. The thing is that for the “Taíno” many things. Thus. Yocahú is not the only cemí being to have mother and/or father. not all things are imbued with vital force. In other words it refers to a vital force or potency. a very close language to the Taíno. Indeed Pané tells us that the cemí beings had kin relatives (ancestors included). while the bounded suffix ‘–beira’ contains the root for “water”. de Goeje in the late 1920s. particularly focusing on the problems of transcriptions of aboriginal (Taíno language) phonetics and by comparing cognate forms in Arawak. Bagua. again is another high ranking personage that has several names. but decidedly not the /z/ phoneme used in the English transcription. As is well known a single phoneme can drastically change the meaning of a word (as in English but versus bat). Rather than “yukiyú”. The English /s/ sound is much closer phonetically. it depends on whether the correct phonetic transcription is yuca or yoca. The cemí beings were clearly not mythical personages. Indeed the term cemí translates as sweet or sweetness. The “Taíno’s” religious beliefs. 144 this grandfatherless being who lords over the ocean and (perhaps also) manioc is necessarily a supreme god or deity. This being’s name translates as. So. or the Maori notion of hau. grandfather may well refer to this condition of millenarian or to could be an acknowledgment that it is so ancient no memory remains of its ancestors. with poor syntax because he was Catalan) to Italian. The last part of the Relación has to do with Pané’s expriences just before and a bit after he was forced to flee the settlement of chief Guarionex in Hsipaniola. vital . Attá in Lokono (Arawak) language is the vocative noun form for “mother” Likewise. Atabey. H. a lake or ocean) + without [ma-] Grandfather [óroco-ti]. Of course. this vital force would be manifested to ordinary human beings and then only some would be transformed into various kinds of icons and artefacts. the document underwent two translations: from Pané’s (who mother tongue was Catalan). Thus. as Pané first noted in his Relación of 1497.). The suffix –hú is a nominalizer applied to human and non-human beings that also denotes respect. Possibly the second name. in nature and cosmos could potentially be imbued with this vital force. I am less certain that the stem yoca. Furthermore. Attabei or Attabei[ra]. It is certainly a high ranking cemí. Only in particular contexts. Las Casas renders it as “Yocahu Vagua”. thanks to the analysis by Jose Juan Arrom and his reconciliation of all the versions of Pané’s relación. the current popular conception that cemí refers to an object or a series of artifacts is simply wrong. However. and it is clearly a millenarian being. roughly. Guácar. although a bit too sibilant). all of which had editorial implications when transcribing Taíno words into the Latin alphabet. “Yukiyú” was tracsribed by Ulloa as “Iocahuuague” whereas. some of the meanings of which were “decoded” by Arróm. There is a leap of faith from assuming that Yocahú. And here is the key thing. One has to do with mythology. based primnarily on Pané’s Relación (but also details given by other chroniclers of this early contact period) is dived into three clear parts. I have shown in some detail that this metaphor “sweetness” was used to denpote something akin to the Polynesian concept of ‘mana’. Spanish (but according to Las Casas. may be composed of “our” (wa-) and “ moon/ menstruation” (katti or kair[i]). visible and invisible. Maorcoti. which I disapprove. C. Guácar. This cemí being is said to be the “mother” of Yocahú. which is only part of the set of names given to this personage: Yucahú. zemi or zeme. 1571) who had published an Italian version of Ferdinand’s History of the Admiral.
[Credit: The Ancient Standard] 145 .c o n v e r s a t i o n The plaza of an ancient Taino settlement in Puerto Rico is lined with enigmatic stone carvings like this.
