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ONLINE JOURNAL

H istor y • Arc hae o l o g y • Sc ie nce VOL. 04 • FEBRUARY • 2013

IN THIS ISSUE • A Prehistory Of Belief • Human Sacrifice In Ancient Egypt • Unmasking Ancient Colour : Colour And The Classical Theatre Mask • Kalyāna Copper Plates Of Śilāhāra King Chittarāja (1019 CE) • Anomalies In The Social Norm: A Description Of Battle Graves And Execution Graves In The British Archaeological Record • Exploring Pastoral-Nomadic Origins And Population History Of The Xiongnu Confederacy Of Iron Age Mongolia ... and more

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AncientPlanet Online Journal — VOLUME 04 — February 2013 WEBSITE http://ancientplanet.blogspot.com/

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A Prehistory of Belief

EDITOR/PUBLISHER Ioannis Georgopoulos email: ioangeorgopoulos@gmail.com

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. © 2013 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. Front Cover: Relief at the Aṃbaranātha Śiva Temple. Photgraph courtesy of Rupali Mokashi. ANCIENTPLANET™ PATRAS, ACHAIA EΛΛΑΣ | GREECE ISSN: 2241-5157

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contents

NOTICE

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Numismatic Iconography in Classical Greece

112 Anomalies in the Social Norm


Human Sacrifice in Ancient Egypt

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Unmuddling Ancient Choices

120 Symbols of Mortality

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The Sacred Image of the Palladium

Unmasking Ancient Colour

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Exploring PastoralNomadic Origins and Population History of the Xiongnu Confederacy of Iron Age Mongolia

100 Kalyāṇa Copper

136 Dinosaurs on Ice

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Plates of Śilāhāra King Chittarāja

150 The Minerva Cultural Association

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Mike Williams, PhD Archaeologist interested on prehistoric belief and shamanism. He is the author of Prehistoric Belief: Shamans, Trance and the Afterlife, an exploration of shamanism and religious belief in the past.

Ryan W. Schmidt, PhD Anthropologist interested in human variation, population genetics, and ancient DNA studies. Ryan is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, and am studying Japanese population history through the analysis of ancient DNA.

Andrea Sinclair, MA Classical scholar specializing on the interconnections and iconographic issues for the Egyptian, Aegean and Near Eastern Bronze Age.

Shashikant Dhopate, Senior Numismatist and Epigraphist (right) and Rupali Mokashi, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of History, RKT College (Permanently Affiliated to the University of Mumbai (left).

Lisa Swart, Ph.D Egyptologist specializing in the Egyptian Third Intermediate Period, Egyptian art and iconography, funerary customs and theology

Maria Correas-Amador, MA Recently completed her PhD in Archaeology at Durham University. Maria is passionate about mud, languages and travelling.

Cristiana Margherita , PhD Archaeologist specializing in Medieval burials in Italy and co-founder of the Cultural Association Minerva.

Jesse Obert, BA Classical Archaeologist specializing in Warfare in Antiquity and currently sitting for an MA in Ancient History.

Amy Talbot, BA Archaeologist interested in Palaeopathology, Biblical Archaeology and Gender Studies.

Lorraine Evans, MA Research Fellow at the IIPSGP. and author of the best-selling book ‘Kingdom of the Ark’, together with ‘Warrior Women of Northern Europe’ and ‘Murder at Medinet Habu - A Heritage Tour Guide’, the first in her mini-heritage tour series.

Eva Alex. Statherou, Graduate in Humanities and Arts in Greek Culture and Civilization interested in Myth, Cult and Analysis.

Tristan Stock, is a 15-year-old high school student who has been studying palaeontology for more than 5 years. Tristan spends all of his spare time exploring prehistoric life on Earth and intends to major in palaeontology in college.

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On behalf of the AncientPlanet team Ioannis Georgopoulos Editor/Publisher

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methods in ancient Egypt. From there we travel to Mongolia with American anthropologist Dr. Ryan Schmidt who shares with us his insights into the origins and population history of the Xiongnu confederacy of Iron Age Mongolia. Staying in Asia, our next article by Mr. Shashikant Dhopate and Dr. Rupali Mokashi discusses a recently discovered set of copper plates, recovered fortuitously by local authorities. which illuminate hitherto unknown aspects of life in eleventh century India. The next two articles deal with the burial customs and practices from Medieval Britain and Scotland. The first of these, by Amy Talbot, introduces the subject of battle graves and execution graves in Anglo-Saxon England. This is followed by a foray into the field of graveyard archaeology by PhD candidate Lorraine Evans, who examines the various symbols and imagery engraved on the memorials found in late medieval and early historical cemeteries of Scotland. We then journey to the earth’s distant past with an article on the dinosaurs of Alaska and Antarctica by Tristan Stock, a talented young man from the USA with an unbridled passion for palaeontology. Finally, Drs. Cristiana Margherita and Tommaso Saccone introduce the work of the Minerva Cultural Foundation, established in 2010, which aims to promote, preserve and disseminate the cultural heritage of Italy online. The last few pages provide information regarding several field schools aimed at aspiring archaeologists.

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elcome to Volume 04 of the AncientPlanet Online Journal. In this issue we present twelve feature articles dealing with various aspects of life in the ancient world. As can be seen from our list of contributors on the left, we also have the pleasure of welcoming several new members to the AncientPlanet team. Our first article, by British archaeologist Dr. Mike Williams, delves into the subject of religious belief in prehistoric times. Exactly how did our early ancestors see the world around them and why did they contrive the idea of an afterlife? In this fascinating article, Dr. Williams explains how concepts of death, the afterlife, and even agriculture arose simply from what people imagined to be true. Next our resident Egyptologist, Dr. Lisa Swart, examines the evidence for human sacrifice in ancient Egypt. Disputed by some scholars, the evidence for human sacrifice in Egypt, as Dr. Swart says, is not only undeniable but was in fact practiced on two levels - viz., the killing of servants and that of ritualized sacrifice proper. We are then transported to ancient Greece and Rome by Eva Statherou who introduces us to the sacred cult of the Palladium, a divine effigy cast down from the heavens that was used by the Trojans, Greeks and Romans as divine justification of political power. This is followed by two articles from our resident classicists, Andrea Sinclair, who explains the importance of colour in ancient GraecoRoman theatrical masks, and Jesse Obert, who introduces the subject of iconography on the coinage of classical Greece. Our next article, by PhD candidate Maria CorreasAmador, takes us back to Egypt to explore how modern Egyptian mud-brick houses can shed light on housing construction

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A model of the face of an adult female Homo erectus, one of the first truly human ancestors of modern man, on display in the Hall of Human Origins in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Credit Wiki Commons


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A Prehistory of Belief By Mike Williams, PhD.

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esearch into the human mind shows that much spiritual experience, especially that induced through trance, is common to all people at all times. This provides a new way of exploring

what prehistoric people may have thought about their world and how they formulated what we might recognise as religious belief. Examining images created by Palaeolithic artists, shapeshifting practices of Mesolithic hunters, the conception of the afterlife within Bronze Age communities, and why Iron Age people slaughtered some of their own in gruesome bogside executions, a new past reveals itself in which peoples’ beliefs come to the fore. Using ethnographic evidence from historical shamans, the article shows how concepts of death, the afterlife, and even agriculture arose because of what people believed.

the Middle East, China, or even Britain. The people were Homo erectus, an early form of human who were the first to leave their homeland of Africa and to strike out into the far reaches of the world (Rightmire 1993). One advantage they had over earlier species was control of fire. Dating the first use of fire is fraught with difficulty and archaeologists cite different evidence to support a range from 1.5 million years-ago to 200,000 yearsago, but it seems certain that H. erectus This scene comes from the Cave of Hearths was the first to build a fire and cook food in South Africa, around 500,000 years-ago, upon it (James 1989). Cooking food enabled but could have just as easily occurred in H. erectus to absorb more nutrients from A group sit around a fire, some roasting meat in the curling flames, others knapping flint with an incessant tap-tap. Although not speaking words, people communicate with sound and gesture. When the fire lights the face of one, it is powerful and dark; eyebrow ridges, receding forehead, and pronounced jaw revealing that, although resembling and acting just like humans, they are different; not yet “us�.

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General view of Blombos site, South Africa. Credit Wiki Commons.


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Artistic depiction of phosphenes. Credit: Wiki Commons.

their diet and, over time, this led to the Those with a particular affinity for trance likely lived longer and had easier births. The development of the brain. genes of these individuals became dominant Prolonged staring into flames would have and passed to their descendants. As H. been a regular occurrence for H. erectus and erectus gave rise to other species of human, this may have induced trance (Winkleman these genes replicated, all the way down to 1986). Trance is something all higher-order our species, Homo sapiens. We evolved with mammals can achieve, mainly through eating the capacity and even the need for trance. hallucinogenic plants (Siegel and Jarvik 1975). H. erectus may have done similar but As the brain developed, changes allowed what is more certain is that sitting around a better memory retention, meaning that H. fire likely led to and possibly even increased sapiens began to remember their experience of trance. The dormant posture of those trance activity. in trance is not unlike that of the dead Although H. erectus could enter trance, their and people probably made a connection brains had not yet developed the memory between the two. Unlike the dead, however, function to remember the experience those in trance could return and relate what afterwards (Mithen 1996: 65-78). To them, they had experienced. People may have trance was probably something that deduced that the dead went somewhere instinctively felt good. Moreover, they were similar but that they do not return. Over right: regular access to trance helps problem time, these rudimentary musings may have solving, develops thought, and aids the coalesced into spiritual belief in an afterlife. immune system (McClenon 2002: 47-52). It is striking that, of all the modern human 9


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Artefacts found at Blombos Cave, including a small piece of ochre carved with hashed lines. Credit: Chris Henshilwood, Wiki Commons.

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behaviours to emerge with H. sapiens, Palaeolithic imagery reveals it, although burial and provisioning for the afterlife not until people migrated out of Africa and entered Europe some 35,000 years-ago. In was among the first (Williams 2010: 23-6). southern regions, people squeezed into Upon entering trance, people report clefts in the ground and followed sinuous seeing shapes in the darkness, known as tunnels until they reached enormous phosphenes (Oster 1970). One such shape caverns. It is even possible that the incentive comprises hashed lines and, at Blombos to enter the caves came from the experience Cave in South Africa, people at around of trance. After seeing phosphenes, people 70,000 years-ago carved a small piece of in trance report the images coalesce to form ochre with exactly this image (Henshilwood a tunnel. By following its route, they are et al. 2002). It was a means of externalising eventually able to step out into an otherwhat they saw in their mind’s eye; showing world. The similarity to the underground others what they experienced in trance. It caves would have been striking and perhaps also demonstrates the importance people this is why, in a breath-taking explosion of placed on the practice since this was among creativity, people painted the walls of the the first pictorial representations ever caverns with their trance visions of this otherworld (Clottes 2008). Herds of horses, created. mammoths, and deer swirl in a dizzying There is a lot more to trance than merely mass of flesh and fur. These animals seem seeing phosphenes and, once again, to cover every available space and it is 10


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Copy of a palaeolithic painting from the Lascaux Cave depicting reindeer, at the MusÊe d’Aquitaine, Bordeaux, France. Credit: Wiki Commons.

revealing that zoopsia, the hallucination of animals, is among the most common effects of trance (Siegel 1978: 311). Moreover, as if to emphasise that the art was, indeed, a vision of the otherworld, people painted phosphenes in among the animals, the shapes that they saw in trance. People painted some of the animals moving in and out of the wall, occasionally appearing and disappearing from a crack in the rock. These were not ordinary animals but spirits, able to cross the boundary between the worlds. People tried to follow and, putting their hands against the wall, blew paint over and around them, so that they appeared to reach behind the veil and touch the mysteries beyond. Pockets of noxious gas in the caves, together with the hallucinogenic quality of the paint (both causing trance), would have blurred the boundaries between this

world and the other until the spirits broke free from the walls and people stood at the centre of an otherworldly maelstrom (LewisWilliams 2002: 204-27). It must have been overwhelming, perhaps even provoking what we would recognise as religious awe. People did not just paint prey species in the caves. There was also the occasional predator: a bear or lion stalking the herds looking for a kill. Since people were themselves hunters, it is likely they sought to emulate, even befriend these predators. People wanted their spirits to be at their side in the hunt. Perhaps this is why people carved small figurines of predators, copious wear marks showing individuals carried them as touchstones of power (Dowson and Porr 2001). Moreover, if we are in any doubt as to the origin of these creatures, phosphenes scratched on the sides shows that they were 11


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Palaeolithic cave painting dubbed ‘Great god of Sefar’ from the Tassili Natural Park, Algeria. (redit: Wiki Commons.

of the otherworld: spirit animals.

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Occasionally, a model or a painting in the caves shows a hybrid creature, part animal and part human. The sensation of turning into an animal often occurs in trance and people were visually representing this phenomenon (Vitebsky 1995: 68-9). The hybrid images in the caves occur in the most inaccessible places, as if such shapeshifting was the most secret and sacred knowledge people held. Indeed, these techniques were so important that they survived the abandonment of the painted caves, and, as the Palaeolithic became the Mesolithic, people continued to shapeshift into animal form.

wrapping themselves in hides to complete the transformation (Conneller 2004). Whether used in dances or as disguise in the hunt, people probably felt more animal than human as they took the shape of their prey. At Lepenski Vir, on the Danube in Serbia, a fishing community carved boulders into hybrid human-fish forms. These represented the dead, buried between houses with their heads facing downstream. It was their role to take on the form of a fish and guide back the beluga migration each spring (Radovanović 1997). To emphasise the close connection between the dead and their piscine spirits, people even scattered fish teeth over graves, making the unseen real.

The importance of animal spirits may At Star Carr in England, people fashioned explain why people at Çatalhöyük in Turkey headdresses from deer skulls, cutting eye- decorated entire rooms with the skulls and holes through the mandible and possibly horns of aurochs, an extinct form of oversized 12


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Above: Aurochs found on the Fourneau-du-Diable (Devil’s Furnace) rock in Bourdeilles, Dordogne, France, dating to the Solutrean period (18,000 BP), housed in the National Museum of Prehistory in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac; Below: Auroch horns decorating room at Catalhoyuk , Konya-Turkey. Credits: Wiki Commons.

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View from Newgrange burial chamber. County Meath, Ireland. Credit: Jimmy Harris, Wiki Commons.


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Shapeshifting survived into the Neolithic and at ParĹŁa in Romania, a large structure contained a raised platform holding two human figurines, one with an ox head (Lazarovici et al. 1985: 34-42). It seems that reverence for aurochs had now transferred to their domesticated kin. Perhaps the ambiguity of cattle, moving from animal to human realms, gave them a liminal quality that people associated with journeying to the otherworld. In some British tombs, cattle even served as surrogate humans, buried in place of the dead (Ashbee, Smith and Evans 1979: 247). Again, people may have believed that the liminality of cattle reflected the liminality of the newly dead.

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cattle (Mellaart 1967: 77-130). These potential shrines provided a place people could show due reverence to this mighty beast. Wild aurochs roamed outside the settlement and, to supplement the shrines, people may have caught a few beasts to bring back to the village. Over time, the more docile of the captive creatures might have bred, slowly turning the wild aurochs of the plain into the tame cattle of the farmyard (Williams 2010: 100-101). Spiritual belief may have given the first impetus for agriculture. Triple spiral motif carved in the inner chamber of the prehistoric tomb at Newgrange, Ireland. Credit: Wiki Commons.

Some tombs faced solstice sunrises or sunsets, so that the rays of the sun entered the tomb and passed along the passageway to the chamber itself. At Newgrange in Ireland, the first rays of the winter solstice illuminate three spirals carved in the inner chamber, flaring them into life (LewisWilliams and Pearce 2005: 230-31). Maybe this was a portal for the dead to move onto the afterlife. Outside, the community may have chanted or drummed to help the passing, with some forecourts amplifying drumming to exactly the right frequency to From the burial practices of the time, such affect trance (Watson 2001). It was not only liminality lasted between the first and the dead who journeyed at these times. second burial stages. First, people left the land of the living, their remains left to People experienced similar at Stonehenge. decompose in tomb entrances, and second, Excavation in recent years has concluded they joined the ranks of the dead, when that people gathered at midwinter at nearby descendants collected defleshed bones Durrington Walls, where they feasted on pigs and moved them into the burial chamber and waited for the solstice (Parker Pearson itself. Like the Palaeolithic caves, entering 2012). On the day itself, people sailed a short the tomb reflected the sensation of passing way along a river before processing to the through the tunnel of trance. This may be stones. Owing to the copious burials there, why people carved phosphenes onto the excavators believe the circle may have been a sides of tomb walls, emphasising the journey place of the ancestors and, as at Newgrange, people watched as the last rays of the sun to the otherworld (Dronfield 1995). 15


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Rock carvings at Alta, Finnmark, Norway. Credit: Karl Brodowsky, Wiki Commons.


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A female Bronze Age mummy from Cladh Hallan, Scotland, made from different body parts. Credit: Mike Parker Pearson, University of Sheffield.

pierced the enclosure and brought light to and sea, as if wandering spirits picked up their transport on the way. Engravings of the dead. footprints point the way for any lost souls The river journey on the way to the stones may (Bradley 1999). have also referenced trance. Hearing running water is a common auditory hallucination In South Uist, off the west coast of Scotland, (Harner 1968: 28) and this may also be why, people mummified corpses, making at Alta, in the far north of Norway, Bronze composite identities from body parts of Age people chose a shoreline location to several individuals (Parker Pearson et al. carve myriad images, including numerous 2005). Perhaps people retained the mummies boats (Sveen 1996). In some of these boats to keep their spirits close. After the Bronze individuals drum, a technique still used in Age had given way to the Iron Age, people the region to initiate trance. Other images buried the mummies in the northern part of of boats, on bronze razors from southern their houses. This was where people slept; Scandinavia, carry a different but just as possibly dreaming of the ancestors whose potent cargo: hallucinogenic mushrooms remains lay beneath the floor. (Kaul 1998: 188-95). It seems that, for people of the time, boats were appropriate Other bodies from the Iron Age preserved transport to the otherworld. Perhaps this is naturally. In the peat bogs of northern Europe, why, at burial cairns overlooking the sea in anaerobic conditions arrest decomposition Norway, people carved boats between cairn so that features survive with startling realism 17


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Lindow Man. Credit: Einsamer Sch端tze, Wiki Commons.

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(van der Sanden 1996). Many of these bog bodies had distinguishing characteristics, through disability, having extra bones, or walking with a pronounced gait. These characteristics set these individuals apart and people may have viewed them as touched by the spirits (Green 2001: 157-60). Some bog bodies had taken drugs before they died while one had eaten mistletoe, a plant sacred to the Druids (Scaife 1986: 131). Most bodies show signs of good nourishment and hands betray a lack of manual work. Clearly, these people served their communities in other ways. Many of the characteristics of the bog bodies are also evident in Siberian shamans of more recent times. Liminal positions in society, prevalence for illness or disability, and use of drugs all denote shamans in Siberia. Moreover, many wear particular 18

items of clothing, such as a hat or cape, and these garments occur with bog bodies, often with no accompanying apparel. Some bog bodies carried animal fetishes, such as the fox fur armband worn by Lindow Man from England; Siberian shamans do the same. Other bodies had newly shaven hair, or else wore it in elaborate styles, matching the importance of hair to Siberian shamans as a source of spiritual power (Williams 2002: 101-103). The bog bodies may have been Iron Age equivalents to shamans. If so, then their deaths become more explainable. Prior to immersion in bogs, these individuals died in horrific and brutal executions (van der Sanden 1996: 154-65). For example, the executioners first bludgeoned Lindow Man, garrotted him until his face went blue, before finally slashing his throat, causing


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The entrance to Bull Rock Cave in Moravian Karst, Czech Republic. Credit: Wiki Commons.

the pressurised blood to erupt like a geyser. Other bodies met similar fates. Even after death, the violence did not cease with limbs hacked off, heads severed, and remains crushed beneath blocks of stone. Incredibly, the bodies show no sign of resistance; victims acquiesced in their treatment.

62). The similarity to the remains in Bull Rock Cave, and to the dismembered bog bodies of northern Europe, is striking except that, for these individuals, there would be no rebirth. The execution of the bog bodies seems to represent a striking performance of what they undertook when they journeyed to the otherworld in trance. From their preparation, dress, diet, and even the manner of death, all events matched aspects of usual spiritual practice. It must have been truly appalling to witness but perhaps this was the point. If these individuals were revealing the secrets of their profession then it was vital that people watching would remember. Such shocking events imprint themselves on the brain with astonishing clarity (Brown and Kulik 1977).

A similar ritual occurred at Bull Rock Cave in the Czech Republic (Poulik and Nekvasil 1969: 38-49). Inside the cave, dismembered remains of 40 individuals lay around a bronze cauldron. To understand the scene, we need to move forward 2,000 years to hear the tale a Siberian shaman told to a young Hungarian ethnographer. In his first journey to the otherworld, the spirits carried the shaman to a cave where they hacked him apart and threw him in a cauldron. After flensing the bones, the spirits remade the man, returning him to life in perfect form (Di贸szegi 1960: But what drove these people to die in this

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manner? The answer was rapidly approaching from the south: Roman invasion. As the Romans advanced, more died in the bogs. It was an act of defiance, literally preserving peoples’ spiritual practice in a watery grave. Romans incorporated rather than obliterated native beliefs but the decline had started. The rise of Christianity sounded the death knell and snuffed out indigenous spirituality in most of Europe. But the intervening period has not altered our brains from when the first inhabitants of Europe painted their caves some 35,000 years ago. The ability to access alternative realities through trance is hard-wired into each of us; an ability that symbolically connects us to our prehistoric forbears and the beliefs they held. *** Further Reading Ashbee, P., I. Smith and J. Evans. 1979. Excavation of Three Long Barrows near Avebury, Wiltshire. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 45: 207-300. Bradley, R. 1999. Dead soles. In Gustafsson, A. and H. Karlsson (eds.) Glyfer och Arkeologiska Rum – en Vänbok till Jarl Nordbladh. Gotarc: 661-6.

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Brown, R. and J. Kulik. 1977. Flashbulb Memories. Cognition 5: 73-99.

Henshilwood, C., F. d’Errico, R. Yates et al. 2002. Emergence of Modern Human Behavior: Middle Stone Age Engravings from South Africa. Science: 295: 1278-80. James, S. 1989. Hominid Use of Fire in the Lower and Middle Pleistocene: A Review of the Evidence. Current Anthropology 30 (1): 1–26. Kaul, F. 1998. Ships on Bronzes: A Study in Bronze Age Religion and Iconography. National Museum Copenhagen. Lazarovici, G., Z. Kalmar, F. Draşoveanu and A. Luca. 1985. Complexul Neolitic de la Parţa. Banatica 1985: 7-71. Lewis-Williams, D. 2002. The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art. Thames and Hudson. Lewis-Williams, D. and D. Pearce. 2005. Inside the Neolithic Mind: Consciousness, Cosmos and the Realm of the Gods. Thames & Hudson. McClenon, J. 2002. Wondrous Healing: Shamanism, Human Evolution, and the Origin of Religion. Northern Illinois University Press. Mellaart, J. 1967. Çatal Hüyük: A Neolithic Town in Anatolia. Thames & Hudson. Mithen, S. 1996. The Prehistory of the Mind: A Search for the Origins of Art, Religion and Science. Thames and Hudson. Oster, G. 1970. Phosphenes. Scientific American 222: 83-7.

Clottes, J. 2008. Cave Art. Phaidon.

Parker Pearson, M. 2012. Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery. Simon & Schuster.

Conneller, C. 2004. Becoming Deer. Corporeal Transformations at Star Carr. Archaeological Dialogues 11: 37-56.

Parker Pearson, M., A. Chamberlain, O. Craig et al. 2005. Evidence for Mummification in Bronze Age Britain. Antiquity 79: 529-46.

Diószegi, V. 1960. Tracing Shamans in Siberia. Anthropological Publications.

Poulik, J. and J. Nekvasil. 1969. Hallstatt a Býči Skála. Akadamie Věd Archeologický Ústav.

Dowson, T. and M. Porr. 2001. Special objects – special creatures: shamanistic imagery and the Aurignacian art of south-west Germany. In Price, N. (ed.) The Archaeology of Shamanism. Routledge: 165-77.

Radovanović, I. 1997. The Lepenski Vir culture: a contribution to its ideological aspects. In Antidoron Dragoslavo Srejović: Completis LXV Annis ab Amicis Collegis Discipulis Oblatum. University of Belgrade: 85-93.

Dronfield, J. 1995. Migraine, Light and Hallucinogens: the Neurocognitive Basis of Irish Megalithic Art. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 14: 261-75.

Rightmire, P. 1993. The Evolution of Homo Erectus: Comparative Anatomical Studies of an Extinct Human Species. Cambridge University Press.

Green, M. 2001. Dying for the Gods: Human Sacrifice in Iron Age and Roman Europe. Tempus. 20

Harner, M. 1968. The Sound of Rushing Water. Natural History 77: 28-33 and 60-1.

Scaife, R. 1986. Pollen in human palaeofaeces; and a preliminary investigation of the stomach and gut contents of Lindow Man. In Stead, I., J. Bourke and


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D. Brothwell (eds.) Lindow Man – The Body in the Bog. British Museum: 126-35. Siegel, R. 1978. Cocaine Hallucinations. American Journal of Psychiatry 135: 309-14. Siegel, R. and M. Jarvik. 1975. Drug-induced hallucinations in animals and man. In Siegel, R. and L. West (eds.) Hallucinations: Behaviour, Experience and Theory. John Wiley: 81-161.

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Sveen, A. 1996. Rock Carvings, Jieprialuokta Hjemmeluft, