Results for came:
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A strip of lead holding small pieces of glass (quarries) in a window.
- CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: A large hornless ruminant quadruped with a humped back, long neck, and cushioned feet. It is domesticated as the main beast of burden in arid regions of western Asia and northern Africa. There are two distinct species, the Arabian or one-humped, and the Bactrian or two-humped. A lighter and faster variety of the Arabian is known as the dromedary. The Bactrian was fully domesticated by the 1st millennium BC and evidence of their existence dates to the first half of 3rd millennium BC. There are four camelids found in the Andes of Peru -- the vicuna, guanaco, llama, and alpaca. The first two are wild, the last two domesticated. Cave excavations yield bones from c 8000-1000 BC with herding evidence c 3000-2000 BC and pack animal use between 600-1000 AD.
- CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: A member of the family that includes camels, llamas, and their relatives, all of which have feet with two toes and thick leathery soles
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: An engraving or carving in low relief on a stone
- cameo glass
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A Roman artifact of layered, multicolored glass with the effect of a cameo cut from onyx. The Portland Vase in the British Museum is an important example.
- Mount Camel
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Archaic midden on North Island, New Zealand, dating to 1150-1260 AD.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Abbevillean, Chellean, Abbeville
CATEGORY: chronology; culture
DEFINITION: The name for the period of the earliest handax industries of Europe, taken from Abbeville, the type site near the mouth of the River Somme in northern France. The site is a gravel pit in which crudely chipped oval or pear-shaped handaxes were discovered, probably dating to the Mindel Glaciation. This was one of the key places which showed that man was of great antiquity. Starting in 1836, Boucher de Perthes excavated the pits and the significance of these discoveries was recognized around 1859. These pits became one of the richest sources of Palaeolithic tools in Europe. In 1939, Abbé Breuil proposed the name Abbevillian for both the handax and the industry, which preceded the Acheulian in Europe.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A widespread native American culture of the Early Woodland period in the Ohio Valley (US) and named after the Adena Mounds of Ross County. It is known for its ceremonial and complex burial practices involving the construction of mounds and by a high level of craftwork and pottery. It is dated from as early as c. 1250 BC and flourished between c. 700-200 BC. It is ancestral to the Hopewell culture in that region. It was also remarkable for long-distance trading and the beginnings of agriculture. The mounds (e.g. Grave Creek Mound) are usually conical and they became most common around 500 BC. There was also cremation. Artifacts include birdstones, blocked-end smoking pipes, boatstones, cord-marked pottery, engraved stone tablets, and hammerstones.
- Adena point
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A widespread Native American culture of the Early Woodland period in the Ohio Valley (US) and named after the Adena Mounds of Ross County. It is known for its ceremonial and complex burial practices involving the construction of mounds and by a high level of craftwork and pottery. It is dated from as early as c. 1250 BC and flourished between c. 700-200 BC. It is ancestral to the Hopewell culture in that region. It was also remarkable for long-distance trading and the beginnings of agriculture. The mounds (e.g. Grave Creek Mound) are usually conical and they became most common around 500 BC. There was also cremation. Artifacts include birdstones, blocked-end smoking pipes, boatstones, cord-marked pottery, engraved stone tablets, and hammerstones. Artifacts distinctive of Adena include a tubular pipe style, mica cutouts, copper bracelets and cutouts, incised tablets, stemmed projectile points, oval bifaces, concave and reel-shaped gorgets, and thick ceramic vessels decorated with incised geometric designs.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: plural agorae
DEFINITION: In ancient Greek cities, an open space, serving as a commercial, political, religious, and social center. The word, first found in Homer, was applied by the Greeks of the 5th century BC in regard to this feature of their daily life. It was often a square or rectangle, surrounded by public and or sacred buildings and colonnades. The colonnades, sometimes containing shops (stoae) often enclosed the space, which was decorated with altars, fountains, statues, and trees. There were several kinds of agora, (1) archaic, where the colonnades and other buildings were not coordinated, and Athens is an example of this, (2) Ionic, more symmetrical, often combining colonnades to form either three sides of a rectangle or square, often with two or more courtyards, such as Miletus and Magnesia. In highly developed agora, like that of Athens, each trade or profession had its own quarter. It also served for theatrical and athletic performances until special buildings and places were made for those purposes. Under the Romans, it became a forum where one side was a vast basilica and the rest colonnades.
- Ahmose I (reigned c 1550-1525 BC)
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Amosis
DEFINITION: The founder of the 18th Dynasty and the prince of Thebes who drove the Hyksos from Egypt, invaded Palestine, and established the New Kingdom. He was the son of the Theban 17th Dynasty ruler Seqenenra Taa II and Queen Ahhotep, and came to the throne of a reunited Egypt after he and his predecessor Kamose expelled the Asiatic rulers from Egypt. Ahmose I was responsible for reactivating the copper mines at Sinai, resuming trade with Syrian cities, and restoring temples. He was succeeded by his son Amenhotep I in 1555 BC.
- Ahmose II (reigned 570-526 BC)
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Amasis, Amosis II
DEFINITION: King of the late 26th Dynasty and originally a general in Nubia who came to the throne after his defeat of King Apries (589-570 BC). Ahmose was sent to pacify mutineering troops when they proclaimed him king. He fought Apries in a civil war and killed him in battle, though later giving him a royal burial. His reign was a time of great prosperity in Egypt.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Arabic Halab, Turkish Halep
DEFINITION: A city in northern Syria which stands on the site of an ancient, as yet unexcavated, city. On the route between the Euphrates and Orontes, the ancient site is mentioned in texts from the 2nd millennium onwards as the capital of the Amorite kingdom of Yamkhad in the 18th century BC. It subsequently came under Hittite, Egyptian, Mitannian, and again Hittite rule during the 17th-14th centuries. It was known to the Hittites as Halpa. The city was conquered by the Assyrians in the 8th century BC and then controlled by the Achaemenian Persians from the 6th-4th centuries BC before the Seleucids took it over, rebuilt it, and renamed it Beroea. Aleppo was very important during the Hellenistic period for its position along trade routes. The city became part of the Roman province of Syria in the 1st century BC. Conquered by the Arabs in 637, it reverted to its old name of Halab.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Raqote
DEFINITION: The Greek city founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, capital of the Ptolemy dynasty, located on a narrow strip of land in the Nile Delta of Egypt. Alexandria was placed on the earlier Egyptian settlement of Raqote of which pre-Ptolemaic seawalls are the only archaeological traces. The great city soon replaced Memphis as the capital of Egypt and is famed for its lighthouse (Pharos, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, built by Sostratos of Knidos between 299-279 BC; destroyed in 1326 AD by an earthquake), the jetty of Heptastadion, the royal palaces; and the Museion, a library and institution of scientific and philological research. It was composed of quarters: Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, and Kings. The city became the center of trade and culture in the eastern Mediterranean. The Ptolemys ruled over Egypt until 30 BC.
- CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: A domesticated South American camelid noted for its soft wool.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Amon, Amun
DEFINITION: The god of Thebes (Upper Egypt) who came into prominence with the dynasties of the Middle and New Kingdoms. Many pharaohs from the 11th Dynasty onward include his name in theirs, as Amenemhet and Tutankhamen. Amen is associated with the ram, though represented in human form, and sometimes incorporated with the sun god Ra.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Amurru
DEFINITION: A branch of the Semites who were nomads in the Syrian desert and who overthrew the Sumerian civilization of Ur c 2000 BC and dominated Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine till c 1600 BC. In the oldest cuneiform sources (c 2400-2000 BC), the Amorites were equated with the West, though their true place of origin was most likely Arabia, not Syria. They founded a series of kingdoms throughout Mesopotamia and northern Syria, the most important being Babylon and Assur. Their arrival in Palestine was at the change from Early Bronze to Middle Bronze Age. The Amorites became assimilated into the population and culture of these regions. Eventually, the Amorites settled and amalgamated with the Canaanites of the Middle and Late Bronze Age. During the 2nd millennium BC the Akkadian term Amurru referred not only to an ethnic group but also to a language and to a geographic and political unit in Syria and Palestine. In the dark age between c 1600-1100 BC, the language of the Amorites disappeared from Babylonia and the mid-Euphrates; in Syria and Palestine, however, it became dominant. In Assyrian inscriptions from about 1100 BC, the term Amurru designated part of Syria and all of Phoenicia and Palestine but no longer referred to any specific kingdom, language, or population.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Emporion
DEFINITION: An ancient Greek trading settlement in Spain, 40 km northeast of present-day Gerona. It was originally a colony of Marseilles (Massalia), founded in the early 6th century BC. The town allied with Rome in the 3rd century BC and it became a Roman colony under Augustus (27 BC-14 AD). Ampurias was probably most prosperous between the 5th-3rd centuries BC, when it established extensive trading across the Mediterranean. Its commercial achievements were marked by the minting of coinage. But after Roman presence increased and the harbor began to silt up, the town declined. The end came at the destruction by the Franks in 265 AD.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Naqadah I
DEFINITION: An Egyptian predynastic culture, centered in Upper Egypt and named for the site El Amrah (or al-'Amirah; c 4500-4000 BC) near Abydos. Numerous sites, dating to c 3600 BC, have been excavated. They reveal an animal husbandry and agricultural lifeway similar to the preceding Badarian culture. There are large cemeteries, like that at Naqada, which imply that the settlements were permanent and large. Many of the dead were buried crouched with rich grave goods. Flint was quarried for the variety of finely worked daggers, points, and tools. Copper came into use for beads, harpoons, and pins. There was trading with Ethiopia, the Red Sea, and Syria based on the finds. Several pottery wares, in a range of shapes, were made: black-topped red ware from the Badarian period onward and white cross-lined (red ware painted in white) added.
- Amur Neolithic
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A number of Neolithic cultures recognized near the Amur River in eastern Siberia. They are mainly defined by the presence of pottery. In the Middle Amur region, the earliest phase is known as the Novopetrovka blade culture. Later is the Gromatukha culture, with unifacially flaked adzes, bifacially flaked arrowheads, and laurel-leaf knives and spearheads. Settlements on Osinovoe Lake, which are characterized by large pit houses, date to around the 3rd millennium BC. Millet was cultivated, representing the first food production in the area, and there was fishing. A fourth Neolithic culture in the area, dating to the mid-2nd millennium BC was a combination of farming and fishing by people who moved there from the Lower Amur area. The Neolithic of the Lower Amur is known from sites such as Kondon, Suchu Island, and Voznesenovka. Fishing provided the economic basis for the establishment of unusually large sedentary settlements of pit houses -- a situation paralleling the examples from the Northwest coast of North America. In the 1st millennium BC, iron was introduced and fortified villages constructed. In Middle Amur, millet farming became the lifeway.
- CATEGORY: artifact; language
DEFINITION: A term describing any work of art that is carved, chased, embossed, or sculptured -- such as bas-reliefs, cameos, or other raised working of a material. Materials which are incised or sunken are called intaglios or diaglyphs. The Egyptians also used the term anaglyphs for a kind of secret writing.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A mountainous region of present-day Turkey, bounded by the Pontine mountains and Zagros mountains. There are a number of early sites dating c 7000 BC as the rainfall was adequate for dry farming. The area was also important for sources of obsidian, which was exploited from the Upper Palaeolithic onwards and was extensively traded in the Neolithic. The area was an important center in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic, with sites like Catal Huyuk and Can Hasan. It was less important in the Bronze Age but later became the homeland of the Hittite empire in the 2nd millennium BC.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: The name of the combined cultures, the Angles and the Saxons, who left their North Sea coastal homelands in the 5th century AD and moved to eastern England after the breakdown of Roman Rule. The name derives from two specific groups --- the Angles of Jutland and the Saxons from northern Germany. Some other Germanic peoples took part in the migrations, such as the Jutes and the Frisians, and they are sometimes included under this name. The language, culture, and settlement pattern of medieval and later England can be traced directly to the Anglo-Saxons. The movement to the area probably began in the 4th century when barbarian Foederati went to serve in the Roman army in Britain. The main immigration began in the middle of the 5th century. Bede, writing in the early 8th century, gives the only reliable historical record for this period, though incidental information can be found in the Old English literature, particularly the poem of Beowulf. The English kingdoms took shape by the late 6th century. Archaeologically, there are three periods: the Early or Pagan Saxon period went until the general acceptance of Christianity in the mid-7th century; the Middle Saxon period until the 9th century, and the Late Saxon period which went up till the Norman invasion of 1066. The earliest period's remains are mainly burial deposits, often cremation in urns or by inhumation in cemeteries of trench graves or under barrows. Grave goods often include knives, sword or spear, shield boss, and brooches, buckles, beads, girdle-hangers, and pottery -- depending on the gender. Most archaeological evidence comes from the cemeteries, including the exceptional ship burial at Sutton Hoo. Churches were built and in the Middle and Late Saxon periods, including Bradford-Upon-Avon and Deerhurst. Important monuments of the Middle and Late Saxon periods are the royal palaces at Yeavering and Cheddar. The Late Saxon period, after the Viking invasions, saw the growth of the first towns in Britain since the Roman period, following the establishment of Burhs in response to the Scandinavian threat. There was wide-ranging trade, developed coinage, and improved pottery manufacture and metal-working. The separate British kingdoms (most important: Mercia, Northumbria and Wessex) eventually became a unified England with a capital at Winchester in Wessex. The Anglo-Saxons were responsible for the introduction of the English language and for the establishment of the settlement patterns of medieval England.
- CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: The name for numerous species of deerlike ruminant horned bovid. The main characteristics are cylindrical annulated horns and a lachrymal sinus. There are true" antelopes "bush" antelopes "capriform" (goatlike) antelopes and "bovine" (oxlike) antelopes. The name is most popularly associated with the "true" antelopes. The term first came in through Greek and Latin to describe a creature haunting the banks of the Euphrates. The attributes of the antelope caused it to become a heraldic animal and it served as the symbol of the 16th Upper Egyptian nome (province). Three species of antelope are known from ancient Egypt (Alcephalus buselaphus Oryx gazella and Addax nasomaculato)."
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Antiochia, Antioch Pisidian, Antiocheia Pisidias, Caesarea Antiochia
DEFINITION: An ancient city of Phrygia near the Orontes River and modern Yalvaç in Turkey. It was founded in 300 BC by Seleucus I (c 358-281 BC) after the death of Alexander the Great and was one of the two capitals of the Parthian Empire. It became a Roman city in 64 BC at the hands of Pompey and served as a capital of the province of Syria and was one of the three most important cities of the Roman world. Antioch peaked under Hadrian as a civil and military administrative center, then suffered Persian invasions during the 3rd century AD. It was rebuilt by Diocletian and successive emperors form the 4th century AD. The plain of Anitoch was occupied from the Neolithic onwards. Its ruins include a large rock cutting which may have held the temple of Men Ascaënus, the local Phrygian deity.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: An-yang, Yinxu
DEFINITION: A city in the Honan province of China that was the last capital of the Shang (Yin) Dynasty, occupied in the 12th and 11th centuries BC. It was founded c 14 BC and overthrown by the Chou in 1027 BC and was the seat of 12 kings who ruled for 273 years, a time referred to as the historical Anyang period. Anyang is one of the most extensively excavated sites, beginning in 1928. The buildings had rammed earth floors and many sacrifices of men and animals and chariot burials were found under them. Deep storage pits held oracle bones with inscriptions in an archaic form of Chinese, but the most important finds came from the cemeteries, which included royal tombs. At least as early as the Song dynasty (960--1279), Anyang was known as a source of bronze ritual vessels. Very large cruciform shaft tombs were found near the village of Houjiazhuang. There were eight large tombs in the western part of the Xibeigang cemetery and five more in the east. Excavation has shown that rows of satellite burials in the eastern section were not laid down at the time of the royal entombments but instead were later sacrifices offered to the tombs' occupants; these burials correspond with the oracle texts descriptions of victims sacrificed, sometimes by the hundreds, to the reigning king's ancestors. The only intact royal tomb yet discovered is that of Fu Hao, which is not in the Xibeigang cemetery but across the river at Xiatoun. Later excavations have established that Anyang was heir to the flourishing civilization of the Erligang Phase.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Apameia; Apamea ad Maeandrum
DEFINITION: A city in Hellenistic Phrygia on the Orontes River, partly covered by modern Dinar. Originally a Macedonian colony founded by Antiochus I Soter in the 3rd century BC, it became a Seleucid city superseding Celaenae and commanding the east-west trade route of the Empire. In the 2nd century BC, Apamea passed to Roman rule where it became capital of the Syria Secunda province. It became a great center for Italian and Jewish traders, but it declined by the 3rd century AD and trade was diverted to Constantinople. The Turks captured the town in 1070 and it was devastated by an earthquake in 1152.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Egyptian Hap, Hep, Hapi
DEFINITION: In ancient Egypt, the sacred bull worshipped at Memphis. Revered at least as early as the 1st Dynasty (c 2925-2775 BC) and sacred to Osiris, Apis came to prominence during the Greco-Roman period. Apis was probably at first a fertility god concerned with grain and herds. It served as the ba (physical manifestation) of the god Ptah and was also associated with Sokaris.
- Apulian pottery
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: An important type of South Italian Pottery, mostly decorated in the red-figured technique. Production seems to have started in the late 5th century BC and may have been influenced by Athenian pottery. One of the early centers may have been Tarentum. In the middle of the 4th century the scenes became more ornate with additional figures inserted in the field and an increased use of added colors. Plain wares were also produced alongside.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A former city founded as a Roman colony in 181 BC, now a village in northeastern Italy near the Adriatic coast northwest of Trieste. Founded to prevent barbarian invasions, Aquileia became a trade and commercial center along the route north and east into the Black Sea areas. By the 4th century, it became capital of the regions of Venetia and Istria. The city fell to the Huns and was sacked in 452. It also once served as an episcopal see of the Roman Catholic Church.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: (fr Greek Aramaios, Syria") adj. Aramaic"
CATEGORY: culture; language
DEFINITION: A branch of the confederacy of Semite tribes who moved out of the Syrian desert and who conquered the Canaanites and established themselves in their own series city-states in c 16-12 BC. The foremost of these states was Aram of Damascus, a large region of northern Syria, which was occupied between the 11th-8th centuries BC, and also Bit-Adini, Aram Naharaim, and Sam'al (Sinjerli). In the same period some of these tribes seized large tracts of Mesopotamia. By the 9th century BC, the whole area from Babylon to the Mediterranean coast was occupied by the Aramaean tribes known collectively as Kaldu (also Kashdu), the biblical Chaldeans. Assyria, nearly encircled, attacked the armies of the Aramaeans and one by one the states collapsed under the domination of Assyria in the succeeding centuries. The destruction of Hamath by Sargon II of Assyria in 720 marked the end of the Aramaean kingdoms of the west. Those Aramaeans along the lower Tigris River remained independent somewhat longer and in 626 BC, a Chaldean general (Nabopolassar) proclaimed himself king of Babylon and joined with the Medes and Scythians to overthrow Assyria. Thereon in the Chaldean empire, the Chaldeans, Aramaeans, and Babylonians became one group. Their North Semitic language, Aramaic, became the international language of the Near East by the 8th century BC, replacing Akkadian. Aramaic was written in the Phoenician script and was the diplomatic and vernacular speech of the Holy Land during the time of Christ. It was replaced by Arabic after the Arab Conquest, but is still spoken in some remote villages of Syria. In the Old Testament the Aramaeans are represented as being related to the Hebrews and living in northern Syria around Harran from about the 16th century BC. Few specifically Aramaic objects have been uncovered by archaeologists.
- CATEGORY: culture; language
DEFINITION: A number of linguistically associated native groups -- the Antillean Arawak or Taino -- who inhabited the villages of the Greater Antilles and parts of mainland South America. They were slash-and-burn agriculturists who cultivated cassava and maize. The people were arranged in social ranks and were ruled by chiefs whose religion centered on a hierarchy of nature spirits and ancestors. Pottery of Saladoid type is found in from western Venezuela to the West Indies, and in the northern islands there is a ceramic continuity from Saladoid ware to insular Arawak. The Arawak were driven out of the Lesser Antilles by the Carib shortly before the appearance of Columbus and the Spanish, but they still numbered in the millions at that time. Since the Arawakan language is not found to the north or in Mesoamerica, it is likely that these people came to the islands from the south.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Argos (meaning agricultural plain)"
DEFINITION: City in the northeastern Peloponnese of Greece, just north of the head of the Gulf of Argolis. The name was applied to several districts of ancient Greece but it is most often used to describe the easternmost part of the Peloponnesian peninsula and the city of Argos was its capital. Homer described it as the fertile plain inhabited by Agamemnon, Diomedes, and other heroes in the Iliad". The site was probably occupied since the Neolithic / Early Bronze Age and was very prominent in Mycenaean times (c 1300-1200 BC). Argos was probably the base of Dorian operations in the Peloponnese c 1100-1000 BC and from then on the dominant city-state of Argolis until it allied itself with Sparta after the Peloponnesian War in 420 BC. In 392 it broke with Sparta to unite with Corinth in the Corinthian War. Argos later joined the Achaean League (229) and Argos became its center after the Roman conquest and destruction of Corinth (146). The city flourished in Byzantine times and did not decline until around 1204 AD. One tyrant Pheidon is thought to have introduced primitive coinage and a weights and measures system. Archaeological excavations began in 1854 on the Argive Heraeum and Argos was famed for its connection with the goddess Hera. There was a natural sanctuary there long before the Dorians came c 1100-1000 BC. The shrine is reported to be of extreme antiquity. The statue of Hera for a new 5th-century temple was done by the celebrated sculptor Polycleitus whose work was said to rival that of Pheidias the sculptor of the Parthenon. There is material evidence of Neolithic Early and Middle Bronze Age a Mycenaean cemetery with chamber tombs Geometric and Archaic features and ruins of the classical and Roman city. The Larisa hill was evidently the Mycenaean acropolis and citadel holding a classical temple. There was also a Roman theater and small odeum. The site is mostly covered by the modern city."
- Arthur (c 5th century AD?)
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: The legendary British king who is described in medieval romances as the leader of a knightly fellowship called the Round Table. It is said that he rallied the British against the Anglo-Saxon invaders and that behind the legend there may be a sub-Roman warleader who filled such a role. Though his name does not survive in contemporary records, he may have led the British at the battle or siege of Mount Badon which stopped the Saxon advance c 490 AD for some fifty years hence. All the historical references to him in the chronicles of Bede, Gildas, Nenius, Geoffrey of Monmouth and others were written between 100 and 600 years after the event, so they are considered unreliable for archaeologists. The search probably started with the monks of Glastonbury, who in 1191 claimed to have found the burial of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere inscribed with the words, Here lies Arthur in the Isle of Avalon buried". Various locations as far apart as Cornwall and Scotland are claimed as the site of Mount Badon; the refortified Iron Age hillfort of Badbury Rings in Dorset seems the most credible possibility. The site of Arthur's court at Camelot may be the historical site of South Cadbury. Excavations carried out at South Cadbury revealed an important fortified settlement of the 5th and 6th centuries which could have been the center from which British resistance to the Saxons was organized."
- Arundel marbles
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Oxford marbles
DEFINITION: A collection of marbles and ancient statues taken from Greece and Asia Minor at the expense of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel (1585-1646) and given to Oxford University in 1667, which came to be known as the Arundel (or Oxford) marbles.
- Ashoka (d 238 BC?)
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: also Asoka, Asokan
DEFINITION: The last major emperor of the Mauryan empire of India in the 3rd century BC. He started out as a bloody tyrant, but underwent a spiritual crisis and became a Buddhist, furthering the expansion of that religion throughout India. His reign was c 265-238 BC but has also been given as c 273-232 BC. His kingdom included most of modern Pakistan and India, except the extreme south. Many monuments survive from his period: stupas, rock-cut temples, and commemorative pillars. A series of inscriptions, enshrining Buddhist teaching, survives on rock faces and stone pillars in various parts of the empire.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ashur
CATEGORY: deity; site
DEFINITION: A solar deity which was the chief god of the city of Assur and the kingdom of Assyria. With the latter's conquests, Assur assumed leadership of the Assyrian pantheon and supremacy over the other gods of Mesopotamia. The deity was conceived in anthropomorphic terms. The image of the deity was fed and clothed and was responsible for fertility and security, and represented as a winged sun-disc. It is also the name of the ancient religious capital of the Assyrian empire in northern Mesopotamia, on the bank of the River Tigris at modern Qalaat-Shergat, which was a great trading center and the burial place of the kings even after the government moved to Nineveh. First recorded in the 3rd millennium BC as a frontier post of the empire of Akkad, it then became an independent city-state and finally the capital of Assyria. After Assyria's collapse in 614 BC it failed to survive but was briefly revived under the Parthians. Areas of the palaces, temples, walls, and town have been cleared, and a sondage pit was cut beneath the Temple of Ishtar (pre-Sargonid) to reveal the 3rd and early 2nd millennium levels (the first use of this technique in Mesopotamian excavation). Sumerian statues were found -- among the earliest evidence of Sumerian contact outside the southern plain. For over 2000 years successive kings built and rebuilt the fortifications, temple, and palace complexes: inscriptions associated with these monuments have helped in the construction of the chronology of the site. Three large ziggurats dominated the city with the largest being 60 m square (completed by Shamsi Adad I c 1800 bc). It was originally dedicated to Enlil, but later to Assur; the dedication of the other temples also changed through time. Representations on cylinder seals suggest that many buildings might have had parapets and towers. Assurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) moved the capital to Calah and by 614 BC the city of Assur had fallen to the Median (Medes) army.
- Atchana, Tell
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Alalakh
DEFINITION: A mound on the Amuq plain of northern Syria (southeastern Turkey), next to the River Orontes and identified as the ancient city of Alalakh with occupation levels from the 4th-late 2nd millennium BC. Seventeen building phases spanned c 3400-1200 BC, including a long Copper Age, a period as an independent state, and one as a provincial capital of the Hittites. There was a mix of cultural influences from Mesopotamia and the Aegean. Atchana was wealthy from trade and from the timber of the Amanus Mountains. Woolley discovered the remains of a small kingdom of largely Hurrian population. In level VII, dated to the 18th and 17th centuries BC, was the palace of Yaram-Lim II (Yamhad) demonstrating an early form of Syrian architecture in which stone, timber and mud-brick were all used. Another palace was excavated in level IV, of the late 15th and early 14th centuries, belonging to Niqmepa, with rooms around a central court and a large number of tablets in Akkadian cuneiform. The tablets describe trading with cities such as Ugarit and the Hittite capital Hattusas, involving food products such as wheat, wine, and olive oil. Later in the 14th century the city fell to the Hittites and became a provincial capital of the Hittite empire. It was eventually abandoned after destruction c 1200 BC, perhaps at the hands of the Peoples Of The Sea.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A stone tool culture of the Middle and Late Palaeolithic, widespread in the late Pleistocene in northern Africa. Centered on the Atlas Mountains, but with extensions into Libya and deep into the Sahara, the Aterian people were among the first to use the bow and arrow. It appears to have developed, perhaps initially in the Maghreb of Algeria and Morocco, from the local Mousterian tradition. Aterian assemblages, named after Bir el Ater in Tunisia, are marked by the presence of varied flake tools, many of which possess a marked tang. Some tools (such as side scrapers and Levallois flakes) resemble Mousterian types, but the tanged points and bifacially worked leaf-shaped points appear distinctively Aterian. The leaf-shaped blades, however, have been likened to Solutrean blades and it has often been suggested that the Aterians may have entered the Iberian Peninsula during Solutrean times. The date at which the Aterian first appeared is not well attested, but may have been c 80,000 BC. The Aterian occupation came to an end c 35,000 BC as the Sahara became drier and unsuitable for human settlement.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tem, Tum (means the all")"
DEFINITION: A creator god and solar deity of Heliopolis. Atum's myth merged with that of the sun god Ra (Re), to form the god Ra-Atum (or Re-Atum). Atum came into being before heaven and earth were separated, rising up from Nun (the waters of chaos) to form the Primeval Mound. He was identified with the setting sun and was shown as an aged figure who had to be regenerated during the night, to appear as Khepri at dawn and as Re at the sun's zenith. Atum was often identified with snakes and eels, typical primeval beings.
- CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: The name of an extinct species of wild ox (Bos primigenius), the ancestor of present-day domestic cattle, which became extinct in the 17th century AD. It was described by Caesar as Urus and it inhabited Europe and the British Isles in ancient times and survived in most recent times in Lithuania, Poland, and Prussia. The name has often been applied erroneously to another species, the European bison, which still exists in the Lithuania forests. It was probably domesticated in some places, such as in eastern Hungary during the 4th millennium BC.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in Wiltshire, England, at which stands one of Britain's finest megalithic monuments (known as henges) and one of the largest ceremonial structures in Europe. It was built c 2000 BC in the Neolithic, where the ridgeways of southern England meet, a natural site for tribal gatherings. It consists of a large bank with internal ditch (1.2 km long) with four equally spaced entrances. Inside the ditch was set a circle of 98 sarsen stones, weighing as much as 40 tons each. In the center were two smaller stone circles, each c 100 meters in diameter. The northern circle contains a U-shaped setting of three large stones, and the southern inner circle once had a complex arrangement of stones at its center. The Ring Stone, a huge stone perforated by a natural hole, stood within the earthworks and main stone circle at the southern entrance. The southern entrance leads out to two parallel rows of sarsens forming an avenue 15 m wide and 2.5 km long which ends at a ritual building (the so-called Sanctuary) on Overton Hill. Traces of a second avenue remain on the opposite side of the monument. From the bottom of the ditch came sherds of Neolithic Windmill Hill, Peterborough, and Grooved Ware styles, while higher up were fragments of South British (Long Necked) Beaker and Bronze Age pottery. Burials with Beaker and Rinyo-Clacton wares have been excavated at the bases of some of the stones. Near the southern end of the Avenue was an occupation site with Neolithic and Beaker sherds. The complex geometry of the site is studied, especially the possible astronomical alignments built into it. The circles at Avebury and the wooden structure on Overton Hill were all probably built at the same time by Neolithic communities.
- ax factory
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: axe factory
DEFINITION: An often isolated outcrop of high-quality rock in Europe during the Neolithic period. These sources were exploited for the production of polished stone axes and this became an important industry of the time. The tools were roughly flaked at the factory sites and traded, either as blanks or as finished axes. There were many ax factories in Britain's highlands, northern Ireland, and northwest France. Microscopic analysis is used to identify the rocks by their distinctive crystalline structure, which has enabled the trading networks to be reconstructed.
- Ay (fl. 14th c BC)
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Kheperkheprure Ay
DEFINITION: King of Egypt (reigned 1323-19 BC) who rose from the ranks of the civil service and the military to take the throne after the death of Tutankhamen (1333-1323 BC) and was the last king of the 18th Dynasty. Ay became King Tutankhamen's closest adviser and helped him reconcile with the priesthood of Amon, which Akhenaton had persecuted. A ring with Ay's and Tutankhamen's widow's (Ankhesenamen) names, seen in 1932 in Cairo, has been evaluated to mean that Ay became king through marriage with the heiress. Ay's original wife remained his chief queen, as depicted on his royal tomb.
- Ayacucho complex
- CATEGORY: culture; site
DEFINITION: A valley in southern Peru, north of the city of Ayacucho, with a series of caves -- notably Pikimachay (Flea) Cave and Jayamachay (Pepper) Cave -- which were the site of a complex of unifacial chipped tools (basalt and chert core tools, choppers, unifacial projectile points) and bone artifacts (horse, camel, giant sloth) dating between 15,000-11,000 BC. A human presence has been suggested in the Ayacucho Basin at that time, which would correspond with the first wave" of immigrants to the New World. Succeeding levels contain burins blades fishtail points and manos and metates. Gourds squash cotton lucuma and seed plants such as quinoa and amaranth were cultivated in the Ayacucho Basin before 3000 BC; corn and beans within the next millennium. There were also ground stone implements for milling seeds. It has been claimed that llamas and guinea pigs were domesticated within the complex. "
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ayut'ia, Ayuthya, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Ayuthia, or Ayuthaya; Krung Kao (ancient capital")"
DEFINITION: A town in south-central Thailand founded c 1350 by Ramathibodi I in his attempt to unify the countries of Siam and Lopburi. It became the capital of the powerful Thai kingdom of the same name for more than 400 years until its destruction by invading Myanmar in 1767. Much architecture, art, and literature was destroyed in the sacking. The seat of government was moved south to Bangkok. Located on an island formed by the Lop Buri River at the mouth of the Pa Sak River, its hundreds of brick monuments have been recently restored
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mexica, Tenochcas
DEFINITION: The last pre-Columbian civilization to enter the Valley of Mexico after the collapse of the Toltec civilization in c 12 AD, who built a magnificent capital at Tenochtitlán and were later conquered by the Spaniards (1521). They called themselves the Mexica or Tenochca and were the dominant political group of the Late Post-Classic Period. The people spoke Nahuatl. Their origin is obscure, partly because of the deliberate destruction of their own records, but tradition says that in 1193 AD the last of seven Chichimec tribes left Aztlan , a mythical birthplace somewhere north or west of Mexico, and filtered south. For a while they lived around Lake Texococo, but in 1345 they were allowed to found Tenochtitlán (under present-day Mexico City) on some unoccupied islands. By 1428 Tenochtitlán, Texococo, and Tlacopan formed an independent state which controlled most of present-day Mexico from the desert zone in the north to Oaxaca in the south, with extensions as far as the Guatemalan border -- all through military expansion. By inclination and training the Aztecs were militaristic, and a person's status depended on his success as a warrior. The chief god of the Aztecs, Huitzilopochtli, was a war god who required the blood of sacrificial victims, and only constant warfare supplied the altar of the god. Human sacrifice was necessary also to ensure the daily rising of the sun. Other major deities were Huitzilpotchtli (the warrior god and chief deity of Tenochtitlan), Texcatlipoca (god of night, death and destruction), Xipe Totec (god of spring and renewal), and Quetzacoatl, the plumed serpent (god of self-sacrifice and inventor of agriculture and the calendar). Tenochtitlán became a great imperial city, so large that it could not be self-sufficient but had to rely on tributes from its provinces. Luxury goods and necessities were brought to the city, and craftsmen produced jewelry, turquoise mosaics, featherwork, and carved stone. Mold-made clay figurines were common, and the black-on-orange pottery was decorated with geometrical designs and stylized creatures. Little architecture or painting survived the Spanish conquest of 1521. Copies of several books have been preserved (as the Dresden Codex). Aztec society was set in a clearly defined hierarchical class system. At the top was the ruling class (pipil) from whom and by whom the emperors were chosen. The mass of the population were freeman (machuale) and under them were the serfs (mayeques) and then at the bottom the slaves. Most people were of the landholding group called the calpulli, which had its own internal hierarchy. Change of social class was possible through state service in the military and sometimes through merchant activity. The merchants (pochteca) served as early-reconnaissance and espionage groups. The arrival of the Spaniards and the fall of Tenochtitlán after a 90-day siege marked the end of Aztec dominance.
- Ba and Shu
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: also Pa and Ch'u; Pa-Shu
DEFINITION: Ancient kingdoms ruling the area of modern Szechwan. Pa came into being in the 11th century BC and established relations with Shu in the 5th century BC. Shortly before 316 BC, the state was conquered by the Ch'in and incorporated into the Ch'in empire. In the middle of the 3rd century BC, the Pa region became part of the kingdom of Shu and was totally independent of north and central China.. Ba and Shu cultural remains are similar, especially the boat-coffin burials on river terraces and tanged willow-leaf bronze swords. The central region of Szechwan is still sometimes known as the Pa. region.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The earliest surviving temple mountain in southeast Angkor, Cambodia, the first Cambodian temple to be built primarily of stone (sandstone) rather than brick. It was built by king Indravarman I (reigned 877-c 890 AD) and was probably finished in 881. The central tower of the pyramidal structure in 34 meters high. At the summit of the central shrine was a linga, the phallic emblem sacred to Shiva. Around the base of the terraced pyramid stood eight large shrines inside the main enclosure, with a series of moats, causeways, and auxiliary sculptures guarding the approaches to the exterior. Bakong became the model for many larger royal temples at Angkor. These served as monuments to the greatness of their patrons and, subsequently, as their tombs.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Vazirabad, Bactra
DEFINITION: A village in northern Afghanistan that was formerly Bactra, the capital of ancient Bactria. A settlement existed at the site as early as 500 BC and it was associated with Zoroaster until captured by Alexander the Great in c 329 BC. It was then made the capital of the Greek satrapy of Bactria, but in succeeding centuries fell to various nomadic invaders, including the Turks and Kushans, until it was decisively taken by the Arabs in the 8th century. Balkh then became the capital of Khorasan. Under the Abbasids and Samanids, it was a capital and a center of learning and known as the Mother of Cities". Balkh was completely destroyed by the Mongols under Genghis Khan in 1220. It lay in ruins until its capture by Timur in the 15th century. The alleged discovery of the tomb of 'Ali the Prophet Muhammad's son-in-law in neighboring Mazar-e Sharif (1480) once again reduced Balkh to insignificance. Balkh was incorporated into Afghanistan in 1850. Balkh was a caravan city on the Silk Route and a major outpost of Buddhism. Very little is known about the pre-Islamic city."
- CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A Niger-Congo language family, with approximately 60,000,000 speakers of more than 200 distinct languages, who occupy almost the entire southern projection of the African continent (roughly from the bulge downward). The classification is linguistic as the cultures of the Bantu speakers are extremely diverse. The languages are closely interrelated, indicating expansion of the population from a single source, probably the eastern Nigeria/Cameroon area. Throughout the region these first farming settlements are marked by a common pottery tradition, the 'Early Iron age' complex.
- bar and dot notation
- CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A Mesoamerican counting system in which a bar stands for 5 and a dot for 1. A stela at Chiapa de Corzo, dating to 36 BC, is the earliest example. The system came to use throughout Mesoamerica and is closely associated with the development of Maya and Zapotec writing.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: [Aquae Sulis]
DEFINITION: A site of hot mineral springs (120 F [49 C]) which attracted the Romans after their invasion of Britain, who founded Bath as Aquae Sulis, dedicated to the deity Sul (Minerva). From the late 1st century AD onwards the springs became the center for a complex of lavish monumental buildings. These include the Temple of Sulis Minerva and an extensive collection of baths, the most notable being the vaulted Great Bath.
- Battle-Ax culture
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Battle-Axe culture; Single-Grave culture; Single Grave culture; Battle Ax culture, Corded Ware culture
DEFINITION: A number of Late Neolithic cultural groups in Europe that appeared between 2800-2300 BC. So-named for their characteristic shaft-hole polished stone battle-ax, the people were also known for their use of horses. Their place of origin is not certain, but it was most likely east rather than west of their area of spread. It was a homogeneous culture with central European trade links and it remained in some areas through the Stone and Bronze ages. In central Europe, the Beaker Folk came into contact with the Battle-Ax culture, which was also characterized by beaker-shaped pottery (though different in detail). The two cultures gradually intermixed and later spread from central Europe to eastern England. The Battle-Ax people were also responsible for the dissemination of Indo-European speech.
- Beaker people
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Beaker Folk, Beaker culture; Bell Beaker culture
DEFINITION: A widespread Late Neolithic European people of the third and second millennium BC named after the characteristic bell-shaped beakers found buried with their dead. These people spread a knowledge of metalworking in central and western Europe from c 2500-2000 BC. They first came to Britain between 1900-1800 BC in successive waves, via Holland, from the Rhineland. Their origins are uncertain, with theories of them being the Battle-Ax people from south Russia and Spanish Megalithic people from Almeria or from Portugal and Hungary. They were copper and bronze workers and famous for their great collective tombs. The assemblages of grave goods -- decorated pottery, fighting equipment (arrowheads, wristguards, daggers) -- were characteristic of the people, who lived in small groups mainly by major river routes as they were known traders. Burial was by contracted inhumation in a trench, or under a round barrow, or as a secondary burial in some form of chamber tomb. Each burial was accompanied by a beaker, presumably to hold drink, probably alcoholic, for the dead man's last journey.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bisitun, Bisotun
DEFINITION: A rock face on the Kermanshah-Hamadan road in Iran on which Darius I (Darius the Great, reigned 521-485 BC) recorded his victories which gave him the Achaemenid empire in 522-520 BC. The bas-relief -- 400 feet above the road -- shows Darius, under the protection of the god Ahuramazda, receiving his defeated enemies. The inscriptions were carved in the cuneiform script, and repeated in the Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian languages. The rock face below them was then cut back to the vertical to prevent any attempt at defacement. In total, the area covered by the inscriptions and the relief panel were about 25-feet high and 50-feet wide. In 1833, Sir Henry Rawlinson went to Iran and became extremely interested in Persian antiquities and in deciphering the cuneiform writing at Behistun. Between 1835-1847, Rawlinson went through the intense work copying the inscription from harrowing positions above the road. It enabled him subsequently to understand the cuneiform script and to decipher the languages of the inscription. In 1837, he published his translations of the first two paragraphs of the inscription. After having to leave the country because of problems between Iran and Britain, Rawlinson was able to return in 1844 to obtain impressions of the Babylonian script. As a result, his Persian Cuneiform Inscription at Behistun" was published (1846-51) -- containing a complete translation analysis of the grammar and notes. The accomplishment yielded valuable information on the history of ancient Persia and its rulers. With other scholars he succeeded in deciphering the Mesopotamian cuneiform script by 1857. This provided the breakthrough to the decipherment later of other languages in the cuneiform script including Sumerian."
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Pei-ching, Peking
DEFINITION: The modern capital of China. More than 2,000 years ago, a site just outside present-day Peking was already an important military and trading center for the northeastern frontier of China. The Shang civilization reached this area in the early part of their dynasty and a grave of c 14th century BC at Pinggu Liujiacun contained bronze ritual vessels and a bronze ax with a blade of forged meteoritic iron. There have been many early Zhou finds, notably at the cemetery site of Fangshan Liulihe. In 1267, during the Yüan (Mongol) dynasty (1206-1368), a new city built on the site (called Ta-tu) which became the administrative capital of China. During the reigns of the first two emperors of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), Nanking was the capital, and the old Mongol capital was renamed Pei-p'ing (Northern Peace"); the third Ming emperor however restored it as the Imperial seat of the dynasty and gave it a new name Peking ("Northern Capital"). Peking has remained the capital of China except for a brief period (1928-49) when the Nationalist government again made Nanking the capital (then to Chungking during World War II)."
