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ancientplanet

ONLINE JOURNAL

H istor y • Arc hae o l o g y • Sc ie nce VOL. 01 • M AY • 2012

IN THIS ISSUE • To Live Forever: A Journey Through The Egyptian Amduat • Digging Up Troy • Minoan Lily: The Spiral Story Of Perpetual Power • Inanna’s Descent: A Balm For The Sting Of Injustice • Women In Situ: The Role And Representation Of Women And Their Status In Archaeology • Digital Archaeology Taking Over? • How Fire Made Us Smarter ... and more

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AncientPlanet Online Journal — VOLUME 01 — May 2012 WEBSITE http://ancientplanet.blogspot.com/

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To Live Forever A journey through the Egyptian Amduat

EDITOR/PUBLISHER Ioannis Georgopoulos email: ioangeorgopoulos@gmail.com NOTICE The editors accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by persons using the resources contained within the journal and/or websites mentioned herein. Editorial and contributors views are independent and do not necessarily reflect those of AncientPlanet. © 2012 AncientPlanet Online Journal, founded by Ioannis Georgopoulos. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, microfilming, recording or otherwise, without the prior written consent from the authors. Permission of the author is also required for all other derivative works, including compilations and translations. Unless stated otherwise, all photos and illustrations are by AncientPlanet and its authors. Reproduction of the material published in AncientPlanet in any form by any person without prior consent is a violation of copyright and appropriate action may be taken against any person(s) violating the copyright.

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Digging Up Troy

Front Cover: The walls of Troy. Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons. ANCIENTPLANET™ PATRAS, ACHAIA EΛΛΑΣ | GREECE

ISSN: 2241-5157

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06 How Fire Made Us Smarter Early Human cognition in light of controlled fire use


The roles and representations of women and their status in the archaeological record

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Inanna’s Descent

Minoan Lily

The spiral story of perpetual power

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A balm for the sting of injustice

contents

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18 Women in Situ

Digital Archaeology Taking Over?

Also in this issue

84 Heritage Under Siege 78 Dr. Larry Swain talks

about the importance of the Staffordshire hoard

68 Willian Matthew Flinders

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Egypt in Milan

102 Exhibitions in Europe

& the USA

106 Six Great Websites

Petrie: The Father of Egyptian Archaeology

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contributors

Ioannis Georgopoulos, MA

Monty Dobson, Ph.D

Lisa Swart, Ph.D

Aikaterini Kanatselou, MA

Jesse Obert, BA

Melanie E. Magdalena

Joshua J. Mark, MA

Charlotte Booth, MA

Jame Blake Wiener, MA

Terrence Twomey, Ph.D

Amy Talbot, BA

Melanie Chalk

Archaeologist / General Editor whose research interests include Aegean archaeology and the writing systems of Bronze Age Crete and Greece.

j o u r n a l

Archaeologist whose research interests are mainly focused on Aegean prehistory, religion, language and art.

Classical Archaeologist specializing in Warfare in Antiquity and currently sitting for an MA in Ancient History.

Egyptologist who has written extensively on Egyptology, including magaizine articles as well as eleven books.

Egyptologist specializing in the Egyptian Third Intermediate Period, Egyptian art and iconography, funerary customs and theology

Archaeology student who loves writing thought provoking articles about controversial topics in the field of archaeology.

Historian who is passionate about research and the dissemination of knowledge to scholars and laymen alike.

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Historian and published author with advanced degrees in both English and Philosophy.

American archaeologist, historian and filmmaker, whose curiosity and passion for the human story has led him to travel the world.

Anthropologist whose research interests include the evolution of human language, consciousness and cooperation, and the ecological impacts of large and small scale societies. 4

Archaeology student interested in Palaeopathology, Biblical Archaeology and Gender Studies.

Freelance proofreader and owner of Spellsure Proofreading Services, based in the Costa del Sol, Spain.


A n c i e n t P l a n e t

from the editor

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elcome to the first edition of the AncientPlanet online journal featuring original research papers on a wide gamut of subjects relating to history, archaeology and science. The purpose of this publication is twofold. In the first instance, it is intended to provide a platform for both professional academics and students to present their research to the wider public. As such, we welcome contributions from individuals from all walks of life, whether undergraduates, postgraduates, academics, museum staff, as well as the general public. Second to this, but equally as important, it is hoped that this journal will promote a greater understanding of this ancient planet we call home.

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As someone somewhere once said: “Never forget the importance of history. To know nothing of what happened before you took your place on Earth is to remain a child forever and ever.” We at AncientPlanet are dedicated to this axiom… to preserve and foster a greater understanding of our planet’s past, to protect and preserve our planet’s future! Although the present issue is clearly anthropocentric and archaeological in nature, it is hoped that future editions of this journal will include research from such diverse fields as palaeontology, biology, ecology and also astronomy. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the first issue of the AncientPlanet Online Journal! On behalf of the AncientPlanet team Ioannis Georgopoulos Editor/Publisher

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How f ire made us smar ter Early Human cognition in light of controlled fire use

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ontrolling fire is a fundamental aspect of human life with ancient roots. We need fire to survive and it plays a central role in our cultural traditions. Evidence for domestic fires and human adaptations to fire use suggest controlling fire has a deep evolutionary history. Our species, Homo sapiens, and our Neanderthal cousins probably never knew a world without a cooked meal and the comforting warmth of campfire. This article outlines how we can investigate the cognitive demands of controlling fire and describes the cognitive abilities they imply. While the cognitive implications of fire use are thought to be important they have not been a focus of anthropological research. We need to consider the kind of 6

problems early humans fire users had to solve, how they might have solved them and the cognitive demands associated with solutions that would have sufficed. I begin by outlining a general approach to inferring cognition from prehistoric evidence and suggesting that humans living between 200-800 thousand years ago (kya) were probably the earliest to depend on fire for their survival. Then I consider fire related behaviors, and the conditions and contexts of Middle Pleistocene fire use. I propose that from these we can infer the cognitive demands associated with the kind of problems early human fire users had to overcome. Controlling fire and our higher mental functions such as language, complex social awareness and forethought are uniquely human and it is reasonable to think


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1. Bolomor Cave, Spain 250 kya; 2. Menez Dregan, France 400 kya; 3. Beeches Pit, England 400 kya; 4. Organc 3, France 300 kya; 5. Schoningen, Germany 400 kya; 6. Bilsingsleben, Germany 350 kya 7. Qesem Cave, Israel 400 kya; 8. Misliya Cave, Israel 200 kya; 9. Hayonim Cave, Israel 300 kya; 10. Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel 800 kya

Map of important Middle Pleistocene fire sites in Western Europe and Israel dated to before 200 kya. Dates indicate earliest levels at which domestic fire is evident. (See Rolland 2004 and Twomey 2011 for more information about these and other sites, and primary sources)

these adaptations have coevolved with fire required to produce them (Coolidge and use. Wynn 2009). Behavioral criteria that reliably indicate human mental faculties are the key to Inferring Cognition from Prehistoric making a reasonable argument from preEvidence historic evidence to cognition. Inferring cognition from ancient remains is not straightforward. Evidence is rare Pleistocene Epoch and often ambivalent with respect to Early cognitive abilities. We are also unsure how best to model cognitive processes 1.806 mya – 781 kya and we do not usually define them Middle operationally in relation to their practical 781 kya – 126 kya functions. Because we cannot infer Late cognition directly, arguments must be 126 kya – 11.24 kya based on a series of persuasive fand explicit inferences from archaeological and fossil Date ranges for the Pleistocene Epoch. Dates are evidence to conditions and behaviors, given in million years ago (mya) and thousand and from these to cognitive processes. years ago (kya). Adapted from information Behaviors should be explained in terms provided by the Geowhen database. of the minimum cognitive competence 7


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An artist’s impression of Kabwe I human skull in profile. The fossil from Zambia, designated as Homo Heidelbergensis or Rodesiensis, is thought to be between 120-300 kya. It is reasonable to think that relatively large brained humans such as Homo heidelbergensis and populations of late Homo erectus needed to eat cooked food to meet their metabolic demands. Adapted from privately owned replica. Illustration by Julie Twomey.

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With these considerations in mind, my research (Twomey 2011) focuses on the simplest behaviors that early humans could have used to control fire. My reasoning is that, while we cannot know exactly how early humans managed to control fire, they must have used the simplest means that would have sufficed. These can serve as a sound behavioral basis for making inferences about cognition because early human fire users would have employed them or more cognitively demanding strategies. My research relates fire related activities to future directed behaviors that are generally accepted by cognitive scientists to indicate distinctively human cognitive abilities. In particular, planning ahead, self control and cooperation directed at future goals indicate features of modern human cognition associated with our enhanced social cognition and executive functions.

information about the behavior of others in cooperative activates. We can communicate information about third parties, social norms and things that are remote in space or time. Modern humans also have ‘executive’ or regulating cognitive functions that govern our ability to make plans, focus attention in spite of interference, switch strategies and override responding to innate or learned motivations. These abilities are not evident or very limited in other animals relative to humans. They also would have been highly adaptive in a fire using context and perhaps necessary for early humans to control fire effectively. The Evidence for Early Human Fire Use Evidence for domestic fires, human brain evolution, and migrations into cool temperate regions suggest that the common ancestor of the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens living between about 200-800 kya could control fire (Rolland 2004, Wrangham 2009, Gowlett 2010). There are some archaeological sites with evidence for fire from the Early Pleistocene, although it is not always clear if these represent natural or domestic fires. They may also indicate intermittent opportunistic fire use rather than habitual controlled fire use.

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The earliest compelling evidence for domestic fire comes from the site at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov in Israel around 800 kya (AlpersonAfil & Goren Inbar 2010). However, evidence is rare before about 400 kya. There are several sites with compelling evidence for domestic fire between 200-400 kya and evidence is relatively common after this period (Rolland 2004). When considering the apparent lack of evidence for controlled fire use from the early part of the Middle Pleistocene, we Humans today know what other people must remember that clear evidence for intend and can keep these intentions distinct domestic fire will only survive in exceptional from their own. We can monitor and update preservation conditions. There are many

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800 kya 1165 600 kya 1250

400 kys 1166 400 kya 1200 400 kya 1225 350 kya 1390

280 kya 1390 250 kya 1325 236 kya 1260 225 kya 1200 210 kya 1230 200 kya 1430 180 kya 1280

Cranial capacity of Middle Pleistocene humans falling just below or within the modern human range. Where the date range is uncertain the mean is provided. While the average relative brain size of these people may have been smaller than Homo sapiens and the Neanderthals when correlated for body size, this still represents a substantial increase on Early Pleistocene Homo. Adapted from information provided in Holloway et. al. 2004 and Schoenemann 2008.

later prehistoric sites where fire must have been used, but there is no evidence for it (Wrangham 2009). While direct evidence for controlled fire use is rare from the first half of the Middle Pleistocene, humanbrain evolution suggests some humans from this time could control fire. Around the beginning of the Middle Pleistocene the absolute brain size of some early humans is beginning to fall within the modern human range. Neural tissue is metabolically expensive to grow and maintain. Cooking improvesdiet quality and breadth, and was probably required for relatively large brained foragers of the Middle Pleistocene to meet their metabolic demands (Schoenemann 2008, Wrangham 2009). This means large brained humans of the Middle Pleistocene probably depended on cooking to survive. The conditions that allow a few dedicated individuals today to survive on raw food, such as easy access to high quality foods and modern processing technologies, were not available to early humans (Wrangham 2009).

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Ceprano (Italy) Homo heidelbergensis Bodo (Zambia) Homo heidelbergensis / rodesiensis Arago XXI (France) Homo heidelbergensis Yunixian (China) Homo erectus Zhoukoudian I, L (China) Homo erectus Atapuerca IV (Spain) Homo heidelbergensis / antecessor Jinniushan (China) Homo erectus Swanscombe (England) Homo heidelbergensis Narmada (India) Homo erectus Steinheim (Germany) Homo heidelbergensis Petralona I (Italy) Homo heidelbergensis Reilingen (Germany) Homo heidelbergensis Kabwe I (Zambia) Homo heidelbergensis / rodesiensis

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It is difficult to account for the rapid increase in relative human brain size that seems to occur about 200-750 kya. These people do not seem to be dramatically different in their culture or behavior than humans of the Early Pleistocene, and major changes in technology are not evident till about 300 kya. Regular fire use may be the key. Given the increased cognitive load and demands associated with fire use, enhanced social and general intelligence would have been adaptive. Cooking would have removed the metabolic constraints on evolving large brains. Therefore, controlling fire meets the two conditions required for our large brains to evolve, a context in which enhanced cognition was adaptive and a substantial increase in energy intake.

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The excavation site at Qesem Cave. Photo courtesy of Tel Aviv University.

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Some Middle Pleistocene humans were living in environments where the light and warmth of a fire would probably have been required at times. Evidence now suggests humans began occupying cool temperate regions from the beginning of the Middle Pleistocene. In light of all the available evidence, we can be reasonably sure that populations of competent fire users who largely depended on fire to survive existed between 200-800 kya. This is not to say that all Middle Pleistocene humans controlled fire, or that fire use did not evolve much earlier. However, we can be confident that some humans from this time controlled fire and were not just using it opportunistically on an intermittent basis.

could not make it and they kept communal fires that serviced all members of a local group. Although we cannot be certain of this, fire making or keeping private fires for individual use would be more cognitively demanding (Twomey 2011). It is also reasonable to think a period of controlled fire use without fire making preceded the invention of ignition technologies (Goudsblom 1992, Ofek 2001, Burton 2009), although this may not have been during the Middle Pleistocene as I am suggesting. My model considers those intrepid humans who controlled fire without being able to make it. Our accounts of human evolution have not paid due attention to this critical period of our ancient past (Ofek 2001).

If early humans depended on fire, but could not make it, then controlling fire involved My model of Middle Pleistocene fire use maintaining fire, and accessing it if required. assumes that people depended on fire, but Individuals would need to tend, transport Fire Related Behaviors and Problems

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Early Man Gathering Around Fire. Photo courtesy of Listverse and protect the fire, and gather firewood. Individuals could have accessed fire from nature if their fire went out because of neglect, bad weather or other contingencies. However, for fire dependent humans who could not afford to wait months or years for a fortuitous lightening strike, wildfire or volcanic eruption, natural fire would not have been reliable. In a population of fire using humans domestic fires would have been a far more readily available source of ignition. This means if individuals needed to access fire, they probably relied on other humans. Access may not have been required often if individuals were good at keeping the fire going, but would have been important for fire dependent humans if a group’s fire went out.

are advantageous. There are many ways early humans could have benefited from fire. Light and heat would have been adaptive in some contexts, but not when the climate was warm and days were long. Cooking was probably the primary reason early humans kept fire because cooked foods provide a net increase in energy intake relative to foods consumed raw and were probably preferred because they taste better (Wrangham 2009). Cooking would have provided the consistent return for effort and incentive that motivated individuals to perform fire related tasks. In summary, my model considers how early humans went about accessing, provisioning, transporting and protecting fire, and cooking.

My dissertation describes at length the Controlling fire also involved using fire in least cognitively demanding strategies some beneficial way because costly behaviors early humans could have used to control like keeping fire do not evolve unless they fire and compares these in terms of their 11


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An artist’s impression of a contemporary women carrying firewood. Still today people in many societies must spend considerable time and effort gathering enough firewood to meet their household needs. Similarly, early humans must have invested considerable time and energy gathering fuel and tending the fire. Illustration by Julie Twomey.

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effectiveness and efficiency in different contexts (Twomey 2011). For example, individuals could have accessed fire through stealth or force from other groups, or through more amicable interactions. Individuals could have shared the workload evenly or divided their labor to ensure the fire was maintained, and they may have transported fire using a burning log. However, here I will focus on some general problems associated with fire use before considering the cognitive implications.

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There are several conditions that would have made fire related tasks more difficult and resulted in social, ecological, logistic and economic fire related problems. Evidence suggests that Middle Pleistocene humans lived mostly in small local groups of 10 to 25 individuals that would often have been 12

isolated from each other (Twomey 2011). This means fire use was a social activity that effected all members of a local group (Goudsblom 1992, Ronen 1998). If the fire burned continually it was open to free riding (Ofek 2001). That is, individuals could benefit from the fire without incurring fire keeping costs so long as others in the group maintained the fire. This presented individuals with a social dilemma because they were better off free riding, but if everyone did, then everyone missed out on the benefits fire provided. Ofek (2001) has proposed that the problem of free riding before the invention of fire making would have demanded fire specialists who traded in fire. Gamble et. al. (2011) have proposed that overcoming the problem of free riding was a major driver of human social cognition. We have no reason to think early humans were any less inclined to free ride or more cooperative than people today. This means free riding was very likely a problem early fire users had to overcome. Middle Pleistocene humans lived in a range of environments as mobile foragers who exploited resources from a central location. Controlling fire may be implicated in the evolution of central place foraging in human societies (Rolland 2004). Some had to deal with snow cover and reduced hours of daylight during winter, others the long hot dry seasons associated with tropical regions. All early humans had to contend with rain and storms that would extinguished an unprotected fire in the open. Food would not always have been abundant and individuals would have faced seasonal or contingent food shortages. Many early humans lived in open tropical savannah or temperate grasslands. This means the distribution of food and fuel would often have been patchy, and fuel loads would often have been low. Fuel would become increasingly harder to find the longer a group remained in the same


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The benefit associated with fire related tasks would often have been delayed (Goudsblom 1992, Ronen 1998). Cooking delays the consumption of food, and fuel would not always have been used as soon as it was gathered (Ronen 1998). Fire related tasks would need to be conducted hours, days or even weeks prior to the intended goal. Unlike other early human behaviors, such as foraging for food or tool making, fire related tasks are often ‘detached’ in that need and trigger are not clearly associated in time and space (Ronen 1998: 443). Fire related tasks provide only deferred gratification in that they were not always performed in an individual’s immediate interest (Goudsblom 1992). This was a problem because future intentions and goals would need to be understood and represented, and inclinations to seek more immediate rewards or act selfishly would sometimes need to be suppressed.

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location. Early humans would have used mostly low quality fuel that could be easily gathered. A fire burning continually, that was not prone to going out and effective for cooking, light and warmth, would require relatively large amounts of fuel (Ofek 2001). There is evidence to suggest that some Middle Pleistocene fire users brought in large amounts of fuel from remote locations (Gamble et. al. 2001). All things considered, controlling fire would have required a large investment in time and energy relative to other activities to ensure sufficient fuel supplies were gathered (Ofek 2001, Gowlett 2010). These conditions presented early humans with logistical and organizational problems that had to be coordinated at the group level. For example, decisions had to be made about who gathered fuel and when was it gathered in relation to other activities.

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An artist’s impression of an Acheulian handaxe. These were a feature of early human stone tools from around 1.6 to .3 million years ago. While the size and proportions of these bifacial tools varied the distinctive shape was remarkably consistent over time and space. There is debate as to whether this is due to a mental representation of the tool or results from the functional properties of the tool and the constraints of lithic materials. Fire users living before about 300 kya would have used handaxes. Adapted from artifacts held in The University of Melbourne’s collection. Illustration by Julie Twomey.

manding. When considering early human fire use it is important to recognize the conditions and constraints early humans had to overcome. To enjoy the benefits fire provided individuals had to meet the associated costs, focus on future rewards and coordinate with fellow group members. The Cognitive Implications of Controlling Fire

Controlled fire use implies future directed planning because the goal associated with accessing, transporting, protecting and provisioning fire may not have been realized for hours, days or even weeks. In many cases the goal would have been to access or sustain a fire for use at some future time, All these conditions would have made not to benefit from the fire directly. Fire controlling fire more cognitively de- related tasks would also have been directed 13


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at uncertain future contingencies, such as finding fire, running out of fuel or rain. This is cognitively demanding because the future goal must be mentally represented in the absence of any clear reference to the goal. For example, an individual might gather fuel for cooking later in the day when they were not hungry and had no food. Individuals could have waited until they wanted to use the fire or when it was about to go out. However, the problem with waiting until the last minute is that you might need fuel for the fire when fuel was difficult or impossible to gather, such as at night, when it was hard to find or when conditions restricted mobility. In most contexts large amounts of fuel would have to be gathered during the day for the fire to be effective at night. Like us, early humans would probably not want to gather firewood when they were about to cook a meal, or after they had eaten. For these reasons gathering fuel in response to an immediate need would not always have sufficed to ensure fuel was gathered. Preparing for a future need that may not have been realized for hours or days in the absence of any proximate motivation implies a degree of forethought that is not evident in other animal species.

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The delayed nature of fire related goals also implies individuals could inhibit responding to more immediate rewards when they were engaged in a fire related activity. Sometimes the temptation to seek more immediate rewards had to be inhibited to ensure the success of fire related behaviors. Individuals would often have been motivated to rest, gather food, play, socialize, seek a mate or make a tool. These behaviors offer more immediate rewards than say gathering fuel or transporting a fire. The problem is compounded because fuel gathering is often a laborious and unpleasant task that may have exposed individuals to increased risk of injury or being preyed upon. Although the rewards of fire related tasks are high, 14

individuals would often have preferred to do something else or avoid them altogether if they could. Today many of us prefer to avoid menial tiresome tasks if we can. This is not to say individuals could not interrupt a fire related task to satisfy some need or take advantage of an opportunity at times, then return to the task. However, if individuals never inhibited responses to proximate rewards, they would often neglect fire related duties or leave them to the last minute, which may have been too late. When food and fuel were hard to find individuals may have had to forego looking for food, even if they were hungry, to ensure enough fuel was gathered to keep the fire burning at night. Controlling fire implies group level cooperation for practical and economic reasons. An individual working alone would have often struggled to feed themselves and the fire without assistance. Even if such individuals existed, they would sometimes need assistance from other group members to ensure that neither the fire nor fire provider died. Cooperation greatly increases efficiency in a fire using society. Whereas one individual may spend a few hours a day gathering fuel and tending the fire, many individuals may spend only a few minutes. More critically, altruistic individuals who cooperated unconditionally would have been at a distinct disadvantage relative to individuals who benefited from the fire for free. Fire providers would be less likely to survive and reproduce and you end up with all free riders, no providers and no fire (Ofek 2001). In a small local group of fire users, either most people helped out, or those who maintained the fire were compensated in some way. For example, an individual who stayed at camp to tend the fire or spent the afternoon gathering fuel might be given a share of the food gathered by others. Gowlett (2010) has proposed that controlled fire use presupposes a division of labor.


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Author’s Affiliation Terrence Twomey graduated from The University of Melbourne with a doctorate in Anthropology in 2011. Terrence’s research interests include the evolution of human language, consciousness and cooperation, and the ecological impacts of large and small scale societies. He is currently affiliated with the School of Social and Political Sciences’ Anthropology program at The University of Melbourne.

*** Further Reading

Concluding Remarks Many aspects of controlled fire use by early humans imply future directed planning, self control and group level cooperation (Twomey 2011). Keeping fire in the Middle Pleistocene was never simply a matter of finding fire when it was needed and keeping it burning until it was not. Investigating the cognitive demands of fire use can shed new light on the cognitive abilities of early humans. It may provide insights into how and why modern human language, consciousness and societies evolved. While inferring cognition from prehistoric evidence is difficult, controlling fire provides a sound behavioral basis for making inferences about cognition that can complement and extend on more traditional forms of inquiry.

Alperson-Afil, Nira and Naama Goren-Inbar. The Acheulian Site of Gesher Benot Ya’aqov Volume II: Ancient Flames and Controlled Use of Fire. Dordrecht: Springer, (2010). Burton, Frances D. Fire: The Spark That Ignited Human Evolution. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, (2009). Coolidge, Frederick L. and Thomas Wynn. The Rise of Homo Sapiens: The Evolution of Modern Thinking. Chicheseter: Wiley-Blackwell, (2009). Gamble, Clive, John Gowlett and Robin Dunbar. The Social Brain and the Shape of the Palaeolithic. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 21(1), (2011). 115-135. Gowlett, John A. J. “Firing Up The Social Brain”. In Social Brain, Distributed Mind, edited by Robin I. M. Dunbar, Clive Gamble and John Gowlett, 341-66. (Proceedings of the British Academy: 158) Oxford: Oxford University Press, (2010). Goudsblom, Johan. The Civilizing Process and the Domestication of Fire. Journal of World History. 3(1), (1992). 1-12.

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The approach and ideas presented here and elsewhere (Twomey 2011) require further qualification, testing and development. However, they provide a framework and starting point for further research in this direction. Domesticating fire changed the way our ancestors interacted with each other and the environment. Thinking about fire facilitated the evolution of human minds and our ancient planet has not been the same since.

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Free riding and anti social behaviors, such as food stealing, would have undermined cooperative efforts directed at fire related tasks. Central placed foraging and cooking presupposes a degree of trust and social awareness. Individuals will not return to a central location with food if there is a chance they will lose it (Sterelney 2003). Mechanisms to monitor and discourage free riding would probably have been required for fire use to evolve (Ofek 2001). Fire related cooperation would have been cognitively demanding for several reasons. Individuals needed to understand the intentions of others towards the fire, trust each other and be able to communicate information about fire related goals and uncooperative individuals. Social norms that reiterated fire related values and obligations, and coalitions prepared to punish free riders and uncooperative individuals were probably required to control fire effectively and efficiently. This involves complex social awareness and proto symbolic communication skills that are not evident in other animals.

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Holloway, R. L., D. C. Broadfield and M. S. Yuan. The Human Fossil Record: Brain Endocasts – The Paleoneurological Evidence, Volume 3. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley & Sons, (2004). Ofek, Haim. Second Nature: Economic Origins of Human Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (2001). Rolland, Nicolas. Was the Emergence of Home Bases and Domestic Fire a Punctuated Event? A review of the Middle Pleistocene record in Eurasia. Asian Perspectives. 43(2) Fall, (2004). 248-280. Ronen, Avraham. “Domestic Fire as Evidence for Language”. In Neanderthals and Modern Humans in Western Asia, edited by Takeru Akazawa, Kenichi Aoki and Ofer Bar-Yosef, 439-447. New York: Plenum Press, (1998). Schoenemann, Thomas P. Evolution of the Size and Functional Areas of the Human Brain. Annual Review of Anthropology 35, (2008). 379-406. Sterelny, Kim 2003. Thought in a Hostile World: The Evolution of Human Cognition. Malden MA: Blackwell Publishing, (2003). Twomey, Terrence. The Cognitive Implications of Controlled Fire Use by Middle Pleistocene Humans. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, (2011), http://repository. unimelb.edu.au/10187/11103 Wrangham, Richard. Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. New York: Basic Books, (2009)

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Scientists find e million years ago

An international team led earliest known evidence o alongside animal bones an Wonderwerk Cave in Sout

“The analysis pushes the t human ancestors as early a U of T anthropologist Mich Centre.

Wonderwerk is a massive Peter Beaumont of the Mc record of human occupati Horwitz of Hebrew Univer excavation along with ren authors Francesco Berna a burned bone fragments, b the cave by wind or water that is typical of burning.

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“The control of fire would impact of cooking food is w all elements of human soc of what makes us human.”

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evidence that human ancestors used fire one o

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d by the University of Toronto and Hebrew University has identified the of the use of fire by human ancestors. Microscopic traces of wood ash, nd stone tools, were found in a layer dated to one million years ago at the th Africa.

timing for the human use of fire back by 300,000 years, suggesting that as Homo erectus may have begun using fire as part of their way of life,” said hael Chazan, co-director of the project and director of U of T’s Archaeology

cave located near the edge of the Kalahari where earlier excavations by cGregor Museum in Kimberley, South Africa, had uncovered an extensive ion. A research project, co-directed by U of T’s Chazan and Liora Kolska rsity, has been doing detailed analysis of the material from Beaumont’s newed field work on the Wonderwerk site. Analysis of sediment by lead and Paul Goldberg of Boston University revealed ashed plant remains and both which appear to have been burned locally rather than carried into r. The researchers also found extensive evidence of surface discoloration

have been a major turning point in human evolution,” says Chazan. “The well documented, but the impact of control over fire would have touched ciety. Socializing around a camp fire might actually be an essential aspect

This is the view from the bottom of the excavated area towards the entrance to Wonderwerk Cave (Photo: R. Yates) 17


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The skull and jewellery of Queen Puabi just as it was found in her tomb at Ur. Photo courtesy of Penn Museum


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Women in Situ

By Amy Talbot B.A.

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The roles and representation of women and their status in the archaeological record

espite continuing breakthroughs in gender archaeology, it is vital that it stays in an area focused on current research, in order to completely dispel the old myths of women

staying at home to forage, or for women to not have high status in their communities. In fact this article intends to show some rare examples of independent women ruling within a male society, and women shown in high and equal regard, not just as homemakers and mothers. These four brief examples will hopefully demonstrate four very different instances in the archaeological record of intelligent and strong women to help dispel any myths out there.

Queen Puabi

of Sumer. The cylinder seals found within the tomb of Queen Puabi (also sometimes known as Shubad) have “Nin� written on them, which meant a woman of status and so Nin Shubad and Nin Banda were both thought to be Sumerian queens, or priestesses (Pollock 1991). However, it is obvious that they are rare examples of women with status in a male dominated society. By the Ur III dynasty, which the tomb of Queen Puabi relates to, Sumer was starting a 500 year male dominated period (Rohrlich 1980).

Between 1922 and 1934 Leonard Woolley excavated a series of royal tombs in Ur (White 2004), dating them to the Ubaid period (White 2004). Through the tomb excavations it appears that the cemetery at Ur had been in use for 500 years, dating to 2600-2100 BCE, with the Early Dynastic III period dating to 2600-2350 BCE (Pollock 1991). In its wider context Ur is part of the Sumerian civilization which, in itself, descended from the Neolithic settlement of Catal Huyuk (Rohrlich 1980). Women in Sumeria were dependent on men Sixteen royal Early Dynastic tombs dating to 2600 (Rohrlich 1980); however, there were a few female BCE (White 2004) were identified in the excavations, rulers that have come to light due to the archaeology with three graves being marked out as particularly 19


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victims were all buried alive (White 2004).

Rare Mayan Queen?

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In 2011, the Nakum Archaeological project, as directed by Jaroslaw Zralka and Wieslaw Koszkul from the Jagiellonian University of Krakow, unearthed a burial site in Nakum later known as Structure 15, Burial 1. Nakum was a densely packed Mayan centre (National Geographic 2011), and may have been ruled from a town 17 km away known as Yaxha according to ancient glyphs found upon a gorget (throat protector) (Maya Royal Tombs Found With Rare Woman Ruler 2011). The dating of the site is that of the Late Classic period, 600-800 AD from the sealing and covering of the structure, according to radiocarbon dating (Zralka, Koszkul et al 2011). It was rare for women to be rulers and so this find of a possibly royal woman would have a profound Queen Puabi’s headdress, made of gold, carnelian impact upon Mesoamerican archaeology. We can tell and lapis lazuli. Photo courtesy of Penn Museum. that the tomb is royal due to elements including the spectacular as they consisted of stone built chambers; formal construction and eastern facing axis, as well as human sacrificial pits. We can tell that the stone being based in the Acropolis of the temple pyramid structures depict status from the comparison of the (Zralka, Koszkul et al 2011). The use of the colour jade three outstanding stone structures, compared to an in the mass of beads and artefacts in the tomb also ordinary grave containing a coffin or a mat wrapped shows royal status, as the colour was associated with burial (Pollock 1991). Beautiful artefacts made from the maize god (Zralka, Koszkul et al 2011). lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, carnelian from the Indus Valley and gold from Anatolia and Egypt are The occupant of the 2000 year old tomb has their head placed between two bowls which is an unusual also found in the tombs (White 2004). occurrence (National Geographic 2011) (Image 3: The tomb labelled PG800 is now identified as that of Koszkul 2011). A small ring was also found with Queen Shubad (White 2004) and, in the archaeological the body, too small to fit a male finger (National record, we can identify her as being a lady of status Geographic, Zralka, Koszkul et al 2011), which points or a Queen as she lay in a stone built tomb chamber towards the sex of the occupant to be that of a status (one of the unusual three tombs recorded in the female. Excavations have found many wonderful excavations) and was buried with three attendants in items; some dated two centuries after the burial, the tomb, as well as oxen and goods (White 2004). making the woman of an important status. (Zralka, In his first examination Woolley believed a beautiful Koszkul et al 2011). The excavations also revealed structure made up of lapis and gold was a diadem, the gorget which, as told above, is possibly a 300 however, it turns out that the thousands of tiny lapis year old heirloom for the occupant, with the glyphs beads and gold pendants make up six individual commemorating the maize snake-god, Ixim Chan, objects (White 2004). She was also buried with a as well as the city of Yaxha (Maya Royal Tombs golden headdress and a beautifully crafted beaded Found With Rare Woman Ruler 2011, Zralka, Koszkul cape (White 2004, Pollock 1991). However, to add to et al 2011). The spindle whorls are a metaphor for her royal status, tomb PG1237 is now seen as Queen weaving; in Mayan culture weaving symbolised a Shubad’s own personal death pit, where 73 sacrificial new birth, linking closely with associations to the 20


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The Mayan queen from Guatemala. Photo courtesy of Wieslaw Koszkul/ National Geographic.

maize god (Zralka, Koszkul et al 2011). The jade pectoral is believed to show the legitimate power of the ruler and is thought to have been constructed in the Olmec period, pre 600 BCE (Zralka, Koszkul et al 2011). The finding of spindle whorls, commonly found in lowland female Maya burials, also indicated that the royal body was that of a woman (Scott 2011, Zralka, Koszkul et al 2011) however, we cannot rule out the occupant being a male.

Cretan Priestess Burial Orthi Petra at Eleutherna in Crete, which since 2007 has been under the watchful eye of director Nicholas Stampolidis (Bonn-Muller 2010), has unearthed three wonderful jar burials containing the remains of a dozen females, as well as a monumental funerary structure where it is believed a priestess and her protégés were placed after their deaths (Bonn-Muller 2010). Orthi Petra or “standing stone” is dated to the Iron Age, specifically the 9-7th c. BCE (Bonn-Muller 2010), also known as the Dark Ages of Crete for the lack of information known. Knossos in Crete is often an area of focus in archaeology, so it is pleasant to hear of another important site and burial

in this fascinating and rich culture. Three Pithoi (jars) were uncovered in this tomb, containing the remains of three generations of richly adorned female individuals who all share genetic characteristics (Stampolidis 2010). The funerary structure unearthed in 2009 clearly shows a status burial due to its uniqueness, and contained amphorae for liquids and oils as well as a number of intricate and beautiful bronze vessels (Stampolidis 2010). About four female skeletons have been found along with various burial artefacts including bead necklaces, scarabs and fine jewellery, made with precious materials such as gold, silver and quartz (Stampolidis 2010). The unique pattern depicted upon this jewellery of gods and warriors, as well as a bronze statue of a bull, all point to a burial of status (Stampolidis 2010), most likely to be a priestess and her protégés. As this is a status, but not a royal burial, we can place the main occupant in the context of Minoan society in a high priestess or sorceress role. This was an honour for women to be, as Crete is the birth home to the mighty god Zeus, and so plays a pivotal role in religion and mythology (Olsen 1998). Therefore a woman of such 21


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Prof. N. Ch. Stampolidis excavating the grave of the Cretan priestess at Eleutherna. Photo courtesy of Dr. Stampolidis.

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costumes; an administrative regalia (Olsen 1998). This mirrors the well adorned tomb of the priestess unearthed in Orthi Petra. In the Minoan civilization the image of kourotrophos, or the woman nurturing a child, is very rarely seen, particularly in Minoan art (Olsen 1998). This shows that the role of the woman was not just to care for a child and that Minoan culture was more matriarchal and centred around themes of a Mother Goddess.

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Eurasian Steppe Women

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Gold pendant from the burial of the priestess at Eleutherna. Photo courtesy of Dr. Stampolidis.

“These are the remains of a society lost to history, where gender roles were not defined according to sex,� (Davis-Kimball 1998).

high status and regard in a matriarchal society must have connotations with the priesthood (Olsen 1998), The women belonging to the Sauromatian and the early Sarmation pastoral nomadic tribes are excellent judging by her great rich internment. examples of women with status in their respective The Minoan Mother Goddess was a huge part of communities. It is apparent that some women in this religion in Crete at this time (Olsen 1998), and so society also held the pleasure of being tribal leaders. her priestesses are often depicted in jewellery and Findings from this utopian society come from 22


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Frieze from Thessaloniki depicting a mythical battle between Amazons and Greeks Photo courtesy of Jeannine Davis-Kimball.

kurgans, the burial mounds used by the tribes (DavisKimball 1998). They help to give a sense of locality and identity to the tribes, as they would return to the same location year after year when moving around; pastoral nomadism is the moving of domesticated animals to new pastures each season (Davis-Kimball 1997). Horses were a huge part of nomadic life as without them it was hard for the tribes to move and go with the animals to new pastures. They helped the tribes to defend their locality, leading to the women of the Sauromatian tribes becoming archetyped as the Amazon warriors by the Greeks (Davis-Kimball 2001). Many excavations and findings of these people have been undertaken, with help from the Centre for the Study of the Eurasian Nomads, under director Jeannine Davis-Kimball. In 1969, a kurgan burial unearthed at Pokrovka in Kazakhstan (a known area of Nomadic tribal activity) contained a rich collection of typically female artefacts, including a headdress (Davis-Kimball 1997, Davis-Kimball 1998). Items such as household objects, religious and cultic items, horse trappings and weaponry, are the usual items to be found in these burials (Davis-Kimball 1998) and

Pokrovka Cemetery 2, Kurgan 8, Burial 5, 1994 Excavations. Photo courtesy of Jeannine Davis-Kimball.

have no gender attributed to them. 3% of the men found had a child with them, an unusual number (Davis-Kimball 2001), while there were no women burials found with children (Davis-Kimball 2001). There are three known status female burials, which clearly show that all the women in that society had at least an equal status with men (Davis-Kimball 2001). “Hearth women� burials had a range of artefacts including beautiful imported gold and stones (DavisKimball 1998, Davis-Kimball 2001); a priestess burial 23


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from Cemetery 2 at Pokrovka was buried with a stone carved altar (Davis-Kimball 2001), along with other cultic objects, and a female warrior was found buried with 40 bronze arrowheads (Davis-Kimball 1998, Davis-Kimball 2001). Other artefacts found include spindle whorls (Davis-Kimball 1998), which are believed to have had a magical connotation and may be the origin of the straw into gold myth, as well as oyster fossilized seashells found in the priestess burial (Davis-Kimball 1998).

Davis-Kimball J., 1998, Ancient nomads, female warriors and princesses. http://popgen.well.ox.ac.uk/eurasia/ htdocs/davis.html

Conclusion

National Geographic, 2011, Maya Royal Tombs Found with Rare Woman Ruler. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ news/2011/09/pictures/110922-rare-mayan-female-rulertomb-found-guatemala/

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With Queen Shubad it is thrilling to find such an ancient example of an independent woman, who ruled well and was obviously popular, according to the size of her sacrificial pit, in a male dominated nation. The Mayan Queen, if that is what she turns out to be, is a wonderful find for Mesoamerican archaeology; if other examples of female rulers are found, it would reassess Mesoamerican gender roles from women being priestesses to taking an active leadership role. While the Cretan priestess represents where the power lies in the kingdom and the reverence in which priestesses in Minoan ages were held, the most interesting and fascinating section is that of the Sarmation women. The Amazons, as they were known to the Greeks, belonged to a genderless society in which being a woman was not a disadvantage, and so they were treated as equals. This article has been an informative pleasure to write and research and it is clear that there is still much to be found in gender archaeology.