Diminican Republic force (i. albeit with cemí power. Once manifested this tree could be sculptured into such icons as vomiting spatula. it can have another nature (what Vivieros de Castro called the Amerindian multinatural perspectivism. This enable this potency to reveal to the cacique or shaman who he or she was. who have ranks (the more titles. Santo Domingo. cemí). But is potentially can be imbued with cemí. They did not have generic power. the higher the rank). These powers often related to weather control. molded. what power did it have. The Cohoba Ceremony was crucial to determine if any such potential manifestation in nature had indeed a vital force. So a tree is can just be a tree. we are talking of persons. In the ceremony. via hallucination.e. Musuem Fundación García-Arévalo. as social beings. or bulding canoes. who like humans. tell him his/her names and titles. they way in which it should be sculptured (engraved. wooden icons. have ancestors and relatives. even petroglyphs in stalactites or in monoliths framing the plazas. The round table-top would hold the dish with the cohoba hallucinogen. house construction. albeit non-human. when and how he/she ought to be venerated. and finally. to be used for fuel. carved pendants. common to many aborigines’ world view today). painted.. leaves and wood. such . his/ her pedigree (descent. kin relations to other cemíbeings). if ceramic). So the aborigines treated them as persons. but specific ones. whose form and identity was 146 still occult in the tree or the rock. Thus. the cacique or shaman would engage in a dialogue with this potency.a n c i e n t p l a n e t A wooden figure of a cemí-imbued anthropomortphic being. and when sculptured also have a form or body.
versus drought. To decide whether a policy would be productive or wise. It is clear then that the form of government consultation process among the aborigines of the Greater Antilles. rich biography.g. concrete visible) cemí-imbued icons. It was an uneasy relationship. since the cemí-being could always abandon its trustee. When the Spaniards began to impression and kill the caciques and their heirs a crisis developed since the factions forwarding their preferred candidates may not have had either the contingent of reputable. hallucinate). neophyte. legenadry cemí. The chief. The exploration of who were the cemí beings and how the interaction between cemí-imbued figures or icons (i. the cacique could consult the cemí spirit beings or negotiate for a positive. Everyone would have known the icons’ legends.c o n v e r s a t i o n as hurricanes versus gentle rain. protect and support individuals or even entire polities. when to engage in long distance trades.). the emerging 147 . was intimately linked to the relationship between the political leader and its continegnt of cemí-imbued figures and the world of hallucinated cemí beings. The set of cemí figures under the trust of a cacique. and hence a legendary status. I will focus on one aspect: politicalreligious power. trade. he or she (in the case of female cacicas) would inhale the hallucinogen in the Cohoba Ceremony.g. Why would they steal?.. generated policies regarding the well-being of the polity and its subjects: when to harvest. But here. cacique has yet to demonstrate whether or not he be as effective as his predecessor in negotiation. In the legends given by Pané.. In fact.. which women to give in marriage and to whom. once materialized into a figure.e. who had to henceforth observe the taboos and demands of this materialized cemíbeing. seats or duhos. and so on. or a recently appointed. I suspect that the cemís with multiple names and titles were high ranked personages that had a accrued a long. that some of the wooden figures (e. the reputation and record (biography) of such cemí has yet to accrue. and icons) were maintained ver several generations. to send death/evil to enemies and/or to cure. the chief had to consult the spirit cemís (those invisible vital forces) accompanied by all of its (material. specific cemís could and did “escape” from its human trustee. were critical for governing. But incompetent chiefs. would mutually enhance their reputations. marriage. legendary cemí-icons or the candidante himself was yet an unknown quantity in terms of his/her effectyiveness in controlling and dealing with the cemí beings. in such an altered state of consciousness (a parallel reality) the cacique could predict the future or “see” the outcome (dream. over the long run. perhaps as long as 200-300 years. and provided that the results were beneficial. non-human beings) and human was effected and the consequences of such relationships is a fascinating story. Other powers had to do with fertility of thew land of human procreation. beneficial outcome of the proposed policy in hand (e. could potentially be abandoned by the cemí-icons entrusted to him. To engage the cemís. Both the cacique and the cemí-icons=. and that against the backdrop that stealing among Taínos was punishable by death through impalement. etc. Even if they did so and even if the cemí-personage was powerful. Once in trance. The cemí. proven to be effective in fostering the well-being of ordinary people. Crucially. since acquiring names over time often implies a change in status of the personage (human or not). war. whether to go to war or cement a guaitiao pact. it was in these moments of political crises that we find out that the emerging cacique candidates were doing their best to proclaim that their “cemís” were more powerful than their opponents’. was entrusted (not owned) to particular individuals. to conclude my reply to your question. about which I have written in two recent books. and is advisory council. And it is at this when also chiefs began to steal each other’s cemí icons. and hence whether the proposed policy was a good or a bad idea to implement. cajoling the cemí spirits to produce desirable outcomes of the policies to be implemented. the political elite could not “invent” them. We know. because they could not order on demand a powerful. for example. particularly in Hispaniola. peace. Of course. Legends were built around the deeds of the cemí-icon and the chief.