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A capacious round-bellied jug or pitcher bearing a grotesque human mask. Originally created in the Netherlands as a burlesque likeness of Cardinal Bellarmine, the idea spread widely and the term later became applied to any jug bearing a human mask.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Port city of southwestern Norway, originally called Bjørgvin, and founded in 1070 AD by King Olaf III. About 1100, a castle was built on the northern edge of the Vågen harbor, and Bergen became commercially and politically important; it was Norway's capital in the 12th and 13th centuries. Excavations in the Bryggen, the harbor area, have revealed a sequence of levels that illustrate the area's evolution from the 11th century onwards. The levels have been accurately dated by a series of fires which occurred at various stages of Bergen's history. Waterlogged conditions have preserved many of the timber buildings, streets, and quays. The 11th-century houses and warehouses were on piles and had sills at ground level, while jetties became popular in the Hanseatic period (14th and 15th centuries). The excavations revealed a remarkable collection of imported pottery from all over Europe as well as quantities of leather and wooden objects. Parts of three trading ships or freighters were also found, their timbers having been re-used in the buildings.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A great earthwork site in western Uganda associated with the Chwezi people. The massive linear earthworks, over 6 1/2 miles long (10 km), is a ditch system, some of it cut out of rock, enclosing a large grazing area on a riverbank. It may have comprised both a royal capital and a cattle enclosure. Its construction would have required considerable labor and supports a distinction between cultivators and a pastoral aristocracy, which later became typical of this area. Radioactive carbon dating suggests Bigo was occupied from the mid-14th to the early 16th century. The site has also yielded early 13th-15th century AD roulette-decorated pottery, characteristic of the later Iron Age over much of East Africa.
- Black-and-red ware
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: black and red ware
DEFINITION: Any Indian pottery with black rims and interior and red on the outside, due to firing in the inverted position, which was made beginning in the Iron Age. Characteristic forms include shallow dishes and deeper bowls. It first appeared on late sites of the Indus civilization and was a standard feature of the Banas culture. This ware has been found throughout much of the Indian peninsula with dates of the later 2nd and early 1st millennium BC. In the first millennium it became widespread in association with iron and megalithic monuments. In the Ganges Valley it post-dates ochre-colored pottery and generally precedes painted gray ware.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: blade tool; blade-~ (used attributively)
DEFINITION: A long, narrow, sharp-edged, thin flake of stone, used especially as a tool in prehistoric times. This flake is detached by striking from a prepared core, often with a hammer. Its length is usually at least twice the width. The blade may be a tool in itself, or may be the blank from which a two-edged knife, burin, or spokeshave is manufactured. This term, then, is used by archaeologists in several ways: (1) It can refer to a fragment of stone removed from a parent core. The blade is used to manufacture artifacts in what is known as the blade and core industry". (2) That portion of an artifact usually a projectile point or a knife beyond the base or tang. (3) In certain cultures small artifacts are called microblades. It was a great technological advance when it was discovered that a knapper could make more than one tool from a chunk of stone. The Châtelperronian and Aurignacian were the earliest of the known blade cultures -- associated with the arrival of modern humans. Industries in which many of the tools are made from blades became prominent at the start of the Upper Palaeolithic period. A typical blade has parallel sides and regular scars running down its back parallel with the sides. A 'backed blade' is a blade with one edge blunted by the removal of tiny flakes. Blades led to another invention -- the handle. A handle made it easier and much safer to manipulate a sharp two-edged blade."
- boat burial
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: boat grave
CATEGORY: term; feature
DEFINITION: A type of burial during the Late Iron Age in which a body or its cremated remains were placed in a boat, which was then covered by a mound of earth. This was a north European practice, common in Scandinavia and Britain from c 550 to 800 AD. This pagan ritual was widely adopted by the Vikings and practiced to a lesser extent by the Anglo-Saxons and Germans. In Norway alone there are 500 known boat burials, and many more from the rest of Scandinavia and other Viking colonies. To these seafaring people, ships were a means of transport, a way of life, and symbols of power and prestige. The Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf" describes the belief that the journey to the afterlife could be achieved in a vessel. In Anglo-Saxon Britain there are three 7th century examples in Suffolk including the rich burial of Sutton Hoo. The best-known after Sutton Hoo are the 9th-century barrows of Oseberg and Gokstad in Norway and the 10th-century barrow at Ladby in Denmark. Burial in churchyards became customary in the 11th century in those areas."
- Bodh Gaya
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in northeast India, famous as the scene of the Buddha's enlightenment. It was there, under the bodhi (Bo) tree, that Gautama Buddha (Prince Siddhartha) became the Buddha. Archaeological remains include an Asockan pillar, erected by Emperor Asoka in 249 BC, and a railing surrounding the tree beneath which the Buddha meditated for six years before his enlightenment was erected in the 1st century BC.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Boghaz Keui, ancient Hattusas, Bogazkoy, Boghaz Koy
DEFINITION: The site of the Hittite capital of Hattusas, excavated by Hugo Winckler in the early 20th century and which yielded thousands of cuneiform tablets from which much of Hittite history was reconstructed. The capital is on a rock citadel near the Halys River in central Turkey and the site had been occupied since the Chalcolithic times. In c 1500 BC, it became the citadel of Hattusas. As the Hittites' power grew, so did their capital, all within a massive defensive wall of stone and mudbrick. Six gateways were decorated with impressive monumental carved reliefs, showing a warrior, lions, and sphinxes. Four temples have been excavated within the walls, each grouped around an open porticoed court. Two buildings housed the archives with over 10,000 inscribed clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform script and the Hittite language. A cemetery close to the city held large numbers of cremation burials, a surprisingly early occurrence of this rite. The city fell at the same time as the empire, c 1200 BC. Little is known of the Chalcolithic or Hittite Old Kingdom phases on the site; excavation has in the main concentrated on the monuments of the New Kingdom city.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bononia; Felsina
DEFINITION: A city in the Po valley of northern Italy, originally the Etruscan Felsina, which was occupied by Gauls in the 4th century BC and became a Roman colony and municipium (Bononia) c 190 BC. Traces of street plans survive, as do cemeteries with trench-type inhumation and cremation. Finds include sandstone grave stelae and many grave goods. Prior to the Etruscan inhabitation, there were villages of the Apennine culture, which were succeeded by Villanovans. During that time it was a bronzeworking and trade center. It was then subject to the Greeks, then the papacy, then occupied by the Visigoths, Huns, Goths, and Lombards after the barbarian invasions. After a feudal period, Bologna became free in the early 12th century.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Birs, Birs Nimrud
DEFINITION: An ancient Babylonian city southwest of Babylon, Iraq. It is the site of the highest surviving ziggurat (154 feet/47 m), built by Nebuchadrezzar (reigned 605-562 BC) and dedicated to its patron god, Nabu. Borsippa's proximity to Babylon led to its being identified with the Tower of Babel and it became an important religious center. The incomplete and now ruined ziggurat was excavated in 1902 by German archaeologist Robert Koldewey. Hammurabi (reigned 1792-50 BC) built or rebuilt the Ezida temple at Borsippa, dedicating it to Marduk. Borsippa was destroyed by the Achaemenian king Xerxes I in the early 5th century and never fully recovered.
- Brak, Tell
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Brak, Tall Birak at-Tahtani
DEFINITION: A tell on the upper Khabur River in Syria which had an Akkadian fortress and garrison and was occupied from at least the Halaf and Ubaid period until the mid-2nd millennium BC. On the Syrian-Iraqi border, it was a powerful fortress on the imperial line of communication and its most important remains are the four 'Eye Temples' of the Jemdet Nasr period, c 3000 BC. They are so-called for the large number of small, flat alabaster figurines of which the eyes are the only recognizable features. Eye temples were decorated with clay cones, copper panels, and gold work, in a style very similar to that found in the contemporary temples of Sumer. Halaf, Ubaid, and Uruk sherds have been found. When the site became a frontier post of the kingdom of Akkad, a palace was built by Naram-Sin c 2280 BC, and it became a depot for the storage of tribute and loot. The city was plundered after the fall of the Akkadian empire, but the palace was rebuilt in the Ur III period by Ur Nammu. A Roman fort was built there later.
- Bronze Age
- CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: The second age of the Three Age System, beginning about 4000-3000 BC in the Mideast and about 2000-1500 BC in Europe. It followed the Stone Age and preceded the Iron Age and was defined by a shift from stone tools and weapons to the use of bronze. During this time civilization based on agriculture and urban life developed. Trading to obtain tin for making bronze led to the rapid diffusion of ideas and technological improvements. The Iron Age began about 1500 BC in the Mideast and 900 BC in Europe. Bronze artifacts were valued highly and became part of many hoards. In the Americas, true bronze was used in northern Argentina before 1000 AD and it spread to Peru and the Incas. Bronze was never as important in the New World as in the Old. The Bronze Age is often divided into three periods: Early Bronze Age (c 4000-2000 BC), Middle Bronze Age (c 2000-1600 BC), and Late Bronze Age (c 1600-1200 BC) but he chronological limits and the terminology vary from region to region.
- bronze mirror
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Any of the smooth-faced bronze discs of eastern Asia in the late 2nd millennium BC. These cast-decorated items became important to the Han dynasty elite in China. In Korea and Japan, they were used for rituals or ceremonies.
- Burma / Myanmar
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Burma is the name of this Southeast Asian country when it was under British control; the name Myanmar was adopted in 1989 when it became an independent nation. The first human settlements in Myanmar appeared some 11,000 years ago in the middle Irrawaddy River valley. A group of people known as the Pyu, who spoke a Tibeto-Burman language, began establishing city-kingdoms in northern Myanmar between the 1st century BC and 800 AD. To the south of the Pyu were the Mon, a people speaking an Austro-Asiatic language, who established a port capital at Thaton. It is the least-populated Southeast Asian country.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Gebeil, Gubla, Jubeil, Gebail, Jubayl, Jebeil; ancient/biblical Gebal; adjective Jiblite (Kubna, ancient Egyptian; Gubla, Akkadian)
DEFINITION: An ancient seaport on the Mediterranean coast just north of Beirut, Lebanon and one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in the world. Papyrus received its early Greek name (byblos, byblinos) from its being exported to the Aegean through Byblos. The English word Bible is derived from byblos as the (papyrus) book." Excavations revealed that Byblos was occupied at least by the Neolithic period (c 8000-4000 BC) and that an extensive settlement developed during the 4th millennium BC. Byblos was the main harbor for exporting cedar and other valuable wood to Egypt from 3000 BC on. Egyptian monuments and inscriptions on the site describe to close relations with the Nile valley throughout the second half of the 2nd millennium. During Egypt's 12th dynasty (1938-1756 BC) Byblos became an Egyptian dependency and the chief goddess of the city Baalat with her well-known temple at Byblos was worshipped in Egypt. After the collapse of the Egyptian New Kingdom in the 11th century BC Byblos became the most important city of Phoenicia. Byblos has yielded almost all of the known early Phoenician inscriptions most of them dating from the 10th century BC. The crusaders captured the town in 1103 but they later lost it to the Ayyubids in 1189. The ruins today consist of the crusader ramparts and gate; a Roman colonnade and small theater; Phoenician ramparts three major temples and a necropolis."
- CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: Archaeological complex dating from 3000-1750 BC in the Ayacucho valley of Peru. It showed the first evidence of an economic system in which products of lower-elevation villages and camps (corn, beans, squash, gourd, chile, coca) were exchanged for potatoes, quinoa, and camelids of the seasonally nomadic herders of the higher elevations.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Cadbury castle
DEFINITION: Three hillforts in Somerset, the most important being South Cadbury which has been equated with the Camelot of King Arthur. Excavation has shown that it was indeed occupied in the fifth century AD. There are also extensive remains of pre-Roman Iron Age occupation and a settlement of the Neolithic.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Cherchel, Caesarea Palaestinae, Caesarea Maritima, Straton's Tower, Strato's Tower
DEFINITION: An ancient port and administrative city of Palestine on the Mediterranean coast of present-day Israel. It is often called Caesarea Palaestinae or Caesarea Maritima to distinguish it from Caesarea Philippi. It was originally an ancient Phoenician settlement known as Straton's (Strato's Tower) and was rebuilt and enlarged by Herod the Great around 22-10 BC, who renamed it for his patron, Caesar Augustus. Herod also rebuilt the harbor, which traded with his newly built city at Sebaste (Augusta) of ancient Samaria. There were Hellenistic-Roman public buildings and an aqueduct. After Herod died, it became the capital of the Roman province of Judaea. An inscription naming Pontius Pilate is one of the best-known from the site. The city became the capital of the Roman province of Judaea in AD 6. Jewish revolts and later Byzantine and Arab rule cause the city's decline.
- calendar round
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Calendar Round
DEFINITION: A ritually and historically important calendar used throughout Mesoamerica in which the solar calendar of 365 days ran in parallel with a sacred 260-day ritual calendar of named days. The calendar round is a 52-year cycle, since both calendars begin on the same day only once every 52 years. Coefficients for days and months were expressed by bar-and-dot numerals, a system that is first known in Monte Albán I and that became characteristic of the Classic Maya. The basic structure of the Mayan calendar is common to all calendars of Mesoamerica. To identify a date of the Calendar Round, they designated the day by its numeral and name, and added the name of the current month, indicating the number of its days that had elapsed by prefixing one of the numerals from 0 through 19. A date written in this way will occur once in every Calendar Round, at intervals of 52 years. It is the meshing of the two Maya calendars, the Tzolkin and the Haab.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: calif, khalifah
DEFINITION: Any of the successors of Muhammad (Mohammed) as rulers and religious leaders of the Muslim community, the most powerful being those of the Umayyad and 'Abbasid dynasties. A caliphate is the Islamic empire ruled by a caliph. When Muhammad died (June 8, 632), Abu Bakr succeeded to his political and administrative functions as khalifah rasul Allah, successor of the Messenger of God but it was probably under 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph, that the term caliph came into use as a title of the civil and religious head of the Muslim state. Abu Bakr and his three immediate successors are known as the perfect" caliphs. There were then 14 Umayyad caliphs and 38 'Abbasid caliphs whose dynasty fell to the Mongols in 1258. There were titular caliphs from 1258-1517 when the last caliph was captured by the Ottoman sultan Selim I. The Ottoman sultans then claimed the title and used it until it was abolished by the Turkish Republic in 1924."
- CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The eating of human flesh by men. This is done either out of dire need or for ritual purposes, when parts of deceased relatives or enemies may be eaten so that their power can be magically acquired. Disarticulated bones of humans, as well as animals, have been found in the ditches of Neolithic camps, which is thought to be suggestive of cannibalism. Its existence in Paleolithic cultures is suggested by the lengthwise splitting of long bones so as to extract marrow from them. In Mesoamerica, there is evidence among hunter-gatherers at start of Holocene through the 1st millennium BC in farming villages. There were many written documents concerning cannibalism from the Aztecs of the 15th century AD. To the Aztecs, the human flesh sacrificed and offered to the gods became a sacred food.
- canopic jar
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: canopic vase, canopea
DEFINITION: An ancient Egyptian funerary ritual in which four covered vessels of wood, stone, pottery, or faience were used to hold the organs removed during mummification. The embalmed liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines were placed in separate canopic jars. The jars or urns were then placed beside the mummy in the tomb, to be reunited in spirit, subject to the appropriate spells and rituals having been performed. The earliest Canopic jars came into use during the Old Kingdom (c 2575-2130 BC) and had plain lids. During the Middle Kingdom (c 1938-1600 BC), the jars were decorated with sculpted human heads, probably depicting of the deceased. Then from the 19th dynasty until the end of the New Kingdom (1539-1075 BC), the heads represented the four sons of the god Horus (Duamutef, Qebehsenuf, Imset, Hapy). In the 20th dynasty (1190-1075 BC) the practice began of returning the embalmed viscera to the body. The term appears to refer to a Greek demigod, Canopus, venerated in the form of a jar with a human head.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Capitoline
DEFINITION: The principal hill at Rome and the one which acted as its religious center. The hill was the fortress and asylum of Romulus's Rome. The northern peak was the site of the Temple of Juno Moneta and the citadel. The southern crest, sacred to Jupiter, became, in 509 BC, the site of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, the largest temple in central Italy. The Roman Senate held its first meeting every year because of the divine guidance" it received at the site."
- Capsian and Capsian Neolithic
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Capsian industry
DEFINITION: A Mesolithic/Stone Age (8000 BC-2700 BC) cultural complex prominent in inland northern Africa near the present border between Tunisia and Algeria. Its shell midden sites are in the area of the great salt lakes of what is now southern Tunisia, the type site being Jabal al-Maqta'. The tool kit of the Capsian is a classic example of the industries of the late Würm Glacial Period and it is apparently related to the Gravettian stage of Europe's Perigordian industry (which dates from about 17,000 years ago). However, it occurs in Neothermal (postglacial) times and, like its predecessor, the Ibero-Maurusian industry (Oranian industry), the Capsian was a microlithic tool complex. It differed from the Ibero-Maurusian, however, in having a far more varied tool kit with large backed blades, scrapers, backed bladelets, microburins, and burins in its earlier phase and a gradual development of geometric microliths later. These became its leading feature by the 6th millennium BC. Shortly after 5000 BC, pottery and domesticated animals were introduced. Some North African rock paintings are attributed to people of the Capsian industry. The Capsian Neolithic, with pointed-base pottery and a stone industry, lasted from c 6200-5300 BP, in the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and the northern Sahara. The name derives from Capsa, the Latin form of Gafsa, a town in south central Tunisia where such artifacts were first discovered. Hunting and snail-collecting seem to have formed the basis of the economy. Human remains from Capsian sites are mostly of Mechta-Afalou type.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Santa Maria di Capua Vetere; Casilinum
DEFINITION: An ancient city of Italy, founded around 600 BC by the Etruscans, whose people spoke the Oscan dialect of Italic. There had been an early Iron Age settlement in the 9th century BC. After the period of Etruscan domination, it fell to the Samnites c 440 BC. Capua supported the Latin Confederacy in its war against Rome in 340 BC. After Rome's victory in the war, Capua became a self-governing community, and its people were granted limited Roman citizenship. In 312 BC, Capua was connected with Rome by the Appian Way and its prosperity increased to make it the secondmost important in Italy. During the Second Punic War (218-201 BC) Capua sided with Carthage against Rome. When the Romans recaptured the city in 211 BC, they deprived the citizens of political rights. Spartacus, the slave leader, began his revolt at Capua in 73 BC. Although it suffered during the Roman civil wars in the last decades of the republic, it prospered under the empire until 27 BC. The Vandals sacked Capua in 456 AD and Muslim invaders destroyed everything except the church of Sta. Maria in 840. Capua was famous for its bronzes and perfumes. There are ruins of a theater, amphitheater, baths, ceremonial arch of Hadrian, and a mithraeum with painted frescoes. The Etruscan artifacts include characteristic pottery, bronzes, and tombs, and an important document of the Etruscan language -- the Capua Tile, an inscription of some 62 lines that was either religious or ritual text.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: (adj Carthaginian, Punic) Carthago; Kart-Hadasht
DEFINITION: A great city of antiquity founded, according to tradition, on the north coast of Africa by the Phoenicians of Tyre in 814 BC and now a suburb of Tunis. However, Phoenician occupation on the site is archaeologically attested from about a century later. The Aeneid tells of the city's founding by the Tyrian princess Dido, who fled from her brother Pygmalion (a king of Tyre). Until around 500 BC Carthage was one of three great mercantile powers in the central Mediterranean, together with the Etruscans and Western Greeks. Much of Carthage's revenue came from its exploitation of the silver mines of North Africa and southern Spain, begun as early as 800 BC, and from its role as a middleman in trade. Carthage was for many years in conflict with the Greeks, especially in Sicily. Carthage lost both Sicily and Sardinia to Rome in 241 BC at the close of the First Punic War. From an enlarged domain in southern Spain, the Carthaginian general Hannibal in 218 BC led his army across the Alps to victories in Italy. When Hannibal returned to Africa, he was defeated at Zama in 202 BC. Though humiliated, Carthage survived until it was destroyed by Rome in 146 BC, after having fought the three Punic Wars of the 3rd and 2nd centuries. Carthage was then reconstructed as a Roman city by Julius Caesar and Octavian. The Roman city prospered by shipping grain and olive oil to Italy. Carthage replaced Utica as the capital of the African province and it became the second largest city in the western part of the empire, after Rome itself. The Phoenician/Punic remains include the citadel, Byrsa, the Sanctuary of Tanit, and two manmade harbors (all pre-146 BC); the Roman remains are the Antonine Baths, odeum, theater, circus, amphitheater, aqueduct, and areas of streets and houses. Also on the Byrsa site stood an open-air portico, from which the finest Roman sculptures at Carthage have survived. The standard of living in Carthage was probably far below that of the larger cities of the classical world. In Roman times, beds, cushions, and mattresses were luxuries. The Punic language and its distinctive alphabet remained in use long after the city's destruction. After the breakup of the Roman empire, the Vandals took Carthage in 439 and stayed in control until the Byzantine invasion in 533. Carthage was the capital of the Byzantine empire in Africa until the Arab takeover of 698.
- Casas Grandes
- CATEGORY: culture; site
DEFINITION: A culture, river, and site in Chihuahua, northern Mexico. The town's name, Spanish for great houses refers to the extensive, multistoried ruins of a pre-Columbian town, which was probably founded in 1050 and burned around 1340, after which the abandoned valley lands were occupied by the Suma, who migrated in from the east. Ruins of this type are common in the valleys of the Casas Grandes and its tributaries. The earliest culture, also called the Viejo, was characterized by Mogollon-type pottery and pithouse dwellings. The following period, the Medio, had adobe houses. A third period, the Tardio, came after 1300 AD and was heavily influenced by Mesoamerica. The area was settled by the Spaniards in 1661/1662 and is now a national monument under the jurisdiction of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
- CATEGORY: feature; structure
DEFINITION: A subterranean cemetery of galleries or passages with side niches (loculi) for tombs. Catacombs consisted of galleries, burial niches, and chambers cut into the rock and the walls and ceilings decorated with pagan and Christian motifs. The term was first applied to the subterranean cemetery under the Basilica of San Sebastiano (on the Appian Way near Rome), which was reputed to have been the temporary resting place of the bodies of Saints Peter and Paul in the last half of the 3rd century. By extension, the word came to refer to all the subterranean cemeteries around Rome, though they are widely known elsewhere, especially around the Mediterranean. Their subterranean nature is explained by the need for security and secrecy on the part of the Christian religion that was banned in many places.
- Cayla de Mailhac
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in southwestern France with a settlement and a series of cemeteries of Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age c 700-100 BC. Occupation began with an urnfield culture. Iron became common in a second phase and a cart burial from La Redorte shows similarities to the Hallstatt Iron Age cultures. Phase III is dated to the second half of the 6th century BC by imports of Greek black figure ware and Etruscan pottery. The settlement of Phase IV was enclosed by a rampart and had houses of sun-dried brick. Datable material included Greek red figure pottery and fibula brooches of Hallstatt/early La Tène types. The last phase was of the La Tène culture.
- Celtic art
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: La Tène art
DEFINITION: An art style of the European Iron Age, c 500 BC, developed presumably by Celtic peoples. It originated on the middle Rhine River, extending to the upper Danube and the Marne. Its finest specimens are from the British Isles in the first century BC and AD. It appears most commonly in bronzework or other metals, weapons and horse gear, eating and drinking vessels, personal ornaments, and monumental stone carvings. It seems likely that the craftsmen worked under the direct patronage of the chieftains. Techniques employed were decoration in relief, engraving, and inlay. Stylistically, Celtic art combines elements taken from the classical world, from the Scythians to the east and from the local earlier Hallstatt Iron Age. The art developed into several styles in continental Europe (Early, Waldalgesheim, Plastic and Sword styles) but came to an end with the Roman occupation. In Ireland, the art style returned after the Roman withdrawal.
- CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: The most recent geological era in the earth's history, in which mammals came to dominate animal life. The Cenozoic was 66.4 million years ago to the present and began when Asia acquired its present appearance and mammals came to dominate animal life. The most important tectonic event in the Cenozoic history of Asia was its collision with India some 50 million years ago. This collision took place some 1,250 miles farther south of the present location of the line of collision along the Indus-Brahmaputra suture behind the main range of the Himalayas. The Cenozoic includes the Tertiary and Quaternary periods and began about 70 million years ago.
- Ch'in Dynasty
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Kin, Qin
DEFINITION: Dynasty of 221-206 BC that unified China into a single empire. The Ch'in, from which the name China is derived, established the approximate boundaries and basic administrative system that Chinese dynasties were to follow for the next 2,000 years. The dynasty was originated by the state of Ch'in, one of the many small feudal states into which China was divided between 771-221 BC. In 247 BC, the boy king Chao Cheng came to the throne and he completed the Ch'in conquests and created the Ch'in empire. Chao Cheng proclaimed himself Ch'in Shih huang-ti (First Sovereign Emperor of Ch'in"). To rule the vast territory the Ch'in installed a rigid authoritarian government; they standardized the writing system standardized the measurements of length and weight and the width of highways abolished all feudal privileges built the Great Wall and in 213 ordered all books burned except those on utilitarian subjects. Excavations have found examples of the standard weights and measures imposed on China. There is also a spectacular large group of lifesize pottery figures of warriors horses and chariots found in area adjacent to the tomb of the first Ch'in emperor Ch'in Shih huang-ti."
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chaldaea; Chaldaeans
DEFINITION: A land in southern Babylonia (modern southern Iraq) frequently mentioned in the Old Testament and first described by Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 884/883-859 BC). Its more important rulers were Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar, and Nabonidus, who ruled an empire from the Persian Gulf between the Arabian desert and the Euphrates delta. Nabopolassar in 625 became king of Babylon and inaugurated a Chaldean dynasty that lasted until the Persian invasion of 539 BC. The prestige of his successors, Nebuchadrezzar II (reigned 605-562) and Nabonidus (reigned 556-539), was such that Chaldean" became synonymous with "Babylonian" and Chaldea replaced Assyria as the main power in the Near East. "Chaldean" also was used by several ancient authors to denote the priests and other persons educated in the classical Babylonian astronomy and astrology and to the Aramaean tribe named for Kaldu which first settled in this area in the 10th century BC."
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: An ancient kingdom formed in 192 AD, during the breakup of the Han dynasty of China, corresponding roughly to present central Vietnam. Although the territory was at first inhabited mainly by wild tribes which struggled with the Chinese colonies in Tonkin, it gradually came under Indian cultural influence. Champa artifacts include well-developed sculpture and reliefs from the 7th century and impressive architecture from the 9th century. The kingdom was slowly absorbed into Vietnam and by the end of the 17th century had ceased to exist.
- Champollion, Jean-François (1778-1867)
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: French historian and linguist who founded scientific Egyptology and played a major role in the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics by deciphering the Rosetta Stone. A masterful linguist, Champollion started publishing papers on the hieroglyphic and hieratic elements of the Rosetta Stone in 1821-1822, and he went on to establish an entire list of hieroglyphic signs and their Greek equivalents. He was first to recognize that some of the signs were alphabetic, some syllabic, and some determinative (standing for a whole idea or object previously expressed). His brilliant discoveries met with great opposition, however. He became curator of the Egyptian collection at the Louvre, conducted an archaeological expedition to Egypt, and received the chair of Egyptian antiquities, created specially for him, at the Collège de France. He also published an Egyptian grammar and dictionary, as well as other works about Egypt.
- Chan Chan
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chanchan
DEFINITION: An ancient pre-Inca city on the northern coast of Peru, the capital of the Chimú kingdom c 1200-1400 AD. The ruins cover nearly 14 square miles (36 square km) and are in good condition because there is no rain. The buildings were made of adobe brick and there are 10 walled citadels (quadrangles) each containing pyramidal temples, cemeteries, gardens, symmetrical rooms, and reservoirs. These quadrangles probably the living quarters, burial places, and warehouses of the aristocracy. Most of the city's population (40,000-200,000 total) lived outside of the quadrangles in modest quarters. The Chimú kingdom was the chief state in Peru before the establishment of the Inca empire and its economy was agricultural. The Chimús made produced fine textiles and gold, silver, and copper objects. Between 1465-1470, the Chimú came under Inca rule. It was one of the largest Pre-Columbian cities in Peru.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ch'ang-an
DEFINITION: The capital of both the early Han and Tang dynasties of China, both walled cities which are located adjacent to each other. There was a grid street layout and gate wall enclosure in the Tang period. The royal palace was positioned in the north for the first time and Chang'an became the model for urban development in 7th century AD Japan and Korea.
- charcoal identification
- CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A method of studying charcoal, frequently found in archaeological contexts, to identify the type of tree from which it came. Charcoal is partly burned ('charred') wood, consisting mostly of carbon, sometimes found in situ as burned timbers of buildings and other structures or in hearths, but more frequently widely disseminated through the deposits. Its transverse, radial, and tangential sections are examined, as each type of wood has a characteristic structure. The main value of charcoal identification will be for showing the use made of different resources by ancient man. Charcoal survives because carbon cannot be utilized by organism decomposition.
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A light vehicle of war, usually carrying two people, a warrior, and a driver. Examples have been found from the Uruk period in Mesopotamia and the chariot was on the standard of Ur. It first appeared in the Near East in the 17 century BC, associated with the immigrant peoples who became the Hyksos, Kassites, and Hurri. Its arrival in Egypt can be fairly reliably dated to the Second Intermediate Period (1650-1550 BC). The Aryans carried it to India, and in China it formed the core of the Shang army. The Mycenaeans introduced it to Europe, where it spread widely and rapidly. It revolutionized warfare by allowing warriors to be transferred rapidly from one part of a battlefield to another. It was mainly for aristocrats, which explains its popularity as a funeral offering. Burials of complete chariots with horses and charioteers have been excavated in Shang China (1200 BC), in Cyprus from the 7th century BC, and among the La Tène Celts. The earliest Celt chariot burials are in the Rhineland and eastern France with dates around 500 BC, and later burials are in east Yorkshire and Europe as far east as Hungary, Bulgaria, and southern Russia. The chariot was replaced by the mounted warrior or knight when horses of sufficient strength had been bred in the late and post-Roman periods.
- Charlemagne (?-814)
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Carolus Magnus, Charles the Great, Charles I of the holy Roman Empire, Charles I of France
DEFINITION: The king of the Franks from 768-814 AD, who conquered the Lombard kingdom in Italy, subdued the Saxons, and annexed Bavaria to his kingdom. He is one of the greatest historical and legendary heroes, son of Pepin the Short, restored the kingdom's laws and economy, and re-established the institutions of the Western Church. Charlemagne was an able military leader, fighting campaigns in Spain and Hungary, uniting into one superstate almost all of the Christian lands of western Europe. In 800, he also became emperor. His patronage and accomplishments became known as the Carolingian Renaissance.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Cheng Chou, Chengxian
DEFINITION: The site of the Shang dynasty capital from 1500-1200 BC, in Honan province, China on the Yellow River. Following villages of the Yang Shao and Lung Shan cultures, four phases of Shang occupation have been traced. Cemeteries of pit graves have been found and a rectangular wall enclosed an area divided into different quarters. Outside this city, in addition to remains of large public buildings, a complex of small settlements has been discovered. Since 1950 archaeological finds have shown that there were Neolithic settlements in the area. The site remained occupied after the Shang dynasty moved its capital again; Chou (post-1050 BC) tombs have also been discovered. It is thought that in the Western Chou period (1111-771 BC) it became the fief of a family named Kuan. In 605 AD it was first called Cheng-chu.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roman Deva, Castra Devana
DEFINITION: The site of the Roman headquarters of the 20th Legion. It was an important Roman town but was deserted by the early 5th century. There are a number of Roman remains, including the foundations of the north and east walls. Modern Chester overlies the massive Roman camp (castra) of some 24 hectares, sited strategically on the River Dee. Perhaps already a small fort by 60 AD, the fortress and an aqueduct were firmly established in 76-79. Outside the fortifications lay a civilian settlement, an amphitheater, cemeteries, and quarries. Roman abandonment came about 380.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Giao Chi, Giao Chau, Giao, Chiao-Chih, Giao-chi
DEFINITION: A former independent kingdom of Nam Viet which became the Chinese province Chiao, later incorporated into the Han empire in 111 BC. The province of Chiao consisted of nine commanderies, six of which correspond to the present Chinese provinces of Kwangtung and Kwangsi and the island of Hainan, while the other three formed the northern half of present Vietnam which gained independence from China in 939.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A collective name applied to various barbarian tribes who invaded the valley of central Mexico from the northwest from c 7th-13th century AD in periodic waves and migrations. The Aztec, or Mexica, were one of the competing Chichimec tribes. Some of these groups, who may have been farmers, may have entered the Valley of Mexico after the fall of Teotihuacán, and there is a Chicimec constituent in Toltec culture. The Chichimec period proper, however, begins after the destruction of Tula and the decline of Toltec influence in about 1200 AD. In 1224, a band of Náhuatl-speaking Chichimecs entered the northern part of the Valley and established a kingdom at Tenayuca. After their arrival the barbarians settled down again to farming life, became civilized, and were eventually absorbed into the Aztec confederation. In the north, some independent Chichimecs maintained their nomadic and hunting way of life until the Spanish conquest. The Chichimecs are also associated with the introduction of the bow and arrow into the Valley of Mexico. Their language, also called Chichimec, is of the Oto-Pamean language stock.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in the coastal valley south of modern Lima, Peru, where excavations have revealed settlements dating to the Pre-Ceramic period c 4200 BC. The Chilca Monument was originally a summer camp and later, due to an increasingly warm climate, became favorable for a subsistence pattern called encanto. There are remains of conical huts of cane thatched with sedge. The dead were buried wrapped in twined-sedge mats and the skins of the guanaco. The lomas, patches of vegetation outside the valleys that were watered at that season by fogs, began to dry up. The lomas had provided wild seeds, tubers, and large snails; and deer, guanaco, owls, and foxes were hunted. The camps were eventually abandoned c 2500 BC in favor of permanent fishing villages. Dolichocephalic human remains date to this period but appear ultimately to have been replaced by brachycephalic types some time after 2500 BC.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: One of the great cities and religious centers of ancient Mexico, first occupied c 800-300 BC. Cholulu, Nahuatl for place of springs" was a town dedicated to the god Quetzalcoatl and is known for its many domed churches which the Spanish built on top of the natives' temples. Cholula was a major center of the pre-conquest Mesoamerican Indian culture as far back as the Early Classic period (100-600 AD) and reached its maximum growth in the Late Classic period (900-1200). It came within the orbit of the Teotihuacán civilization during which time a major pyramid was built and then enlarged three times to produce the largest pyramid in Mesoamerica (177 ft or 55 m high). Tunneling has revealed the older pyramids nesting inside the final version. Around 1300 AD Cholula became a center of the Mexteca-Puebla culture. Cholula polychrome wares were highly prized by the Aztecs. When the Spaniards reached Cholula they found a splendid city dominated by the ruins of the Great Pyramid. The Cholulans who were makers and traders of textiles and pottery were Nahuatl speakers and at the time of the conquest owed a nominal allegiance to Montezuma. It was one of the independent Post-Classic centers to survive after the fall of Teothihuacan."
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chou Dynasty, Zhou
DEFINITION: The dynasty that ruled ancient China from 1122-256/255 BC), establishing the political and cultural characteristics that would be identified with China for the next 2,000 years. Some date the dynasty to 1027-1050 BC. The Chou coexisted with the Shang for many years, living just west of the Shang territory in what is now Shensi province. At various times they were a friendly tributary state to the Shang, alternatively warring with them. The Chou overthrew that of Shang in 1027 BC and was itself destroyed by the Ch'in in 256. Its capital in the Western Chou period was at Tsung Chou in Shensi, moving to Loyang in Honan in 771, to begin the Eastern Chou period. The archaeological evidence comes mainly from the excavation of tombs. Iron came into use c 500 BC, both forged and cast. Bronze remained the material for weapons and the Chou bronzes are the most famous of their artworks. The sword, crossbow, and use of roof tiles were other technological innovations of the dynasty.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: adj. Choukoutienian
CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: A type site near Peking, China, for an Upper and Middle Paleolithic culture. It is the place where 40 of the first skeletons of Homo erectus was found -- in limestone fissures of Middle Pleistocene deposits, probably of Mindel date, some 500,000 years old. The find also yielded extinct animals; flake, core, and chopping tools of quartz and sandstone; and traces of fire. From another area came skeletons of Homo sapiens with stone and bone tools of the Upper Palaeolithic.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Seven Golden Cities of Cibola
DEFINITION: A mythical gold-rich land sought by the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, legendary cities of splendor and riches. The fabulous cities were first reported by Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who, after being shipwrecked off Florida in 1528, had wandered through what later became Texas and northern Mexico before his rescue in 1536. In 1540, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado was sent to search for the cities; he found only a group of Zuni pueblos, though he had explored as far north as modern Kansas.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Corinium Dobunnorum
DEFINITION: A site in Gloucestershire, southwest England, where the Romano-British Corinium, the capital of the Dobuni tribe, was located. At the junction of important Roman and British routes, a cavalry fort was erected during 43-70 AD and by the 3rd century the town walls enclosed c100 hectares. Remains within those walls include an amphitheater and many rich villas. Occupation continued well into the Anglo-Saxon period. Excavations have revealed much of the layout of the town and the plan of the forum and basilica, a market hall, shops and houses. Cemetery finds have shown that the skeletons contained high levels of lead, supporting the view that lead poisoning contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire. The town was the largest in Roman Britain after London and was probably a capital in the 4th century. The Corinium Museum houses a Roman collection. Saxons captured the town in 577, and it later became a royal demesne (dominion or territory).
- classic, Classic, Classical
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Classical Age, Classic Period
CATEGORY: culture; chronology
DEFINITION: A general term referring to the period of time when a culture or civilization reaches its highest point of complexity and achievement. In a broader sense, the term often describes the whole period of Greek and Roman antiquity with the following breakdown: Early Classical Period 500-450 BC, High Classical Period 450-400 BC, and Late Classical 400-323 BC. Specifically, the term describes, in New World chronology, the period between the Formative (Pre-Classic) and the Post-Classic, which was characterized by the emergence of city-states. During the Classic stage, civilized life in pre-Columbian America reached its fullest flowering, with large temple centers, advanced art styles, writing, etc. It was originally coined for the Maya civilization, initially defined by the earliest and most recent Long Count dates found on Maya stelae, 300-900 AD. A division between Early and Late Classic was arbitrarily set at 600 AD, but since in some areas, e.g. Teothihuacan, great civilizations had already collapsed, some scholars regard this date as marking the end of the Classic Period. By extension, the word came to be used for other Mexican cultures with a similar level of excellence (Teotihuacán, Monte Albán, El Tajín). In these areas the cultural climax was roughly contemporary with that of the Maya, and the term Classic took on a chronological meaning as well. The full Maya artistic, architectural, and calendric-hieroglyphic traditions took place during the Early Classic. Tikal, Uaxactún, and Copán all attained their glory then. In the Late Classic, between 600-900 AD, ceremonial centers in the Maya Lowlands grew in number, as did the making of the inscribed, dated stelae and monuments. The breakdown of the Classic Period civilizations began with the destruction of the city of Teotihuacán in about 700 AD. Some date the Classic period to 300-900 AD.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Classic, Classical
DEFINITION: A general term referring to the period of time when a culture or civilization reaches its highest point of complexity and achievement. In a broader sense, the term often describes the whole period of Greek and Roman antiquity with the following breakdown: Early Classical period 500-450 BC, High Classical period 450-400 BC, and Late Classical 400-323 BC. Specifically, the term describes, in New World chronology, the period between the Formative (Pre-Classic) and the Post-Classic, which was characterized by the emergence of city-states. During the Classic stage, civilized life in pre-Columbian America reached its fullest flowering, with large temple centers, advanced art styles, writing, etc. It was originally coined for the Maya civilization, initially defined by the earliest and most Recent Long Count dates found on Maya stelae, 300-900 AD. A division between Early and Late Classic was arbitrarily set at 600 AD, but since in some areas, e.g. Teothihuacan, great civilizations had already collapsed, some scholars regard this date as marking the end of the Classic Period. By extension, the word came to be used for other Mexican cultures with a similar level of excellence (Teotihuacán, Monte Albán, El Tajín). In these areas the cultural climax was roughly contemporary with that of the Maya, and the term Classic took on a chronological meaning as well. The full Maya artistic, architectural, and calendric-hieroglyphic traditions took place during the Early Classic. Tikal, Uaxactún, and Copán all attained their glory then. In the Late Classic, between 600-900 AD, ceremonial centers in the Maya Lowlands grew in number, as did the making of the inscribed, dated stelae and monuments. The breakdown of the Classic Period civilizations began with the destruction of the city of Teotihuacán in about 700 AD. Some date the Classic period to 300-900 AD.
- cliff dwelling
- CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: The apartment houses" of masonry built by the Pueblo/Anasazi people of the American Southwest during Pueblo III times or Classic Pueblo located in rock shelters on the sides of canyon walls. These prehistoric houses were built along the sides or under the overhangs of cliffs primarily in the Four Corners area where the states of Arizona New Mexico Colorado and Utah meet. Mesa Verde National Park's Cliff Palace (CO) and Pueblo Bonito (NM) had about 200-800 rooms each. After this period the Pueblo/Anasazi moved farther south and built the pueblo villages that they still inhabit. When the ancestors of the Pueblo/Anasazi people became sedentary and began to cultivate corn they also began to build circular pits as storage bins. When the bins were later reinforced with stone walls and covered with roofs some people began to use the enclosures as houses. Their use of hand-hewn stone building blocks and adobe mortar was unexcelled even in later buildings. Ceilings were built by laying two or more large crossbeams and placing on them a solid line of laths made of smaller branches. The layers were then plastered over with the adobe mixture. Some of the structures were several stories high creating a row of terraces that gives the structure the appearance of a ziggurat (ancient Babylonian temple tower). The rooms were about 10 x 20 feet (3 by 6 meters). Ground-floor rooms were entered by ladder through a hole in the ceiling; rooms on upper floors could be entered both by doorways from adjoining rooms and by a hole in the ceiling. Each community had two or more kivas or ceremonial rooms. The Pueblo/Anasazi began to build these cliff dwellings around 1000 AD. The cliffs offered natural protection against attack and many smaller communities combined to form the large towns in the cliffs. Toward the end of the 13th century the cliff dwellings were deserted by the inhabitants. Two factors were involved: a severe drought between 1272- 1299 and possibly internal turmoil between tribes. Smaller pueblos were created in the south near better water sources."
