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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. Biblical Archaeology and Gender Studies. Phd American archaeologist. 4 Amy Talbot Archaeology student interested in Palaeopathology.Contributors Ioannis Georgopoulos. Monty Dobson. funerary customs and theology Aikaterini Kanatselou. Andrea Sinclair. including magaizine articles as well as eleven books. based in the Costa del Sol. MA Archaeologist whose research interests are mainly focused on Aegean prehistory. MA Classical scholar specializing on the interconnections and iconographic issues for the Egyptian. Melanie Chalk Freelance proofreader and owner of Spellsure Proofreading Services. BA Classical Archaeologist specializing in Warfare in Antiquity and currently sitting for an MA in Ancient History. Maria Nilsson. Jesse Obert. MA Archaeologist / General Editor whose research interests include Aegean archaeology and the writing systems of Bronze Age Crete and Greece. language and art. Jame Blake Wiener. Spain. Egyptian art and iconography. MA Historian who is passionate about research and the dissemination of knowledge to scholars and laymen alike. . Phd Egyptologist specializing in the Egyptian Third Intermediate Period. Joshua J. religion. Mark. MA Historian and published author with advanced degrees in both English and Philosophy. Charlotte Booth. Phd Classical archaeologist/ancient historian specializing in Graeco-Roman iconography and religion in Egypt. Lisa Swart. MA Egyptologist who has written extensively on Egyptology. historian and lmmaker. whose curiosity and passion for the human story has led him to travel the world.
Lisa Swart discusses the life and times of the great British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley and his contributions to the field of Mesopotamian archaeology. our letter is from Azerbaijan and describes the current excavations at Agsu conducted by Dr. written by our newest team member Andrea Sinclair. Egyptian and Greek archaeology respectively. In ‘Souvenir from the Peloponnese’.From the Editor In this somewhat hefty and much awaited second issue of AncientPlanet we begin with a disturbing report by outspoken American archaeologist. Dobson notes. The number of heritage crimes committed annually is staggering to say the least but. 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. Oliver on the subject of the mysterious Taino Indians of the Ancient Caribbean. Gafar Jabiyev and Dr. Dr. another newcomer to the AncientPlanet team. the well-travelled Charlotte Booth takes us to Capo Colonna in Calabria. This is followed by an engrossing account of tomb robbery in Ancient Egypt. Fariz Khalilli. From Elgin to the Taliban. 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. In ‘Biography’. in addition to our regular columns featuring current exhibitions and website reviews. The next series of articles deal with various aspects of Mesopotamian. In ‘Conversation’. Dr. both on and off the tourist map. trafficking in looted art and antiquities is certainly big business. Greek archaeologist Aikaterini Kanatselou takes us to several archaeological sites in the Peloponnese. Lisa Swart. Likewise. 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. José R. provided by our resident Egyptologist. in what is the first installment of a two part article. Maria Nilsson. Dr. introduces her latest research project on Graeco-Roman masons’ marks found at the Egyptian quarry of Gebel el Silsila. Finally. and an equally compelling discussion of Greek helmet types by our ancient warfare expert Jesse Obert. In this issue. South Italy. We have all read about the recent discoveries of alleged vampire graves in Bulgaria. The first of these is a fascinating journey into the art of Ancient Mesopotamia. Ioannis Georgopoulos Editor/Publisher 5 . 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. as Dr. while Joshua Mark treats us to a history of beer through the ages. worth billions of dollars each year. Monty Dobson. the ever studious James Wiener presents an in-depth discussion with Spanish-born archaeologist Dr. Dr. where we are introduced to the ancient Greek settlement of Kroton. on the worldwide trade in illicitly gained antiquities.
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.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. recent high profile thefts from museums and archaeological sites in Greece have been blamed on Government cuts to heritage protection. criminal gangs and terrorist organizations. the global statistics are truly staggering: in Italy alone last year there were more than 20. an astoundingly high number were.” Elsewhere in Europe. While not all of these were theft.000 Grade I or II* buildings were subject to criminal acts while more than 63. Indeed. A recent article by Britain’s Daily Telegraph cited one study that concludes there were more than 75. 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. is the third highest grossing area of criminal activity in the world behind only Drugs and Arms trafficking. Organized criminal gangs and fundamentalist terrorist organizations both benefit from the black market trade in illicit art and antiquities more than any other group. it is the ultimate destination of the money that is alarming.000 heritage crimes in the UK in 2011. In addition to the high profile 9/11 terrorist connection to looting. including the illicit trade in antiquities.000 thefts reported. The illicit trade of cultural property is a growing international business worth billions annually. While it is impossible to determine the exact market value of illicit trade in cultural items. Zones of conflict offer opportunity to thieves.. the United States Department of Justice Art Crime.000 Grade II buildings were targeted. heritage sites are often a silent casualty of conflict and the long tail of the crime is often deadly. While the dollar value of the illegal trade in art and antiquities is enormous.” Thereby indirectly funneling funds to the Taliban which in turn uses those dollars to buy 6 . Indeed. manuscripts. Around the globe. most international law enforcement agencies agree that regional conflict zones are fertile ground for heritage crimes. ancient monuments to objects of ethnographic and archaeological significance are illegally sold on the international market. According to the Historical Museum of Basel Switzerland “hundreds of thousands of items of cultural significance ranging from works of art. It isn’t just the staggering scale of the market or the number of crimes that should concern us. According to the Telegraph: “The study found nearly a fifth of the country’s 31. with many more crimes going undetected or unreported..” 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. it is far more widespread than generally acknowledged. in 1999. according to official US government reports the market is likely somewhere in the region of $US 6 billion per year. But the numbers alone only tell part of the story.
May 18. 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.
given a false provenance. According to the Interpol website: “The on-going armed conflict in Syria is increasingly threatening a significant part of the cultural heritage of mankind.000-old Gandhara civilization. Greek coin seized in Switzerland. 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. 2012 “a Swiss court has ordered the confiscation of a very rare ancient silver coin that was allegedly illegally excavated . Many of the items Medici moved were sold through a certain prominent London auction house. Roman ruins.com. The complex web of middle-men is illustrated by the recent case of early fifth century B. and sold. dug-up illegally from the country’s terrorism-torn northwest [Credit: AFP] arms and attack NATO troops. historic premises and places of worship are particularly vulnerable to destruction. According to an Associated Press story dated January 12. 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. For example in 1995 Italian police raided warehouses belonging to Italian Art Dealer Giacomo Medici located in a Swiss tax free zone outside Geneva. There Italian authorities seized hundreds of stolen items. Medici was convicted in Italy in 2004 and sentenced to 10 years in prison and a record fine of 10 million euros.C. In Syria heritage sites are under severe threat. often on an open market to unsuspecting museums and collectors who never would imagine that their purchase might indirectly fund the Taliban.” The antiquities then are smuggled abroad. theft and looting during this period of turmoil. Authorities in Pakistan’s financial capital seized dozens of precious antiquities belonged to 2. damages. 2012.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. While there is no indication the auction house acted illegally. archaeological sites.” The story doesn’t end with the theft of these items as they are not likely to be sold on supportaterroristshop.
o p i n i o n in northern Greece and sold at auction in Switzerland. rings and ceramic vases Notes and Links in addition to 10 metal detectors. A couple of recently announced online initiatives are promising to aid law enforcement agencies and the heritage communities do just that. The University of Glasgow’s project with the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.” For those intent on ignoring the 1970 UNESCO Convention then. Stanish wrote: “many of the primary “producers” of the objects have shifted from looting sites to faking antiquities. By COSTAS KANTOURIS.org/en/ev. In a 2009 article for the online magazine ARCHAEOLOGY. I’ve been tracking eBay antiquities for years now.. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. the looters simply find it more profitable to manufacture multiple fakes than dig up genuine relics. 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. While many dealers. Director.000.int/Crime-areas/Works-of-art/ Works-of-art UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import.unesco. it seems to be a case of buyer beware. How can this be? According to Professor Charles S Stanish. Italian police noted that they had seized more than sixteen-thousand artifacts ranging from bronze and silver coins.fbi.com are outright fakes. from major auction houses to online dealers.php-URL_ ID=13039&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.gov/stats-services/publications/ law-enforcement-bulletin/march-2012/protectingcultural-heritage-from-art-theft Greece wins Swiss court ruling over ancient coin.. Similarly WikiLoot.” 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. this shift began around 2000. 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.interpol. Trafficking Culture. and their customers are legitimate and follow the law. more needs to be done to track down and prosecute those who profit from the destruction of our collective heritage. 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. founded by the chaps behind the chasingaphrodite. Associated Press Monday. about five years after eBay was established. *** Interpol Works of Art Crime Area Webpage: http://www. 16 January 2012 10:20 9 . Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 1970: http://portal. and from what I can tell. published by the Archaeological Institute of America. By some estimates as many as 90% of the antiquities traded online on sites like ebay or unclbobsusedantiquities. seeks to create an online encyclopedia of looted sites and artifacts.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. html FBI: http://www.
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 ] .
vampires are very much an everyday concept (Oinas 1982). a medical and pathological acceptance into the norm. From the traditional Dracula. However. This article will attempt to give an informative take on the vampire phenomena from an archaeological perspective. three examples have emerged in the excavations of potential vampires. introduced to the Slav people between the 10th and 11th centuries while the heads facing west show the inhumations are against a Christian norm. was novel and abnormal. In the Drawsko cemetery in southern Poland. 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. Evidence All the inhumations are supine with heads facing west. The three examples below. while looking at interesting social customs and folk tales. particularly in the medieval and late antiquity from the 16th century up until the 19th century (Roberts and Manchester 2005). all show cases of “vampirism”. and so there is plenty of scope for this area of archaeology to be better understood and discovered.Mythology. as traditional Christian inhumations face the east 13 . all very different and all dated differently. both of whom are adults. relating to an unnatural concept. Discussion This evidence can tell the archaeological community a vast amount of information about social customs towards a perceived unnatural. due to the pathological and funerary arrangement of the burials and the circumstances in which the individuals passed away. This is not an understatement. 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. where a traditional Slavic culture thrived from 17th to 18thcentury AD. have sickles placed on their necks. Body decay. it appears vampires have also crept into the archaeological funerary and osteological record. one body is that of a juvenile and this has been found potentially tied up with stones placed on the throat. where cases of “vampirism” have emerged recently. This perceived state of unnatural processes led to a change in attitudes towards the dead and. to the romantic view of vampires in the Twilight franchise to countless TV shows. It is worth a mention that there is relatively little published research on this topic. The inhumations themselves are Christian customs. while the other two bodies. although well known to us as the bacterial process that all living things go through. films and theatre shows. in a relatively short space of time.
a n c i e n t p l a n e t Above: Drawsko vampire grave 29/2009 with stones on throat.Org] 14 . Below: Drawsko vampire grave 28/2009 with a sickle on throat [Credit: Slavia.
are methods deployed to destroy or suppress the vampire. The items found with the inhumations. unbaptized individuals. Oinas 1982). 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. 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. rites and ethics. 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. while staking the body with ash was another apostrophic device. However. and heathens (Fine 1987. Italy: The Venetian Vampire This is also a newly discovered find and as such there is relatively little published information. This means potential reasons for death include suicide. However. It should be noted that at the time of research there was no evidence of a pathological cause to their deaths. drowning. the superstition comes from the Kashubes 15 . cremation was the traditional way of removing the entire vampire as the entire body would be destroyed (Oinas 1982). the sickles and the stones.a r c h a e o l o g y Among the many medieval plague victims recently unearthed near Venice. however. These individuals. and this example is the only example where the individuals were already ostracised from their community. Oinas 1982). Sickles and knives are seen as apostrophic. Also the corpse would sometimes be found face down. A key term is “apostrophic” which means to ward off evil (Oinas 1982). where the head would be removed and placed by the feet (Fine 1987. Italy. According to Matteo Borrini of the University of Florence. Oinas 1982). it appears the fear of vampires spread down to Italy potentially from the Balkan influence of the neighbouring Slavic and Balkan states (Fine 1987). were clearly seen as on the fringes of society and did not deserve a Christian burial (Fine 1987. Therefore these “vampires” were people who died an unnatural death that went against social and religious customs.
would be done after the ent. giving it a more gruesome and unnatural aspect than just of the decomposition (Fine 1987). as graves were In the small Walton family cemetery in Connecticut. showing that the same fears “breathe”. Evidence and rigor mortis. 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). is part of the natural bacte. It is not just ignorance here of the body’s state of decomposition.a n c i e n t p l a n e t of north-central Poland and 13th century Bohemia and Moravia. especially as many saw the plague victims decompose As well as the “vampire” to be discussed below.ribs (see below). Discussion where 12 accounts have been told. archaeological and mythological viewpoint to prevent the vampire from taking any blood and so it would starve. as well as palaeoprocess in between the rigor mortis and the skele. vampires entered America and were most commonly found in the New England area.one individual out of the 29 buried there . bringing a pathological note into this scale. Other measures included staking the body. it is a pathological reason why she was believed to be a vampire. seeing the bodies apparently European community. third and fourth blood. It is interesting to note in this example. the stiffening of the body. although this was not a norm for social customs. where the Devil had entered a body through various means and was using the body for its own purposes. and culosis. 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. but instead of medical and pathological knowledge of the effects the plague has on the body. It is interesting to note that this superstition arose at the same time as Christianity was spreading up the Balkans into Central Europe.was found to have a post-mortem regraves would be opened up constantly showing the arrangement of skeletal remains.the impact of folklore and fear in a modern nonrial decay. all based around This one skeleton sums up in a word the attitudes Rhode Island. the old male . causing ripples among the archaeologists excavating her from both an anthropological. as well as cremation of the body. where a nachtzehrer or “night waster” was a being who was controlled by satanic forces. however this was apparent in all the skeletons death of the individual. The brick in the mouth was and so potentially depicts a farming community 16 .and folk tales. never opened up. such as plac. It is worthwhile noting Medieval ignorance of the body’s natural stages of early on. these accounts are the most modern and show material placed over. These post-mortem measures.a 55 year ever. The tubercuton. ing alive and so would take preventative measures is not just limited to Central Europe and was rife up against it. how. but decay and putrefaction were unknown. It is accepted that the medieval Venetians until the 20th century. as well as the same medical ignorance. which would often decompose any ago. a very protestant area traditionally held by colonists. The female was found with a brick in her mouth. However. 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. a build-up of a gas and fluid discharge and Bellatoni 1994). knew about algor mortis or the cooling of the body. There was also osteoarthritis presing a brick in the mouth. in in the open. Connecticut and Central Vermont of the medieval Venetians at the time . as the woman was not already on the fringe of society. 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. Skeletons were accepted. New England: Connecticut In the 19th century.ignorance. the Venetians saw this as vampires com.pathological evidence of tuberculosis. that 11 of these accounts all died of tuberpreservation and decay was inherent at the time. (Sledzik and Bellatoni 1994). However. Being only two hundred years from the mouth. and so with the pandemic of the plague.
and the earlier account of the removing of the heart. as seen above in Italy. where a lack of understanding and ignorance to pathology and medical knowledge rather than the decaying corpse. also shows the measures taken in apparently curing the “vampirism” and bringing in some overkill of the corpse. which being long are more susceptible to receiving infections. This was apparently common at the time and so could have helped inflame the fears of an undead creature. Other methods heard of include burning the corpse as well. a wasting disease. By using an apostrophic remedy in the post-mortem rearranging of body parts. and commonly new bone formation on 17 . causing the wasting way of relatives.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). This draws in the ignorance. Tuberculosis As tuberculosis and consumption are the diseases referred to in these passages. The tibia and the fibia refer to the lower leg bones (Roberts and Manchester 2005). after the death of the male. who were also allergic to the sun. a brief section is useful here to clarify the diseases and the terminology used. In the research a note about Gunther’s disease came up. whose clinical term is Erythropoietic protoporphyria or an allergy to sunlight (Sledzik and Bellatoni 1994). which would have caused fear to the rest of the family as they saw other members potentially waste away. which seems to be fairly consistent with other findings. about lack of awareness of this condition. giving rise to the belief that an undead creature was in the family feeding off them. but it would be interesting to see whether the “vampire” above had this disease. Discussion This “vampire” died of tuberculosis. Sadly this disease is almost invisible in the archaeological record. led to a belief in Vampirism.
Despite the Slavic vampires not being recorded as having tuberculosis. treponematosis and tuberculosis were excluded from normal communal mortuary space (Bello and Andrews 2006). However. or further away from the centre of the body. However. the plague and tuberculosis 3) Religious rites and ethics. 1) Ignorance as to post-mortem decay 2) Ignorance as to medical pathology. much like the American counterpart “vampire”. However. or pulmonary tuberculosis (Roberts and Manchester 2005). folkloric myths are more likely to appear here. means: new bone formations on the lower left leg bones (Mays 2006). unlike American farming communities who may not have been as aware. 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. For example. Egypt [Credit: The Amarna Project] without documented vampire cases. it appears there was an awareness of infectious diseases as there is correlation that people with infectious diseases such as leprosy. from the South Tombs Cemetery. however medically it refers more to tuberculosis of the lungs. or closer to the centre of the body. particularly in London. Monastic communities were some of the healthiest communities (Mays S 2006) due to the nature of the existence.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.e. i. This is unlike the Americas. there is tuberculosis 18 . when infection did enter it would affect the entire community (Mays 2006). Consumption is a more colloquial term for tuberculosis. The periosteum is a membrane that surrounds the bone and contains cells known as osteoblasts which lay down the new bone (Wingate 1976). where despite huge cases of consumption and tuberculosis in the seventeenth century there are no known documented vampire cases. plague. therefore. due to its common use in records from antiquity. In England. giving rise to some areas clearly not being ignorant as to medical and pathological knowledge. and is the opposite of proximal. The term distal means peripheral. Conclusions There are four main points. however. this is an excellent example these bones can represent not just tuberculosis but also leprosy and scurvy as well as other infectious diseases. where although the cause of death of the skeletons has not been documented.e. small communities were often immune to infectious diseases due to their isolation. that can be summarized from these findings. making consumption and tuberculosis an “urban disease” (Roberts and Manchester 2005: 186). it is clear that it was a well recognized disease. due to being passed in such close proximity between human to human through airborne disease. with the Venetian vampire. It is also interesting that as tuberculosis is spread more easily in isolated farming communities who are away from medical knowledge. In England as a comparison. rather than in a city. as is the case of London. While periostisis refers to the inflammation of the periosteum. and to an extent Poland. So periostisic legions on the distal left tibia and fibia. they summarize nicely four traits across all of the “vampire” cases and reasons for the “vampires” being named as such. 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. i. Amarna. it is interesting to note the small isolated community which would have helped inflame the mythological rumours.
and Andrews P. Further Reading Bello S. Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains. 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.a r c h a e o l o g y Seventeenth century depiction of death and the body after death.php?go=drawkso_vampires (accessed 17. 2006: 1-13 Fine J. Oxford: Oxbow.2012) 19 . 2006: 179189 Oinas F.archaeology. Stroud. Penguin: Middlesex. ed.. 1987: 15-23 Mays S. 2005 (Third Edition) Sledzik P.5. Uncanny Archaeology) www. The Penguin Medical Encyclopedia. 1976 www. 1994: 269-274 Wingate P.org/online/features/halloween/ plague. Journal of Popular Culture 16 (1). East European Quarterly 21. Gowland R.. 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. and Knusel C. and Bellantoni N. (Samir S. The American Journal of Physical Anthropology 94 (2). ed. “The intrinsic pattern of preservation of human skeletons and its influence on the interpretation of funerary behaviours”. and Manchester K. Gowland R.slavia.. Oxford: Oxbow... “East European Vampires and Dracula”. Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains. “In Defence of Vampires”..htm.org/fieldschool. Patel Interview with Matteo Borrini. “Bioarchaeological and Biocultural Evidence for the New England Vampire Folk Belief”. and Knusel C. “The Osteology of Monasticism in Medieval England”. 1982: 108-114 Roberts C. As excavations in all sites continue it will be interesting to hear about further discoveries. 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... The Archaeology of Disease. The History Press..
20 Detail from the Processional Way in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum showing a lion framed by rosettes. both symbols of the goddess Inanna/ Ištar. [Credit: Wiki Commons ] .
For a modern audience. The significance of colour in antiquity.Colour Symbolism in Ancient Mesopotamia makes a brief assessment of the available evidence for symbolic values for colour from ancient Mesopotamian texts. was simpler and not distanced from the symbolic and esoteric worlds. However. colours are scientifically defined. 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 Basic Colour Wheel [Credit: Wikimedia Commons] value of materials and objects. 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. bold colours would not have been as universal as the modern audience now experiences. In addition. In contemporary culture we are surrounded both in the media and in our environment by vivid unsaturated hues. colour itself permeates our modern culture in ways which make an assessment of its value in antiquity less straightforward. the use of colour. In antiquity. and instructed in the complexities of the shadings of the colour palette in our early school years. (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). however. 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. partitioned and categorized with obsessive and sometimes even arbitrary precision. 21 . art and architecture.