is largely devoid of organic soil. and hence very poor was multi-cultural and multi-lingual. their kin or faction may not have the contingent of legendary cemí figures under their trust. It is enough to provide a taste of the nature of these icons. for example) than the short and long. within sight of each other. Before concluding this interview. at the site of Edilio Cruz-1. I wanted to congratulate you as the Macorix de Arriba Archaeological Project enters its third year. the Meillacoid and Chicoid sites are distributed in a mosaic fashion. govern at all. whereas those with Carrier or Boca Chica (Taíno) materials have them. often marked by raised platforms (now eroded to conical shapes) or on the slope edges of the flat-top ridges of the elongated hills in the area. but likely term effects in the aboriginal villages. had been artificially leveled.constant problem in Dominican Republic). biologically) to the Spanish invasion. The other a reworking of the organic refuse soil (a kind of aspect has to do with the outstanding questions hoeing. This they would have no proven effectiveness (reputation) their ability to control or obtain from them what is required. indeed. Over this buried soil horizon at the of the early days of Spanish colonization had in the edges. My engagement in Dominican length). I also wanted to take the time to ask you a little bit about the project itself: what prompted the formation of this archaeological project and what have you and your colleagues uncovered so far in the Punta Rucia vicinity of the Dominican Republic? What has surprised and excited you most from your time there? And finally. There interesting differences. we only have the actual names and legends of 12 of these cemí personages. Nor do we have evidence that would illuminate how Arawakans and nonArawakan archaeological “groups” interacted with each other. The former tend to bury individuals on the edges of house structures. but too little to caputure what was no doubt a rich and colorful diversity of legends attached to both the cemí-cions and the peoples who handled them and who felt their impact. and how such interactions changed after the arrival of the Spaniards. But more interestingly. project ultimately accomplishes? is that the ridge top of the elongated hill (sometimes It is my pleasure to talk about such topics. these hills are 2 or more km long and may contain I enjoy re-visiting and re-thinking my views several sites or “neighborhood” throughout its on these matters. there is a “hybrid” ceramic style that appears to be a syncretism of both traditions. but I suspect that the one-to-one correspondence of one tradition with one ethnic group is not so simple. their synoptic biographies collected by Fray Ramón Pané between 1494 and 1497. midden refuse (and lots of ash) were built aboriginal way of life. such as the sites with Meillac materials lack cemeteries.a n c i e n t p l a n e t chief candidates themselves were almost certainly not the preferred or legitimate heirs designated by sumptuary rules of succession (those were dead or imprisoned). with the republic. We know that both traditions are largely contemporaneous (Meillacoid may be a bit earlier in some areas) and both survived into the Spanish Contact period. but it is less certain for how long into the colonial period and the ways in which either group adapted (socially. For example. what do you hope the One interesting discovery. after 15 years of research in Puerto Rico. The aspiring candidate (and the supporting political faction) had no choice but to steal these legendary cemí icons from others if he or she was to. original organic topsoil being pushed to the edges has to do with how little we know about the impact of the slopes. and above all. The central axis of the flattened hill in a region where at the time of Spanish Contact. culturally. There are two for cultivation. This is the preferred settlement location of both Meillacoid and Chicoid groups. One of these refuse areas has yielded was going on in settlements inhabited by Spaniards pits and disturbances that are not by looters (a (La Isabela. Sadly. We know a bit more of what over time. different ceramic traditions (Meillacoid and Chicoid) that seem to echo the distinctions between Macoríx (non-Arawak) and “Taíno” (Arawakan). JW JO 148 . composting) for preparing and establishing about ethnicity and material expressions of identity house gardens.