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*** Further Reading

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Bonn-Muller E., 2010, “Dynasty of Priestesses”, Archaeology: March Online feature. http://www. archaeology.org/online/features/eleutherna/

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Davis-Kimball J., 2001, Statues of Sauromatian and Sarmatian Women. http://www.csen.org/ WomenWarriors/Statuses_Women_Warriors.html

Davis-Kimball J., 1997, “Chieftain or Warrior-Princess”, Archaeology 50:5. http://www.archaeology.org/9709/ abstracts/gold.html

Olsen B., “Women, Children and the Family in the Late Aegean Bronze Age: Differences in Minoan and Mycenaean Constructions of Gender”, World Archaeology 29:3, 1998, p380-392 Pollock S., “Of Priestesses, Princes and Poor Relations: The Dead in the Royal Cemetery of Ur”, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 1: 2, 1991, p171-189 Rohrlich R., “State Formation in Sumer and the Subjugation of Women”, Feminist Studies 6: 1, 1980, p76102 Stampolidis N., 2010, “Sacred Adornments: Introduction”, Archaeology: March Online feature. http://www. archaeology.org/online/features/eleutherna/ adornments.html White S., “Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur: A traveling exhibition of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology”, The Journal of Near Eastern Archaeology 67: 4, 2004, p229-231 Zralka J., Koszkul W., Martin S., Hermes B., “In the path of the Maize God: a royal tomb at Nakum, Petén, Guatemala”, Antiquity 85: 329, 2011, p890-908

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An Amazon, Tondo of an Attic red-figure kylix, 510–500 BC. Credit:: Wiki Commons.

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Original artwork by Ashley Maurer for AncientPlanet


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Inanna’s Descent

By Joshua J. Mark M.A.

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A Balm for the Sting of Injustice he Sumerian poem, The Descent of Inanna, has been interpreted by some modern writers as depicting a `psychological journey toward wholeness’. This modern-day

interpretation cannot be supported by the text itself and, certainly, the poem would not have been understood in such a light by an ancient audience. This paper explains the reasons why this is so through analysis of the poem in historical context. In recent years, the Sumerian poem, The Descent of Inanna, has received some careful attention from critics claiming that the poem is an allegory of the journey of the self toward wholeness. Following Joseph Campbell’s lead in his work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1964) writers such as Sylvia Perera (1981) and Diane Wolkstein (1983) paved the way for others who now regularly publish pieces on the internet and in print interpreting the work along Jungian lines. A careful examination of the text of the poem, however, placed in its original, ancient context, refutes this modern interpretation. The Descent of Inanna (c. 1900-1600 BCE) chronicles the journey of Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, to earth and then the underworld to visit her recently widowed sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the Dead. She is accompanied, part of the way, by her faithful servant and advisor

Ninshubur. Inanna is dressed in her finest attire and wears the crown of heaven on her head, beads around her neck, her breastplate, golden ring and carries her scepter, the rod of power. Just before she enters the underworld, she gives Ninsubur instructions on how to come to her aid should she fail to return when expected. Upon her arrival at the gates of the underworld Inanna knocks loudly and demands entrance. Neti, the chief gatekeeper, asks who she is and, when Inanna answers, “I am Inanna, Queen of Heaven”, Neti asks why she would wish entrance to the land “from which no traveler returns.” Inanna answers, “Because of my older sister, Ereshkigal/Her husband, Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, has died/I have come to witness the funeral rites”(Wolkstein and Kramer,1983,55). Neti then tells her to stay where she is while he goes to speak with Ereshkigal. 27


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of the underworld, surrounded her/They passed judgment against her./Then Ereshkigal fastened on Inanna the eye of death/She spoke against her the word of wrath/She uttered against her the cry of guilt/She struck her./ Inanna was turned into a corpse/A piece of rotting meat/And was hung from a hook on the wall”(Wolkstein and Kramer,1983, 60).

The Sumerian Hymn to Inanna on a cuneiform tablet [MS 2367/1] from Babylonia, 20th-17th c. BC, The Schøyen Collection.

After three days and three nights waiting for her mistress, Ninshubur follows the commands Inanna gave her, goes to Inanna’s father-god Enki for help, and receives two `galla’, two androgynous demons, to aid her in returning Inanna to the earth. The galla enter the underworld “like flies” and, following Enki’s specific instructions, attach themselves closely to Ereshkigal. The Queen of the Dead is seen in distress: “No linen was spread over her body/Her breasts were uncovered/Her hair swirled around her head like leeks” and the poem continues to describe the queen experiencing the pains of child birth (Wolkstein and Kramer,1983 63-66). The galla sympathize with the queen’s plight and she, in gratitude, offers them whatever gift they ask for. As ordered by Enki, the galla respond, “We wish only the corpse that hangs from the hook on the wall” (Wolkstein and Kramer, 1983, 67) and Ereshkigal gives it to them. The galla revive Inanna with the food and water of life and she rises from the dead.

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When Neti delivers the news to Ereshkigal that Inanna is at the gates, the Queen of the Dead responds in a way which seems strange: “She slapped her thigh and bit her lip. She took the matter into her heart and dwelt on it” (Wolkstein and Kramer, 1983, 56). She does not seem pleased to hear the news that her sister is at the gate and her displeasure is further evidenced when she tells Neti to bolt the seven gates of the underworld against Inanna and then let her in, As in the Greek myth of Demeter and one gate at a time, requiring her to remove one Persephone, however, one who has sojourned in the underworld cannot just leave it so easily. of her royal garments at each gate. Someone must be found to take Inanna’s place Neti does as he is commanded and, gate by and so the galla demons of the underworld gate, Inanna is stripped of her crown, beads, accompany her up to the earth’s surface to ring, sceptre, even her clothing and, when she claim her substitute. The demons try to take asks the meaning of this indignity is told by Neti, Ninshubur first, then Inanna’s sons Shara and “Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are Lulal and even Inanna’s beautician Cara but, perfect/They may not be questioned”(Wolkstein in all these instances, Inanna prevents them and Kramer,1983, 58-60). because Ninshubur, Shara, Lulal and Cara are all dressed in sackcloth and are in mourning Inanna enters the throne room of Ereshkigal for her apparent death. When Inanna comes “naked and bowed low” and begins walking upon her husband Dumuzi, however, and finds toward the throne when “The annuna, the judges him “dressed in his shining…garments…on his 28


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The archetypes of Carl Jung have proven enlightening tools in understanding and explicating ancient myths for a modern audience (most notably through the works of Joseph Campbell). Such an interpretation of a text, however, must always keep in mind the text itself; the words on the page, the arrangement of those words, characterization and dialogue. However

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Modern readers of this poem have available to them a wealth of interpretation of the piece through writers applying a psychological, specifically, Jungian, view to the poem as an archetypal myth of the journey each individual must take to reach wholeness. Inanna in this piece, so the interpretation goes, is not a `whole person’ until she appears vulnerable before her `darker half’, dies, and returns to life. At the poem’s end, this interpretation asserts, Inanna, through her descent into darkness, the shedding of the trappings of her former self, confrontation with her `shadow’, death of who she was, and final re-birth, is now a complete individual, wholly aware. Writers who have popularized this interpretation in recent years, besides the two previously mentioned, are so numerous that naming them all would be pointless; any reader acquainted with The Descent of Inanna will have already, or will eventually, come across one version or another of this interpretation.

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magnificent throne” she becomes enraged that he, unlike the others, is not mourning her and orders the demons to seize him. Dumuzi appeals to the sun god Utu for help and is transformed into a snake in order to escape but, eventually, is caught and carried away to the underworld. Dumuzi’s sister, Geshtinanna, volunteers herself to go in his place and so it is decreed that Dumuzi will spend half the year in the underworld and Geshtinanna the other half. In this way, as, again with the myth of Demeter and Persephone, the seasons were explained. Yet why so elaborate a myth simply to explain the seasons? The Greek tale of Persephone (though, also, about much more than seasonal change) accomplishes the same end more succinctly.

Seal-impression, depicting the fertility goddess Inanna/Ishtar with her cult animal the lion. Her warlike character is indicated by the scimitar and weapons at her back. Oriental Institute Chicago, Illinois. interesting, and even enlightening, the modern Jungian view of The Descent of Inanna may be, it is not supported by the text. Among other glaring omissions, this modern interpretation of the ancient story in no way accounts for the last lines of the poem which praise, not Inanna, but Ereshkigal: “Holy Ereshkigal! Great is your renown!/Holy Ereshkigal! I sing your praises! (Wolkstein and Kramer, 1983, 89). The text of the poem clearly states Inanna’s intention of journeying to the underworld to attend the funeral of her brother-in-law, specifies her sister’s displeasure at her visit, clearly demonstrates Ereshkigal’s humiliation of Inanna in stripping her naked at the gates, further specifies how the Annuna of the dead pass judgment against Inanna and how, after that, she is killed by Ereshkigal through the “word of wrath” and the “cry of guilt’ and a blow, after which Inanna is hung on a hook, “a rotting piece of meat.” The story continues to detail how Inanna is saved by her father-god Enki and how, finally, two people, Dumuzi and Geshtinanna, who had nothing to do with Inanna’s decision to visit the underworld, end up paying the price for it. 29


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A clearer understanding of The Descent of Inanna is available to any reader acquainted with the Sumerian work The Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 27001400 BCE) which, whether extant in written form at the time of the composition of The Descent of Inanna was certainly known by oral transmission. In the Epic, after the great heroes Gilgamesh and Enkidu have killed the demon Humbaba in the Cedar Forest, their fame is great and Gilgamesh, after washing and dressing himself in royal robes, attracts the attention of Inanna (who, in the Epic, is known by her Akkadian/Babylonian name, Ishtar). Inanna ties to seduce Gilgamesh to become her lover, promising him all good things but Gilgamesh spurns her citing the many lovers she has had in the past whom she discarded when they no longer interested her and who all met with bad ends. He says to her, “Your lovers have found you like a brazier which smoulders in the cold, a backdoor which keeps out neither squall of wind nor storm, a castle which crushes the garrison, pitch that blackens the bearer, a water skin that chafes the carrier” then, after detailing the misery her lovers have endured at her hands, Gilgamesh concludes saying, “And if you and I should be lovers, should not I be served in the same fashion as all these others whom you loved once?”(Sandars,1973, 85-87).

confusion of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of the dead will outnumber the living” (Sandars, 1973, 87). When Anu consents and gives her the Bull of Heaven she brings Gugalanna down to the city of Uruk to destroy Gilgamesh. The bull snorts and the earth opens and “a hundred young men fell down to death. With his second snort cracks opened and two hundred fell down to death” (Sandars, 1973, 88). Gilgamesh and Enkidu then join in battle with the Bull of Heaven and kill him. Inanna, enraged further, appears on the walls of Uruk and curses the heroes, prompting Enkidu to tear off the bull’s right thigh and hurl it at her. This presumption, on the part of a mortal, cannot be endured by the gods and they decree that Enkidu

Left: Babylonian relief depicting the marriage of Inanna and Dumuzis. must die lest more mortals come to think more highly of themselves than they should. Enkidu is stricken with illness and suffers for days before finally dying (Sandars, 1973, 88-95).

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If a reader is acquainted with the story of Gilgamesh then The Descent of Inanna is more easily understood within the context and culture Inanna, upon hearing this, falls into a “bitter of ancient Mesopotamia. Inanna, showing no rage” and appeals to her father-god Anu (as she more regard for her sister’s feelings than she has Ninshubur do to Enki in the Descent) in tears did for the three hundred innocent young men over the insults Gilgamesh has heaped upon her. she killed with the Bull of Heaven, decides she Anu’s answer is that she has only gotten what she will attend the funeral of the brother-in-law deserved through her “abominable behavior” whose death she is, herself, responsible for. (Sandars, 1973, 87). Inanna, in no way pacified Once a reader understands that Inanna caused by this response, demands that Anu give her the death of Ereshkigal’s husband, the Queen of Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, that she might the Dead’s response upon hearing of her arrival avenge herself on Gilgamesh and threatens that, is completely understandable, as is Inanna’s if she does not get her way, she will break the subsequent judgment by the Annuna and death doors of the underworld open, “there will be at Ereshkigal’s hands. The “word of wrath” and the

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“cry of guilt” make perfect sense in this context as Ereshkigal is confronting the one responsible for her present grief; a grief made even greater by her pregnancy and the imminent birth of a child who will have no father.

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In ancient Mesopotamia, humans regarded themselves as co-workers with the gods and the gods lived among them; Inanna lived in the city of Uruk, Enki at Eridu, and so on. The gods were not far away beings but were intimately tied to the daily lives of the people of the land and what affected a god would, invariably, affect those people directly. Though one of the gods could have only the best intentions, another god could thwart whatever good was hoped for. Ereshkigal is praised at the end of the poem because she sought justice in killing Inanna. The fact that this justice was denied, even to a goddess of such power as the Queen of the Dead, would have ameliorated the sting of the daily injustices and disappointments suffered by the people hearing the tale. The Descent of Inanna, then, about

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one of the gods behaving badly and other gods and mortals having to suffer for that behavior, would have given to an ancient listener the same basic understanding anyone today would take from an account of a tragic accident caused by someone’s negligence or poor judgment: that, As in The Epic of Gilgamesh, however, Inanna sometimes, life is just not fair. is able to manipulate the father-god figure *** into getting her what she wants; in that case the Bull of Heaven and, in this, a return to life. Acknowledgements Inanna is resurrected and, in the same way that Enkidu and the three hundred young men paid A version of this article was first published in Ancient the price for Inanna’s indignation, Dumuzi and History Encyclopedia [http://www.ancient.eu.com/] on-line, February 2011. Grateful acknowledgement to Geshtinnana pay for her insensitivity and rashness editor Jan van der Crabben. in deciding to attend Gugalanna’s funeral. The moral which an ancient hearer of The Descent *** of Inanna might take away from it, far from a Further Reading: `symbolic journey of the self to wholeness’ is the lesson that there are consequences for one’s Black, Jeremy and Anthony Green, Gods, Demons actions and, further, might also be consoled in and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary. University of Texas Press, Texas, 2011. that if bad things happened to gods and heroes due to the unpredictability of life, why should a Campbell, Joseph, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, mortal bemoan unhappy fate? Meridian Books, NY, 1964. Dalley, Stephanie, Myths from Mesopotamia, Oxford University Press, England, 2008. Leick, Gwendolyn, Mesopotamia: The Invention of the City, Penguin Books, England, 2002 Nagle, D. Brendan, The Ancient World: A Social and Cultural History, 7th Edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2010. Perera, Sylvia, Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women, Inner City Press, Toronto, 1981. Sandars, N.K., The Epic of Gilgamesh, Penguin Classics, Great Britain, 1973 Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel Noah, Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, Harper & Row, NY, 1983. ***

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To Live Forever A journey through the Egyptian Amduat

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he ancient Egyptian Amduat is the oldest of several funerary texts depicted on the walls of the pharaohs’ tombs in the Valley of the Kings during the New Kingdom. The Amduat was one

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of the first completely illustrated texts that defined what the Egyptian underworld was imagined to look like, and depicted the nightly journey of the sun god, Re through the twelve hours of the underworld. Through looking at the Amduat in the tomb of Pharaoh Tuthmosis III, this article

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takes the reader along on the journey through the Egyptian underworld. believed it descended into the depths of the netherworld to be miraculously reborn and The ancient Egyptians believed that upon rejuvenated in the east every morning. It dying, the dead crossed the threshold into the was through this cyclical process that all life “west” or the “beautiful west.” This Egyptian on earth was regenerated and renewed. It is euphemism for death was also the moniker thus no accident that the kings of the New for a cemetery or tomb. When the sun set Kingdom chose to have their tombs cut out in the west each evening, the Egyptians of the steep cliffs in the Valley of the Kings on Into the “Beautiful West”

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well. Some believe the shaft symbolized an area of transition into the afterlife. In fact, according to textual evidence, the tomb was seen as a model of the netherworld, each area symbolized specific regions the dead encountered on their journey through the afterlife. The shaft is well cut and partly painted with a decorative “kheker” frieze on Located at the head of the southernmost wadi the walls, and white stars on the ceiling in (a narrow dry gorge) in the Valley of the Kings, imitation of the heavens. One may notice that the entrance to the tomb of Pharaoh Tuthmosis this is the first area containing decoration III (or KV 34 as it is known to Egyptologists) is since entering the tomb. In keeping with the carved 30 metres above ground level. Carefully trend of 18th Dynasty royal tomb decoration, hidden in antiquity, modern visitors can now many of the walls of Tuthmosis III’s tomb access it by clambering up a steep flight of were deliberately left unfinished and the wooden steps. Unfortunately, raising and decoration was limited to very specific areas. concealing the entrance did not stop thieves, Once past the shaft, visitors now have to make and the tomb was plundered in ancient a sharp 90 degree turn into the antechamber, times. Visitors follow in the footsteps of the which is decorated with paintings of the ancient priests who came to inter the mummy deities found in the Amduat, the earliest Book of the Tuthmosis III. The 76 metre journey of the Netherworld. Beyond the antechamber deep into the bowels of the earth begins is the large oval burial chamber. by descending down a steep roughly hewn stairway, and slowly moving down a sloping The crooked layout of this tomb is not corridor. With great care, visitors advance random, nor is it dictated by the local downhill along another poorly preserved geology. Tombs from the 18th Dynasty were stairway and through a steeply inclined purposely designed to have a sharply curving corridor before crossing over the shaft or well axis with steep alternating stairs and sloping chamber. No one is quite sure what purpose passageways in order to imitate the winding this shaft serves; some archaeologists point pathways of the netherworld. Thus, the out that it could have been created to deter curvature of the burial chamber corresponds thieves, and call it a “robbers’ shaft.” If it to the curved shape of the Amduat, and were indeed a deterrent, it did not work very resembles a cartouche (the format for 33

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the West Bank of Luxor. This act of locational symbolism clearly demonstrates the pharaohs’ expectations for everlasting life. The Valley of the Kings has been described as “the largest cemetery built by human hands, save that of the pyramid fields near Memphis, Egypt” (Hornung, 1992: 11).


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designating the names of royalty). The burial chamber contains Tuthmosis III’s red quartzite sarcophagus; red was considered a sacred colour and often monuments dedicated to the pharaohs and deities were carved in red hued stone. Once again, the ceiling is painted blue with yellow/white stars. The walls are what interest us most; they are completely decorated from floor to ceiling in the form of a huge, unrolled papyrus scroll onto which the complete illustrations of the Amduat have been beautifully painted in black and red. Plan of the Tomb of Tuthmosis III (KV 34)

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The Amduat was first used in the New Kingdom, and the earliest copy is found in the tomb of Tuthmosis I, however, the most complete version is in Tuthmosis III’s tomb. Evolving from a long line of funerary texts (such as the texts in the pyramids), the Amduat was the first mortuary text that gave a complete, unchanging view of what the underworld looked like, and was reserved almost purely for royalty. It was the source of the most important decoration in the royal tombs for centuries. However, during the 21st Dynasty it was usurped by the high priests of Amun and their families, and used to decorate their coffins and funerary papyri. The Journey Through the Afterlife The journey into the afterlife begins in the evening when the sun god, Re, in the form of a tired, old ram-headed god with his crew of dedicated deities, descends into the First Hour of the Amduat on his solar barque. This First Hour is an interstitial realm, a buffer zone between the underworld and the world of the living, referred to by the ancient Egyptians as a portico, an entranceway. Here, Re is greeted by jubilant rejoicing of the netherworld deities 35

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“Whoever knows these mysterious images is a well-provided Akh-spirit. Always [this person] can enter and leave the netherworld. Always speaking to the living ones. Proven to be true (just), a million times.”

The Amduat depicts, in graphic detail, an exhaustive description of the underworld: lists of all the deities, guardians and enemies the deceased would encounter along the way, specific measurements of the various regions, graphic descriptions of the topography, and climate, etc. It is sequentially divided into the twelve hours of the night. Each hour was envisioned as being a separate region with its own gateways, which are typically arranged in three registers with the sun god’s boat (the solar barque, his primary form of transportation) always appearing in the middle. According to precise instructions included within the text, the Amduat was meant to be distributed according to the four cardinal directions, however, in many tombs this was not always the case.

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Reading like a script from a movie, the Egyptian Amduat depicts a voyage of epic proportions. The adventure takes place, not in the great open seas or mighty mountains and deserts of the temporal world, but in the darkest depths of the Egyptian underworld, the Duat. The central theme of the Amduat (or Book of the Hidden Chamber, as it was known to the ancient Egyptians) is the nocturnal journey of the sun. The ancient Egyptians imagined the sun god, Re, old and clearly exhausted in the evening, descending into the western underworld as a tired old man, who arose the next morning, young and renewed in the eastern horizon. The death and renewal of the sun echoed the path taken by humankind, in that they die, enter the afterlife and are renewed. However, this journey was fraught with danger and the enemies who attempted to prevent the progress of the sun had to be vanquished. The Amduat had a threefold function; not only did it enable the deceased pharaoh to be regenerated as a blessed akh (a blessed spirit who never dies), but also provisioned him with land, food and clothing, so he may exist forever and leave the tomb at will. Furthermore, the Amduat assisted in warding off enemies, all those who may harm the pharaoh and endanger his chances of regeneration in the afterworld. The ultimate goal of the Amduat was to provide a description of all aspects of the underworld and record them in pictures with captioned text, so he may use this knowledge in his journey in the netherworld. The final words of the Amduat emphasize the importance of this knowledge:

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Travel Guide for the Afterlife

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The sun god, as a tired, ram-headed god in his solar barque. From the coffin of Pashedkhonsu (21st Dynasty)

and the dead. His time here is spent tending the Lord of the Underworld, Osiris. to the denizens of this region, and granting of plots of land to his followers (having land The regenerative powers of the flooding of the meant that the deceased was able to grow Nile, symbolizing chaos, and the establishment enough food to sustain themselves in the of order are emphasized. Throughout the afterlife). When his tasks are complete, Re has journey through these paradisiacal regions, travelled a total of 1,140 kilometres. Re is constantly on guard, protected by knife-wielding vengeful guardians ready to Sailing through a gateway called the slaughter all his enemies. “Devourer of All,” Re enters the Second Hour. It is at this point where the underworld truly The landscape changes dramatically as Re begins. The mountains and waterways of this enters the desert of Rosetau in the Fourth realm form a mirror of the Nile Valley, with Hour. It is “Land of Sokar”, an especially dark, its verdant waterways, flanking mountain dry and inhospitable area crawling with ranges and surrounding red desert. However, winged and multi-limbed snakes. Re’s boat, as everything here is a mirror image, the the solar barque, runs aground in the shallow dead have to protect themselves against the water and, in order to proceed, the barque is inversion of the normal order of nature, such towed through the rest of the hour by four of as being turned upside down and eating their the crew. To assist the crew, the solar barque own faeces, a more horrific fate could not be is turned into a fire-spitting serpent whose imagined. This hour is dominated by the great fiery breath breaks a path through a twisted Lake of Wernes. It is a paradise, and symbols road blocked by doorways. The darkness of lush vegetation and great abundance are is so intense that Re has lost the ability to depicted everywhere. The light of the sun see, his light has been extinguished. He god awakens the residents, who proclaim the communicates to the residents here solely by beauty of earthly existence and the desire that voice. Through the twisted, zigzagging paths, the joys of life not end. Re proceeds to give the sun god and his crew proceed slowly the inhabitants provisions, and sails on his to the Fifth Hour. The Fifth Hour continues way into the Third Hour. This is another fertile through the Land of Sokar and its fiery path, area, the Lake of Osiris; and is dominated by symbolizing the West (the realm of the Dead). 36


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The deceased stands before Osiris, the Lord of the Underworld. He is always depicted mummiform symbolizing his role as the judge of the dead, and protector in the underworld.

The sun god entreats the Goddess of the West for mutual protection, and the menacing guardians of the region, “the slaughterers�, and threatening serpents are persuaded to allow the sun god safe passage through the narrow pass in the middle of the hour. The god’s imminent renewal is depicted by a scarab (the form of the young sun) emerging from the burial vault of Osiris.

and deepest point of the Underworld. It is comprised of a waterhole filled with the primeval waters of Nun (the original ocean from which the world was created). At this point, Re and Osiris, the Lord of the Underworld, unite, effectively resurrecting the sun god. And once again, the light of the sun is rekindled.

The regenerated and renewed young sun god Signaling the approaching midnight, the is in grave danger, and the overarching theme sun god reaches Sixth Hour, the darkest of the Seventh Hour is the punishment of his 37


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The deities of the Eighth Hour sit on the hieroglyph for clothing indicating their subsequent rejuvenation and renewal.

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enemies and those of Osiris. The crew of the solar barque is tasked with ensuring the safe passage of the sun from the evil intentions of the serpent, Apophis. Apophis is depicted lying on a huge sandbank. He attempts to prevent the barque from proceeding (threatening the existence of the cosmos), by drying up the waterway. With the magical help of Isis and the great Magician, the sun god advances forward. Apophis is bound and fettered by the goddess Sekhmet, and other deities hack his body to pieces. Osiris is depicted judging the dead and punishing decapitated kneeling enemies. Re’s journey proceeds without a hitch into the Eighth Hour, however, the theme of protecting the sun god from his ever present enemies is continued. Re’s first order of business is to open the crypts of all the deceased in the netherworld so they may feel his light. They awaken with cries of joy that 38

sound to human ears like that of animals or water splashing. The god’s main task here is to distribute clothing to the deceased. Clothing was considered a necessary precondition for a blessed existence in the afterlife. Nakedness was a condition reserved as punishment for enemies and evil-doers. Most of the deities in this hour are depicted with the hieroglyph for clothing, indicating that they themselves are newly clothed and regenerated. The theme of provisioning the deceased is carried through into the Ninth Hour with the supplying of clothing and food by the nine “field gods”. There is also a law court, which “fells the enemies of Osiris” and repels enemies. This is the final consolidation of the renewal of the sun god, and all the figures face in the direction of the rising sun. The determined crew of the solar barque grasp rudders in


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The Eleventh Hour of the Amduat

their hands and sail the sun god into the next hour. The Tenth Hour is named “with deep water and high banks”; it is dominated by a rectangular body of water filled with the regenerating waters of Nun, the primeval ocean. Thus highlighting the creative power found in this region. In these waters, all those who drowned are renewed and given a blessed existence in the afterlife. This echoes the myth of Osiris who drowned and was saved from decay by his son, Horus. Due to the drowning of Osiris, people who drowned had a very special place in the afterlife, and it was not necessary for them to be mummified and given a proper burial in order to achieve eternal life. The dark and the danger it holds are still of great concern here; the sun god is well guarded by many deities armed with an assortment of weapons to protect him.

Anxiety heightens in the Eleventh Hour, and the hour is packed with intensive preparations to ensure that the sun does not miss the exact moment for the new sunrise. Even here, firebreathing guardian deities are ever watchful for potential attacks on the sun god. Any threat to the new rising sun is averted by once again punishing the enemies and evildoers in fiery pits. These are the damned; they have been condemned and thrown into the “place of destruction”, the Egyptian hell. The preservation of the physical body was an essential precondition for a successful afterlife, hence the preoccupation with mummification. Death by fire, decapitation and mutilation were deemed some of the worst punishments and condemned the deceased to non-existence.

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The final scene from the Amduat. The sun god is fully regenerated and is ready to rise and sail the heavens.

Finally, after a long and dangerous journey, the sun completes the process of rebirth in the Twelfth Hour. Re has regained his full power and is ready for the transformation. This takes place in the body of the “World Encircler” a giant snake, where thirteen female and twelve male deities (representing the millions of deceased) tow the barque backwards, from tail to mouth, indicating the reversal of time. The sun god, in the form of a scarab, flies into the arms of Shu, the earth god, who raises him anew into the morning sun, thus completing his regeneration.

psychic landscapes? These questions have puzzled Egyptologists since the discovery and translation of the Amduat in the late 1800s. Several popular theories state that these landscapes are ultimately depictions of the odyssey of the soul, the ancient antecedents of modern psychotherapy (Hornung, 1982: 27), moreover, “the Amduat’s investigation into the realm of the underworld can be seen from a psychological point of view as a symbolic representation of an inner psychic process of transformation and renewal” (Abt and Hornung, 2003: 9).

The citizens of the Twelfth Hour rejoice enthusiastically at this final transformation. The entrance to the underworld is subsequently sealed and the residents go back to the sleep of the dead.

Thomas Schneider of the University of British Columbia does not believe so. His latest research has led him to conclude that the first three hours of the Amduat depicted actual trade routes to areas south west of Egypt. These routes stretch from Egypt to the palaeo-lakes, which gave birth to today’s Lake Chad. Clues such as the length of distances mentioned in the Amduat and actual distances to this region are consistent. The topography is also quite accurately described. Furthermore, the use of the foreign expressions, such

Imaginary Worlds and Psychic Images? How did the Egyptians come up with such fantastical landscapes? Was the Amduat meant to show an actual landscape situated beneath the western and eastern horizon? Are these 40


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Philosophical Society (1992).

Conclusion

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Hornung, E. The Valley of the Kings. New York: Timkin Publishers (1982).

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Whichever ways the Egyptians came up with the imagery for the netherworld, they stressed Hornung, E. The Ancient Egyptian Books of the the importance of knowledge throughout the Afterlife. Ithaca: Cornell University Press (1999). Schweizer, A. and Lorton, D. The Sungod’s Journey Amduat in the quest for eternal life. “Know the way of the sun god [through the beyond]! This is a very true remedy, proved a million times…” because, “Whoever knows these pictures is the image of the great god himself,” which was the ideal state that the deceased could wish for, thereby allowing them to live forever.

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as “Apophis” and “Wernes”, which are not Further Reading indigenous Egyptian words, have led him to Abt, T. and Hornung, E. Knowledge for the Afterlife: explore similarities with the native dialects of The Egyptian Amduat – A Quest for Immortality. the Lake Chad area. Thus, to him, the physical Zurich: Living Human Heritage Publications (2003). landscape in which the Egyptians interacted played a major role in the development of the Clagett, M. Ancient Egyptian Science. Volume 1: Knowledge and Order. Philadelphia: American Amduat’s topography.

Through the Netherworld: Reading the Ancient Egyptian Amduat. Ithaca: Cornell University Press (2010). Wells, R. A. “Origin of the Hour and the Gates of the Duat.” SAK 20 (1993), 305 – 326. ***

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LMIA Fresco of the Lilies from Amnisos. Credit: AP


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Minoan lily: the spiral story of perpetual power

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Abstraction and Naturalism in Bronze Age Crete By Aikaterini Kanatselou M.A. he natural aspect of Bronze Age Cretan culture has been thoroughly examined since the foundation of Minoan archaeology. After a century of alternating views and successive stereotyping processes, the

young scholar of Aegean prehistory is called upon to make innovative remarks on traditional fields such as iconography, symbolic expression and religious concepts. In this article, a common feature of Minoan art - the lily flower - is being viewed as a dual sign of power and continuity, combining geometrical abstraction and naturalistic infusion in constant motion. A short overlook at material evidence and theoretical approaches attempts to imply the probable importance of a single shape for the insight of Minoan cognition and codification.

Bronze Age Aegean iconography Bronze Age Cretan culture has been characterised by H. Groenewegen-Frankfort as the culture of the “Homo Ludens”. Indeed, there is a remarkable phenomenon of playing, movement and shift. Both on scriptural depictions and on “monumental” representations, we keep detecting a swinging aesthetic, almost always within a human dimension, while interwoven with nature. The Aegean artist (Cycladic, Minoan, Mycenaean) worked either on metal, clay or paint, to produce a naturally inspired image, memorable and artistically satisfying. But was

this just a practical human-environmental relation, or maybe a part of a narration, a myth, an emblematic nature? In the case of Mycenaean art there are clear associations with Homeric poetry. Minoan iconography is more recondite since there is the language impediment. However, Minoan scenes most often depict running acts. The scenes on frescoes present a consistency, if not a narrative. Metaphor is a key word here, somehow connecting figural art with poetry. The structure is common: both manipulate a theme, create formulas and shapes (poetry with grammar and metre, iconographic art with form and design). Axis for both is the hiring of 43


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The evolution of the lily motif (after Furumark)

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lily, which is considered as an artistic combination of lily and papyrus, the so called waz-lily. The actual plant which “inspired” the Minoan lily is not clearly identified. On one hand there is the white Madonna Lily, Lilium candidum, which has upright flowers. On the other hand, we have the red lily, Lilium chalcedonicum, with downcurved petals. Peter Warren notes that the latter is rarely native on mainland Greece and he assumes that it was cultivated in BA Crete.

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a stimulus, the deconstruction and deduction of the significant, the processing and the creational reproduction in new, distorted dimensions. Between natural phenomena and figurative structures there is not a difference of technique, but a difference of thought. Minoan artists were proved capable of imitating nature. However, this is not their case. A close examination of Bronze Age Cretan art reveals a duality: a regression from naturalism to abstraction; a natural conception, which overdraws nature and creates new combinations.

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In order to get deeper in the Minoan iconographic/symbolic phenomenon, by setting an example, we will examine the case of Minoan lily depictions. A short overview of the flower’s representations on different media (pottery, frescoes, seals), as uncovered in Crete and Thera, will permit a primary understanding of the process through which a natural element is chosen among others and consequently obtains a symbolic value by gradual repetition.

The lily “hybrid” Jack Goody in “The Culture of Flowers” interestingly describes how flowers have been markers of an astonishing variety of meanings through time. The Egyptian King-God Râ emerged with his solar disc from the blossoming lotus. Peace and wisdom is epitomised in the single representation of Athena’s olive branch. Christianity expresses purity through the fleurde-lis. Red and blue cornflowers have been used as nationalist symbols during the 20th century, while the red poppy is the “fashionable” logo of the Royal British Legion. The amount of direct evidence on BA Crete vegetation is quite small. Pollen evidence refers basically to Early and Middle Minoan periods (c.3100-1600 BCE) coming from a handful of sites. Many of the depicted Minoan flowers are fabricated, sort of “hybrids”, combining different plant species, or based on geometrical design. The most indicative example is that of the Minoan

Male (?) hand carrying a lily; LMI-II seal (CMS-II8-285-1)

Additionally, there is the Pancratium maritum, or else Sand Lily/Lily of St. Nicholas, very common on the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. Nevertheless, iconography does not support any of the interpretations about the natural origin of the lily. When lilies are depicted in colour (i.e. on frescoes), they are either white or red, depending on the composition. According to some scholars this depends on the concept of colour contrast. Lilies are white when the ground is buff or red, while upon bright ground they are red. They are always depicted with upright petals and mostly growing in rocky landscapes. Thus, none of the natural species seems to fully match with the lily design. Arne Furumark in “The Chronology of Mycenaean Pottery” suggests that the Minoan lily is most probably the product of pictorialization, rather than a direct representation of the real world. Floral motifs in general were a product of primarily spiral elements. The earliest depictions of the lily pattern are attested on the Kamares 45


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widely common (img.3). The motif of the lily becomes popular and stylized. There are two types: one with three stamens and flat anthers (considered to be corresponding to the lily of the frescoes) and a second, with many stamens and round anthers, deriving from the palmette class of Kamares ware. In LMII-IIIA1 (c.1450-1350BCE) the motifs become stereotyped. Stamens and anthers are multiplied and the volutes develop into spiral coils. These features and combinations continue generally in the Mycenaean material, though quite differentiated. The calyx gets dissolved; the petals become a pair of antithetic stemmed spirals. The triple radiating group, the curve-stemmed and the fleur-de-lis are new types, with clearly Mycenaean features. In general, we observe two artistic strains: the first one is of a fundamentally abstract character, geometrical and mostly syntactical. The second Jar from Knossos; Lily Vase Deposit (after Betancourt) is quite naturalistic and pictorial. However, it is quite short, since we observe standardization ware, in the MMIIB-MMIII period (c.1750- after LMII. Plus, even in its zenith, the naturalistic 1600BCE). The spiral coils turn into discs, which strain never depicts an actual plant; it just develop into triangular, opposed leaves. These imitates sharply the natural forms. Consequently, designs are not a product of organic nature, the lily motif is basically schematic, though often but rather an ornamental element, a whirling influenced by the artistic trends. composition with a syntactic function. Arthur Evans thought that the lily had similar It is worth discussing the parallel development qualities to Egyptian sacred plants. The lily has of the lily motif on different media. Scholars raise traditionally been considered as the Minoan the question of whether the naturalistic feeling symbol of regeneration, just like the lotus. Notably, comes outside the ceramic traditions, probably the sea lily opens its flowers in the afternoon and under the influence of frescoes, or exactly the closes them in the morning (exactly the opposite inverse. An old naturalistic tradition is already to the lotus). Lilies in general are usually present represented on MMII-III (c.1900-1600BCE) seals, in scenes that have been given a religious/ritual simultaneously with a subtractive one. In the case interpretation, and the lily is connected to female of lilies and other plants, clear representations figures considered as goddesses, priestesses and are rare. On the contrary, there are many spiral initiates. designs which are similar and, in some cases, identical to the contemporary pottery. The only Theran and Knossian frescoes central representation of a lily on a Cretan seal depicts a male hand holding a lily. It is dated in The Theran frescoes have offered ample LMI-II (c.1600-1400BCE) and it actually depicts material for the religious viewpoint, expressed four spirals in antithetical pairs, forming the thoroughly by Nanno Marinatos. The lily is depicted on the wall paintings of Xeste 3, the petals of the flower. West House and the Building Complex Delta. In LMIA, a new fashion develops. The floral style, From these three buildings, only Xeste 3 has an as part of the special palatial tradition, becomes apparent religious character. Xeste 3 includes 13 46


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Left: Altar from Xeste 3; Thera (after Marinatos); Above: Detail from the ‘Fresco of the Garlands’, Knossos (after Warren)

rooms on the ground floor, which were evidently continued on the first floor. The north-east corner is occupied by a “lustral basin”, common in Cretan buildings, but unique in the case of Akrotiri. The scenes that interest us here are those depicted on the walls of room 3a (ground floor). In brief, the decoration includes three female figures proceeding towards an altar. The altar is surmounted by a pair of sacral horns, from the tips of which drip red drops, probably blood. Around the altar there are running spirals and two rows of lilies. The westernmost figure advances towards the altar with her upper body in a threequarter pose. She is wearing a sleeved bodice decorated with what seems to be crocus or lily stamens. A parallel to that comes from Knossos and the North Threshing Floor fresco, where the “holy robe” is decorated with a row of lilies (both dated in LMIA). Interestingly, the middle figure of the Thera fresco is also associated with plants. She is seated while looking at her injured toe. She wears a myrtle branch upon her head and her hair seems to have been fixed with a pomegranate finial pin that is dropping off. The first floor is decorated with the famous “crocus gatherers” fresco. In the “Miniature Frieze”, room 5 of the West House, a coastal landscape is the scene of what has been interpreted as a (religious) festival. The

ships depicted in the frieze have triple emblems attached to their cabins. Interestingly on the Ikria (a similar tripartite structure) we have depictions of lilies. Lilies also decorate the “Flower Vase” frescoes, in the North and South Jambs. Room 2 of the Building Complex Delta was decorated with the famous “Spring Fresco”. A wide range of colours (red, black, yellow, blue) have been used probably to represent the rocky landscape of the island. The blossoming lily flowers have yellow leaves and stalks and red flowers, while they are depicted in clusters of two or three. Swallows shown in profile are flying among them in a diversity of positions. A vase from Xeste 3 interestingly resembles the fresco as it depicts flying swallows, lilies and crocuses. A religious significance of the theme has been argued, but the contents of the room do not support such an opinion. The actual use of the room when the murals were created remains unknown. A conclusive comment on fresco depictions of lilies is the “Fresco of the Garlands from Knossos”, dated in LMIA-B (c.1600-1450 BCE). It comprises five circular garlands of flowers and plants (lily, papyrus, rose or poppy, and probably olive or myrtle plant). The most important aspect of the fresco is the depiction of circular garlands. It has been suggested that the garlands and flowers had decorative but also symbolic value, probably 47


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employed in rituals and ceremonies of death and renewal. We could indeed note the circular shape, which is often connected to flowers (spirals, concentric circles, necklace rows), with the notion of repetition and continuity.

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A second source of representations including lilies (and other plants) that have been traditionally seen as religious scenes is the sealing stones and rings. The golden ring found in one of the chamber tombs at Isopata, near Knossos, has been much discussed about its problematic reading. There is a debate as to whether there is a certain narrative expressed by the scene, or just a visual imprint. It seems very probable that there is a story behind the scene, though it is difficult to distinguish events of the real world from those of the spiritual experience, since we are not privy to Minoan codification. The scene depicts four female figures (dressed and adorned in the “Minoan style”) in different postures within a landscape of blooming plants. The plants have the shape of the lily, mostly visible on the plant in the foreground. It is again depicted in clusters of three and each flower is made up of two petals and three (or more) dots - stamens. The scene is also supplemented by several other elements (an ‘eye’, ‘sky lines’ and possibly insects). It has been considered as a religious representation and specifically as an epiphany, also in comparison to other, similar seal rings.

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Mycenaean parallels of similar representations, though of different context may benefit our study. Aidonia cemetery near Nemea provided rich material of LBA Aegean seals. On a gold seal ring, two female figures are depicted, once more dressed in the Minoan fashion (flounced skirts, bare breasts). They have identical size and body posture. One of them holds a huge lily flower with her one hand, while next to the other there is a papyrus flower, of the same big size. A second one depicts two women in procession towards a shrine crowned with horns of consecration. One woman holds a lily 48

Gold sealing ring from Aidonia (Demakopoulou)

and the other a papyrus while they move amidst the same plant types over what appears to be a paved surface. On a gold ring from Mycenae Acropolis, the scene depicts female figures and a variety of symbolic elements. One of them is seated and two others bring to her offerings of flowers. The first woman offers poppies and the second lilies, while in her other hand she holds two other flowers that resemble papyri. Two smaller figures are also depicted in the scene. One of them touches the branches of a tree behind the seated woman and the other stands in front of her, offering a plant as well. In front of the goddess there is a double axe and above this there is a line which includes the sun and moon. In the upper part of the ring, there is also a tiny figure in the shape of a figure of eight shield. Behind the female offering bearers there are six frontal lion heads. Livia Morgan interprets the seated figure as a goddess and the small figures as children. She considers the sun and moon as symbols of day and night, life and death. She suggests that the central symbolism combines vegetation and sacrifice (double axe). In general, she argues that the scene reflects the duality, the continuum of existence. Another seal, from Messinia (probably of Minoan origin though found in the Peloponnese) depicts a bare breasted female figure in a flounced skirt standing in front of an altar topped with sacred


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Clay coffin from Knossos (after Morgan)

horns. The woman holds close to her face two big lilies growing from the altar, as if smelling them. Here we could note the importance of sensory experience in the relations between humans and nature in BA Crete. Colour and smell might have been crucial properties, placing flowers high in the symbolic scale.

Clay Vessels Two sarcophagi, from Hagia Triada and Knossos respectively, of the same later date, are crucial to the study of the lily motif. The first one is a limestone coffin depicting ritual processions on four sides. On one side there are two processions towards different directions. In one of the processions there is a female figure carrying a vessel and wearing the so-called plumed crown (adorned with lilies). On the other side there is a sacrificial scene. Again, a woman of the same type wears the plumed crown and she stretches her hands, palms downwards. The same pose is repeated by a second woman in front of the carcass. The two scenes have been seen as connected to funerary practices, death and renewal.

figures. The woman in the left hand panel raises her hand to her forehead in a gesture of adoration. Behind the woman’s head there is a plant with curving petals and a pointed stem. In the right hand panel there is a second woman, taller than the first, with upraised arms. In her right hand she holds the same flower. In front of her, between her other hand and her head, is a stylized bird. Both women face to the right, towards the short end of the larnax. The short side is divided into three vertical zones, which echo the panels of the long side. The border zones are filled with retorted spirals. The central zone is decorated with a structure formed by a series of downcurved petals growing opposite one another. The motif is apparently that of the lily. The second short side is once more decorated with two running spirals. In fact the spiral, as an abstract design, or as part of a motif (the downcurving lily petals) is a key pattern.

Looking again into pottery, there are two considerable examples from Phaistos: a Protopalatial set of bowls and fruit stand, each depicting three female figures. The figures are semi-aniconic, especially those on the bowl. The central figure is exquisite, in both cases. Hands The clay coffin from Knossos is decorated on and hair have a semicircular or loop semblance. one long and two short sides. The long side is The central figure on the stand displays flowers divided into two panels by vertical zones with of the lily type, while the same flower is also spiral decoration (img.7). Both depict female recognised in the bottom right of the scene. 49


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Mycenaean Acropolis, one decorated with spirals and the other with lilies). Of course the spiral motif is not restricted to a few objects; it is an abstract design, widely common in Aegean art. It is a symbol that conveys a fluent repetition, the notion of evolution and involution. The mathematical definition of the Archimedean spiral is a curve which emanates from a central point, getting progressively farther away as it revolves around the point. The use of the spiral shape in prehistoric Aegean is revealed through knowledge of its geometric qualities. The continuity and consistency of its structure should at least alert us to the possibility of immutability or perpetuity signification.

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Probably the most publicly famous scene depicting the Minoan lily is the so-called “Prince of Lilies”, used as an emblem by Evans for his “Palace of Minos”. The figure depicted on this relief fresco wears a necklace made of lily beads. Close to the figure there is a fragment of what must have been a lily flower. The composition also includes a crown adorned with lilies. The figure has traditionally been reconstructed as a male, quite reasonably, given the anatomy of the preserved body. However, the exact posture and the status of the man (religious/secular authority) are tricky and the reconstructions proposed are questionable. In any case a question accrues: could the lily be connected to males? Is it just a Conclusion religious symbol or maybe a symbol of power? This sense of continuity, possibly expressed by The plumed crown is worn by a man on a seal the spiral and the sense of rebirth, expressed by from Knossos, but it is also worn by a sphinx on a blooming symbol, a flower, could be abridged a mirror handle, on a lentoid seal of unidentified in one icon, the lily. In this case, perpetuity could origin and by the two female figures on the be connected both with a natural and a secular sarcophagi (v.s.). On a seal from Knossos, a male power. The lily, the spiral flower, probably is figure in a posture of authority (the right hand not just the flower of the goddess, reflecting a bent and the left holding a stick) is flanked by regenerative circle. It might also be the symbol lilies. On a jar from Pseira we have a depiction of a recurrent vigour, spiritual and practical. A of ox heads carrying double axes which sprout flower usually recalls sensitivity and elegance. But into lilies. In all these representations, the let us not take this as a rule: the fleur-de-lis, with combination of the lily motif with the male its steady spiral form and its sword-like calyx has figure, the authority posture, the sphinx, the been a symbol on the coats of arms of countless double axe and the crown, probably has further states and royal European houses. The case of implications, apart from the cult. Marinatos, the lily reveals the principles of the Cretan art of quite persuasively, connects the plumed crown the second millennium BC: change and mobility. representations with gods and royalty. But is it The icon is not stable and grandiose. It is fluent just the crown that is associated with authority, and liberate on the details. There is tension that or the lily as well? leads to the crash of the static form. Its value lies in evolution and complexity, contradiction and whirling movement. Iconographic development The spiral comprises naturalism, geometry, linearity Stephan Hiller has demonstrated the spiral as and stylization. The forms are transforming, a symbol of sovereignty and power in Minoan becoming merged, as recurrent and common as culture (axe sceptre from Malia, pyxis from Melos unique and new. depicting a building decorated with spirals, Zakros’ rhyton, adyton and room 2 in Xeste 3, *** sarcophagus of Hagia Triada, daggers from the

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Baumann H. Von Lilienbl端ten aus minoischer Sicht. Willdenowia, Annals of the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem 36, 2006, 389-395. http://www.bgbm.org/willdenowia/w-pdf/wi361Baumann.pdf

Groenewegen-Frankfort, H. Arrest and Movement. London: Faber and Faber 1951.

Hiller, S. The spiral as a symbol of sovereignty and power. In A. Dakouri-Hild, S. Sherratt (eds.) Autochthon: papers presented to O.T.P.K. Dickinson on the occasion of his retirement. Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, 9 November 2005, 260-270.

Morgan, L. Form and Meaning in Figurative Painting. In S. Sherratt (ed.) The Wall Paintings of Thera, II. Athens: Thera Foundation 2000, 925-946. http://www.therafoundation.org/articles/art/ Warren, P. M. From Naturalism to Essentialism in Theran and Minoan Art. In S. Sherratt (ed.) The Wall Paintings of Thera, I. Piraeus: Thera Foundation 2000, 364-380. http://www.therafoundation.org/articles/art/ fromnaturalismtoessentialismintheranandminoanart/ view?searchterm=warren

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Herva, V.P. Flower Lovers, After All? Rethinking Religion and Human-Environment Relations in Minoan Crete. World Archaeology 38 (4), 2006, 586598. http://www.jstor.org/pss/40024057

Marinatos, N. Minoan Kingship and the Solar Goddess, A Near Eastern Koine, University of Illinois Press 2010. http://books.google.gr/books/about/Minoan_ kingship_and_the_solar_goddess.html?id=_ wa3WSXjQU4C&redir_esc=y

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Goody, J. The Culture of Flowers, Cambridge University Press 1993.

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Ramp of Troy . Courtesy Brian Harrington Spier./Wiki Commons.


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Digging up Troy By Jesse Obert B.A.

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he Iliad had a profound and fundamental impact on the development of the West. In the ancient world, the story was a guide to everyday life. It is said that Alexander the Great always kept a copy close at hand when he invaded Persia. Julius Caesar traced his family lineage to Homer’s characters in order to prove his heroic status.

archaeology. Excavators referred to the text as an archaeological guideline and, more often than not, conclusions were made with the intention of making the myth seem more real. The archaeologists at Troy had an agenda, making their work less of a scientific exploration and more of a prejudiced treasure hunt.

The myth’s influence has continued through The significance of the site remained important the ages. In the 19th century, Europeans still through the Hellenistic and Roman periods. At taught and adored Homer, and this intrigue the end of the Roman Republic, Virgil wrote led several individuals to leave their families The Aeneid connecting the Roman people and ultimately the Julio-Claudian dynasty to in search of the lost city of Troy. ancient Troy. Although this justified Augustus’ The story of the site is a tragedy. Early dictatorial position, he built the Roman city excavations left Troy damaged and only of Ilium Novum over the ruins of Troy. The city raised more questions about the site. It flourished due to its imposing position over was a unique site in the field of classical the Hellespont. The eventual establishment of archaeology because, until only recently, Constantinople to the north-east weakened excavators were desperately trying to justify Ilium Novum’s control in the area and the city a piece of writing. For theses excavators, the slowly deteriorated. When the Roman city discovery of another layer was often greeted was ultimately abandoned in the 4th century with dread and not excitement. The prospect CE, the location of Troy was forgotten. of discovering a Homeric Troy corrupted the 53


The story continued to capture hearts, minds, and imaginations. In 1829, the Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica was founded in Rome. This was the first association of classical archaeologists and created an official forum for learned speculation (Allen 67). Almost immediately, academics began to discuss the location of Troy.

archaeological institute in Rome. No one knows whether the Calvert brothers purchased the land for its fertility or in the hope of finding Troy (Allen 75).

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Frank Calvert adamantly believed that the ancient city of Troy was in fact real, but was not convinced that Hissarlik was the location of Ilium Novum and, ultimately, Troy. Almost By the mid 19th century, the general consensus immediately after acquiring the land he was that Ilium Novum had been built over began crude archaeological surveys. the ancient city of Troy. However, the location of Ilium Novum was still unknown, During the Crimean War in 1855, a British so the argument remained heated. Several Army Works Corps was ordered to build a academics predicted the mound of Hissarlik hospital near Calvert’s property. The leader to be the location of the Roman city, but of the team was a railroad engineer from proper excavations were needed before any London, named John Brunton. Brunton was welcomed by the Calverts and shared Frank conclusions could be made. Calvert’s excitement about Hissarlik. After In the late 1840s, an English consular named construction was suspended by peace talks Frederick Calvert purchased the farmland with Russia, Brunton decided to keep his men around Hissarlik with his brothers, James occupied and out of trouble by having them and Frank. Frank Calvert was a published excavate various locations that Calvert had amateur archaeologist and a member of the previously surveyed. Thus, the first official

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View of the northern part of the Plain of Troy from the Hill of Hissarlik Photo courtesy of Brian Harrington Spier/Wiki Commons

excavations in the area were unorganized, unscientific, and shallow (Allen 78). Brunton discovered an extensive Roman site at Hissarlik. He found high quality artifacts in a fairly large area around the mound. This early probing appears to have excluded Calvert. Ultimately, Brunton’s work at Hissarlik should be classified as looting, not scientific excavation. Brunton’s finds solidified Calvert’s theories about Hissarlik. A large scale excavation required money, but the Calverts were having severe financial issues. During the Crimean War, Frederick, the English consular, lost many trade opportunities. Additionally, he was involved in a food shortage conspiracy and he was accused of trying to profit from and immense debts, so the excavation of Hissarlik defraud the War Office. This huge disgrace and was postponed (Allen 88-95). the subsequent court trials forced Frederick to move to London, leaving the Calvert estate While the Crimean War bankrupted and ruined and shamed. Frank Calvert was left disgraced the Calvert family, a German to rebuild the family name and pay off their businessman named Heinrich Schliemann 55


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View of Hissarlik from the North (above) and South (below), adaped from Heinrich Schliemann, 1875.

In the late 1860s, Heinrich Schliemann began a tour of classical archaeology sites throughout the Mediterranean. During his journey he became deeply interested in the process and possibility of amateur archaeological excavation. When Schliemann arrived at the area around Hissarlik, he met Frank Calvert. Calvert was desperate to continue his work at Hissarlik but lacked the necessary funds and As a young man, Schliemann made a name for needed a partner. himself in the indigo trade. Later, he became wealthy as the owner of a bank in San Francisco Heinrich Schliemann and Frank Calvert were during the Gold Rush. Throughout the similar in that they were both obsessed with Crimean War, Schliemann transported goods finding Homer’s Troy, but their similarities that had been lost in the British blockade to St. ended there. Though they began excavation Petersburg. This risky but lucrative enterprise together, Schliemann would ultimately claim essentially doubled his wealth (Allen 113). to be solely responsible for Troy’s discovery.

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greatly profited. Schliemann was the son of a Lutheran preacher but, early in life, his family fell on bad times and Schliemann had to drop out of school. He became a grocer and was reportedly introduced to Homer by a drunken milkman (Allen 111). Like many of his contemporaries, he found a deep love for ancient Greece and the classics.

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Archaeologists now know that Schliemann’s trench ultimately destroyed a large portion of the site. What he labelled as Troy I dates back to the beginning of the Bronze Age, but Troy II was built only a few hundred years later and at least one thousand years too early to be the legendary Troy. If there was a Homeric Troy, Schliemann dug right through it.

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Schliemann broke the site into nine layers, which he labelled from the bottom up, instead of using the accepted technique of numbering the layers from the surface down. His first layer belonged to the first settlers, an “Aryan race” (Schliemann 16). The second was Homer’s Troy, and the next layers belonged to Greek and Roman occupation. Schliemann declared the second layer, or Troy II, to be the Homeric layer based on several factors which he pulled from the Iliad. Troy II had a fortification wall, evidence of destruction by fire, human remains, and a large gold hoard. In his mind, these factors confirmed the site as Troy because it loosely resembled the Troy he had always imagined. Nevertheless, Schliemann’s discovery became international news. As respect for the field of classical archaeology grew, Schliemann smuggled the artifacts back to Europe.

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Schliemann’s team worked for seven seasons over the span of twenty years. In that time, he excavated a twenty metres (sixty-five feet) deep trench that ran right through the middle of the site. He dug until he hit bedrock, then labelled and measured what he had revealed.

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In 1871, Schliemann began excavations at Hissarlik. Previous excavation had revealed a wealthy Roman city, but Schliemann was not interested in Ilium Novum. He decided to bypass everything until he reached the Homeric layer. Unfortunately, Schliemann knew very little about archaeology, and commanded a massive team of unskilled locals. In addition, his eagerness to find Homer’s Troy made him biased and careless.

Heinrich Schliemann.

Heinrich Schliemann would go on to excavate at Mycenae, undoubtedly hoping to find Clytemnestra’s axe still lodged in Agamemnon’s skull. It is important to note that Schliemann’s crude techniques and manners have led several scholars to question his reports and the authenticity of his discoveries. Additionally, Calvert was outraged when Schliemann dug his massive trench. Their partnership dissolved but Schliemann had the permits and the money. He took full credit for Troy’s discovery and Calvert was left with nothing (Bryce 37). In 1882, Schliemann invited a German archaeologist named Wilhelm Dörpfeld to Hissarlik. Dörpfeld and Schliemann became fast friends, united by their passion for prehistoric Aegean archaeology. Many scholars would later praise Dörpfeld for attempting to keep Schliemann under control. Dörpfeld was a family man who had dug at sites across the Aegean. He often shared his experiences with Schliemann and was ultimately hired by Schliemann’s widow to finish excavations at Hissarlik. In 1893 and 1894, Dörpfeld returned to the site to further 57


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General view of the ‘treasures of Priam’. After Schliemann.

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Views from Heinrich Schliemann’s excavations at Hissarlik, 1881. After Schliemann,

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Wilhelm Dörpfeld.

explore the stratigraphy and test Schliemann’s rash conclusions.

two distinct cities. The first, Troy VIIA, was smaller than Troy VI and was ultimately consumed in a fiery destruction. Troy VIIB was even smaller and also met a violent end. The subsequent Troy VIII was a large and successful Greek city, and the Roman Troy IX was even wealthier (Dörpfeld 29 – 30). Dörpfeld’s idea was that the site radically declined over a relatively short time but then suddenly rose to be a great power. Many scholars believed that a timeline with such drastic shifts in wealth was incomplete. Dörpfeld’s conclusion also suggested continuous occupation, which differed from the common archaeological trend of sites being destroyed and abandoned in the Greek Dark Age, 1000 to 700 BCE. Dörpfeld’s publication caused grumblings amongst classicists and Homer enthusiasts. While Troy VI was large it did not meet a fiery end, and though the cities in Layer VII were burned, they were relatively small. Neither layer neatly fit Homer’s description.

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One of the first archaeologists to effectively use stratigraphic dating, Dörpfeld traced the presence of pottery sherds through the various occupations of the site. Dörpfeld added over 40 sublevels to Schliemann’s nine. These inconsistencies and archaeological In addition, he concluded that Troy II was far mysteries remained unexplained over the too old to be Homer’s Troy (Dörpfeld 29). following decades until a well respected archaeologist from the University of Like Schliemann, Dörpfeld’s main purpose at Cincinnati reopened excavations. In 1932, Carl Hissarlik was to discover the Late Bronze Age Blegen began excavation at Hissarlik with the Troy described in the Iliad. Consequently, he intention of solving the chronological issues. dedicated most of his time searching for the Blegen was the first true archaeologist to mythical city. Dörpfeld classified Troy I–V as direct excavations at Troy. He had worked at prehistoric villages and declared Homer’s sites throughout Greece, held a doctorate Troy to be Troy VI. Further excavation of this from Yale, and taught classical archaeology at layer had revealed a large city surrounded the University of Cincinnati. Nevertheless, his by massive and elaborate fortification interest in proving the existence of a Homeric walls. Most importantly, Dörpfeld identified Troy still motivated many of his actions and large quantities of Mycenaean pottery. This interpretations. suggested steady interactions with the Greek mainland, which was controlled by the Blegen’s initial conclusions simply moved the beginning of Troy VIIA back to 1200 BCE Mycenaean Empire (Dörpfeld 31). from 1000. This allowed for a longer period of Dörpfeld calculated that Troy VI existed from decline which fit better with the trend of Late 1500 to 1000 BCE. He then placed Troy VII from Bronze Age collapse. Additionally, Blegen 1000 to 700 BCE and Troy VIII from 700 to 0 decided that the Homeric Troy must have (Dörpfeld 31). In Troy VII, Dörpfeld discovered been Troy VIIA (Velikovsky). 60


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Eastern bastion of Troy VI, Dรถrpfeld at the base (after Dรถrpfeld)

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Plan and section of the archeological site of Troy. Courtesy Bibi Saint-Pol/Wiki Commons.

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Two decades after Blegen finished excavation, his findings were finally published. He concluded that Troy VI was destroyed by an earthquake around 1300 BCE. The survivors built Troy VIIA, a less lavish and significantly smaller city, but this was destroyed around 1260 BCE by war. Then Troy VIIB was built, but only survived until around 1100 BCE. The Greek city of Troy VIII was built in 700 BCE on top of the four hundred year old ruins (Velikovsky). 62

Blegen’s conclusion was radical. While the break in occupation fit with other Dark Age sites, there were many similarities between Troy VIIB and Troy VIII which suggested a continuous occupation. Blegen himself admits that the artifacts suggest a continuation of cultural heritage and, most surprisingly, pottery style (Blegen 251). This style originally appeared in Troy VI, about the same time as Mycenaean pottery. It stays in every subsequent layer including Troy VIII.