- Clovis point
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Clovis spear point
DEFINITION: A distinctive, fluted, lanceolate (leaf-shaped) stone projectile point characteristic of the early Paleo-Indian period, c 10,000-9000 BC, and often found in association with mammoth bones. It is named for Clovis, New Mexico, where it was first found. The concave-based projectile point has a longitudinal groove on each face running from the base to a point not more than halfway along the tool. The base of a Clovis point is concave and the edge of the base usually blunted through grinding, probably to ensure that the thongs, attaching the point to the projectile, were not cut. It is assumed to have been a spear because of its size; the length of points varies from 2-4 in. (7-12 cm), and their widest width is 1-1 1/2 in (3-4 cm). Clovis points and the artifacts associated with them (grouped together as the Llano complex) are among the earliest tools known from the New World and have been found over most of North America, with a few outliers as far south as Mexico and Panama. It is the earliest projectile point of the Big Game Hunting tradition of North America. From these points came the later, more sophisticated points, such as the Folsom.
- CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: One of the most important of the primary fossil fuels, a dark-colored, carbon-rich material that occurs in stratified, sedimentary deposits. Two major periods of coal formation are known in geologic history. The older includes the Carboniferous and Permian periods (from about 350,000,000-250,000,000 years ago). Much of the bituminous coal of eastern North America and Europe is Carboniferous in age. Most coals in Siberia, eastern Asia, and Australia are of Permian origin. The younger era began in the Cretaceous Period (about 135,000,000 years ago) and culminated during the Tertiary Period (about 65,000,000-2,500,000 years ago). From this era came nearly all of the world's lignites and subbituminous (brown) coals.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Camulodunum, Camolodunum; Colneceaste; Colcestra
DEFINITION: A district and borough northeast of London, England that was the capital of the pre-Roman Belgic ruler Cunobelinus by 43 AD, formerly an Iron Age Celtic settlement (oppidum) surrounded by dikes. Though it burned down in 60 AD, Colchester soon became one of the chief towns in Roman Britain and there are surviving walls and gateways from this period. Some of the masonry of the temple to Claudius survives in the foundations of the Norman castle.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: (Roman) Colonia Agrippinensis, Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, Colonia
DEFINITION: A site on the left bank of the Rhine, West Germany, that was colonized by the Roman general Agrippa in 53 BC. A fortified settlement was established c 38 BC and it became a Roman colony in 50 AD. It was named Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, shortened to Colonia. It became the capital of the province of Lower Germania, which was an important commercial center. After 258 AD it was, for a time, the capital of an empire comprising Gaul, Britain, and Spain. In 310, Constantine the Great built a castle and a permanent bridge to it across the Rhine. About 456 it was conquered by the Franks, and it soon became the residence of the kings of the Ripuarian part of the Frankish kingdom. Ceramics and glass were manufactured in Cologne in Roman times. Traces of the Roman period survive including the principal elements of the street plan, town walls and gates, Roman and Gallo-Roman temples, water installations, Rhine port, bridges and fort, pottery and glass factories, and villas and cemeteries. In the 5th century, the Roman town was overrun by the Franks. During the Frankish and Carolingian periods and much of the Middle Ages, Cologne was a major bishopric and a leading commercial and cultural center. Spectacular Frankish royal graves dating to the mid-6th century have been uncovered.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: colony
DEFINITION: A Roman settlement in conquered territory, a name first used in the later Republican and imperial Roman periods to a township, often of retired veteran soldiers, strategically placed to defend imperial interests. Its self-governing constitution imitated that of Rome, and the citizens had either full (Roman) citizenship or limited (Latin) citizenship. After the 2nd century BC, colonia became the highest rank that a community could attain. It involved a transfer of Roman citizens to a settlement in order to administer it in collaboration with the magistrates of the capital. In exchange for a commitment to provide military aid, its citizens acquired the right to trade and contract marriages with Roman citizens. In the Greek world, a colony was a city founded by a contingent of Greek citizens in a foreign territory for agricultural and/or commercial purposes.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pl. columbaria
DEFINITION: A term from Roman antiquity for a subterranean sepulcher with wall niches or pigeonholes for cinerary urns. The term was also used for the recesses themselves. This type of burial was typically afforded to the large staff of slaves and freedmen. . Originating as variants of traditional Etruscan and republican Roman house tombs, columbaria were usually rectangular brick structures built around an open court, the walls of which contained niches for the urns. Some columbaria were elaborate and held numerous inscriptions, stucco paintings, and mosaics which provide information about the lower classes. Some of the best examples of columbaria are those in the great necropolis beneath the Basilica of San Sebastiano in Rome. In Hadrian's time (117-138 AD) inhumation replaced cremation and columbaria became obsolete.
- crackle porcelain
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: cracklin
DEFINITION: A type of china with glaze that has been purposely crackled or covered with a network of fine crackle in the kiln. It is caused by the shrinking of the glaze as the vessel cooled after firing and was often the only ornament on the exquisite ware. The Chinese made many variations of this porcelain, some rare and valuable. In some examples there is engraved decoration under the glaze. The low-fired Ju stoneware is distinguished by a seemingly soft, milky glaze of pale blue or grayish green with hair-thin crackle. A variant with strongly marked crackle became known as ko ware as it was made by the elder brother (ko) of the director of the Lung-ch'üan factory.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The fifth largest island in the Mediterranean, lying south of Greece, where the first flowering of the Greek Bronze Age culture took place (c 2600-2000 BC). There is no evidence that humans arrived on Crete before 6000-5000 BC. By 3000 BC, however, a Bronze Age culture -- the Minoan civilization, named after the legendary ruler Minos -- had developed. Strongly influenced by Eastern ideas, in its first centuries this culture produced circular vaulted (tholos-type) tombs and some fine stone-carved vases, but about 2000 BC it began to build palaces on the sites of Knossos, Phaestus, and Mallia. This was called the first palace period (Middle Minoan 2000-1700 BC) and second palace period (1700-1400 BC) during which the population greatly increased and large settlements were built. The Minoan civilization was centered at Knossos and reached its peak in the 16th century BC, trading widely in the eastern Mediterranean. It produced striking sculpture, fresco painting, pottery, and metalwork. By about 1500 BC Greek mainlanders from Mycenae began to influence Minoan affairs, but then Crete suffered a major earthquake (c 1450) that destroyed Knossos and other places. The Mycenaeans took power until the Iron Age (1200 BC). Eventually the Dorians moved in and gained power. Crete is the source of many myths, legends, and laws. The Romans came and by 67 BC had completed their conquest of the island.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: crypta
DEFINITION: A vault or subterranean chamber, especially one beneath the main floor of a church or other building and used as a burial place. In the catacombs, it was a tomb in which a number of bodies were interred together. Early Christians called their catacombs crypts; and, when churches came to be erected over the tombs of saints and martyrs, subterranean chapels, known as crypts or confessiones, were built around the actual tomb. The most famous of these was St. Peter's, built over the circus of Nero, the site of St. Peter's martyrdom. By the time of Roman emperor Constantine the Great (306-337), the crypt was considered a normal part of a church building.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An ancient city, probably the oldest Greek mainland colony in the west, and home of the Sibyline Oracle (Greek prophetess), described by Virgil in the opening of the sixth book of the Aeneid. Located on a hill on the Italian coast west of Naples, it was founded about 750 BC by Greeks, though there were earlier Bronze and Iron Age settlements, too. Cumae came to control the most fertile parts of the Campanian plain and fought mainly with the Etruscans during the last half of the 6th century and first half of the 5th. The Samnites, however, overwhelmed Cumae in 428/421 BC, and was dominated by Rome from 338 BC. In 1205 it was destroyed, but remains of fortifications and graves from all periods have been found on the city's acropolis hill and elsewhere on the site. It is probably through Cumae that a Chalcidaean version of the Greek alphabet was transmitted to the Etruscans in the 7th century BC and thence eventually to the Italian peninsula.
- CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: The characteristic wedge-shaped writing of western Asia, used for over 3000 years, emerging in the 4th millennium BC in southern Mesopotamia as a system of accounting during the Uruk period. It consisted of triangular markings pressed on a clay tablet with a split reed. The word itself comes from Latin 'cuneus' meaning wedge-shaped" "wedge". The pictographic script of the Uruk period the oldest known in the world was reduced to angular forms to make it more suitable for impressing in wet clay with a split reed. The nature of the script was very like that of the Egyptians with ideographs phonograms and determinatives. The script was used for a number of languages (Sumerian Akkadian Elamite Hittite Old Persian etc.) even being adapted to serve as an alphabet at Ugarit. The first success in its decipherment was by Georg Grotefend a German philologist in 1802. In inscriptions from Persepolis he recognized the names of Darius and Xerxes and the Old Persian word for 'king'. In 1844-1847 further progress came through the recording and study of Darius's rock inscriptions at Behistun by Henry Rawlinson. He was able to translate the Old Persian version; Westergaard in 1854 tackled the Elamite text and Rawlinson with others cracked the Babylonian in 1857. This was much the most important of the three as it led directly back through the many cuneiform inscriptions at that time coming to light to the first written records those of ancient Sumer. Cuneiform texts have been found in Egypt at el-'Amarna and on various objects of the Persian Period. In the Near East cuneiform tablets from Egypt have been found at Bogazkoy in Anatolia and Kamid el-Loz in Syria. A consonantal alphabet developed at Ugarit which vanished with the town at beginning of 12th c BC; and syllabary script was used solely by Achaemenid Persians to transcribe their language from 6th-4th c BC."
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A short stabbing knife which, in ancient and medieval times, was not very different from a short sword. From about 1300 the European dagger was differentiated from the sword. In earliest antiquity, it was made of flint, copper, bronze, iron, or bone. It is difficult to distinguish it from an inoffensive knife blade. Prehistoric daggers were made in flint by the Beaker Folk in the Neolithic-Early Bronze Age, about 1900 BC. Bronze dagger, tanged for wooden hilt, were imported by Beaker Folk from western Europe between 1900-500 BC. The fully developed style of the Iron Age came to be in the 1st century BC. In copper it was ancestral to the rapier, sword, spear, and halberd.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A series of large mounds in northeastern Nigeria, which constitute the remains of early farming villages on the southern flood plain of Lake Chad and were occupied from about 600 BC-1200 AD. For the first five centuries, the Daima people only had polished stone axes and tools of bone, plus stone grinders and querns. There is pottery present from first occupation and evidence of domesticated cattle, sheep, and goats. Cultivation of sorghum was important, as was hunting and fishing. Iron was introduced the 1st-6th centuries AD. Some centuries later, however, Daima became part of a more wide-ranging trade system.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Roman province on the east coast of the Adriatic, roughly corresponding to modern Yugoslavia. The Roman expansion began c mid-2nd century BC and ended around the 9th century AD when it became the province of Illyricum. The fall of the Dalmatian capital, Delminium, in 155 brought Roman civilization to the country. On the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Dalmatia fell under the power of Odoacer in 481 and later under that of Theodoric. It was a battlefield during the wars between the Goths and the Byzantine emperor Justinian I and valuable to Rome for its mineral deposits, land routes and harbors, and legendary soldiers. Illyricum was soon subdivided into two provinces, known by the Flavian period as Dalmatia and Pannonia. The name Dalmatia probably comes from the name of an Illyrian tribe, the Delmata, an Indo-European people who overran the northwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula beginning about 1000 BC.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A small island in the Aegean, in the middle of the Cyclades, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. There was an important sanctuary which contained a colossal marble kouros and a sanctuary of Artemis with a temple. There are four main groups of ruins on the western coast: the commercial port and small sanctuaries; the religious city of Apollo, a hieron (sanctuary); the sanctuaries of Mount Cynthos and the theater; and the region of the Sacred Lake. There is evidence for some late Neolithic and some Mycenaean settlement; it was inhabited from the late 3rd millennium BC. Sometime early in the 1st millennium BC, its association with the worship of Apollo was established. The island became a populous religious and political center, with an oracle that was perhaps second only to Delphi. Delos was also chose as the headquarters and treasury for the important maritime alliance against the Persians, the Delian League (487 BC). Tine streets, Greek and oriental temples, meeting houses for the merchant guilds, a unique colonnaded ('hypostyle') hall, and splendid houses were built. Rome took the island in 166 BC, and eventually it was abandoned. Excavations have been conducted since 1873 by the French School of Athens.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An important sanctuary site in central Greece, where the Delphic oracle was located. Situated at the foot of Mount Parnassus, Delphi was thought (by the Greeks) to lie at the center of the earth. The setting has a striking backdrop of cliff-face, rock fissures, and springs. The sanctuary of Apollo held the oracle, which was frequently consulted by all Greek city-states at the start of a new enterprise. In addition to answering consultations by states and individuals (the answers were often couched in obscure hexameter verses which had to be figured out by the questioner), Delphi was a religious and festival center for the different Greek city-states belonging to the Amphictyonic League. The Pythian Games, held at Delphi, became a great national festival. Along a Sacred Way were placed some 20 temple-like treasuries (thesauroi), erected by member states to house valuable offerings. Above, on a terrace supported by a wall of unusual polygonal masonry, stood the great Temple of Apollo, containing in a holy of holies (adyton) a navel-shaped stone (omphalos) marking the center of the earth, and a rock fissure from which emanations were supposed to inspire the Pythian priestess. The virgin priestess would fall into a trance to five (inarticulate) answers to male priests (women were not admitted). The temple was reconstructed after earthquake damage in c 350 BC, and a theater and stadium were added. After c 300 BC the oracle began a slow decline in authority, and Roman rule brought further deterioration and then plundering. The oracle was finally closed by emperor Theodosius in 390 AD as anti-Christian.
- Deverel-Rimbury culture
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Deverel-Rimbury people
DEFINITION: A Bronze Age culture of southern Britain of the 15th-12th centuries BC. It was named after two sites in Dorset, and was characterized by Celtic fields, nucleated small farmsteads and palisaded cattle enclosures, and by inurned cremations, either in flat urnfields or under low barrows. The distinctive pots were globular vessels with channeled or fluted decoration, and barrel- or bucket-shaped urns with cordoned ornament. It is thought that people came over from France and were great farmers, introducing the plow into England. The square lynchets, which can be seen today, are the result of their plowing.
- difference-of-means test
- CATEGORY: measure
DEFINITION: Statistical test comparing two sample means to see if a sample probably came from a given population or if two samples probably came from the same population.
- difference-of-proportions test
- CATEGORY: measure
DEFINITION: Statistical test comparing two sample proportions to see if a sample probably came from a given population or if two samples probably came from the same population.
- djed pillar
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: In Egypt, a widely found amulet of roughly cruciform style with at least three crossbars. It seems to have been a fetish from prehistoric times and came to represent the abstract concept of stability. Like the ankh, it was commonly used in friezes and painted inside the base of coffins.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: domestic animals
DEFINITION: The adaptation of an animal or plant through breeding in captivity for useful advantage to and by humans. Early agriculturists controlled fauna through selection and breeding so that animals might produce more of what man needed than their wild forebears. The definition includes the taming of cats and dogs as house pets, as well as the care and control of cattle, sheep, goat, pig, horse, llama, camel, guinea pig, etc. It included breeding for produce such as milk, meat, hides, and wool, and the training of animals for draft and carrying. This selection by man resulted in osteological changes in the animals, so that in general domesticated animals can be distinguished by their remains from their wild ancestors. The process of domestication was a slow one; dogs likely being the first in Mesolithic times. Sheep were likely domesticated by 9000 BC in Iraq. Goats, cattle, and pigs followed in the next 3000 years, all in southwest Asia. The horse appears in the 2nd millennium, and the camel in the 1st. In the New World, domesticable animals were far fewer, notably the dog, llama, and guinea pig. The change involved, from hunting and gathering to food production was one of the most important in human development. Adaptations made by animal and plant species to the cultural environment as a result of human interference in reproductive or other behavior are often detectable as specific physical changes in faunal or floral ecofacts.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Dura Europos, Doura-Europus
DEFINITION: A ruined Syrian city in the Syrian desert, on the middle Euphrates River, that was originally a Babylonian town (Dura), but rebuilt as a military colony about 300 BC by the Seleucids and given the second name of Europus. About 100 BC, it fell to the Parthians and became a prosperous caravan city. It was annexed by the Romans in AD 165 and was a frontier fortress. Shortly after 256 AD, it was overrun and destroyed by the Sasanians. The remains at Dura-Europus give an unusually detailed picture of the everyday life there; and the inscriptions, reliefs, and architecture give much information about the mixing of Greek and Semitic culture. Two structures dating to the 3rd century AD contain extensive wall paintings. There also is an irregular enceinte (enclosure), a city grid system, and many sanctuaries and temples dedicated to the many deities of the mixed population.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A Buddhist kingdom in present-day Thailand and an early Mon state, first mentioned in Chinese sources as T'o-lo-po-ti in the middle of the 7th century AD. Though few records have survived, its capital may have been at Nakhon Pathom and its territory must have comprised almost all present Thailand. There are architectural remains, terra-cotta modeling, stucco relief sculpture, and Buddhist statuary in bronze and stone. The kingdom came to an end when the Khmers incorporated the area in the empire of Angkor in the 11th century AD.
- Ele Bor
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock shelter site which was first occupied in the Middle Stone Age. There was a backed-microlith industry used by them and the following group of the Aquatic Civilization. Domestic sheep/goats and camel were present in small numbers from about the 3rd millennium BC, at which time pottery also came into use. The climate at the time was somewhat moister than that of the present. With the subsequent drier climate, cereal use was abandoned, but both hunting and small-scale pastoralism continued into the present millennium.
- CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: Either of two species of the family Elephantidae, characterized by their large size, huge head, columnar legs, and large ears. The Indian elephant was regularly employed for show and war as early as the Bronze Age in China. Wild herds survived in the Near East into the 1st millennium BC, when they were hunted to extinction for their ivory, and in North Africa, where they supplied Hannibal with his war elephants. Forms now extinct, especially the mammoth, were an important source of food in the Palaeolithic period, and are portrayed in cave art. Living elephants are now confined to Africa. The African elephant formerly occupied a far larger area, as is attested by skeletal evidence and cave paintings in North Africa. The reduction in its range is probably due to the combined effects of climatic change, human hunting, and cattle-grazing. The straight-tusked elephant, Elephas antiquus, apparently adapted to the open deciduous woodlands of interglacials in Europe, but became extinct at the end of the Ipswichian interglacial. Dwarf forms of the straight-tusked elephant evolved on islands of the Mediterranean.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An Iron Age site on the western side of the Eastern Rift Valley in northern Tanzania with the remains of an Iron Age irrigation system of the 14th century AD. It was an important and concentrated agricultural settlement, occupied for over a thousand years. Water from streams flowing into the valley was dispersed through an elaborate network of stone-lined furrows to serve a large number of small stone-terraced fields. Sorghum was one of the crops that was cultivated. However, its pottery does not seem to have been related to those that became widespread in the 1st millennium AD. It is assumed that its inhabitants were Cushitic speakers.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tell Asmar
DEFINITION: An ancient city under the mound of Tell Asmar, northeast of Baghdad, Iraq. It was a city-state in the Early Dynastic period (early 3rd millennium BC) and there are shrines, sculpture, palaces, and private houses. It became politically important in the 19th and 18th centuries BC, when it was involved in a struggle for power with Assur, Mari, Elam, and Babylon. It is rarely mentioned in history after its conquest by Hammurabi of Babylon, c 1761 BC.
- ethnographic present
- CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: That point in time when a traditional culture came into contact with individuals from literate cultures, and was documented by them.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: adj. eustatic
DEFINITION: Changes in sea level on a global basis, usually as the result of a major event such as the end of a glaciation. In such a case a eustatic rise due to the melting of the glaciers can be expected in a post-glacial period. These sea-level movements can be independent of any change in the height of the land, but isostasy can happen contemporaneously as a result of the same phenomenon. This worldwide alteration in sea level is independent of any isostatic movement of the land. At the end of a glaciation melting of the water previously held in the ice sheets raises sea levels (eustatic rise), and a high level can often be correlated with an interglacial period or with the postglacial phase. Such fluctuations have occurred throughout the Quaternary, due to changes in the extent of ice sheets and thus in the volume of water locked up as ice. The larger the ice sheets, the less water available to the sea, and so sea level is lower during glacials than during interglacials. Evidence exists for a whole series of eustatic sea level fluctuations, but the most widespread is the 'high stand' in c 120,000 bp, just before the start of the last cold stage, when sea levels were between 2-10 meters higher than at the present day. During the maximum extent of the ice-sheets of the last cold stage, eustatic sea level was much lower than that of today. Large areas of continental shelf were exposed, some being occupied by the ice sheets themselves. Recovery of sea level at the end of the last cold stage is relatively well known from deposits in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Scotland, but is complicated by isostatic changes. The North Sea and English Channel flooded, separating Britain from the Continent, by about 7000 bp. Ireland became a separate island at about the same time. Scandinavia had a complicated series of different seas and lakes, until a sea similar to today's Baltic became established around 7000 bp. The main factors that influence sea level are global ice volumes, plate tectonics, changes in ocean volumes and dimensions, and the movement of mantle material.
- Far'ah, Tell el-
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: el-Fara
DEFINITION: Two tells of this name, excavated in Palestine, inland from Gaza. The northern tell had a 4th millennium BC Chalcolithic settlement with circular, semi-subterranean dwellings and an Early Bronze Age occupation. It later became an Israelite town; for a few years in the 9th century BC, the northern tell was the capital of Israel (Tirzah), before Omri moved to Samaria. The southern tell may have been a Hyksos fortification. Its remains include a large building of the Late Bronze Age and remains of the Philistines from the Iron Age. The most impressive material came from five rich Philistine tombs containing characteristic Philistine decorated pottery, native Late Bronze Age undecorated wares, bronze bowls, daggers and spears; an iron dagger and an iron knife were also found, among the earliest finds of this metal in Palestine.
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A small carved or sculpted figure of a human or animal, usually of clay, stone, wood, or a metal. A figurine's purpose is often religious, either as an object of worship itself or as a votive offering to a god. They were made in prehistoric Europe from the Upper Palaeolithic onwards, though they became less common in Bronze Age.
- Final Neolithic
- CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A transition phase where copper and bronze came into use, but stone was still most important.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: fire-place, hearth
DEFINITION: A place for building a fire, especially a semiopen space with a chimney; housing for an open fire within a dwelling. They are used for heating and cooking. Very early medieval fireplaces had semicircular backs and hoods and there was no chimney; the smoke passed out through an opening in the wall. By the 11th century, chimneys were added. Early fireplaces were made of stone; later, brick became the more popular material.
- First Intermediate Period
- CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: Chronological phase, c 2130-1938 BC) between the Old Kingdom (2575-2130 BC) and the Middle Kingdom (1938-1600 BC), which appears to have been a time of relative political disunity and instability. The period includes the 9th dynasty (c 2130-2080 BC), 10th dynasty (c 2080-1970 BC), and the 11th dynasty (c 2081-1938 BC). The 9th dynasty (c. 2130-2080 BC). (The period corresponds to Manetho's 7th to 10th Dynasties and the early part of the 11th Dynasty.) After the end of the 8th dynasty, the throne passed to kings from Heracleopolis, who made their native city the capital. Major themes of inscriptions of the period are the provision of food supplies for people in times of famine and the promotion of irrigation works. In the 10th dynasty, a period of generalized conflict focused on twin dynasties at Thebes and Heracleopolis. The 11th dynasty made Thebes its capital. In the First Intermediate Period, monuments were erected by a larger section of the population and, in the absence of central control, internal dissent and conflicts of authority became visible in public records. Nonroyal individuals took over some of the privileges of royalty, notably identification with Osiris in the hereafter and the use of the Pyramid Texts. These were incorporated into a more extensive corpus inscribed on coffins -- the Coffin Texts -- and continued to be inscribed during the Middle Kingdom.
- food-producing revolution
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Neolithic Revolution
DEFINITION: A term used to describe the development of farming and animal husbandry and the beginning of settled village life. The first indications of the beginning of the revolution from food-gathering to food producing are found in approximately 9000 BC. The change is associated with great improvements in making stone tools. Digging sticks and the first crude plows, stone sickles, querns that ground grain by friction between two stones and irrigation techniques for keeping the ground watered and fertile -- all these became well established in the great subtropical river valleys of Egypt and Mesopotamia before 3000 BC. The coming of the Iron Age to southern Africa almost 2,000 years ago brought with it the food-producing revolution. Agriculture combined with pastoralism supported much larger settled communities than had been possible and enabled more complex social and political organizations to develop.
- foramen magnum
- CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A large oval opening in the base of the skull through which the medulla oblongata passes, linking the spinal cord and brain. Its position is an indication of posture. If the foramen magnum is far forward on the skull base, it indicates an upright posture, like that of humans, with the head balanced on top of the spine. In four-footed animals, the head hangs from the end of the vertebral column, and the foramen magnum is placed posteriorly. In apes, with the assumption of semierect posture, the foramen had moved partially downward and forward. In human evolution, the foramen magnum has continued to move forward as an aspect of adaptation to walking on two legs, until the head became balanced vertically on top of the vertebral column.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A Germanic people inhabiting the North Sea coastal plain and islands between the Rhineland and the Elbe (Frisia) in the early centuries BC and AD. Their coastal settlements were on artificial mounds known as terpen. The Frisians were involved in the invasion of England by the Anglo-Saxons in the 5th century AD. They controlled the trade of the North Sea from the port of Dorestad at the mouth of the Rhine, which became a target for Viking raids. Frisia was absorbed into the Frankish kingdom, its conquest being completed by Charlemagne. Archaeological evidence of these trading ventures is seen at Dorestad, where extensive excavations have been done. Evidence in the mounded villages show signs of long-distance trade contacts, suggesting that the Frisians linked the Rhineland to the northern world from the beginning of the Roman period until modern times.
- Fuegian tradition
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Shell Knife culture
DEFINITION: A primitive people inhabiting the South American archipelago of Tierra del Fuego from c 2000 BC. The culture, a coastal tradition of the Alacaluf tribes, was often called the Shell Knife culture. It was based on the exploitation of marine resources and operative on the southern coast and offshore islands of southern Chile. The beginning of the tradition was marked by a change from land-oriented hunting and gathering; bone and stone tool technology persisted well into historic times. The primitive cultures of the Ona and Yámana (Yahgan) of Tierra del Fuego are so similar that anthropologists traditionally group them with the neighboring Chono and Alakaluf of Chile into this one Fuegian culture area". The Ona inhabit the interior forests and depend heavily on hunting guanaco (a small New World camel). The Yámana are canoe-using fishermen and shellfish gatherers. They are all nomadic and are sparsely scattered over the landscape and poor in material culture."
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A major medieval port that probably began as a Ligurian village on the Sarzano Hill overlooking the natural port (today Molo Vecchio). It prospered through contacts with the Etruscans and the Greeks and as a flourishing Roman municipium, became a road junction, military port, and a market of the Ligurians. After the fall of the Roman Empire and the invasions of Ostrogoths and Lombards, Genoa existed in comparative obscurity as a fishing and agrarian center with little trade. In medieval times, it completed with Venice, Pisa, and Florence for the trade of the Mediterranean. Eastern spices, dyestuffs and medicaments, western cloth and metals, African wool, skins, coral, and gold were the main articles of diversified international commerce. The medieval city wall enclosed a substantial area and dates to the 12th century. The notable project at the Cloister of San Silvestro, for example, revealed well-preserved buildings and a rich range of pottery from many parts of Italy and Spain.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An important Biblical tell site of Palestine near Jerusalem, occupied from the Chalcolithic (5th millennium BC) to the Byzantine period. The first fortified town belonged to the Middle Bronze Age (early 2nd millennium BC); an important discovery of this phase was a 'High Place' (ceremonial meeting place) consisting of a row of 10 tall monoliths. To the Iron Age belong the remains of a gateway built by Solomon. Succeeding levels show a decline, with destruction attributed to Assyrians and later, Babylonians. The city became important again in the Hellenistic period. The most noteworthy finds were a potsherd with one of the earliest uses of the alphabet (18th-17th c BC) and the Gezer calendar (11th-10th centuries BC), the oldest known inscription in Early Hebrew writing. The city was particularly prosperous during 2nd millennium BC and is mentioned in Egyptian texts from 15th century onwards.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ghazna
DEFINITION: A major pre-Islamic site and Afghanistan's only remaining walled town, dominated by a 150-foot citadel built in the 13th century. The ruins of ancient Ghazna include two 140-foot towers and the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazna (971-1030), the most powerful emir (sultan) of the Ghaznavid dynasty. Ghazni's early history is obscure; it has probably existed at least since the 7th century. Early in the 11th century, under Mahmud of Ghazna, the town became the capital of the vast empire of the Ghaznavids, Afghanistan's first Muslim dynasty. Excavation has revealed part of the palace of Musud III, which contemporary writers described as filed with booty from India. The central courtyard contains a magnificently carved inscription, in Persian rather than the customary Arabic --one of the oldest examples of Persian epigraphy.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A promontory on the southern tip of Spain known for its cave sites with remains of Neanderthal man and stone tools of the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic. The first Neanderthal skull ever found came from Forbes Quarry in 1848. A second, juvenile, Neanderthal was found in 1926 at Devil's Tower. The third, with the Mousterian and Upper Palaeolithic, is Gorham's Cave.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in Rajasthan, western India, along the banks of the Banas and its tributaries of the Harappan (Indus) and post-Harappan cultures of the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC. Archaeological evidence indicates that early humans lived there some 100,000 years ago. It became a substantial farming village, with four major phases of occupation. Pottery types include black and red ware and a fine black, red and white polychrome ware.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: glacial
CATEGORY: chronology; geography
DEFINITION: The process by which land is covered by continental and alpine glacier ice sheets or the period of time during which such covering occurred; several glaciations are required to make up an Ice Age (as the Pleistocene). The land is subject to erosion and deposition by this process, which occurred repeatedly during the Quaternary; the process modifies landscapes and affects the level of ocean basins. These periods of colder weather are also called glacials, and the warmer periods between them interglacials. At the onset of colder weather, water is taken up into the ice-sheets and glaciers, causing a drop in sea level. Landscapes covered by ice can be recognized by the smooth rock surfaces and the U-shaped valleys formed by the ice-sheets and glaciers and the rock rubble carried along in them. As the climate warmed, the glaciers retreated, the ice melted, and the sea-level rose. The ice also deposited various forms of boulder clays, and banks of debris at the sides and ends of glaciers, known as moraines. Beyond the limits of glaciers and ice-sheets, extensive layers of outwash sands and gravels were deposited; where these deposits occur in lakes they are called varves. The periglacial zone around the margin of an ice sheet has permanently frozen subsoil, and is occupied by cold-loving plants and animals. Erosion was mainly brought about by solifluxion. The low temperatures and the constant freezing and thawing also affect the soil; these frost effects are called cryoturbation. Particularly characteristic are ice-wedges, polygonal cracks in the ground frequently recognizable in air photographs. They were caused by the shrinking of the ground at low temperatures and the filling of the cracks with water, which subsequently expanded on freezing to open the crack still further. The last two million years have been marked by a series of such glaciations. Broad correlations between the glaciation schemes in different parts of Europe and North America exist. Four Ice Ages have been figured; in Europe, the First Glaciation was at a climax 550,000 years ago. This gradually gave way to the First Interglacial (Gunz-Mindel) Period lasting about 60,000 years in which warm conditions again prevailed. The Second Glaciation came along with its climax 450,000 years ago, and the Second Interglacial Period (Mindel-Riss) followed, lasting 200,000 years. The Third Glacial Period (Riss) climax 185,000 years ago was relieved by 60,000 years of interglacial warmth. The Fourth (Wurm) and last Ice Age was at its height 72,000 years ago. The term has also commonly been used to describe the periods of generally cold climate which occurred at intervals during the Quaternary period. It is, however, now clear that ice-sheets grew only during parts of these so-called 'glacials' (e.g., the Devensian). For this reason, the term 'cold stage' is preferable.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: St. Rémy de Provence
DEFINITION: A settlement site in southern Gaul (France), originally founded by the Greek colonists of Marseilles, with three phases of occupation -- native Ligurian, Hellenistic, and Roman. With Romanization from the 1st century BC, Glanum became a prosperous provincial town with baths, forum, temples, shrines, a triumphal arch, and the so-called Mausoleum of the Julii. German attack in 270 AD brought an end to the occupation of the site.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A lake village in Somerset, England, which has yielded more data than any other site about life in the British Iron Age. The village was built on a wooden platform keyed to the underlying peat and was enclosed by a timber palisade. Inside were more than 90 round huts with clay and plank floors. They had central hearths for the fires. Cobbled paths and alleyways ran between the huts. Preservation was so good that the excavators recovered baskets, iron objects (including currency bars and tools with their original hafts), dugout canoes, fragments of spoked wheels, lathe-turned bowls, basins and tubs decorated with La Tène art motifs, farming and fishing gear, basketry and wickerwork, and evidence of potting, weaving, and metalworking from the village. Occupation started from the 3rd/2nd to the 1st century AD, just before the Roman conquest. On the high ground nearby is an Iron Age earthwork, Roman pottery, and a Dark Age structure dated to the 6th century AD. Glastonbury, like Cadbury Castle, is linked in folklore with King Arthur. A rotary quern was invented here and eventually became universal. The Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary at Glastonbury was perhaps the oldest (c 166 AD) and certainly one of the richest in England.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roman Glevum
DEFINITION: A Roman colonia of Glevum in southwest England, founded by the emperor Nerva, 96-98 AD. The Abbey of St. Peter by King Osric of Northumbria was founded in 681 and it became the capital of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. It achieved reasonable prosperity and had a colonnaded forum, a basilica, and houses with mosaic floors.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The great desert of east central Asia that stretches across vast lands in the Mongolian People's Republic and the Inner Mongolia region of China. Mesolithic and Neolithic material was discovered, proving that climatic conditions were much less extreme in the past. Finds included many microliths, together with polished stone axes and coarse pottery. The items show influences from Siberia and, to a lesser extent, China. The ancient Silk Road traversed the southern part of the Ala Shan Desert and crossed the Ka-shun Gobi as it skirted north and west around the Takla Makan Desert. The Gobi region first became known to Europeans through the vivid 13th-century descriptions of Marco Polo.
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: The mask of the gorgon, the mythical monster whose glance could turn people to stone, which became a symbol to ward off evil. It was widely used on Athenian pottery and on Roman cineraria. It was on the center of the pediment of the temple of Artemis on Corfu.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ostrogoth, Visigoth
DEFINITION: A Germanic people whose two branches, the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths, for centuries harassed the Roman Empire. According to their own legend, the Goths originated in southern Scandinavia and crossed in three ships under their king Berig to the southern shore of the Baltic Sea, where they settled after defeating the Vandals and other Germanic peoples in that area. The split into two groups took place c 200 AD. Those Goths living between the Danube and the Dnestr rivers became known as Visigoths, and those in what is now the Ukraine as Ostrogoths. Under their king Alaric, the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410 AD. Later they moved to southern France and settled in Aquitaine before seizing control of Spain. The Ostrogoths helped defeat the Huns in Italy in 454. Under Oadacer and Theodoric there was a period of comparative peace until they were challenged and defeated by Justinian.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Kingdom and city important from the 13th century in Spain. Although its origins go back to the early years of the Moorish occupation in the 8th century, Granada rose to importance after the mid-13th century when it became the capital of a new state founded by Muhammad I (1232-1273). The kingdom comprised, principally, the area of the modern provinces of Granada, Málaga, and Almería. The city was dominated by the fortified citadel and Alcazaba, Medinat-al-Hamra, now known as the Alhambra. The Alhambra was defended by a massive towered enceinte enclosing a series of magnificent palaces linked by courtyards and gardens, much of which still remains. Apart from the Alhambra, Granada also preserves many examples of Islamic architecture in the older quarters of the city. Granada was the site of an Iberian settlement, Elibyrge, in the 5th century BC and of the Roman Illiberis. As the seat of the Moorish kingdom of Granada, it was the final stronghold of the Moors in Spain, falling to the Roman Catholic monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I in 1492.
- Haftavan Tepe
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Haft Tepe
DEFINITION: A tell site in northwest Iran occupied off and on from the Early Bronze Age to the Sassanian period. The earliest occupation is dated to the 6th millennium BC, but its most important material comes from the Elamite period of the 15th-13th centuries BC. A royal tomb of c 1500 BC containing 21 skeletons, some covered in red ochre, is an early example of a vaulted tomb. This tomb was connected by a stairway to the main temple which contained many simple burials, some in urns. Fragments of inscribed stelae in cuneiform in the 14th-century BC Elamite language have provided details of the temple economy. In the 8th century BC, the mound became an Urartian citadel with an attached lower town. It was destroyed either by Sargon II in 714 BC or by the Cimmerians. The site was reoccupied in the Sassanian period: a town wall and numerous graves of this period are known.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Hamath; Epiphaneia
DEFINITION: A city in central Syria on the Orontes River that was an important prehistoric settlement, which became the kingdom of Hamath under the Aramaeans in the 11th century BC. It fell under Assyrian control in the 9th century BC, later passing under Persian, Macedonian, and Seleucid rule. A Neolithic occupation comparable to that of Mersin was succeeded by a village with Halaf pottery. Later levels continue through to the Iron Age, when it was an inland site of the Phoenicians. During the 2nd millennium BC, Hama was a large town, but it does not appear in ancient documents until c 1000 BC, when it became capital of an Aramaean kingdom. Excavations revealed a fine palace of this period, with evidence of ivory carving. The Arabs took the city in the 7th century AD.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Han-tan
DEFINITION: The capital of the Eastern Chou (Zhou) state of Chao from 386-228 BC. The area was already settled in Shang times (c 1766-1122 BC) and first mentioned in about 500 BC, but became a center of trade and famed for luxury and elegance as the capital. In 228 it was attacked and taken by the armies of the Ch'in dynasty (221-206 BC) and became a commandery. Under the Han (206 BC-220 AD) it became the seat of an important feudal kingdom, Chao-kuo. The remains of the walls and foundations of buildings of both the Chao capital and the Han city still remain to the southwest of the modern city. A cemetery north of the walled city contained six chariot burials and 12 rich tombs, five with human sacrifices.
- Harappan civilization
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Indus Valley civilization
DEFINITION: One of the great civilizations of antiquity, located in Pakistan and northwest India in the 3rd millennium BC. Nearly 300 settlements of the civilization are known: two large cities (Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa), and a number of smaller towns and villages (Chanhu-Daro, Judeirjo-Daro, Kalibangan, and Lothal). The Harappan civilization was characterized by a high level of architectural, craft, and technical achievement. We know little of the political, social, and economic structure of the civilization because, although it was literate, the script remains undeciphered. Like other early civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt, the Harappan civilization was based on the cultivation of cereal crops (plus rice and cotton), probably with irrigation. Among the most distinctive achievements of this civilization are the architecture and town planning, with the use of true baked brick for building, and cities and towns laid out on a grid-iron street plan, perhaps the earliest examples of town planning in the world. Among crafts, the most outstanding were the seals, mostly made of steatite and decorated with carefully executed incised designs. The Harappan civilization came to an end early in the 2nd millennium, either as a result of environmental factors (excessive flooding) or as a result of invasions by Aryan intruders. It is divided into three phases -- Early, Mature (Urban), and Late (Post-Urban) and emerged from Punjab and Baluchistan regions.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: present day al-Hadr
DEFINITION: An ancient city between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in northern Iraq, founded as a military outpost by the Arsacids (Parthians) during the 1st century BC. It soon became the center of the small state of Araba and an important caravan city. Temples were built for the Sumero-Akkadian god Nergal, to Hermes (Greek), to Atargatis (Aramean), to al-Lat and Shamiya (Arabian), and to Shamash, a sun god. Hatra defied many Roman invasions. It was destroyed by Sassanians c 241 AD. Ruins include town walls gates, a large palace, houses and tombs, with striking stone statues and reliefs, and Aramaic inscriptions.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tell Hisn, ancient Iunu, On, Baalbek
DEFINITION: An important ancient Egyptian city which was the major cult center of the sun god Re (Ra), just east of Cairo. The oldest obelisk in existence -- that of King Senwosret (Sesostris) I remains on the site. The two obelisks of Thutmose III, called Cleopatra's Needle, are now in London and New York. It was the capital of the 15th nome of Lower Egypt, but was important as a religious rather than a political center. Its great temple of Re, built c 2600 BC during the early Old Kingdom, was second in size only to that of Amon at Thebes. In the New Kingdom, the temple of Re-Horakhte became the repository of royal records.
- Hellenistic period
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Hellenistic and Roman period; hellenistic
CATEGORY: chronology; culture
DEFINITION: Period of widest Greek influence, the era between the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC) and the rise of the Roman Empire (27/30 BC), when a single, uniform civilization, based on Greek traditions, prevailed all over the ancient world, from India, in the east, to Spain, in the west. During these three centuries, Greek culture crossed many political frontiers and spread through many cities founded at that time, especially the new capitals of Alexandria, Antioch, and Pergamum. A common civilization became established throughout the known world for the first time, one which integrated the cultural heritage of each region and subsequently left a deep impression on the institutions, thought, religions, and art of the Roman, Parthian, and Kushan empires. Hellenistic cultural influence continued to be a powerful force in the Roman and Parthian empires during the early centuries AD. A common form of the Greek language, Koine [Greek: 'common'] developed, which was largely indebted to Attic Greek. The term 'hellenistic art' is applied to the post-classical material outside this geographic area, such as in Etruria or southern Italy.
- Hengistbury Head
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An Upper Palaeolithic / Creswellian site with flint artifacts with thermoluminescence dates of c 12,500 bp. There is also a nearby Mesolithic site with evidence of flintknapping. The site became important c 100 BC (Iron Age) as a trading center with continental Europe; Roman wine amphorae were among the imports.
- Herakleopolis Magna
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ihnasya el-Medina; ancient Henen-nesw; Ninsu, Nen-nesut
DEFINITION: An ancient Egyptian site that was the capital of the 20th nome of Upper Egypt and the cult center for the god Harsaphes. Its peak came when it was the capital of the 9th and 10th Dynasties of the First Intermediate Period (2181-2055 BC). The city was lost by the clan when Mentuhotpe II of the 11th Dynasty attacked in 2040 BC. There is an Old Kingdom shrine, temple of Harsaphes, and necropolis of Herakleopolis at Gebel Sedment.
- hero cult
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: heroization
DEFINITION: In ancient times, the worship of a god of partly human and partly divine origin, such as the worship of the hero Hercules. Hero-cult worship was the forerunner of the worship of living rulers, a feature of Hellenistic and Roman times. The hero cult invested a dead man with divine qualities of intelligence and strength which made him worthy of being honored by a cult. The founders of the city-states (such as Theseus at Athens) were often heroized. One basis for belief in heroes and the hero cult was the idea that the mighty dead continued to live and to be active as spiritual powers from the sites of their graves. Another source of the cult of heroes was the conception that gods were often lowered to the status of heroes. One of the best known heroes is Heracles, who became famous through his mighty deeds.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: hill fort
DEFINITION: Any well-fortified structure located on a hilltop and enclosed by at least one wall of stone and earth, commonly referring to sites of the Late Bronze Age or Iron Age. The earliest date to c 1000 BC. Some hillforts contain houses and were perhaps royal residences or, in the case of large forts of oppidum type, true towns; others seem to lack permanent buildings, and were probably refuges where the people and flocks from the surrounding area took shelter in times of crisis. At first they were usually promontory forts, but in the last four centuries BC the true hillfort, with defense works following the contours, became the predominant form. From about the second century BC until the Roman conquest, hillforts were common throughout Celtic lands. In Britain most of the great forts were built during the two and a half centuries before the conquest of 43 AD, but in Ireland and highland Britain hillforts continued to be built and used for several more centuries. They are found throughout much of Europe, except Russia and Scandinavia. In size, hillforts ranged from less than one acre to several hundred acres.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Hisarlik/Troy
DEFINITION: A small site above the Scamander Plain, Turkey, with massive ruins that Heinrich Schliemann established to be the ruins of ancient Troy (1877-1890). It is set on a plain overlooking the southern entrance to the Dardanelles in northwestern Anatolia. The series of seven Bronze Age settlements (with subphases) date from the late 4th millennium BC to the 12th century BC. The famous 'treasure of Priam', a hoard of precious metal and semi-precious stone objects, came from one of the Troy II levels. The settlement was ended by massive fires.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Hatti, Kheta
CATEGORY: culture; language
DEFINITION: A people of obscure origin who infiltrated Anatolia and the Levant from the north during the later 3rd millennium BC. In the Old Kingdom (c 1750-1450) they established a state in central Turkey with its capital first at Kussara, then at Boghazköy. They overran north Syria c 1600 and pushed on as far as Babylon. Under the empire (1450-1200) a more stable state was built up over most of Anatolia and north Syria, displacing the kingdom of the Mitanni and successfully challenging Assyria and Egypt. The end came quite suddenly in the Late Bronze Age c 1200 BC, notably by movements of the Peoples of the Sea and Anatolian groups from the north. The Hittite outposts in north Syria, however, survived as a chain of Syro-Hittite or neo-Hittite city-states -- Karatepe, Sinjerli, Sakçe, Gözü, Malatya, Atchana, and Carchemish -- down to their final annexation by the Assyrians in the 8th century BC. They are also known for their metal-working. They exploited and traded copper, lead, silver and also iron; indeed, they were among the first peoples to use iron, and for a period maintained a virtual monopoly in the new metal. Their language, Hittite and Hieroglyphic Hittite, is Indo-European, the earliest to be recorded. Hurrian, the language of the Hurri, was non-Indo-European, as of course was the Akkadian much used for commercial and foreign correspondence. The Akkadian cuneiform script was generally used too, though for monumental purposes local hieroglyphs were preferred. The discovery of the Hittite language was the major advance this century in the field of Indo-European languages -- with archives yielding thousands of tablets in many languages. The great period of the empire was 14th-13th centuries BC when a vast amount of material was recorded -- some in the important sister Anatolian languages of Palaic and Luvian.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Recent, Postglacial
DEFINITION: The present geological epoch, which began some 10,000 (bp) years ago (8300 BC). It falls within the Quaternary period (one of the four main divisions of the earth's history) and followed the Pleistocene Ice Age. The Holocene is marked by rising temperatures throughout the world and the retreat of the ice sheets. During this epoch, agriculture became the common human subsistence practice. During the Holocene, Homo sapiens diversified his tool technology, organized his habitat more efficiently, and adapted his way of life. The Holocene stage/series includes all deposits younger than the top of either the Wisconsinian stage of the Pleistocene Series in North America and the Würm/Weichsel in Europe.
- CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: A large solid-hoofed herbivorous mammal domesticated since prehistoric times and used as a beast of burden, a draft animal, or for riding. During ancient cold periods, horses also occupied the open vegetation which then existed in northern and western Europe. At some sites, horse bones formed a major part of Palaeolithic hunters' diet. It was widespread in temperate regions during the Pleistocene. With the end of the last glaciation, they disappeared from northwest Europe and became restricted to the temperate grassland and dry shrubland of Central Europe and Asia. In America it was hunted to extinction, to be reintroduced only in recent centuries. In the steppes, the horse was domesticated much later than cattle, sheep, etc. The first evidence for possible manipulation of horse by man occurs in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC in sites of the Tripolye culture and related cultures of the Ukraine. It spread rapidly through the Near East with northern peoples like the Hurri, Hyksos, Kassites, and Aryans, particularly after the invention of the chariot in Syria. The domesticated horse was introduced into Egypt from western Asia in the Second Intermediate Period (1650-1550 BC) at roughly the same time as the chariot. Only later, as a heavier stock was bred, did the practice of riding become important. Its use for commercial draft and general agricultural purposes came much later still. Today's horses all seem to represent one species, Equus caballus.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in Suffolk, England, where John Frere discovered Stone Age implements (hand axes) among some fossilized bones of extinct animals in 1797. At that time, it was believed that the Earth had been created in 4004 BC. In reporting his findings, Frere suggested that the remains came from a time considerably earlier than that. His report was politely received, but it wasn't until 1956 that it was demonstrated that the lake clays had a distinctive Hoxnian pollen diagram and the Acheulian hand axes were associated with this.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Wari
CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: An empire and large city in the central Peruvian Andes near Ayacucho, dating from 600-1000 AD (Middle Horizon). The local culture first came under Tiahuanaco influence, and Huari acted as a secondary center from which a modified version of the Tiahuanaco art style was spread to the Pacific coast and into the northern Andes. As many as 100,000 people lived in the capital and the empire included most of Peru. There was polychrome pottery; early ceramics (Chakipampa A) date to the Early Intermediate Period and are seen as a blend of Huarpa (a black-on-white geometric style) and Nasca styles. The later Chakipampa B style shows a strong Tiahuanacan influence. Structures include huge rectangular compounds with multi-story and subterranean masonry. Unlike Tiahuanaco, there are no megalithic structures and although there is some dressed stone work, cobbles of unformed stone are also widely used. The Huari empire collapsed and was abandoned c 800 (Early Intermediate Period), after which the regional traditions began to reassert themselves in art and politics, with the eventual emergence of new states (Chimú, Cuismancu, Chincha). The Huari were also skilled in metalwork. The well-to-do were buried in stone tombs.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A nomadic pastoralist people who invaded southeastern Europe c 370 AD and over the next 70 years built up an enormous empire there and in central Europe. Originating from beyond the Volga River after the middle of the 4th century, they first overran the Alani, who occupied the plains between the Volga and the Don rivers, and then quickly overthrew the empire of the Ostrogoths between the Don and the Dnestr. Around 376 AD they defeated the Visigoths living in what is now approximately Romania and then became one of the many 'barbarian' tribes who threatened the Roman empire during the 4th and 5th centuries. There is little archaeological evidence attributed to the Huns, but they are remembered in the literature as being fearsome and bloodthirsty. During the 5th century, the Romans adopted a policy of employing 'barbarian' mercenaries to defend the empire against potential invaders, so the Huns were used to defend eastern Gaul from the Burgundians. The most notable period for the Huns was under their leader Attila, who invaded Gaul in 451. Visigothic and Roman forces joined to defeat Attila near Troyes, and after Attila's death the Huns were never again a major force in European history.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Hurrian
CATEGORY: culture; language
DEFINITION: A people who appeared in northern Mesopotamia and Syria at the end of the 3rd millennium BC and by c 1600 BC had established a number of kingdoms in the area. They may have come from the Caucasus or Armenia and some evidence suggests a connection with the Kura-Araxes culture. They had a pantheon, distinct from that of their neighbors, which was recorded in the rock sanctuary of Yazilikaya by the Hittites. Their language -- non-Semitic and non-Sumerian -- is known from a number of religious texts and a letter among the archives of Tell el-Amarna. It is not related to any of the major language families. They came into contact with the Hittites, Assyrians, and Egyptians in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC. The Syrian part of their territory was absorbed into the Assyrian empire, but the district of Urartu remained independent until much later. The name Mitanni has come to be applied to an Indo-Iranian element in the population, which was aristocratic and probably responsible for introduction of horse and chariot into Near East. The language is not related to any known linguistic group, but close to Urartu (Armenian). It is an agglutinative language, with a series of suffixes being added to nouns and verbs to expression grammatical inflections.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Dimos
CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: An island with a large number of Late Neolithic and Copper Age sites, off the Dalmatian coast and part of present-day Croatia. The caves have yielded striking Late Neolithic pottery -- dark burnished ware with red crusted decoration. Hvar has been continuously inhabited since early Neolithic times, and an ancient wall surrounds the old city of Hvar. Since the vast majority of Hvar sites are caves, the economy was likely based on fishing and shell-collecting. In 385 BC Greek colonists founded Dimos (presently Hvar) and Pharos (Stari Grad), and in 219 BC the island became Roman. Slavs fleeing the mainland in the 7th century AD settled on the island. The pottery is found in neighboring areas of the mainland, where it is known as the Lisicice style. The island's occupation probably began in the 4th millennium BC.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Heka Khaswt, Hycsos, Poimenes, Mentiou Sati, Asian Shepherds, Scourges
DEFINITION: A nomadic desert tribe of Palestine whose name means rulers of foreign lands" and who infiltrated Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period (1800-1650 BC). They infiltrated the Eastern Delta during the Middle Kingdom and from 1630 to 1521 BC they dominated the Nile Valley from their capital of Avaris in the Delta. They became powerful enough to form the 15th Dynasty; traditionally they also formed the 16th Dynasty. Their breaking of Egyptian isolation opened the way for the flowering of culture in the New Kingdom which immediately followed their expulsion by Ahmose. Ahmose was the founder of the 18th Dynasty and the end of the Hyksos rule marked the beginning of the New Kingdom. The Hyksos were responsible for the introduction of the horse and chariot and perhaps the upright loom olive and pomegranate. They made improved battle axes and fortification techniques. The name Hyksos was used by the Egyptian historian Manetho (fl 300 BC) who according to the Jewish historian Josephus (fl 1st century AD) translated the word as "king-shepherds" or "captive shepherds.""
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A kind of portrait of a sacred person with a formal pose and exaggerated spiritual expression which spread through the Christian world from the mid 6th century AD onwards. Usually icons are painted on wood and housed in jeweled and highly ornate mounts. Some became so powerful as objects of devotion as to cause a rift in the Christian church, known as the iconoclastic dispute, where icons were banned in the Byzantine empire from AD 726, although the Latin church continued to allow their use. They remain a central component of the material culture of the Orthodox church.
- igneous rock
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A rock which originated as molten magma from beneath the earth's surface and subsequently came to the surface as an extrusion, or remained below ground as an intrusion. The nature of the rock depends in part on the rate at which it cooled; as intrusions of magma slowly solidify, enough time elapses for large crystals to form whereas extrusions cool quickly, leaving little time for crystal growth. Thus, a coarse-grained, intrusive igneous rock has a fine-grained, extrusive counterpart; granite is coarse rhyolite and gabbro is coarse basalt. Igneous rocks are also classified as acid or basic, according to whether their silica content is high (e.g. granite), or low (e.g. basalt).
- CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A glacial stage of the Quaternary in North America, followed by the Sangamon Interglacial and following the Yarmouth. The Illinoian ice sheet covered a small area of southeastern and extreme eastern Iowa, and in so doing it diverted the Mississippi River and created a valley along its western front that can still be seen. It consists mainly of tills, the products of large ice-sheets, and has been split up into three sub-stages, the Liman, Monican, and Jubileean. It is unclear how many cold stages the Illinoian deposits represent, but it may be more than one. The Illinoian Glacial Stage ended with a cool, moist period that gradually became drier and then warmer. The Illinoian has never been dated satisfactorily but it is roughly contemporary with the Riss and Saale Glacial Periods.
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A gemstone into whose surface a decoration is cut and this technique of decoration. This prehistoric incised carving was also done on precious metal. The design was especially used on seal stones which were sometimes set into rings and used as personal seals. The engraved subject is sunk beneath the surface, thus distinguishing it from a cameo, which is engraved in relief.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Cherchell, Sharshal, Caesarea
DEFINITION: An ancient seaport of Mauretania, located west of what is now Algiers in Algeria on the North African coast. Iol was originally founded as a Carthaginian trading station, but it was later renamed Caesarea and became the capital of Mauretania in 25 BC. The city was famous as a center of Hellenistic culture, and under the Romans it became one of the most important ports on the North African coast. It was colonized by Claudius in 40 AD. Remains include the city wall, theater/amphitheater, circus, baths, and a lighthouse.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: La Pineta
DEFINITION: A Lower Palaeolithic site in central Italy with many disarticulated animal bones associated with stone tools and dating to c 730,000 BP. In modern times, it originated as Aesernia, a town of the Samnites and later became a Roman colony.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Aset, Eset
DEFINITION: Important Egyptian goddess, wife of Osiris and mother of Horus. She was anthropoid in form and goddess of the Moon. She was a powerful magician and also venerated as the ideal mother. She became the symbolic mother of the Egyptian king, who was himself regarded as a human manifestation of Horus. She had important temples throughout Egypt, as at Philae and Behbet el-Hagar, and Nubia. By Greco-Roman times she was dominant among Egyptian goddesses. Several temples were dedicated to her in Alexandria, where she became the patroness of seafarers." From Alexandria her cult spread throughout the Mediterranean including Greece and Rome. In Hellenistic times the mysteries of Isis and Osiris developed; these were comparable to other Greek mystery cults."
- Iwo Eleru
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A rock shelter in the forest zone of southwestern Nigeria which has yielded the longest dated sequence of microlithic artifacts found in West Africa. Occupation was established by 12,000 years ago and the chipped stone industry continued for as long as 8000 years with only minor changes. From the lowest horizon a human burial, described as showing Negroid physical features, was recovered and it is the oldest Nigerian skeleton yet uncovered. In about the mid-4th millennium ground stone artifacts and pottery came into use. There is some evidence for the beginning of agriculture around that time.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The first permanent English settlement in the United States, in present-day Tidewater, Virginia. It was founded in 1607 by 105 settlers and served for a time as the capital of Virginia. James Fort, as it was first called, was built 15 miles inland from the Chesapeake Bay, on a swampy island in the James River on the site of previous native occupation. Many structures have been found as well as a huge inventory of 17th century artifacts. The earliest settlers subsisted by fishing, trade with natives and farming of both local (maize, squash, pumpkin) and imported staples. Houses from that time were of wattle-and-daub with thatched roofs, giving way later to structures of locally made brick. Pottery and glassmaking were other local industries. In 1699, Williamsburg became the capital of the colony, after which Jamestown went into decline and was ultimately abandoned. The excavations have documented early colonial life.
- Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826)
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: The third president of the United States and considered by many to be the father of American archaeology because of his meticulous excavation of a Virginia burial mound. Jefferson was the first person, in North America or anywhere, to undertake (1784) excavations of a prehistoric site as a means to understanding the people who built it. He wanted to find out why the burial mounds on his land had been built. One mound he excavated carefully with trenches, noting that in a number of levels that skeletons had been placed in the ground and covered -- producing a mound 12 ft (4 m) high. In observing the different levels, he was anticipating the stratigraphical method which became common practice in Europe and America only at the end of the 19th century. Worsaae's work in Denmark came a half a century later and the wider adoption of stratigraphical excavation methods was 100 years later.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: City in the Judaean hills, Israel, occupied for more than 4000 years and now the capital of Israel. Many excavations have taken place since the 1860s, but because of the long history of destruction and rebuilding on the site, it has been difficult to reconstruct the development of the city. Sporadic traces of 4th- and 3rd-millennium BC occupation occur, but the first substantial settlement with a town wall belongs to the Late Bronze Age of the 2nd millennium BC. Jerusalem was captured by the Israelites under David in c 996 BC and extended to the north by Solomon, who built a temple and palace. Few early buildings survive with the exception of the rock-cut water tunnel constructed by Hezekiah in the late 8th century BC. The city fell to the Babylonians in 587 BC and was rebuilt after 538 BC. The present plan of the city, excluding the two ridges to the south, goes back to Herod the Great (37-34 BC) and the rebuilding under Hadrian. It became a Hellenistic city under Antiochus IV and was Romanized in the 1st century BC. The Jewish revolt of 70 AD inspired Titus to destroy the city. Under Constantine, it gained new important as a Christian center and was destroyed once more in 614 AD, by the Persians. Jerusalem is venerated by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The Dome of the Rock (685-692 AD) is the most striking Islamic building in Jerusalem.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Qadesh, modern Tell Nebi Mend, Tall An-Nabi Mind
DEFINITION: A site strategically placed on the River Orontes in Syria, famous for the inconclusive battle between Ramesses II of Egypt and Muwatallis of the Hittites c 1286 (1275 in some accounts) BC. Both sides claimed the victory, but it was actually a truce. Kadesh is mentioned for the first time in Egyptian sources when Thutmose III (1479-1426 BC) defeated a Syrian insurrection by the prince of Kadesh at Megiddo in Palestine. Kadesh remained an outpost of Egyptian influence until it came under Hittite rule (c 1340 BC). The invasion of the Sea Peoples in c 1185 BC was the demise of Kadesh.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Kediri
DEFINITION: The western, Hinduized kingdom in eastern Java, established about the 11th century. According to the Pararaton" ("Book of Kings") the king of eastern Java Airlangga divided his kingdom between his two sons before he died in 1049: the western part was called Kadiri or Panjalu with Daha as its capital while the eastern part was called Janggala. Originally called Panjalu it became better known by the name of Kadiri and soon absorbed Janggala thus becoming in fact the successor to the kingdom of Airlanga. The kingdom of Kadiri lasted until 1222 when it was succeeded by that of Tumapel/Singhasari."
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A large and important Maya site near Guatemala City that originally contained over 200 mounds, strongly influenced by Teotihuacán during the Early Classic. As the greatest of the early centers in the highland Maya zone, Kaminaljuyú has a history of occupation dating back to c 1800 BC, but it reached its first climax during the Miraflores phase in the centuries after 300 BC. Its earliest occupation during the Early to Mid-Pre-Classic has Olmec-influenced artifacts such as the 'squashed frog' motif, kaolin pottery, and pits reminiscent of those at Tlatilco. About 200 burial sites from the Late Formative Period, 300 BC-100 AD, have been uncovered, and there are carved stelae in the Izapa manner and a hieroglyphic script unlike that of the lowland Maya.. There are also courts for playing the ball game tlachtli. Because of the lack of stone suitable for construction, pyramids and other structures at Kaminaljuyú were built of adobe and later of other perishable materials. After a period of decline, the site was revived in c 400 when it became an outpost of the Teotihuacán civilization. Kaminaljuyú controlled the obsidian production along the Pacific. Its decline took place after the Late Classic Period c 600-900 AD. Evidence suggests that various Mexican dynasties ruled over the Maya population until the Spanish conquest.
- Kamose (fl. 17th-16th centuries BC)
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: The last king of the Theban 17th Dynasty (c 1630-1540 BC) of Egypt, successor of Seqenenra Taa II (Seqenenre) (c 1560 BC) and predecessor of Ahmose I (1550-1525 BC), the first 18th Dynasty ruler. He started hostilities with the Hyksos, the west Semitic invaders who had seized part of Egypt in the 17th century BC. Following the death of his father, Seqenenre, Kamose became ruler of the southernmost third of Egypt. Most scholars agree that he did not rule for more than five years.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Kanem-Bornu
DEFINITION: African trading empire ruled by the Sef (Sayf) dynasty that controlled the area around Lake Chad from the 9th to the 19th century. Its territory at various times included what is now southern Chad, northern Cameroon, northeastern Nigeria, eastern Niger, and southern Libya. Kanem-Bornu was probably founded around the mid-9th century, and its first capital was at Njimi. Toward the end of the 11th century, Kanem-Bornu became an Islamic state. Because of its location, it served as a point of contact in trade between North Africa, the Nile Valley, and the sub-Sahara region.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: cantharus
DEFINITION: In Greek antiquity, a large, two-handled drinking cup. This type of pottery cup was made in Greek-speaking areas and in Etruria between the 8th and the 1st centuries BC and had a deep bowl, a foot, and pair of high vertical handles. It was often consecrated to personifications of Bacchus. Early examples are often stemmed. In the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, it became one of the most popular types of drinking vessel in the Greek world.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A Bronze Age culture that succeeded the Andronovo culture in southern Siberia in the late 2nd millennium BC. The three main, basically successive, yet often overlapping cultures were the Afanasyevskaya, Andronovo, and Karasuk. The Karasuk culture developed when a gradual change was made from settled communities to seasonal transhumance. Two settlements of large pit houses are known and many cemeteries of stone cists covered by a low mound and set in a square stone enclosure equipped with round-bottomed pots; many of these are in the Minusinsk Basin. The Karasuk people were farmers who concentrated on sheep- and cattle-breeding. They also practiced metallurgy on a large scale; the most characteristic artifact is a bronze knife or dagger, with a curved profile and a decorated handle, related to China's An-Yang. They produced a realistic animal art, which probably contributed to the development of the later Sytho-Siberian animal art style. Remains of bridles mark the beginning of horse riding on the Siberian steppe. The character of their material culture came from exchange with the centers of Far Eastern metallurgy. The Karasuk culture originated and spread its influences farther to western Siberia and Russian Turkistan than did the Andronovo. Trade relations extended to central Russia. Chronology of this period is based on comparisons with northern Chinese bronzes. The Karasuk period persisted down to c 700 BC.
- CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: The site of a capital of an independent Nubian/Kushite kingdom which became prominent after a northward retreat of the Egyptians during the 13th Dynasty, c 1700 BC. On the third Nile cataract in Upper Nubia (Sudan), it came into existence during the Egyptian Old and Middle Kingdoms (2686-1650 BC) and is the type-site for the Kerma culture (c 2500-1500 BC), probably identified with the Egyptians' 'land of Yam'. Kerma traded widely and great wealth was accumulated. There was a high level of craftsmanship, especially in pottery. The rulers of Kerman, together with the bodies of many retainers, were buried under huge grave mounds. There were also sacrificial human interments. This royal necropolis of the kings of Kush probably dates to the Second Intermediate Period c 1633-1550 BC. The only substantial surviving building is a large mud-brick 'Western Deffufa'.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Khnemu
DEFINITION: The ancient Egyptian god of fertility, associated with water and procreation. Khnum was worshipped from the 1st Dynasty, c 2925-2775 BC, into the early centuries AD. He was represented as a ram with horizontal, twisting horns or as a man with a ram's head. Khnum was believed to have created humankind from clay like a potter and his first main cult center was Herwer. From the New Kingdom (1539-1075 BC) on, however, he became the god of the island of Elephantine and the area of the First Cataract of the Nile River. There he formed a triad of deities with the goddesses Satis (Satet) and Anukis. Khnum also had an important cult at Esna, south of Thebes.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A major trading city of the East African coast, on an island off Tanzania. For three centuries before the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500 it was the leading entrepot on the East African coast. It was first occupied in the 9th century AD, with the earliest settlement being a village of thatched, timber-framed houses. The only industries were iron-working and the manufacture of shell beads. Small quantities of pottery from western Asia and, towards the end of the period, chlorite-schist from Madagascar indicate commercial activity on a modest scale. Prosperity began c 1200, marked by the introduction of coins, widespread use of masonry, and the construction of the mosque. In the 14th century the sultan built a spectacular palace, known as Husuni Kubwa, just outside the town. The establishment of a wealthy Islamic community is identified with the arrival of the so-called Shirazi dynasty which, according to tradition, came from the Persian Gulf. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Kilwa controlled the coast far to the south and grew even more wealthy through its control of the trade in Zimbabwean gold. The arrival of the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean at the end of the 15th century heralded Kilwa's decline.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Cnossus
DEFINITION: A well-known palace site on the island of Crete that has been inhabited almost continuously from 6000 BC when the first Neolithic settlement was constructed. It was the location of the chief palace of the Minoans, near Herakleion at the center of the north coast of Crete. The Neolithic settlement was succeeded by an Early Minoan one, but little is known about this phase. The site was leveled for the palace at the beginning of the Middle Minoan period, c 2000 BC. Around the palace were the main buildings, the throne room, reception halls, shrines, magazines, and the domestic quarter of at least three stories. Large banks of rooms of various types were arranged around a central courtyard, giving rise to the story of the labyrinth. Unlike the other Cretan palaces, Knossos survived the violent eruption of Santorini/Thera c 1450 BC, but came under new rulers, Mycenaeans. The palace was opulent and the frescoes show the bull sports which took place in or near the palace, the courtiers who watched them, others in ceremonial procession carrying offerings, and the priest-king himself. Clay tablets with inscriptions in Linear A and B show the careful accounting which supported this show. From them, too, we learn that in the last phase of occupation the rulers of the palace were Greek. Knossos likely governed much of Crete. The palace site was finally destroyed probably c 1375 BC, though Knossos remained prosperous and powerful, emerging as one of the foremost Greek city-states on Crete.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Great Burial Period, Tumulus Period
CATEGORY: chronology; culture
DEFINITION: The name of the protohistoric tomb period of Japan, 300-710 AD, and the type of tumulus used for the burials. . Large tombs were built which were covered with artificial hillocks about 8 meters high, with burial chambers about 2 meters underneath the top surface. The burial chamber, enclosed with stones, contained coffins and various funerary offerings. The period when tombs of this kind were built in abundance was characterized by Haji ware and Sue ware. It is divided into Early, 4th century; Middle, 5th century; and Late, late 5th-7th centuries. The Kofun period falls between the Yayoi period and the fully historic Nara period and partially overlaps the Asuka and Hakuho periods of art historians. In their writings, the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki texts, the culture was explained. Early kofun were built by modifying natural hills, as were Late Yayoi burial mounds. Haji pottery, used throughout the Kofun period, is very similar to Yayoi pottery and farmers lived in the same kinds of houses, using very similar tools. Technical advances over the yayoi period include irrigation canals and dams. There were also silversmiths who made the ornaments deposited in kofun and professional potters began making Sue pottery in the 5th century. Those in the fertile and well-protected Yamato Basin actively sought new technical and administrative skills on the continent and thus artisans came to make new kinds of pottery, ornaments, and weapons. Yamato leaders gained control over much of Japan in the 7th century and moved the capital to Heijo in 710. The magnificent kofun tombs indicate that the Yamato court based in the Yamato area (the present Nara prefecture) succeeded in bringing almost the whole of Japan under its control.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Qift, ancient Kebet, Qebtu
DEFINITION: Town site in Upper Egypt just below Luxor, at the entrance to the Wadi Hammamat (the road to the Red Sea), existing since early dynastic times. It was important for nearby gold and quartzite mines in the Eastern Desert, worked during the 1st and 2nd dynasties, and as a starting point for expeditions to Punt. The town was associated with the god Min, whose temple ruins remain, and the goddess Isis, who, according to legend, found part of Osiris' body there. Destroyed in 292 AD by Diocletian, it later became a Christian community. This valley also served as the principal trade route between the Nile valley and the Red Sea.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Bronze Age site of Corinthia, Greece, which became the basis of the classification of Helladic pottery developed by Carl Blegen and Alan Wace. It is the type site for the Early Helladic II Korakou culture.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Major pre-Columbian ceremonial site in the north-central highlands of Peru, near Huánuco, coming into use during the Late Preceramic Period and continuing until after the end of the Chavín culture during the Early Horizon, c 1 AD. It is known for its temple structures, the earliest of which have interior wall niches and mud-relief decorative friezes, and date to the end of the Late Preceramic Period (c 2000-1800 BC). In the earliest levels (Mito) are remains of a platform on which stood the Temple of the Crossed Hands. Stone tools, some similar to Laurichocha II and III, and other artifacts appropriate to an Archaic subsistence pattern also occur in this phase. The next (Wairajirca) period has a radiocarbon date of 2305 +/- 110 BC and saw the introduction of the first pottery, a gray ware with incised designs and post-fired painting in red, white, or yellow. In the following (Kotosh) stage, there is evidence of maize cultivation, and the pottery, with grooved designs, graphite painting, and stirrup spouts, has Chavín-like features. Radiocarbon dates suggest that this period is centered on c 1200 BC and was closely followed by a pure Chavín stage with the typical pottery and ornament. Next in sequence came levels (Sajarapatac and San Blas phases) with white-on-red pottery, and the uppermost strata (Hiqueras period) were characterized by red vessels, rare negative painting, and copper tools.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Old Paphos, Palaipaphos
DEFINITION: Southern Cyprus site occupied from the 3rd millennium BC, which became a major center in the Late Cypriot period. It was settled by Greek colonists in the Mycenaean period. Besides the Evreti cemetery, there was an ashlar temple built c 1200 BC for Aphrodite's cult. Palaepaphos was capital of one of the Cypriot kingdoms in 498 BC when it was attacked by the Persians. The Cinyrad dynasty ruled Palaeopaphos until its final conquest by Ptolemy I of Egypt (294 BC).
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Before the founding of Baghdad, one of the largest and most important towns in Iraq. It was founded as a garrison by the caliph Omar I in 638. In 749, it served briefly as the capital of the Abbasids, before they founded Baghdad. Kufa became a large commercial and intellectual center, but a series of incursions by the Qarmathians caused extensive damage and by the 14th century it was almost deserted. The mosque, built in 670, was a stone structure with columns 15 meters high supporting the roof without the use of arches.
- Kurgan cultures
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A seminomadic pastoralist culture that spread from the Russian steppes to Danubian Europe about 3500 BC. By about 2300 BC the Kurgans arrived in the Aegean and Adriatic regions. The Kurgans buried their dead in deep shafts within artificial burial mounds, or barrows. The word kurgan means barrow or artificial mound in Turkic and Russian. The first Kurgan culture was the Yamnaya, or Pit-Grave, culture. Then came the Catacomb Grave culture, and finally the Srubnaya (Timber-Grave) culture.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Kusana
DEFINITION: A ruling line descended from the Yüeh-chih, a people that ruled over most of the northern Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan, and parts of Central Asia during the first three centuries of the Christian era. It began as a nomadic tribe in the 2nd century BC. Under Kaniska I (fl 1st century AD) and his successors, the Kushan kingdom reached its height. It was considered one of the four great Eurasian powers of its time (the others being China, Rome, and Parthia). The Kushans were instrumental in spreading Buddhism in Central Asia and China and in developing Mahayana Buddhism and the Gandhara and Mathura schools of art. The Kushans became affluent through trade, particularly with Rome. After the rise of the Sasanian dynasty in Iran and of local powers in northern India, Kushan rule declined.
- La Tène art
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Celtic art
DEFINITION: An art style of the European Iron Age, c 500 BC, developed presumably by Celtic peoples. It originated on the middle Rhine River, extending to the upper Danube and the Marne. Its finest specimens are from the British Isles in the first century BC and AD. It appears most commonly in bronzework or other metals, weapons and horse gear, eating and drinking vessels, personal ornaments, and monumental stone carvings. It seems likely that the craftsmen worked under the direct patronage of the chieftains. Techniques employed were decoration in relief, engraving, and inlay. Stylistically, Celtic art combines elements taken from the classical world, from the Scythians to the east and from the local earlier Hallstatt Iron Age. The art developed into several styles in continental Europe (Early, Waldalgesheim, Plastic and sword styles) but came to an end with the Roman occupation. In Ireland, the art style returned after the Roman withdrawal.
- Lamb Spring
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Palaeoindian site in Colorado with camel bones dated to c 13,000 BP. There are also mammoth, bison, and horse bones and later Palaeoindian components.
- Lan Na
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: An ancient northern Thai principality, centered around present Chiang Mai. Founded in the late 13th century, it was also called Yonaratha or Yonakarattha or Bingarattha in the Pali chronicles. Recently the name has also been used to designate a Palaeolithic industry discovered in northern Thailand (the 'Lannathian'). Lan Na -- with Chiang Mai as its capital -- became not only powerful but also a center for the spread of Theravada Buddhism to Tai peoples in what are now northeastern Myanmar, southern China, and northern Laos. Under Tilokaracha (ruled 1441-87), Lan Na became famous for its Buddhist scholarship and literature.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The ancient name of several cities of western Asia, mostly founded or rebuilt in the 3rd century BC by rulers of the Seleucid dynasty, and named after Laodice, the mother of Seleucus I Nicator, or after Laodice, daughter or niece of Antiochus I Soter and wife of Antiochus II Theos. It became one of the greatest cities of the Seleucid kingdom. The cities aided in the Hellenization of western Asia and subsequently in the spread of Christianity in the region. The most important of the cities was Laodicea ad Lycum (near modern Denizli, Turkey); its church was one of the seven to which Saint John addressed the Revelation. Laodicea ad Mare (modern Latakia, Syria) was a major seaport.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Lopburi, Lop Buri
DEFINITION: Ancient town of south-central Thailand founded in the 5th-7th centuries and later incorporated into the Khmer empire of Angkor in the 10th or 11th century. It became an important provincial capital. One of Thailand's major historical sites, the city retains numerous buildings from the early periods. The Prang Sam Yod (Three-Spired Sanctuary), the symbol of the Lop Buri region, was built by the Khmers. Other places of interest include the temple complex of Wat Phra Si Ratana Maha That (1157) and the remains of the Nakhon Kosa temple. It later became an active center within the kingdom of Ayutthaya (founded 1351) and was the summer capital of the Ayutthaya king Narai (reigned 1657-88). Thereafter the city declined, and many of its buildings decayed.
- Le Moustier
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A cave near Les Eyzies in the Dordogne region of France that is the type site of the Mousterian or Middle Palaeolithic. The type artifacts from the Mousterian consist of points and side scrapers, in addition to a few hand axes (especially heart- or triangular-shaped forms), and the secondary working is coarse. Upper Palaeolithic levels cover the Mousterian levels in both the classic shelter and the lower shelter. From the lower shelter came a Neanderthal skeleton of nearly mature age.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Important settlement site on Euboea, an island in the Aegean, occupied from the later 3rd millennium till the end of the 2nd millennium BC. Early levels have Anatolian-type pottery. At Toumba there is an artificial tumulus covering an apsidal structure which is surrounded by a peristyle of wooden columns, c 1000 BC. The rich burial of a man and woman may have been a shrine for a hero cult. Artifacts link this site to the eastern Mediterranean: the large bronze vessel in which the man's ashes were deposited came from Cyprus, and the gold items buried with the woman are of sophisticated workmanship. Remains of horses were found as well; the animals had been buried with their snaffle bits. The grave was within a large collapsed house, whose form anticipates that of the Greek temples two centuries later. This burial and finds at other cemeteries further attest contacts between Egypt and Cyprus between 1000-800 BC.
- Lerici periscope
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Nistri periscope
DEFINITION: A subsurface detection probe fitted with a periscope or camera and light source, used to examine subterranean chambers -- most often Etruscan tombs. The Lerici Foundation of Milan and Rome has had great success with this method since the development of the periscope, first used in 1957 in an Etruscan tomb in the cemetery of Monte Abbatone. The periscope is inserted into the burial chamber and can photograph the walls and contents of the whole tomb.
- CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: Collection of books used for reading or study, or the building or room in which such a collection is kept. The origin of libraries came in the 3rd millennium BC, when records on clay tablets were stored in a temple in the Babylonian town of Nippur. In the 7th century BC, the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal assembled and organized a collection of records, of which some 20,000 tablets and fragments have survived. The first libraries as repositories of books were those of the Greek temples and those established in conjunction with the Greek schools of philosophy in the 4th century BC. Important libraries of the ancient world were those of Aristotle, the great Library of Alexandria with its thousands of papyrus and vellum scrolls, its rival at Pergamum that included many works on parchment, the Bibliotheca Ulpia of Rome, and the Imperial Library at Byzantium set up by Constantine the Great in the 4th century AD. China also has a long tradition of record keeping and book collecting, in private libraries as well as in centralized government libraries. Extant Greek and Roman literary works were preserved alongside the early Christian literature in Constantine's library and, beginning in the 2nd century, in libraries of monasteries. The loss of the Great Library at Alexandria, which was burned to the ground in the late third century AD, was devastating. The Alexandria library had probably been established by Ptolemy I Soter (305-285 BC), who also founded the Museum ('shrine of the Muses'), initially creating both institutions as annexes to his palace. Later in the Ptolemaic period, another large library was created, probably within the Alexandria serapeum, but this too was destroyed in 391 AD.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: plural limites
DEFINITION: The Latin word for path" in ancient Rome the strip of open land along which troops advanced into unfriendly territory. The word therefore came to mean a Roman military road fortified with watchtowers and forts. Finally limes acquired the sense of frontier either natural or artificial; towers and forts tended to be concentrated along it and the military road between them was often replaced by a continuous barrier. Its use as a term for the frontier zone of the Roman empire under direct military rule was particularly used of the Rhine and Danube rivers in central Germany adopted as the frontiers of the Roman Empire (from 9 AD). This was later extended into the Black Forest area by Hadrian and Antoninus Pius. . The Alemanni broke through the limes in c 260 and the Roman frontier was withdrawn to the Rhine and Danube once more. The limites in Great Britain were Hadrian's Wall between the Rivers Tyne and Solway and farther north the turf wall of Antoninus Pius between the Rivers Forth and Clyde. Limes were also created in Anatolia Syria and North Africa."
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Holy Island
DEFINITION: Island off the coast of Northumberland, northeast England, where in 634, St. Aidan and other monks from Iona founded a monastery. It became a center for producing illuminated manuscripts (Lindisfarne Gospel, c 700) and works of art of the Northumbrian school. In 793, it was subjected to the first Viking (Danes) raid on England and the monastery only functioned intermittently afterwards. There are no traces of the earliest buildings; the church, cloister, ranges and walls visible today all date to the Norman Benedictine abbey. Lindisfarne's past is reflected in the manuscripts that have survived, St. Cuthbert's coffin, and some carved sculpture. It was connected to the coast of Northumberland only at low tide.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Lin-i; Lin-yi; Champa
DEFINITION: An ancient Indochinese kingdom founded in 192 AD in the southern Shandong province, China, and lasting to the 17th century AD. In the past decade, at least ten important Western Han tombs have been excavated in this district, some richly furnished with paintings on silk and lacquers comparable to those from Mawangdui. One tomb contained nearly 5000 inscribed bamboo slips that preserve the texts of a number of late Eastern Chou philosophical works and military treatises, including the Sun Zi bing fa ('Master Sun on the Art of War'). The kingdom later became known as the Indianized kingdom of Champa, which was eventually absorbed by Vietnam.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An acropolis site on Lipari island of the Aeolian Islands off the north coast of Sicily. Occupation started in the Neolithic c 4000 BC, when obsidian was exploited. In the Bronze Age, Lipari became an important trading center. Mycenaean pottery has been found dating to 1500-1250 BC. The remains of Hellenistic buildings indicate its importance in Classical times. The volcanoes have created is one of the finest stratigraphies of archaeological deposits anywhere. Later in prehistory, Lipari remained important because of its strategic position, which allowed communities positioned there to control trade routes through the Straits of Messina and up the west coast of Italy. The site was abandoned some time in the 9th century BC and not reoccupied until the foundation of a Greek settlement by a mixed group of Cnidians and Rhodians in the early 6th century BC.
- CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: South American member of the camel family, Camelidae, a domesticated animal exploited by the ancient Andean civilizations as a beast of burden and, to a lesser extent, for its meat and wool. It is smaller in size than a camel and lacking a hump. Its wild ancestor, the guanaco, is still found in the Andes. The center of domestication was probably the highlands of southern Peru, Bolivia, and north Chile, perhaps as early as the 6th millennium BC. The first clear evidence of its domestication (dating to the Initial Period) comes from ceremonial burials in the Viru Valley and from remains at Kotosh. Able to carry loads of up to 60 kg over difficult terrain, the Ilama gained economic importance as the basic unit of transportation of goods in the Inca empire, and was also maintained purely as a form of wealth, with the state owning huge flocks. Sacrifice (sometimes in the hundreds) was quite common.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Settlement near Lund in southern Sweden, dating to the Viking period. Excavations have shown that in the 9th-10th centuries this was probably the site of a fair, to which traders came. Loddekopinge expanded to a considerable size before it was superseded by Lund.
- CATEGORY: geography
DEFINITION: Patches of vegetation outside of valleys that were watered at that season by fogs. The Peruvian coast was covered with areas of this type of vegetation which could live off the moisture from the fog in the air. Lomas were created as a result of climatic shift at end of Pleistocene. Lomas culture was developed in these areas by hunters who turned to exploitation of this vegetation as their economic basis. They set up seasonally occupied camps during the winter months. The lomas provided wild seeds, tubers, and large snails; deer, camelids (probably guanaco), owls, and foxes were hunted. Milling stones, manos, mortars, pestles, and projectile points frequently occur in the assemblages. Around 2500 BC, a further climatic change made much of the lomas dry up, and the area became a desert. Lomas sites were abandoned in favor of permanent settlement at the littoral zone along the coast, where maritime resources were exploited. The deposits are not thick enough to show stratification, but they have been arranged in chronological order by comparing the implement types and noting their distribution within the shrinking patches of vegetation.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Lop Buri; Lavo
DEFINITION: Settlement in central Thailand occupied from the Copper Age and in a region of copper and bronze production during the 2nd and 1st millennia BC. Some sites made copper and iron into the Khmer occupation. Lopburi, already a provincial capital, became a major center during the 11th-13th centuries AD and gives its name to the Khmer-influenced art of that time. It was the summer capital of the Ayutthaya king Narai (reigned 1657-88). Thereafter the city declined, and many of its buildings decayed.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Lo-yang; Luoyang; formerly Honan-Fu; Honan
DEFINITION: Ancient city in northwestern Honan province, China, near the south bank of the Yellow River. It was important in history as the capital of nine ruling dynasties and as a Buddhist center. Lo-yang is divided into an east town and a west town. Lo-i (modern Lo-yang) was founded at the beginning of the Chou dynasty (late 12th century BC), near the present west town, as the residence of the imperial kings. It became the Chou capital in 771 BC, following the loss of Tsung Chou in Shensi, and was later moved to a site northeast of the present east town; it was named Lo-yang because it was north (yang) of the Lo River, and its ruins are now distinguished as the ancient city of Lo-yang. Traces of its rammed earth walls and one of its cemeteries of pit graves have been found. Bronzes and pottery recovered from some 270 tombs excavated at Luoyang Zhongzhoulu supply a valuable artifact sequence, spanning the entire Eastern Chou period. Particularly rich finds from Jincun, just northeast of the modern city, belong to the latter part of Eastern Chou; lesser tombs from the end of Eastern Chou and the Han period have been excavated at Shaogou. During the Qin and Western Han dynasties the capital returned to Shaanxi, but Luoyang was again the capital during the Eastern Han dynasty and, for the last time, from 494-535 AD, when the Northern Wei emperors ruled there. It finally fell to the Ch'in in 256.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A region of the central Zagros mountains on the border of west-central Iran, where a distinctive bronze-working industry flourished 2600-600 BC. It is characterized by horse trappings, utensils, weapons, jewelry, belt buckles, and ritual and votive objects of bronze -- which became most distinctive around 1000 BC. Scholars believe that they were created either by the Cimmerians, a nomadic people from southern Russia who may have invaded Iran in the 8th century BC, or by such related Indo-European peoples as the early Medes and Persians. The immigrants grafted onto a population of Kassites who had already developed a bronze industry around 2000 BC. Important Luristan sites are Tepe Giyan and Tepe Djamshidi, Tepe Ganj Dareh, Tepe Asiab, Tepe Sarab, Tepe Guran, and especially Tepe Sialk. Many bronzes were placed into museum collections as a result of persistent looting of tombs from the 10th-7th centuries BC. Iron also appears at an early date in the Luristan tombs.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Lycians; Luka
DEFINITION: Ancient kingdom of southwestern Anatolia (Turkey), located on the Mediterranean coast between Caria and Pamphylia and extending to the Taurus Mountains, with its capital in Xanthos. In the Amarna letters of the 14th-13th centuries BC, the Lycians are described as living between the Hittites on the north and the Achaean Greeks on the coast. They participated in the Sea Peoples' attempt to invade Egypt in the late 13th century. Nothing more is known of the Lycians until the 8th century BC, when they reappear as a thriving maritime people in cities of the Lycian League. The kingdom eventually fell to Cyrus' general Harpagus. Under Achaemenian Persia and later under the rule of the Romans, Lycia enjoyed relative freedom and was able to preserve its federal institutions until the time of Augustus. It was annexed to Roman Pamphylia in 43 AD and became a separate Roman province after the 4th century. Archaeological discoveries made on sites at Xanthus, Patara, Myra, and other of its cities have revealed a distinctive type of funerary architecture. The people spoke a dialect of Indo-European Luwian. Sir Charles Fellows discovered the ruins of the cities of Lycia.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Lydians
DEFINITION: A small kingdom which appeared in western Anatolia (Turkey) in the 1st millennium BC known to the Assyrians as Luddu. Their land extended east from the Aegean Sea, occupying the Hermus and Cayster river valleys. By about the 7th century BC, Lydia was important in trade between the Aegean and the oriental civilizations. Its capital at Sardis became rich, exploiting the gold of the nearby Pactolus River; the Lydians are said to the originators of gold and silver coins. In the mid-7th century the kingdom was overrun by the Cimmerians, but reemerged powerfully. The kingdom was most powerful under Alyattes (c 619-560 BC), who extended his rule in Ionia. The legendary rich king Croesus (560-546 BC) was ruler when Lydia was finally overcome by the Achaemenids (c. 546-540). Sardis subsequently became the western capital of the Persian empire, linked to Susa by a royal road. The Lydians are known for two achievements in particular: mastery of fine stone masonry, witnessed in the Acropolis wall at Sardis and in the Pyramid Tomb and the Tomb of Gyges in the royal cemetery, and the invention of a true coin currency, which was adopted by both the Greeks and the Persians. The Lydians were a commercial people, who, according to Herodotus, had customs like the Greeks and were the first people to establish permanent retail shops. Sardis was captured by Alexander the Great in 334 BC and became a Greek city.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An island in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa which was one of the last major tropical land masses to be settled by man. There is no evidence for human presence prior to the 1st millennium AD. It is generally accepted that the island's first settlers came from Indonesia, perhaps from Borneo. Later, probably in about the 11th century AD, Bantu-speaking immigrants from East Africa also arrived.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Age of the Reindeer
DEFINITION: The final major European culture of the Upper Paleolithic period, from about 15,000-10,000 years ago; characterized by composite or specialized tools, tailored clothing, and especially geometric and representational cave art (e.g. Altamira) and for beautiful decorative work in bone and ivory (mobiliary art). The people were chiefly fishermen and reindeer hunters; they were the first known people to have used a spear thrower (of reindeer bone and antler) to increase the range, strength, and accuracy. Magdalenian stone tools include small geometrically shaped implements (e.g., triangles, semilunar blades) probably set into bone or antler handles for use, burins (a sort of chisel), scrapers, borers, backed bladelets, and shouldered and leaf-shaped projectile points. Bone was used extensively to make wedges, adzes, hammers, spearheads with link shafts, barbed points and harpoons, eyed needles, jewelry, and hooked rods probably used as spear throwers. They killed animals with spears, snares, and traps and lived in caves, rock shelters, or substantial dwellings in winter and in tents in summer. The name is derived from La Madeleine or Magdalene, the type site in the Dordogne of southwest France. Its center of origin was southwest France and the adjacent parts of Spain, but elements characteristic of the later stages are represented in Britain (Creswell Crags), and eastwards to southwest Germany and Poland. The Magdalenian culture, like that of earlier Upper Palaeolithic communities, was adapted to the cold conditions of the last (Würm) glaciation. The Magdalenian has been divided into six phases; it followed the Solutrean industry and was succeeded by the simplified Azilian. Magdalenian culture disappeared as the cool, near-glacial climate warmed at the end of the Fourth (Würm) Glacial Period (c 10,000 BC), and herd animals became scarce.
- Maiden Castle
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: One of the largest and most famous Iron Age hillforts in Britain, located in Dorset, England. The oldest structure on the hilltop is a Neolithic causewayed camp (c 2000-1500 BC), followed after an interval by an earthen long barrow, which is partly built over the ditches of the earlier camp. Occupation resumed in the Early Iron Age (c 5th century BC) with the construction of a hillfort (c 250 BC) which was later extended to fortify the entire hill. Maiden Castle was at that time a permanent settlement with stone and wooden huts linked by surfaced trackways. Sometime before 50 BC, the site came under the control of the Belgae and became the tribal capital of the Durotriges, with coinage and imported Gallo-Roman luxuries. During the Roman conquest, the fort was sacked by Vespasian's legion (43-44 AD), and the slain defenders were buried in a cemetery near the east gate. The Romans moved the remaining population to a new site at Durnovaria (Dorchester), and the hillfort was abandoned until the 4th century AD when a Romano-Celtic temple was built there.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Makapans
DEFINITION: A limeworks cave at the entrance to the Makapan Valley in northern Transvaal, South Africa, with important samples of Autralopithecus africanus and other fossil animal remains (antelope, baboon. Perhaps the best-known so-called archaeological evidence from the South African cave sites came from Makapansgat. There are no typical stone tools, but many bone and horn fragments are alleged to have been modified as tools, the so-called osteodontokeratic" (bone-tooth-horn) culture. The hominid remains may date from about three million years ago. The nearby Cave of Hearths has Acheulian and later deposits."
- CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: A large extinct species of elephant (Mammuthus) which became adapted to Ice Age conditions in the northern hemisphere about a quarter of a million years ago. It was perhaps the largest animal hunted by Palaeolithic man. It is possible that they were killed by spearing, as no pit traps have ever been found near their carcasses. At Gravettian hunters' camp-sites in Moravia and the Ukraine, large numbers of mammoth bones have been found, and even houses built from them. The woolly mammoth spread across Eurasia into North America, and became extinct c 11,000-10,000 BC. They were frequently depicted in Palaeolithic art and complete carcasses have been found in Siberia and Alaska. They subsisted mainly on open grassy vegetation. The two main species were woolly mammoth and the Columbian mammoth.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: cassava, yuca
DEFINITION: A starchy root plant native to the tropical lowland zone of South America, where it was cultivated along with other root crops. Its origin may have been in Venezuela before 2500 BC and it became established in the Andes and reached the Peruvian coast before 2000 BC. Manioc can grow under various conditions, but only in the lowland forest did manioc retain its position as the main food plant. On archaeological sites, large clay disks are often interpreted as griddles on which were baked flat cakes made of a flour prepared by roasting grated manioc roots and juice-catching pots for the prussic acid they contain. The plant underwent elaborate detoxification process (including grating, pulping, draining and finally cooking) before consumption. It was the staple diet throughout most of Amazonia and the Caribbean at the time of European contact. Manioc is the source of tapioca.
- CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: A granular limestone or dolomite (a rock composed of calcium-magnesium carbonate) that has been recrystallized under the influence of heat, pressure, and aqueous solutions. This polished stone was used for sculpture and decoration and for architecture from the 7th century BC onwards. Most used were fine white marbles of Greece, though colored marbles were used in Hellenistic architecture. Roman marble, principally from Carrara quarries at Luna, became popular in the 1st century BC.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bel
DEFINITION: The god of Babylon who in the 13th-12th centuries BC ousted Enlil as the most prominent god in the Sumerian pantheon. He became the ruler of the gods rather than just their head, which represented a shift in the relationship between the gods -- paralleling the rise in power of the Mesopotamian kings. Marduk's seat was at Babylon; Marduk's chief temples at Babylon were the Esagila and the Etemenanki, a ziggurat with a shrine of Marduk on the top. Originally he seems to have been a god of thunderstorms.
- Marinatos, Spyridon Nikolaou (1901-1974)
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Greek archaeologist who came up with the theory that the end of the Minoan civilization in the Aegean could have been caused by the volcano on the island of Thera in 1500 BC. He also discovered the buried Bronze Age port city at Akrotiri on Thera. Among the finds made at the site were the finest frescoes discovered in the Mediterranean region to that time, surpassing even those found at Knossos in Crete. He was the discoverer of the site of the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) and the burial ground associated with the Battle of Marathon (490 BC). He wrote Crete and Mycenae" (1959)."
- Maspero, Gaston Camille Charles (1846-1916)
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: French Egyptologist who succeeded August Mariette as Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service and who edited the first 50 volumes of the immense catalog of the collection there. He excavated numerous sites from Saqqara to the Valley of the Kings. At Deir el Bahari (Dayr al-Bahri), he came upon fabulous collection of 40 royal mummies, s, including those of the pharaohs Seti I, Amenhotep I, Thutmose III, and Ramses II, in inscribed sarcophagi, as well as a profusion of decorative and funerary artifacts. Maspero's intensive study of these findings was published in Les Momies royales de Deir-el-Bahari" (1889; "The Royal Mummies of Dayr al-Bahri"). He also published an account of the Nubian monuments threatened by construction of first Aswan Dam. He helped found the Egyptian Museum in 1902. During his second tenure as director general (1899-1914) Maspero regulated excavations tried to prevent illicit trade in antiquities sought to preserve and strengthen monuments and directed the archaeological survey of Nubia. His writings include "Histoire ancienne des peoples de l'Orient classique". (1895-97; "Ancient History of the Peoples of the Classic Orient") "L'Archéologie égyptienne" (1887; "Egyptian Archaeology") "Les Contes populaires de l'Égypte ancienne" (4th ed. 1914; "Popular Tales of Ancient Egypt") and "Causeries d'Égypte" (1907; "New Light on Ancient Egypt")."
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Greek mausoleion
DEFINITION: A storage structure for the dead which was above ground; a large, impressive sepulchral monument. The original mausoleum was the gigantic tomb of Mausolus, ruler of Caria, in southwest Asia Minor, built at Halicarnassus c 353-350 BC. It was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The word later came to be used for any tomb built on a monumental scale, such as Augustus in the Field of Mars and Hadrian on the banks of the Tiber (now the Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome). As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it was famous not only for its vast dimensions, but also for the refinement of its decoration and sculptures. Attributed to the architect Pythius, it seems to have been constructed entirely of white marble, and reached a total height of some 40 meters. It consisted of a massively broad and high plinth, surmounted probably by a temple with Ionic peristyle, topped by a pyramid, and the whole capped with a gigantic chariot-and horse group. Some time before the 15th century, it collapsed due to earthquake damage. The colossal statues identified as those of Mausolus and Artemisia were brought to the British Museum, together with sculpture and frieze details. Probably the most ambitious mausoleum is the white marble Taj Mahal at Agra, in India, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife, who died in 1631. Other famous mausoleums are those of Vladimir Lenin and Napoleon III.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Classic Maya
DEFINITION: Very important culture of Mesoamerica, one of the major Classic civilizations, which occupied the peninsula of Yucatan and Belize, the lowland jungle south of it, and the highlands of Guatemala and western Honduras. The civilization developed from other pre-Classic cultures by about 200 BC and continued until being conquered by the Spaniards in 1541 AD. By c 200 BC, at sites like Tikal and Uaxactún, the first pyramids were being built. Population increase and the introduction of new ceramic and architectural forms are accompanied by an artistic transition from Olmec through Izapan to Mayan. The classic Maya civilization dates to c 292 AD, the earliest Long count date found on stele 29 at Tikal. The Early Classic period (200-600) was the golden age of the lowland culture and the great centers acted as foci for administration, religion, and the arts. Architecture, sculpture, and painting were highly developed; records were kept in hieroglyphic writing, and elaborate ceremonies were carried out in the temples on top of their pyramids. A class of astronomer-priests observed the sun, moon, and planets, and had evolved a calendrical system more accurate than the Julian calendar used in Christian Europe. In mathematics the priests used a vigesimal system with the concept of zero and with a positional notation. The Classic Maya culture is characterized by an immense investment of labor in construction of ceremonial architecture, the erection of stelae, and a growing differentiation between the elite and the peasant population. The Maya practiced swidden agriculture as well as intensive agriculture, terracing and raised fields, and arboriculture. Polychrome pottery is a hallmark of the Maya Lowland Classic culture. The Late Classic period (c 600-900 AD) shows development in sculpture and architecture -- and regional styles can be recognized. Northern Yucatan began to come into its own at sites like Chichén Itzá and Uxmal, where fine buildings in the Punc style were erected during the 7th-9th centuries. The later part of this period witnessed the end of civilization in the lowlands; the great centers were abandoned during the 9th and early 10th centuries. The Post-Classic period, c 900 to the Spanish conquest, had strong Mexican influence, particularly at Chichén Itzá where buildings were constructed in the Toltec style of central Mexico, and the art shows representations of Toltec warriors overpowering Maya chiefs. During the collapse in the southern Lowlands, centers in the northern Lowlands began to grow, c 800-1000 AD. The South's decline may have played a role in the North's prosperity. Sometime around 1200, the Itzá were driven from their capital, and Mayapán became the leading city of Yucatan. In about 1440-1450, Mayapán was overthrown and there followed a time of disunity and warfare which lasted until the Spaniards conquered Yucatan in 1541. The Maya kingdoms of highland Guatemala were subdued in 1525, but in the lowlands the descendants of the exiled Itzá held out until 1697. The collapse of Maya culture (in c 900) is a puzzling phenomenon, but its relative suddenness still remains without satisfactory explanation. There are no Long Count dates after 900, after which time lowland populations dwindled by as much as 90 percent. The term Maya also refers to a culture area and is typically divided into the lowland and highland Maya. Descendants of the Maya still occupy the region.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Late Post-Classic Maya center in west-central Yucatán, Mexico. The walled town covered 4.2 square km and contained 3,600 houses, as well as temples which are a rather poor copy of those at Chichén Itzá. This dense concentration of housing represented something new in Mayan architecture, and walls are found at other sites of the period. The population ranged from 6,000-15,000. After the decline of Chichén Itzá in about 1200 AD, Mayapán became the dominant city in northern Yucatan and was able to extort tribute from several neighboring states. Among the major features are a central temple-pyramid complex dedicated to Kulculkan (the Mayan name for Quetzacoatl). The most characteristic artifact is the highly elaborate incensario (incense burner). The end of this relatively short-lived center was precipitated by internal dissension resulting in the summary execution of the ruling elite and it was finally sacked in a local uprising in c 1400; abandonment followed shortly thereafter in c1450.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Yathrib
DEFINITION: An oasis town in western Saudi Arabia, 447 km (278 miles) from Mecca, known as Yathrib before Muhammad's residence there. Medina is second only to Mecca as the holiest place of Muslim pilgrimage. It is venerated by all Muslims as the place to which the Prophet Muhammad fled from Mecca in 622. This event (the Hijrah / Hegira / higira) marks the beginning of the Islamic era and Muslim calendar. Muhammad built himself a house consisting of a walled compound containing a courtyard, living quarters, and a double portico. The Prophet and his followers worshipped here and the building, with its large courtyard and covered hall, became the prototype of congregational mosques, such as those at Samar-Ra. Soon afterward Muhammad drove out the Jews who had controlled the oasis. Thereafter known as Medina, the city prospered as the administrative capital of the steadily expanding Islamic state, a position it maintained until 661, when it was superseded in that role by Damascus. The House of the Prophet was rebuilt in 707-709 by the caliph al-Walid, who inserted a niche (the mihab) in the end wall of the portico to indicate the direction one must face while praying.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: mega-fauna
DEFINITION: The large, Ice Age big-game fauna in North America, now extinct. These Late Pleistocene food sources included mammoths, mastodon; giant bison, sloths, camels, and diprotodons. The term also covers extinct larger species of quite small animals, such as giant beavers. The late Pleistocene extinction of megafauna did not occur synchronously nor was it of equal magnitude throughout the world. Considerable doubt exists regarding the timing of the megafaunal extinction on various landmasses. Evidence suggests that the earliest mass megafaunal extinctions occurred in Australia and New Guinea about 30,000 or more years ago. Eighty-six percent of the Australian vertebrate genera whose members weighed more than 40 kilograms became extinct. Much smaller extinction events occurred in Africa, Asia, and Europe earlier in the Pleistocene, removing very large species such as rhinoceroses, elephants, and the largest artiodactyls. Other mass megafaunal extinction events occurred on the Eurasian tundra about 12,000 years ago (affecting mammoths, Irish elk, and woolly rhinoceroses); in North and South America they occurred about 11,000 years ago (affecting a wide variety of species, including elephants, giant sloths, lions, and bears). These extinctions have removed 29 percent of the vertebrate genera weighing more than 40 kilograms from Europe and 73 percent of such genera from North America. Until 1,000 to 2,000 years ago the megafauna of large, long-isolated landmasses such as New Zealand and Madagascar survived. Gigantic birds such as the elephant birds of Madagascar and the moas of New Zealand disappeared in the past few thousand years.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Irish elk
DEFINITION: An extinct giant elk of the Pleistocene ('giant deer'), whose best-known species M. giganteus was abundant in Ireland, Europe, and western Asia. It had the largest antlers of any deer known -- some 13 feet (4 m) across. Its remains are sometimes found in Palaeolithic assemblages and there are rare depictions in cave art. It became generally extinct in c 10,500 BP, though some may have survived to 700-500 BC.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Megaron
DEFINITION: In Aegean (ancient Greece and the Middle East) architecture, a hall consisting basically of a rectangular or apsidal-ended room with the side walls projecting beyond the forward end to form a porch, which may be pillared. There was often a large, round central hearth in the hall and extra rooms at the rear end, between the same side walls. It was usually entered through the shallow porch at the one end. The form is recorded at Troy in the later 4th millennium BC and continued to be used in Turkey until much later. It appears as early as the Sesklo period in Greece but are best known as the great painted halls of Mycenaean princes. This architectural unit formed the main hall of a Mycenaean house or the central block of a Mycenaean palace. It also became an important element in the Classical temple. A typical megaron plan is that of the palace of Nestor at Pylos, where the large main unit apparently served as royal living quarters. It faced onto the usual courtyard, which was entered through a decorative gateway with fluted columns on either side.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tell Megiddo
DEFINITION: A large tell on a natural hill in northern Palestine, a Biblical city. A town in the Early Bronze Age was built in the early 4th millennium BC and the site was sporadically occupied since the Neolithic and Chalcolithic. It became a great fortified center through its strategic position on the land route from Egypt to Mesopotamia and on the route that connected Phoenician cities with Jerusalem. Megiddo was captured by the Egyptian king Thutmose III about 1468 but survived frequent sackings down to c 350 BC. Notable finds include a hoard of 400 Phoenician ivories, a rock-cut shaft and a 65-meter passage to give the Canaanites access to a spring from inside the walls -- all from the 13th century BC. To the 9th century BC belong a series of palace, shrine, and stable buildings created by the Israelites. The town was destroyed at the end of the 8th century BC and, although rebuilt, it declined into insignificance by the Hellenistic period.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: One of the Cyclades in the Aegean, famous as a major source of obsidian, whose trade brought wealth to the island. It was used extensively for chipped stone implements in Aegean prehistory from as early as the 10th millennium BC. The island, however, was not inhabited until the 4th millennium BC. At Phylakopi three successive settlements were discovered, of roughly Early Cycladic II, Middle Cycladic, and Late Cycladic respectively. They show increasing influence from the Minoans of Crete, so much so that the third is better regarded as a provincial Minoan town than a native Cycladic one. Nevertheless the island maintained close contact with the Greek mainland, and with the collapse of Crete is came fully into the sphere of the Mycenaeans. The classical polis, destroyed by Athens in 416 BC, centered on the fortified acropolis of ancient Melos.
- CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: Any act of measuring; measurement. The earliest standard measurements appeared in the ancient Mediterranean cultures and were based on parts of the body, or on calculations of what man or beast could haul, or on the volume of containers or the area of fields in common use. The Egyptian cubit is generally recognized to have been the most widespread unit of linear measurement in the ancient world. It came into use around 3000 BC and was based on the length of the arm from the elbow to the extended finger tips. It was standardized by a royal master cubit of black granite, against which all cubit sticks in Egypt were regularly checked. One of the earliest known weight measures was the Babylonian mina, though the two surviving examples vary widely -- 640 grams (about 1.4 pounds) and 978 grams (about 2.15 pounds).
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: One of the kingdoms of central Anglo-Saxon England; it held a position of dominance for much of the period from the mid-7th to the early 9th century. Mercia originally comprised the border areas (modern Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and northern West Midlands and Warwickshire) that lay between the districts of Anglo-Saxon settlement and the Celtic tribes they had driven to the west. It later absorbed the Hwicce territory (the rest of West Midlands and Warwickshire, eastern Hereford and Worcester, and Gloucestershire) and spread also into what was later Cheshire, Salop, and western Hereford and Worcester. Mercia eventually came to denote an area bounded by the frontiers of Wales, the River Humber, East Anglia, and the River Thames. Its most famous kings were Penda (632-654), Aethelbald (reigned 716-757), and Offa (757-796). During this time the important Mercian School of manuscript illumination and sculpture developed. Thereafter it declined and disappeared under the encroachments of the Danes and of Wessex.
- Merenptah (d. 1204 BC?)
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Meneptah, Merenptah
DEFINITION: The 13th son of his long-lived father, Ramesses II, Merneptah was nearing 60 years of age at his accession in about 1213. Because of the extraordinary length of the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC), at least twelve of his sons died before him, including Khaemwaset, who was for several years the appointed heir. Early in Merneptah's reign, his troops had to suppress a revolt in Palestine by the cities of Ashqelon, Gezer, and Yenoam. Merneptah's greatest challenge, however, came from the Libyans who were encroaching on Egyptian lands. About 1209, Merneptah learned that some Sea Peoples were roving the Middle East, had joined and armed the Libyans, and with them were conspiring to attack Memphis and Heliopolis. He is responsible for the great victory over the Libyans and Sea Peoples, in which they lost nearly 9,400 men. Merneptah ordered the carving of four great commemorative texts in celebration. One of these, the famous Israel Stela refers to the suppression of the revolt in Palestine. It contains the earliest-known reference to Israel, which Merneptah counted among the peoples that he defeated. Hebrew scholars suggest that the circumstances agree approximately with the period noted in biblical books from late Exodus to Judges. A fragmentary stela from the Sudan also suggests that the king quelled a rebellion in Lower Nubia, probably after his Palestinian exploits.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Emerita Augusta, Roman Augusta Emerita
DEFINITION: A Roman colony in Spain, founded by the Romans in 25 BC as Augusta Emerita. As the capital of Lusitania (roughly equivalent to modern Portugal), it became one of the most important towns in Iberia and was large enough to contain a garrison of 90,000 men. It prospered anew in the 7th century under the Visigoths. Roman buildings survive: theater, amphitheater (both built by Agrippa), circus, temples, aqueducts, and a Roman bridge of 64 arches. There is a temple of Diana, an arch of Trajan, aqueducts and conduits, a group of structures devoted to Mithras and other mystery cults, and a number of rich houses with colonnaded courts and mosaics (including the so-called 'Creation of the Universe'). Gold tesserae are found, and some of the sculptures, especially Roman marble portraits, are of fine quality.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in Upper Nubia, a city-state in the Sudan which succeeded Napata (original capital of kingdom of Kush/Cush) as the capital of a vigorous state flourishing from 750 BC-350 AD. The 25th, or Ethiopian dynasty of ancient Egypt is believed to have retired to Kush after 656 BC and established itself at Meroe. After the sack of Napata in c 590 by the Egyptian pharaoh Psamtik II, Meroe became the capital of the kingdom. It is the type site of the Meroitic period (c 300 BC-350 AD) and located on the east bank of the Nile in the Butana region of Sudan. Dependent on Nile, kingdom lay in triangle of land at confluence of Nile and Atbara. It was the center of the Kushite kingdom in the fifth century BC. Meroe was able to exploit a region of considerable agricultural potential with fairly regular, if not abundant, rainfall. There was also a supply of timber adequate to fuel the smelting of the local iron deposits. By the beginning of the Christian era, if not before, the iron industry had been developed on a considerable scale. Meroitic architecture included temples in the Egyptian style and royal pyramid tombs (e.g. Musawwarat es-Sufra). Egyptian influence gradually diminished; Egyptian hieroglyphs were abandoned in about the 2nd century BC in favor of a local script. The Meroitic language thus recorded cannot at present be understood. The tenuous nature of the link with Egypt is to be appreciated by considering the trade route, which it appears did not follow the inhospitable Nile Valley, but ran along the Red Sea coast. From about the beginning of the Christian era, this route was increasingly endangered by local developments, notably the rise of the kingdom of Axum. By the 3rd century AD, Meroe was in decline; its final collapse came with the conquest by Axum early in the 4th century. The chief features are palaces and a great temple of Amon.
- Mesa Verde
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A large flat-topped mountain in southwest Colorado which was an area of Anasazi occupation beginning in c 600 AD. The structures are among the most spectacular in the American Southwest: cliff dwellings which are large Pueblo III multiroom apartment dwellings. The most famous is the Cliff Palace, comprised of 200 rooms and 23 kivas built of dressed stone blocks. The population rose steadily until 1200, after which date came decline and total abandonment of the area by c 1300.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Term meaning land between the (two) rivers" the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in western Asia (modern Iraq) which encompasses various ancient kingdoms. This land was the home of the world's earliest civilization that of the Sumerians and of the later Babylonian Akkadian and Assyrian civilizations. The chronology of the prehistoric periods is based on radiocarbon dates; the historical periods' chronology is based on a combination of documentary sources and calendrical information. The area was the focus of the development of complex societies until the collapse of Mesopotamia at the end of the 1st millennium BC. The geography of the area allowed the development of husbandry agriculture and permanent settlements. Trade with other regions also flourished irrigation techniques were created as well as pottery and other crafts building methods based on clay bricks were developed and elaborate religious cults evolved. The birth of the city took place in the 4th millennium BC and the invention of writing occurred about 3000 BC -- both in Sumer. Excavations of Sumerian cities (Eridu Kish Uruk Isin Lagash Ur) have yielded thousands of clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform writing. Sargon the king of Akkad fought wars of conquest from the Mediterranean to the Zagros and ruled over history's first empire. The Akkadians were a Semitic people and their Akkadian language became the common vocabulary. The Akkadian rule only about two centuries. After that Ur (c 2112-2004 BC) the parallel dynasties of Isin and Larsa (to c 1763 BC) and then Babylon were the powers. The outstanding ruler of Babylon was Hammurabi (c 1792-1750 BC) who is best known for the code of laws he had inscribed on a great stela. From about 1600-1450 BC Babylonian culture declined as the Hurrians and the Kassites migrated into Mesopotamia and established themselves as rulers. Some time after 1500 BC the Mitanni kingdom extended its rule over much of northern Mesopotamia. The language of the kingdom was Hurrian but its rulers may have been of Aryan origin. Toward the end of the 15th century BC the city of Ashur in northern Mesopotamia a region that came to be known as Assyria began its rise. By 1350 BC the Assyrian empire was well-established and its kings conquered large areas from the Mitanni kingdom the Kassites and the Hittites. Another Babylonian dynasty known as the 2nd dynasty of Isin revived the greatness of the Old Empire under Nebuchadrezzar I (c 1119-1098). Assyria reached new heights of power under Tiglath-pileser I (c 1115-1077) and Ashurnasirpal II (883-859). Between 746-727 BC the Neo-Assyrian empire formed and subdued the Aramaeans who had settled much of Babylonia and then conquered Urartu Syria Israel and other areas. The empire reached its after conquering Egypt in 671 and then the reign of Ashurbanipal (668-627) but its rapid decline came soon after attacks by the Medes Scythians and Babylonians. The Assyrian empire was crushed in 609. Babylon's Nebuchadrezzar II (605-561) is best known for his destruction of Jerusalem in 588/587 and his forcing of thousands of Jews into the "Babylonian exile." The Neo-Babylonian empire ended in 539 when Nabonidus surrendered to Cyrus II of Persia. Under the Persians and Alexander the Great Babylon was a rich capital. The Seleucid kings ruled Mesopotamia from about 312 BC until the middle of the 2nd century BC. In the 2nd century BC Mesopotamia became part of the Parthian empire. Human occupation of Mesopotamia began some time around 6000 BC. The prehistoric cultural stages of Hassuna-Samarra' and Halaf succeeded each other here before there is evidence of settlement in the south (Sumer). There the earliest settlements such as Eridu appear to have been founded around 5000 BC in the late Halaf period. From then on the cultures of the north and south move through a succession of major archaeological periods that in their southern forms are known as Ubaid Warka Protoliterate and Early Dynastic at the end of which -- shortly after 3000 BC -- recorded history begins. The historical periods of the 3rd millennium are in order: Akkad Gutium 3rd dynasty of Ur; those of the 2nd millennium: Isin-Larsa Old Babylonian Kassite and Middle Babylonian; and those of the 1st millennium: Assyrian Neo-Babylonian Achaemenian Seleucid and Parthian."
- Middle Assyrian
- CATEGORY: culture; chronology
DEFINITION: A period in the history of the Assyrian empire extending from the 14th-12th centuries BC. In the Late Bronze Age, Assyria was dominated by the Mitanni state, but in the 14th century BC, Assyria became dominant. Ashur-uballit I created the first Assyrian empire and initiated the Middle Assyrian period. With the help of the Hittites, he destroyed the dominion of the Aryan Mitanni (a non-Semitic people from upper Iran and Syria) and ravaged Nineveh. Later, allied with the Kassite successors in Babylonia, Ashur-uballit ended Hittite and Hurrian rule. By intermarriage he then influenced the Kassite dynasty and eventually dominated all of Babylonia, thus paving the way for the Neo-Assyrian mastery during the Sargonid dynasty (12th to 7th century). The succeeding Assyrian kings expanded the empire through northern Mesopotamia and the mountains to the north and briefly occupied Babylonia. Several kings weakened Assyria, but then others brought back its dominion. Middle Assyrian is also the name of a form of cuneiform that was used extensively in writing law code and other documents. Middle Assyrian laws were found on clay tablets at Ashur (at the time of Tiglath-pileser I, 1114-1076 BC).
- Middle Horizon
- CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A division of time in Andean/Peruvian South America, c 600-1000 AD, used to refer to the first imperialistic domination of area under the unifying forces of Tiahuanaco and Huari (Wari) cultures. It was the time of the first large-scale imperial expansions. During the first half of the Middle Horizon, in central Peru, the Huari came to control the highlands and possibly the coast. The remains of large groups of food-storage buildings in the Huari strongholds suggest military activity like that of the late Inca. Huari is closely linked in its art style to the monuments of the great site of Tiahuanaco, located on Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. Tiahuanaco expanded over the altiplano and adjacent regions of Bolivia, southern Peru, and northern Chile. The principal buildings of Tiahuanaco include the Akapana Pyramid, a huge platform mound or stepped pyramid of earth faced with cut andesite; a rectangular enclosure known as the Kalasasaya, constructed of alternating tall stone columns and smaller rectangular blocks; and another enclosure known as the Palacio. They practiced the raised-field system of agriculture. Some Tiahuanaco effigy vessels have been discovered at Huari, but otherwise they seem to have been independent entities. In the second half of the Middle Horizon, the political and economic systems slowly collapsed. The decline of these two states was followed by a period of more localized political power. The Late Intermediate Period began about 1000 AD.
- Middle Mississippi culture
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A part of the Woodland culture in the central Mississippi valley and its tributaries that came into existence around 700 AD and lasted until the historical 16th-17th centuries. The most notable features are elaborate pottery, large and often fortified villages, and ceremonial centers with temple platforms and courtyards. From its origin, these cultures spread outwards until they had overrun most of the eastern United States. In the north, the Mississippi culture encroached on and blended with the Woodland cultural tradition. Important sites are Etowah (Georgia), Moundville (Alabama), Spiro (Oklahoma), and Cahokia (Illinois).
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mediolanum
DEFINITION: A city founded by the Gauls about the year 600 BC as Mediolanum, which became the capital of a Celtic tribe known as the Insubres. At the time of the Roman conquest, 222 BC, Mediolanum, was already one of the most powerful cities of the region on the Roman side of the Alps known as Cisalpine Gaul. Under the emperor Augustus, it became a part of the 11th region of Italy, acquiring increasing prestige and economic power until it became the second city of the Western Roman Empire behind Rome itself. In the 3rd century AD, following the division of the empire by Diocletian, it was the residence and main administrative center for one of the two emperors. Constantine the Great declared it the seat of the Vicar of Italy. In the year 452, Attila the Hun devastated the city, and in 539 the Goths destroyed it. The city sprung back to life by the second half of the 10th century. It was the principal road center of northern Italy and is the site of the imperial palace, Augustan and later walls, theater, amphitheater, circus, Constantinian baths, and early churches.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Greek settlement at the mouth of the Meander valley in Turkey (western Anatolia), inhabited from the 2nd millennium BC. By the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, it was an Ionian Greek city, colonizing Black Sea and Egyptian Delta areas in the 7th and 6th centuries BC. Miletus played an important role in the founding of the Greek colony of Naukratis in Egypt and founded more than 60 colonies on the shores of the Black Sea, including Abydos, Cyzicus, Sinope, Olbia, and Panticapaeum. Before 500 BC, Miletus was the greatest Greek city in the east. Miletus produced the classical historian Hecateus and the town planner Hippodamus. It was destroyed by the Persians in 494 BC and the new layout reflected Hippodamian planning. The city came under Athenian, Persian, Greek and (in 129 BC) Roman control. Impressive ruins survive nearby of the re-built Hellenistic Greek oracular temple of Apollo and a Roman theater. The harbor mouth was guarded by statues of lions. Subsequently, the harbor silted up and Miletus declined, but occupation continued into the early Byzantine period. In 263 AD, it survived an attack by the Goths and was refurbished by the emperor Diocletian. New Byzantine churches and monumental buildings were eventually erected within its boundaries. In the 10th century, the citadel was destroyed by an earthquake but was again rebuilt over the ancient ruins. The ruins occupy the former peninsula extending northward from the hill of Kalabak Tepe. Only one temple, from the 6th century BC, survives in part on Kalabak Tepe. To the south there are extensive remains of the classical city from the 5th century BC to Roman imperial times. The Hellenistic council house has some of the earliest known examples of true pilasters.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: The Bronze Age civilization of Crete, a name coined by Sir Arthur Evans derived from the legendary ruler of Knossos, Minos. The civilization is divided into three phases: Early (c 3000-2000 BC), Middle (c 2000-1550 BC), and Late (c 1550-1050 BC). Each had three subdivisions marked with Roman numerals. They stand out as the first civilized Europeans, with a highly sophisticated way of life and material equipment, and were surprisingly modern. They probably represented a fusion between Anatolian immigrants and the native Neolithic population, with some trading contacts through the east Mediterranean. In the Middle Minoan period, urbanization became apparent, towns appeared and, a Minoan specialty, the first of the great palaces, Knossos, Mallia, and Phaestos. Overseas trade was greatly expanded, too. The height of its development was in the 18th-15th centuries BC. By about 1580 BC Minoan civilization began to spread across the Aegean to neighboring islands and to the mainland of Greece. Minoan cultural influence was reflected in the Mycenean culture of the mainland, which began to spread throughout the Aegean about 1500 BC. The palaces were destroyed c 1450, probably by the cataclysmic eruption of Santorini/Thera -- or by conquerors from the mainland. After that, Greek-speaking Mycenaeans gained control of Knossos and Crete; only Knossos was reoccupied on a significant scale. The final fall of Knossos, c 1400 BC, marked the end of Crete's period of greatness. Their Linear A script has not been deciphered, but Linear B has been successfully translated as an early form of Greek, written in a syllabary, but belongs only to the period of mainland domination, and is therefore more relevant to Mycenaeans than Minoans. Their pottery is among the most artistic of any place or time, using abstract curvilinear, floral, and marine designs. Craftsmen reached high levels of technical skill and aesthetic achievement in pottery, metal work, stonework, jewelry, and wall painting (the palaces are lavishly decorated with frescoes). Vessels, figurines, and magnificent seal stones were also carved in stone and bronze and gold objects made. There were many bull sporting events. Cult activities normally took place either in hilltop shrines, often in caves, or in small shrines within the palaces, and often involved animals, including goats and especially bulls. There is an alternative division of the Minoan civilization into Prepalatial (Early Minoan I-III), Protopalatial (Middle Minoan I-II), Neopalatial (Middle Minoan III-Late Minoan IIIA1), and Postpalatial (Late Minoan IIIA2-IIIC).
- CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A geological epoch of the Tertiary period in the earth's history, in which many of the great mountain chains were formed and mammals came to dominate animal life. During this epoch, many mammals of modern form, such as dogs, horses, and humanlike apes, evolved. The Miocene occurred after the Oligocene and before the Pliocene and is dated between 25-5 (23.7-5.3) million years ago. It is often divided into the Early Miocene epoch (23.7 to 16.6 million years ago), the Middle Miocene epoch (16.6 to 11.2 million years ago), and the Late Miocene epoch (11.2 to 5.3 million years ago). The Miocene may also be divided into six ages and their corresponding rock stages: from oldest to youngest these ages or stages are the Aquitanian, Burdigalian, Langhian, Serravallian, Tortonian, and Messinian.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mississippi tradition
CATEGORY: chronology; culture
DEFINITION: A group of cultures which arose in southeastern North America -- especially the central and lower Mississippi Valley -- after 700 AD into the historic period. It spread over a great area of the Southeast and the mid-continent, in the river valleys of what are now the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, with scattered extensions northward into Wisconsin and Minnesota and westward into the Great Plains. It stands in contrast to the Woodland Tradition with three new traits -- building of rectangular, flat-topped mounds as bases for temples; burial mounds becoming less prominent; and radical pottery changes (pulverized shell rather than grit used for temper). New pottery shapes and forms, such as olla, and new types of decoration (burnishing, painting) appeared. Maize became the predominant crop, accompanied by beans and squash, which supplemented hunting and gathering. The largest of the earthworks is Monks Mound, in the Cahokia Mounds near Collinsville, Illinois. The Mississippian is divided into the periods Temple Mound I (700-1200 AD) and Temple Mound II (1200-1700 AD). It was the last major cultural tradition in prehistoric North America. By the late 17th century, all the major centers had been abandoned.