This is a fiveof the ancient inhabitants of the greater Antilles. Florida. who have been raphy and symbolism in relation to Taíno culture. some 30 km west of generations. I wish to rescue their memory for future 2014) conducted in the Punta Rucia coastal area of northern Dominican Republic. we do not have yet good documentation on their house structures or village configuration (albeit in the ridge tops these were linear. for his assistance in organizing the interview with Professor Oliver. Christopher Espenshade. for example. in many areas or The Web Spun by Taíno Rulers between Hispaniola sites of Yucatán) for others. earning his MA in 1981. Spain and raised in San Juan. CN. history at the State College of Florida. José R. he was as a Professor of European speak with you too. Muchas gracías James! It’s been great to Previously. Blending If there is one goal I would like to achieve is to the boundaries of ethnohistory and archaeology. in History and his MA in *** World History from New York University. He continued his studies in anthropology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Magna cum Laude. We have a poor chronological control. We do not yet know whether some households and their related refuse (usually swept downslope from the hill top) will yield significant socio-economic differences (“rich vs. Oliver was additionally a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University in New Haven.A. I leave the complex. and Puerto Rico. RPA. He received his BA. at the expense of a Taíno-centric view corix de Arriba Archaeological Project. In many ways. Archaeologist. Born in Barcelona. Oliver earned his BA in anthropology Miami University in 1977. Principal Investigator. it is still pioneering archaeology. Oliver is the program leader of the Maothers today. IL. and Manager for New South Associates in Winston-Salem. for the Ancient History Encyclopedia. Currently. mutli-institutional dense projects (as. Caciques and Cemí Idols: *** Acknowledgements: Our sincerest thanks to Mr. was published in 2009. 149 . Oliver is a Reader in Latin American he is the News Editor and Public Relations Manager Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology. JW JO University College London. poor”). Oliver’s most recent work. by Christopher Columbus in January 1493 CE.” the first European settlement founded I thank you so much for your time Dr. James Blake Wiener is a freelance writer and academic researcher based in Sarasota. largely forgotten by history and historians and many Presently. most of everything is yet to be known. Puerto Rico. provide a new voice to the Macoríx peoples and the work explores the complexities of Taíno iconogtheir (archaeological) ancestors. and then his PhD in 1989.. North Carolina. “La Isabela. which is precisely what I enjoy most when doing fieldwork. but no good sense of arrangements within the hill tops). Oliver! It’s been a pleasure to speak with *** you and learn more about these mysterious. when ignorance is largely to be illuminated. year field archaeological research program (2010In short. M.c o n v e r s a t i o n But a lot of the base-line archaeology is yet to be done in this region. Dr. but very intriguing people.
A hearth located east of the bath-house formed the heart of the heating system. were arched and lined with mud-bricks. were also revealed and investigated. were revealed and explored. Above the hearth was an arch with two flues and which served to buttress the western wall beneath the bathing rooms and the ‘cloak-room’. the bottom and sides of this channel are built with precisely fiited hewn river stones. Judging from the building fragments it seems that sections of the roof were arched and constructed from mud-brick. the remnants of several water and sewerage channels. running to and from the bath-house. neatly fitted to allow the free circulation of smoke and heat. with the support of the MIRAs social organization in support of studying of cultural Heritage. ran from the bath-house’s cloak-room to a ditch located along the northern fortress walls of the city. Various-size mud-bricks were used in the construction of the heating channels and flues. the bath’s main entrance. which is led by Doctor of Historical sciences. Gafar Jabiyev. As a result of the continuing excavations. . the overall excavation area encompassed some 5. Lighting of the bath-house was achieved via windows with carved stone cupolst. a ‘cloakroom’ and several separate bathing rooms.000 square metres. m o r f r e t t Le n i a j i a b r e z A Archaeological Explorations at Agsu the Agsu Archaeological expedition conducted by the Institute of Archaeology and ethnography of the national Academy of sciences in Azerbaijan has been exploring the medieval town of Agsu since March. one of the more capacious channels. the walls of which were lined with quarried stone and mud-bricks. while the upper section was covered with rafters.. 2010. the bath-house was found to have a heating system fitted under the floor. the roof of the passage leading from the cloak-room to the recreation room was almost certainly vaulted and lined with mud-bricks. the expedition’s 2011 field season launched a broader investigation of the area we provisionally call the 5th excavation zone. and that it was flanked by a ‘recreational room’ with ‘tomblike’ recesses along its sides. located in the city centre and running along a north-south axis. 150 the roof of the bath-house appears to have had a steep incline. the initial test area. . measured some 100 metres in length by 2 metres in width. stairs. including a large open square with a stone floor flanked by rooms and a large swimming-pool. especially the floors of the ‘tomb-like recesses’ in the recreation room. the expedition has now completed the archaeological research of the bath-house unearthed on the 4th excavation zone which had remained imcomplete in 2010 and also during the field and research season of 2011. has painstackingly examined some 15. the expedition. the synchronized investiga- . During excavation one large and one smaller stone cupol was revealed inside the bath-house. cut along a north-south direction. We soon discovered that the buildings extended westwards and so we concentrated our efforts there. our goal was to reveal any buildings located in this wider area and then to continue either eastwards or westwards depending on the building remains we encountered. As the overall plan of the bath-house emerged. stone floor. other sections of roof covering the bath-house.000 square metres of the archaeological site till now and has revealed numerous unique artefacts that shed light on the medieval and recent history of Azerbaijan. it became clear that the swimming pool formed the central element of the complex. and other subsidiary structures within the complex. this channel was cut along a steeper inclination so as to drain into the channel to the north of the bath-house. located closer to the city centre.
Evidently. Main thoroughfares differ from small and subsidiary streets by virtue of their width and length. were mainly of an east-west direction. Several wells were unearthed just south of the main thoroughfare. In our opinion. Jabiyev on the excavation site. the main factor which determined the direction of Agsu’s main streets was the city’s main gateway. which was located to the west. sanitation and maintenance concerns . a z e r b a i j a n Mr. i. tion of such a wide area was significant insofar as it permitted an in-depth and comprehensive investigation of the city’s topography and especially of its inner structure – residential and commercial quarters. Built from river stone. These streets were all cobbled with river-stone and led either to the main and/or smaller squares of the city. this factor was almost certainly taken into consideration. and may be another reason why all the main streets run along an east-west axis. Many of these have low.as well as of construction and architectural pecularities. this finely plastered cistern held some 140 cubic metres of water and evidently supplied drinking water to the ‘Juma Mosque’ and those lived near the Mosque. wells and sewerage lines that were revealed in the 5th zone. A large arched. when Agsu was founded. We discovered that these wells were fed with water via an underground water pipe that ran along a northeast direction and which was in turn connected to a main channel connected to the Agsuchay river. all main streets of the city are directed to the main gate. streets and squares. run perpendicular (north-south) to the main streets. all of which are likewise neatly cobbled with river stone. Particularly noteworthy are the numerous cisterns. In the 5th zone it was immediately evident that wide and long streets. . It is also worth noting that some of Agsu’s water lines 151 . Two of these. two-cell cistern was also unearthed in 5th excavation zone. the primary source of the city’s drinking water.e. effectively dividing the excavation site into two equal parts. were exceptionally preserved. slanting areas and it was apparent that during times of heavy rain they would have been subjected to quite heavy flows and some inevitable flooding. Exploration of 5th zone showed that all subsidiary streets. thought to be the main thoroughfares of the city.l e t t e r f r o m . built with hewn river stone. .
5 metres distance from each other. some 60. walls themselves were built of mud-brick. The base of the mosque’s walls was built of river stones. The western wall tion were also unearthed.nical and engineering skill. tombstone belonging to Molla Ali Hussein oglu was The floor of the mosque was well constructed and also found. Fariz Khalilli with other arhaeologists at the excavation site.tlement to date. as were several graves of children. A stone. The existence of this structure. while the eastnails and hooks. Certainly the most magnificent building remains the only example of a tiled building found in the setrevealed in Agsu to date are those of a large struc. A well. The mosque’s magnificent walls ern and northern walls were constructed from river were supported by wooden (oak?) columns. finely plastered. The courtwooden fragments used in the mosque’s construc. . Various opened onto the mosque to the north. clearly attests to a high level of techture. together with large iron was built of white-washed clay-bricks. while the A wide courtyard. tile fragments were revealed along the outer walls of the edifice.yard itself was bounded by walls. running in an east-west direction.000 tonnes. used for ritual cleansing before divine bases of which were fashioned from finely sculpted service. situated along the main streets mud-bricks and alm. the stone. lined with large limestone plates. suggesting that they were equipped with running water. According to our estimations. sionally named the ‘Juma Mosque’. placed 2. was located in the centre of the courtyard. Large wooden logs and stone plates were used to close off the water lines at these sites. Three minarets were revealed along the southern walls of the mosque.000 individual tiles. which we have provi. The windows and The remains of several private houses were revealed minarets of the mosque are arched and built from south of the mosque.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Mr. measuring 36x16 metres. This translates into a total load of approximately 60. each weighing between 800 and 950 grams. Their foundations were built from river stone and their walls were made During the course of the excavations thousands of of mud-brick. Small open areas fitted with bread-ov152 passed through and under the floors and walls of several private houses. were used to decorate the ‘Juma Mosque’.
glassware produced in England. These arrangements are quite typical of the residential areas and streets of medieval Moslem cities.l e t t e r f r o m . a nearby settlement that had suffered extensive damage from earthquakes and wars. were recovered during excavation. facing the streets. From these sources we learn that Agsu was founded in 1735 by Nadergulu Khan. A rich and colourful array of artefacts. During the 2011 excavation season. wells. has studied over 200 tombstones and his findings will be published in the forthcoming book ‘Medieval Agsu Town Epigraphy’. ens (tendirkhana). many of the headstones from the cemeteries located to the north. Several cemeteries. . east and west of the city were cleaned and restored. Our team’s epigraphical specialist. Habiba Aliyeva. tendirs and hearths were situated infront of the houses. also called ‘Kharaba Sheher’ and ‘Yeni Shamakhi’ (‘New Shamakhi’). One interesting find was the discovery of numerous plates that had clearly been washed at the side of the mosque’s western wall and neatly gathered and covered with cloth. copper and silver coins. Gafar Jabiyev Fariz Khalilli 10/07/2012 153 . The results of the Agsu archaeological explorations have been published in a three volume study entitled ‘Medieval Agsu Town’ by the MIRAS Organization and also in numerous scientific journals. porcelain of Chinese and European production. . to the newly built city. who had relocated the population of Shamakhi. These finds clearly illustrate that the residents of 18th century Agsu enjoyed high living standards. The expedition has also catalogued numerous historical documents relating to Agsu. mostly dating to the 18th century. including iron and copper items. faience and pottery ware. a z e r b a i j a n Excavation at the ‘Juma Mosque’. were discovered outside the town’s walls.
amth. . the Louvre Museum and the archaeological collections of Dresden and Munich.de/en/museums/ museum-details/martin-gropius-bau. The baths were excavated in the 1970s and were then covered by a car park. The museum sits on a series of piles. the Archaeological Museum of Rome. Over 1.000 exhibits will be presented at the Museum coming from the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. the Vatican Museum.museumsportal-berlin. . 2013 an exhibition entitled Olympia: Mythos. Illicit trafficking of antiquities is a scourge as illicit excavations and theft of cultural goods are constantly rising. so the remains underneath will not be damaged by the building. Link: http://www. the Aristotle University excavation programme at Vergina. Link: http://www. the Archaeological Museum of Olympia. Culture and Games. Archaeologists also found remains of a pub and a school. West Sussex. the Monetary Museum of Athens. The museum also contains a mosaic from a nearby Roman fort. the Antiquities collection belonging to state museums of Berlin.thenovium. The vast majority of the exhibits on display are products of illicit trafficking.html The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki in cooperation with the Directorate for Documentation and Protection of Cultural Goods of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Exhibitions in The Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum in Berlin will host from August 7 through January 13.What’s O On . the 17th EPCA. Link: http://www. the 16th EPCA and the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities also participated in this exhibition by lending ancient artefacts and archival material. is hosting temporary exhibition entitled: Trafficking Of Antquities: Stop It.gr/index. The exhibition will run until 30 September 2012.php/en/ The Novium Museum containing the remains of a Roman bath house has opened in Chichester.org/ 154 .
manchester. mainly from Tuscany. This exhibition allows the public to share in the archaeological investigations by examining facsimiles of the traditional deer stones. Dionysus with panther.Europe The Uffizi Gallery in Florence has opened ten new spaces. The exhibition will run from July to November Link: http://www. weapons and ornaments. the Aphrodite (Hellenistic art). Link: http://www.library. Since 2006.map-mc.com/ Faces & Voices explores the lives of people living in Egypt in the Roman and Late Antique period through the portraits and writings they left behind. Link: http://www. also known as ‘Torso Gaddi’. also known as Toilet of Venus. the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology of Monaco. an exhibition featuring the culture of the extraordinary people who still inhabit a geographical area that includes parts of Mongolia. now held in the collections of The University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library.). showing a centaur with its hands tied behind its back. The show features ten remarkable mummy portraits and an amazing display of Greco-Roman papyri – most of which have never been seen before in public – as well as a series of works by influential Egyptian artist Fathi Hassan. the Russian Federation and China. dedicated to 16th-century painters. Other sculptures on show include the Citharist Apollo. the Farnese Hercules (Roman art. a Niobide and a Head of Arianne. Kazakhstan. 2nd century A. There is also a gallery with Hellenistic sculptures.com/ The Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology in Monaco is currently hosting The Nomads of Upper Asia. from Andrea del Sarto to Bronzino and Raffaello. along with rock carvings.ac. has been excavating the ancient site of Tsatsyn Ereg. The exhibition will run until 21 September 2012. coming from the archaeological museum in the Tuscan capital. and the Torso. The statues that are exhibited include Boy with Thorn (Roman art).D.uffizi. in conjunction with the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of Mongolia.uk/ 155 .
edu/scrolls/ 156 . Running through Oct. is currently hosting the exhibition Weapons & War in the Iron Age. 2012. Link: http://fi. The exhibition presents artefacts from La Sierra University’s extensive collection. no specific closing date has been set. during the Iron Age of the Near East when iron became the prevalent material in making tools and weapons.What’s O On . Unearthed: Recent Archaeological Discoveries from Northern China features objects recently excavated from sites in the Shanxi and Gansu provinces and never before seen outside of China. . The exhibit will run through the fall. Link: www.WesternScienceCenter. a new exhibition that explores the rich history of ancient Israel with the largest collection of artefacts from biblical to Islamic periods ever to tour outside of Israel. Link: http://www. 14. and some from sites in Israel and Palestine.clarkart. including arrows. date from 1200 to 600 BCE. Most of the artefacts. including a 3-ton stone from Jerusalem’s Western Wall and 20 extremely rare fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls collection. including a fullsize stone sarcophagus discovered intact in 2004.org The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia is currently hosting Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times. some excavated by La Sierra archaeologists from ancient sites in Jordan. in partnership with La Sierra University in Riverside. They will be displayed in two sets of 10 for approximately three months each. spears and swords. Exhibitions in The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute presents rare Chinese burial objects in an exclusive exhibition that considers both the discovery and the impact of modern Chinese archaeology.edu/ The Western Science Center in Hemet. The exhibition will run until October 21. the exhibition features more than 600 objects. .