Assyrian. Berlin. instead. reign of Nebuchadnezzar. the time frame covered by this examination shall encompass the 3rd to 1st millennia BCE (Before Common Era). While the great cultures which rose and fell during this time frame are many and include the Sumerian. the native language system itself remained relatively consistent throughout the entire region. its successor. 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. The earliest is Sumerian and the other is Akkadian. Pergamon Museum. forged metals.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Dedicatory cuneiform inscription in blue and white glazed brick from Babylon. I shall briefly define the boundaries both geophysical and chronological that will limit the discussion. the only theatre for the performance of vivid colour would have been via the polished stones. There were two languages written using the cuneiform script that were employed for literature. Accordingly. treasuries. vitreous glazes and mineral pigments used to produce the spectacular artefacts from monuments. and constitutes the regions of modern Iraq. This article shall. correspondence and account keeping. the Kassite and Persian. the employment of colour in the construction of an artefact. which came to be employed as . sunsets. which is approximately the period from 4000 BCE until around 500 BCE. Beyond the natural world. stones. temples and palaces. Babylonian. make an assessment of the evidence for symbolic values for colours from the ancient Near East. [ICredit: Wiki Commons] the ocean. But before we dive headlong into this tantalizing subject. 600-560 BCE. Mitannian. clays and other natural phenomena. Iran and Syria. 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.
green or yellow. orange and The ‘Queen of the Night (Burney) Relief’. These terms do not match modern notions of hue. black and white. For it is by examining the employment of colour terms in texts which provides the clues to their possible meaning and value in antiquity. where conditions were favourable to the preservation 23 . It will therefore be necessary to employ the linguistic evidence in combination with the visual. London.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. British Museum. It is these two scripts which supply us with the material for understanding a perception of colour and colour symbolism in Mesopotamia. 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. this has been ably handled by residues from this baked clay plaque have established that it was originally overlaid with red. 1800-1750 BCE. It does. This model argued that cultures evolve a linguistic vocabulary for colour as social complexity develops. the notion of light and dark. to blue. Near Eastern scholars have identified five core linguistic terms for colour in Mesopotamian texts. purple. Indeed. it should be emphasized here that this model is not ‘set in stone’ and has. Unlike Egypt. Feathering on both the goddess’s wings and the owls´ were patterned red. [Credit: Wiki Commons] others in the past. With regard to the visual evidence. In this article it is not my intention to give you an extended analysis of philological approaches to Mesopotamian colour vocabulary evolution. pink. black and white paint pigments. They established a clear seven stage pattern for colour word evolution which begins with the simplest concept. but are relatively consistent with the theoretical model developed by Brent Berlin and Paul Kay in the 1970s. either yellow or green. Subsequently a language then acquires terms for red. our view of Mesopotamian art and design is influenced by the passage of time. 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. the colours white and black. in fact. However. been disputed in scholarship for not applying to specific ancient cultures. then brown and so on until finally the more blended tints like grey. 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. however. it is based on linguistic grounds and therefore may not necessarily apply directly to the discussion of a perception of colour from antiquity. The background behind the figure was black while the ‘underworld’ goddess figure (Inanna or Ereshkigal) was painted red.
2000). red and green. 2600-2400 BCE. Wall paintings are scarce and where extant the damage and fading of original colours is extensive. ritual purity and occasionally The Mesopotamian language had five core uncoloured (devoid of colour). all colour words written in bold face represent the Sumerian form and all italicised. or radiance. the noun for ‘day’ and hues. It is difficult to put this impression aside and embrace what was in actuality. red and blue Inanna. turquoise (a blue. lapis lazuli and red limestone. It was an auspicious colour. holiness. 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. radiance. for the lexical citations see Black et al. To illustrate this idea one may Nanna/Sîn and the planet Venus/the goddess compare the English core terms. terms which may be associated with colour.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Wooden gaming board inlaid with white shell. Note: For the following. This means that when we view Mesopotamian art we tend to perceive a more monochrome vision of the past. These included the complementary shades. In addition. and the warm and cold sun god Utu/Šamaš. the name of the white and black. It is this paucity which necessitates examining the textual evidence for the significance of colour and brings us to the main discussion. green stone) and orange (a fruit). an artistic palette of rich and translucent colour. [Credit: Wiki Commons] BABBAR or peṣu was equivalent in value to the colour white and was used to describe concepts of light. British Museum. an isolated term used to describe the idea of The ideogram (sign) evolved from an early coloured or patterned. Mesopotamia supplies us with meagre material for a practical analysis of colour. ‘The Royal Game of Ur’ from the Royal Cemetery at Ur in southern Mesopotamia. and should therefore be interpreted as against the derived terms. shine. the Akkadian (but not all variant spellings. In addition. particularly 24 of pigment colours. there was was derived from a notion of brightness.a quality of lightness. It is worth noting that representation of the rising sun. It was from a proper noun for an object of a given also applied as an epithet for the moon god colouring. WHITE . brilliance.
‘darkness’) was one of red and the colour brown. gloom and shadow. red. infer that the colour was avoided in visual representation. on the to black proper. GE6. 25 . Pergamon Museum. As an abstract concept the noun embraced all subtleties BLACK relating to concepts of darkness. associated with the heavenly bodies. sombreness and shadow. through however. misery. 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. ranging from dark grey and dark blue. but leaned heavily towards dark when doubled (kukku. the ideogram. whom scholars consider to be a northern adoption of the Mesopotamian SU4 or sāmu was broadly equivalent to the demon Lamaštu. [Credit: Wiki Commons] many names for the netherworld where the dead were thought to reside. the Goddess RED-BROWN of Darkness. or ṣalmu embraced dark. Berlin. Predictably. colour red. 3400-3100 BCE. contrary it was an important component of ṣalmu was considered inauspicious and visual design in compositions with white and associated with the night. It was used to refer to a 2nd millennium Hurrian underworld deity and demon. for it was not. sombre hues. 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 planet Mars was also associated with this colour for. pp. [Credit: Wiki Commons] It was auspicious and considered to ward off hostile forces. blue. sāmu was also used to describe the colour of the heavens at both sunrise and sunset and. The goddess Inanna/Ištar bore the name ‘red lady of heaven’. similar to our usage. also bore the epithet ‘she of the red face’. but equally this may reflect her role as patron of battle and warriors. storm. pp. fire. particularly in describing the physical features of gods. 500 BCE. like white. are in evidence (dāmu). it was called the ‘red planet’. Red was a colour specifically associated with the representation of divinity. The semiprecious stone carnelian. As one example. also embracing ideas of brightness. such as ‘blood’. black and white glazed brick frieze of Persian warriors from the palace of Darius at Susa. the metal copper. 25-6). Berlin. such as ‘dark’ SIG7 or warqu embraced the range of hues and ‘bright’. passion and heat (Landsberger 1967. The goddess Inanna/ Ištar. 26 . which was popular for use in jewellery. GREEN-YELLOW Adjectives of intensification were often applied for shades of red. again a title reflective of her aspect as goddess of the planet Venus (Barrett 2007. 146-7). darkness. bore this noun as its name. a title reflective of her character as goddess of the morning and evening star. the planet Venus. and terms derived from nouns. This colour then included the aggressive and destructive nature of divinity. battle and the emotion of rage. was equated with the idea of brilliance and radiance. Pergamon Museum. from yellow through to green. ḪUŠ or ḫušša was a derived term which favoured bright red and was employed in the context of blood.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Yellow.
argued in 1967. and primarily appears as yellow proper rather than green. The colour blue as a separate entity was ornamentation and ‘intricate’. However. fertility and ripeness. 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. the ideogram for a bull´s horn. for there is copious evidence patterning or ornamentation. it is not blue in isolation that was necessarily ubiquitous to Having examined the four preceding terms for Mesopotamian colour schemes. burrumu was associated with ideas of speckling. These give the mineral a shimmering quality perhaps reminiscent of the night sky. colour green. but not neccessarily engaging to BLUE: uqnu contemporary western culture. It described plants. was also used to describe the sky. for the power for obtaining and distributing lapis lazuli resided with rulers. This fits reasonably neatly into the theoretical model nonetheless. black materials and yet again was associated with notions of brilliance and radiance.GÌN/uqnu. This usage has provoked an argument that it must extend out to include the colour blue (perhaps a light blue). Rather. it was colour. Green also functioned as a simile for brilliant. on occasion. as Landsberger most focussed within an idea of variegation. 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. demons and hybrid monsters. uqnu was employed hides or embroidered textiles. yellow was often used specifically for the depiction of ‘forces of chaos’. such as lions. Interestingly. 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. 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’. was perhaps an indifference to the colour. poikilos/ποικιλος and pharaonic Egyptian: seb/s3b). And this idea is reflected in the value primary colour) was subsumed within the of our final core colour term. trees and. it was less common.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. dark purple and even explain the Mesopotamian preference for It was auspicious and employed to convey notions of freshness. The stone itself is visually enhanced by small flecks of silvery pyrite and white calcite within the matrix of dark blue. 27 . As white was symbolically equated with silver. for lapis lazuli was exceedingly valuable throughout the ancient Near East due to its rarity and attractive visual lustre. but we are MULTICOLOURED subsequently confounded by the apparent absence of a core term for blue. ZA. It is the usage of this name for a precious stone which reflects the esteem that the colour blue held in Mesopotamian thought. radiant or luminescent with the noun warqu originally stemming from a word for plant or vegetation. ripened fruit. burrumu. greenyellow was associated with the precious mineral gold. a word common for a distinct value for blue in Mesopotamia to other ancient cultures (ancient Greek: from both ancient texts and archaeology. and would also to describe dark blue. In visual design however.
Pergamon Museum. Babylon. 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. Berlin. [Credit: Wiki Commons] 28 .
3000-2000 BCE. the dominant colour combination in Mesopotamian design For patterning. for Mesopotamian religious thought perceived the universe as composed of three spheres. appear to be accidental and may reinforce the idea of the necessity for balance between the three cosmic elements. red and was the pairing of red with blue (or black). the colours white. Pergamon Museum. the term places a much higher value on patterning as a unique colour concept. In addition. Berlin. heaven. blue are ubiquitous to Mesopotamian repre. lapis lazuli. one on which we ourselves do not place the same value. carnelian. jasper and chalcedony for luxury jewellery. obsidian and gold from southern Mesopotamia. the masculine discussion.This dichotomy has been argued as symbolic sentation throughout the long period under of the fundamental dualities. Apart from this tricolour pattern. [Credit: Wiki Commons] variegated stones such as agate. in which the heavens where the gods dwelt lay above the human sphere and the realm of the dead below (Bottero 1992).b r o n z e a g e | m e s o p o t a m i a Necklace of onyx. heaven 29 . 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). earth and the underworld. This colour convention does not force balanced with the feminine.
Barrett 2007).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 highest value for colour in Mesopotamia appears to have been the quality of light and brilliance. in a text describing is also a relatively recent linguistic development for the heavens. weapons and cult statues and also tend to function as similes for both purity and sanctity. the shepherd god Dumuzi/Tammuz. After all. white and blue. these nouns often stem from the sign for sunlight and therefore. was composed of red carnelian. In this instance both colours. 1000-1400 CE also the throne of the god was considered (Hardin and Maffi). where the female element is inferred by the colour red and the male by the colour blue. for focus on colour blue with the divine sphere. Perhaps this equally referenced the goddess of love and war’s androgynous nature. British Museum [Credit: Wiki Commons] with earth. and the divine sphere with the human realm (Winter 1999. as her (red) figure was traditionally represented adorned with lapis lazuli jewellery (Barrett 2007). both the popularity of the pairing of red with blue and the combination of red. 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. dark colours divine presence and worldly harmony. LIGHT: namru Beyond the value of patterning. 2600-2400 BCE. the highest. Terms for bright or radiant are common for descriptions of valued objects such as jewellery. belonging to the sky the English language. shell and red limestone. occurred during the Middle English period. appear to reference varying notions of divinity and the realm of the gods. the colour white. to be composed of lapis lazuli and lit with amber (Rochberg 2009). alone and together in combination. lapis lazuli. To further illustrate this association of red and The emphasis on brightness over hue in languages is not an isolated occurrence. UD/ pe ṣu. This changeover appears to have god An/Anu. As would be expected. 30 . Red and blue may also have functioned as a metaphor for the divine pairing of the goddess Inanna/Ištar and her male partner.
perfected with gold.” throughout the Middle East as an amulet to avert the evil eye and bring luck to its bearer.GIN.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. chalcedony of GIR. dark stones like lapis lazuli may nonetheless be polished to a high degree of shine and gloss. think about the impact of colour and light on the object of your interest. control over the forces of chaos was an black. the important feature of royal iconography in fifth orange. 450 BCE. Just 1999). and this factor should be taken into account when assessing colour perception in antiquity. the construction of precious objects (Winter with evil influences harnessed by the light. A neat example of In this manner the entire circumference of the this idea from contemporary culture is the ramparts was coloured. however. lay in qualities of light and shine which equated with notions of spirituality. dark red. such as red with divinity. the reader. 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. Terms for dark colours such as adaru and da’mu. specific colours held important symbolic associations. such as lapis lazuli. materially the colour vocabulary was rich and meaningful.” (Name of Year 14. importantly. Babylon. in addition. think about how the choices made in the design In Mesopotamia the visual qualities of an artwork. Perhaps next time you. “Year in which Hammurabi the king fashioned a magnificent dais-throne. The fourth dark blue. Therefore minerals. the third. as similarly the motif of a ruler demonstrating “Τhe outermost battlement was white. In addition. ca. In reflection. carnelian.MUŠ type and ZA. that is the shine. reign of Hammurabi. the colour blue with ideas of divinely sanctified power and opulence. I. The second. 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). colour and patterning. it appears that in ancient Mesopotamia the choice of colour in the construction of an object was not at all random. the ancient Near East. I would emphasize that lightness and darkness values do not automatically align with the value of shine as opposed to matt. 1792-1750) of the Median citadel at Ekbatana. translation by the author. outwardly demonstrated the object’s spiritual and aesthetic value. In addition. eye chalcedony.) shared equal footing in visual representation and therefore were considered necessary components of a composition.98. the preceding discussion noted that while the Mesopotamian language had a limited linguistic scope for concepts of colour. were equally essential elements to a balanced and harmonious design. Herodotus (Historiae. view an artefact in a book or at a museum. green with abundance and. In summary. it was a conscious decision in the entire construction of meaning and value. and in patterning which advertised ideas of harmony and world order. To illustrate this point. silver.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. but rather. 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. Emphasis. while arguably representing negative and destructive influences.TA (lapis lazuli) shining like radiance for Inanna of Babylon to complete her chariot. This value was not just 31 .
E. Winter.upenn. editors M. (2007). London: University of Chicago Press. 7-65. B. California: Stanford University. I. Über Farben im SumerischAkkadischen’. Mesopotamia: Writing. Linguistic Connections to Colour Terminology (and Social Complexity). editor A. (1999). Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary Project: http://psd. A. 139-173 Winter. Basic Colour Terms: Their Universality and Evolution. Kay. New Haven: Yale University. . J. (1992) Hardin. George & N. ‘Defining “Aesthetics” for Non-Western Studies: The Case of Ancient Mesopotamia’. Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 7. J. accessed 12/01/12].museum. Further Reading Barrett.L. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. Moxey.a n c i e n t p l a n e t may reflect tangible manifestations of the divine in Mesopotamian thought. (2000) Bottero. (2002). Paris: Louvre. A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian: Akkadian-English. 43-58. Caubet. 3-28.A Holly & K. ‘Was Dust Their Food and Clay Their Bread? Grave Goods. Web Links ePSD. C. ‘The Aesthetic Value of Lapis Lazuli in Mesopotamia’. In Art History. Berlin. In Cornaline et pierres précieuses: La Méditerranée. & L.edu/epsd/nepsd-frame. (1999) Black. I. Visual Studies. B. html [Last edited: 06/26/06. the Mesopotamian Afterlife and the Liminal Role of Inana/Ishtar’. (1997) Landsberger. de l’Antiquité à l’Islam. Color Categories in Thought and Language. J. J. Aesthetics. & P. Cambridge: Cambridge University. Reasoning and the Gods. C. Maffi. Postgate.. Journal of Cuneiform Studies 21 (1967).
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. [Credit: Wiki Commons] .
his relatives shall abominate him. burials have been plundered for the valuable objects within. The very nature of the Egyptian funerary beliefs necessitated the inclusion of grave goods. Everything which comes forth from his mouth. He shall be handed over to the court. his city god shall abominate him. his house to the devouring flame. offerings shall not be given to him on the wag-feast and any other beautiful feast of the necropolis.a veritable goldmine The ancient Egyptians believed that the Afterlife was a mirror of life on earth. his memory shall not endure among those living on earth. 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. this tomb curse is part of a vast corpus of “threat formulae” common throughout Egyptian history . he shall be an enemy of the glorified spirits whom the lord of the necropolis does not know. thus all the . E ver since the inclusion of funerary goods in Egyptian tombs. Paradoxically. water shall not be poured for him. This article surveys the motives of the robbers. which together with the mummy ensured the survival of the deceased in the afterlife. his farm shall fall to fire. the seat of the glorified spirits.” 34 So proclaims the inscription of Tomb III at Assuit serving as a warning to any would-be violators. he shall not be glorified in the necropolis. Consequently. his property shall not exist in the necropolis. 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. tomb robbery was taken very seriously by the king and his officials. his name shall not be mentioned among the spirits. the gods of the necropolis shall repudiate it. and prosecuted accordingly. The legal system and punishment of thieves is also described. the temptation these grave goods created led to the plundering of the tombs of rich and poor alike endangered their existence.Rebelling Against the Gods Egyptian Tomb Robbery By Lisa Swart architectural devices and divine agency. Provisioning the dead .a sad testament to the prevalence of tomb robbery in ancient Egypt. By no means unusual. his children shall be expelled from their tombs.
Additional objects made from precious materials such as lapis lazuli. however. 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.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t The innermost coffin of King Tutankhamun. forgotten. Tutankhamun’s tomb contained a phenomenal amount of valuable tomb goods. For tomb robbers. which took Howard Carter over ten years to catalogue. our knowledge of the contents of several tombs comes from a series of court documents or the “tomb robbery papyri. Most of these objects were manufactured from or covered in gold. turquoise and amethyst are attested in great abundance. such as his solid gold coffin and death mask. the testimony of Amunpanefer and his colleagues who robbed the pyramid of King Sebekensaf of the Seventeenth Dynasty provides a tantalizing 35 . resealed. it was not discovered intact. The documents recorded the legal inquiries. and. over three thousand objects in all. From the Papyrus Amhurst-Leopold. contrary to popular belief. it weighs 110. It is one of the best-preserved royal tombs. thankfully.4 kilograms and is made of solid gold. It had been entered at least twice in ancient times. The two outer coffins were made from wood and gilded. and inventories of stolen goods regarding series of tomb robberies during the reign of Rameses IX (1126 – 1108 BCE). Ironically. We only have to look at the contents of the tomb of Tutankhamun to understand the driving force behind these robberies. confessions. [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.” these include the famous Papyrus Abbott and Papyrus Amherst – Leopold II.
Third making it easier to transport the loot. a large number of amulets and jewels of gold were upon his neck. c. and Paser is shown in a very bad light. it was discovered that bands of thieves had been systematically looting the private tombs in the area. only the pyramid of Sobekemsaf II. and gold which we found in the tombs…” AnObjects made from valuable metals such as other unnamed thief testified how he and his gold. The thieves state that “We opened their sarcophagi and their coffins in which they were. Furthermore. the mayor of Eastern Thebes. and copper were melted down. In the same series of tomb robbery papyri. However. We opened it and brought 36 . His accuser and rival. by shifting the blame elsewhere. Paweraa appears to have exonerated himself in this case. Paser. London. and decorative elements of furniture. In the document.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). Paweraa (a seemingly wily fellow) was accused of plundering the tombs in his jurisdiction. such as the faces and hands of coffins. (Twentieth Dynasty. sent for an inquiry into the allegations. British Museum. [Credit: Wiki Commons] hint at the riches contained therein. cohorts “went to the tomb of Thanufer. the precious metals were either hacked off or the object was burned and the metals extracted. Of the ten royal tombs purported to have been desecrated. impossible to trace back to the tomb once it was sold. 1100 BCE. The noble mummy of this king was completely bedecked with gold. the thief. the malleability of the materials made it relatively simple to divide the spoils between the thieves. and his headpiece of gold was upon him. silver. a pharaoh of the Seventeenth Dynasty (1650 – 1550 BCE) was robbed. The document also records the proceedings from the trial with the thieves’ confessions and the descriptions of the tombs that were looted. When the objects in the tomb were gilded over wood. and Prophet of Amun. 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.” 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.5 kilograms). and found the noble mummy of this king equipped with a falchion (sword).
comprised of wood and plaster. Milwaukee Art Museum. (From Grafton Elliot Smith’s “The Royal Mummies. It was believed that gold symbolized the flesh of the gods. gold leaf was applied to the face. We took his mummy cases to this boat…we set fire to them in the night.500 – 250 BCE. We stripped off the gold which we found on them…” similarly. 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. (Late Period or early Graeco-Roman Period.” 1912. The damaged corpse of “the Elder Lady” found in KV35. the thieves would strip the wrappings off the mummy. precious varieties of wood and ivory were highly valued by thieves. cosmetics. Public Domain) out its contents: we took its mummy and threw it down in a corner of its tomb. Wisconsin. perfumes.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t The gilded facemask from the coffin of Pedusiri. goods such as textiles. c. Public Domain) 37 . and the corpse would often be hacked or burned to facilitate the extraction of the valuable metals. 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. to add insult to injury.
From stone slid into place and blocked the entrance very early on in Egyptian history. Security measures were included in Egyptian tombs. thus further. 38 Booby traps and Camouflage . In later tombs. grave goods stairwell to the burial chamber. these great slabs of to ensure the integrity of the tomb.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. more and more luxury items were them above ground.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.
. 2450 BCE. archi. for thieves. With each successive ruler.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t The mastaba of Seshemnefer III.But. dustrious thieves had bypassed the obstacles 39 the entrance was obstructed by rubble. to no avail! When Flinders Petrie sent a tects attempted to outwit prospective thieves worker into the burial shaft. c. pyramids became a prime target attempt to mislead and discourage robbers. in the foreground with the pyramid of Chephren in the background at Giza. the vizier of ancient Egypt. the inking’s pyramid. In a great show of ingenuity. (Fifth Dynasty. [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. he reported that and kept changing the internal design of the only traces of the burial remained.
[Credit: Wiki Commons] and breached the burial chamber.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. which had been carved from solid granite. through the roof blocks (taylor. the tombs were then decorated. it is unknown whether this pit served as a deterrent for robbers or had a mythical significance. . the tomb entrances were carefully sealed and hidden to make them blend into the surrounding landscape. the tombs 40 were painstakingly tunneled deep into the cliffs and a deep pit was excavated before the tomb chamber. 2001: 179). 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. This was the second pyramid Amenemhat built as the first one at Dashur (the Black Pyramid) was abandoned due to construction problems. and funerary goods deposited within the burial chamber.
The burial equipment itself was designed to offer additional protection. However. and successfully burrowed their way from tomb to tomb. John Taylor (2001: 179) states that this may 41 . The mummies of royalty and high-ranking officials were placed in thick stone sarcophagi made from the hardest workable stone such as quartzite.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. 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. industrious thieves succeeded in pilfering the contents by levering the lids open or burrowing the side of the sarcophagi. basalt. and granite. enterprising thieves found their way in. However. However.
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. it endangered the stability and security of 42 . According to the Egyptian worldview. when the tomb of a king was violated by less than honest embalmers.The Egyptian legal system and sible for the burial. retribution Robbing the dead was by no means confined Tomb robbery was reviled in ancient Egypt to the tomb.