- CATEGORY: deity
DEFINITION: A Persian demigod who achieved independence and importance during the Roman empire, and best known as the savior deity of the Roman mystery cult of Mithraism. Especially in military circles, his worship challenged early Christianity. He is portrayed as a young man in a Phrygian cap, usually in the act of kneeling on the back of a bull to dispatch it by a sword thrust in the neck. A Mithraeum is a building, often semi-subterranean, containing a passage between broad shelves on which the worshippers reclined during the ceremonies. The end wall may hold a fresco or relief of Mithras himself. From the 1st century BC onwards, he begins to appear in the Roman world as the god of a mystery cult. His disciples, who were exclusively men and often limited to the ranks of soldiers and businessmen, were promised life and happiness after death. As in other mystery cults, the rites were kept secret, and truth and benefits came only to initiated believers, who had to pass through a sequence of seven grades of initiation. These were the stages of the Raven (Corax), Bride (Nymphus), Soldier (Miles), Lion (Leo), Persian (Perses), Runner of the Sun (Heliodromos), and Fater (Pater). The disciple also underwent baptism, took part in the reenacting of the sacred meal, and bore the seal of his discipleship on his body. Mithraism expanded rapidly from the second half of the 1st century AD.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in central Oaxaca, Mexico, which was first occupied in the centuries before 800 BC, after which it became an outpost of Monte Albán civilization. It is generally believed that Mitla (Nahuatl: Place of the Dead) was established as a sacred burial site long before the Christian Era, probably by the Zapotecs, whose influence was predominant until about 900 AD. Between 900-1500, the Mixtecs moved down from northern Oaxaca and took possession of Mitla; it is the Mixtec influence that is most pronounced on the existing ruins. Its ceramics date from Monte Alban I (900-300 BC), but there is no structural evidence until Monte Albán III (200-1521 AD). After the parent site was abandoned in the 8th-10th centuries AD, a fortification wall was built at Mitla and pyramids were constructed there. The town became an important religious center and there are five clusters of columned, flat-roofed palace structures (Grupo de las Columnas (Columns Group), Grupo de las Iglesias (Churches Group), Grupo del Arroyo (Arroyo Group), Grupo de los Adobes (Adobe Group), and Grupo del Sur (Southern Group)). Major construction in the Early Post-Classic coincides with the abandonment of Monte Alban, suggesting that it became a new locus for the Zapotec. At the time of the Spanish Conquest, Mitla was said to be the residence of the Zapotec high priest. Certain frescoes were painted in pure Mixtec style, although Mitla itself may have remained under Zapotec control.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A linguistic and cultural group of the Oaxaca state of southern Mexico, especially the Mixteca Alta region. The Mixtecs and Zapotecs struggled for power in Oaxaca and Early Mixtec dynasties date to the 7th century AD. The people were mainly skilled craftsmen -- known for their metalwork, painting, stone carving, and turquoise mosaic -- living in this mountainous country. Several books/codices have survived, and trace the history and politics of the Mixtec dynasties before the Spanish Conquest. During the Post-Classic period, they ventured into Zapotec territory and occupied much of the Valley of Oaxaca (Monte Albán, Mitla). The influence of Mixtec art is apparent as far north as Cholula, in the state of Puebla, where a regional Mixteca-Puebla style came into being, and was in turn one of the formative influences on Aztec art. Many of the finest objects from Aztec territory were probably the work of Mixtec artisans. The polychrome pottery had a lacquerlike polish and brilliant colors. Parts of the Mixteca were conquered by the Aztecs in the early 16th century, but in the south some Mixtecs remained independent until the arrival of the Spaniards. Their capital was at Tilantongo.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Province of the Roman Empire in the lower Danube area, extending from Serbia to the mouth of the Danube and between Dacia and Thracia. Moesia was conquered by Marcus Licinius Crassus in 30-28 BC and became a Roman province in 15 AD. In the 1st century AD, a series of defensive walls and forts in southern Romania were built to guard the Moesia-Dacia frontier. Moesia was fairly prosperous because of the wheat from the Black Sea area. Agriculture and fruit-growing flourished, and there was mineral wealth in the Balkan Mountains. The province suffered heavily from barbarian invasions in the 3rd century AD, and when Dacia was abandoned about 270, its inhabitants were largely transferred to Moesia. Moesia remained part of the Eastern Roman Empire until the 7th century.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A prehistoric civilization that existed from before 500 BC to approximately 1400 AD in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico in the Mogollon Highlands. Its roots lie in the Cochise version of the Desert Culture in this area, but the Mogollon folk were settled agriculturists who lived in villages of pit houses; they were also strongly influenced by the Anasazi and Hohokam. Evidence of maize and bean horticulture found at Bat Cave dates to earlier than 2000 BC, but unequivocally characteristic traits, such as plain brown pottery, do not appear until 300 BC. Although the tradition was agriculturally based, hunting and gathering continued to play some part in subsistence activities. Before c 1000 AD, typical communities were small villages of pit houses, located in easily defensible positions such as high mesas. Larger villages often included a communal assembly building (possibly early kiva) and sometimes fortifications. From c 1000 AD, the Mogollon people came under the influence of their northern neighbors, the Anasazi, and began to build pueblos. To this late period belongs some of the finest pottery of the American southwest, Mimbres ware, painted with stylized black animals on a white background. The culture is chronologically divided on the basis of architectural and pottery changes (Pine Lawn period, about 200 BC-AD 500; Georgetown period, 500-700; San Francisco period, 700-900; Three Circle period, 900-1050; and Mimbres period, 1050-1200). Unlike the Anasazi culture, the Mogollon culture did not survive as a recognizable group of modern Native Americans. Remnants of the Mogollon may have merged with Anasazi peoples to become what is known as the Western Pueblo people. The tradition has a number of regional variants: Mimbres, Pine Lawn, Upper Little Colorado, Forestdale, and Point of Pines.
- Mortillet, Gabriel de (1821-1898)
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mortillet, (Louis-Laurent-Marie) Gabriel de
DEFINITION: French prehistorian who, after being a student of Edouard Lartet, proposed an alternative to Lartet's Palaeolithic classification scheme. For the palaeontological criteria of Lartet he substituted archaeological ones based on tool forms rather than faunal remains. He extended into prehistory the geological system of periods, or epochs, each characterized by a limited range of type fossils. Each period had 'type names' after a 'type site' where the diagnostic material was well represented -- such as Mousterian, Aurignacian, and Solutrean. By 1869, de Mortillet's scheme for the Stone Age had the following subdivisions: Thenaisian (for the now discredited eoliths), followed by Chellean, Mousterian, Solutrean, Aurignacian, Magdalenian, and (for the Neolithic) Robenhausian, named after a lake village -- though alterations and additions (Acheulian) were made later. With further modifications, this classification was widely adopted and remained the standard terminology for European archaeology until well into the 20th century. De Mortillet saw his epochs as periods of time or as stages of development with a universal validity, and his scheme was basically a refinement of the Three Age System. He did not allow for purely local variants within a single epoch; he divided the Palaeolithic into time periods, not cultures or traditions. This is no longer accepted and de Mortillet's epochs are now thought to represent cultures and to have local validity only. The practice of using type site names, however, proved so useful that it became standard practice. He founded, in 1864, one of the earliest archaeological journals, Matériaux pour l'Histoire positive et philosophique de l'Homme". His classifications were published in "Le Préhistorique: antiquité de l'homme" (1882; "The Prehistoric: Man's Antiquity") and in subsequent revisions."
- mortuary temple
- CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: An Egyptian temple, located close to a royal tomb, where the mortuary cult of a king was carried out. It was a center for the performance of rites for the benefit of the dead king and a depository for offerings of food, etc. It was originally part of the funerary complex; in the New Kingdom, it came to be separated from the tomb, often by miles. In the Old and Middle Kingdoms (c 2575-2130 BC and 1938-1600 BC) the mortuary temple usually adjoined the pyramid and had an open, pillared court, storerooms, five elongated shrines, and a chapel containing a false door and an offering table. In the New Kingdom (1539-1075 BC) the kings were buried in rock-cut tombs, but separate mortuary temples were built nearby. All were provided with a staff of priests and assured of supplies through endowments of estates and lands to ensure religious services and offerings in perpetuity.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: mosaic work
DEFINITION: A technique of decoration used mainly on floors or walls involving the setting of small colored fragments of stone, tile, mineral, shell, or glass, each called a tessera (plural tesserae), in a cement or adhesive matrix. Mosaic also refers to a tesselated area, often of complex designs and, possibly, inscriptions. Mosaic floors were made from small squares, triangles, or other regular shapes up to an inch in size. They were laid in cement to form designs, figures of animals, or classical figures representing the seasons, etc. Old limestone would be used for white and various reds, browns, or grays from baked clays. Glass, too, was sometimes incorporated. The earliest known mosaics date from the 8th century BC and are made of pebbles, a technique refined by Greek craftsmen in the 5th century BC. Greek mosaics were simple pebble floors and then became more complex and sophisticated under Macedonian kings. Mosaics are known from Pompeii and Rome, Tivoli, Aquileia, and Ostia -- as well as Africa, Antioch, Sicily, and Britain. Under the Roman Empire, the achievements of the 5th-6th century Byzantine artists at Ravenna are impressive. An excellent collection of mosaics from Pompeii may be seen in the Mueo Nazionale at Naples, and a good selection of Imperial Roman provincial work may be seen at the Museum of Le Bardo, outside modern Tunis, Tunisia. Pre-Columbian American Indians favored mosaics of semiprecious stones such as garnet and turquoise and mother-of-pearl. These were normally used to encrust small objects such as shields, masks, and cult statues. Mosaic as an art form has most in common with painting. It represents a design or image in two dimensions. It is also, like painting, a technique appropriate to large-scale surface decoration.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mousterian industry
CATEGORY: culture; chronology; artifact
DEFINITION: A Middle Paleolithic culture that is defined by the development of a wide variety of specialized tools made with prepared-core knapping techniques, such as spear points. It is named for the first such artifacts recovered from the lower rock shelter at Le Moustier, Dordogne, France. Stone tools, scrapers, and points found in the cave came to be recognized as the flint industry present throughout Europe during first half of last glaciation (Würm) and associated with Neanderthal. The earliest Mousterian goes back to the Riss glaciation, but most of it comes into the late middle Würm glaciation, giving a total lifespan from 180,000 BC until c 30,000 BP. Flintwork of Mousterian type (with racloirs, triangular points made on flakes, and -- in some variants -- well-made handaxes) has been found over most of the unglaciated parts of Eurasia, as well as in the Near East and North Africa (in the latter two areas, it constitutes the Middle Palaeolithic). Three major regional variants have been identified -- West, East, and Levalloiso-Mousterian, each with sub-groups. In certain industries, called Levalloiso-Mousterian, the tools were made on flakes produced by the Levallois technique. It was a progressive stage in the manufacture of stone tools. Mousterian peoples mainly lived in cave mouths and rock shelters.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The main ceremonial and residential center of the ruling dynasties of Tongatapu, Tonga, held by tradition to have been in use from the 11th century AD. The site has a core area of 400 x 500 meters defended by an earthwork, and contains numerous house platforms and tombs (Langi). According to tradition, it became the residence of the Tui Tonga dynasty about 1200 AD and the defenses were built about 1400 AD.
- muff glass
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: cylinder glass
DEFINITION: A flat piece of window glass made by blowing a bubble of glass. The bubble was swung to and fro on the blow-pipe as it was being blown so that it became a long cylindrical bubble. The ends were cut off the cylinder which was then split along the middle and allowed to uncurl on a flat surface in an oven to produce a flat sheet of glass.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: plural municipia
DEFINITION: A Roman term of political classification, for a community incorporated into the Roman state after the dissolution of the Latin League. Initially, inhabitants of these municipalities were considered Roman citizens without voting rights. As the Italian provinces were incorporated into the Roman state, residents of the municipia were registered in the tribes and accorded full political rights. These cities maintained a certain amount of autonomy and were permitted to have their own governments; there was a uniform pattern of local government under four magistrates. However, the municipia remained under the jurisdiction of Rome in matters of foreign policy, and they supplied Rome with troops and were not permitted to mint money. By the 1st century BC, all Latin and Italian communities became municipia. Later, municipium status was granted widely in the western provinces.
- CATEGORY: deity
DEFINITION: In Egyptian religion, a sky goddess and great divine mother. Mut may have originated either in the Nile River delta or in Middle Egypt. During the 18th dynasty (1539-1292 BC), she became the companion of the god Amon at Thebes, forming the Theban triad with him and Khons, who was said to be Mut's son. The name Mut means mother and her role was that of an older woman among the gods. She was associated with the uraeus (rearing cobra), lionesses, and royal crowns. She was also identified with other goddesses, mainly Bastet and Sekhmet. At Thebes the principal festival of Mut was her navigation" on the distinctive horseshoe-shaped lake or Isheru that surrounded her temple complex at Karnak. Mut was usually represented as a woman wearing the double crown (of Upper and Lower Egypt) typically worn by the king and by the god Atum. She was also occasionally depicted with the head of a lioness."
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Nam Viet, Nan Yue
DEFINITION: An ancient kingdom which comprised the southern Chinese provinces Kwangtung and Kwangsi and northern Vietnam and came into being in 207 BC, when a Chinese official declared himself king of the southern province of Nan Hai. To that he added the conquered kingdom of Au-Lac; its capital was near present Canton. The expansion of the Han empire put an end to the existence of Nam-Viet in 111 BC.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Nazca
DEFINITION: Major culture of the southern coast of Peru during the Early Intermediate Period, c 200 BC-600 AD, developed out of Paracas. The principal Nasca site is at Cahuachi on the Nasca River, with a great adobe temple atop a mound, some walled courts and large rooms, and a number of smaller constructions. The earliest pottery, of roughly the 2nd century BC, still shows Paracas influence in the iconography and the use of up to 16 colors, but the paint was not put on before firing. Typical Nasca pottery with designs of fish, birds, severed heads, human figures and demons, shows a long internal development. The final Nasca substyle incorporates patterns taken from the art of Huari, and this contact was soon followed by invasion. Stylistically, the Nasca ceramics have been divided into nine phases. With the expansion of the Huari empire to the coast around the 7th century AD, Nasca culture came to an end and was replaced by a local version of Huari. To the Nasca period belong some (or all) of the desert markings, the so-called 'Nasca lines', made by scraping away the weathered surface of the desert to expose the lighter material beneath. Motifs include lines, geometrical patterns, and a few animal or bird forms. The dead were buried in large cemeteries, mainly near Cahuachi. Nasca survived into the Middle Horizon, when it became fused with the more dominant Huari and Tiahuanaco styles.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Nefertum, Nefertemu
DEFINITION: In ancient Egyptian religion, the youthful god of the lotus blossom, who is represented by the blue lotus (nymphaea cerulea) and depicted as a man with a lotus-flower headdress. He also had a warlike aspect and could be depicted as a lion. Nefertem was mentioned in the Pyramid Texts (c 2350 BC), but he became more prominent during the New Kingdom (1539-c 1075 BC) and later.
- Nefertiti (c 1380-1340 BC)
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Nefertiit, Nofretete
DEFINITION: The principal wife of the 18th Dynasty ruler Akhenaten (1352-1336 BC) during the 'Amarna period' and Queen of Egypt. She may also have been daughter of Ay (1327-1323 BC), who later succeeded Tutankhamun (1336-1327 BC) on the throne. She supported her husband's religious revolution and is thought by some to have adhered to the new cult of the sun god Aton even after the king began to compromise with the upholders of the old order. Nefertiti is best known for her portrait bust, found at Tell el-Amarna (ancient Akhetaton), the king's new capital. She also appears prominently at her husband's side in reliefs found at Tell el-Amarna. Nefertiti had six daughters, two of whom became queens of Egypt. In the 12th year of Akhenaton's reign, or possibly later, Nefertiti either retired after losing favor with the king or, less likely, died. Objects belonging to her have been found at the northern palace in Amarna, suggesting that she may have retired there. However, some scholars associate her with the monarch named Smenkhare who briefly succeeded Akhenaten.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Neit
DEFINITION: Ancient Egyptian goddess who was the patroness of the city of Sais in the Nile River delta. Neith was worshipped as early as predynastic times (c 3000 BC), and several queens of the 1st Dynasty (c 2925-2775 BC) were named after her. She also became an important goddess in the capital city of Memphis. Her principal emblem was a pair of crossed arrows shown against the background of a leather shield. Another emblem was a bow case, which the goddess was sometimes depicted wearing on her head in place of a crown. She was usually depicted as a woman wearing the red crown associated with Lower Egypt, holding crossed arrows and a bow. In mythology she was the mother of the crocodile god Sebek, and later of Re. The worship of Neith was prominent in the 26th Dynasty (664-525 BC), when Egypt's capital was located at Sais. She is associated with funerary rituals and war.
- New Kingdom
- CATEGORY: culture; chronology
DEFINITION: A period of Egyptian history comprising the 18th-20th Dynasties, c 1550-1070 BC. It was the period following the expulsion of Asiatic Hyksos rulers and the subsequent reunification by Thutmose I-IV, Amenhotep, Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, and Ramesses I-XI. The Egyptian army pushed beyond the traditional frontiers of Egypt into Syria-Palestine. The Theban conquerors established the 18th Dynasty (1550-1295 BC), creating a great empire under a succession the rulers bearing the names Thutmose and Amenhotep. The newly reunified land had a stronger economy, supplemented by resources of empire in Nubia and western Asia. To this period belongs much of the monumental architecture of Egypt. From the beginning of the New Kingdom, temples of the gods became the principal monuments; royal palaces and private houses, which are very little known, were less important. Temples and tombs were stone with relief decoration on their walls and were filled with stone and wooden statuary, inscribed and decorated stelae (freestanding small stone monuments), and, in their inner areas, composite works of art in precious materials.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roman Nemausus
DEFINITION: Colony founded by the emperor Augustus in southern Gaul (France), originally a Celtic settlement (capital of the Volcae Arecomici). It became a colony in 121 BC and the walls and gates were built by Augustus; in Roman times one of the richest towns of Gaul. Remains include an amphitheater designed by Titus Crisius Reburrus which holds 24,000 people; the Maison Carrée, a temple from the 1st century BC, and part of the colony's aqueduct, Pont du Gard, built by Agrippa. Maison Carée was a rectangular temple 82 ft (25 m) long by 40 ft (12 m) wide, dedicated to Gaius and Lucius Caesar, adopted sons of the first Roman emperor Augustus, and is one of the most beautiful monuments built by the Romans in Gaul, and certainly the best preserved. The Tour Magne, on top of a hill just outside the city, is the oldest Roman building, 92 ft high, but probably originally higher. Its original function is not known, but it was incorporated into the Roman wall in 16 BC. Nimes seems to have achieved its greatest prosperity somewhere around the end of the 2nd century AD. In the 5th century, Nîmes was plundered by the Vandals and the Visigoths. It was later occupied by the Saracens (Arabs), who were driven out in 737.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Kuyunjik
DEFINITION: Large walled city, a capital of the Assyrians from the end of the 8th century BC, located across the Tigris River from Mosul, Iraq. The site was occupied from the earliest times, with pottery from the Hassuna phase on. The site today consists of two main mounds, Kuyunjik (the citadel) and Nebi Yunus (the arsenal). It was occupied from the 6th millennium BC (a test pit beneath the Temple of Ishtar, the goddess of love, produced material of Hassuna type at the bottom) until it was destroyed by the Medes late in the 7th century BC. Ninevite ware (or Ninevite V) represents the comparatively backward culture of the north, contemporary with the Early Dynastic of Sumer. Little of importance is recorded of the site until it became a joint capital of Assyria, with Assur and Nimrud, in the early 1st millennium. Sennacherib was responsible for making it a capital and his great palace has splendid carved reliefs. To this period belong the site's other spectacular monuments, the palaces with their elaborate architecture, carved reliefs, and cuneiform inscriptions. The most important finds were probably the two libraries of clay tablets found in the palaces of Sennacherib (704-681 BC) and Assurbanipal (668-627 BC). It was destroyed by Medes in 612 BC. A lifesize bronze head of an Akkadian king, possibly Sargon (founder of the Akkadian empire), dated to the later 3rd millennium BC, was found there.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Neyshabur
DEFINITION: One of the most important towns of Khorasan in the early Islamic period (now in Iran); for a short period in the 9th century it replaced Marv as the regional capital. The town was a major commercial center, noted for its textiles. Nishapur became a capital again in 1037 under Tughril Beg, the first Salijuq ruler. His successor, Malik Shah, made the city a center of learning, the home of Omar Khayyam, among other famous scholars. It declined in the 12th century as a result of earthquakes (in 1115, 1145). In 1221, Nishapur was sacked by the Mongols, and never regained its former prominence. The most important contribution of the Samanid age (819-999 AD) to Islamic art is the pottery produced at Nishapur. The ceramics were of bold style and showed links with Sassanian and Central Asian work. The style originated in Transoxania, an ancient district of Iran, and showed such specific characteristics as black and ochre birds with dashes of white and green. There was also a rougher type portraying human and animal figures against an ornamental background.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An island that lies off the coast of western France just south of the mouth of the Loire, first colonized by Philibert monks in the 6th-7th centuries. The monastery became an important producer of salt during Carolingian times. From 842, the Vikings raided the island repeatedly, forcing the monks to flee inland with the remains of St. Philibert. There they constructed the church of St. Philibert de Grandieu, one of the finest examples of French 9th-century architecture.
- CATEGORY: culture; site
DEFINITION: A Phoenician colony on the promontory of Cape Pula, Sardinia, southwest of Cagliari, probably of the 8th century BC. Tradition ascribes its founding to Iberians from Tartessus. From the end of the 6th century BC, Sardinia came under Carthaginian control, and from 238 BC under Roman, becoming a province in 227 BC. Nora seems to have enjoyed particular prosperity under Roman rule, rivaled only by Cagliari (municipium Iulium). After the Roman annexation of Sardinia, Nora was its capital in the republican period and later became a municipium (Romanized community) under the empire (after 27 BC). Decline appears to have come with the 4th century AD. Excavations have uncovered a Sardinian nuraghe (towerlike monument), a Punic necropolis, an Hellenistic tophet (shrine), a temple to Tanit and one to Juno, a nymphaeum, a theater with a mosaic-surfaced orchestra, an aqueduct, and Roman bath buildings (also with mosaic). The northwest shore was lined with a series of luxury houses, including the so-called House of the Atrium.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Iron Age polity (kingdom) in the eastern Alps, with its seat in Magdalensberg, Austria. The region comprised modern central Austria and parts of Bavaria. Earlier Illyrian in culture, the region came under Celtic influence from the 3rd century BC, and the name Noricum is thought by some to derive from the Celtic Norici centered around Noreia. Becoming a Celtic kingdom, with reasonably friendly relations with Rome, it became a province about 15 BC. With wealth derived from its mineral resources (iron and gold), it was able to develop a markedly Romanized culture (evident from Latin legends on coins and other Latin inscriptions). Five of its communities were made into Roman municipia by the emperor Claudius (reigned 41-54 AD), and the province supplied many soldiers for legions and the Praetorian Guard. The capital was at Virunum in the Klagenfurt area. The area was sub-divided into two provinces by the emperor Diocletian c 300 AD; Roman rule finally collapsed with German incursions in the 5th century. It was linked to the Italian peninsula through trade; mining and ironworking were important.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Prehistoric site on the upper Euphrates River in eastern Anatolia with a sequence of occupation from the Chalcolithic to Iron Age times. Early levels show connections with Halaf and 'Ubaid. Architecture became more elaborate and there is a probably copper foundry and copper workshops through the Early Bronze Age levels (mid-4th millennium BC). The copper production relied on Ergani copper sources and fed the demands of southern Mesopotamia.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: One of the most important kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England, lying north of the Humber River. During its peak period it extended from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, between two west-east lines formed in the north by the Ayrshire coast and the Firth of Forth and in the south by the Ribble/Mersey River and the Humber. It resulted from the union of Deira, with its capital at York, and Bernicia, based on Bamburgh, under Edwin in 622 AD. After the conversion of King Edwin in 626 and the establishment of many major monasteries within the region, Northumbria became a center of missionary activity and a leading center of missionary activity and a leading center for the production of Christian art. In the later 7th-8th centuries, despite political decline, it was the scene of a cultural renaissance, attested by the history of Bede, the illuminated manuscripts of Lindisfarne, etc. Schools of art and monumental architecture also flourished. Archaeologically its most important site is Yeavering, a series of palaces built by Edwin and his successors in northern Northumberland. The cultural life and the political unity of Northumbria were destroyed by the arrival of the Danes.
- Nubian C Group
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Nubian C-Group culture
DEFINITION: The conventional designation of the indigenous population of Nubia in the late 3rd millennium BC. There is disagreement as to the extent to which these people were the direct descendants of the preceding Nubian A Group population. There are apparent connections between the C Group and contemporary peoples inhabiting the Red Sea hills, east of the Nile. Livelihood depended to a large extent on their herds of small stock and cattle. Settlement sites investigated consist mainly of circular houses with their lower walls of stone. In later C-Group times, more elaborate buildings were erected, and there was an increase in the quantity of luxury goods imported from Egypt. Both these developments reached their peak at Karmah. Egypt no longer controlled Lower Nubia, which was settled by the C Group and formed into political units of gradually increasing size; relations with this state deteriorated into armed conflict in the reign of Pepi II. Karmah was the southern cultural successor of the Nubian A Group and became an urban center in the late 3rd millennium BC, remaining Egypt's chief southern neighbor for seven centuries.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Oligocene Epoch
DEFINITION: Major worldwide division of the Tertiary Period that began about 36.6 million years ago and ended about 23.7 million years ago. It follows the Eocene Epoch and precedes the Miocene Epoch. The term Oligocene is derived from Greek and means the epoch of few recent forms referring to the sparseness of the number of modern animals that originated during the Oligocene. Many large mountain systems and herbivorous mammals began to develop, however. During this epoch, many of the older types of mammals became extinct and the first apes appeared. The largest land mammal of all time, Baluchitherium, is known from Asia, and the first mastodons are known from Egypt. In North America, primitive horses were evolving, including three-toed forms such as Mesohippus and Miohippus. Pigs and peccaries first appeared in the early Oligocene of Europe and reached North America late in the epoch. The earliest apelike form, Parapithecus, is known from Oligocene deposits in Egypt, which also have yielded remains of several kinds of Old World monkeys. The earliest New World monkeys are known from late Oligocene deposits in South America.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Principal sanctuary of Zeus in Greece and the site of the original Olympic Games, a Panhellenic sanctuary in the western Peloponnese of Greece. It originated in the Greek Bronze Age and has a 7th century BC Temple of Hera and 5th century BC Temple of Zeus. Traces of the circular building of Philip of Macedon and buildings associated with athletes and games -- gymnasium, palaestra, bouleuterion, Leonidaeon, and running track have been found. The workshop of the sculptor Pheidias, who made bronze of Athene at Athens and Zeus at Olympia, has been located. Perhaps first attracting use as an earth shrine and oracle, the site shows signs of continuous occupation from early in the 3rd millennium BC. The Games were celebrated on a four-yearly cycle, the Olympiad, which came to form the basis of a Greek system of dating. The first Olympiad is dated to 776 BC, but tradition places the commencement of the Games in the 9th century, with ascriptions variously to Heracles or Pelops as founder. The Games showed an unbroken record of celebration from 776 BC to 393 AD, when Theodosius I abolished them.
- Onion Portage
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Important site in northwest Alaska containing one of the continent's longest stratigraphies; occupied from at least 8500 BP by a number of Eskimo-Siberian-Indian subcultures (American Palaeoarctic, Northern Archaic, Arctic Small Tool Traditions, Inuit cultures). The oldest industries, called Akmak and Kobuk, are thought to last from c 9000 BC until the mid-7th millennium BC, and include chipped tools (blades, bifaces and associated cores) which are closer to Siberian types than to those of temperate America. The Kobuk (6200-6000 BC) contained similar tools but of limited variety. After a long hiatus in occupation, the Palisades II industry (4850-3350 BC, variously 4000-2000 BC) shows links with the archaic cultures of the forest zone to the southeast, as does the succeeding Portage complex (3350-3000 BC, variously 2600-2200 BC). Next came tools of the Denbigh Flint Complex (3200 BC, variously 2200-1800 BC), followed by Chloris (1500-500 BC) with the oldest pottery in the Arctic, then a local version (Norton) of Ipiutak (400-800 AD), by a forest-adapted Indian culture called Itkillik Complex (500-1000 AD), and finally by an Arctic Woodland Culture facies of the Thule Tradition. The excellent vertical stratigraphy of this site makes it the major reference for all western Arctic chronologies, especially when taken together with the horizontal stratigraphy of Cape Krusenstern.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A series of centralized territories and the name of a city and province in southwestern Poland. Opole the city began as the home of the Slavic Opolanie tribe; the earliest mention of it was in the 9th century. In 1202 it became the capital of the Opole principality, which included the entire Upper Silesia region. The town passed to Bohemia (1327), the Habsburgs (16th century), and Prussia (1742) and was returned to Poland in 1945. Each Opoles' as a territory was dominated by a fortified timber citadel which often had large and complex defenses; examples are at Leczyic and Szeligi.
- opus reticulatum
- CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A Roman construction technique consisting of blocks which are laid on a concrete core so that the edges are placed on a diagonal and produce a crisscross pattern. It is a technical term used by Vitruvius c 30 BC to describe the diamond pattern of square stones that was often used as a decorative facing to an inner rough concrete core. Opus reticulatum came into vogue in the 1st century BC and remained until the time of Hadrian (AD 117). The construction was like that of opus incertum but the pieces of stone were pyramid-shaped with square bases set diagonally in rows and wedged into the concrete walls.
- opus tessellatum
- CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: Mosaic technique that involves the use of tesserae (small cubes of stone, marble, glass, ceramic, or other hard material) of uniform size applied to a ground to form pictures and ornamental designs. Opus tessellatum was the most commonly used technique in the production of Hellenistic, Roman, early Christian, and Byzantine mosaics. Opus tessellatum came to be used for entire mosaic floors in most areas of the eastern Mediterranean by at least the beginning of the 2nd century BC. The earliest mosaics in opus tessellatum were composed of stone and marble tesserae, but, in the course of the 2nd century, tesserae of colored glass were introduced. In the Hellenistic period (3rd to 1st centuries BC), pictorial mosaics were made in opus tessellatum; more commonly, however, opus tessellatum was reserved for decorative borders surrounding emblemata, or central figural panels executed in opus vermiculatum, a finer mosaic work using much smaller tesserae. In the 1st century AD, figural opus tessellatum was increasingly used to cover whole floors. With the widespread use of monumental wall mosaics, opus tessellatum entirely replaced opus vermiculatum, being much better suited, with its large tesserae and rougher visual effect, for viewing at a distance. Glass tesserae were used almost exclusively for these wall mosaics, and glass opus tessellatum remained the common mosaic technique throughout the Middle Ages.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roman Arausio
DEFINITION: A colonia in southern France, established under Augustus' rule (27 BC-14 AD) which became a prosperous city. In the pre-Roman period, the area was occupied by rich, powerful Celtic tribes who appreciated its strategic position on the Rhône River. The semicircular theater, probably built during the reign of Augustus, is the best preserved of its kind. The tiered benches, which rise on the slopes of a slight hill, originally seated 1100. The magnificent wall at the back of the theater is 334 feet (102 m) long and 124 feet (38 m) high. An imposing statue of Augustus, about 12 feet (3.7 m) high, stands in the wall's central niche. Orange also has the Triumphal Arch of Tiberius (c 20 AD) that is one of the largest built by the Romans; standing c 61 feet (19 m) high, its sculptures show the victories of Julius Caesar. A lime kiln near the theater has produced fragments which document various local land surveys and, in particular, describe the terms of confiscation and redistribution that were applied at the time of the original founding of the colonia. In the 5th century, Arausio was pillaged by the Visigoths.
- CATEGORY: deity
DEFINITION: The ancient Egyptian god of death, represented as an anthropoid figure with mummy body. He was brother and husband to Isis and the father of Horus. Through them he was linked to the vegetation cycle myth. Slain by his brother Seth in the autumn, his dismembered and scattered remains were collected by Isis, reassembled, and returned to life as Horus in the spring. His chief sanctuary was at Abydos. Eventually, any dead person came to be referred to as 'an Osiris', i.e. a dweller in the land of the dead. He was one of the most important deities of ancient Egypt.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Ostia Antica
DEFINITION: Major Roman port and colony at the mouth of the Tiber River, founded in the 4th century BC. Towards end of 4th century BC, a rectangular fort was constructed, securing Rome's interest in trade routes through Ostia; the town was for a long time effectively the port of ancient Rome. It grew until 78 BC when it was destroyed in the Roman civil wars. It was later rebuilt by Sulla with a forum and capitolium. Claudius (41-54 AD) and Trajan (98-117 AD) had two harbors built at Portus, immediately north of Ostia. The 2nd century AD proved to be a period of unprecedented prosperity, which has left the most plentiful traces in today's ruins. The new harbors were largely administered through Ostia, and presumably much of the workforce chose to live at Ostia. Large brick apartment blocks were built in 1st-2nd centuries AD. They were of three, four, and five stories; the floors in these buildings were paved with mosaic and the walls elaborately painted. The second century also saw the construction of an aqueduct, imperial suites of public baths, and synagogue. The need for depositories and warehouses (horrea) became very important. The increase in trade brought prosperity to many areas of the city. In a double colonnade behind the theater, a large number of small offices housed agencies for all the major shipping destinations and types of trade. In the city, over 800 shops are known. Third century AD political instability at Rome combined with an economic recession brought a general decline in shipping. Constantine preferred Portus to Ostia, so it became a seaside-resort with expensive houses. Even with that use, the area declined from barbarian raids in the 5th century. It was abandoned after the erection of Gregoriopolis, site of Ostia Antica, by Pope Gregory IV (827-844). The Roman ruins were quarried for building materials in the Middle Ages and for sculptors' marble in the Renaissance. Archaeological excavation was begun in the 19th century under papal authority, and about two-thirds of the Roman town can now be seen.
- Oxfordshire ware
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Pottery made mostly in the vicinity of Oxford in a variety of fabrics. Vessels include distinctive types of mortaria, PARCHMENT WARE, and red color-coated ware in the Samian tradition. This centrally placed industry became one of the largest and most important in Britain during the 4th century AD.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Greek Poseidonia
DEFINITION: A Greek coastal colony founded in Lucania, southwest Italy, c 600 BC. It is known for three almost complete Doric temples of the 6th and 5th centuries BC, a forum (3rd century BC), amphitheater, shrine, temple of Peace, and a number of smaller temples. The temples were dedicated to Argive Hera, Poseidon, and Athena. There is some occupational evidence for both Palaeolithic and Neolithic, and there is a Copper Age necropolis at Contrada Gaudo, just north of the classical town. Traditional sources ascribe the Greek colony to Sybaris, and proto-Corinthian pottery suggests the date of 600 BC. Some of the local tombs were decorated with murals; the famous 'Tomb of the Divers' with 'Etruscan'-style painted decoration is from the 5th century BC. After many years' resistance the city came under the domination of the Lucanians sometime before 400 BC, after which its name was changed to Paestum. Alexander, the king of Epirus, defeated the Lucanians at Paestum about 332 BC, but the city remained Lucanian until 273, when it came under Roman rule and a Latin colony was founded there. Paestum was still prosperous during the early years of the Roman Empire, but the gradual silting up of the mouth of the Silarus River eventually created a malarial swamp, and Paestum was finally deserted after being sacked by Muslim raiders in 871 AD. The abandoned site's remains were rediscovered in the 18th century.
- Paleo-Indian or Palaeoindian
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Paleoindians; Early Lithic
CATEGORY: culture; chronology
DEFINITION: One of the prehistoric people who migrated from Asia and settled throughout the Americas no later than 10,000 BC. They existed as big-game hunters from about 10,000 BC to about 6000 BC in the Great Plains and eastern North America. (The other tradition at the time was the Desert-culture peoples of the western basin-range region.) Some regard the term as referring to all hunting groups involved with now-extinct mammals, in which case the peoples who hunted the species of bison that became extinct about 4500 BC would also be classified as Paleo-Indians. The oldest remains of the Paleo-Indian tradition are found on sites where large Pleistocene mammals were killed and butchered. The most distinctive artifact type of this horizon is the Clovis Fluted projectile point, which was accompanied by sidescrapers. Paleo-Indians are most frequently associated with mammoth, although associations with extinct species of bison, horse, and camel have also been reported. The term also refers to the earliest period in New World chronology, representing the time up to the development of agriculture and villages. In yet another sense, it refers to the period in archaeology (also called Early Lithic) beginning with the earliest stone tools, about 750,000 years ago.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: palaeobotany; prehistoric botany
CATEGORY: related field
DEFINITION: The study of ancient plant life and the remains of ancient or extinct plants. This includes material which has no direct connection with man and his activities, and is thus less specific to archaeology than palaeoethnobotany or archaeobotany. Much of man's material equipment came, however, from vegetable matter. This material is occasionally preserved by desiccation, waterlogging, or charring -- or by fossilization. From these sources various useful results have been obtained, notably in ascertaining the early history of cultivated crops. Paleobotany provides information about the climate and environment and about materials available for food, fuel, tools, and shelter. Paleobotany is a branch of paleontology and it includes pollen analysis, palynology, reconstruction of climatic sequences for interglacial periods, study of seeds, and study of plant remains.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Major city of Sicily, on the northwest coast of the island, which has been continuously occupied for two and a half millennia. The Phoenicians established a port of the site by the 8th century BC, and from the 5th century BC the city was controlled by Carthage. The Romans captured Palermo in 254 BC. The city decayed under Roman rule but prospered after AD 535, when the Byzantine general Belisarius recovered it from the Ostrogoths. The island remained in Byzantine hands until the Islamic offensive in 831. Palermo was prosperous when it fell to the Norman adventurers Roger I and Robert Guiscard in 1072. The ensuing era of Norman rule (1072-1194) was Palermo's golden age, particularly after the founding of the Norman kingdom of Sicily in 1130 by Roger II. Palermo became the capital of this kingdom and has some notable buildings from the Norman and succeeding periods. It continues to be Sicily's chief port and center of government.
- Palliser Bay
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: An area at the southern limit of New Zealand's North Island with Archaic Maori sites associated with sweet potato cultivation, attesting a fairly large horticultural population between 1100-1400 AD. After 1450 the area became depopulated, due to environmental degradation and an adverse climatic change. Settlements and burials have been excavated
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Phan Rang
DEFINITION: A state of the kingdom of Champa on the coast of southern Vietnam. It became the center of Champan activity from the mid-8th century onward.
- CATEGORY: term; language
DEFINITION: Writing material made from the skin of calves, sheep, or goat, which gradually replaced papyrus during the late Roman empire, resulting in the book (codex) replacing the scroll. The name apparently derives from the ancient Greek city of Pergamum (in Turkey), where parchment is said to have been invented in the 2nd century BC. It is less fragile, and could also be reused after the original text had been erased by scraping (called palimpsests). The finer kind of parchment known as vellum is from the skins of calves, kids, and dead-born lambs. In the 4th century AD, vellum or parchment as a material and the codex as a form became dominant, although there are later examples of rolls, and papyrus was occasionally used for official documents until the 10th century. Paper then took over from 14th century.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Pataliputra
DEFINITION: A city in northeast India, founded as Pataliputra in the 5th century BC by Ajatashatru, king of Magadha. His son Udaya (Udayin) made it the capital of Magadha, which it remained until the 1st century BC. The second Magadha dynasty, the Maurya, ruled in the 3rd and early 2nd centuries BC until the city was sacked in 185 by Indo-Greeks. The Shunga dynasty followed, until about 73 BC. Pataliputra remained a center of learning and in the 4th century AD became the Gupta capital. It declined and was deserted by the 7th century. The city was refounded as Patna in 1541 and again rose to prosperity under the Mughal Empire. Part of the ancient city's rampart (reinforced with timber) and a large pillared hall survive. This hall, with its 80 pillars, has frequently been compared to similar halls found in Achaemenid Persia and it has been suggested that some Achaemenid craftsmen fled to India after the defeat of the Persians by Alexander the Great.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Bounomos
DEFINITION: The ancient capital of King Archelaus of Macedonia at the end of the 5th century BC (until 168 BC) and birthplace of Alexander the Great. It is in northern Greece, northwest of Thessaloníki. The city flourished under Philip II, but, after the defeat of the last Macedonian king by the Romans (168 BC), it became a small provincial town. Excavations have revealed houses with colonnaded courts and rooms with mosaic floors made with small natural pebbles of various colors, dating from the late 4th century BC. The town had a rectangular grid plan; under the streets are terra-cotta pipes for distributing fresh water.
- Peoples of the Sea
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sea People(s), Peoples of the Islands in the Midst of the Sea
DEFINITION: Any of the groups of aggressive seafarers who invaded eastern Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus, and Egypt toward the end of the Bronze Age, especially in the 13th century BC. They are considered responsible for the destruction of the Hittite Empire, among others. Because of the abrupt break in ancient Near Eastern records as a result of the invasions, the precise extent and origin of the upheavals remain uncertain. Principal evidence is based on Egyptian texts and illustrations; other important information comes from Hittite sources and from archaeological data. The peoples were of mixed origin and tentative identifications of the people are: Pulesati/Pelset/Peleset = Philistines; Luka/Lukka = Lycians; Akawasha/Ahhiyawa/Ekwesh = Achaeans; Danuna = Danaoi; Sherden/Sherdana/Shardana = Sardinians; Shekelesh/Sicels/Sikels/Siculi = Sicilians; Tursha/Tyrsi/Teresh/Tyrrhenians (Tyrsenoi) = Etruscans. The Philistines, who perhaps came from Crete, were the only major tribe of the Sea Peoples to settle permanently in Palestine.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Pharaoh
DEFINITION: The title of the rulers of ancient Egypt, who combined the roles of king and god. It is used today as a synonym for the king of ancient Egypt. Much expense of labor, money, and treasure was involved in their funeral rites, exemplified by the pyramids and the tombs such as that of Tutankhamen. Each line of kings formed a dynasty, of which there were 31 in all, the peaks of power and development being known as the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. The term originally and literally meant the 'great house' or house of the king, the royal palace. From the time of the New Kingdom (starting in the 18th dynasty, 1539-1292 BC), the term came to be used for kings of Egypt. Pharaoh was never formally the king's title.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: (Egyptian) Pulesati
DEFINITION: One of the Peoples of the Sea who, repulsed from Egypt c 1200 BC, drove the Canaanites from southern Palestine (name derived from their name) and settled there, marking the beginning of the Iron Age in that region. They were a warlike, seafaring people and adopted the culture of the Canaanites, but introduced new type of pottery decorated with metopes and bird designs. The Philistine tombs at Tell Fara, contained iron weapons and pottery coffins with anthropoid lids. Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza, Gath, and Ekron were their five chief cities. The Philistines were eventually absorbed by the Israelites under David c 1000 BC. They are known mainly from documentary sources, appearing in Egyptian records as one of the Peoples of the Sea, and in Biblical accounts as a people who drove the Canaanites out of the coastal plain and eventually became part of the Israelite kingdom.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Moated settlement in the Mun Valley, Khorat, Thailand, occupied before 600 BC. It became a major ironworking and trading center between c 200 BC-300 AD. Phimai Black Pottery is found in large quantities. A temple made of sandstone was built by the Khmer kings Jayavarman VI (1080-1107) and Dharanindravarman I (1107-1112) of Angkor and is in the Angkor Wat style. It was a commercial, administrative, and religious center under the Khmer rule.
- CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A technique for mapping of areas using photographs taken directly from above. Though used mainly in map-making, it can also be used for the planning of archaeological sites. For large-scale map-making the photographs are taken from the air, a sequence along each flight path with each exposure overlapping the next by 60%. Adjustment is made so that the photographs can be laid side by side in a mosaic, with common reference points lying over each other. They are then converted into maps by the use of multiple projectors. A similar technique can be used to plan smaller-scale features such as excavations. The camera can be mounted on a rigid frame, and moved along so that it takes overlapping vertical photographs. It can greatly speed up the mapping of complicated features. Many of today's maps are largely produced by this method.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Cruithni, Cruithne; Painted People, Pictae
DEFINITION: An ancient people who lived in eastern-northeastern Scotland, known as the Painted People" probably referring to a custom of body painting or tattooing. Probably descendants of pre-Celtic aborigines or from the Bay of Biscay where they had helped Caesar defeat the Veneti the Picts were described in 297 AD by a Roman writing of the "Picts and Irish [Scots] attacking" Hadrian's Wall. They were the principal enemies of Rome in north Britain. Then or soon after they developed two kingdoms north of the Firth of Forth which became a united "Pict-land" by the 7th century. In 843 Kenneth I MacAlpin king of the Scots became also king of the Picts uniting their two lands in a new kingdom of Alba which evolved into Scotland. The Pictish kingdom is known for its symbol stones and crosses. Their name for themselves was Cruithni. There is little archaeological material which can be confidently attributed to the Picts except for the symbol stones."
- CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A rectangular column attached to a wall, partly embedded in it, with one-fourth or one-fifth of its thickness projecting. In classical architecture, a pilaster normally observes the form of one of the architectural orders, such as Ionic or Corinthian, and supports roof beams. The anta of ancient Greece was the direct ancestor of the Roman pilaster. In ancient Roman architecture the pilaster gradually became more and more decorative rather than structural. The fourth-story wall of the Colosseum in Rome contains examples of the Roman use of pilasters. These pillar-like structures were also in the inside walls of Anasazi kivas.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Prehistoric site of the Kacchi Plain, Baluchistan, Pakistan where a post-Harappan cultural sequence has at least seven phases over the 2nd millennium and early 1st millennium BC. The sequence is characterized by a painted pottery with a geometric style with earlier monochrome painted decoration becoming bichrome in later times. There is evidence of intensified agricultural production and the horse and camel appear. Between 1200-1100 BC, iron came into use, the earliest occurrence in India.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Aenaria, Inarime; modern Ischia
DEFINITION: A volcanic island off the northern part of the Bay of Naples, and site of arguably the earliest Greek colony in the western Mediterranean. Lying on sea trade routes to Italy, and especially Etruria, the colony was established by Euboean Greeks from Chalcis and Eretria, c 775-750 BC. The Monte Vico region shows occupational evidence going back to the Bronze Age, and the acropolis shows also Bronze Age and Iron Age material. The island had good agricultural land and rich deposits of potters' clay and it became the principal supplier to Campania. There was also a wide variety of metalworking. A large necropolis has inhumation and cremation burials containing oriental trinkets, Egyptian scarabs, and varied imported and local pottery, including inter alisa, a Rhodian cup bearing one of the earliest examples of the Greek alphabet, a Chalcidian version written from right to left. This cup, bearing the inscription in Greek in the Euboean script I am the cup of Nestor can be securely dated to before 700 BC. Cumae, a mainland Italian offshoot of the island settlement of Pithekoussai, was founded c 750 BC.
- Pizarro, Francisco (1475-1541)
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Spanish explorer and adventurer who came to Peru in 1532 looking for gold and destroyed the Inca empire. The Inca wrongly believed the Spaniards to be gods returning as prophesied in legends. He founded Lima.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ice age, Ice Age, Oiluvium; Quaternary; Great Ice Age; Pleistocene Epoch
DEFINITION: A geochronological division of geological time, an epoch of the Quaternary period following the Pliocene. During the Pleistocene, large areas of the northern hemisphere were covered with ice and there were successive glacial advances and retreats. The Lower Pleistocene began c 1.8 million years ago, the Middle Pleistocene c 730,000 years ago, and the Upper Pleistocene c 127,000 years ago; it ended about 10,000 years ago. Most present-day mammals appeared during the Pleistocene. The onset of the Pleistocene was marked by an increasingly cold climate, by the appearance of Calabrian mollusca and Villafranchian fauna with elephant, ox, and horse species, and by changes in foraminifera. The oldest form of man had evolved by the Early Pleistocene (Australopithecus), and in archaeological terms the cultures classed as Palaeolithic all fall within this period. By the mid-Pleistocene, Homo sapiens evolved in Africa and Europe. Homo sapiens spread to Asia and the Americas before the end of the epoch. There were mass extinctions of large and small fauna during the Pleistocene. In North America more than 30 genera of large mammals became extinct within a span of roughly 2,000 years during the late Pleistocene. Of the many causes that have been proposed by scientists for these faunal extinctions, the two most likely are changing environment with changing climate, and the disruption of the ecological pattern by early humans. The Pleistocene was succeeded by the Holocene or present epoch.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Polonnaruva
DEFINITION: A town in north-central Sri Lanka (Ceylon), that was an ancient Ceylonese capital. Polonnaruwa became the residence of Ceylon's kings in 368 AD and succeeded Anuradhapura as the capital in the 8th century when the latter was captured by Tamils. The most impressive surviving monuments belong to the later 12th and 13th centuries, and include a series of colossal sculptured figures and a number of temples and monasteries in the Great Quadrangle.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Roman town lying at the foot of Mount Vesuvius in Campania, Italy, which was covered with volcanic ash in an eruption in 79 AD. Much of the town has been uncovered since excavations began in the mid-18th century. The uncovering of the city offers much evidence for prosperous provincial urban life in the 1st century AD. It was a port and principal city on the Bay of Naples as early as the 8th century BC. In 89 BC, Pompeii was taken by Roman general Sulla and became subject to Rome. A new suburb was laid out next to the old town before an earthquake in 62 AD; much rebuilding in Roman imperial style was done before the final disaster. A Doric temple of the 6th century BC together with Attic Black-Figure Ware suggests a strong Greek presence, and association with Cumae, Naples, and Paestum is probable; Etruscan influence is also very likely. The deposits from Vesuvius in 79 AD was first small pumice and then ash, followed by poisonous gas and rain. Of all the numerous surviving buildings, Pompeii is perhaps most celebrated for its atrium-style private houses, often having fine gardens and decorated inside with elaborate mosaics and mural panels. The amphitheater is probably the earliest stone-built example in existence. There were two theaters, a palaestra, civic buildings, workshops, at least three major public bath complexes and nine temples. In particular, the Temple of Isis reflects the popularity of the personalized Oriental mystery cults under the early Roman Empire. Pompeian life is further documented by the frequent painted and inscribed notices, or graffiti, which are to be found on both internal and external walls. They often refer to local elections and to events taking place at the amphitheater. There was also a gambling den and brothel. Outside the city gates were cemeteries and large residential villas. During the eruption, both human beings and animals were covered by the deposit, forming paralyzed shapes. Casts made from these give a startling impression of the original victims. There are ancient accounts of the earthquake by Seneca, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger. Also destroyed were the cities of Herculaneum and Stabiae. The ruins at Pompeii were first discovered late in the 16th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Excavation of the buried cities began first at Herculaneum, in 1709. Work did not begin at Pompeii until 1748, and in 1763 an inscription (rei publicae Pompeianorum") was found that identified the site as Pompeii."
- CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Vitrified pottery with a white, fine-grained body that is usually translucent, as distinguished from earthenware, which is porous, opaque, and coarser. Porcelain is a fine form of pottery which is fired to a very high temperature in order to vitrify the clay. The name is derived from Portuguese 'porcellana' (little pigs, name given to cowrie shells by early traders). Porcelain was developed by Chinese from a long tradition of making stoneware in white clay. In the T'ang Dynasty (618-906 AD) came proto-porcelains, followed by true porcelain in the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 AD). The three main types of porcelain are true, or hard-paste, porcelain; artificial, or soft-paste, porcelain; and bone china.
- potter's wheel
- CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A wheel rotating horizontally which assists a potter in shaping clay into vessels. The development of the slow, or hand-turned, wheel as an adjunct to pottery manufacture led to the kick wheel, rotated by foot, which became the potter's principal tool. The potter throws the clay onto a rapidly rotating disk and shapes his pot by manipulating it with both hands. By the Uruk phase in Mesopotamia, c 3400 BC, the fast wheel was already in use. It spread slowly, reaching Europe with the Minoans c 2400 BC, and Britain with the Belgae in the 1st century BC. Its presence can be taken to imply an organized pottery industry, often also using an advanced type of kiln.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A city in west-central, one of the centers of the early Polish kingdom established under Mieszko I during the second half of the 10th century. Beginning as a small stronghold in the 9th century, Poznan became the capital of Poland (with Gniezno) and the residence of Poland's first two sovereigns. The first Polish bishopric was founded here in 968. A 10th-century rampart and many relics of the Slavic period have been found.
- pre-Dynastic period
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Pre-Dynastic Egypt; Predynastic
CATEGORY: chronology; culture
DEFINITION: The period before recorded history in Egypt and before it became a unified state in c 3100 BC. The term predynastic denotes the period of emerging cultures that preceded the establishment of the 1st dynasty in Egypt. In the late 5th millennium BC there began to emerge patterns of civilization that displayed characteristics deserving to be called Egyptian. The accepted sequence of predynastic cultures is based on the excavations of Sir Flinders Petrie at Naqadah, al-'Amirah (el-'Amra), and al-Jazirah (el-Gezira). Another somewhat earlier stage of predynastic culture has been identified at al-Badari in Upper Egypt. Until recently, most of our knowledge of pre-Dynastic Egypt was derived from the excavation of graves. Pre-Dynastic communities appeared in the section of the Nile Valley immediately south of Asyut. Large settlements were established, notably that at Hierakonpolis. Some time after 5000 BC the raising of crops was introduced, probably on a horticultural scale, in small, local cultures that seem to have penetrated southward through Egypt into the oases and the Sudan. The food-producing economy was based on the cultivation of emmer wheat and barley and on the herding of cattle and small stock, together with some fishing, hunting, and use of wild plant foods. Highly specialized craftsmen emerged to build vessels, make copper objects, weave linen, and make basketry and pottery. A series of small states arose until around 3100 BC, the unified kingdom of Ancient Egypt came into being.
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Name held by a succession of 15 Hellenistic rulers of Egypt from 305/304 to 30 BC. The Ptolemaic period is often taken to include the brief preceding Macedonian phase (332-305 BC), encompassing the reigns of Alexander the Great (332-323 BC), his half-brother Philip Arrhidaeus (323-317 BC), and his son Alexander IV (317-310 BC). Ptolemy I Soter (b 367/366 or 364 BC-d 283/282, Egypt), Macedonian general of Alexander the Great, became ruler of Egypt (323-285 BC) and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty. The dynasty reigned longer than any other dynasty and only succumbed to the Romans in 30 BC after Cleopatra VII's death.
- CATEGORY: geography
DEFINITION: The highest ecozone of the Andes, where camelids are herded and wild camelids are hunted. There is little agriculture and few permanent settlements. Remains of Preceramic hunter-gatherer groups have been found widely.
- Putnam, Frederic Ward (1839-1915)
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Curator of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, from 1875-1909. He was a leader in the founding of anthropological science in the US. He was important as an archaeologist who classified and described finds and as an administrator and archaeological sponsor. In fieldwork, he depended on scientific techniques for surveying, excavating, drawing cross-sections of excavations, and plotting finds. He did studies of the mounds of the Midwest US and on the antiquity of humans on the continent, which he believed to predate the end of the last glaciation. In 1891, Putnam began organizing the anthropological section of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. That collection became the basis of Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. He was the curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History following that and in 1903 he went to the University of California, Berkeley, to organize both the new department of anthropology and the anthropological museum. Putnam published more than 400 zoological and anthropological articles, reports, and notes and was also a founder and the editor of the periodical American Naturalist"."
- CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A monumental tomb in the shape of a pentahedron, a square base and four straight sides converging to an apex, built by the ancient Egyptians in stone or brick to cover or contain the burial chamber of a pharaoh. Its origin lay in the mudbrick mastaba of the Archaic Period, which in the Old Kingdom became more elaborate with the use of stone, regularity of shape, and larger size. It evolved from the step pyramid as seen at Sakkara, Dahshur, and Meidum. The pyramid is the central monument in a pyramid complex and was the preferred tomb in the Old and Middle Kingdoms (3rd-12th Dynasties). The largest and most famous is the Giza group and Khufu's is the biggest with a 230 meter long base and original height of 146 meters. The elaborateness of the funerary ritual, witnessed by the mortuary temples attached to all pyramids, had the same purpose, of guaranteeing the eternal well-being of the deceased. This sepulchral chamber having been connected with the upper world by a passage sloping downwards from the north, the graduated structure was regularly built over it, the proportions of the base to the sides being constantly preserved. The building was continued during the lifetime of its destined tenant, and covered and closed immediately upon his death. The construction of the pyramids as early as the 26th century BC was an extraordinary achievement of engineering and architecture. The tradition of the pyramid as a royal tomb was revived by the kings of Napata and Meroe. In Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, and South America, pyramids were used as temple-platforms. There are over 80 pyramids in Egypt and ancient Nubia (Sudan).
- CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: The capstone of a pyramid or top of an obelisk. The pyramidion was decorated and became a symbolic object in its own right, being used also on the small brick pyramids of private tombs of the New Kingdom.
- Qin Shihuangdi (fl. 247 BC-d. 210 BC)
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ch'in Shih Huang-ti; Qin Shi Huangdi; Chao Cheng
DEFINITION: A boy king (Chao Cheng) who came to China's throne and completed the Ch'in conquests and in 221 created the Ch'in empire. He proclaimed himself Ch'in Shih Huang-ti (First Sovereign Emperor of Ch'in") and instituted a rigid authoritarian government. During the Ch'in Dynasty the writing system was standardized along with weights and measures and coinage. The Great Wall was also built. Rebellion erupted after Shihhuangdi's death in 210 BC. In 206 the dynasty was overthrown and replaced by the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). His tomb is the focal point of a vast mausoleum complex that includes a buried army of 7000 lifesized terra-cotta figures."
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Quichua; Runa Simi
CATEGORY: site; culture; language
DEFINITION: Prehistoric Andean province and the language by its Inca empire people; it became official Inca language. Several dialects are still spoken in Peru and Bolivia and it was used for government and all communications between provinces under Inca rule. The term Quechua also refers to the Andean ecozone in which maize and other grains were grown in hillside terraces.
- Rahman Dehri
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Site in the western Punjab, Pakistan, with a culture of 3400-2500 BC leading up to the Mature Harappan civilization. Early levels have a regional painted pottery; the ceramics became Kot Diji style. There is graffiti on sherds, possibly an antecedent to the Harappan script.
- Rancho La Brea
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: La Brea Tar Pits
DEFINITION: Quaternary site (Le Brea Tar Pits) near Los Angeles with very large numbers of vertebrate remains dating c 40,000-11,000BP buried in tar pits (asphalt deposits of ancient tar seeps). The tar pits contain the fossilized skulls and bones of prehistoric animals that became entrapped in the sticky seepage of the pits. The remains of such Pleistocene mammals as imperial mammoth, mastodon, saber-toothed cat, giant ground sloth, and camel have been recovered. There are some artifacts, including manos and wooden spear points.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Prehistoric site in northwest India with evidence of the Mature and Late Harappan, divided into five periods from c 3000 BC. The Mature Harappan had baked bricks, drains, graffiti on pottery, stone weights, terra-cotta cakes, beads, and pottery. New elements appear in the material culture -- animal motifs on painted pottery and Lustrous Red Ware. The latter became common and black-and-red ware appeared in the Late Harappan at Lothal, Rodji, and Ranjpur.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: City on the Adriatic Sea in northern Italy which became a Roman city in 49 BC and the base of Adriatic fleet. The earliest inhabitants of Ravenna were probably Italic peoples who moved southward from Aquileia about 1400 BC. According to tradition, it was occupied by the Etruscans and later by the Gauls. It was selected by Roman Emperor Honorius as his capital in 402 AD because of its security. Ravenna was important in history as the capital of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and later (6th-8th century) of Ostrogothic and Byzantine Italy. During Theodoric's reign (498-526), the emperor constructed new churches and public buildings, decorated in styles that blended the Eastern and Western art styles of the time. The mosaics inside the buildings are the finest collection anywhere in the Byzantine world, and were extremely influential in determining art styles throughout much of Europe and the East in the early Middle Ages. One of the earliest of Ravenna's extant monuments is the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, built in the 5th century AD by Galla Placidia, the sister of the emperor Honorius.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Holocene
DEFINITION: The epoch of geologic time in the late Quaternary following the Pleistocene; referred to as Holocene in several European countries. It is the present geological epoch, which began some 10,000 (bp) years ago (8300 BC). The Recent epoch is marked by rising temperatures throughout the world and the retreat of the ice sheets. During this epoch, agriculture became the common human subsistence practice. During the Recent epoch, Homo sapiens diversified his tool technology, organized his habitat more efficiently, and adapted his way of life. The Recent stage/series includes all deposits younger than the top of either the Wisconsinian stage of the Pleistocene Series in North America and the Würm/Weichsel in Europe.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pl rhinoceroses, rhinoceri
DEFINITION: Any of five species of large hoofed mammals found in eastern and southern Africa and in tropical Asia. The term rhinoceros is sometimes also applied to other, extinct members of the family Rhinocerotidae. Five species of rhinoceros have survived until recently: the Great Indian rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis), the Javan rhino (R. sondaicus), the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), the white, or grass rhino (Ceratotherium simum) and the black, or browse rhino (Diceros bicornis). Like the elephant, these species have presumably been restricted both by intensified desertification and the interference of man. The closely related woolly rhinoceros evolved late in the Quaternary period and was adapted to cold, open conditions. It became common across Europe and northern Asia during times of colder climate, but became extinct before 10,000 BC.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Large Ionian/Aegean island, prosperous in Classical times as it was on trade routes from Greece to Egypt and the East. Minoan remains at Ialysus are evidence of early Cretan influence. With the collapse of the Minoan civilization (c. 1500-1400 BC), Rhodes became a powerful independent kingdom with a late Bronze Age culture. Rhodes was occupied by Dorians, mainly from Argos, c 1100-1000 BC. The Rhodian cities of Lindus, Ialysus, and Camirus, along with Cos, Cnidus, and Halicarnassus, belonged to the Dorian Hexapolis (league of six cities) by which the Greeks protected themselves in Asia Minor. The cities of Rhodes traded throughout the Mediterranean and founded colonies in Italy, Sicily, Spain, and Asia Minor. Rhodes supported Rome during its war with Philip V of Macedonia. The island steadily declined after Rome made Delos a free port c 166 BC. During the triumvirate of Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus (43 BC), the conspirator Gaius Cassius plundered Rhodes for refusal to support him. Though it continued for another century as a free city, it never recovered its former prosperity; in about 227 BC a severe earthquake devastated the island. Excavations have unearthed a stadium, odeum, temples, and city walls. At its wealthiest and most powerful in the period c 323-166 BC, Rhodes developed a new form of house colonnaded court (peristyle) with one row of columns higher than the others; provided a grand entrance to the Lindos acropolis sanctuary of Athena, and produced sculptures of quality, including a colossus overlooking the harbor (which fell in the earthquake of 227 BC). Rhodes became important again during the Crusader period, when it was chosen for an important military base.
- CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: An ancient communications route following the line of an upland ridge. these are tracks along the watersheds from hillfort to hillfort, used by prehistoric man. Often there is no artificially constructed roadway, but some routes became Roman roads or medieval droveways. The dates of the finds extend back beyond the Middle Ages. Important British ridgeways are the Jurassic Way along the limestone ridge from Dorset to Lincolnshire, the Icknield Way in the Chilterns, and the Pilgrims' Way along the North Downs.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ariminum
DEFINITION: A harbor town on Adriatic Sea in northern Italy. It originally belonged to the Umbro-Etruscan civilization and was occupied in 268 BC by the Romans. A Latin colony was established there and as the junction of the great Roman roads the Via Aemilia and the Via Flaminia, it became a Roman municipium. It was later sacked by the dictator Sulla. Rimini passed to the Byzantines and from them to the Goths, from whom it was recaptured by the Byzantine general Narses, and then to the Lombards and Franks. It has one of earliest Roman triumphal arches, built in 27 BC.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A large coastal cave in Apulia, Italy, occupied in the Palaeolithic period. Over a beach of last Interglacial date came some Mousterian deposits and a series of Upper Palaeolithic (c 12,000 BP) deposits of 'Romanellian' type. There are engraved art objects in these layers and on the walls, and skeletal material is also found in the Romanellian levels. These include geometric microliths, 200+ plaques with engravings, and meanders and abstract designs engraved on the walls.
- Rome, ancient
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Historic city of Italy located on the Tiber River in central Italy. The historical site of Rome on the Seven Hills -- the Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal -- was occupied as early as c 900 BC, but continuous settlement by Indo-European peoples did not take place until the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. By the early 6th century BC, a politically unified city had emerged. The Romans gradually conquered the Italian peninsula, extended their dominion over the entire Mediterranean, and expanded their empire into continental Europe toward the Atlantic. As the capital of this empire, Rome became the site of grandiose palaces, temples, public baths, theaters, stadiums, and other public buildings. The focus of the city was the Forum. Ancient Rome reached the peak of its grandeur and ancient population during the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD.
- Rudenko, Sergei I. (1885-1969)
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Russian archaeologist and ethnographer who became an expert on the peoples of Siberia and the Volga area. He excavated the frozen tombs at Pazyryk and wrote Frozen Tombs of Siberia: The Pazyryk Burials of Iron Age Horsemen" (1970)."
- Salamis (Cyprus)
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A principal city of prehistoric and classic Cyprus, located on the east coast of the island, north of modern Famagusta. According to the Homeric epics, Salamis was founded after the Trojan War by the archer Teucer, who came from the island of Salamis, off Attica. This literary tradition probably reflects the Sea Peoples' occupation of Cyprus (c 1193 BC). Later, the city grew because of its harbor; it became the chief Cypriot outlet for trade with Phoenicia, Egypt, and Cilicia. Salamis came under Persian control in 525 BC. In 306 BC, Demetrius I Poliorcetes of Macedonia won a great naval victory there over Ptolemy I of Egypt. Salamis was sacked in the Jewish revolt of 115-117 AD and suffered repeatedly from earthquakes. It was completely rebuilt by the Christian emperor Constantius II (reigned 337-361 AD) and given the name Constantia. Under Christian rule, Salamis was the metropolitan see of Cyprus. Destroyed again by the Arabs under Mu'awiyah (c 648), the city was then abandoned. There is a large area of surviving ruins, and an extensive necropolis to the west. The Mycenaean settlement was probably at Enkomi. Most remarkable are the so-called 'Royal Tombs', perhaps dating from the Late Geometric period, featuring large dromoi. The burial chambers are constructed of large rectangular blocks and have gable roofs, but were robbed in antiquity. There is an association with horse-and-chariot funerary rites, and horse skeletons still complete with bit in mouth have been discovered. There are also bronze horse accouterments, and cauldron and tripod, and ivory furniture. One tomb shows evidence for an original upper beehive structure or tholos; other tombs are rock-cut and show evidence for rites involving pyres and clay figurines.
- San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan / San Lorenzo
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The oldest-known Olmec center, located in Veracruz, Mexico, and revealing information on Olmec origins. It was a large nucleated village flourishing during the Early Formative. The first phase of occupation (Ojochi, c 1800-1650 BC) left no architectural traces, but during the next period (Bajío, 1650-1550 BC) a start was made on the artificial plateau with lateral ridges forming the base of most subsequent structures. The Chicharras phase (1550-1450 BC) foreshadows true Olmec in its pottery, figurines, and perhaps also in stone-carving. The San Lorenzo phase (1450-1100 BC) marks the Olmec climax at the site, whose layout then resembled that of La Venta. The principal features of the site are a large platform mound and a cluster of smaller mounds surrounding what may be the earliest ball court in Mesoamerica; more than 200 house mounds are clustered around these central features. A system of carved stone drains underlying the site is a unique structural feature. Around 900 BC, the stone monuments were mutilated and buried upon the center's collapse. La Venta then came to power. The monuments weighed as much as 44 tons and were carved from basalt from the Cerro Cintepec, a volcanic flow in the Tuxtla Mountains about 50 air miles to the northwest. It is believed that the stones were somehow dragged down to the nearest navigable stream and from there transported on rafts up the Coatzacoalcos River to the San Lorenzo area. The amount of labor involved must have been enormous, indicating a complex social system to ensure the task's completion. Most striking are the colossal heads human portraits on a stupendous scale, the largest of which is 9 feet high. After a short hiatus, the site was reoccupied by a group whose culture still shows late Olmec affinities (Palangana phase, 800-450 BC), but was again abandoned until 900 AD when it was settled by early post-Classic (Villa Alta) people who used plumbate and fine orange pottery. The collapse of San Lorenzo c 1150/1100 BC was abrupt and violent. The population was forced to do its agricultural work well outside the site, which may have contributed to the center's collapse.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sardes
DEFINITION: City in western Anatolia (near Izmir, Turkey), associated with Croesus and the Lydians, the capital city of Lydia. The Lydian city, of the 7th-6th centuries BC, had an acropolis and walled lower settlement. From about 560-546 BC, Sardis was ruled by Croesus, who was renowned for his great wealth and was the last king of Lydia. Taken by the Persians (c 546 BC), Sardis fell in turn to the Athenians, the Seleucids, and the Attalids until bequeathed to the Romans in 133 BC. Among the ruins are the Palace of Croesus, Temple of Artemis, gold works, and grave mounds of the royal cemetery. It was first occupied in the Early Bronze Age and became the first city where gold and silver coins were minted. Leveled by an earthquake in 17 AD, the city was rebuilt and remained one of the great cities of Anatolia until the later Byzantine period. The Mongol Timur (Tamerlane) then destroyed it in 1402. Its ruins include the ancient Lydian citadel and about 1,000 Lydian graves. Excavations of Sardis have uncovered more remains of the Hellenistic and Byzantine city than of the Lydian town described by the Greek historian Herodotus.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A people originally of Iranian stock who migrated from Central Asia to the Ural Mountains between the 6th-4th century BC and eventually settled in most of southern European Russia and the eastern Balkans. These nomadic tribes were related to Scythians and became a political and cultural force whose influence extended into central Asia and Transcaucasia, as well as into western Europe where the Sarmatians challenged the Romans before themselves being driven back by the Huns c 370 AD. Sarmatian art was strongly geometric, floral, and richly colored. They made jewelry in the form of rings, bracelets, diadems, brooches, gold plaques, buckles, buttons, and mounts and exceptional metalwork was found in the tombs, including gold openwork plaques, bronze bracelets, spears, swords, gold-handled knives, and gold jewelry and cups. The Sarmatians were also very experienced in horsemanship and warfare.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Gradistea Muncelului; Varhély
DEFINITION: Late Iron Age town of eastern Rumania, seat of the Dacian state founded by Burebistas in the 1st century BC. A hilltop citadel is next to a sanctuary area with several shrines and temples. Bronze and iron products and pottery were made in an industrial area. In 101, Trajan led an invasion of Dacia (First Dacian War). The capital of Sarmizegethusa was captured, and Decebalus was forced in 102 to accept Roman occupation garrisons. In 105, Decebalus defeated the occupation forces and invaded Moesia (Second Dacian War). But, after Trajan seized Sarmizegethusa a second time (106), the defeated king committed suicide, and in 107 Dacia became a Roman province.
- CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: One of the administrative units or provinces of the Achaemenid / Persian empire, e.g. Ionia, Media, Bactria. Each was ruled by a governor or satrap appointed by the king. Sometimes a satrapy became an appanage of the royal princes. A satrapy would consist of a collection of ethnic groups rather than a piece of land with precise boundaries. Inhabitants had to make payments (tribute) to the empire and provide military services. The division of the empire into satrapies was completed by Darius I (reigned 522-486 BC), who established 20 total. The satrapal administration was retained by Alexander III the Great and his successors.
- Sautuola, Marcellino Sanz de (1831-1888)
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: Spanish amateur geologist and archaeologist who excavated Altamira Cave, near Santillana, in northern Spain, which contains the earliest known (c 13,000-20,000 BC) examples of Stone Age painting. The colored ceiling paintings in a side cavern, which came to be regarded as the Sistine Chapel of Prehistory" were the most spectacular. Sautuola had accurate drawings of the paintings prepared and published a book in 1880. He was unable to persuade scholars of the paintings' authenticity and died dishonored and bitter. Not until other similar paintings had been found in southwestern France (1895-1901) was Sautuola's contribution finally vindicated. "
- Saxo-Norman pottery
- CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: General term for pottery produced in the period c. AD 850 through to AD 1150. During this time the use of the fast wheel became widespread and numerous local and regional industries emerged. The most distinctive pottery of the period is Thetford ware, Stamford ware, and Winchester ware.
- Scarlet Ware
- CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: A type of red-and-black painted pottery used in the early 3rd millennium BC in the plains of eastern Mesopotamia, of the Early Dynastic period. It was derived from Jemdet Nasr Ware. Geometrical designs in black on buff, separated by large areas of red paint, became progressively more elaborate, in later stages including animal and human figures in red outlined in black. There are hints of connections with the wares of Baluchistan, especially in the elongated bulls.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: sceptre
DEFINITION: In antiquity, a long staff similar to the shaft of a spear, carried to lean on when walking. It eventually became the truncheon, a weapon. Ornament was then added to the upper end of the staff, as the scepter became a staff or baton borne by a sovereign as an emblem of authority.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: plastic art
DEFINITION: An art form including all carved work in wood, ivory, stone, marble, metal, or other material and those works formed in a softer material not requiring carving, such as wax or clay. It includes statuary, carved ornament, glyptics, incised gems, and cameos. The most ancient specimens are carved of the hardest stones (basalt, granite, porphyry) and done before the introduction of steel tools.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Scyth
DEFINITION: The people of the steppes of southern Russia and Kazakhstan who were nomadic in the mid-1st millennium BC and displaced the Cimmerians in the Eurasian steppes. They were a horse-riding aristocracy and became a settled agricultural population. From the 8th century BC, they generally lived west of the Volga and north of the Black Sea (Royal Scyths). At beginning of 7th century BC, they also moved into Iran and Anatolia, occupying Urartu territory, and appear in Assyrian records. Later, they returned to south Russia and Royal Scythian burials in Kuban and Pontic steppes. They traded with the Greeks and were skilled artists and metalworkers; they are often connected with the Luristan bronzes. Grain from the areas under Scythian control was exchanged for luxury goods. Herodotus, who visited the area c 450 BC, left much useful information on their customs. Their greatest contribution was their art, the bold and rhythmic animal style of the steppes. Its influence may be seen in the developing Celtic art of Europe and that of Luristan and neighboring areas of Iran and the Indus, where they moved in the late 2nd century BC. They destroyed the Greek kingdoms of Bactria and north India. These movements brought the Saka of the Achaemenid and Indian texts and were soon followed by the Yueh-chi, who gave rise to the Kushana kingdom of the early 1st millennium AD in north India and Afghanistan. The western branch of the Scyths was absorbed by the Sarmatians and finally disappeared under the Gothic invasions of the 3rd century AD. Scythian burials, known from places like Pazyryk, are elaborate and artifacts have animal motifs.
- secondary prehistory
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: protohistoric
CATEGORY: chronology; language
DEFINITION: The time when literate people came in contact with and wrote about nonliterate peoples.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Greek Egesta
DEFINITION: Ancient city of Sicily, north of modern Calatafimi, which was the chief city of the Elymi. The Elymi may have been of Trojan origin; they are archaeologically indistinguishable in the Early Iron Age (c 1000-500 BC) from their Sicanian neighbors. Segesta had a Greek culture, but it often sided with the Carthaginians against its Greek neighbors (mainly Selinus). Early in the First Punic War, Segesta massacred the Carthaginian garrison and allied themselves with Rome. It became a free city under Roman rule. Segesta ruins include an unfinished 5th-century BC temple and a Hellenistic theater. The city site is on the plateau adjacent to the theater. The surviving 5th-century temple, which stood outside the original city, is usually seen as a distinguished, but unfinished example; it has a colonnade, but no interior cella.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sarapis
DEFINITION: A Greco-Egyptian composite god resulting from the fusion of the Egyptian god Osorapis (who, in death, became assimilated to the god Osiris as Osiris-Apis) with attributes of a number of Hellenistic gods, notably Zeus, Helios, Hades, Asklepios, and Dionysos.
- sgraffito ware
- CATEGORY: ceramics
DEFINITION: Sgraffito ware is glazed vessels prepared first by incising decoration in the surface and then adding paint in the incisions prior to the application of glaze. There is a contrast between the brightly colored decoration and the overall color of the glazed vessel. Byzantine sgraffito wares date to the 11th-12th centuries in western Europe. It was not until the 16th-17th centuries that the technique was established in northern Europe. Sgraffito ware was produced by Islamic potters and became common throughout the Middle East. The 18th-century scratch blue class of English white stoneware is decorated with sgraffito patterns. Sgraffito ware was produced as early as 1735 by German settlers in colonial America. Sgraffito is also a form of fresco painting for exterior walls, done in Europe since the Middle Ages. A rough plaster undercoat is followed by thin plaster layers, each stained with a different color. These coats are covered by a fine-grain mortar finishing surface. The plaster is then engraved with knives and gouges at different levels to reveal the various colored layers beneath. It is also a glass-decorating technique.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Balatah, Balata
DEFINITION: Palestinian site and biblical city with its most important period of occupation in the Middle Bronze Age c 17th century BC, when it was given a great insloping wall of Cyclopean masonry. To the same period belongs a stone plaque bearing one of the earliest known alphabetic inscriptions. The town was destroyed at the end of the Middle Bronze Age and not reoccupied until the 16th century BC. The site included a glacis of the Hyksos Period, when it probably controlled the territory from Megiddo to Gezer. It was clearly an important city in the Late Bronze Age and it figures prominently in the Amarna letters. It that time, fortifications and a temple with a massebah were erected. The town was destroyed in the 12th century BC and there was another break in occupation until the 10th century BC, when it became an Israelite city and the short-lived capital of the Kingdom of Israel. This was destroyed by the Assyrians in 720 BC, after which there was intermittent occupation until its final destruction in 101 BC. The site was replaced by Nablus (Neapolis) in 67 AD. There was also some occupation in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea with settlement from 10,000 years ago. It was colonized by the Greeks between 8th-6th centuries BC, with cities such as Syracuse, Leontini, Naxos, Megara, Agragas, and Selinus. At the coming of the Greeks, three peoples occupied Sicily: in the east the Siculi, or Sicels, who gave their name to the island but were reputed to be latecomers from Italy; to the west of the Gelas River, the Sicani; and in the extreme west the Elymians, a people of Trojan origin with their chief centers at Segesta and at Eryx (Erice). Sicily came into conflict with the Phoenician colony of Carthage early on and in the battle at Himera in 480 BC, the Syracusan fleet (Syracuse was Sicily's capital) beat the Carthaginians. Sicily eventually fell under the control of Romans, becoming the first Roman province, in 227 BC.
- Sidemi culture
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Shell Midden culture
DEFINITION: A culture of the Vladivostok area of eastern Siberia from the late 2nd millennium BC. The population lived in coastal settlements of semi-subterranean houses, which are associated with shell middens. Characteristic tools were made of polished slate, though small quantities of iron were also used. The area came under strong influence from Manchuria and China, and in the 1st millennium AD it formed part of the Po Hai state.
- Silk Route
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The collective name for several overland and ocean routes for silk trade between China and the Roman world, and later Byzantium, from the 1st-8th centuries AD. From Chang'an, capital of the Han Dynasty, the main route went west through the Gansu corridor into the Tarim basin at Dunhuang. There it branched into two main routes across the Central Asian deserts. After crossing the Pamirs, the two routes rejoined finally at Merv and continued via Ecbatana and Ctesiphon to Palmyra and the Mediterranean. The institutionalized traffic in silk began in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). The cities along the Silk Route flourished despite political changes. From the 9th century onwards, trade came increasingly to depend on sea routes and the main Chinese export was not silk but porcelain. Overland commerce revived only briefly during the continent-wide peace that ensued after the Mongol conquests of the 13th century, when Marco Polo followed the Silk Route to the court of the Yuan emperor Kublai Khan.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A kingdom traditionally dated 57 BC-668 AD, the oldest of the monarchies of the Three Kingdoms period, and including the Unified or Great Silla period of 668-935, the golden age of Korean art. It eventually came to cover most of southeastern Korea east of the Naktong River. The original territory of the Silla kingdom, the modern North Kyongsang province, is a mountain-secluded triangle. Silla was in competition with the Koguryo and Paekche until 668 and had relations with Japan's Yamato. When it unified in 668, its capital remained in Kyongju. At that site are large mounded tombs of the 5th-6th centuries with fine gold work. It became a gridded city in the 7th century and the Anapchi pond was built.
- Six Dynasties
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: The period of Chinese history between the fall of the Han dynasty in 220 AD and the founding of the Sui dynasty in 589, during which six dynasties had capitals in the south at Nanjing, while North China was ruled by barbarian dynasties. They were: the Wu (222-280), the Eastern Chin (317-420), the Liu-Sung (420-479), the Southern Ch'i (479-502), the Southern Liang (502-557), and the Southern Ch'en (557-589). In the course of the Six Dynasties period, Buddhism came to be firmly established. Six Dynasties tombs have contributed notably to the study of ceramics and early pictorial art. Great advances were made in medicine, astronomy, botany, and chemistry -- and major changes took place in the arts and architecture. Wheelbarrows and kites were invented, coal was first used as a fuel, and it was also during the Six Dynasties that the great aristocratic families began to arise in Chinese society.
- CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: In Greek antiquity, a temporary shop or building but, more commonly, a building behind the playing area that was originally a hut for the changing of masks and costumes but eventually became the background for the plays. It was often several stories with a stage placed behind the orchestra. Skenes were first used c 465 BC. By the end of the 5th century BC, the wooden skene was replaced by a permanent stone structure. In the Roman theater, it was an elaborate building facade.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The principal town of the Batina coast of Oman in the Sassanian and early Islamic periods, owing its wealth to maritime trade. In the 3rd century it became the center of the Sassanian enclave known as Mazun but did not become prominent until the 10th century, when Omani merchants went to China, the East Indies, and Africa. The Buyid rulers of Iran and Iraq attacked and destroyed Sohar in 972-973.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sung
DEFINITION: Chinese dynasty that ruled the country 960-1279 AD (only in the south after 1127) during one of its most brilliant cultural epochs. During the Sung dynasty, commerce developed; trade guilds were organized; paper currency came into increasing use; and several cities with populations of more than one million flourished along the principal waterways and the southeast coast. Widespread printing of the Confucian Classics and the use of movable type, beginning in the 11th century, brought literature and learning to the people. The Sung dynasty is particularly noted, however, for the great artistic achievements that it encouraged and subsidized. The capital was at Kaifeng near the Yellow River; during the Southern Song (1127-1279) it was at Hangzhou. The study of antiquities flourished, with large collections of artifacts collected, catalogs published, and epigraphic works compiled. The present-day nomenclature of bronze Ritual Vessels is owed largely to the work of Song epigraphers.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sotira culture
CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: Southern Cyprus type site of the Neolithic II of the later 5th millennium BC. There were circular and oval stone and mud-brick houses, a simple pit-grave cemetery, and combed ware. A Chalcolithic Philia culture of the mid-3rd millennium BC was also found in nearby Sotira-Kaminoudhia. Small ornaments of picrolite (a type of soapstone) and pottery distinguish the Sotira culture; toward the end of the period copper came into use.
- South Cadbury
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in Somerset, southwest England, that is one of the more important secular Dark Age sites in Britain. It is an Iron Age hillfort with a history of abandonment and refortification throughout the prehistoric, Roman and medieval periods. The 16th-century antiquarian John Leyland first recognized South Cadbury's links with the Dark ages and named it as Camelot, thus initiating its romantic associations with the Arthurian legend.
- CATEGORY: lithics
DEFINITION: Bifacially flaked points -- or a thrusting blade mounted on a long shaft (spear) as a weapon for war or hunting. Early examples in flint were usually leaf-shaped, and hafted simply in a cleft in the spear shaft. In the Early Bronze Age, bronze dagger blades were made and ferrules added. The socketed spearhead came when these were cast in one piece with the blade.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Pre-Roman port on the northern Adriatic, at the mouth of the River Po in Italy. The town was probably Etruscan from the late 6th-early 5th century BC. Together with a settlement at Adria, Spina was an important link between the markets of Etruria and the Poplain, and Greek shipping in the Adriatic. Cemeteries (Valle Trebba, Valle Pega) have yielded large amounts of Greek pottery, especially Athenian Red-Figure Ware, terra-cottas, fine Etruscan bronzes, western Greek and Etruscan jewelry, faience and amber. The town also kept a Treasury at Delphi. The site had palisades, earth ramparts, and a network of canals as well as a grid plan. At its height, it may have shipped agricultural produce and slaves. Soon after 400 BC, Spina was sacked by the Gauls. With the collapse of its market and the silting of its port it became obsolete.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A site in eastern Oklahoma of the Mississippian Tradition (Middle Mississippi) Caddo culture beginning in the 8th century AD as a village of one-room houses, and by 950 had reached its maximum extent with the addition of eight burial mounds. The eight mounds are of various sizes and one served as a temple mound and burial mound (Craig Mound). In about 1200, Spiro was abandoned as a settlement and became a specialized mortuary and temple complex. To this final period, 1350-1400, belongs the enormous Craig Mound, covering an intact wooden mortuary house. Commoners and servants received only simple burial, but the ruling elite were placed in funerary litters filled with weapons, fabrics, smoking pipes, imported minerals, and copper, and shell ornaments decorated with designs of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (Southern Cult). Because of its abundance of paraphernalia of the Southern Cult, it is often linked to the centers at Etoway and Moundville, even though it is culturally distinct from them. Many of designs on carved shell gorgets and embossed sheet copper ornaments probably came from Mesoamerica, perhaps from Huastec culture of Veracruz. The site's archaeological value has been considerably diminished, as it was heavily vandalized during a period of commercial exploitation in the 1930s.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sri Ksetra
DEFINITION: Ancient name for Prome in lower Burma, the historical center of the Pyus. It became the capital and Buddhist religious center of the state by the same name in the early-mid 1st millennium AD. It was later absorbed by Pagan.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Ancient Sumatran kingdom centered on Palembang in the Malacca Straits which came into being at the end of the 7th century and controlled the ports of Sumatra and peninsular Malaysia. Its rise might coincide with the fall of Funan. First mentioned by the Chinese pilgrim I-Ching as an important center of Buddhist learning and a relay station on the way to India, it was strong in the 7th-8th centuries and again in the 10th-13th centuries. Remains have been found at several sites: Muara Jambi, Kota Cina, Lobo Tuwa, Kampong Sungei Mas, Padang Lawas, Muara Takus, and Pengkalan Bujang.
- stamp seal
- CATEGORY: artifact; language
DEFINITION: A small, hard block that has a flat surface engraved with a design that can be transferred to soft clay or wax as a mark of ownership or authenticity. Stamp seals appear in Mesopotamia from the Halafian period in the fifth millennium BC, when they were used to impress ownership marks on lumps of clay which were then attached to goods. In the Bronze Age, it was differently shaped for different cultures: square in the Indus, round in the Persian Gulf (Barbar), and compartmented in central Asia (Bactrian). Stamp seals preceded cylinders and developed over a period of about 1,500 years until largely replaced by the cylinder in the 3rd millennium BC. Seals came into use before the invention of writing for the securing of property and the method was either to shape clay over the stopper or lid or to make a fastening with cord and place clay around the knot and then impress it with the seal. The sealing of written documents, mainly clay tablets and papyrus scrolls, became regularly established in the latter part of the 3rd millennium BC.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Roman road in northern England from the Tyne at Corbridge to the Solway at Carlisle, whose construction is attributed to Agricola, c 80 AD. Originally a military trunk route, it also had a line of forts spaced at intervals of one or one-half day's march. It was superseded by the construction of Hadrian's Wall (122-128) and Stanegate became a service road and its forts used as depots.
- Stephens, John Lloyd (1852-1905)
- CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: American explorer and amateur archaeologist who visited the abandoned Maya Lowlands centers with Frederick Catherwood. His documentation was published in books which became bestsellers and did much to arouse popular interest in what was then an almost unknown civilization. The drawings by Catherwood set a new standard of scientific accuracy.
- stirrup spout
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: stirrup-spout vessel
DEFINITION: Semicircular tub set vertically, like a croquet hoop, on top of a closed vessel -- common in many Peruvian cultures (Moche, Chimu, Chavín, Cupisnique, Nazca) and other parts of the New World. The lower ends open into the body of the pot, and from the apex of the curve rises a single vertical spout. From the side, it looked like a stirrup. It had precursors in the Initial Period. In Chavín pottery; for example, the earliest stirrup spouts were relatively small, very thick and heavy, and the spout had a thick flange. As time went on, the stirrups became lighter and the spouts longer; the flange was reduced and finally disappeared. The necks of the flasks underwent similar changes. The Cupisnique stirrup-spouted vessels, some of which were modeled in the form of human beings, animals, or fruits, were the beginning of a north-coast tradition of naturalistic modeling.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Ancient monument on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England, the remains of four massive trilithons surrounded by concentric circles of megaliths, probably constructed since c 3200 BC. It was a major Neolithic and Early Bronze Age ritual monument, architecturally unique, surrounded by a whole complex of barrow cemeteries and ritual sites. It had many phases of reconstruction. Apart from a cursus, the oldest structure was a circular earthwork about 100 meters in diameter, consisting of a ditch with an inner bank broken by a single entrance. Just inside the bank was a ring of 56 Aubrey holes (pits), some of which contained cremations. There were further cremations in the ditch and on the inner plateau. The presence of grooved ware pottery, together with radiocarbon dates from a cremation suggest that Stonehenge I belongs to the end of the Neolithic. Phase II occurred in c 2200-2000 when two concentric rings of sockets were dug at the center of the site for the erection of 80 bluestones imported from the Preseli Hills of southwest Wales. To this period belongs the Avenue, two parallel banks and ditches which run from the entrance to the river Avon 3 km away. In Stonehenge's third phase, the bluestones were removed, and Sarsen stones, some weighing over 50 tons, were brought from the Downs 38 km away to the north. These blocks, unlike those of any other henge or megalithic tomb, were dressed to shape before erection, and were then set up as a circle of uprights with a continuous curving lintel, enclosing a U-shaped arrangement of five trilithons. This phase has been dated 2120 +/- 150 BC and its work was carried out by the bearers of the Wessex culture. At a later stage (phase IIIc) the bluestones were re-erected in their present positions, duplicating the sarsen structure. There is a radiocarbon date of 1540 +/- 105 BC for the early part of this final stage, and the whole of Stonehenge III probably falls within the Early Bronze Age. The final stage came in the Middle or Late Bronze Age when the Avenue was extended 2000 meters east. The function of the monument is usually held to be religious, though it had no connection with the Druids. Theories are that the northeast-southwest axis may suggest some form of sun cult, the stone settings may have been used for astronomical observations in connection with the calendar, and the Aubrey holes for calculating the occurrence of eclipses. It has also been interpreted as the temple of a sun or sky cult. Archaeologists have long been fascinated by this monument, with its evidence of massive manpower input (one calculation suggests 30 million man-hours would have been required for the phase IIIA structure), its architectural sophistication, and astronomical alignments.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Native Briton kingdom that, from about the 6th century, had extended over the basin of the River Clyde and adjacent western coastal districts, the former county of Ayr. Its capital was Dumbarton, then known as Alclut. Its people were in frequent conflict with the Anglo-Saxons of Northumbria and later the Scots of Dálriada. They were converted to Christianity by St. Ninian and his successors from the monastery of Whithorn. It became a province of Scotland in 1016/1018.
- CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The study and interpretation of the stratification of rocks, sediments, soils, or cultural debris, based on the principle that the lowest layer is the oldest and the uppermost in the youngest -- a major tool in establishing a relative dating sequence. The sequence of deposition can be assessed by a study of the relationships of different layers. Dateable artifacts found within layers, and layers or structures which are themselves dateable, can be used to date parts of stratigraphic sequences. An archaeologist has to master the skill to recognize it -- to distinguish one deposit from another by its color, texture, smell, or contents; to understand it -- to explain how each layer came to be added, whether by natural accumulation, deliberate fill, or collapse of higher-standing buildings; and to record it in measured drawings of the section. There can be problems where a feature filled with one type of material cuts into layers of the same material. Unless the later feature is recognized, objects of two different phases may appear to be stratified together. The underlying principles are: law of superposition, law of cross-cutting relationships, included fragments, and correlation by fossil inclusions. The stratigraphy principle was adopted from geology and is the basis of reconstructing the history of an archaeological site.
- CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A phase between the Late Helladic and the Protogeometric periods on mainland Greece, known from its pottery found in cemeteries in Attica and from sites in central Greece and the Peloponnese. It is dated c 1050-1020 BC. Pottery was the first art to recover its standards after the Dorian invasion and the overthrow of Mycenae. Athens escaped these disasters and in the ensuing dark age became the main source of ceramic ideas. For a short time Mycenaean motifs survived on new shapes -- the Submycenaean ware. It gave way to the Protogeometric (c 1020-900 BC) style by converting the decaying Mycenaean ornament into regular geometrical patterns.
- Sumer / Sumerian
- CATEGORY: site; culture; language
DEFINITION: The earliest documented inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia (southern Iraq), c 3500 BC, considered the world's first civilization. Located between Babylon and the head of the Persian Gulf, these people spoke a language unrelated to any other known language. Formed originally by the need for irrigation agriculture, they created a social and political organization, their own art, literature, and religious observances and greatly influenced neighboring cultures. Cities appeared, such as Eridu, Lagash, Uruk, and Ur, with craft specialization and accumulation of wealth. Most important was the invention of writing. The cuneiform script developed for writing Sumerian can be read. The political unit was the city-state, in which the patron deity, through the priesthood and temple organization, was the major power in all matters. Secular rulers were required only in time of war. The various city-states were united by a common culture and religion, the patron deities such as Enki, Enlil, Nannar, and the rest being members of a single Sumerian pantheon. Sumer was conquered by the Semites of Akkad under Sargon c 2370 BC. The Sumerian culture survived this and later foreign conquests with very little change. Some scholars believe that the Sumerians go back much further and may even have been the first sedentary inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia, from about 5500 BC. The Sumerian language had invariable bisyllabic or monosyllabic roots, around which prefixes or suffixes, also invariable, were arranged to express grammatical inflections. The structure of the language must have made it easier to invent writing and, in a second period, the use of syllabic characters. Sumerian overtaken by Babylonian and ceased to be spoken at beginning of 2nd millennium BC, but then became a language used for cultural purposes and retained that function until cuneiform writing itself disappeared in 1st century AD.
- sweet potato
- CATEGORY: flora
DEFINITION: Food plant native to tropical America and widely cultivated in tropical and the warmer temperate climates, not to be confused with the yam. It is reported from sites in Peru as early as 8000 BC. During the mid-1st millennium AD, the sweet potato was carried by prehistoric voyagers into eastern Polynesia and became important in the prehistoric economies of Easter Island, the Hawaiian Islands, and New Zealand. It spread further after Spanish settlement of the New World; since the 16th century it has been very important to the New Guinea Highlands.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Thurii, Copia
DEFINITION: Ancient Greek city in southern Italy on the Gulf of Tarentum, known for its wealth and the luxury it enjoyed, contributing to the modern meaning of sybaritic." Founded c 720 BC by Achaeans and Troezenians it became prosperous quickly. It was destroyed by Croton (510 and c 448 BC) and then rebuilt a third time with Athenian help. A new settlement Thurii was founded in 443 BC by Pericles of Athens. The Sybarites who were then expelled founded a fourth Sybaris farther south on the Traeis (Trionto) River. After the Punic Wars a Roman colony named Copia was established at Thurii and occupation seems to have continued until the 4th century AD. The original Sybaris founded other colonies notably Paestum. Pottery and structural evidence supports occupation from the 8th century BC; from Copia there remains an early imperial theater and some residences."
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: A Corinthian colony and principal port founded traditionally c 734 BC on the east coast of Sicily. The earliest occupation was on the island of Ortygia; later settlement was on the mainland in the Achradina area. Early Palaeolithic material occurs in the Great Harbor. Syracuse was the leader of Greek cities in Sicily and had many struggles with Athens and Carthage, becoming capital of Roman Sicily in the 3rd century BC. Siding with Hannibal in the Second Punic War was a mistake which led to a long siege by Rome. In the early Christian era, Syracuse became something of a religious center, and there are extensive catacombs. From the 5th century onward, the city's civilization disintegrated under the general chaos of the western empire. Surviving remains include the archaic Doric temples of Zeus and Apollo, Temple of Athena, the Greek theater, and a 3rd-century AD amphitheater. Evidence also survives for an extensive fortification system of Epipolae, a triangular-plan rocky plateau which was unified with the city in some 27 km of walling; the Fort of Euryalos was at the highest point.
- Ténéré Neolithic
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tenerian
DEFINITION: Variant of the so-called Saharan Neolithic complex in the Ténéré Dessert and extends from northeastern Niger into western Chad, Africa, dating from 6500-4500 BP. Chipped stone implements include backed microliths, bifacial projectile points, and discoid knives and the pottery may have connections with contemporary Sudanese Nile valley sites. Rock engravings and rock pictures of animals were also created by the Neolithic (8,000-5,000 BC) inhabitants. A pastoral economy existed as well as hunting; the climatic conditions at the time may have dictated the subsistence. Ténéré is now one of the most forbidding regions of the Sahara, with an extremely hot and dry climate and virtually no plant life. Fossils show that this arid desert was, in the Late Carboniferous Period (320-286 million years ago), a seafloor and later became a humid tropical forest. In the Middle Paleolithic (d 60,000 BC) human habitation is indicated in this region by flint axes, arrowheads, and stone artifacts.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Arawakan Indians who occupied much of the Greater Antilles, especially Hispaniola, at the time of Columbus's arrival. There were permanent villages of up to 1000 houses (of logs and poles with thatched roofs), some built on open plazas. Government was by hereditary chiefs and subchiefs. There were classes of nobles, commoners, and serfs. Cultivation was based on the slash-and-burn techniques and they were skilled carvers in wood and stone. The characteristic pottery was of the Chi-Coid series. They became extinct within 100 years after the Spanish conquest of the late 15th century.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Shiz; Takht-i-Suleyman
DEFINITION: Site in Azerbaijan, northwest Iran, which was an important religious site in the Parthian, Sassanian and Islamic periods. In the Parthian period, it was surrounded by a mudbrick wall; the Sassanians added a further outer wall of stone. To the Sassanian period belong a palace and a fire temple, which was the focus of a pilgrimage center. The Gushnasp fire was the ancient fire of the Magi (in Media), but it came to be the symbol of the monarchic and religious unity.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Talayotic culture
CATEGORY: structure; culture
DEFINITION: Massive dry-stone towers of the Bronze and Iron Age of the Balearic Islands, mainly Majorca and Minorca, c 1000-300 BC. In its oldest and most simple form, a talayot is a round tower built of large stone blocks. It may be solid, or enclose a single cell or chamber roofed by corbelling; there may niches in the wall. In other examples the roof is of flat slabs supported by a central pillar. From c 850 BC, square talayots were also built and some of these have a second chamber above the one on the ground floor. Many later became the center of a small village of dry-stone houses and enclosed by walls of Cyclopean masonry. The architecture shows resemblances to contemporary structures in Sardinia (the nuraghe) and in Corsica. The precise function of talayots is unknown, but they could have been used as lookout towers or as refuges in times of trouble. The tower has also given its name to the local Bronze age culture.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Dumuzi
DEFINITION: Consort of the Sumerian goddess Ishtar who was prominent in the fertility rituals of the Sacred Marriage. Upon death, he became a god of the underworld. The earliest known mention of Tammuz is in texts dating to the early part of the Early Dynastic III period (c 2600-2334 BC), but his cult was probably older. The cult is attested for most of the major cities of Sumer in the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. He eventually changed to an agricultural deity, viewed as the power of the grain in texts of the Assyrians and Sabaeans.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Site in Boeotia, Greece, where a large cache of finely worked, cast terra-cotta figurines were found in Hellenistic period cemeteries spanning the period from c 340-150 BC. There are also Mycenaean chamber tombs in the area. The nearly circular hill of the ancient ruined city was first occupied by the Gephyreans, an Athenian clan. It became the chief town of the eastern Boeotians, with lands extending to the Gulf of Euboea. Tanagra probably assumed leadership of the Boeotian confederacy following the Greco-Persian Wars when it took over the clay-working industry of devastated Thebes.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Site in Meath County northwest of Dublin, the Hill of Tara, which was the original residence of the pre-Christian and early Christian High Kings of Ireland. The oldest monument is a decorated Neolithic passage grave with radiocarbon dates ranging from 3000-2400 BC, but most of the burial mounds and enclosures are of the early historic period. There was a settlement on the site as early as the 1st century AD, but Tara did not become a political capital until the time of Cormac Mac Airt in the 3rd century. Bronze Age remains from Tara include about 50 single graves with food vessels or urns, mostly with cremations, though one inhumation was accompanied by a rich necklace of copper, jet, amber, and faience beads. Tara became an important settlement site in the Iron Age and early historic period. To this period belong a large hillfort (the Royal Enclosure) and a series of smaller forts and burial mounds. The site was a royal capital when St. Patrick visited it in the 5th century. It remained the seat of the high kingship until about 1000 AD, when it was finally overthrown.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Greek Taras, Roman Tarentum
DEFINITION: A city at the head of the Ionian Sea in southern Italy, first occupied by a Neolithic village with Serra d'Alto ware. This was succeeded by the Apennine culture, to which around 1250 BC was added a colony of Mycenaeans. Trade up the Adriatic continued after the fall of Mycenaean Greece, distributing Terramara bronzework from northern Italy. In the 8th century BC (traditional date 706), Greek settlers from Sparta and Laconia conquered the Messapian village and founded the new Taras on the peninsula. It soon became one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia and its inhabitants founded several other coastal cities. Taranto reached the peak of power and prosperity in the 4th century BC under Archytas. The city then suffered in a series of wars, culminating in its submission to Rome in 272 BC. During the Second Punic War, it fell into the hands of the Carthaginian general Hannibal but was recaptured and plundered by the Romans in 209. It declined under the Roman Empire. Very little survives today since both the Greek and the Roman towns lie beneath the modern city. Votive and sanctuary terra-cottas and tombs with decorated sarcophagi and funerary couches have been found.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Island that was part of the Australian continent during the late Pleistocene, then separated by rising sea levels which formed Bass Strait about 9000 BC. Occupation of southwestern Tasmania by 30,000 bp is now well established. At the time of European contact, Tasmanian aborigines had a simple tool kit of stone flakes and core scrapers, pebble choppers, wooden pointed spears, digging sticks, clubs, and throwing sticks. They lacked all the post-Pleistocene tools known on the mainland. At sites on the northwestern tip, deposits are dated to c 6000 BC with bone points, stone scrapers, and pebble tools. Around 1000 BC, bone points disappeared and there is evidence of fish exploitation. Pecked engravings at Mount Cameron West resemble the Panaramitee style of central Australia. The arrival of Europeans was disastrous, with Tasmanians becoming almost extinct in the 19th century.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The Aztec capital, built on islands in Lake Texcoco (1325 AD), which once was the center of the Valley of Mexico; few remains survive underneath present-day Mexico City. The Aztecs built artificial islands and constructed houses, other buildings, and chinampas them and then connected to the mainland by three giant causeways. The population may have been as high as 400,000 people over five square miles. Under the ruler Itzcóatl (1428-1440), Tenochtitlán formed alliances with the neighboring states of Texcoco and Tlacopan and became the dominant power in central Mexico. By commerce and conquest, Tenochtitlán came to rule an empire of 400-500 small states --by 1519 some 5-6,000,000 people over 80,000 square miles. Accounts describe 25 pyramid-temples with nine priests' quarters, seven tzompantli (sacrificial racks), two ball courts, and a huge plaza consisting of the Great Temple with the temples of Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. The city was taken by Hernando Cortes and the Spaniards in 1519 and by 1522 it was virtually destroyed. The Spaniards built their own city on the site. Some archaeological remains were discovered during the building of a subway in Mexico City.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Very important site north of Mexico City, at its peak c 450-650 AD the largest and most powerful city in Mesoamerica. It had its beginnings as one of a number of small agricultural settlements around the shores of ancient Lake Texcoco. Teotihuacán flourished by c 300/200 BC and by 100 AD, it had about 40,000 inhabitants. Archaeological work has provided more information about Teotihuacán than about any comparable Mexican site. Teotihuacán maintained extensive political and trade contacts with lowland Mexico, and is famed for its enormous public buildings and pyramids. At its heart is a complex of magnificent architecture including the massive Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon, the Cuidadela (probably an administrative center), and the Great Compound (probably a market place); there are no ball courts. The structures are distributed along a central roadway known as the Street of the Dead. After the destruction of Cuicuilco, Teotihuacan expanded and people were housed in apartment compounds which exhibit some social differentiation. Many of the inhabitants were craftsmen, and some 500 workshop sites have been identified. Four-fifths of those sites were devoted to obsidian working. Teotihuacán controlled the central highlands of Mexico, and was in contact with all the principal centers of civilization (Monte Albán, Tikal, etc.) as far as Belize. The influence of Teotihuacán during the Early Classic was considerable and most major centers have some Teotihuacán forms. Characteristic of Teotihuacán influence are Talud-Tablero architecture, images of Tlaloc, cylindrical tripod vases, Thin Orange Ware, murals, and stylized human face masks. There is very little massive stone sculpture except as architectural embellishments. The end of Teotihuacan came fairly suddenly. A decline in its influence at other sites was evident by c 600, but the city itself was not destroyed until 750. There is much evidence of burning from that time, indicating that the city may have been sacked --possibly by the Chichimecs. The city was never rebuilt, but a small population remained in the ruined city for more than a hundred years.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Santorini
DEFINITION: Volcanic island in the Cyclades and the site of a Mycenaean settlement and a flourishing Bronze Age Minoan town (Akrotiri) on its lower slopes. The inhabitants were driven out by an earthquake c 1500 BC and in c 1470 a catastrophic eruption buried the remains under 30 meters of ash. There were shock waves across the south Aegean Sea and extent to which the volcano's eruption contributed to the downfall of the Minoans on Crete is debated. There is, however, a chronological problem: the destruction of the Minoan palaces on Crete seems to have occurred c1450 BC, some 50 years after the abandonment of Akrotiri. Based on evidence from a Greenland ice-core and from tree-ring and radiocarbon dating, some scholars believe that it occurred earlier, during the 1620s BC. Some tie the events to the legend of Atlantis. Around the beginning of the first millennium BC, Dorian settlers came to Thera. From 308 to 145 the island, a member of the Cycladic League, was a Ptolemaic protectorate. Akrotiri's houses contain some of the finest Minoan frescoes found in the Mediterranean.
- Third Intermediate Period
- CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A chronological phase (1075-656 BC) following the New Kingdom, when Egypt was divided. The north was inherited by the Tanite 21st dynasty (c 1075-950 BC), and much of the Nile Valley came under the control of the Theban priests.
- Thrace or Thracia
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Ancient and modern region of the southeastern Balkans; in ancient times, the part north of Greek settlement extending to the Black Sea. In the 5th century BC, it included modern Bulgaria and Romania. Most Thracians became subject to Persia in c 516-510 BC. It was assimilated (356-342 BC) by Philip II of Macedon and later provided Philip's son, Alexander the Great, with troops during his conquests. In 197 BC, Rome assigned much of Thrace to the kingdom of Pergamum. In the 1st century BC, Rome became more involved in the affairs of the region and emperor Claudius I annexed the entire Thracian kingdom in 46 AD. Thrace was subsequently made into a Roman province. The emperor Trajan and his successor, Hadrian, founded cities in Thrace, notably Sardica (modern Sofia) and Hadrianopolis (modern Edirne). In about 300 AD, Diocletian reorganized the area between the Lower Danube and the Aegean into the diocese of Thrace. Archaeological sites are the homes of Democritus, the 5th-century philosopher, and of Protagoras, a counselor of Alexander the Great; and the Roman highway Via Egnatia.
- Three-Age System
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: three-age sequence, Three Age System
DEFINITION: The division of human prehistory into three successive stages -- Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age -- based on the main type of material used in tools of the period. The system was first formulated by Christian J. Thomsen in 1819 as a means of classifying the collections in the National Museum of Denmark. The scheme became progressively elaborated by dividing the Stone Age into Old and New, the Palaeolithic and Neolithic. A Middle Stone Age or Mesolithic was later added. The further subdivisions Early, Middle, and Late of the Palaeolithic (Lower, Middle, and Upper) were introduced, and a Copper Age was inserted between New Stone and Bronze. The Ages are only developmental stages and some areas skipped one or more of the stages. At first entirely hypothetical, these divisions were later confirmed by archaeological observations. It established the principle that by classifying artifacts, one could produce a chronological ordering.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: boulder clay
DEFINITION: An aggregate of material -- unsorted soil consisting of sand, gravel, clay, and unsorted stones, and deposited directly by a glacier or ice sheet. All grades of particle size may be found. Till is sometimes called boulder clay because it is composed of clay, boulders of intermediate sizes, or a mixture of these. Ice does not sort the material it carries and the range of particle sizes, as well as the range of rock types, depends on the geology over which the ice-sheet or glacier has flowed. There are two types of till, basal and ablation. Basal till is that which was carried in the base of the glacier and commonly set under it. Ablation till is that which was carried on or near the surface of the glacier and came down as the glacier melted.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Augusta Treviroum; Roman Augusta Treverorum; Trèves
DEFINITION: Principal Roman city of northeast Gaul, first the capital of Treveri, a Celto-Germanic tribe. It became the chief city of the Roman province of Belgica in the 2nd century AD and was adopted by Constantius and Constantine in the 4th century AD as an imperial capital. The city's strategic position at a crossroads contributed to its rapid rise as a commercial and administrative center. Remains include an amphitheater (c 100 AD), Constantinian basilica, baths, and Porta Nigra (ornate late Roman gateway). Trier has more preserved Roman monuments than any other German city. A mint was in use from about 296 AD.
- Triple Alliance
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: A military alliance formed in 1428 AD, in the Late Post-Classic Period, between Tenochtitlán, Texcoco, and Tacuba and which became the dominant force in the Lake Texcoco region of the Basin of Mexico. They joined together to overthrow the Tepenacs in the city-state of Azcapotzalco. The Aztecs eventually dominated the alliance, although Texcoco, under philosopher-king Nezahuacoyotl, became a renowned center of culture and learning.
- CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: The type site, in the Balkans near Kiev, of a Neolithic-Copper Age culture which formed in the Western Ukraine and east Romania (Cucuteni culture) in the 4th millennium BC. It is best known for its villages of up to 100 timber longhouses, and for fine polychrome vessels painted with curvilinear and geometric designs. They also had copper and gold objects. Tripolye people practiced shifting agriculture, frequently moving their settlements. The Tripolye culture came to an end with the expansion westwards of steppe cultures of kurgan or single-grave type. The Cucuteni-Tripolye culture was a Neolithic European culture that arose in Ukraine between the Seret and Bug rivers, with an extension to the Dnieper River, about 3000 BC.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Kaupangr, Nidaros
DEFINITION: Third largest city of Norway, founded in 997 by King Olaf I Tryggvason as the village of Kaupangr. He built a church and a royal residence, Kongsgård, there and it became the great medieval capital of Norway. Located along the ice-free Trondheim Fjord, it commanded land and sea routes to Russia and the rest of Europe. The sagas describe it as a flourishing late Viking trade center with as many as three royal palaces, several churches, and a Thing-place where parliament assembled. Excavations have uncovered only part of the timber-built medieval town: the outlines of a 10th-century hall-type house, 11th-century church, and other smaller buildings.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Later Stone Age Industry named after the Tshitolo Plateau in southern Zaire, the microlithic successor to the Lupemban and dated c 14,000-5000 BP. Tshitolian industries also occur in Angola, Gabon, and Cameroon in equatorial Africa. The characteristic backed microliths are of a flared triangular shape and may have been hafted for use as transverse arrowheads. Other tool types are small picks, small core axes, and foliate points.
- tula adze
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: tula
DEFINITION: In Australia, a hafted chisel made to work hardwoods. It is a thick, round stone flake, usually about 5 cm long, with a steeply trimmed working edge opposite an obtuse-angled striking platform. They usually have a prominent bulb and convex bulbar surface. Ethnographic examples are set in gum on the end of a wooden handle or spearthrower. The edge would be resharpened until the flake became elliptical, when it is discarded. In this form, with a heavily step-flaked edge opposite the striking platform, it is termed a 'tula adze slug'. Tula adzes are restricted to more arid regions and the oldest examples come from Puntutjarpa (c 8000-5000 BC) and are exactly like those still used by desert Aborigines.
- Tumulus culture
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tumulus Bronze Age, Tumulus period
DEFINITION: A Middle Bronze Age culture of the central Danube region in Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Bavaria, with burials beneath round barrows, dating c 1500-1200 BC. The heartland of the Tumulus culture was Bavaria, Württemberg, and the area previously occupied by the Unetice culture, but distribution extended into north Germany and west as far as Alsace. With the introduction of urnfield burial, the Tumulus culture and the Middle Bronze Age came to an end. It is defined mainly by the dominant burial rite of inhumation beneath a burial mound, as well as a number of characteristic bronze types, found both in the burials and in hoards. It continued earlier trends in ceramics and metalwork, though more elaborate in form and decoration.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chinese: Turpan
DEFINITION: City in the Uygur autonomous ch'ü (region) of Sinkiang, China, long the center of a fertile oasis and an important trade center on the main northern branch of the Silk Road. An oasis city, it was traditionally on the border between the nomadic peoples of the north and settled oasis dwellers of Sinkiang. Under the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) the Chinese knew it as the Chü-shih kingdom. In 450, it became the new state of Kao-ch'ang. Eventually taken in the 13th century by the Mongols, Turfan enjoyed a new commercial prosperity as the Central Asian land routes flourished.
- Tutankhamun (reigning c1336-1327 BC)
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tutankhamen
DEFINITION: A minor Egyptian pharaoh of the late 18th Dynasty who came into great prominence when his tomb in the Valley of Kings at Thebes was found with minimal disturbance by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1922. A son of Amenhotep III, he succeeded the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten. During an undistinguished reign of nine years he began the restoration of the worship of Amen (Amun) and returned the capital to Thebes. His more orthodox successors attempted to obliterate him from memory because of the taint of Aten worship which he apparently never entirely threw off. The tomb, though probably far poorer than those of the greater pharaohs, yielded a remarkable treasure and great detail of the ritual of Egyptian royal burials. The mummy, with a magnificent inlaid gold mask, lay inside three cases -- the innermost of pure gold weighing over a ton, the outer two of gilded wood. These were enclosed in a stone sarcophagus within successive shrines also of gilded wood, nearly filling the burial chamber. Three other rooms held chariots, furniture, statues, and other possessions of the king. It took three years to clear and preserve the contents of the wealthy tomb. The discovery stirred the public imagination and opened up a great interest in archaeology.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Sur
DEFINITION: Site on the coast of Lebanon of a chief city of the Phoenicians from c 2000 BC. It occupied a small island off the coast with two harbors. It was the parent city of Carthage and flourished until its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in 574/572 BC after a long siege. Between 538-332 it was ruled by the Achaemenian kings of Persia. Most famous was its siege by Alexander the Great in 332 BC which came about only after a causeway was built to the mainland. After its capture, 10,000 of the inhabitants were put to death, and 30,000 were sold into slavery. Alexander's causeway, which was never removed, converted the island into a peninsula. Excavation has found only the Roman and Byzantine levels; most of the remains of the Phoenician period still lie beneath the present town. It is the site of one of the factories for purple dye Tyrian Purple" obtained from murex shell and much prized. Hiram King of Tyre (970-936 BC) was contemporary of Solomon's."
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Ras Shamra, Ra's Shamra
DEFINITION: Important site of an ancient Syrian city, north of Latakia on the Syrian coast, occupied from an aceramic Early Neolithic (7th millennium BC) through the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age. It was destroyed c 1200 BC; its fall coincided with the invasion of the Northern and Sea Peoples and earthquakes and famines. In its last three centuries it was in commercial contact with Egypt, the Hittites, and the Mycenaeans. Temples to Baal and Dagon (2nd millennium BC) and an elaborate palace with archives of cuneiform clay tablets have been excavated. These commercial and administrative documents and religious texts are very important records of the Canaanites. The texts are written either in the Babylonian cuneiform script or in the special alphabetic cuneiform script invented in Ugarit, dating to the 15th-14th centuries BC when it came first under strong Egyptian influence and then under Hittite dominance. Ugarit may be credited with the development of the first true alphabet: simplified cuneiform signs were used for an alphabet of 30 letters. Bronzes, ivories, stelae, high priest's library, and built tombs also survive.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Omayyad
DEFINITION: The first great Muslim dynasty of Arab leaders (caliphs) to rule the Empire of the Caliphate, 661-750 AD, descended from a Meccan merchant who became a prominent administrator under the Prophet Muhammad. Headed by Abu Sufyan, the Umayyads were a tribe centered in Mecca who initially resisted Islam but finally converted in 627. In the first Muslim civil war (656-661) Abu Sufyan's son Mu'awiyah emerged victorious over 'Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law and fourth caliph; Mu'awiyah then established himself as the first Umayyad caliph. The Umayyads were supplanted by the Abbasids in 750.
- CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: Any hoofed typically herbivorous quadruped mammal -- ruminant, swine, camel, hippopotamus, horse, tapir, rhinoceros, elephant, or hyrax.
- Urnfield period
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Urnfield period; Urnfield; Urn culture, Urnfield complex
DEFINITION: A widespread group of related Bronze Age cultures practicing burial by cremation in pottery urns, at first in central and eastern Europe and later spreading to northern and western Europe. Such funerary urns were buried in a cemetery of urns (urnfields) and the practice dates from c 1300 BC to c 750 BC. Other features of the Urnfield period include copper-mining, sheet bronze metalworking, and fortified settlements. At the start of the Iron Age, inhumation once again became the dominant form of burial in many areas. A small pot with holes in it is often found interred with the urn, which may have been the ritual fire igniter or an incense burner. The Urnfield cultures succeeded the Tumulus culture in central Europe and developed into the Hallstatt Iron Age culture.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: biblical Erech, modern Warka; Uruk period
CATEGORY: site; culture
DEFINITION: One of the greatest city-states of Sumer, northwest of Ur, which flourished at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. It is 250 km south of Bagdad, Iraq. Pottery dating from around 5000 BC has been found there, but the civilization is traditionally dated to c 3800-3100 BC. Uruk's rulers tried to lead Sumer until Ur became more powerful, but Uruk still remained important as a holy city. It was one of the great Sumerian city-states, developing from the 'Ubaid period. It was the site of numerous innovations, the most important being the invention of writing. It lost importance with the rise of Ur, c 2100 BC, but remained occupied till the Parthian period. Archaeologists have found very important structures and deposits of the 4th millennium BC and the site has given its name to the period that succeeded the Ubaid and preceded the Jemdet Nasr period. Uruk was Mesopotamia's -- and the world's -- first true city. There are two large temple complexes -- the Anu sanctuary and the Eanna sanctuary -- both with several successive temple-structures during the Uruk period, including the White Temple in the Anu sanctuary and the Limestone and Pillar Temples in the Eanna sanctuary. A characteristic form of decoration is clay cones with painted tops pressed into the mud plaster -- known as clay cone mosaic. A ziggurat laid out by Ur-Nammu in the Ur III period (late 3rd millennium BC) is by the Eanna sanctuary. The earliest clay tablets appear in late Uruk levels; they are simple labels and lists with pictographic symbols. Tablets from slightly later levels, of the Jemdet Nasr phase, show further developments towards the cuneiform script of the Early Dynastic period. There was also mass-produced wheelmade pottery, cylinder seals, and sophisticated art. Uruk was the home of the epic hero Gilgamesh, now thought to be a real king of the city's first dynasty.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Utique
DEFINITION: Traditionally the oldest Phoenician settlement on the coast of North Africa, located near the mouth of the Majardah (Medjerda) River in modern Tunisia. It was founded in the 8th or 7th century BC and grew rapidly, being second only to Carthage among Phoenician settlements in Africa. In the Third Punic War (149-146 BC), Utica sided with Rome against Carthage; after the destruction of Carthage it was made the administrative center of the Roman province of Africa. Utica became a municipium in 36 BC, but lost its primacy when Carthage was refounded as a Roman city in 44 BC. Excavators have found Phoenician graves dating from the 8th century BC onward, Roman bath buildings, and a substantial residential area of the Roman city with houses containing mosaics.
- CATEGORY: artifact; language
DEFINITION: Fine parchment from the skins of calves, a term that was broadened in its usage to include any especially fine parchment. In the 4th century AD vellum or parchment as a material and the codex as a form became dominant.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: An Illyrian people who came from the east and took possession of the region named for them (Venetia) in Italy c 1000 BC. The Venetic language is known from more than 400 funerary and votive inscriptions and from Classical writings. It is an Indo-European language of Archaic type bearing similarities to the Latin and the Germanic. The principal centers of the Veneti were Padua and Este. Their culture developed from the 9th century to the period of Romanization, with relationships with the Golasecca, Villanovan, and Etruscan cultures and with the transalpine Hallstatt culture. They peaked in the 6th-4th centuries BC and produced figured bronze situlae (conical vessels). The Veneti were horse breeders and peaceful traders and navigators. They protected by the waters of the lower Po and the lower Adige and preserved their independence against Etruscan expansion and Celtic invasion. In the 3rd century BC, they established a peaceful alliance with Rome.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: City in northern Italy at the foot of the Lessini Mountains on the River Adige. The city was founded by an ancient tribe (possibly the Euganei or Raeti) and was later occupied by the Gallic Cenomani. It became a Roman colony in 89 BC and rapidly rose in importance because it was at the junction of main roads between Italy and northern Europe. There are two large gateways dating from 1st century AD, a theater, and the Arena, the third-largest surviving Roman amphitheater.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: Military and commercial city of medieval Iraq, especially important during the Umayyad caliphate (661-750 AD). It was established as a military encampment in 702 on the Tigris River, between Basra and Kufah. A palace and the chief mosque were built and irrigation and cultivation were encouraged. Because of its location on the Tigris, Wasit became a shipbuilding and commercial center. Even after the caliphal capital was moved from Damascus to Baghdad, the city remained important. The only standing building is a shrine with a monumental portal flanked by minarets, datable to the 13th century. Excavations revealed a congregational mosque with four periods of construction, the earliest with a large courtyard surrounded on three sides by a single arcade and a sanctuary 19 bays wide and 5 bays deep. Adjoining the mosque was the Dar al Imara, or governor's palace.
- Watling Street
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Waetlinga Street
DEFINITION: The most famous of the Roman roads in Britain, running from London northwest via St. Albans (Verulamium) to Wroxeter (Viroconium). It was built in the early years of the Roman occupation of Britain and was one of the great arterial roads of Roman and post-Roman Britain. The name came from a group of Anglo-Saxon settlers who called Verulamium by the name of Waetlingaceaster. This local name passed to the whole of the Roman road by the 9th century.
- CATEGORY: site
DEFINITION: The kingdom of the West Saxons founded by Cerdic in the upper Thames Valley c 494/495 AD and from another site, known only from archaeological evidence, situated on the upper Thames and was probably settled from the northeast. Wessex first spread in influence to the south and west and was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kingdoms to become firmly established. Its nucleus approximated that of the modern counties of Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, and southern Avon. At times its land extended north of the River Thames, and it eventually expanded to cover Devon and Cornwall. It reached its peak in the 9th century. Wessex under Alfred (871-899) became the nucleus of a unified England.
- CATEGORY: flora
DEFINITION: Cereal grass of the Gramineae (Poaceae) family and of the genus Triticum and its edible grain, one of the oldest and most important of the cereal crops. Two wild forms of wheat are found in the Near East today, wild einkorn (Triticum boeoticum) and wild emmer (Triticum dicoccoides). Wild einkorn and, less commonly domestic einkorn, appear in the Near East at such early farming sites as Ali Kosh before 7000 BC. Emmer, both wild and domestic, was much more common than einkorn and has been found on most early Neolithic sites in the Near East. Domestic emmer subsequently spread throughout Europe. Hexapolid wheats (club wheat, bread wheat) appear in the Near East before 6000 BC. Spelt wheat was being cultivated at Yarim Tepe in northern Mesopotamia in the 6th millennium BC. In Europe there are some Neolithic occurrences of spelt, but it became common only in the Iron Age.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Middle Plantation
DEFINITION: In Virginia, a site first settled (by the British) in 1633 as Middle Plantation, originally standing within a 6-mi. (10-km) stockade and serving as a refuge from Indian attacks. It is also the site of one of the most extensive restoration projects in North America, a working model of 18th-century life. It became the capital of Virginia in 1699 and was renamed in honor of King William III. The College of William and Mary, founded in 1693, and the Capitol building, begun in 1701, were the earliest public buildings. Structures of brick and wood housed a population of 5000-6000. When Williamsburg's tenure as capital ended in 1780, the city went into a general decline, although it was never abandoned as Jamestown was.
- window lead
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: window-lead
DEFINITION: Lead came subdividing the quarries of glass and holding them in place in a leaded light.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ancient Viroconium; Roman Viroconium Cornoviorum
DEFINITION: Site of a Roman town in southwestern England, founded in the 1st century AD and from c 90 AD the tribal capital (civitas) of the Roman province of Cornovii. In 130, it was enlarged to add a grid street plan and a forum in honor of Hadrian. The town became the fourth largest in Roman Britain. There is also a basilica, Roman and Romano-Celtic temples, bath buildings, shops, housing, and an aqueduct.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Wu-wei
DEFINITION: City in Kansu province, China, situated at the eastern end of the Kansu Corridor through which the Silk Road ran southeast to northwest. Wuwei became an important commandery under the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Since T'ang times (618-907), it has been the seat of a prefecture Liang-chou. The 2nd-century tomb of a Han official was discovered, furnished with a procession of miniature bronze cavalry, chariots, and spirited horses including the well-known 'flying horse'. The ancient city has many monuments.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roman Vetera Castra and Colonia Ulpia Traiana
DEFINITION: Roman legionary camp and civilian settlement on the Rhine near Wesel, Germany, and the confluence with the River Lippe. The Augustan-period camp had earth ramparts, palisades, timber buildings, a hospital and a quay, with some later stone construction. It was given colonia status by emperor Trajan and subsequently became the principal city of Lower Germany (Germania Inferior). A rectangular grid street system, town walls, gates, bath buildings, amphitheater, porticoed temple, artisans' quarters and housing have been uncovered.
- Yang Shao
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Yang-shao, Yangshao
DEFINITION: The most important Neolithic culture of China, distributed along the middle course of the Yellow River in north-central China and dated to c 5000-2700 BC. Large open settlements of circular or rectangular houses slightly sunk into the ground cluster along the loess river terraces. It is distinguished by millet agriculture, coarse and painted pottery, sedentary villages, and clans. Some marks on the pottery are thought to be the beginnings of writing; pottery was handmade, painted in black and red on a yellowish slip. At first, the designs were zoomorphic, then later became abstract, geometric, or curvilinear. Coarser red and grey wares were also common.
- SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Eboracum, Jorvik
DEFINITION: Legionary fortress in Roman Britain, one of England's best-preserved sites. Of particular interest are the deposits in the Coppergate area which illustrate the period when the city was an important center of the Vikings. In Roman times, it became a bishopric and renowned as a center for learning and theology. Remains of the fortress were later incorporated into the medieval walls and excavations have revealed a large palace-like structure existed. Waterlogged conditions have preserved timber buildings of the Viking period. Certain industries prospered, including bronze, glass, iron and bone-working, and wood-turning. Recent excavations have also uncovered York's Norman castles, built in 1067-1068. Excavations have shown 10th-century York, a Danish settlement, to have been a center of international trade, economic specialization, and town planning; it was on its way to becoming by 1086 (in the Domesday survey) one of Europe's largest cities, numbering at least 2,000 households.
- CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: Mesoamerican cultural and linguistic group centered on the highlands of southern Oaxaca, Mexico, and the culture most clearly associated with Monte Albán and Mitla. Their origins are uncertain, but by c 300 AD a distinctively Zapotec culture can be recognized. The Early Formative ancestral Zapotec had lived in scattered villages and at least one center of some importance, San José Mogote. Elaborate funerary urns in gray ware are especially characteristic. The Zapotec abandoned their capital in c 950 and appear to have relocated at other centers, such as Mitla and Lambityeco. In the 14th century AD, the area was infiltrated by Mixtecs who came from the mountains to the north and west and occupied most of the Zapotec sites. Part of the region was never conquered by the Aztecs, and the Zapotecan language has persisted to the present.
Another Dictionary Search