expressed through their intricate calendar systems. and the power wielded by their divine kings. Hell. for the first time in North America. An extraordinary opportunity to experience dinosaurs you’ve never seen before. and Dying Well: Images of Death in the Middle Ages. Visitors follow the rise and fall of Copan.org/ 157 . in the ancient land of Gondwana. Link: http://www. Among the artworks presented are manuscript illuminations. and were home to the largest and most unusual dinosaurs to have ever roamed the earth. MAYA 2012 runs through early 2013. Honduras.penn. audiences will meet a new breed of beast in the Royal Ontario Museum‘s landmark exhibition Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana. well past the apocalypse predicted for Dec. Link: http://www.. the astounding “lords of time. a panel painting and stained glass. The land masses that would form modern-day Africa. 2013.” The exhibition features remarkable objects including artefacts recently excavated by Penn Museum archaeologists from the site of Copan. 2012.getty. 23. 2012. moving across the centuries to discover how Maya ideas about time and the calendar have changed up to the present day. in ways you’ve never imagined. an exhibition exploring medieval images that reflect imagined travels to the netherworld and attempts to map what awaited humankind beyond this earthly existence. Link: http://www. The exhibition will run until March 17. The exhibition runs until August 12.joslyn.edu/art/exhibitions/death_ middle_ages/ Millions of years ago an incredible array of dinosaur diversity began to emerge in the southern hemisphere. Madagascar and South America began to take shape.museum/sites/2012/ The Getty Center is hosting Heaven.the USA MAYA 2012: Lords of Time presented by the Penn Museum in Philadelphia leads visitors on a journey through the Maya’s time-ordered universe. printed books. Now.
and more than 70 organisations have registered. Six Great Websi The Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) advances the practice of archaeology and allied disciplines by promoting professional standards and ethics for conserving. whether they are employed or volunteering their time. Over 3100 people have so far joined IfA. Individuals gain membership after rigorous peer review of their technical and ethical competence. On this site you can find details of the EAA’s aims. smuggling and trading illicit antiquities. Link: http://www. understanding and promoting enjoyment of heritage.savingantiquities. classical.org/ SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving cultural heritage worldwide. activities and publications. . Link: http://www. Their stated mission is to raise public awareness about the irreversible damage that results from looting.org/ 158 . The EAA currently has over 1100 members on its database from 41 countries world-wide working in prehistory. . Membership is open to anybody who works within the historic environment.archaeologists. managing. medieval and later archaeology. The EAA is a membership-based association open to all archaeologists and other related or interested individuals or bodies. The organisation is open to all archaeologists and others involved in protecting and understanding the historic environment.Spotlight . and forthcoming conferences.e-a-a. Link: http://www. SAFE promotes respect for the laws and treaties that enable nations to protect their cultural property and preserve humanity’s most precious non-renewable resource: the intact evidence of our undiscovered past.net/ The European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) is aimed at professional archaeologists of Europe and beyond.
The Pyramid of Khafre. You can experience the Pyramids in two ways: take a guided tour from an expert.ancient.3ds.000 annually in field and laboratory grants for vital new research and long-term projects exploring human evolution. or their presentation is so bad that it nearly makes them useless. There are notes in each site. tombs and burial chambers on your own. with a nationalist agenda. and the Sphinx have not been added yet. maps. Link: http://www. provided by a community of historians and history enthusiasts. Leakey Grantees study many facets of our early ancestors through a variety of scientific disciplines: paleoanthropology. The Foundation awards more than $600. and many other sites are either amateurish. including field journals from archaeologists.sites The Leakey Foundation promotes a multidisciplinary approach to exploring human origins. geology.com/ A new interactive experience available to everyone on the internet brings the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt to you. Link: http://leakeyfoundation.eu. the middle of the three pyramids. genetics and morphology. to explore and learn at your own pace. which is something that is clearly missing: Books are expensive. Link: http://giza3d. primatology. current and historical photos. Many additions are planned. Special encouragement is given to early career scientists asking new questions and offering innovative ways to answer questions about human evolution. The project currently includes four temples and the Pyramids of Khufu and Menhaure.org/ Ancient History Encyclopedia is a source of ancient history information.com/ 159 . and objects constructed in 3D. Wikipedia is comprehensive but unreliable. The goal is to make quality ancient history information freely available on the internet. or wander the temples.
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