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Excavation of the Eastern Wall at Hissarlik by Carl Blegen, 1932.

Some scholars believe that the inhabitants of Troy VIIB moved inland and retained their culture. Their descendants eventually moved back to build Troy VIII, perhaps even building their homes amongst the ancient ruins. Another answer might be found in the hill of Hissarlik itself. After five known excavations over about one hundred years, the site was not in an ideal condition. Blegen admits that several layers must have been corrupted by upper layers, as Greek pottery was occasionally found in Bronze Age levels (Blegen 181). Despite these various reservations, Blegen’s publication was generally well received. His conclusions placed the Homeric Troy at the right time and in one of the only layers to be destroyed by war. Additionally, the abandonment of Troy in the Dark Age fits with the mass destruction and abandonment of sites across Greece and the Middle East. In

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The Bronze Age remains were found at the lower city, below the remains of Hellenistic and Roman houses. Courtesy Project Troia

Greece, the residents of these destroyed sites appeared to have migrated inland, away from coastlines. This fits Blegen’s explanation for the continuation of cultural heritage from Troy VIIB to Troy VIII.

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Scholars continued to argue over the existence of Troy for several decades. Turkey forbade excavations at Hissarlik after World War II, but mysteries still remained. Archaeologists were forced to find alternative methods to answer their questions.

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Troy and Ilium Novum were reported to be immensely wealthy due to their control of the Hellespont, but the site at Hissarlik resembled a small castle, not a huge metropolis. Schliemann had opened various test pits around the mound, but found nothing (Schliemann 18). Although many of Schliemann’s other conclusions were contested, his successors did not look for settlements beyond the fortification walls. 64

In 1984, a German archaeologist named Manfred Korfmann published a paper about his experiences excavating in a bay north of Hissarlik. He argued that the large bay, which had been silted over since ancient times, would have been a natural port. The bay would have been easily defended and a small fleet could have controlled all traffic through the strait. Additionally, the abundant natural springs in the area could have sustained a large military force (Korfmann 7 – 9). Korfmann’s paper brought new insight to the economic and military standing of the site, and four years later, Turkey gave him a permit to reopen excavations at Hissarlik. Since 1988, Project Troia has excavated huge portions of the site and made many important discoveries. The most significant to Homer enthusiasts is the discovery of massive settlements extending from the previously excavated Bronze Age layers. These settlements suggest that previous archaeologists had only been


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Manfred Korfmann at the site of Troy/Hisarlik. Courtesy. Project Troia

engines. Unfortunately, most of the citadel has been destroyed, but the few buildings that remain suggest a wealthy aristocracy. This might suggest that the citadel had a The city Schliemann thought was Homer’s social function, in addition to a military one Troy has been revealed to be a massive (Jablonka). Bronze Age settlement positioned on the water. The settlement covered an area of Troy VI was destroyed by an earthquake, about ninety thousand square metres and and Troy VIIA was constructed almost was encircled by a palisade wall. Schliemann immediately. This site is slightly smaller had only uncovered a small stone fort in the than its predecessor, but excavations of the north-westernmost corner of the settlement. surrounding settlement generally reveal more This Early Bronze Age site has evidence of a wealth and an improved standard of living. wealthy upper class and the presence of Greek Troy VIIA is eventually destroyed by warfare. A imports suggests a successful trade network quick Troy VIIB is built before being destroyed again during the collapse of the Bronze Age (Jablonka). (Jablonka). The last settlements at Hissarlik Dörpfeld’s Troy, Troy VI, extended across do not appear to become significant until twenty hectares and had an estimated after Alexander the Great’s campaign into population of about seventy-five hundred. Persia. The city was renamed Ilium Novum by The outer wall was large and well fortified Augustus and became an important trade city and surrounded by a deep trench, probably until the 5th century CE. to defend against chariots and early siege excavating the site’s citadel or acropolis, thus creating an image of Troy that better fits the Homeric description.

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Reconstruction of Troy VI and map showing the excavations and test holes from the 2010 season at Hisarlik. Courtesy Project Troia.

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Allen, Susan Heuck. Finding the Walls of Troy: Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann at Hisarlík. Berkeley: University of California, 1999. Bryce, Trevor. The Trojans and Their Neighbours. London: Routledge, 2006. Dörpfeld, Wilhelm. Troja und Ilion. Athens: Beck & Barth, 1902. Jablonka, Peter. “TroiaVR.” Universität Tübingen - Landingpage. Troia Project at University of Tübingen and ART+COM AG Berlin. http://www. uni-tuebingen.de/troia/vr/index_en.html

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However, it cannot be denied that the desperate hopes and absurd claims of these men instilled a deep and powerful connection between the West and its classical roots. In fact, archaeologists still look to them as the creators of modern classical archaeology. They made the mistakes that we can learn from, and their biased conclusions will always give us a reason to go back and explore these fascinating and mysterious sites.

Further Reading

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The story of Hissarlik and Troy is a story about learning from the past. The obsessed amateurs of the 19th century chased a myth and let their thirst for proof cloud their judgement. Over the past twenty years, Project Troia has made significant discoveries with careful and efficient excavation. Nevertheless, vital portions of the site will remain a mystery forever due to the excavations of Schliemann, Dörpfeld, and even Blegen, who in his desperation to find Homer’s Troy overlooked and disregarded the topmost layers.

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Whether Hissarlik is the mythical Troy or not is still a heated subject amongst classical archaeologists. Like many arguments in archaeology, we may never know the truth. Though Frank Calvert may not have found the legendary Troy, Hissarlik has become one of the most important sites in history.

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Korfmann, Manfred. “Troy: Topography and Navigation.” Troy and the Trojan War: A Symposium Held at Bryn Mawr College, October 1984 (1986): 1-16 Schliemann, Heinrich. Troy and Its Remains: A Narrative of Researches and Discoveries Made on the Site of Ilium, and in the Trojan Plain. Trans. L. D. Schmitz. J. Murray, 1875. Velikovsky, Immanuel. “The Archaeology of Hissarlik.” The Immanuel Velikovsky Archive. Shulamit V. Kogan & Ruth V. Sharon. http://www. scribd.com/doc/59180793/A-The-VelikovskyArchive

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William Mathew Flinders Petrie (1853–1942) The Father of Egyptian Archaeology By Dr Lisa Swart

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seminal figure of Ancient Near Eastern archaeology, William Mathew Flinders Petrie, has been affectionately described as both the “father of pots” and the “father of Palestinian archaeology”. He is considered one of the greatest contributors to the science of archaeology, and is renowned for pioneering archaeological methods still utilized in the field today, along with making major discoveries in Egypt and Palestine.

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Flinders Petrie was born in Kent, England on the 3 June 1853, to William Petrie and Anne Flinders. Throughout his childhood he suffered from ill-health, and was not permitted to attend school or play sports. His parents were both well-educated, and they played a major role in his schooling. Thus, he became interested in history through his mother’s hobbies of coin collecting, minerals and classification. Hailing from a family of engineers and explorers, he credited his grandfather, Matthew Flinders (a renowned explorer of Australia), with his love of exploration. From his father, a civil engineer, he developed a love of surveying and planning.

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Stonehenge and the Pyramids

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As a teenager, Petrie taught himself geometry, and his father showed him how to survey. Eager to apply this knowledge, he embarked on extended walking tours across England, systematically recording and surveying earthworks, tumuli and other ancient remains. When he was nineteen, he with the help of his father undertook the first survey and mapping of Stonehenge. From young, he was a voracious reader, and spent much of his early adult life researching in the reading room of the British Museum. At thirteen, his interest in ancient 68

Flinders Petrie in Giza c.1880. Credit: Margaret S. Drower, Flinders Petrie: A Life in Archaeology, 1995, p.60.

Egypt was piqued when he read “Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid” by Piazzi Smythe. This work centered on the premise that the plan of the Great Pyramid hid prophecies regarding the British-Israelites. Petrie and his father were highly intrigued by this book, and his father strongly encouraged him to go to Egypt. Petrie set off at the age of twenty-seven with the goal of measuring and surveying the pyramids in order to prove Piazzi Smythe’s hypothesis. After two seasons of carefully recording detailed and systematic measurements of the Giza Plateau, in addition to their construction methods and materials, Petrie’s data proved conclusively that Piazzi Smythe’s theory was incorrect. The pyramid survey was no trivial feat, with the help of one assistant; Petrie created the first accurate survey of the Giza Plateau. The plans of which were submitted to the Royal Society in 1883, and he received 100 pounds towards their publication.


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During the First World War, when all excavations were suspended, Petrie contented himself creating vast catalogues of materials he had excavated over the thirty years he had spent in the field. These catalogues continue to serve as invaluable references to archaeologists. Due to the amount of correspondence, publications and public lectures, Petrie’s archaeological work received wide acclaim in the scholarly and public sphere, and he was knighted in 1923. He returned to Palestine in 1926, where he excavated at Tell el Ajjul, Ghazzeh, Tell Jemmeh and Tell el Farrah. He retired from fieldwork in 1935, but took up teaching at the American School in Jerusalem, where he and his wife remained until his death in 1942.

A Giant in his Field There can be no doubt that Petrie was a giant in his field. Born into an era when archaeologists were no more than treasure-hunters, he set the standards for archaeological work in the field by insisting that all artifacts, no matter how great or insignificant, be documented carefully, and stressed the importance of pottery in establishing a chronology for finds. He was a prodigious writer, and has over 1,024 publications to his name (Uphill, 1972: 356-379). He firmly believed he owed it to his sponsors and the academic community to publish his findings as soon as possible. It is estimated he had trained over one hundred archaeologists through his fieldwork, and influenced many, many more – his work is still used by archaeologists today.

After one season in Palestine, he returned to work in Egypt. In 1892, Petrie was awarded the newly created professorship of Egyptology at the University College of London through an endowment of his friend, Amelia Edwards. He married Hilda Urlin in 1897. He set up an archaeology school, the Egyptian Research Account to fund his excavations in Egypt, where Hilda worked as the secretary, camp director Further Reading: and fundraiser. He worked continuously in Egypt until 1926, excavating an impressive list of sites, such as the temples at Thebes, Amarna, Abydos, Sinai, and Memphis (Smith, 1945: 6). Petrie’s biggest problem in the field was dating the thousands of tombs flanking the Nile Valley. Using the lessons he learned in Palestine, he arranged the pottery in groups based on their style, and noticed gradual changes in pottery trends. He then gave them “sequence dates”. Sequence Dating is one of Petrie’s best known and most

Drower, M. Flinders Petrie: A Life in Archaeology. London: Victor Gollancz (1985).

Fargo, V. M. “BA Portrait: Sir Flinders Petrie.” The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 47, No. 4 (Dec., 1984), 220-223.

Smith, S. “William Matthew Flinders Petrie.1853-1942.” Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 5, No. 14 (Nov., 1945), 3-16. Stinespring. W. F. “Flinders Petrie: 1853-1942.” The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Sep., 1942), 33-36. Uphill, E. P. “A Bibliography of Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942)”. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 31, No. 4 (Oct., 1972), 356-379. 69

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By 1890, Petrie’s relationship with the Egypt Exploration Fund had severely deteriorated and he was encouraged do some work in Palestine for the Palestine Exploration Fund. This was to prove to be a major turning point for Petrie. While excavating at Tell el-Hesi, Petrie found that the Wadi Hesi (a narrow gorge) had cut away a crosssection through the site, which enabled him to view the various layers of occupation. He was able to determine that the pottery contained in each occupation layer corresponded to the sequence of soil layers, thus, he could see how the pottery evolved over time. This observation led to the construction of a chronological series or sequences of pottery types.

important contributions to the knowledge of prehistoric Egypt.

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His work on the pyramids brought him to the attention of the newly founded Egypt Exploration Fund, where he formed a lifelong friendship with the co-founder, Amelia Edwards. In 1883, he was assigned by the Egypt Exploration Fund to excavate in the Egyptian Delta. In the ancient town of Tanis, he set out to record and draw-up plans of temples. During this time, he came across the site of Naukratis, the first-known Greek colony in Egypt before the time of Alexander the Great. This auspicious beginning led him to spend several seasons working in the Delta.

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Petrie in Egypt and Palestine

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Digital Archaeology Taking Over?

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Will technology replace traditional archaeology?

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By Melanie Magdalena

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igital archaeology is competing with traditional archaeology practices. Digital archaeology has the potential to advance the archaeological practice in the

coming years, but traditional archaeology should not be replaced. The following research has revealed that the general public wants digital archaeology to work with traditional archaeologists and not replace them. Archaeology is becoming a computer game. Technology has become the norm of all scientific practice. According to Dr. Harry Schafer, 99% of history can only be revealed by archaeology, since written history only occurred recently and we have little to no documentation about the past. Digital archaeology is leaving sites underground hidden away from the world. Lack of public interest in archaeology has caused a shortage of funding for projects and the transition into cyberspace. The purpose of this article is to increase public awareness about the impact of digital archaeology on our cultural heritage.

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Digital archaeology is an advanced form of common remote sensing practices that does Archaeology is one of the four branches of not require uncovering sites; everything is anthropology - the study of all aspects of processed by a computer and stays in the humankind - biological, cultural, and linguistic; computer. extant and extinct - employing a holistic, comparative approach and the concept of The non-invasive practice culture. Specifically, archaeology is the study of the past through the systematic recovery Over the years, scientists are becoming more and analysis of material remains. This means aware of the environment that envelops that archaeologists rebuild forgotten history archaeological sites. Excavation poses two by going out and finding places where history threats: the first is the potential harm to the has been literally buried and reconstructing surrounding environment and ecosystems, the past so we can define our cultural heritage. the second is the potential harm that can destroy a site that is not properly preserved.

What is archaeology?

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Results from the survey conducted regarding what is archaeology. Thirty-two people responded. The majority of the people who responded identified the definition of archaeology correctly. © Melanie Magdalena

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What Is digital archaeology?

Money is a large factor that makes preservation possible.

Fifty years ago no one would believe that in 2011 we would be able to reconstruct entire cities and collections of artifacts as 3D models on a computer. Digital archaeology - a new branch of non-invasive archaeology - has done just that. Non-invasive techniques are also known as remote sensing. Remote sensing, in Robert Kelly’s words, refers to an array of photographic and geophysical techniques that rely on some form of electromagnetic energy - it might be raw electricity, light, heat, or radio waves - to detect and measure characteristics of archaeological targets.

“Digging is destructive. As archaeologist Kent Flannery once remarked, archaeologists murder their informants (their sites) when they question them! The archaeological deposits so carefully examined during a dig are destroyed forever […] A chemist can readily recreate the conditions of a basic experiment, a biographer can return to the archives to re-evaluate the complex events of a politician’s life, but an archaeologist’s archives are destroyed during the dig […] Increasingly, the ethics of archaeology research require absolutely minimal excavation consistent with acquiring


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Non-invasive archaeology used to be a method for discovering sites without having to dig without knowing if there was really a site underground. Digital archaeology now makes digging somewhat unnecessary. Instead of using radars to discover sites and then dig, radars can now create virtual models of what is underground and provide rather detailed imagery; everything from creating simulations of sinking ships to community lifestyle. Michael Bawaya claims virtual archaeology “…is a highly visual way to recreate lost worlds, helping researchers to imagine environments long past.” He notes in his article “Archaeology: Digital Digs” that Donald Sanders, President of the Institute for the Visualization of History in Massachusetts, spent nearly $30,000 to produce a simulation for sinking his virtual ship from Cyprus. Computers have drastically improved allowing researchers to use cheaper equipment but software is still very expensive.

Why are sites staying underground? First, noninvasive archaeology began as a method for finding sites. Ground penetrating radars help pinpoint locations of sites before opening up the ground. Technology provides answers about sites without having to worry about preservation costs. So a site is found and dug up...what next? If the team has money for preservation, it stays out in the open. If the government has money and the team does not, they step in and preserve the site. Sites are a tourist attraction that will bring in money for the national economy. Most of the time, there is not enough money to preserve sites.

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Non-invasive archaeology revolves around remote sensing. Remote sensing enables archaeologists to not expose a site until invasive archaeology is absolutely necessary, therefore increasing the lifespan of a site. There are various methods: aerial photography, electrical resistivity, false colour infrared, ground penetrating radar, proton precession magnetometer, side-looking radar, soil resistivity, standing wave technique, among others. Digital archaeology is the newest noninvasive technique. Although it encompasses many of the previously listed techniques, it is the newest and possibly most perilous in the end.

effective at this time. Until costs go down, archaeology is still in danger. Sites are being left underground because there is not enough funding for archaeologists to do research.

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essential scientific evidence,” stated Brian M. Fagan, Archaeology, page 236.

If a team finds a site and only has money for research, a site can be preserved digitally. Sometimes sites do not make it on the National Registrar for preservation and are destroyed. Digital archaeology can save the site in cyberspace. Technology provides archaeologists with the chance to reconstruct a past civilization and create simulations to help determine what life was like; structures can be rebuilt, people can be added interacting with their surroundings, and you can even view the effects of different transportation routes on trade.

Digital images are becoming increasingly popular. Photographs reveal textures and, with special lighting techniques, they can reveal details that are not visible to the naked eye. Larger scales are also made possible, such as maps and site plans. The Archaeology Coursebook states that the Site preservation and the landscape we encounter in the field has been virtual past shaped by humans and by nature, “Observing Virtual archaeology is a spectacular way to the morphology (shape) of the modern recreate past lifeways. It is not entirely cost- landscape is the starting point for research. 73


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A research design is the scientific formula archaeologists use for investigating sites. © Melanie Magdalena

Major investigations will also use GIS to produce digital maps and 3D models of past environments.” Digital archaeology embraces the research design method however, as Survey Responder #25 said, “If [research] is only done by computer you will always have sceptics that will refuse to believe until they have actually seen it.”

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Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave is a classic example of an archaeological site that is too delicate to be opened up to the elements and even to the climate. The cave has been sealed. Scientists can only conduct studies five days every year.

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Its pristine condition preserves the oldest cave paintings of human culture. Even the scientists and archaeologists that visit the cave during the five day period are limited to a two foot wide metal platform walkway installed on the ground. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog, 2010) is a unique film that the public can access and view this spectacular cave since it is not open to the public. 74

Digital archaeology does provide opportunities for people to access sites that they would otherwise be unable to see. In the film, the 1,300 foot long cave is also presented as a three dimensional model that was mapped with laser scanners and has all the cave features. With this model, archaeologists can study the features without having to intrude and risk damaging the history contained within. Even with these now completed models after twelve years of documentation, archaeologists still have to enter in order to interpret the paintings. No matter how much technology is involved, human presence is necessary for interpretation. Digital archaeology simply assists the Chauvet Cave Project but does not replace traditional methods.

Public Interest People want to see the results of their money. An adult interested in archaeology also probably does not want to pay money to see a simulation of a ship or a 3D model of the pyramids of Giza. Survey results have


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Above: Plaza A, Altun Ha, Belize. Most of Altun Ha has been excavated and restored. Below: Plaza B, Altun Ha, Belize. Unfortunately, many structures have been destroyed and others have yet to be excavated and reconstructed. Š Melanie Magdalena

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Results from the survey conducted regarding the potential of digital archaeology. Twenty-eight people responded. The majority of the people who responded said digital archaeology can help save our history but do not want digital archaeology to replace digging in the field. © Melanie Magdalena

revealed that most people understand what archaeology is, feel digital archaeology can help improve results when money for preservation is an issue, and do not want digital archaeology to replace physical results.

Technology does not have the ability to interpret a site like an archaeologist. Precise details cannot be revealed with technology. As Katelyn Bleiweiss said during our interview, “Technology does not have the ability to reproduce all five senses. Our five senses give us more details about artifacts than technology.” Intuition by an archaeologist is lost in the digital world and interpretations can face flaws. Digital archaeology cannot inform on interpreting the minds of prehistoric people.

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Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave is sealed so that the remains of the past are preserved. The paintings are fragile. Lascaux Cave had to be shut down because of excess moisture caused by tourist breath. It is necessary to leave some sites closed, not because of lack of funding but because people, the climate, and even Digitization has become a priority. Lack of nature can damage sites. public interest has decreased available funds Non-invasive archaeology assists archaeolo- for uncovering the past. Without public gists when sites cannot be opened up but a interest, our cultural heritage will remain lost in lot of sites that can be preserved and left open time until someone takes action. Archaeology are ignored, only digitized, or left to collapse and technology can work side by side, they due to poor preservation. can also work together. The key is to find a balance so that both techniques’ strengths Visible cultural heritage is being stripped are used to recreate the most accurate history. away from the public due to non-invasive *** archaeology. Archaeology has been reserved purely for archaeologists who are granted the Further Reading privilege to excavate and then rebury sites and is evolving into a game. If archaeologists Bawaya, Michael. 2006. “Archaeology: Digital only have enough money to recover data, digs.” Nature. 440 (7088): 1106-07. they choose to digitize sites. 76


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Cassen, Serge and Robin, Guillaume. 2010. “Recording Art on Neolithic Stelae and Passage Tombs from Digital Photographs.” Journal Of Archaeological Method & Theory. 17 (1): 1-14.

Grant, Jim, Gorin, Sam and Fleming, Neil. “Reconstructing Ancient Landscapes.” The Archaeology Coursebook. 3rd ed. (London and New York: Routledge, 2008.), 200. http:// issuu.com/doc555/docs/the_archaeology_ coursebook_an_introduction_to_ them?mode=window&pageNumber=200 Haviland, William A., Prins, Harald E. L., McBride, Bunny and Walrath, Dana Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge. 13th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011.

Kelly, Robert L. and Tomas, David Hurst. Archaeology. 5th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. Powell, Eric A. 2009. “Digital Archaeology 2.0.” Archaeology. 62 (1): 27.

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Grant, Jim, Gorin, Sam and Fleming, Neil. “Communicating Archaeological Knowledge.” The Archaeology Coursebook. 3rd ed. (London and New York: Routledge, 2008.), 373. http://issuu.com/doc555/docs/the_ archaeology_coursebook_an_introduction_to_ them?mode=window&pageNumber=373

Bleiweiss, Katelyn (Anthropology student, University of Texas), in discussion with the author, 18 November 2011.

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Fagan, Brian M. Archaeology: A Brief Introduction. 5th ed. New York: HarperCollins College Publishers, 1994.

Israel Museum, Jerusalem, The. “Digital Dead Sea Scrolls.” Digital Dead Sea Scrolls. http://dss. collections.imj.org.il/

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Boon, P., Maaten, L. van der, Paijmans, H., Postma, E. and Lange, G. 2009. “Digital Support for Archaeology.” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews. 34 (2/3): 189-205.

Shafer, Harry. Archeology 101. San Antonio: Texas Archeological Society, 2011. Stewart, R. Michael. Archaeology Basic Field Methods. (Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2002), 229-32. Temple, James. 2011. “Digital tools expand view.” San Francisco Chronicle (10/1/2007 to present), 09 November 2011, D1. Velios, Athanasios, and Harrison, John. 2007. “Digital Reconstruction of Fragmented Archaeological Objects.” Studies In Conservation. 52 (1): 19-36. ***

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The Staffordshire Hoard (Photo: Wiki Commons)

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Larry Swain on the Importance of the Staffordshire Hoard By James Wiener M.A.

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n July 5, 2009, Terry Herbert tried his luck with an old metal detector in a farmer’s field outside Lichfield, in Staffordshire, England. On that day, he would uncover the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon objects ever found: a hoard of over 3,900 objects cast primarily in gold and silver, and richly decorated with animal patterns crafted in gold-leaf filigree and cloisonné gems. Archaeologists and historians theorize that the artifacts from the Staffordshire Hoard date from between 600-800 CE, during the time the Kingdom of Mercia reached its apogee. With the presentation of over one hundred objects from the United Kingdom at at the recent exhibition, “AngloSaxon Hoard: Gold from England’s Dark Ages,” held at the National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C., interest in Anglo-Saxon Britain continues to grow in the United States. In this article, James Wiener takes the opportunity to interview Professor Larry J. Swain, of Bemidji State University, about the importance of the Hoard to historians and archaeologists alike. Swain is an expert in the culture, history, and languages of late antiquity and early Medieval Europe.

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Professor Swain, standard historical narrative has often presented AngloSaxon Britain (c. 410—1066 CE) as a cultural backwater, teeming with political unrest, social instability, and the bloody subjugation of the Celtic Britons. Does the discovery of these objects overturn preconceived notions of Anglo-Saxon culture and social organization?

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This is an exciting time for study in the early Anglo-Saxon period, what has often been called the “Dark Ages” simply because we have so few literary references. Those literary references, Gildas the Wise and the Venerable St. Bede, the latter using the former, painted a picture for us of AngloSaxons invading the island and pushing the inhabitants, the [Celtic] Britons now without the support of Rome, into the West or even out of the island altogether to Brittany [in France]. But this traditional picture, hoary and fixed in text-books and in popular imagination, is being challenged by a number of things from discoveries like the Staffordshire Hoard to genetic testing that suggests the utter downfall of culture and economy in the wake of an invading force needs at the very least significant adjustment if not complete rejection.

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Regarding the Hoard itself, what it tells us in large part depends on when it is dated. The earliest date given is sometime in the last sixth century to the latest in the 8th or even 9th centuries. The dating depends largely, though not exclusively, on comparison of the artistic styles in the Hoard to other more or less dated objects with similar styles and on the date of the biblical inscription on the single piece. Some have argued that the inscription is seventh century, others much later. So if the Hoard is dated to the sixth century, it tells us a lot about a period on which our sources are few and late. But it seems more likely that the Hoard is later, in the seventh century or even early eighth. By this time, large parts of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms have at least been 80

nominally converted to Christianity, there are literary texts in addition to Bede that cover the period, and such a dating puts the Staffordshire Hoard after Sutton Hoo and the Prittlewell Prince rather than before or contemporary with those burials. It is rather impossible to call Anglo-Saxon culture of the late seventh and early eighth centuries, the period of the so-called Northumbrian Renaissance a “cultural backwater,” though some of the other descriptions might yet be apt. There are some things that the Hoard does tell us regardless of date. There are no objects judged to be feminine and most of the objects are identifiable as a soldier’s equipment… material from helmets, sword pommels and the like. It was found near Watling Street, in what would have been the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. We know in the seventh and early eighth centuries that Mercia and Northumbria had a number of battles as each sought to be the leading kingdom; in fact, in order to produce the exquisite books of the Northumbrian Renaissance such as the Lindisfarne Gospels, Codex Amiatinus and its sister pandects, and other manuscripts, not to mention other works of art such as reliquaries, St. Cuthbert’s pectoral cross…well the list could go on. Bede in another of his works on the history of his monastery talks about the importation of craftsmen from Frankia to work in stone, to teach the Roman Church’s method of chant, to work gems and precious metals. And as we look over Northumbria of this period and the number of books produced, the number of monastic foundations built, the number of books and special artisans and scholars imported, the image one builds is one of extreme wealth. If the Hoard does indeed date from the late seventh century, imagine that this is one warrior’s take on one raid from Mercia into Northumbria (or vice versa) in that period. That image gives one pause as to how much more there must have been and gives one an idea how much we have lost! All that said, once the


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Hoard has been ruminated over, the results will undoubtedly change some of what we think now. Certainly in the immediate aftermath of the discovery it was thought to be even more significant than Sutton Hoo. But honestly, it is too early to tell just how important and how much the contents of the Hoard will change our views.

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On a general geographic scale, no, not at all. First, while much less well known and containing much less material, there have been other hoards discovered all over territories of Anglo-Saxon England. So while the general public knows about the great discovery of Sutton Hoo in East Anglia (1939) or about things in Kent, the British Midlands were the home of one of the most powerful and important Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, Mercia. So it is no surprise really that a hoard should be found there. Further, the old Roman road, Watling Street, is nearby and was still in use, and so again lessens the surprise that the hoard rested in Mercia.

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Larry, the Staffordshire Hoard holds over 5,000 kilos of gold and over 1,400 kilos of silver. These are truly remarkable figures. Moreover, the decoration found on the objects— shields, swords, scabbards, pieces of armor, etc.— is simply breathtaking. No other discovery like it has been made in either the British Isles or in continental Europe. Does it surprise you that such a discovery was made in the British Midlands and not elsewhere, especially given the past discoveries in Kent and East Anglia? contexts like this, seemingly abandoned, possibly as an offering to the gods. But there has been nothing even close to this scale. It is that lack of context and location that makes the hoard so tantalizing and curious.

JW

What can these objects tell us about the Kingdom of Mercia vis-à-vis the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms?

LS

That’s a big question of importance to historians, and honestly, the answer to that depends on when the Hoard is dated and what we make of it. Is it a one-time hoard from a single raid hidden in haste as a very real threat catches up to the raider, so he hides his prize for retrieval later and is prevented from doing so? Or is it rather an old warrior’s collection of prizes from a long career? Is it a collection leaving Mercia or coming to Mercia from Northumbria or Pictland [Scotland]? There are so many unanswered questions. What it does tell us though is that the wealth of these kingdoms is incredible.

It is when we turn to the specific locale that the surprise of the discovery hits. As you mention, James, the hoard is huge containing more than 1500 artifacts most of precious metals. Yet, this hoard of treasure is not associated with a religious locale or ceremony as far as we can tell; nor is it located in a grave site such as we have at Sutton Hoo, nor near any major fortification, monastery, habitation, or city. Now, things like One scholar, Nicholas Brooks, has made an rings or sword pommels have been found in intriguing suggestion that the hoard was the

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property of the armorer of the Mercian king. When a retainer, and warrior, died, the king would receive some piece of treasure like a sword or pommel, or a ring, and so on. These items would then be reused and distributed to new men coming into service, a system called heriot, “war-gear” (from OE “heregeat”). If so, then the armorer’s trove here would show that Mercia was a very rich and powerful kingdom indeed, which it was in the 8th century.

JW

Many scholars and archaeologists were quite surprised by the complete absence of “feminine” objects in the hoard. Unlike other Anglo-Saxon sites, there were no golden brooches, necklaces or pendants for women. Instead, the objects in the hoard seem to have been originally designed for martial purposes. Archaeologists also never uncovered any evidence of scaffolding, nor any human or animal remains. What are some possible explanations for this in your opinion?

LS

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In the other cases you allude to, the hoards have been burials or near habitation. This one is quite different. One suggestion was that this was a sacrifice to the gods, an offering. But against that is that there is no nearby temple or grove, that while individual objects have been found seemingly fulfilling this function, nothing on this scale or even approaching this scale has been discovered. Finally in my view, the absence of human or animal remains also argues against something this large being a religious offering since we know that such sacrifices were still being made. But without further contextualization, it remains a possibility. I have suggested some others above: a warrior’s cache of booty from a raid or raids, or belonging to the king’s armorer. Which of these options is most likely at this point is really anyone’s guess.

gold come from and how did it get there? Was it coveted because it was so highly valued in AngloSaxon lore and society?

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All good questions. Gold and treasure were certainly important in early AngloSaxon society. Literary texts paint an image of kings and lords dispensing treasure as rewards for service and on the occasions that we get glimpses into actual history, this literary picture does not seem to be too distorted from reality. But it must be remembered that for this society wealth was not wealth unless given away. That is, a king or leader who did not handsomely reward his followers was not much of a leader and might find himself without many followers no matter how successful. So while coveted, the value was in the relationship it signified between lord and retainer in contrast to a hoard of wealth in the sense of someone hiding something like this for their own personal wealth or use. I think the best explanation is a raid or series of raids into Northumbria that the Mercians won and that some kind of danger presented itself – the Northumbrians in pursuit, a competing nobleman seeing an opportunity for advancement, well, the imagination could run away with one. But for whatever the danger, the man carrying this hoard of goods left it probably with an intent to retrieve it and was prevented by any of reasons from doing so. And so it became an accident of history to be uncovered again in 2009.

JW

Can you comment, Larry, on what differentiates the style and artistic design of these Anglo-Saxon artifacts from those found during the same period in Europe and Scandinavia?

LS

There has been no comparable finds so Larry, something which has astonished far in Scandinavia or the continent. The archaeologists and scholars alike is famous bog finds tend to be quite a bit earlier; overall quality of the workmanship that went the Scandinavian finds a bit later, but without into the creation of these artifacts. Where did this the metal objects with the gems and fine work.

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Larry J. Swain is a Professor of English at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota. Previously, he taught at Harry S. Truman College in Chicago, Illinois. He received his BA in Religion—Greek and Linguistics from Seattle Pacific University (1985), his MA in Medieval Studies from Western Michigan University (2001), and his PhD in English Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2009). Currently, Swain is the Editor-in-Chief of “The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Northwestern Over a century ago, the stages of artistic Europe” and a reviewer for” Years Work in decoration were outlined for Germanic arti- Old English Studies, Old English Newsletter,” facts; most of the Hoard belongs to what Archaeology Section. is called Salin II, after Bernard Salin who developed it. It used to be said that Salin II was *** found mostly in Scandinavia. A reassessment in the 1990s revised that conclusion a little. The Staffordshire Hoard significantly increases the number of objects that are classified in Salin II from England. Much of stylistic engraving seems to have connections to the materials we know from Kent and East Anglia; in a few cases there are definite analogues with items from Scandinavia. So the hoard seems to fit Salin II style for Germanic art, some of the items are early, others late in that style.

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There are certainly some finds though: Oseberg (in Norway) for example or the Niederberg (Germany) finds. Looking at the metal work in the latter, there are certainly some similarities between the Staffordshire Hoard and these: the animal interlacing, the gem inlays, and so on. But without question, the Anglo-Saxon work is superior: more intricate, of gold and silver rather than iron with silver inlays for example.

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JW

Finally Larry, scholars are torn as to why the hoard is so large and to which purpose it served. Is it possible that these beautiful objects could merely be loot or part of some sort of treasury? Could it be just an offering to a pagan deity? Could you comment a little further?

LS

I think I answered most of this above. In addition to what I said there, one of the curators said something along the lines that stuffing this much gold and silver into the ground as an offering seems like overkill. And that truly does seem the case!

JW LS

Thank you so much for your time and expertise Larry! Thank you! *** 83


Heritage under siege By Dr Monty Dobson

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he worldwide economic downturn and its accompanying trend toward austere budgets have left few areas of public ‘services’ untouched. Indeed, the culture and heritage sectors have been particularly hard hit. In recent weeks we have seen American politicians slashing away at the Transportation Enhancements funds in the Highway Bill. I know it sounds odd, but due to the strange appropriations system in the US, that has been where the funds for historic preservation have been housed for several decades. Meanwhile, some American state governments like Utah have used the current budget challenges to gut their state archeology staffs. While it was surely an unintended consequence, this has effectively silenced critics of high profile development projects. In Britain the coalition has repeatedly chipped away at public finding for museums and cultural heritage projects. Perhaps no country has seen its heritage funding more drastically slashed than Greece. In the last few weeks we have seen threats to Greek cultural heritage ranging from daylight raids on museums to archaeologists and curators re-burying artifacts because there are no funds to house and care for them.

most respected archaeologist in the midst of controversy over development plans.

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In the case of Russia, and the Izborsk Fortress site, the challenges are not budgetary, but arise from national policy and the desire to promote heritage tourism. Izborsk occupies an important, foundational place in Russia’s cultural memory. In terms of the chronology of Izborsk, we have the documentary sources that tell us about it’s early associations with Scandinavians, but we know relatively little about the archaeology of the early medieval phases there. According to the Russian Primary Chronicle, Izborsk was the seat of one of the three Rus’ brothers, Rurik, Sineus and Truvor, who were ‘invited’ to found the first kingdom in the 9th century. That being said, the fragile state of preservation of the fortress is cause for concern. Recent preservation work undertaken by the Global Heritage Fund, The Ministry of Culture, Russian Federation and the General Directorate, Pskov Reconstruction Office appears to have stabilized some of the worst affected areas. However, the planed festivities, while celebrating the site, may bring more tourists than are healthy for its longterm preservation. How damaging any potential increase in visitors would be to the site depends However, not all the threats are due to lack on the steps taken by the Russian officials to of funding. The competing interests of protect it. Whatever the motives, there needs to development and preservation are ever present be a balance between restoration and research and the motivations of political leaders who set in order to understand and preserve the history the agenda can be complex. In Russia, the rush of any ancient site. Once the archaeology is to celebrate the country’s 1150th anniversary has disturbed it is lost forever, along with any hope meant that the archaeological heritage at iconic of understanding the site fully. sites like the Izborsk Fortress are threatened by the desire to build new visitor centers and Despite the budgetary challenges and amenities. In Bulgaria, the Prime Minister has questionable political influence, there are publicly feuded with archaeologists who are successful examples out there in which working in advance of the new highway project communities have both leveraged heritage sites and in Utah questions are being asked about the for economic benefit while accommodating motives of the Governor in sacking the state’s the needs of research and preservation. Two

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Threats to cultural heritage are many and even in this era of economic austerity it is not just the

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models in the US and UK are also examples of lack of funds that threaten cultural heritage sites. how the public interest can be served through Development and tourism can both benefit and a combination of public and private partners. In harm culturally significant sites and objects. the US, the early French colonial settlement at There is always tension between preservation Michilimackinac in northern Michigan and in the of a site in pristine condition, probably the UK, the City of York are two such examples. professional archaeologist’s preferred option, and development of the site as part of the tourism At Michilimackinac the original French settlement economy. It would be disingenuous to claim that was founded in 1690 on the Upper Peninsula such development has no impact on a site. At the side of the Straits of Mackinac and is the earliest Angkor Archaeological Park , a UNESCO World European settlement west of the Appalachian Heritage Site, the unexpectedly high levels of Mountains. The site of the Colonial Fort museum tourism have been both a boon to the national was founded in 1715 as a French fort and fur economy and the bane of preservationists. The trading post. The fortified community there massive numbers of tourists in the last decade became the fur trade center of the Northwest or so have placed the Angkor Wat temple site in until its relocation to nearby Mackinac Island danger. However, without the tourists and their in 1781. The fort reflects the ebb and flow hard currency, the site would not have access of French and English colonial dominance in to much the preservation funding it presently North America and the site changed hands with receives. Clearly what is needed in these cases is a negative repercussions for the Native Americans sustainable plan that is effectively implemented who had closer ties to the French. Today the and adhered to by all stakeholders. two sites form the centerpieces of tourism and economic development in the region. This has To be sure, the current economic troubles mean been achieved while fostering archaeological that there are real threats to heritage as in Greece research and preservation which has been and development demands in places like Utah, ongoing since the 1950’s. Russia, and Bulgaria can threaten to overwhelm underfunded heritage professionals. But the In the UK, the city of York is home to the Jorvik prospects for preservation are not at all bleak. Viking Centre. In the 1980’s developers were As we have seen with the historic city of York and constructing a shopping center on a former Mackinaw in Michigan, there are real economic, urban brownstone site when they unearthed the educational, and social benefits to be derived Viking remains. As it turned out, the Coppergate from supporting research and preservation at Shopping Centre was planned for the exact site heritage sites. of the Viking age street of the cupmakers- the *** literal translation of Coppergate. Rather than abandon the development, archaeologists from the York Archaeological Trust conducted rescue and research excavations on the site. Due to the high levels of public interest, decided to partner with the developers and open the museum. Today the museum is an integral part of the city’s tourism mission drawing more than 600,000 visitors annually. The city of York continues to partner with private partners such as YAT to mitigate the threat to the cultural heritage from development.


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For more information visit the Association of Greek Archaeologists website http://www.sea.org.gr/press/pages/viewpress.aspx?PressID=107

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Egypt in Milan

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By Charlotte Booth M.A. here are many places which are famous throughout the world for their Egyptian collections and Egyptianising monuments, such as Paris, Rome or London. This article

introduces Milan, an Italian city with something to offer the Egyptology tourist. The article will describe the best places to visit in order to view Egyptian influenced funerary monuments, Egyptomania in architecture, Egyptian themed artwork and ancient artefacts.

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For those wanting to visit Egyptian museums and view Egyptianised monuments, Milan is not the first place one would think of. Instead, Paris, Berlin, Turin, Rome or London, are the most obvious cities to visit. However, Milan does have its share of Egyptian artefacts, and Egyptian influences. They are just better hidden than they are in other European cities.

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The most central, and perhaps the most overlooked piece of Egyptomania, can be found in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a beautiful shopping mall in the historic centre of Milan, with an entrance on Piazza del Duomo. The Galleria was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni, and the foundation stone was laid by King Vittorio Emanuele II, after whom it was named, in March 1865. It was completed in December 1877, the day after the tragic death of Mengoni who fell from the top of the arch of the main entrance whilst inspecting the work. The item of interest was not added until 1911. 92

Just under the central dome are four stunning mosaics, commissioned to replace the original frescoes which had since faded. These mosaics represent the four corners of the world as viewed at that time; Europe, America, Africa and Asia. The African lunette shows a traditional orientalist view of Egypt with a topless Egyptian queen wearing a cobra headdress, reclining in front of a monument, her pet lion recumbent behind her. In front of her is her servant gathering wheat, wearing the traditional nemes headdress, normally reserved for kings. This mosaic was created by Eleuterio Pagliano and was funded by an English company known as the City of Milan Improvements Company Limited, which was dissolved once the Galleria was opened. An earlier piece of Egyptian inspired architecture can be found in Via dei Boschetti. This obelisk has been in this location, in the middle of the road, since 1787. It was commissioned in honour of Saint


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Above left: Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali, Piazza Cordusio; Above right: Obelisk of Saint Glycerius, Charles Borromeo 1607, Via dei Boschetti; Below: Africa by Eleuterio Pagliano, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Photograph by Brian Billington.

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Left: Omodei memorial, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Via de Amicis. Photograph by Giovanni Dall’Orto, Wikicommons; Right: Pyramid of the Bruni family, Cimitero Monumentale

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Glicero (Glycerius), a Bishop of Milan, and was created by Charles Borromeo in 1607. It originally had a bronze cross on the top but, when it was moved to the current location, this was replaced with a bronze star which still adorns the top of the obelisk.

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Obelisks were also added to the roof of the Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali, in Piazza Cordusio, when it was constructed by Luca Beltrami between 1897 and 1901. Another four rather beautiful obelisks are located in the sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vittoria, on Via de Amicis. The sanctuary itself is a seventeenth century reconstruction of a thirteenth century Dominican monastery. These four black marble obelisks decorate the memorial of the Omodei family, a family of cardinals in the seventeenth century. 94

There are numerous other funerary obelisks to be found in the Cimitero Monumentale, a rather ostentatious cemetery near Garibaldi train station. It was designed by the architect Carlo Maciachini (1818-1899), and was opened in 1866. Although still a working cemetery, the majority of the monuments were built between the 1880s and 1930s and there is a distinct art deco feel about them, as well as a great abundance of Egyptian motifs which were popular at the time. Obelisks of course dominate in regards to number and range from small and plain to monumental in size. The largest obelisk, for example, marks the Falck family memorial, and towers above all the other monuments in the area and was constructed at the end of the nineteenth century. The entrance to the monument is reached by a set of steps


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Above Left: Alberto Weill-Schott Sphinx, Cimitero Monumentale; Above Right: Passoni family monument, Cimitero Monumentale; Below: Striding figure on the Vignola monument, Cimitero Monumentale 95


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leading to a subterranean doorway. Although the Falcks’ cannot be beaten on size, some of the smaller obelisks are more attractive, decorated with carved wreaths, Chi-Rho Catholic symbols, or photographs of the dead buried beneath. Like the obelisk of Saint Glicero, a number of obelisks at the cemetery are raised on plinths with either animal feet or balls, such as the monument of Rosa de Pestalozzi, or the matching pair belonging to Adolfo and Carolina Poilblan, all from the 1880s. Closely associated with obelisks in style are pyramids, and they are also represented at the cemetery in the form of Benben stones, such as the Fedeli monument, which comprises a Benben decorated with lotus and papyrus plants, to the elongated pyramidion belonging to Coizet (c.1870), who chose to decorate the structure with a sword, helmet and cloak demonstrating his profession whilst alive.

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The most elaborate pyramid is that of the Bruni family, which is large and dominates this corner of the cemetery. It was built by the architect Angelo Colla in 1876 and is made of Saltrio stone, with the only decoration being a floral frieze reminiscent of the Ptolemaic style near the base of the structure. The entrance to the pyramid, on the other hand, is rather monumental with a cavetto cornice over the door. The door is flanked on the right hand side by a sphinx wearing a nemes headdress, collar and false beard, and on the left hand side stands a female figure. These figures were carved by Giulio Monteverde, and are classical rather than Egyptian in style, even though this is where the influence lay. The door frame itself is decorated with a frieze of musicians copied directly from Ptolemaic images.

dating to approximately 1910. Although these figures may represent nuns, the representation does have distinctly Egyptian symmetry. Another, with no ambiguity of representation, is the monument of Alberto Weill-Schott (c.1904), the Swiss Banker, designed by Enrico Butti. The monument comprises three elements; a bronze figure of Grief, leaning on a broken lotus bud column capital and a stylized sphinx at the base, with its eyes shut, wearing a nemes headdress. One monument in the cemetery which is particularly interesting is the monument belonging to the Passoni family, (c.1950s). However, whether there is Egyptian influence here is uncertain. The statue shows a shrouded body standing vertically, being blessed by Jesus Christ. Whether intentional or not, this image resembles the traditional Opening of the Mouth ceremony. The mummy traditionally stands upright before Anubis or the oldest son, who holds the adze towards the mouth in order to enable the deceased to breathe, speak, eat and drink in the afterlife. Although the face on this figure is exposed, the wrappings resemble bandages rather than a shroud and it is somewhat unusual for the deceased to be presented vertically. A figure, clearly influenced by the traditional striding figure, popular from the Old Kingdom to the Ptolemaic period, stands proudly over the Vignola monument (c.1920s). The bronze statue shows a man in the traditional striding figure pose, with the right foot forward. In his right hand he holds a roll of paper and in the left hand, instead of the traditional staff, he holds a book. Although the kilt, muscle structure and face are not traditional Egyptian the general pose is unmistakable.

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Above: La morte di Cleopatra by Guido Cagnacci (c. 1660) in the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milano

there are a number of chapels created in the Egyptian style with cavetto cornicing, winged sun discs, and lotus and papyrus emblems on the grated gateways. The most impressive examples are the SalmoiraghiBessone monument (c. 1920s) and the Valenini family’s edifice. In addition to sculptures and architecture, Milan has a great deal to offer in the form of painted artwork, which can be found in abundance in Milan. One particularly popular theme is that of the death of Cleopatra or “La Morte di Cleopatra� and there are numerous paintings to be discovered showing different interpretations of this legendary event. One of the versions by Francesco Cairo (16071665) can be viewed in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, showing a distressed looking

servant approaching the half naked, very pale Cleopatra on the bed with an asp wrapped around her wrist like a bracelet. The Pinacoteca di Brera has a number of Cleopatra offerings, including Guido Cagnacci (1601-1663), showing a tranquil topless woman seated in a high backed chair with the adder moving towards her breast. This gallery also holds another of his portraits (1660-1662) showing Cleopatra in a red dress. She pulls the dress down, exposing her left breast to which she applies an asp. She has long flowing red hair and is wearing large pearl earrings, perhaps reminiscent of the story told by Pliny the Elder where she dissolved one of the biggest pearls in the world in vinegar. This is in fact one of the few images of the death of Cleopatra where she is not naked. Dio Cassius in his Roman 97


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Above Left: ; Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco Above Right: Twenty-fifth dynasty official, Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco; Below Left: The living image, Tutankhamun, Piazza del Duomo; Below Right: Advertisement for TIM, with the image of Cleopatra 98


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Milan in general has more Roman and Greek influenced architecture, monuments and artwork than Egyptian but there is enough to keep any Egyptologist or Egyptophile happy for a weekend. It needs to be considered that Egypt is as much a part of Italian culture as any other Western country and, in addition to the elements discussed, look out for modern Egyptomania. For example, the living statue of Tutankhamun prowls the streets of Milan (somewhat slowly) collecting money, and the advertisement campaign for TIM, an Italian telecommunications company that shows Cleopatra (and Mark Antony) with the technology we could not possibly live without, can be seen on hundreds of billboards. These posters can bring a smile The highlight of the collection is the funerary if not only for the ludicrousness of the idea assemblage collected by Legate Busca in of Cleopatra sending SMS messages with 99

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A large number of the objects are from the Late or Ptolemaic periods and were bought on the open market in the nineteenth century, so the provenance is often unknown. The objects are divided into categories such as writing, religion, burial and mummification. Although there is little of importance from an archaeological point of view there are some beautiful and interesting pieces. The artist trial pieces from the Ptolemaic period are particularly stunning and an unusual statue head of a dignitary from the twenty-fifth dynasty is striking, although whether this was intentional or due to bad craftsmanship is uncertain. One wall of the museum is occupied with papyri, some very clear albeit fragmentary examples of the Book of the Dead from the Ptolemaic period, written in hieratic with some finely drawn vignettes.

the nineteenth century, although it is for the social history rather than archaeological significance. He bought the assemblage of anthropoid coffin and mummy in Thebes and returned with them to Italy. His son Ludovico donated the coffin and mummy to the Ciceri Hospital, who themselves in 1854, passed it onto the Maggiore Hospital of Milan. Here the mummy was used for the study of anatomy and pathology but, in 1926, the body was given to the Musocco cemetery for burial. However, Italian bureaucracy would not allow a burial without a death certificate. So the mummy and coffin were donated to the City of Milan where they came into the possession of the Civic Collection of Castello Sforzesco. However, despite this complex history of ownership, study of the actual assemblage has uncovered that it was in fact a fake, put together by the entrepreneurial dealers in Luxor to sell to tourists. The base of the coffin belonged to Dihorkapet, of the seventh to eighth century BCE, whereas the lid of the anthropoid coffin belonged to Padikhonsu of the ninth century BCE. The mummy was Graeco-Roman and the name is sadly lost.

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Milan also has genuine Egyptian artefacts to offer, in addition to the Egyptian influenced monuments and art. The Castello Sforzesco includes, in its seven museums, a small museum of Egyptian Antiquities. The museum is in the basement of the castle, in the Sale Visconte, and whilst the space is fantastic it has not been utilized to its best potential. The walls are painted plain white, with bright lights and air conditioning ducts running across the ceiling. There are approximately 250 objects on display, a selection of the 3,000 held by the museum, and they are displayed well, with a few objects per case and information about each artefact, although for the most part this is written in Italian. However, the larger information panels, mounted on the wall, are bilingual in Italian and English.

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History makes it clear that Cleopatra was dressed when she died, but she is almost always presented nude because it fits the myth of an exotic and debauched woman.

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her smartphone and checking her email on her iPad, but also for the inaccuracy of the imagery; but it goes to show that the image of Egypt sells. It still represents the luxury, decadence and exoticness that it did in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. *** Further Reading Berresford S. et al. 2004: Italian Memorial Sculpture 1820-1940: A Legacy of Love. Frances Lincoln. London

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Ceruti S. 2010: L’Antico Egitto nel Castello Sforzesco di Milano. Commune di Milano. Milan.

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Ginex G. 1996: Il Cimitero Monumentale di Milano: Guida storico-artistica. Silvana. Milano. Websites Castello Sforzesco: http://www.milanocastello.it/ ing/visitaSotterraneoEgizia.html Monumental Cemetery: http://www. monumentale.net/eng/home.aspx Google Location Map: http://maps.google.co.uk/ maps/myplaces?hl=en&vpsrc=1&ctz=0&abauth=6 8397b35:NcMz6kYIWMkgRPYoP7pBWYQfbpo&vps =1&ei=JlEtT4K7FYTasgbJmKy-Dw&num=10

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What’s On . . . Exhibitions in As part of the London 2012 Festival, The Fitzwilliam Museum, in Cambridge, UK, will host the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of ancient objects ever to travel outside China: The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China. Showcasing more than 300 treasures crafted from jade, gold, silver, bronze, stone, and ceramics, this exhibition will reveal the hidden world of China’s royal Han dynasty tombs. Be sure not to miss this exhibition as it will last from May 5 through November 11, 2012.

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Link: http://www.tombtreasuresofhanchina.org/

The highlight of the 2012 BC: Cornwall and the Sea in the Bronze Age exhibition hosted by the National Maritime Museum Cornwall is the 4500-year-old Nebra Sky Disc, presented to the general public for the first time. A single bronze disc decorated with gold symbols that represent the sun, moon, stars and a boat, the Nebra Sky Disc is the world’s oldest representation of the cosmos. Other artefacts displayed include tin and copper ingots that were salvaged from a Bronze Age shipwreck in Salcombe and which are said to be the first evidence in the UK of metals being transported by boat. Also central to the exhibition is the live reconstruction of the oldest boat ever found in Western Europe. The exhibition opened on 13 April and will run until 30 September 2012. Link: http://www.nmmc.co.uk/ Museu Nacional d’Arte de Catalunya (MNAC), in Barcelona, Spain, is presenting Gods and Myths of Antiquity: The evidence from Hispanic Coins until March 17, 2013. This exhibition provides a unique perspective into the religious beliefs, customs, cults, and mythologies of Iberian peoples, from the 5th century BCE until the arrival of the Visigoths in the 5th century CE, through ancient coins. Special attention is given the religious beliefs of the indigenous populations of the Iberian Peninsula. Link: http://www.mnac.cat/exposicions/exp_presents_f.jsp ?lan=003&actualPage=null&id=00000057

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Works of antiquity from the museums of Berlin are on show at the Roman-Germanic Museum in Cologne for the exhibition The Return of the Gods which began in January and will run until the 25th of August 2012. Greek mythology and the gods of Olympus continue to fascinate both young and old. Accounts of the deeds of mighty Zeus, his jealous wife Hera, the twins Apollo and Artemis, beautiful Aphrodite, and Dionysos the god of wine, are as enthralling as ever after more than 2000 years. The exhibition presents marble statues, stone reliefs, bronzes and luxurious vases from the Berlin collections – a cross section of outstanding European art from early Greek times to the imperial Roman period. Link: http://www.museenkoeln.de/roemisch-germanischesmuseum/ The Museum Rietberg, in Zürich, Switzerland, is currently showing Heroes -- A New Perspective on the Art of Africa until June 3, 2012. This exhibition has already traveled throughout North America and Europe, delighting museum-goers with the breadth of its scope and focus (ancient times until the 20th century CE). Challenging visitors to reevaluate previously held conceptions of African art, this show includes rare and fascinating objects like ancient Akan terracottas from Ghana. Link: http://www.rietberg.ch/en-gb/foyer.aspx

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Link: http://www.namuseum.gr/

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Over a century after the wreckage of Antikythera was found by chance (as often happens in the field of archaeology), the archaeological finds brought to light are showcased together in the exhibition The Antikythera Shipwreck: the ship - the treasures - the Mechanism organised by Greece’s National Archaeological Museum. The exhibition, which began on April 5, will run until the end of April 2013. It boasts 378 finds, including sculptures, clay and bronze vases, coins, jewels, fragments of the ship, and, of course, the famous Antikythera Mechanism, considered the oldest computer ever made.

A n c i e n t P l a n e t

Europe


What’s On . . . Exhibitions in Mummies of the World: The Exhibition makes its Florida debut at the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI), in Tampa, Florida USA, on Friday, April 27 and will remain on display until September 2012. This exhibition features an impressive collection of mummies from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe, as well as ancient Egypt, some dating back almost 7.000 years. This exhibition of mummies and related artifacts is the largest ever assembled in the world. Link: http://www.mosi.org/

The Sanctuaries of Demeter and Persephone at Morgantina has just opened at the Getty Villa Museum, in Los Angeles, California USA. This exhibition features over thirty-five antiquarian objects, from Sicily, which will be on display until January 21, 2013. The artifacts date from the 4th to the 2nd centuries BCE and are exquisite in their ornamentation.

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j o u r n a l

Link: http://www.getty.edu/visit/

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will be exhibiting Children of the Plumed Serpent: the Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico until July 1, 2012. With over 200 objects ranging from manuscripts and textiles to gilded plates and jewelry, this show delineates the importance of the Quetzalcoatl myth to the Nahua, Mixtec, and Zapotec city-states and kingdoms of Pre-Columbian Mexico. This geographical area of southern Mexico was unique in retaining a separate cultural identity during the apogee of the Mayans and Aztecs. Link: http://www.lacma.org/

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Byzantium & Islam: Age of Transition will be on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, New York USA, from March 14 through June 8, 2012. This compelling show will focus on the interplay between art and culture during an age of considerable transition (the seventh century and eighth centuries CE). As the armies of Islam conquered and made inroads into the wealthy, southern provinces of the Byzantine Empire, a “cultural dialogue� emerged, redefining both Byzantium and the Islamic world. A variety of images and objects are to be displayed and careful attention is to be given to the phenomenon of iconoclasm in Byzantine, Islamic, and Jewish communities, during this era. Link: http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/upcomingexhibitions The Dawn of Egyptian Art will be exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, New York USA from April 10 through August 5, 2012. This show will cover the genesis and subsequent development of Egyptian art from the Pre-dynastic and Early Dynastic Periods (c. 40002650 BCE). With over 175 objects from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and twelve other museums from all over the world, the odds are that this exhibition will be spellbinding. Link: http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/upcomingexhibitions

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Link: http://www.joslyn.org/

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To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum of Art continues its journey across the United States and is now at the Joslyn Art Museum, in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, from February 10 through June 3, 2012. Showcasing over 100 pieces of fine art, statues, jewelery, and beautifully decorated coffins, this exhibition explores the religious beliefs of ancient Egyptians, detailing how royalty and commoner were united in a reverence for the afterlife.

A n c i e n t P l a n e t

the USA


Spotlight . . . Six Great Websi The Institute for Field Research (IFR) is perhaps the best online resource for aspiring students of archaeology to gain hands-on experience in the discipline. The field schools which the IFR presents are not simply training excavations, but are instead part of actual research projects. Each field school is directed by leading scholars in the field and provides participants with at least 225 instructional hours. The IFR is a truly global program both in scope and breadth. It allows students to choose from a broad range of locations, time periods and theoretical perspectives covering the full gamut of the archaeological experience. Link: http://www.ifrglobal.org/

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Archaeologycourses.org was created by Doug RocksMacqueen and Paolo Ciuchini to serve as a resource for prospective students to find the archaeology program/ degree that best meets their needs. The website presents comprehensive list of all institutions where you can study archaeology at an academic level. This means that it includes not only archaeology schools/departments, but also schools/departments such as history, art history, classics, anthropology, etc. that are partly staffed by archaeologists who teach, conduct research, run field schools and so on. Link: http://www.archaeologycourses.org/

The Perseus Digital Library is maintained by Gregory R. Crane of Tufts University and showcases collections and services that cover the history, literature and culture of the Graeco-Roman world. This is an invaluable resource for classical historians and archaeologists alike. Link: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/

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sites

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Earthwatch is an international non-profit organization which recruits volunteers to assist scientists in the field as research assistants in a diverse range of projects ranging from archaeological excavations to protecting threatened species and fragile habitats. Earthwatch has recruited over 93,000 volunteers since 1971, who between them have contributed more than 11 million hours of their time to frontline environmental and other research projects all over the world.

j o u r n a l

Link: http://www.earthwatch.org/

Then Dig is hosted by the Archaeological Research Facility at the University of California, Berkeley and is a group blog that centers on the archaeological short-form. Conceived after a popular blog carnival leading up to the Blogging Archaeology session at the 76th meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Then Dig brings the best of archaeological blogging together in one place. Link: http://arf.berkeley.edu/then-dig/

Dienekes’ Anthropology blog is dedicated to human population genetics, physical anthropology, archaeology, and history, providing valuable summaries of, as well as links to, all the latest studies. Link: http://dienekes.blogspot.com/

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ancientplanet online journal

for evolving minds The AncientPlanet online journal features original research papers on a wide gamut of subjects relating to history, archaeology and science. The purpose of this publication is twofold. In the first instance, it is intended to provide a platform for both professional academics and students to present their research to the wider public. As such, we welcome contributions from individuals from all walks of life, whether undergraduates, postgraduates, academics, museum staff, as well as the general public. Second to this, but equally as important, it is hoped that this journal will promote a greater understanding of this ancient planet we call home. If you want to write an article for ancientplanet please contact the editor at: ioangeorgopoulos@gmail.com

Free to view at:

http://ancientplanet.blogspot.com/

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AncientPlanet Online Journal Vol.1  

Online journal presenting original research articles on history, archaeology and science

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