From these documents.” a term that was steeped in egyptian mythology. who symbolized disorder. the robbers (or rebels) had shown themselves to be agents of chaos and were thus associated with the gods seth or Apophis. who was responsible for the day-to-day administration 43 . as the deceased king still played a role in assuring ma’at (order and stability). By their misdeeds. the tomb robbery papyri provide a clear picture of the judicial process involved in prosecuting tomb robbers.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. it appears that harsh sanctions were imposed for tomb violations within the judicial system. tomb robbers were labeled “rebels. the severity of this transgression commanded the personal attention of the Vizier.
the Mayor of Western Thebes. a particularly painful process involving the whipping of the soles of the feet. and Paweraa. “if I speak a falsehood. the people associated with the necropolis or tomb workers (stone masons. may I be mutilated and sent to Kush. such as bribery were punished by penal servitude. and many officials turned a blind eye to these illicit activities. The case of the quarryman. the scribe of the quarter…He released me and I rejoined my companions and they compensated me with a portion once again. Here. The highest-ranking officials mentioned in these documents were Djehutyhotep. The covert criminality of tomb robbing necessitated the need for justice and retribution to take place in both this world and the next. the Baker. Amunpanefer. Recipients of stolen goods were punished with mutilation and impalement. Frequently. the suspect was cross-examined. judgment was wrought upon the suspect. and gave them to Khaemope. I together with other thieves… have continued down to this day in the practice of robbing tombs. appears to have the desired effect of producing a confession. is frequently mentioned as typical punishment. 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. Thus.” swears one tomb robber after being thoroughly examined. The Lifetime Protection Plan: The Curse “The Butcher. If the suspect and witnesses were found to have committed perjury. The suspects were then “examined. they were sent into penal servitude. “I took 20 deben (almost 2 kilograms) of gold that had fallen to me as my portion. Chief Doorkeeper of the Temple of Amun. mutilated (arms. and the Chief Doorkeeper of the Temple of Amun” In the tomb robbery papyri mentioned above. The level of criminality reached well into the upper administrative ranks. and the trial was held in the Great Assembly (“Great Qenbet”) in the capital city. tomb robbery appears to have been a professional operation. 44 of the Mummy Extending the range of social institutions such as police and law-courts. craftsmen. Once again. the tomb owner protected himself by calling for divine inter- .” These cases were thoroughly prosecuted and no stone was left unturned. the tomb robbery papyri give us great insight into the names and professions of the thieves. artists. which had been set by the king himself. whereas he committed several robberies. etc) were very well placed to perpetrate such crimes.” a euphemistic term to describe the beating in which the alleged robber had the bastinado applied to his feet and hands. Associated crimes. Finally. ears or nose cut off). The tribunal consisted of a commission of dignitaries from both ecclesiastical and governmental offices. after several applications.a n c i e n t p l a n e t of the kingdom. the Egyptians turned to the metaphysical world for further refuge and protection. People suspected of “disturbing the peace of the dead” were arrested and had to appear before a court. which were recorded and the specific crimes of the perpetrators were written down. Amunpanefer confessed that when he was arrested for the second time he bribed the official who caught him and succeeded in escaping. Thieves often worked in close collaboration with corrupt priests and well-bribed officials. or impaled. with networked gangs of men working assiduously to enrich themselves. and it seems were actively involved in pillaging tombs. and witnesses were brought in to corroborate the suspect’s testimony. The death penalty. This method of interrogation. Suspects were then required to swear a divine oath upon penalty if found lying.
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.
and their flesh will burn together with that of the criminals.1070 – 712 BCE). it was common practice in times of economic crisis to “reappropriate” and reuse funerary goods from older burials. Even Howard Carter wrote in his diary on the inevitability of tomb robbery. the Egyptian robber could not expect an afterlife. This comprised of curses. For example. conjuring up images of determined thieves painstakingly carving their way through tons of rock to claim their gold. plunging the country into civil war. the thief would lose his identity and the right to be buried. During the Third Intermediate Period (ca. this practice was especially prevalent from the late New Kingdom. the harsh legal sentences appear to have had little effect as a deterrent. later. although a suspect in the tomb robbery papyri declared his innocence by stating. Under the pretext of restoration. and moved to safer locations. From the short reigns of the successive kings Rameses IV to Rameses XI (ca. but his entire family. his god will not accept his white bread. It seems that divine retribution was not a cause for concern when the state or religious institutions supported the pillaging of tombs. the high priests of Amun had the bodies of the great New Kingdom pharaohs rewrapped. as his corpse was destroyed and his name erased from memory . “As regards any nome governor.a worse possible fate could not be imagined. banishment from society. Egypt’s pharaohs ruled over a declining kingdom. Communication with the gods would cease with the god’s refusal to accept the thief’s offerings and he would be unknown to them. 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. Egyptian society. “As regards any ruler who will rule in Mo’alla and who will commit a bad. coffins were altered to suit the current funerary trends and sold to willing customers. any noble man or any civilian.a n c i e n t p l a n e t vention. evil act against this coffin and against any part of this tomb. 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. who will fail to protect this tomb and its contents. Additionally. Other threats include far-reaching effects such as expelling the violator’s children from their own tombs. Conclusion In his seminal publication “The Rape of the Nile. This would have had a major economic impact on the family for many generations. Consequently. the authority of the pharaohs became increasingly diluted by the power of the high priests of Amun at Thebes. royal and private tombs in Thebes were plundered for all their contents to fill state coffers. The stated penalties typically comprised of removal from office. imprecations that threatened anyone who trespassed and violated a tomb with severe punishments in this life and the next. where many mummies were stripped of their gold.” Brian Fagan states that the plundering of tombs could be considered a timehonoured past time in Egypt. as can be seen in Ankhtifi’s tomb inscription at Mo’alla.1078 BCE). Not only would the robbers actions affect him. and the death penalty (often by fire or dismemberment). 1151 BCE .” avows an inscription warning any potential violators of Tomb III at Assuit. they have been turned into ones who do not exist.” Here the punishment also affected his children in that they would not take over his post and inherit any physical property from him. Labelled “recommodification” by Egyptologists. any son of man. Essentially. “ I Reappropriation and reuse of funerary goods Despite the abhorrence of tomb robbery in . he will not be buried in the West [cemetery]. Economic crises and the threat of invasions did little to keep the country on track.
Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. B. Vol. H. Special Issue on The Treatment of Criminals in the Ancient Near East (Jan. 27-54 . the economic benefits of tomb robbery far outweigh the threat of penalties enforced by the law. (2004). *** Further Reading Assmann. J. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. The plundering of Egyptian tombs and monuments continues to this day. Vol. 1977). and van de Walle. Crime. Truly. (2001) Willems. Oxford: Westview Press. D. B. T. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. No. Gardiner. 149-162 Capart. E.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). Vol. 169-193 Fagan. No. J.. The Treatment of Criminals in Ancient Egypt: Through the New Kingdom. 1936). 1. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.. 20. When Justice Fails: Jurisdiction and Imprecation in Ancient Egypt and the Near East. Vol.. The Great Tomb Robberies of the Twentieth Egyptian Dynasty. it seems that nothing has changed. 2 (Dec. J. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. A. then as now. H. Tourists. 2-64 Peet. New York: Hildesheim (1997) Taylor. 76 (1990). why am I going to seek death deliberately?“ In reading these documents. as does the corruption and greed well attested in the ancient documents from thousands of years ago. Lorton. 78 (1992).. New Light on the Ramesside Tomb-Robberies. and Archaeologists in Egypt. 22. H. The Rape of the Nile: Tomb Robbers. Cult and Capital Punishment (Mo’alla Inscription 8).
On display at the Musée gallo-romain de Fourvière. Found in Montpellier in 1863.48 Bronze helmet. Lyon [Credit: Wiki Commons] . 7th-6th century BCE.
Boar’s Tusk Helmets did not have a uniform design. 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). Though the development of any technology is nonlinear. Hunting was a frequent theme in Mycenaean art. Experimentations with helmet design illuminate the limitations and intricacies of warfare as it was developed in the ancient world. The maturation of this mentality can be traced through the stylistic and technological progression of military helmets. The Boar’s Tusk Helmet was an effective display of skill as each helmet required somewhere between forty and fifty boars (Everson 10). 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. was the addition of bulls’ or rams’ horns (Everson 9). Additionally. They were formed from a single vertical series of boars’ tusks. but were an improvement over leather or even felt (Everson 10-11). As bronze forging techniques improved. and boar was often the target. In all reality. Cheek guards were the first and most prominent addition to the helmet. At the time. when the Mycenaean Empire controlled Greece. Ultimately. which only appeared in the Bronze Age. strands were probably tied between the alternating tusks in order to protect the laces (Everson 7). studying the evolution of stylistic designs reveals how the unique style of combat in Greece changed war. The Boar’s Tusk Helmet may have been a prestige item related to hunting prowess (Snodgrass 19). When bronze was used on the dome of the helmet. bronze sheets began to be included in the Boar’s Tusk Helmet. primitive versions of the iconic horsehair crest may have begun to appear on the Boar’s Tusk Helmets (Everson 9). the laces holding the tusks in place would have been exposed and vulnerable. Additionally. so leather . Another decoration. the boars’ tusks would have shattered after a single blow. an emphasis on camaraderie and communal reliance developed the concept of unit cohesion and specialization. Greece would become the birthplace of Western military thought. The tusks were sewn into a felt or leather cap which served as the base of the helmet.A Brief History of Greek Helmets By Jesse Obert W arfare is a constantly changing aspect of human interaction. In Ancient Greece. the Boar’s Tusk Helmet was popular throughout the region. 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).
14 cent BCE. depicting soldiers wearing what some scholars believe to be leather helmets with bronze studs [Credit: Wiki Commons] 50 .a n c i e n t p l a n e t Above Boar Tusk helmets from Mycenae (left) and Crete (right). c. Below: The Warrior Vase from Mycenae.
Their sudden appearance and even part of the throat. Though the details of Greek a psychological and stylistic asset. Though no Mycenaean helmets seemed to have physically survived. the Illyrian and were products of advanced forging Helmet covered the entire head. Eventually full bronze helmets appeared. However. This dramatic style of violence along its peak (Snodgrass 52). Although. Despite the wide scale collapse of the Bronze Age empires in the 12th century BCE. horsehair crests became much more popular. They appear to have been a series of small interwoven bronze scales which draped from the back of the helmet (Everson 13).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). This style of crest quickly became a and lower thigh. Additionally. and techniques. on the Peloponnese and quickly became In the 8th century BCE. throat. 51 . strengthened the crease atop the Illyrian Helmet. 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). which was already spear or sword. two new helmets popular throughout Greece. Near the end of the Bronze Age. The horsehair crest. cheeks. but these helmets were extremely thin and had to be attached to a cap (Everson 11). the Boar’s Tusk Helmet continued to be an item of interest. 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. amongst the Macedonians and non-Greek Homer references and describes one in the Illyrians. neck guards began to appear in their most primitive form. 6th–5th noticeable influence on later Greek helmets centuries BCE [Credit: Wiki Commons] (Snodgrass 32). it was especially weak along the all the while trying to stab the enemy with a seam. The basic shape was maintained through the following Dark Age and had a Illyrian type bronze helmet from Argolis. the name is misleading as the Illyrian Helmet was originally developed 8th century BCE (Homer X. attempted battle are heatedly debated. involved crowds of heavily armoured men ramming into each other. popular necessity. These crests were rather simple and are often compared to the crests of Assyria and other Eastern states (Snodgrass 43). At some point both Because the Illyrian Helmet was forged from sides would have a massive pushing contest two pieces. scholars agree to address the issue. They were made entirely of bronze to earlier Bronze Age helmets. Similar in shape emerged.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.
If the helmet did not fit tightly over the soldier’s head. and cavalry which all required the visibility of an open faced helmet. the Illyrian Helmet became a favourite of the Macedonians and Illyrians. An additional issue with the Corinthian Helmet was the cost. and no ear holes. There was little to no padding. The Corinthian Helmet. Additionally. Corinthian Helmets had to be made specifically for each soldier (Snodgrass 59). 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).a n c i e n t p l a n e t Left: A later Illyrian helmet with hinged cheek guards [Credit: Author]. In Ancient Greece. In addition. This need for an exact fit meant that the helmet could not be passed through families or recovered from battlefields. was immensely more popular. then a glancing blow could turn the helmet in battle and completely blind the soldier (Hanson 72). greatly restricted vision. It was remarkably strong as it was forged out of a single piece of bronze (Snodgrass 51). Right: Corinthian style helmet from Sparta [Credit: Wiki Commons] The Illyrian Helmet had many weaknesses. loose formations. soldiers had to purchase their own equipment and some men must have chosen the cheaper Illyrian Helmet or maybe even a leather alternative. Interestingly. the helmet left the neck vulnerable and 52 was notoriously uncomfortable and heavy (Snodgrass 56). the forceful collisions involved in early Greek warfare made the structural weaknesses of the Illyrian Helmet a liability. However. The helmet was phased out and ultimately disappeared from Greece by the 5th century BCE (Everson 130). 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. The wearer was partially blinded and practically deaf when he wore the helmet. which appeared around the same time as the Illyrian Helmet. These northern communities utilized light infantry.
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.
the helmet first appeared in southern Italy and seems to have been invented by Greek colonists (Snodgrass 70). the introduction of battlefield tactics and strategy had encouraged the Greek soldier to prefer more open helmets with better visibility. helmet attempted to address the visibility and comfort issues of the Corinthian Helmet At the end of the 6th century BCE. the Chalcidian Helmet had a misleading name.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. large ear holes were cut into the sides of the helmet to allow for communication on the battlefield (Snodgrass 94). The region was called cheek guards. The helmet was popularized on the mainland At the beginning of the 6th century BCE. This solidified the helmet’s popularity in Greece but. However. Finally. This addition covered the neck and throat and dissipated the helmet’s weight. as Corinthian while still providing adequate protection Helmets became less burdensome. by the end of the 5th century BCE. a new for the face. the by the Athenians who seemed to prefer lighter Chalcidian Helmet began to appear. The Chalcidian helmet may have given them the visibility they needed while maintaining the protective shape of the Corinthian Helmet. This helmets with more visibility (Snodgrass 70). 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. . These settlers needed a strong helmet that would enable them to defeat the light infantry and cavalry of the local Italians. It was named for its popularity in art from the city of Chalcis. The Chalcidian Helmet had a helmet was introduced on the western coast rounded nose guard and two large rounded of modern day Turkey. A ridge was added above the forehead encircling the peak of the helmet which allowed extra padding and additional protection from glancing blows. the cheek pieces for the ears. the Corinthian Helmet had been adapted to address its defects. The eyeholes were slightly Ionia and was considered Greek. The cheek guards and the back of the helmet were extended to rest on the wearer’s shoulders. 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).
The helmet originally appeared on artistic representations of Athena. and the Ionian Helmet was no exception. This noticeable similarity to Above: Warrior head vase from Ephesus or Rhodes representing an Ionian helmet. In the century following the artistic introduction of the Attic 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 forehead had a large flat plate for extra protection. the Athenian military tended to avoid pitched battles. It had a distinct neck guard and hinged cheek pieces. Nevertheless. and the neck guard to provide cover from missiles coming from above and behind the soldier. Though the absence of a nose guard or throat guard left the face less protected. the Attic Helmet. The cheek guards could be tied to the peak of the massive forehead guard. In the Peloponnesian War.152). the additional forehead guard and neck guard may have been reactions to a different style of combat (Snodgrass 65). but at the end of the 6th century BCE the Athenians began to develop their own version. At the time. but was eventually forged and utilized in battle (Snodgrass 69). the thick rounded cheek guards attempted to maintain the successful shape of the earlier Chalcidian helmet. Additionally. The Ionians served in eastern armies as mercenaries and brought Greek combat to eastern battlefields (Herodotus II. 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. 431 BCE – 404 BCE. more versatile equipment. 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. The Ionian Helmet was especially popular in Athens. In many ways. thereby leaving the face entirely open. both of which would have required lighter. The Attic Helmet was lighter than most Greek 55 . [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). battle in the Middle East relied much more heavily on missile weapons and loose formations. the Athenians heavily relied on naval engagements and coastal raiding. or tied together at the chin.
The Attic Helmet managed to survive this time of transition and became a regular preference amongst later soldiers. The cheek guards were hinged and sometimes they were even completely detachable (Snodgrass 69). hinge under the brim of the helmet. The Thracian Helmet is named for its similarities 56 A remarkably decorated Thracian helmet with a Phrygian styled peak [Credit: Thefakebusters] . though it was smaller than the guard on the Ionian Helmets. or maybe just the style. the cheek pieces were often fitted to each individual soldier’s face. 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). This probably served as extra protection from missile weapons which began to reappear on Greek battlefields at the end of the 5th century BCE. This similarity along with the time of its introduction has led several scholars to suggest that the helmet. Hinged and fitted cheek guards protected the face while still leaving plenty of space for the eyes and ears. was brought to Greece by Thracian mercenaries in the invading Persian Army (Snodgrass 104). for the ears. Additionally. This new style provided adequate protection and more visibility with a lighter guard. In fact. the forehead guard seems to have generally lost its practical application in favour of a decorative one. a new style of helmet appears to have been brought into Greece from the north.a n c i e n t p l a n e t to a popular style of hat in Thrace. 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). Additionally. the region along the northernmost coast of the Aegean Sea. helmets became lighter and lighter. There was a forehead guard. including the Romans (Everson 135). the cheek guards were attached with leather straps to a helmets and left the face completely open. At the beginning of the 5th century BCE. The Thracian Helmet had a distinct brim over the face and eyes. As warfare began to rely more and more on battlefield tactics and troop manoeuvres.
This noticeable trend in armour coincides with huge leaps in the understanding of battlefield tactics. After the Persian Wars. It had a presence in the military. the Boeotian Helmet was the best helmet available for a cavalryman The Greek military system usually relied on (Xenophon XII. The pattern of lightening the infantry’s panoply.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 Boeotian Helmet was light and efficiently protected the wearer from missiles. At the end of the 5th century BCE. the general lack of accessories made it significantly easier and faster for a soldier to prepare for battle. in the Phrygian style. nearly every soldier in the Macedonian Army wore a Thracian Helmet. such as the later Corinthian Helmet and the Attic Helmet. though crests in general had become significantly less common by the 4th century BCE. By its height. a horsehair crest decorated the top of the helmet. 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. Occasionally. After Philip II’s military reforms in the 4th century BCE. warfare in Greece changed radically. armies cavalry helmet. This literary reference has self-funded troops from the top tiers of the led many archaeologists to conclude that the financial hierarchy. Like the Thracian Helmet. the god of trade and travel (Snodgrass 95). it was not as popular as the other helmets. The Thracian Helmet continued to be popular amongst wealthier Greeks until the invasion of the Romans (Snodgrass 118). Even Alexander the Great is said to have worn an elaborately decorated iron Thracian Helmet (Snodgrass 118). the Thracian Helmet tended to have a more forward rounded peak. as a felt version was often seen worn by Hermes. It covered the top of the head and had a large all encompassing brim. the Boeotian Helmet was introduced. According to Xenophon. a soldier could survey the battlefield quickly and without difficulty. troop specialization. The military mindset at this time explains the immense popularity of the Thracian Helmet and Attic Helmet which provided good vision. but usually did not have cheek guards or a neck guard. 3). the became bigger and more manpower was Boeotian Helmet was named for its similarity required. A Boeotian helmet [Credit: Thefakebusters] been a common image in art for centuries. and states were 57 . By leaving the face entirely open. and a sudden interest in military professionalism. smaller shields. As the centuries passed Boeotian Helmet was originally invented as a and warfare became more advanced. The Boeotian Helmet was one of the lightest and simplest metal helmets in Greece. hearing. and protection from missiles. which had been slow moving over the centuries. Though some cavalrymen may have strapped the helmets to their head to prevent it from falling off. The wealthy aristocrats had less of to a popular style of hat (Snodgrass 94). He could freely communicate with his companions and not be hindered by the helmet’s weight. However. one of the most significant benefits of the Boeotian Helmet was its low cost.
In the 5th cen. but several explanations have been proposed. helmets. 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 Pilos Hel. The Thracian Helmet and the lightest form of the Attic Helmet were still The Pilos Helmet provided unhindered popular. the Pilos Helmet occasionally had a horsehair crest. Before the Pilos between massive empires with huge armies Helmet was adopted in Sparta.and sophisticated it was the logical next step met was simply a metal version of a popular in the evolution of the helmet. 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). Some argue that the advancement of battlefield tactics required that infantry have full vision and mobility (Everson 135). and instigated by the Spartans. The simplicity of the helmet may seem like a strange conclusion to the evolution of the Greek helmet. when they After Alexander the Great spread Greek adopted the helmet they announced that culture and warfare across the Middle East. they had of lower class citizens. a bronze version began to appear and during the Hellenistic era it was a popular infantry helmet. The Romans in the 2nd and even 1st centuries BCE. cost (Snodgrass 95). 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. Hellenistic hat. but the most common metal helmet communication. and a cheap alternative to contemporary metal in Greece was arguably the simplest. The Pilos was a brimless travelling cap combat relied on tightly packed groups common throughout Greece. mobility. the 5th century BCE. This period is known predominantly used the Corinthian Helmet.a n c i e n t p l a n e t tury BCE. Like the Thracian Helmet. the Boeotian Helmet became essentially forcing them to adopt the Pilos popular amongst infantry because of its low Helmet (Lendon 63). though crests were generally unusual at the time (Everson 136). unrestricted vision. The influx of lower class soldiers. “they had nothing to hide. individual protection was 58 . the battlefield and this new style of warfare Some scholars argue that this boast put required even lighter and cheaper helmets.working in unison. Spartans argued that by adopting the Pilos Massive. Apparently. 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). social pressure on other Greek communities At this time. no fear or passion the region was gripped by large-scale wars in their faces” (Lendon 63). the occasional state funded militias. closely packed infantry dominated Helmet they were exemplifying their bravery.
G. Classic Reader. Nevertheless. Print. 2004. Homer. Print.Y. New York. 2003.. Trans. they brought peace to Lendon. J. Soldiers and Ghosts. attributed to a workshop in Vulci [Credit: Bibi Saint-Pol/Wiki Commons] sidelined in favour of troop manoeuvrability. On Horsemanship. 27 Mar. Hanson. The centre of military advancement CT: Yale UP. Trans. When the Romans invaded and ultimately conquered Greece. Print. Print. Tim. Battles had grown from single clashes of small communities to complex engagements of huge empires. U.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. Print. 59 . N. Blackdog Media. 1990. 2003. Trans. Web. London: Penguin. E. The Iliad. 1990. 2006. stronger Roman helmets. moved to Italy. The Western Way of War. the area. Aubrey De Sélincourt. legacy of the Greek helmet became a symbol Dakyns. New York: Oxford UP. and many Greek helmets Snodgrass. Arms and Armour of the were phased out in favour of lighter and Greeks. the Xenophon. Stroud: Sutton Pub.A. Herodotus. NY: Cornell UP. 1967.S. Anthony M. beginning of the 5th century BCE. Warfare in Ancient Greece. Ithaca. New Haven. The Histories.: Viking.. Victor D. Robert Fagles. H. *** Further Reading Everson. Print. of the technological and cultural superiority of Classical Greece.
hidden sites all over the place. either visiting popular destinations such as Mycenae and Olympia or just chasing the “brown” road-signs of the motorway which lead to less popular. is a 21. a weekly sally of a small group of archaeologists. The subjective structure and the personal narration reflect a diary-like content. bays.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. You can follow the group day by day. infusing the spirit of the Renaissance. written in the 14th 60 century. transmitted their discoveries of antiquarian interest. areas (six out of the seven regional units) and natural landscapes (coasts. were the first to attempt a systematic description of the historical landscape. plains. 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- . affected the perception of the West over Medieval Greece. was the first Englishman to record his memoirs of the Peloponnese. The 15th century Italian scholars Ciriaco de Pizzicolli and Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta. The Chronicle of the Morea. caves). which takes root back in early prehistory to outgrow the classical world and define the nature of modern Hellenism. Its aim is to picture a random choice of exciting Peloponnesian sites and places from different periods (Palaeolithic to Byzantine). II-VIII). Welcome to the Moreas! Stories of travelling in the Peloponnese The “island” of Pelops. In the 17th century. hills. marking the diversity of the Peloponnesian historical landscape. a Turkish chronographer travels extensively throughout the Peloponnese. VIII) and Pausanias (Description of Greece. open to the adventurous individual with a labyrinth of choices. Evliya Çelebi. Strabo (Geographica. the dark-faced king who became a play-thing for the Olympians. in late antiquity.439 square kilometres area of myth and fact. in 1671-79. peninsulas. Bernard Randolph.
We take the exit to Loutraki and drive 20km westwards to the Heraion of Perachora. The Heraion of Perachora On the way to the Heraion. numerous tourist guides present a simpler version of the Peloponnesian past. material culture. the British antiquarian interest in the Peloponnese was set alight. dialects. northeast tip of the site. both romantically and practically (Lord Elgin. At the same time. marked with the sites andre Buchon. a 61 . Otto Magnus von Stackelberg. William Martin Leak. Étienne Fourmont.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e Map of the Peloponnese. a Russian-Estonian in origin. William Gell. Henri Belle). eras. Christopher Wordsworth. each specializing in different aspects of the historical landscape (regions. Isabel Armstrong). A personal story of archaeological travel Day 1 Departure from Athens. the visitor comes across the Fountain.). The number of modern studies is accumulating. William George Clark. lifestyles etc. In the orientalising 19th century. studied and excavated in the Peloponnese. i. customs. curtailed for the sake of the hurried visitor. destination: Nafplio We depart from Athens early in the morning and hit the highway heading to Corinth. Lord Byron.e. Edgar Quinet.
a n c i e n t p l a n e t Heraion of Perachora 62 .
The sanctuary of Hera. As indicated on a panel at the Heraion. bronzes.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. is a complex of different structures. CE) and Herodes Atticus (2nd cent. we decided to visit the nearby Mycenaean necropolis at Skaloma. executed by prime minister Thrasyvoulos Zaimis and King George I of Greece). where one can enjoy a magnificent view over the sanctuary and the Corinthian gulf. CE) all attempted to study and/or apply a plan of digging a canal. The architectural complex and its landscape. ivories) have been studied and published mainly by the British School of Athens. 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). 63 . as well as the various finds (pottery. originally under Corinthian influence. Instead of visiting the ancient city of Corinth. the apsidal cistern and the banquet building. as well as Nero (1st cent. Julius Caesar and his successor Caligula. Later. on the way back to Corinth. situated in a small cove of the gulf. terracottas. we make a short stop at the Corinthian Canal. a shortcut was created to save boats from sailing round the peninsula: a stone ramp called the Diolkos (7th cent. The site was occupied from the 9th to the 2nd centuries BCE. BCE). including the temples (Hera Limenia and Hera Akraia). BCE). the stoa. Since ancient times. we head to the sanctuary of Isthmia. A nearby sign leads to the chapel of Agios Nikolaos. before the actual completion of the project in the 19th century (initiative of Ioannis Kapodistrias. occupied from LH IIIA2/B1 continuing at least into early LH IIIC. Deep grooves were constructed which allowed wheeled vehicles to drag the unloaded ships over to the eastern port (Kenchreai) or the western port (Lechaion). The tyrant Periander (7th cent. the rural cult practices.
Isthmus of Corinth 64 .
Beginning in 582 BCE. This complex of buildings included a small. Wondering if the location of the sanctuary was prominent enough to be seen from the sea by those sailing to Corinth. Northwest from the Palaimonion was the old stadium (6th cent. Asine The ancient acropolis of Asine. Only the foundations and a few architectural elements were preserved and excavated by the American School. We follow a westerly route for 70km and arrive at the site of Asine. During the reconstruction of Corinth in 44 BCE. a new stadium was built. a large part of the sanctuary’s building material was used for the construction of the Hexamilion wall. is located in a natural port of the Argolic 65 . The temple of the god was first built in the 7th century. The Isthmia festival was probably the most popular of all the Panhellenic celebrations. especially when the games were held. BCE). while the prize of victory was a simple wreath. circular temple to Palaimon. CE). and every two years thereafter. when Corinth was chosen to be the capital of the Greek world. also known as Kastraki. burnt in 390 BCE and repaired once again until its final destruction by the Romans in 146 BCE. athletic and music games were held here in honour of Poseidon.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. During the Justinian era. Fragments of a sacrificial altar were revealed east of the temple. some 250m to the southeast. it was again renovated together with the rest of the sanctuary’s edifices. reconstructed in mid-5th century. at first made of pine and later of wild celery. At the time of Alexander the Great. The most impressive structure at Isthmia is the Palaimonion (1st cent. protector of the games and founder of a mystical cult. we carried on our journey. entering the highway and heading to the Argolid.
a n c i e n t p l a n e t 66 .
as well as with Athens and the southern Peloponnese. The Late Geometric period (8th cent. Of course. It is first mentioned in the Iliad. shot from the walls. while a large Mycenaean cemetery was uncovered on Barbouna hill to the northwest. very close to the modern town of Tolo. This was further corroborated during the 1990s. we agree that it is not a rough climb at all.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e gulf. actively trading throughout the Cyclades. Asine. The walls were repaired during the early Byzantine period (6th -7th cent. Argos. as well as Mycenaean tombs. The first excavations were carried out by a Swedish archaeological team (1922-1930) which investigated the acropolis. Most evidence comes from the Bronze Age (2600-1050 BCE). BCE) marks Asine’s most prosperous point. half of us following the modern and the other half the ancient path. 67 . were found within the acropolis itself. The strong preserved fortification walls are dated to around 300 BCE and were most probably constructed by Demetrius I of Macedon. According to Pausanias. on a triangular cape-hill. by the discovery of a Mycenaean shipwreck 14km east of the acropolis. was destroyed by its rival neighbour. which almost certainly attest to commercial activity between Asine and the Aegean. an ally of Sparta. CE) and also during the time of the 2nd Venetian rule (1686-1715). as well as the historical times up to about 600 BCE. 52m high. Several chamber tombs were found to contain ample grave goods. at Cape Iria. We conclude that the two smooth havens surrounding the cape must have made it easier for invaders to attack. After having climbed the acropolis. Crete and Cyprus. Bronze Age houses. During the 1970s. the successive hills between Asine and the Argive plain seem ideal Bay of Asine. but has been occupied since the 5th millennium. the lower town and the Barbouna hill. around 700 BCE and its habitants migrated to Messinian Asine (modern Koroni). research was carried on by the Swedish Institute of Archaeology and the 4th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.
68 Fortification walls at Asine .
we even-tually find the site. obsidian items from the cave have been traced to the island of Melos (southern Cyclades). A member of the group. and pollen). The exceptional standards of the Franchthi field-work have come to serve as a model for prehistoric excavation in Greece. Indeed. entrance for the placement of fire-beacons which would have served as an early warning system for the defenders. Additionally. pastoralism and diet in prehistoric Greece. by the Universities of Indiana and Pennsylvania and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. in length. despite the already intense day. which indicates long-distance sea travel.000 BP.000 to 5. we carry on with a 60km southeast windy drive to Franchthi Cave. The area outside the cave and along the shore has revealed both Neolithic and later material. intermittently occupied from the Upper Palaeolithic to the present. overlooking the Argolic Gulf. overlooking the Argosaronic islands of Hydra. Though we get inspired by the idea of possible future archaeological surveys in the north. Franchthi Cave The cave occupies a rocky limestone headland by the sea. It is a horizontal cavern 150m. Franchthi Cave was initially excavated in the late 1960s and early 1970s.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e Franchthi Cave. shell. Those of us who are still vigorous. to the summit of Mount Didimo. the cave has yielded a wealth of information concerning early domestication. Dokos and Spetses. There. urges us to visit a fortified site in Kranidi. agriculture. Prophitis Elias. particularly interested in the early Iron Age. As the light 69 . manage to climb up the hill. but also for the quality of preservation of the finds (remnants of animals and plants in the form of bone. and with the assistance of the locals. not only because of the occupation length and the anthropological evidence it has provided (intact burials. as well as isolated human bones and teeth scattered throughout the site). Franchthi Cave is undoubtedly one of the most important archaeological sites in the Aegean world. especially from 30. we head north once again. Following the indications and photos published in Sarah Wallace’s work. we enjoy a magnificent (and quite cool) sunset. Later. seed.
under Geoffrey of Villehardouin. the Francs. as Akronafplia. vestiges of the many different eras and cultural movements that have come and gone over its Unequivocally. Akronafplia is a low been inhabited since the Neolithic period. of Nafplio’s long history are its castles. can still be seen around the castle. by reinforcing its ancient walls and towers. Likewise. own bishop. The only Strabo and Pausanias provide some limited Ancient. Byzantine and Frankish castle is known information. Archaeological finds are sparse. inspired by our intriguing journey thus far. 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. with its 70 . the town of Nafplio is graced Middle Ages that Nafplio really comes to the with an ample number of monuments. During the 9th century. However. 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. In the 12th century the Byzantines we head for the historical city of Nafplio. the town was the spectrum of its long-standing history. A small ascent (85m from sea level). In Sightseeing in central Argolid 1389. while Palamidi part of the Mycenaean wall and a large cemetery has been built on the highest point (216m). while the Venetian and Turkish however. Constantinople by the crusaders (1204). Nafplio and its wider hinterland have castle is called Palamidi. It still bears the the capital of Modern Greece (1834). As far as the antiquity is concerned. covering forefront.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Shot from Mt Didimo summit overlooking the Argosaronic islands fades. where we fortified Nafplio. while Nafplio the Turks manage to predominate in 1532. dominate the Peloponnese. it is only in the public. Boniface I of Montferrat besieged and conquered the town. Day 2 From 1212 onwards. almost certainly an administrative centre. Nafplio passes into Venetian hands. the most impressive remnants long history. Following the conquest of stay overnight.
s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e Akronafplia. Nafplio 71 . Nafplio Palamidi Castle.
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. located at the north-eastern end of the Argive plain. Mycenae Mycenae sits on a rocky ascent some 280m. 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. Pins on the underside of the gateway are evidence of the great wooden doors that once stood there. regulated in three terraces. consisting of an open court and the tripartite “Megaron”. Though the citadel was destroyed.5m. South of the gate we encounter Grave Circle A. the palace and several other buildings within the acropolis were destroyed by fire. It is sheltered between two steep mountains. where we find Grave Circle B and the famous tholos tombs named after Aegisthus and Clytemnestra to the west. During the late 13th century. and the so-called Treasury of Atreus to the . Entrance to the citadel was via the Lion Gate. but it is thought 72 that they may have reached 18m.a n c i e n t p l a n e t The Lion Gate. 15km from the coast. high. an area with a diameter of 27.1350 BCE. The width of the walls varies between 5 to 8m. The interpretation of the heraldic lions which greet the visitor has kept archaeologists busy for the best part of the last century. The site extends outside the citadel. Tiryns and Midea. The site. In the 13th century a special arrangement of the wall incorporated it into the citadel. which was first fortified in c. The Great Ramp (last arrangement in 1200) leads to the area of the palace. East of the palace we find the storerooms. The northeast extension includes the Underground Cistern and the North Gate. encompasses a total area of about 30 square km. the occupation of the site persisted until the early Christian period. and has a wall perimeter of 900m.
Mycenae 73 .
a n c i e n t p l a n e t 74 .
possessed a monolithic floor and has been connected to cult practices. The latter consists of a group of smaller rooms and open areas. The site has been inhabited since the Neolithic. Research was carried on by the German Institute of Archaeology during the three first decades of the 19th century. a 29m long corridor with six small rooms tangent to the east side. the monumental gateway that leads to the Palace complex. on a low (26m) and restricted hill we find the citadel of Tiryns. Tiryns 20km south of Mycenae. A second gallery was also been built in the south part of the wall.). From that point and until modern times Tiryns gradually declined. Another room. in the northern part of the building. The Gallery. demonstrating the importance of Tiryns over the region.5km. was supported by four pillars. though it was never completely abandoned. Homer describes it as “strongly fortified”. Intensive building activity was carried out in EHII (26002200 BCE). around 1200. The first excavation was held in 1831 by Friedrich Thiersch and Alexandros RizosRagavis. Numerous remains of other buildings and tombs are spread out over an area of 1. The complex was destroyed. but reached its apogee in the 13th century. it was barred by a large. the so-called “bathroom”. After the partial fortification and the erection of a palace in LHIIIA1. The central room. and by the Hellenic Archaeological Service since 1950. probably by earthquakes and fires.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e southwest. The main gate is on the east side and as at Mycenae. wooden double door. surrounding a large hearth. It is not certain whether these areas were used as storerooms or for defensive purposes. the hill gets peripherally fortified and the palace complex is integrated in LHIIB2 (late 13th cent. This same room also housed the throne and its walls were decorated with brightly coloured frescoes. One of the most impressive architectural features of Tiryns is the Eastern Gallery. Tiryns 75 . On the upper level is the Propylon.
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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
which was sometimes wheel-made and is a common feature of the Middle Helladic period. On the lowest terrace there is a stoa and an Archaic step-like retaining wall. which may have served as a banquet hall. we pay a visit to the Bronze Age site of Lerna. The new settlement had a double ring of defence walls with gates and towers and a number of substantial buildings within. Bothroi. After a 10km stretch heading towards the gulf. 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. whose efforts kicked-off the series of publications on Bronze Age Lerna (Lerna I-V). 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). Lerna Excavations at the site were initiated under John L. In the Early Helladic III period (Lerna IV). or “rubbish pits” were another unusual characteristic of this settlement. The largest building has been named the House of Tiles because of the unusual early occurrence of terracotta roofing tiles associated with the building. The Early Helladic III levels at Lerna produced. a few examples of a pottery type known as “Minyan” ware. inspiring many other publications. 79 . In the Early Helladic III period Lerna was an open settlement of smaller buildings. but did not continue into the Late Helladic or Mycenaean period. two rectangular shaft graves were cut into the tumulus of the House of Tiles. south of Argos. The settlement at Lerna continued to exist throughout the Middle Helladic period.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. Caskey in 1952. To the west are Roman baths and palaestra. At the end of the Middle Helladic period. in addition to the typical pottery of that period. some of them having an apsidal ‘megaron’ floor plan. as though to mark off a sacred area.
Tegea 80 .a n c i e n t p l a n e t Mycenaean shaft grave. Lerna Sanctuary of Athena Alea.
1972. Before entering Sparta. J..edu/blogs/isthmia/ http://www. *** Pausanias. We can hardly make out any architectural features. G. Alcock (eds. Chateaubriand.academia.uchicago. Loeb Classical Library. Osborne & S.gr/h/3/eh351.S. F. Zangger. Nightingale (eds. Description of Greece. Perachora and the early Corinthian state. persistence and tolerance during this trip. Hesperia 50(4). Salzburg.) Placing the gods: sanctuaries and sacred space in ancient Greece. Franchthi Cave and the Beginning of Settled Village Life in Greece.perseus.gr/LocPage. Macmillan and co. Demakopoulou. htm http://ascsa. though we observe piles the scattered pottery.culture. BSA 67. 1994. and the Early History of Corinth and Megara. 1981.unesco.htm http://lucian.edu/hopper/artifact?name= Argive+Heraion&object=Site&redirect=true 81 . 159204. Vienna 2007. 105-142. The evolution of a sacral landscape: Isthmia..). London 1911. in R. The role of Midea in the network of Mycenaean Citadels in the Argolid. Messenia and Elis. Salmon...perseus.L. Keimelion.tufts.gtp.asp?id=61752 http://www.E. *** For Further Reading Caskey. Voyage en Grèce. K.edu/hopper/artifact?name= Mycenae&object=Site http://www. in E. C.about. The Heraeum at Perachora.gr/LocPage.. G.. Jacobsen. We arrive at Sparta and prepare for our medieval encounters of the ensuing day: the eminent castles of Mystras and Monemvasia. 1994. J. nothing would have looked the same.R. translation by W. we enter Arcadia and then Laconia. from which the famous Caryatids of the Erechtheion took their name). Mylonas. The Formation of Elites and Elitist Lifestyles from Mycenaean Palatial times to the Homeric Period. G. Links: *** Acknowledgements I would like to thank my friends Styliani Makarona and Maximilian Buston for their endurance. E.ioa.gr/LocInfo.tufts.asp?id=62396 http://www.. The article will be continued in the coming issue.. Morgan. 303-319.gtp.s i t e s a n d s o u n d s | g r e e c e Leaving the Argolid.leeds. Nordquist. Landscape Changes around Tiryns during the Bronze Age. T. 1966.com/od/archa13/a/franchthi. with a tour over Laconia. 3-5 February 2005. 65-80. American School of Classical Studies. 1977.asp?infoid=49&code=EGR PAR20ASNTOL00020&PrimeCode=EGRPAR20ASNTOL 00020&Level=10&PrimeLevel=10&IncludeWide=1&Loc Id=60056 http://archaeology. 189-212.H. Princeton University Press.edu/TraceyCullen/ Papers/545133/Scattered_Human_Bones_at_ Franchthi_Cave_Remnants_of_Ritual_or_Refuse http://whc. AlramStern.gtp. AJA 98(2). Proceedings of the International Conference. We make brief stops at the classical sanctuary of Tegea (Temple of Athena Alea) and the historical village of Karyes (a classical Arcadian city. Mycenae and the Mycenaean Age. Academia Ubsaliensis.ac. Jones. 1987. we follow a sign pointing to the Roman fortress.uk/1970s/70094. Without Stella’s artistic sensibility and Max’s inquisitive sagacity. A Middle Helladic village: Asine in the Argolid.org/en/list/941 http://odysseus. Lerna in the Argolid: A short guide.W. http://www.jsp?obj_id=2573 http://www.
However.Fame and Ur of the Chaldees tant popularizer of archaeology” by H. Labeled an “unrepen. upon graduating in theology at the New College. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). to bring his research to life to his audiences. and joined Randall MacIver Working at a time when the world was trans. world. After two years. Two years later. cylinder seal with her name 84 Sir Leonard Woolley is considered a giant in the field of archaeology of Mesopotamia. The most extravagant of these is the his way through school and college on scholar. his findings did much to further the study of the Sumerian civilization in the third millennium BCE. E. He had a gift for clear and Woolley went on to dig for the Egypt Exploraarticulate descriptions of his work. It was Toil and Serendipity Woolley’s work at Ur that constituted his greatest contribution to Middle Eastern archaeology. the rich tombs of nobles filled with gold. He soon became the junior assistant to Sir Arthur Evans. Reverend George Woolley and Sarah.800 graves. Due to the precarious political amassing a large public following all over the situation in the Middle East after World War I. tomb of King Tutankhamun by Howard Carter. Woolley was born into a family of eleven children Here. he served as an an academic outsider of sorts. Assisted by T. where he entertained laymen sion to work again in Carchemish. the keeper of the Ashmolean Museum at the time. Woolley showed Pennsylvania expedition to Carchemish in Syria. he felt that he was better suited to life in the field. From childhood. the family lapis lazuli. Never afraid of being wrong. no matter how complicated. expedition of the British Museum and University of Pennsylvania to Ur (in modern Iraq). Visitors to his dig sites came from as far there were great diﬃculties in getting permisafield as Japan. Woolley frequently gave and spent the last half of the war in a Turkish public lectures. and was able tion Society at Tel el-Amarna in Egypt. Winstone. As the discoverer of the ancient city of Ur. in 1912. 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. and Woolley worked sacrifice. and was a regular on BBC radio. but was captured spurred much debate. Campbell Thompson as leader many great findings were overshadowed by of the joint British Museum and University of that singular event.in Nubia excavating the first known Meroitic fixed by the phenomenal discoveries of the cemetery at Karanog. a great flair for promoting his own discoveries.tomb of Queen Pu-abi. and royalty alike. and additional evidence of human lived on very limited funds. Due to George’s career as a minister. which were in no way any less spectacular than he excavated until the outbreak of World War I. he succeeded R. he was strongly encouraged by Warden Spooner to pursue a career in archaeology. silver. . he uncovered over 1. However. Consequently. which contained her ships. Oxford. He led the way in recognizing how much the knowledge of architectural development could contribute to the understanding of ancient societies. and his work intelligence oﬃcer in Egypt. Woolley’s willingness to conjecture made him During the early part of the war. those of Carter’s. prison camp.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. including to parents. he had always assumed golden headdress.
his exceptional industriousness in both field. and laid the path for future Woolley’s Legacy research into Mesopotamian studies. During this time he became good friends with the mystery writer. ranging geographi. Obituary: Sir Leonard Woolley. he became the Archaeological Advisor to the Civil Aﬀairs Directorate. He was also charged with the creation of a monuments. 126. P. L. In England. Ur archaeology.256-257. Here. among many more objects. cally from Egypt to India. It was also at Ur. Vol. in art. H. F. No.ary practices. Woolley decided that there was nothing more to excavate at Ur. was deeply influenced by her visits to Ur. Woolley received great recognition for his work in Mallowan. government. 2 (June 1960). a lyre with a golden bearded bull’s head. and funerDespite being one of the most famous archae. The passion for archaeology was demonstrated in Geographical Journal. L. Of great interest to the public and academic community was Woolley’s discovery of thick mud sediment below the lowest layers of habitation. Woolley of Ur: The Life of Sir 85 . He also served as an advisor to the government of India for their archaeology program in 1938. His work was interrupted by World War II where he served as a major in the Directorate of Public Relations. Woolley’s impact on the science he helped Leonard Woolley. V. so he turned his attention to Syria. Woolley never occupied an academic post or place on a committee in his Further Reading entire career. The development Winstone. responsible for protecting many valuable works of art in Italy. working at the cities of alMina and Atchana in southeastern Turkey until 1949. and archives branch of Civil Aﬀairs. whose book. London: Secker & Warburg. fine arts. forge was widespread. religion. 1960). 22. Towards the end of the war. Iraq. work and literary output. Woolley’s boundless enthusiasm and Kirwan. architecture. E. M. golden tableware. Memories of Ur.b i o g r a p h y in Sumerian. Vol. 1-19. he discovered the remains of a small kingdom dating to around the fourth millennium BCE with a mainly Hurrian population. His remarkable discoveries created a lasting legacy in the understanding of ancient cultures. and was knighted for his services in Retrospect. Leonard Woolley at Carchemish in 1913. Agatha Christie. in 1935. Murder in Mesopotamia. By 1934. Woolley had a keen interest in finding ties between ancient Aegean and Mesopotamian civilizations. Leonard Woolley (Spring .Autumn. This was believed by many to be evidence of the Great Flood. [Credit: Wikimedia Commons] of archaeological discovery in both India and Pakistan is indebted to Woolley’s recommendations. preferring the freedom of freelancing. Max Mallowan. that Christie met and later married one of Woolley’s assistants. ologists of the time. and was heralded at the time as proof of the Bible’s historical accuracy.(1990). In Memory of Sir C.
Dynasty XII. c. Middle Kingdom.86 Brewers from Meket-re’s model brewery.1975 BCE [Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art] . Reign of Amenemhat I.
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. the Ghost Map: the story of London’s Most terrifying epidemic . ‘cerveza’. cities. the solution to this chronic public health issue was not purifying the water supply. primarily.” contrary to the peculiar modern-day notion that wine was the alcoholic drink of choice among the ancients. In his 2006 work. who exerted such a powerful influence over present western culture. For much of human history. to the present day. waterborne diseases like dysentery became a crucial population bottleneck. comes from the Latin word ‘cerevisia’ for ‘of beer’. Mark I n the modern world there persists the idea that beer does not have the same ancient pedigree which wine enjoys. beer brewing 87 . even so. “As soon as there were mass human settlements. This understanding comes. author steven Johnson writes. more exalted status. This article traces the brewing of beer from its ancient origin in Mesopotamia. often. favored wine over beer. through the various cultural incarnations. giving some indication of the long span human beings have been drinking beer. the solution was to drink alcohol. and the Modern World. from the fact that the ancient Greeks and Romans.BEER IN THE ANCIENT WORLD By Joshua J.and How It changed science. beer enjoyed an equal and.
about 3100-3000 BCE. pl. probably from southern Iraq.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Proto-Cuneiform tablet. 102 (BM 121545)] 88 . no. 200. 2600 BCE showing persons drinking beer together from a large vessel using long stalks [Credit: Woolley 1934. dating to the Late Prehistoric period. [Credit: Wiki Commons] Impression of a Sumerian cylinder seal from the Early Dynastic IIIa period ca. recording the allocation of beer.
2500 BCE. the city of Inanna). first written down around 1800 Bce (considered the world’s oldest written recipe). the first beer in the world was brewed in the east by the ancient chinese around the year 7000 Bce (known as ‘kui’). While some scholars have contended that beer preceded bread as a staple. c. among other things. the famous poem Inanna and the God of Wisdom describes the two deities drinking beer together and the god of wisdom. it is thought. the people of ancient Mesopotamia enjoyed beer so much that it was a daily dietary staple. [Credit: The Trustees of the British Museum] did not originate with the Romans but began thousands of years earlier. it is more likely that beer was discovered through grains used for bread making which fermented. becoming so drunk he gives away the sacred ‘me’ (laws) to Inanna (thought to symbolize the transfer of power from eridu. the Hymn to ninkasi is both a song of praise to the goddess of beer. and the straw was invented by the sumerians or the Babylonians. 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. some evidence has been interpreted which sets the date of beer brewing at Godin tepe as early as 10. teaches him to drink beer. Paintings. enki. In the sumerian epic of Gilgamesh. In the Middle east. 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. however. to Uruk. specifically for the purpose of drinking beer. 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 . probably for drinking beer. and a recipe for beer.3100 Bce.000 Bce when agriculture first developed in the region. the city of enki.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. The long spout would have been used like a drinking straw. ninkasi. the brew was thick. of the consistency of modern-day porridge. beer brewing began with the sumerians at the Godin tepe settlement now in modern-day Iran between 3500 . the hero enkidu becomes civilized through the ministrations of the temple harlot shamhat who.
not for cash Under Babylonian rule. drinking in an already established tavern. the original brewers were women. however. and delivered to the court. she shall be convicted and drinking beer but objected to one doing so in thrown into the water.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Left: Alulu Beer Receipt. the tablet acknowledges receipt of 5 silas of ‘the best beer’ from the brewer Alulu (five silas being approximately four and a half litres). and laws were instituted status). became citizens. the but takes money. then shall this woman be burned to death. and these conspirators are not captured the Babylonians brewed many different kinds of beer and classified them into twenty categories. c. Beer was commonly used in barter. Right: Detail from the Code of Hammurabi [Credit: Boris Doesburg/Wiki Commons] being. the same way as common women would. 109 If conspirators meet in the house of a tavern keeper. the amount depending on one’s social more commercialized. and the price of the drink is less Babylonians had nothing against a priestess than that of the corn. or enters a tavern to drink. the famous Alulu beer receipt from the city of Ur in 2050 Bce. 110 If a “sister of a god” opens a tavern. 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. 90 . Mesopotamian beer sale (a daily ration of beer was provided for all production increased dramatically. they would be drowned if caught doing so. 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.2050 BCE from the Sumerian city of Ur [Credit: Wiki Commons]. the tavern keeper shall be put to death. shows that beer brewing had become commercialized by that time. and women brewed beer regularly in the home as part of their preparation of meals. the priestesses of ninkasi. Beer was made from bippar (twice baked barley bread) which was then fermented and beer brewing was always associated with baking.
the beer initially had the same thick. among other things. incensed at the is highlighted by an inscription from 2200 Bce evil and ingratitude of humanity. After fermentation. it is poured off into sekhmet. the sky and.a r c h a e o l o g y recording their various characteristics. one of the egyptian words for beer. men took over the business of brewing and miniature carved figures found in the tomb of Meketre (Prime Minister to the Pharaoh Mentuhotep II. they viewed beer in much the same way as the Mesopotamians did. 5th Dynasty. In the brewery two women grind flour. Florence. goddess of childbirth and protector of the birthing house) whose name derives from ‘tenemu’. 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 . as sekhmet’s blood lust with beer”. “the overseer with a baton sits inside the door. describing the diorama. women were the chief brewers at first and brewed in their homes. 2400 BCE. Italy] ferment. especially with egypt. round jugs with black clay stoppers”. which another man works Egyptian female servant filtering beer. it is put into tall crocks to Archaeological Museum. Flood in Genesis) the god Ra. porridge-like consistency and was brewed in much the same way. gratitude. As in Mesopotamia. stops her rampage to drink. 2050-2000 Bce) show an ancient brewery at work. the which pre-dates the Biblical tale of the Great association between gratitude. thinking it is a huge pool of blood. and wakes as the goddess Hathor. the myth of the birth of the goddess Hathor. the workers at the Giza plateau received beer rations three times a day and beer was often used throughout egypt as compensation for labour. music. [Credit: into mash in a tall vat. According to the tale (which has much in it laughter. into dough. especially. Beer became a regular commodity in foreign trade. and other regards. sends sekhmet found at Dendera. benevolent deity of. After a second man treads the dough Figurine. Beer was enjoyed so regularly among grows with the destruction of every town and the egyptians that Queen cleopatra VII lost city. she gets drunk. 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’. falls Beer played an integral role in the very popular asleep. Hathor’s cult centre: “the to earth to destroy his creation. the egyptian goddess of beer was tenenit (closely associated with Meskhenet. Later. where it was very popular. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He repents of mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled his decision. however. Hathor and beer. the egyptians believed that brewing was taught to human beings by the great god osiris himself and in this.
on display at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose. counting the bottles. while the ones on the right are bottling. [Credit: BrokenSphere /Wiki Commons] Egyptian relief showing a Syrian drinking beer through a long straw.1350 BCE [Credit: Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz/Art Resource.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Egyptian wooden model of beer making in ancient Egypt. The rightmost figure with a tablet tucked under his arm is a scribe. California. c. NY] 92 . Barley beer is being brewed. with the men on the left mashing the yeast starter in a bowl for fermenting.
some shorter. have unearthed evidence of beer brewing on a significant scale shortly after the community was built in 179 CE by Marcus Aurelius. In 1516 CE. Early on. The Greek general and writer Xenophon. Spouted beer strainer from Israel dating to c. Castra Regina (modern day Regensburg). the craft of the brewer was the provenance of women and the hausfrau brewed her beer in the home to supplement the daily meals. and wine made from barley in great big bowls. as did the Romans after them. in Book IV of his Anabasis. and reeds lay in them. While beer never became popular with the Romans. it was not to Xenophon’s taste. and of a delicious flavour to certain palates. from the Egyptian ‘zytum’) but did not find the same receptive climate there. “There were stores within of wheat and barley and vegetables. says. Even so. the grains of barley malt lay floating in the beverage up to the lip of the vessel. Excavations of the Roman military encampment on the Danube. the Teutons have a horrible brew fermented from barley or wheat. as it had been in Mesopotamia and Egypt. among other brews. but the taste must be acquired” and. today). for ‘ale’) as early as 800 BCE (as we know from great quantities of beer jugs. the German Reinheitsgebot (purity law) was instituted which 93 . writing of the Germans. a monastery founded in 1349 CE in Kulmbach. however. 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). “To drink. ‘zythos’. 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. In time. and both cultures considered beer a low class drink of barbarians. still produces their famous Schwartzbier. without joints. The Greeks favoured strong wine over beer. near Kulmbach) and the practice continued into the Christian era. still containing evidence of the beer. it had long been favoured by the indigenous people along the Danube. when you were thirsty you must take one of these into your mouth.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). The beverage without admixture of water was very strong. among others. and suck. clearly. The Roman historian Tacitus. Beer brewing travelled from Egypt to Greece (as we know from the Greek word for beer. says. The playwright Sophocles. As beer was often prescribed for medicinal purposes (there were over 100 remedies using beer) the tax was considered unjust. some longer. also mentions beer and recommends moderation in its use. the craft was primarily taken over by Christian monks and brewing became an integral part of the monastic life (the Kulmbacher Monchshof Kloster.800 BCE [Credit: Israel Antquities Authority] The Germans were brewing beer (which they called ‘ol’. in a tomb in the Village of Kasendorf in northern Bavaria.
as in the writings of the ancient Sumerians. beer was considered a magical brew from the gods endowing the drinker with health. 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. Grateful acknowledgement is made to Editor Jan van der Crabben. the Dead. though which country brewed first is disputed) beer brewing spread. was claimed to have invented beer by the Czechs and. no. The popular Slavic god of hospitality.com/article/223/ March 2011. *** For Further Reading: Egyptian Beer for the Living.E. Fill the heart with joy and gladness. barley. the sea god Aegir and his family brewed beer for the gods which was served in goblets which refilled themselves when empty. Make the brave men ever braver. The Germans. The Finnish Saga of Kalewala (first written down in the 17th century CE from much older. The female brewer.sacred-texts. 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). This understanding was cleverly phrased by the poet A. From the Celtic lands (Germany through Britain. http://www. Houseman when he wrote.com/articles/629 Hammurabi: http://www. 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). trying to make a great beer for a wedding feast. In the Finnish saga. “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’). basically. From ancient Sumeria to the present day.fordham. Make the aged young and supple. Make the timid brave and mighty.thefreelibrary. Houseman’s claim would go undisputed among those who have enjoyed the drink of the gods and. always following. discovers the use of hops in brewing with the help of a bee she sends to gather the magical plant.htm The Kalevala: http://www. Fill the tongue with ancient legends.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.Free Online Library : http://www. Fill the mind with wisdom sayings.com/ .ancient. Famed to cheer the broken-hearted.eu. Only makes the fool more foolish. Radegast. also instituted a daily beer ration and considered beer a necessary staple of their diet. yeast) and. and the Gods http://beeradvocate. peace of mind and happiness. in so doing. continued the practice of legislation concerning beer which the Babylonians under Hammurabi had done some 3. hops and. like those who preceded them. that drink is not wine. The understanding that beer was a gift from the gods continued on from ancient times as well.edu/halsall/ ancient/hamcode. Said to make the feeble hardy.000 years earlier. in Norse mythology.com/neu/ kveng/ World’s oldest beer receipt? . Famed to dry the tears of women. Osmata. later. *** Acknowledgements: A version of the article was first published in Ancient History Encyclopedia.
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 .
A. only the first volume was completed due to the unfortunate passing of Caminos. however. making a comprehensive documentation of the site’s inscriptions. This task. Gardiner visited the site together with A. H. Sayce in the late 19th and early 20th century. Preisige and W. With the first volume focusing on the shrines. E. While all other publications have focused on the monumental structures on Silsila West. James began the first season of totally nine during an almost thirty year period. P. 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. Caminos and T. H. documentation of Silsila’s graffiti remains limited to F. While three main book 100 volumes were planned. Weigall. G. Spiegelberg’s publication from 1915. Legrain and A. we will . a monograph that is in much need of revision. was not achievable until 1955 when R.a n c i e n t p l a n e t minor excavations carried out by G.
but which cannot be classified as traditional writing. non-textual symbols that express a meaning and/or function. Now. a query into quarry marks.A. belonging to the Graeco-Roman period in Egypt. let us explore the meaning of pseudo script before looking closer at the site itself including its engraved marks. codes and magic’. symbols.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. This topic is now studied in a project called ‘Pseudo script in Gebel el Silsila. generally known as masons’ marks. John Ward and Adrienn Almasy. and within academic circles included in the term ‘pseudo script’. which I carry out in cooperation with Dr. Pseudo script in Gebel el Silsila The term pseudo script refers to a large and not necessarily comparative group of graphic signs. characters. Recognised for such a non101 . M.
Silsila is one of the most renowned sites to present quarry marks.a n c i e n t p l a n e t textual character. temple and tomb graffiti. which may have resulted in a 102 misconception of their meaning and function. located in their original position in the quarries and on extracted blocks placed within temple structure. so let us now turn to the site itself. ceramic vessels. pseudo script includes graphic signs on seals. The large sandstone cliffs of Silsila provide us with an exceptional window of information as to the quarrying techniques. removal and transportation of the quarried blocks that later formed the structures of so many Upper . ostraca. and the topic to be discussed here – quarry marks. In Egypt. Quarry marks appear in abundance throughout the Egyptian stone landscape. but similar to other graphic signs they have not been classified or studied systematically.
Scattered with ceramic fragments. surrounded by spoil heaps Egyptian temples and shrines. wind. indicating period of extraction and removal. and time itself. every pathway presents us with a relative timeline for human interaction in the terrain. Rising from the Nile.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. Set among these mounds is a large network of pathways that winds its way between the numerous quarries. 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. In terms of size and appearance the individual quarries range from smaller open quarry faces 103 . the massive debris mounds are easily mistaken for natural foothills as they have become weathered and assimilated with the landscape due to weather.
animals. most of which have been made in a (technically) equal fashion. Drawing of one quarry face showing the placement of quarry marks. Previously. abstract geometrical figures (hourglasses.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. offering tables. identifying them with stoneworkers’ or masons’ marks. Silsila presents also huge. for example on individual drums in a column. 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. pyramids. In addition and more frequently found in limestone quarries. but returning to antiquity. Binding together the complex system of pathways and ancient road systems are clusters of small stone shelters. They are found as individual marks. human-like figures. as we have been acquainted with the physical appearance of the site of Silsila. The more traditional viewpoint argues for a practical use. and other natural elements.). often placed in a clearly visible part of the structure. enclosed caves. obelisks. a few marks have not been identified so far. as well as hieroglyphic signs and Greek and Carian alphabetic letters. As a third type of extraction method. etc. we shall turn to the quarry marks. scholars have alternated between giving them either a symbolic meaning or a purely practical function. Staying on this topic. created as the quarrymen extracted block by block from the cliff. flowers. they measure from 10 cm up to a meter in height. the future Akhenaten. Their form and style is comparable with concrete pictograms. 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. As such the marks are regarded as representing the owner (of the quarry and/or quarried stone). masons’ marks in ancient architecture could also regulate the position of each element by using identical or associated signs to determine exact location. etc. 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. wind. circles. and in linear series or groups appearing on all heights of the quarry faces and on all displayed directions. cosmic representa104 . and to explore their possible meaning and function. intentionally destroyed shrines and a naos belonging to the period of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and his son.). Now. weapons (harpoons. swastikas. architectural elements. individual workers or groups of quarrymen. In this respect one can compare them with medieval masons’ marks that were placed on building blocks. Also. including horned altars. just to mention a few. tridents. tions. a fragmented falcon. contractor. Silsila shows examples of surface quarrying in an area where one can stroll in a landscape of unfinished criosphinxes. likely to have acted as simple shelters from the elements. Such enclosed galleries provided the workers with protection against the intense summer heat. resulting in magnificent chamber-like rooms with large square columns lifting up the ceiling. In general.
Inside one of the cave galleries 105 .
also the jug alternatively a solar cross. To understand why. religious meaning. until now. Jaritz interpreted some of the quarry marks on Elephantine Island with religious symbolism. For example. basing such an idea on the religious character of certain marks. but more often it is the combination of marks that differs one quarry from another. written in Greek and demotic (a cursive script used in Egypt from the 25th Dynasty and onwards). and depth marks painted or carved on walls to specify the depth of smoothing of rough surfaces. some quarry marks appear repeatedly. However. we find also height marks used to assist measurement.a n c i e n t p l a n e t referred to as positioning marks. symbolic significance. and other objects that have a clear cultic connection. Other practical purposes include transportation marks. used by construction managers to control the workers’ performance and the amount of stone. while the second includes an Egyptian styled star alternatively a form of triangle. Accepting the practical function of other signs as indicators of ownership and identity marks. 106 . Spiegelberg was the first scholar to attribute the quarry marks a religious. Within temple and tomb structure. offering tables. mostly expressing adoration and without a doubt having a religious or superstitious nature together indicating a continuous stream of pilgrims visiting the site. In addition to the practical and textual function. Quarry mark depicting the two eyes of Horus In the various quarries at Silsila. and more recently H. Each quarry or sections within a larger quarry has an individual theme seen in recurring and/ or accentuated quarry marks. This can be combined with a great amount of dedicatory inscriptions. which may explain the repetition of the three main marks. W. open for debate and questioning. and the third a developed form of the Greek letter Eta (H). whatever meaning and function is ascribed. no academic literature presents any comprehensive study on the topic of quarry marks. More recent scholar S. Gosline presented a related idea when interpreting quarry marks at Elephantine Island as Carian alphabetic letters. early Egyptologist G. In his study of nearly one hundred carved graffiti from the quarries of elHôsh. others more seldom. 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. Legrain suggested that the marks had a linguistic (textual) function and identified them with characters that served to transcribe a foreign language. However. we need to look closer at the individual categories of marks. a small number of scholars have moved towards a symbolic. Such a theme can focus on a single quarry mark. a situla (sacred vessel) and a tree. 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. such as horned altars. leaving their theories. three main quarries repeatedly depict the combination of an offering table. for example.
but we can explore also the possibility that a specific mark or combination of marks indicates instead an estimated destination. which combined with textual graffiti can be linked with the falcon-god Horus of Edfu. a tree. another temple which received its building blocks from Silsila. and it is known that the stone making up the Temple of Khnum at Elephantine Island was quarried from Silsila. separate them from each other. in the combination of the jug and ankh that we mentioned above. All these marks appear in also other quarries. while the eastern section emphasises harpoons in various forms. possibly connected with the ram-god Khnum. more exactly on the individual stone blocks that were once extracted from the quarry. Belonging to the Temple of Khnum at Elephantine Island is a terrace. whose name in hieroglyphs begins with this sign. Let us use the two temples at Elephantine and in Edfu as we know from above. Below: A group of quarry marks in the form of horned altars and a spiral. 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.a r c h a e o l o g y | e g y p t A series of quarry marks depicting. and a situla Within the main quarry. an Egyptian star. on the contrary. and in the southern section is a combination of jugs and ankhs. For example. often combined with hourglasses. but the combination with other marks. Similarly. possibly indicating a different time period of workmanship. an offering table. which along with an extensive seaside 107 . the jug (the so called nxmvessel) can be linked with the Egyptian ram-god Above: Quarry mark of a jug. This dissimilarity in theme may indicate a purely practical function as we discussed briefly above. For this reason it is important that we look closer at also quarry marks that are preserved within the temples. Khnum. one part in the main quarry has a high concentration of harpoons. or the obvious focus in amount. the western section presents a series of marks that are non-existent in the others. Then.
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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
. Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Kairo 32). Architektur und Deutung (Archäologische Veröffentlichungen. J. Budka. Die Terrassen von den Tempeln des Chnum und der Satet. (eds. step by step a pattern takes shape. & Kammerzell..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. P. H. being practical or symbolic. 1: the shrines.). Strassburg (1915) 111 . 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. R. 17-26. 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. with plates I-III. *** Further reading: Andrássy. They may have had both a symbolic and a practical function. & Kaper. 19-20 December 2006 (Egyptologische Uitgaven 25). Ägyptische und griechische Inschriften und Graffiti aus den Steinbrüchen des Gebel Silsile (Oberägypten) . Pictograms or pseudo script? Non-textual identity marks in practical use in Ancient Egypt and elsewhere.. ‘Carian quarry markings on Elephantine Island’. F. that stands out as more convincing than another.. Preiskge.. but as the project continues the endeavour is to use a wider range of comparative archaeological material. G. writing and pseudo script from Prehistory to Modern Times (Lingua Aegyptia – Studia Monographica 8). This article has explored just a few possibilities. *** Acknowledgements: The article is written with contribution by Dr. Society of Biblical Archaeology (1906). and it provides us a better understanding of not only the complex marking system. Kadmos 31 (1992). O. T. W. Leiden (2009) Jaritz. (eds. London (1963) Gosline. Elephantine III. John Ward. Göttingen (2009) Caminos.).nach den Zeichnungen von Georges Legrain. and by studying Silsila’s quarry marks in more detail. 43-39 Haring. Proceedings of a conference in Leiden. & James.. S. & Spiegelberg. B. ‘Inscriptions in the Quarries of el Hosh’. vol. F. Gebel es-Silsilah. Mainz (1980) Legrain. Nontextual marking systems.
Capo Colonna .112 The column of the Temple of Hera.
This was once a site of many pilgrimages. the site has been dedicated to Mar y. and is now sacred to Mary of Capo Colonna. Capo Colonna has been a sacred precinct for over 2. Before he depar ted. and was the epicentre of the large settled Greek communit y. Sadly the cit y itself today has little histor y to of fer other than a seventeenth centur y castle and a museum.Capo Colonna. 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. ended his campaigns in the south of Italy. It is a complex site. the goddess of women and fertility. along the south coast is the town of Crotone (ancient Kroton). In the region of Calabria. he massacred many of the Italian tribesmen who had initially sup 113 . even af ter the Greek s lef t Crotone. Calabria. The site has maintained its re ligious impor tance. Capo Colonna is named af ter the column. a place steeped in histor y. and numerous miracles attributed to her are said to have occurred in the region. From the six th centur y to the present day. It was a major Greek settlement and was the site of Py thagoras’ school. but only 11 kms outside of the cit y you will f ind yourself at Capo Colonna. with Greek and Roman archaeological remains and sixteenth century standing monuments. Hannibal the Car thaginian General. but also death and destruction. and the Roman Empire collapsed. the south of Italy has a great deal to of fer. Whilst many visitors to Italy interested in histor y and archaeology will travel to cities such as Rome or Venice. However. before leaving for Africa from the por t of Crotone.000 years and was originally dedicated to Hera Lacinia. Capo Colonna’s histor y is not Satellite view of Capo Colonna [Credit: NASA] only one of peace and religious contemplation. the last remaining standing stone of the Greek Temple of Hera Lacinia.
a for tif ication against foreign invaders. There are a num.lection of votive of ferings and under water ber of architectural items from the Temple f inds from various shipwreck s.the Cape. and in the Second World War a number of militar y lookouts sur veying the coastline were added and these are still visible today. and tells the stor y of the sacred precinct through their interesting collection of archaeological f inds. according to legend. in the sea of of Hera itself. A lion waterspout from the Temple of Hera The museum provides meaningful informaLacinia tion which can be applied to the archaeological remains outside. as well as an interesting col. This museum is a relatively new addition to the site. he erected two bronze tablets recording his victories over the Romans in the Temple of Hera. 114 . This massacre took place at Capo Colonna and. 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. The militar y inf luence was maintained centuries later by the construction of the Tower of Nao. it is perhaps best to visit the Archaeological Museum of Capo Colonna f irst as there is no information around the site.
Kroton [Credit: Wiki Commons] Remains from underwater excavations 115 .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.
116 The sacred way leading to the Temple of Hera .
but it would have been a bustling place. not only with priests and pilgrims but also sailors and merchants who used Capo Colonna as a resting place before continuing on their journeys... separated by a thick forest and tall trees. She was the Greek goddess 117 . which originally led to the temple precinct of Hera Lacinia.. The temple. and is also dated to the four th centur y BCE and is L-shaped in construction. dating from the four th centur y BCE. Building H and Building K . Many ar te facts were discovered here. However... as people deposited their wealth into the “bank ” at the temple in order to protect it from thieves. There are numerous other buildings. Unfor tunately. and was known as the Hestiatorion and is divided into several rooms. in similar st yle to the remaining column at the site. labelled as Building B. It is thought there was an arcade of columns. there are no information boards to help make sense of it all.. There are at least three buildings. This whole area was originally covered in dense woodland.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. as it is the sole column standing from the Temple of Building B is rectangular in shape and is Hera Lacinia. also held an impor tant economic function. To enter the archaeological park . Building H is square in shape. These are now on display in the museum. Liv y described the area: “A sacred grove. The majorit y of f inds from this building all date to the four th centur y BCE. 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. in addition to of fering a religious ser vice to the surrounding area...” It is hard to envisage this woodland when standing on the site as it is today. never attacked by wild animals or from men.. Archaeological f inds indicate this building was a canteen to provide refreshments to the pilgrims and priests on the site.. 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. this area with the column in the distance comprises the sacred buildings associated with the ancient Greek Temple of Hera Lacinia. At the far end of the archaeological park is the column of Capo Colonna which is famous throughout the region. The archaeological site is now a peaceful retreat with beautiful views of the coastline. It is thought this was probably a guest house for visiting dignitaries and pilgrims. and the Sacred Way cut through this to the temple and the sacred buildings. and are combined with later structures on the site. perhaps associated with this economic function but they are confused and dif f icult to identif y. one follows a white tiled walk way leading into the trees.. thought to be the original temple before the f inal structure was built. However. and it was constructed at the time of the height of the temple’s popularit y. as well as interesting archaeological remains which stand as a testament to its vibrant and colour ful past.. This arcade connected a number of rooms and an open cour t yard. Building K was known as the Katagogion. As you enter the archaeological park at the end of the Sacred Way you will see there are numerous remains visible. This is a reconstruction of the Sacred Way... closed in the middle of fertile pastures where shepherds graze their herds especially at night .
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 .
Following the path to the lef t of the column leads to the Church of Mar y of Capo Colonna. accompanied by f ishing vessels. The modern church is much newer but still houses an impor tant image. A modern copy of this picture is carried in procession from Crotone. where rather than returning by sea. However. they were forced to throw the picture overboard into the sea. 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’. During the sunlight the temple would have been visible from miles around. with only one nave. that of the Virgin of Capo Colonna. However. some on their knees for the duration of the procession. and they took it on board their ship. the 11 kms to Capo Colonna and the small church here. combined with the Roman goddess Juno. They therefore believed that it was a power ful piece of ar t. The site was the destination of thousands of pilgrims who lef t votive of ferings for her. As she enters the harbour of Crotone she is greeted by music and f ire work s. Annually on the third Sunday of May.drawn car t. and the furnace and foundation remains can still be viewed to the lef t of the church. The roof was made of polished marble tiles. creating a covered colonnade. hence the name of the site (Cape of Columns). they were unable to move their vessel once they had the painting loaded. but it is an impor tant one in the re gion. it was stolen by the Turk s on one of their many raids of the area in 1519. star ting at 1am arrives at its destination at dawn. The return is more traditional in this pro cession. harbour and nobles’ houses in Crotone and the surrounding areas. 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. The procession. The picture remains at Capo Colonna until dusk when it is transpor ted back to Crotone by boat. The focus of this festival is the Byzantium image of the Virgin Mar y. The marble roof tiles ref lected the moonlight. is kept in the Basilica Cathedral of Cro tone. the picture is carried by ox. The original church was built over the site of a Roman villa. and is accompanied by up to 10. They tried to set f ire to the picture and. and the eaves were peppered with lion headed water spouts. Unfor tunately. although in the sixteenth centur y there were still a number of standing columns. the patron saint of the Diocese of Santa Severina. Each column was over eight metres tall. He only revealed its discover y when he was on his deathbed. warning ships of the approaching coastline. Agazio lo Morello. The f ishermen believe she will protect their trips out to sea for the coming year. it did not consume it. and the festivities are grander than the annual celebrations.000 pilgrims. The original image.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. In order to be able to move it and leave the coast. who kept it in his house. depleted the temple until ver y little remained. acting as a lighthouse. a Byzantium icon transposed onto canvas brought to Italy in 500 CE. It is a small church. There were originally 48 of these columns lining a raised por tico surrounding the temple itself. 119 . It was then discovered by a local f isherman. although it blackened the image. But local quarr ying for the dressed stone to be used in the construction of the castle. a combination of centuries of ear thquakes and wars have destroyed much of the temple.
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 .
She was surrounded by a ver y bright light and a star upon her breast. which originally had twelve towers. the vision of a woman appeared holding the infant Jesus in her arms.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. Capo Colonna has been the site of many of the recorded miracles of the Virgin Mar y including in 1519. The nex t grand festival is to be held in 2015. 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. In the 2008 grand festival. as the originals had been stolen in 1983. Giullia Vegli. to protect the 121 . 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. above the remains of the temple. who had been blind since bir th. the stars on the crown of Mar y in the picture were replaced with diamonds by Gerado Sacco. 2011 followed by the returning pilgrims. Crotone.
This drawbridge could may not have the archaeological densit y be raised adding an ex tra level of defence. including the clear waters of Capo Riz zuto along the coast to the southwest. 122 . although it was completed by the viceroy Parafan Ribeira. and was used by the wonder ful archaeological remains which French Customs system. coast from the Turkish invaders. The Torre Nao was constructed in 1568 by the Spanish viceroy Don Pedro de Toledo. as well as providing a bird’s.you will enjoy in relative solitude. You will be able to absorb the archaeological f inds from the water sur.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Torre Nao. and when lookare now in the museum at the site. but the bridge gives fantastic views of the coastline. leading to a small drawbridge giving access to the third f loor of Whilst perhaps Capo Colonna and Crotone the main structure. ex ternal staircase. Af ter the unif ica.tranquillit y of a site that has been a sacred rounding the area. you headquar ters for the Guardia di Finanza. ing at the views it is easy to see why it was chosen. In addition to the defensive structure.000 years. will also enjoy the fantastic views across For a number of years the tower held the the sea. of Rome or Pompeii it is an interesting site. although many of these centre for over 2. Image courtesy of Brian Billington This tower is not of ten opened to the pub lic. perhaps tion of Italy in 1861 the tower was used as only disturbed by a few dog walkers. which adds another piece to the jigsaw of In 1810 the tower stopped being used as a Italy’s chequered histor y.eye view of the Greek and Roman remains which The structure is square in shape with an surround the tower.
Dusk at Capo Colonna 123 .
Nicaragua. was devised in the late 19th Century by philologists Constantine Raffinesque 126 Map of Central America showing the area inhabited by the Taino Indians. warfare. Oliver about these enigmatic people. I was wondering if you could then redress these misjudgments. José R. asp?subid=225-16). While one cannot deny their important place in history as the first indigenous people of the Americas to greet Christopher Columbus.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. and Puerto Rico. Perhaps one key misconception about the Taíno lies in the name itself. Panama.com/show_family. [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.ethnologue. The term. which nowadays is classified within the Northern Maipuran-Caribbean subfamily (see web link http://www. T JW the Taíno In this interview.” and “hurricane”—and that the Taíno had a sophisticated culture characterized by incredible resourcefulness in agriculture. James Blake Wiener speaks with Dr. Living in the Eastern Caribbean. 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. Cuba. I wanted to begin by asking what you think are the biggest misconceptions people—academic or non-academic—have about the Taíno. The early 16th Century . and trade. however.” “tobacco. Jamaica. an area encompassing presentday southern Costa Rica. Hispaniola. characterized by a homogeneous culture and bounded ethnic group. Oliver. Dr. I would suspect that not many people recognize the Taíno words which litter our vocabulary— “Cuba. At a superficial level it seems to refer to ‘a people’. José R.
negotiated. there were non-Arawakan speakers. who were labeled (by Taíno/Arawak speakers) as “Macoríx”. 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. others. contextual and is often a negotiated proposition. or expressed (and sometimes suppressed) identities. It is a myth that only Taíno language (of the Caribbean Maipuran subfamily of Arawakan) was dominant in the Greater Antilles. much of central to eastern Cuba were not Arawakan speakers.c o n v e r s a t i o n Taino mural by the renowned Puerto Rican artist Miguel Ángel Guzmán. can appropriate aspects of Tainoness. as individuals and as whole societies. And for that matter. 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”. engaged. Ethnicity. but rather referred to the aborigines collectively as “Indios”. contested. Furthermore.net] Spanish chroniclers never used Taíno in reference to an ethnic or even a linguistic group. variable spectrum of social and cultural features form an ample repertoire avail127 . from an ample. how individuals and groups identify themselves to others and what criteria are deployed to claim or argue membership is complex and fluid. nor can one find in the Spanish texts any terms that refer to an ethnic group or polity.‘Taíno’ groups were identified as “Cigüayo” in reference to the men’s distinct hairstyle. the material culture that would have been selected. non-“Taínos”. We probably will never know the terms (ethnonyms) the aborigines in the Greater Antilles used for self-designation. and displayed by natives “Indios” to express ethnic their identity (Tainoness) is quite variable and changeable. This was what the aborigine in the Bahamas responded when Columbus asked him who was he. or indigenize it. other non. [Credit: Tribe. In Hispaniola.
and thus variously expressed their Taínoness. as well as enmities.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. AD 1000/1200 to AD 1500). ridged causeways. Roderick McIntosh (Yale University) coined the term “reservoir effect” in conceptualizing these issues of identity variability. Jadeitite vulture pendant. You mentioned trade. includes sites with large artificial earth ridges framing large plazas. it is ironic to see that by-and-large they have disappeared from the modern collective memory of historiography. traditionally associated with the ancestors of the “Taíno” (Chicoid tradition. Given that we know that a large portion of Hispaniola was inhabited by Macoríx groups that did not speak Arawakan (Taíno). Many had a distinct space a rectangular court demarcated with monoliths. Eyeri. instead of large plazas framed by earthworks. 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. For example. In southeastern Hispaniola. Certainly a wide range of commodities circulated throughout the circum-Caribbean and not just between the 128 . 300BC-AD 500). 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. the tops of elongated hills were artificially leveled for settlement. yet all of these aborigines maintained strong interactions. the Calina or Calinago. 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 archaeology in the region where the Macoríx were first sighted by the Spaniards. 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. whereas the “Others” were portrayed as unsophisticated or barbarians. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Why privilege the so-called Taínos over others in our collective. where the Antillean rubber ball game (or batey) was played. built-up platform mounds (today eroded into “conical” mounds) and in some areas. Vieques Island (Hecoid. alliances. they had smaller plazas but framed by monoliths decorated with petroglyphs. La Hueca. and Garifuna). like the Island Carib (that is. 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. academic memories? There are many modern groups today who actively claim Taíno heritage.
).prefix means ‘having/with’ and suffixes -li. Of course. cacique (kasike). which literally translates without trees. and –ri mark the gender). developed. but also with the neighboring continental areas: raw resources such as nephrite and jadeitite. The term survives today as kasikua-li and kasikua-ri among modern Arawak speakers of Guiana (whose ethnonym is lokono or lukkunu. most of the surving Taíno-derived words refer to plants (or their edible products). Thus. of course. why did the Taíno believe they originated JW 129 . and the Virgin Islands). There is savannah from sabana. English (via sailors). Through the centuries. for the West Indian aborigines. and seafaring was key in shaping the nature and character of the Antillean peoples. Instead. 2004) have published a useful study on ancient Caribbean languages. even of a whole polity. and French to name a few. as modern continental landlubbers might think. As for language. so when they asked the natives for this new crop’s name. but rather integral to their notions of place and geography. Alabama Press. I think that Spaniards were shown a cob with no kernels. arounbd 400 BC. Cuba) but better documented from about 5000 years ago. Can you briefly explain each and then weigh in with your own opinion? Furthermore. Came as raw materials from what is the Motagua fault running through Guatemala-Mexico. and from South America.means ‘house’ (ka. that is we are ‘peoples’. but the sea was as much their landscape as the land was.c o n v e r s a t i o n islands. most Taíno terms borrowed by English or Spanish refer to things for which there was no counterpart or analogue in Europe. all of which indicates shifts in economic as well as social alliance networks. the patterns of circulation (between islands and continental areas). which translates as ‘head of the house’ or head of the lineage. the exotic gemstone-quality materials were largely defunct by around AD 500. they got the right answer: the ‘toothless’ cob! Perhaps the most widespread is the word for chief. the Caribbean Sea was not a barrier. A wide range of plants originated from Central America. or as toponyms. Thus archaeologists like now to speak of a ‘Caribbeanscape’ to emphasize that aboriginal intercommunity networks were multi-vectorial. the Bahamas. whose root is bar[a]bacoa. developed much later. animals such as the manatee (manatí). other networks. The circulation of quality gemstones and greenstones. For example. whereas aventurine had to be traded from the Guyana highlands. The English word canoe is derived from canoa (kanuwa). Granberry and Vescelius (Languages of the Pre-Columbian Antilles. thus changed. such as cassava (kasabi. There are two distinct schools of thought on the genesis of the Taíno people and of how they migrated to the Greater Antilles (Cuba. however. The root -sikua. such as yuca (manioc) and arrowroots (Calathea spp. And Hispanicized word maíz or Anglicized maíz derives from Taíno mahisi and mahite (ProtoArawak reconstruction: *marisi).] or –te [noun designator]) means). which in fact translates as ‘teehless’ probably in reference to a ‘kernel-less’ corn cob (m(a)[negative] + (a) hi [tooth]+ isi [tip. Puerto Rico. These trade networks began to operate with the first colonizers as early as 7600 years ago (from Canímar. One last example. Jamaica. One popular word in English is the term BBQ (barbecue). such as Spanish. such as wild avocado and maize. They were not isolated. a number Taíno/Arawak words were certainly incorporated into European languages. or the wooden-grill natives used for roasting fish or meat. Much earlier seem to be the circulation of edible/useful plants. another is hurricane from huracán. Hispaniola. different commodities and materials were emphasized. or casabe) and guava (guayaba).
Rouse envisioned the invaders as being characterized by a much more “developed” civilization (i.a n c i e n t p l a n e t White-on-red painted saladoid bowl from Guadeloupe. These “South Americans” belonged to an ancient (ca. although we now know they did not so by jumping from one island to the next. low-tech (no agriculture. [Credit: Florida Museum of Natural History] from caves on the island of Hispaniola? One school. in a short 130 JO time all the local “Archaic” peoples were either biologically exterminated and/or culturally assimilated by the dominant Saladoid culture. much in the way as Gordon Childe had to explain the pre-history of Europe in his early work. Perhaps unconsciously. Montserrat. 2400 BC) archaeological tradition that evolved in the Orinoco River known as Saladoid. they had agriculture and ceramic technology. we now prefer to call them Pre-Arawak). argued that the Taíno. and had a sedentary lifestyle-villages) that contrasted with the Archaic inhabitants regarded as nomadic (no villages). no pottery). Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico. for example were reached 200 and even 400 years earlier than other islands in the Antilles. conquered and quickly replaced the original inhabitants (he called Archaic. in effect. who lacked village-level organization and pottery has its origins in the description of the Spanish of certain groups they saw in western Cuba. The prevalent image of the nomadic huntergatherers. best articulated by the late Irving Rouse (Yale University). By 400 BC the migration of Saladoid groups reached Puerto Rico. They were also responsible for introducing an Arawakan-Northern Maipuan language (ancestral to Taíno).e. where the cultural superiority of invaders could only result in the quick defeat and/or assimilation of the “defenseless” local. Guiana and Trinidad. that is. Rouse argued that the Saladoid. was the result of a major population movement from the Orinoco Valley. Rouse’s Caribbean pre-Columbian history was colored by models of imperial conquest. circa AD 300600. native groups. which spread out toward the coast of Venezuela. archaeologically identified by the Chicoid cultural tradition. who they named .. and in sum simpler band societies.
It was a catch-all label. I speculate that it likely referred to 131 . he talks about a native society that lived among the Taíno in Cuba. of stasis. Bishop Bartholomew de La Casas engaged in a debate with the Spanish official Royal Chronicler. meaning ‘stone’). Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés. Like in the case of Taíno. who only survived by appropriating what nature offered. as used in the early Spanish chroniclers. those who were not original or derived from Hispaniola. Ciboney. seems to have referred to any and all non-Arawakan groups of Cuba. Rather.c o n v e r s a t i o n Cueva de Berna. 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. If we actually follow Las Casas’ descriptions of the Ciboney when he lived in Cuba. and in the Guacayrima Peninsula in southwestern Haiti. who had (in the past) migrated into Cuba from Haiti. that is. but a generic name given by Arawakan (Taíno) to ‘Others’ in Cuba. on the veracity of the existence of troglodytes in Guacayarima. among these apparently marginal groups still persisted. were neither slaves nor captives of the Taíno/Arawak. to him the Ciboney appeared to be less hierarchically organized than the Taíno “newcomers” were. SE Dominican Republic. but aborigines who hid in caves fleeing from the battles and conflict raging between Spaniards and natives. Interestingly. not cave dwellers. But since the term contains the Arawakan (Taíno) root ‘çiba’ (pronounced “seebah”. the perception of cultural ossification. For centuries the “troglodyte” imagery survived: in the first decades of the 20th Century. They were described as troglodytes. This calcareous cave decorated with pictographs and petrolglyphshas an early Pre-Arawak archaeological component. the Defender of the Indians. [Credit: Picasa/Dominican Republic 2010] Guanahacabey or Guanahacabibe. the term Ciboney is clearly not an ethnonym. Bishop Las Casas argued that these people were. in fact.
nevertheless. then the historic Taíno in the Greater Antilles. As the Saladoid expanded into at the time. Cuba and the Bahamas and and their immediate ancestors. 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). 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. remained in an By around AD 400-500. according to earlier scholars (including Irving Rouse). argued that the cultural and historical 132 . Jamaica. eastward into the Virgin Islands. they experience cultural divergence and differentiation. Ciboney in most of thre earlier only carry part of the parental cultural traits. however. term Cibao in Hispaniola means stone [hill] region. The expanding (via fission) daughter groups would Nonetheless. akin to anthropological and archaeological works was used biology’s founders’ effect. 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. 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. 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. From there it eventually expanded westward to Hispaniola. 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. be closely troglodytes that had ancestors extending well back related to other local cultures that share the same into the Archaic period. The parental (ancestral) culture: they are all of the same Archaic groups living in the westernmost region of Saladoid tradition. even the Lithic Age. Cuba at the time of Columbus.
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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
a legacy that continued into Ostionoid and later cultural traditions. of course. negotiation. In sum. Migration is a complex process that of Jesse Walter Fewkes. one that did not survive into later times. is not contested by any history of the Caribbean.. all the evidence points toward a multi-cultural environment of selective exchange. that there were processes of interaction leading to 136 . Finally. borrowing cultural features between Pre-Arawak and Saladoid groups. Rouse did not ignore the fact Rouse to name a few. Center: A Huecoid skeletal head made of serpentinite. the social implications (i. as it was specifically devised to address problems of culture not social Irving Rouse and other archaeologists of his processes.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Left: Miniature Saladoid ‘skeletal head’ made of shell. and Froleich requires a more nuanced understanding of social Rainey and culminating with the work in the 1960s dynamics between the local. native residents and and 70s of Ripley Bullen.e. Right: A Chiciud (Taíno) skeletal head made of ignbeous rock. from South Antillean islands. But Rouse was unconcerned with the social dynamics or underpinnings of how ‘diffusion’ was effected. Saladoid or Huecoid. as paleobotanical research advances). repertoire (although this conclusion may change in the future. they are related epistemological concepts. The presumption that a migrate from Trinidad and Venezuela into the superior civilization. Rouse argued that if one wishes address research questions about social dynamics one cannot use his cultural historic (normative) approach. Sven Lóven. 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. Clearly culture and society are not synonyms. He strongly felt that his remit was about cultures. 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. but they should not be confused. ethnogenesis) of diffusion he left for others to address. Mario Mattioni and Irving the new arrivals. he acknowledge these as diffusion. the protocol (chaine opératoire) for lithic tool production was adopted by the Huecoid cultural groups entirely from the Pre-Arawak. Much of the archaeological America overwhelmed the original inhabitants was evidence for this was gradually built by the likes overstated. as Rouse and his for their far too normative approach to the culture contemporaries argued. and Pre-Arawak Ortoiroid groups did the aboriginal inhabitants. I am afraid that some colleagues critical of Rouse’s work sometimes conflate culture and society. especially in Hispaniola and Cuba. or even mimicry. whereas the Saladoid lithic technology followed a different protocol of production.
Did they you will). a hallucinogen. 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. Human-environmental changes. as Rouse and Bullen. to name just a few. not to create “straw-men” to show Chicoid cohoba inhaler.Columbian (late Ostionoid tradition) and early ed by the earlier generations of archaeologists.and Ciboney in the previous question. for the the guaíza (“face/soul mask”) example of late Premost part. 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). historical ecol. have gone from merely tracking (or iden. abotic context. such Colonial periods. I already fires. correct A rarely preserved example Ostionoid/ their legacies. When Christopher Columbus first engaged in diplomatic relations with Gaucanagarí. refine and. to explore questions about their resilience.what was the nature of such exchanges? scape. are now important questions that were.wonder what the next generations will have to say cal studies. the world how smart is archaeology today… I only But since these earlier culture-centered archaeologi. such as hurricanes. over-predation. there was a notorious gift JW JO 137 . a Hispaniolan chief. Rouse. There is excellent evidence for intense or lack of. yes. only tangentially explored or document. at least from my perspective. volcanism or sea-level changes or human-induced. such as forest pre-Columbian and early Colonial periods. as a dynamic part of the Caribbean. in the face of environmental changes. to of the past generations of archaeologists. In sum. biotic resource management. commented rather extensively on the Guanahatabey etc.c o n v e r s a t i o n Huecoid effigy bowl for inhaling cohoba. if with the other peoples in the Caribbean. 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. interaction among diverse communities in be these natural. Let me take ogy. It is our task to build upon.of the achievements of this decidedly more posttifying) these migrations in terms of human groups modern generation. and Bullen. the advances of my and younger generations of archaeologists is only thanks to the groundwork laid by the likes of Rainey.
his practice was not unique feature of the so-called name (guaitiao) and his women (in martial alliance) “Caribs” of the Lesser Antilles. 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. 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. shell. Guacanagarí’s favorite gift. well beyond the Hispaniola heartland of ‘tainity’. Montserrat. etc. I will be you alliance-building. the other executed on orders of Caonabó. known as guaitiao (a mutually binding pact of friendship and alliance). But political and other forms of These wives and name exchanges. a pair of gloves and redfelt hat. animals associated with darkness and nighttime. involved gifting your own name to the other individual and vice versa.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. recorded by the alliance could and did change. when we meet again. In other words. we also know that in such reciprocal acts. by Guadaloupe natives. This exchange had the aim to establish a mutual political alliance. ceramic. widely distributed. so that It would seem then that the social mechanism of from this point on. Anguilla. Munn and many others. Moreover. including glass beads and. natives of the Greater and Lesser Antilles did occur since ancient times. Marie Galante. As it turns out Guacanagarí claimed that two of his wives or women of his lineage had been kidnapped. textile). as a contrast to the soul of the non-living. although infrequent in the archaeolohgical record. The shell guaízas. possibly ancestors of the Island Carib groups (Calinago. Some of these. with Taíno designs are. The latter. one remained captive. Antigua. clearly suggests that this aggressive dividual person). a parallel but inverted to the ordinary time/space domain (of the dead). well beyond their individual bodies. not only the guaíza was exchanged. But what Columbus did not realize was that Guacanarí had gifted not only a ‘face’ mask. especially with back to their homeland.). First described by Malinowski. but actually had given him his living soul. To reciprocate. leading to subsequent refinements by Godelier. 138 . Taíno Spaniards among aborigines (not all were “Taíno”). These chiefs thus became ‘extended persons’ (to use anthropologist Alfred Gell’s term). Columbus gave him various things. elements of Taínoness (souls/ guaízas) were to be apprehended and embeded into non-Arawakan groups. The kidnapping of women strangers or foreigners. which was (often) represented by the skull of the deceased or its avatars: owls or bats. whereas Gaucanagarí had ambitions to increase his political power against Caonabó. the Kula provided the basis for Marcel Mauss to develop his famous theory of “The Gift” (reciprocity). in order to rule his men. The “Taíno” situated the living soul in the human face. 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. Dominica and as far south in the Grenadines. Eyeri. like the case of Guacanagarí divisible person (what anthropologists call a noted earlier. Columbus needed the support of local chiefs for his plans of colonization and the exploitation of gold sources in the Cibao. Guacanagarí gifted Columbus his guaíza made of cotton textile with gold eye-mouth and earspools. are found in the Windward Islands embedded in complexes belonging to the Suazoid or late Troumassoid traditions (seemingly pre-Contact). It turns out that guaízas were made of various materials and combinations of materials (wood. I described the bare essentials of the exchange mechanisms through which certain valuable things (guaízas. but just as often brides and the personal names or titles. trade and exchange between and you will be me. Giving his living soul (guaíza). they begged the Spaniards to take them and maintain alliance networks. Thus. an important cacique of the Maguana region of Hispaniola. dating to after AD 1000/1200. not surprisingly. must become a partible. the cacique. stone. For example. family through affinal (marital) relations. of bringing them into his political contexts. We find examples in the Virgin Islands. Strathern.
amethyst or carnelian (waste. the identification of Caribs (cannibals) in Spanish texts has little to do with linguistic. blanks) beads. not just from the Lesser Antilles. top specimen: jadeitite (material likely from Motagua in Central America) Indeed.c o n v e r s a t i o n A variety of gemstone-quality btracian-like beads from La Hueca site. This was a micro-lapidary trade network ranging from Puerto Rico to Grenada during early ceramic age (400 BC –AD 400). Undoubtedly other items were traded in exchange for the finished beads. but with establishing the legal foundation of a ‘just war” to enslave diverse aboriginal groups. truly CircumCaribbean trade network of gemstone-quality materials. middle specimen: aventurine bead (material likely from Brazilian uplands). Far right column. I mentioned already nephrite. Whereas one island produced evidence of all the stages of manufacture of. for example. barite. and even turquoise. Vieques island. that the Spaniards called “just war”. first column. but their presence could also be the result of emulation (mimicry) or alliance exchanges. Their presence there may be the result of war booty (hence. many exotic to the Caribbean archipelago. in the case of the complete specimens. there existed a widespread. ritual decapitation of a powerful enemy icon?). in the 16th century. caníbales) that the Spaniards constructed to legally justify slave raiding. The aborigines of Guadeloupe were likely Island Carib-speakers (a mix of Calinago/Carib and Arawak/Eyeri). 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). from about 200 BC or so. one of which whose head is missing (purposefully decapitated?). in other islands only the finished beads are found. while in Montserrat and Antigua were major centers for the manufacture of carnelian beads. aventurine. amethyst. 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). Guadaloupe has yielded a few large Chicoid (Taino) three-pointed stone cemís. But recall that in the early period. This legalistic argument was first crystalized in the philosophical-theological writings of St. cultural or ethnic identity. Grenada and La Hueca (Vieques) both seem to have been centers for the manufacture of amethyst beads. In any event. carnelian. engaging members 139 . but ought not to be portrayed as the “Carib-as-cannibal savages” (caribes. jaeditite.
JW JO 140 . which means that some communities seem to have been left out of this network. sometimes expand. and the location of feudal-monarchical system they were familiar with the trading network of partners (sites. but as for the native’s social and political organization. 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. Other exchange systems began to arise and involve other kinds of materials and finished They all recognized. So the initial admiration. even Las Casas. of naboría class various species of flint. relative to.alliance) or the post-Classic Maya in Yucatán.The contrast became much more pronounced when tation was likely to be regarded as “common right”. the manner. several of the exotic materials leave to no doubt that their raw sources had to be obtained and procured from Central and South America. if there was any at all.think we can talk of admiration as such. Some archaeologists have could and did become chiefs too). as these were not noted that the exploitation rights of such resources based on rules they were familiar with. reina) or lesser kings (reyezuelos). they encountered societies with a different sort of much like fishing in deep sea waters had been a sociopolitical. There tory. And. and chert materials fitting the model of servants or in some cases slaves from major quarry sources in Long Island.kings (rey. 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. 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.that seemed to them to have analogies with the ing and other times contracting. were likely to have been strictly controlled by locals. such as Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés. his Hispano-centric prejudices are all too evident. islands) also in Spain: so they speak of some chiefs being like changed. the Defender of the Indians. however. and whereas at other times (and places) their exploi. 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. It is instructive If one reads the Spanish chronicles and to realize just how many of the early 16th Century texts carefully. especially during the of both the Saladoid and Huecoid traditions. they were generally Quickly. At the same time. or captives. was also man of his times. over the many centuries. and did not escape his own Eurocentric prejudices when commenting on Amerindians. that the “Taíno”. faded quickly. even the most prejudiced prejudices of Eurocentrism were re-invented during of writers. Obviously. say the these kingdoms organized and governed? Also did Muiska (Chibcha) of Colombia. of the sisted in post-Saladoid times was the exploitation of nitaíno class as akin to noblility. Oviedo. The Taíno. that is the Arawakan native nature and geographic spread of materials and fin. albeit in a fuzzy and confusing products. economic and religious structure. and after the Enlightenment. the Spanish would However. although his were of This network of exotic Huecoid/Saladoid microlapi. How were scale of complexity. in the late fifteenth century. reserved his most positive impressions for the Caribbean islands’ plants and animals. jasper.a n c i e n t p l a n e t were impressed by what they experienced or saw in the Caribbean. did have a political system ished products have changed. Antigua. albeit not all Saladoid or Huecoid sites yielded evidence of such exotic micro-lapidary materials. An example of a trade network that per.speakers in Hispaniola. again.a different sort from writers such as Oviedo. 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). turies AD. I don’t dary trade came to a close in the first couple of cen.
I suspect that originally 19th century. the natives were to be harnessed and reorganized as a gentleman (caballero) ought to. or periods when the or Aztec ollamaliztli? Also. swept courtyard by 1508 through war and disease. Yes there are many similarities with the even though all despised what shamans stood various kinds of Mesoamerican rubber for. comments one way or the other speaks volumes on the question of admiration. (1540s) the Inca.g. In other words. lock-stock-and-barrel. similar rubber common enough). organization of the Caribbean aborigenes were have very ancient. if any. the Taíno played a ceremonial process: so they respected the caciques’ power game with a rubber ball called batey. what native elements or structures. in my view. 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. Early on in Hispaniola. the political and social feeling that rubber ball games. or the Mexica (Aztec) in the 1520s. and tied into false notion of what “progress” in evolutionary terms meant and on how it was “measured”. including games that were enacted in were forbidden by the Crown (although they were southwestern United States. 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. The same occurred in the Dominican Republic).. they scholars know of its primary social purpose? appreciated the medicinal knowledge that behiques (shamans) had of plants (e.g. But perhaps the reason for the scant admiration for Taíno. political systems (much less their religious beliefs). or to conquer politically under the emerging colonial structure and new souls for Christianity. American lacrosse. from the Maya “discovered” domains of the post-Classic Maya or the Aztecs is pure speculation and. but later by the 1520s. according to Las Casas. 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. which the to both the rubber ball (made from the sap of the Spanish coined the word cacicazgos. 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.the Spaniards it was either irrelevant or a non-issue. for that matter. The noun has the Taíno word for chief ) had in essence collapsed survived today to refer to the clean. in of succession among natives. derived from tabonuco tree) and the game itself. 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). mixed race marriages ball games. do archaeologists and natives were forced to work for the Spaniards). 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. could be tolerated so long as they facilitated the colonization Dr. Moreover. native rebellions and resistance continued for a long time (in Puerto Rico well after 1520. is that the Taíno political The name batey. referred system in Hispaniola (based on chiefdoms. there were pockets of armed resistance still going on). Of course. The rather rapid The Spanish texts do not express much admiration collapse of the native political systems already or. in all their variants. especially when they contrasted it to the lost in the mist of history. JW JO 141 . I have a In the final analysis. enforce their authority over the native subjects from While there differences in detail with the Native within. for ‘curing’ syphilis). or the just was adopted.. a common origin. and a bit later highly unlikely. Oliver. For on the value or worthiness of the native socio. at the height of colonialism. there are striking similarities as well with the batey game in the Caribbean. deep roots.c o n v e r s a t i o n Cuba and Puerto Rico around 1511.
including human lives (as some Spaniards would find out). such as unmarried vs. hence. In any event. warriors comprised opposing teams but also there were mixed teams. married men. gender. besides being a sporting event. men could only use their hips to hit the ball. bachelors vs. 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. the various social age. competitive sports with sets of rules according to gender. since we know that a wide range of goods. the games were played in rectangular courts between two teams of variable number of players. men vs. means that “winners take all” (hence. perhaps children had yet other rules. and warriors vs. The batey was also a ritual and ceremonial act. The economic implications betting in ball games have yet to be fully explored from an archaeological perspective. It ritually controlled 142 the tensions that normally arise within and between communities. There was no hoop like in the Mesoamerican versions. gender and status of the players in a team. such as married men and women in both teams. between genders or between warriors of different factions or towns). but women could also use their knees. it may well be that one could not bet against the “home” team even if the opponent had a better winning record. for example.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. unlike the exchange through reciprocity. indeed. Interestingly teams were constituted by different social criteria that reflected age. For example. [Credit: Alessandro Cai/Wiki Commons] the term batey. Puerto Rico. The central plaza is in the background. women. Perhaps this was a mechanism for what today one might call “upward socio-economic mobility”. sometimes up to 20 and 30 a side. Another important feature of the batey game lies in its economic function. but we do not know the rules for betting. A point (victory) was achieved by the opponents when the ball went out of play (offside) or the ball was allowed to rest motionless. referred primarily to the court area where the game was played. no reciprocity). The distribution of . were placed in bets. by ceremonially regulating aggression and competition. married women. Betting.
Parts of the original were copied and bate. the most complete version of the means for betting goods. beyond merely sporting events or a Historia del Almirante. 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. 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 by Agüeybana “The Brave” against the the key ones. Ramón Pané. dead (his body corrupted). they rotted too. and where the winning cause of life”. described in was largely determined by the decomposition of his Relación (ca. can be “seen in the sky”. to name Boriquén. Death. 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. The original document written in ceremonial acts in sequence. before the game itself. Agüeybana went Now. the cacique. I argued. was enacted in order to publication and this is one of your areas of expertise. an ultimate. The confirmation by the For reasons too long to explain here. 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. Following the cohoba. was the cacique of the future he envisioned through ‘Ya’ means benign spirit. This term among the modern Lokono (or followed by a ball game. in fact. It seems that the complete document Spaniards in January. 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. Cristóbal de Sotomayor. the cohoba. “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. Apparently. I should say that it is not quite along with his nitaíno advisors. a lay Jeronimite hermit. among the Taíno of Boriquén. JW JO 143 . The key Ceremony. 1497) ‘Yocahú’as a a cemí being that the flesh (about three days in the humid tropics).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. there was a notorious case where a on cemís or icons for benevolence. But in this case. concept of cemí. the by Peter Martyr of Anghiera’s Decadas de Novo Orbe. test of the Spaniard’s mortality confirmed. They exchanges. where Sotomayor’s life Arawak) of Guiana still means “spirit. This to celebrate the death of Sotomayor. you explored this in your most recent The game. 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. worshipped a pantheon of gods and goddesses— Yukiyu and Atabey most prominently—and relied In Puerto Rico. First. determine which team of warriors would carry out the raid. The raid succeeded and. So the three 1497 in Hispaniola. a great dance the Greater Antilles had a concept analogous to a and chant fiesta (known as an areíto) was ordered supreme being. led to Bartolomé de Las Casas in his Apologética Historia. first was played (in absentia). areíto. essence. warriors would carry-out the raid and the execution. creative vital force. the major island-wide uprising of the caciques of and in epsitolar form by Columbus himself. 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. were preludes to war. not “immortal”. obtained the confirmation here is that Pané links these two personages to the from the cemí spirits that the Spaniards were in fact. In fact. I understand. That Fray the same way. the cacique. 1511. Castilian was lost. The areíto was then of spirits. but experienced death like ordinary humans. Thus in this Cohoba Judeo-Christian concept of God or Yahvé. but this manuscript is also lost.
And here is the key thing. The first to show the etymology of cemí was a famous linguist. the document underwent two translations: from Pané’s (who mother tongue was Catalan). The icons are imbued with −they “have”− this powerful. 1571) who had published an Italian version of Ferdinand’s History of the Admiral. Bagua. This being’s name translates as. and it is clearly a millenarian being.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. vital . So. Guácar. Only in particular contexts. Spanish (but according to Las Casas. zemi or zeme. a very close language to the Taíno. It is certainly a high ranking cemí. with poor syntax because he was Catalan) to Italian. a lake or ocean) + without [ma-] Grandfather [óroco-ti]. based primnarily on Pané’s Relación (but also details given by other chroniclers of this early contact period) is dived into three clear parts. particularly focusing on the problems of transcriptions of aboriginal (Taíno language) phonetics and by comparing cognate forms in Arawak. Las Casas renders it as “Yocahu Vagua”. Attá in Lokono (Arawak) language is the vocative noun form for “mother” Likewise. The thing is that for the “Taíno” many things. Indeed the term cemí translates as sweet or sweetness. just like human beings do. However. which I disapprove. a significant number of these terms have been rescued. “Yukiyú” was tracsribed by Ulloa as “Iocahuuague” whereas. but decidedly not the /z/ phoneme used in the English transcription. or the Maori notion of hau. the term is most likely Yucahú (or Yocahú). although a bit too sibilant). C. I am less certain that the stem yoca. Apito and Zuimaco. Guácar. This cemí being is said to be the “mother” of Yocahú. Yocahú is not the only cemí being to have mother and/or father. it depends on whether the correct phonetic transcription is yuca or yoca. which is only part of the set of names given to this personage: Yucahú. roughly. Thus. again is another high ranking personage that has several names. One has to do with mythology. Manioc [yuca] Being [-hú] + Bagua (large body of water. thanks to the analysis by Jose Juan Arrom and his reconciliation of all the versions of Pané’s relación.is that of yuca (manioc). all of which had editorial implications when transcribing Taíno words into the Latin alphabet. may be composed of “our” (wa-) and “ moon/ menstruation” (katti or kair[i]). Possibly the second name. in nature and cosmos could potentially be imbued with this vital force. H. visible and invisible. this vital force would be manifested to ordinary human beings and then only some would be transformed into various kinds of icons and artefacts. or cemí. while the bounded suffix ‘–beira’ contains the root for “water”. de Goeje in the late 1920s. The suffix –hú is a nominalizer applied to human and non-human beings that also denotes respect. not all things are imbued with vital force.). 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. the other has to do with something called cemí or çemí in old Castilian ( /ç/ is a phoneme between /s/ and “soft ‘c’. 144 this grandfatherless being who lords over the ocean and (perhaps also) manioc is necessarily a supreme god or deity. Thus. Maorcoti. Of course. The English /s/ sound is much closer phonetically. as Pané first noted in his Relación of 1497. some of the meanings of which were “decoded” by Arróm. The “Taíno’s” religious beliefs. The cemí beings were clearly not mythical personages. In other words it refers to a vital force or potency. Furthermore. Atabey. 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. Rather than “yukiyú”. (The Castilian ‘c’ phoneme in these samples corresponds to the ‘k’ sound in English. There is a leap of faith from assuming that Yocahú. I have shown in some detail that this metaphor “sweetness” was used to denpote something akin to the Polynesian concept of ‘mana’. As is well known a single phoneme can drastically change the meaning of a word (as in English but versus bat). Attabei or Attabei[ra]. Indeed Pané tells us that the cemí beings had kin relatives (ancestors included). the current popular conception that cemí refers to an object or a series of artifacts is simply wrong.
[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.
a n c i e n t p l a n e t A wooden figure of a cemí-imbued anthropomortphic being. and finally. as social beings. Musuem Fundación García-Arévalo. albeit non-human. So the aborigines treated them as persons. albeit with cemí power. we are talking of persons. his/ her pedigree (descent. Diminican Republic force (i. Thus. but specific ones. carved pendants. Once manifested this tree could be sculptured into such icons as vomiting spatula. tell him his/her names and titles. it can have another nature (what Vivieros de Castro called the Amerindian multinatural perspectivism. In the ceremony. painted. they way in which it should be sculptured (engraved. even petroglyphs in stalactites or in monoliths framing the plazas. who like humans. Santo Domingo. molded. and when sculptured also have a form or body. the higher the rank). or bulding canoes. This enable this potency to reveal to the cacique or shaman who he or she was. leaves and wood. such .e. house construction.. cemí). The Cohoba Ceremony was crucial to determine if any such potential manifestation in nature had indeed a vital force. The round table-top would hold the dish with the cohoba hallucinogen. to be used for fuel. common to many aborigines’ world view today). They did not have generic power. have ancestors and relatives. So a tree is can just be a tree. when and how he/she ought to be venerated. kin relations to other cemíbeings). via hallucination. if ceramic). But is potentially can be imbued with cemí. the cacique or shaman would engage in a dialogue with this potency. what power did it have. whose form and identity was 146 still occult in the tree or the rock. wooden icons. who have ranks (the more titles. These powers often related to weather control.
To decide whether a policy would be productive or wise. were critical for governing. Both the cacique and the cemí-icons=. since acquiring names over time often implies a change in status of the personage (human or not). specific cemís could and did “escape” from its human trustee. which women to give in marriage and to whom. was intimately linked to the relationship between the political leader and its continegnt of cemí-imbued figures and the world of hallucinated cemí beings.g. The set of cemí figures under the trust of a cacique. to send death/evil to enemies and/or to cure. and provided that the results were beneficial. 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. perhaps as long as 200-300 years. and hence a legendary status. cajoling the cemí spirits to produce desirable outcomes of the policies to be implemented. once materialized into a figure. In fact. Crucially. legenadry cemí. generated policies regarding the well-being of the polity and its subjects: when to harvest. would mutually enhance their reputations. The exploration of who were the cemí beings and how the interaction between cemí-imbued figures or icons (i..e. Legends were built around the deeds of the cemí-icon and the chief. or a recently appointed. the political elite could not “invent” them. And it is at this when also chiefs began to steal each other’s cemí icons. Other powers had to do with fertility of thew land of human procreation. 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. To engage the cemís. since the cemí-being could always abandon its trustee. and so on. non-human beings) and human was effected and the consequences of such relationships is a fascinating story.c o n v e r s a t i o n as hurricanes versus gentle rain.). concrete visible) cemí-imbued icons. seats or duhos. particularly in Hispaniola. rich biography. and hence whether the proposed policy was a good or a bad idea to implement. in such an altered state of consciousness (a parallel reality) the cacique could predict the future or “see” the outcome (dream. But here. and is advisory council. beneficial outcome of the proposed policy in hand (e. Why would they steal?. the emerging 147 . marriage. versus drought. the cacique could consult the cemí spirit beings or negotiate for a positive. for example. I suspect that the cemís with multiple names and titles were high ranked personages that had a accrued a long. etc. The cemí. It was an uneasy relationship. the reputation and record (biography) of such cemí has yet to accrue. I will focus on one aspect: politicalreligious power. proven to be effective in fostering the well-being of ordinary people. peace. that some of the wooden figures (e.. In the legends given by Pané.g. The chief. We know. Even if they did so and even if the cemí-personage was powerful.. whether to go to war or cement a guaitiao pact. who had to henceforth observe the taboos and demands of this materialized cemíbeing. the chief had to consult the spirit cemís (those invisible vital forces) accompanied by all of its (material. he or she (in the case of female cacicas) would inhale the hallucinogen in the Cohoba Ceremony. Of course. But incompetent chiefs. It is clear then that the form of government consultation process among the aborigines of the Greater Antilles. war. when to engage in long distance trades. 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’. over the long run. could potentially be abandoned by the cemí-icons entrusted to him. neophyte. was entrusted (not owned) to particular individuals. and that against the backdrop that stealing among Taínos was punishable by death through impalement. Once in trance. to conclude my reply to your question. because they could not order on demand a powerful. cacique has yet to demonstrate whether or not he be as effective as his predecessor in negotiation. hallucinate). trade. about which I have written in two recent books. protect and support individuals or even entire polities. and icons) were maintained ver several generations. Everyone would have known the icons’ legends.
their synoptic biographies collected by Fray Ramón Pané between 1494 and 1497. indeed. and hence very poor was multi-cultural and multi-lingual. whereas those with Carrier or Boca Chica (Taíno) materials have them. The other a reworking of the organic refuse soil (a kind of aspect has to do with the outstanding questions hoeing. had been artificially leveled. and above all. 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. composting) for preparing and establishing about ethnicity and material expressions of identity house gardens. This is the preferred settlement location of both Meillacoid and Chicoid groups. We know a bit more of what over time. There are two for cultivation. within sight of each other. The former tend to bury individuals on the edges of house structures. original organic topsoil being pushed to the edges has to do with how little we know about the impact of the slopes. I wanted to congratulate you as the Macorix de Arriba Archaeological Project enters its third year. after 15 years of research in Puerto Rico. Sadly. with the republic. 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. for example) than the short and long. at the site of Edilio Cruz-1. the Meillacoid and Chicoid sites are distributed in a mosaic fashion. project ultimately accomplishes? is that the ridge top of the elongated hill (sometimes It is my pleasure to talk about such topics. but likely term effects in the aboriginal villages. 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. and how such interactions changed after the arrival of the Spaniards. 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. govern at all.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).constant problem in Dominican Republic). It is enough to provide a taste of the nature of these icons. 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. but I suspect that the one-to-one correspondence of one tradition with one ethnic group is not so simple. midden refuse (and lots of ash) were built aboriginal way of life. there is a “hybrid” ceramic style that appears to be a syncretism of both traditions. For example. JW JO 148 . what do you hope the One interesting discovery. Before concluding this interview. different ceramic traditions (Meillacoid and Chicoid) that seem to echo the distinctions between Macoríx (non-Arawak) and “Taíno” (Arawakan). biologically) to the Spanish invasion. 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. My engagement in Dominican length). Nor do we have evidence that would illuminate how Arawakans and nonArawakan archaeological “groups” interacted with each other. 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 it is less certain for how long into the colonial period and the ways in which either group adapted (socially. we only have the actual names and legends of 12 of these cemí personages. their kin or faction may not have the contingent of legendary cemí figures under their trust. But more interestingly. such as the sites with Meillac materials lack cemeteries. Over this buried soil horizon at the of the early days of Spanish colonization had in the edges. This they would have no proven effectiveness (reputation) their ability to control or obtain from them what is required. The central axis of the flattened hill in a region where at the time of Spanish Contact. There interesting differences. is largely devoid of organic soil. culturally.
IL. He received his BA. Archaeologist. some 30 km west of generations. in many areas or The Web Spun by Taíno Rulers between Hispaniola sites of Yucatán) for others. Oliver is the program leader of the Maothers today. He continued his studies in anthropology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Spain and raised in San Juan. CN. at the expense of a Taíno-centric view corix de Arriba Archaeological Project. Principal Investigator. Christopher Espenshade.A. Magna cum Laude. who have been raphy and symbolism in relation to Taíno culture. Oliver was additionally a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University in New Haven. Florida.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. earning his MA in 1981. largely forgotten by history and historians and many Presently. and then his PhD in 1989. Puerto Rico. Oliver is a Reader in Latin American he is the News Editor and Public Relations Manager Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology. we do not have yet good documentation on their house structures or village configuration (albeit in the ridge tops these were linear. 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. Caciques and Cemí Idols: *** Acknowledgements: Our sincerest thanks to Mr. I leave the complex. In many ways. This is a fiveof the ancient inhabitants of the greater Antilles. “La Isabela. José R. most of everything is yet to be known. Muchas gracías James! It’s been great to Previously. poor”). provide a new voice to the Macoríx peoples and the work explores the complexities of Taíno iconogtheir (archaeological) ancestors. North Carolina. We have a poor chronological control. M. 149 . James Blake Wiener is a freelance writer and academic researcher based in Sarasota. Oliver earned his BA in anthropology Miami University in 1977. but very intriguing people. for the Ancient History Encyclopedia. which is precisely what I enjoy most when doing fieldwork. was published in 2009. he was as a Professor of European speak with you too. year field archaeological research program (2010In short. in History and his MA in *** World History from New York University. Blending If there is one goal I would like to achieve is to the boundaries of ethnohistory and archaeology. and Manager for New South Associates in Winston-Salem. when ignorance is largely to be illuminated. mutli-institutional dense projects (as. Currently. for example. by Christopher Columbus in January 1493 CE. and Puerto Rico. history at the State College of Florida. RPA. Oliver! It’s been a pleasure to speak with *** you and learn more about these mysterious. JW JO University College London. Dr. but no good sense of arrangements within the hill tops)..” the first European settlement founded I thank you so much for your time Dr. for his assistance in organizing the interview with Professor Oliver. it is still pioneering archaeology. Born in Barcelona. I wish to rescue their memory for future 2014) conducted in the Punta Rucia coastal area of northern Dominican Republic. Oliver’s most recent work.
000 square metres. A hearth located east of the bath-house formed the heart of the heating system. which is led by Doctor of Historical sciences. especially the floors of the ‘tomb-like recesses’ in the recreation room. . the expedition’s 2011 field season launched a broader investigation of the area we provisionally call the 5th excavation zone. the synchronized investiga- . 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’. located in the city centre and running along a north-south axis. while the upper section was covered with rafters. stone floor. located closer to the city centre. the bottom and sides of this channel are built with precisely fiited hewn river stones. the initial test area. and that it was flanked by a ‘recreational room’ with ‘tomblike’ recesses along its sides. it became clear that the swimming pool formed the central element of the complex. Judging from the building fragments it seems that sections of the roof were arched and constructed from mud-brick. the bath-house was found to have a heating system fitted under the floor. Lighting of the bath-house was achieved via windows with carved stone cupolst. measured some 100 metres in length by 2 metres in width. ran from the bath-house’s cloak-room to a ditch located along the northern fortress walls of the city. stairs. As the overall plan of the bath-house emerged. running to and from the bath-house. During excavation one large and one smaller stone cupol was revealed inside the bath-house. a ‘cloakroom’ and several separate bathing rooms. 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. 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. other sections of roof covering the bath-house. this channel was cut along a steeper inclination so as to drain into the channel to the north of the bath-house. As a result of the continuing excavations. We soon discovered that the buildings extended westwards and so we concentrated our efforts there. with the support of the MIRAs social organization in support of studying of cultural Heritage. the overall excavation area encompassed some 5. the roof of the passage leading from the cloak-room to the recreation room was almost certainly vaulted and lined with mud-bricks. were revealed and explored. were arched and lined with mud-bricks. Gafar Jabiyev. and other subsidiary structures within the complex.. one of the more capacious channels. the expedition. the remnants of several water and sewerage channels. has painstackingly examined some 15. cut along a north-south direction. 150 the roof of the bath-house appears to have had a steep incline. were also revealed and investigated. neatly fitted to allow the free circulation of smoke and heat.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. 2010. including a large open square with a stone floor flanked by rooms and a large swimming-pool. Various-size mud-bricks were used in the construction of the heating channels and flues. the walls of which were lined with quarried stone and mud-bricks. the bath’s main entrance. . 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.
e. this factor was almost certainly taken into consideration. Many of these have low. the primary source of the city’s drinking water. 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. A large arched. Two of these. 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. sanitation and maintenance concerns . Evidently. all main streets of the city are directed to the main gate. were exceptionally preserved. Main thoroughfares differ from small and subsidiary streets by virtue of their width and length. which was located to the west. Several wells were unearthed just south of the main thoroughfare. These streets were all cobbled with river-stone and led either to the main and/or smaller squares of the city. effectively dividing the excavation site into two equal parts. the main factor which determined the direction of Agsu’s main streets was the city’s main gateway.l e t t e r f r o m . and may be another reason why all the main streets run along an east-west axis. run perpendicular (north-south) to the main streets. 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. . a z e r b a i j a n Mr. streets and squares. when Agsu was founded. In our opinion. Jabiyev on the excavation site. built with hewn river stone. all of which are likewise neatly cobbled with river stone. thought to be the main thoroughfares of the city. Built from river stone. . In the 5th zone it was immediately evident that wide and long streets. Exploration of 5th zone showed that all subsidiary streets. It is also worth noting that some of Agsu’s water lines 151 . Particularly noteworthy are the numerous cisterns.as well as of construction and architectural pecularities. wells and sewerage lines that were revealed in the 5th zone. were mainly of an east-west direction. two-cell cistern was also unearthed in 5th excavation zone. 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. i.
were used to decorate the ‘Juma Mosque’. The mosque’s magnificent walls ern and northern walls were constructed from river were supported by wooden (oak?) columns. Various opened onto the mosque to the north. while the eastnails and hooks. Three minarets were revealed along the southern walls of the mosque. as were several graves of children. placed 2. Their foundations were built from river stone and their walls were made During the course of the excavations thousands of of mud-brick. each weighing between 800 and 950 grams. suggesting that they were equipped with running water. the stone. sionally named the ‘Juma Mosque’. This translates into a total load of approximately 60. Small open areas fitted with bread-ov152 passed through and under the floors and walls of several private houses. walls themselves were built of mud-brick. together with large iron was built of white-washed clay-bricks. The base of the mosque’s walls was built of river stones. measuring 36x16 metres. was located in the centre of the courtyard. A stone. 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 well. tombstone belonging to Molla Ali Hussein oglu was The floor of the mosque was well constructed and also found. tile fragments were revealed along the outer walls of the edifice. Fariz Khalilli with other arhaeologists at the excavation site. According to our estimations. some 60. clearly attests to a high level of techture. The existence of this structure.a n c i e n t p l a n e t Mr. The courtwooden fragments used in the mosque’s construc.yard itself was bounded by walls.000 individual tiles. finely plastered. The western wall tion were also unearthed.tlement to date. situated along the main streets mud-bricks and alm.nical and engineering skill. .000 tonnes. used for ritual cleansing before divine bases of which were fashioned from finely sculpted service. while the A wide courtyard. running in an east-west direction. Large wooden logs and stone plates were used to close off the water lines at these sites. 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. lined with large limestone plates.5 metres distance from each other. which we have provi.
a z e r b a i j a n Excavation at the ‘Juma Mosque’. These finds clearly illustrate that the residents of 18th century Agsu enjoyed high living standards. copper and silver coins.l e t t e r f r o m . Our team’s epigraphical specialist. From these sources we learn that Agsu was founded in 1735 by Nadergulu Khan. wells. During the 2011 excavation season. ens (tendirkhana). 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. many of the headstones from the cemeteries located to the north. were discovered outside the town’s walls. porcelain of Chinese and European production. to the newly built city. glassware produced in England. . also called ‘Kharaba Sheher’ and ‘Yeni Shamakhi’ (‘New Shamakhi’). Gafar Jabiyev Fariz Khalilli 10/07/2012 153 . including iron and copper items. These arrangements are quite typical of the residential areas and streets of medieval Moslem cities. faience and pottery ware. A rich and colourful array of artefacts. east and west of the city were cleaned and restored. Several cemeteries. tendirs and hearths were situated infront of the houses. a nearby settlement that had suffered extensive damage from earthquakes and wars. has studied over 200 tombstones and his findings will be published in the forthcoming book ‘Medieval Agsu Town Epigraphy’. facing the streets. who had relocated the population of Shamakhi. The expedition has also catalogued numerous historical documents relating to Agsu. . 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. were recovered during excavation. Habiba Aliyeva. mostly dating to the 18th century.
000 exhibits will be presented at the Museum coming from the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. . so the remains underneath will not be damaged by the building. is hosting temporary exhibition entitled: Trafficking Of Antquities: Stop It. . 2013 an exhibition entitled Olympia: Mythos. the Aristotle University excavation programme at Vergina.de/en/museums/ museum-details/martin-gropius-bau. The exhibition will run until 30 September 2012. Link: http://www.museumsportal-berlin. Illicit trafficking of antiquities is a scourge as illicit excavations and theft of cultural goods are constantly rising. The museum also contains a mosaic from a nearby Roman fort.What’s O On .amth. the 16th EPCA and the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities also participated in this exhibition by lending ancient artefacts and archival material. Over 1. the Archaeological Museum of Olympia. Archaeologists also found remains of a pub and a school. The museum sits on a series of piles. the Antiquities collection belonging to state museums of Berlin. 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. the 17th EPCA. Culture and Games. The baths were excavated in the 1970s and were then covered by a car park.org/ 154 . Exhibitions in The Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum in Berlin will host from August 7 through January 13. the Vatican Museum. the Louvre Museum and the archaeological collections of Dresden and Munich.php/en/ The Novium Museum containing the remains of a Roman bath house has opened in Chichester.gr/index. the Archaeological Museum of Rome. Link: http://www.thenovium. the Monetary Museum of Athens. Link: http://www. West Sussex.
Since 2006.com/ The Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology in Monaco is currently hosting The Nomads of Upper Asia. The statues that are exhibited include Boy with Thorn (Roman art). There is also a gallery with Hellenistic sculptures. a Niobide and a Head of Arianne.map-mc.manchester. Link: http://www. the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology of Monaco.). also known as ‘Torso Gaddi’. This exhibition allows the public to share in the archaeological investigations by examining facsimiles of the traditional deer stones. 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. weapons and ornaments. has been excavating the ancient site of Tsatsyn Ereg. coming from the archaeological museum in the Tuscan capital. Kazakhstan. mainly from Tuscany. showing a centaur with its hands tied behind its back. from Andrea del Sarto to Bronzino and Raffaello. the Aphrodite (Hellenistic art).uk/ 155 . Other sculptures on show include the Citharist Apollo.Europe The Uffizi Gallery in Florence has opened ten new spaces. along with rock carvings. dedicated to 16th-century painters. an exhibition featuring the culture of the extraordinary people who still inhabit a geographical area that includes parts of Mongolia.uffizi. in conjunction with the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of Mongolia.ac. The exhibition will run until 21 September 2012.library. the Farnese Hercules (Roman art. also known as Toilet of Venus. now held in the collections of The University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library.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. 2nd century A. the Russian Federation and China. Link: http://www. and the Torso.D. The exhibition will run from July to November Link: http://www. Dionysus with panther.
during the Iron Age of the Near East when iron became the prevalent material in making tools and weapons.What’s O On . The exhibition will run until October 21. The exhibition presents artefacts from La Sierra University’s extensive collection.org The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia is currently hosting Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times. including a 3-ton stone from Jerusalem’s Western Wall and 20 extremely rare fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls collection. They will be displayed in two sets of 10 for approximately three months each. spears and swords.WesternScienceCenter. is currently hosting the exhibition Weapons & War in the Iron Age. Link: www. . the exhibition features more than 600 objects. 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. 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://fi. date from 1200 to 600 BCE. some excavated by La Sierra archaeologists from ancient sites in Jordan. Most of the artefacts. no specific closing date has been set. 2012. Running through Oct. in partnership with La Sierra University in Riverside. and some from sites in Israel and Palestine. 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. 14. including arrows.edu/scrolls/ 156 .edu/ The Western Science Center in Hemet. . including a fullsize stone sarcophagus discovered intact in 2004. Link: http://www. The exhibit will run through the fall.clarkart.
An extraordinary opportunity to experience dinosaurs you’ve never seen before.museum/sites/2012/ The Getty Center is hosting Heaven.edu/art/exhibitions/death_ middle_ages/ Millions of years ago an incredible array of dinosaur diversity began to emerge in the southern hemisphere. audiences will meet a new breed of beast in the Royal Ontario Museum‘s landmark exhibition Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana. moving across the centuries to discover how Maya ideas about time and the calendar have changed up to the present day.getty.. in ways you’ve never imagined. The exhibition will run until March 17. a panel painting and stained glass. and the power wielded by their divine kings. MAYA 2012 runs through early 2013. Among the artworks presented are manuscript illuminations. and were home to the largest and most unusual dinosaurs to have ever roamed the earth. Link: http://www. 23. in the ancient land of Gondwana. well past the apocalypse predicted for Dec. an exhibition exploring medieval images that reflect imagined travels to the netherworld and attempts to map what awaited humankind beyond this earthly existence.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. Hell. Now. 2013. The exhibition runs until August 12. for the first time in North America.penn. Visitors follow the rise and fall of Copan. 2012. Link: http://www. and Dying Well: Images of Death in the Middle Ages. printed books. 2012. Madagascar and South America began to take shape.org/ 157 . The land masses that would form modern-day Africa. the astounding “lords of time. expressed through their intricate calendar systems. Link: http://www.” The exhibition features remarkable objects including artefacts recently excavated by Penn Museum archaeologists from the site of Copan.joslyn. Honduras.
. Link: http://www. understanding and promoting enjoyment of heritage. Link: http://www. managing. and forthcoming conferences. Membership is open to anybody who works within the historic environment. Six Great Websi The Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) advances the practice of archaeology and allied disciplines by promoting professional standards and ethics for conserving. Individuals gain membership after rigorous peer review of their technical and ethical competence. Their stated mission is to raise public awareness about the irreversible damage that results from looting. and more than 70 organisations have registered. The EAA currently has over 1100 members on its database from 41 countries world-wide working in prehistory. medieval and later archaeology.archaeologists. . The organisation is open to all archaeologists and others involved in protecting and understanding the historic environment. The EAA is a membership-based association open to all archaeologists and other related or interested individuals or bodies. On this site you can find details of the EAA’s aims. Over 3100 people have so far joined IfA. Link: http://www. whether they are employed or volunteering their time. 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.e-a-a.net/ The European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) is aimed at professional archaeologists of Europe and beyond.org/ SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving cultural heritage worldwide.org/ 158 .Spotlight .savingantiquities. classical. smuggling and trading illicit antiquities. activities and publications.
You can experience the Pyramids in two ways: take a guided tour from an expert. There are notes in each site.org/ Ancient History Encyclopedia is a source of ancient history information. The goal is to make quality ancient history information freely available on the internet. Leakey Grantees study many facets of our early ancestors through a variety of scientific disciplines: paleoanthropology. including field journals from archaeologists. with a nationalist agenda. the middle of the three pyramids. and many other sites are either amateurish. to explore and learn at your own pace. tombs and burial chambers on your own. Many additions are planned. Link: http://www. and objects constructed in 3D. genetics and morphology. or wander the temples. The project currently includes four temples and the Pyramids of Khufu and Menhaure. current and historical photos. The Foundation awards more than $600. Special encouragement is given to early career scientists asking new questions and offering innovative ways to answer questions about human evolution.eu.sites The Leakey Foundation promotes a multidisciplinary approach to exploring human origins.3ds. maps. which is something that is clearly missing: Books are expensive. Link: http://leakeyfoundation.ancient. or their presentation is so bad that it nearly makes them useless. The Pyramid of Khafre. Wikipedia is comprehensive but unreliable.000 annually in field and laboratory grants for vital new research and long-term projects exploring human evolution. geology.com/ A new interactive experience available to everyone on the internet brings the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt to you.com/ 159 . and the Sphinx have not been added yet. provided by a community of historians and history enthusiasts. primatology. Link: http://giza3d.
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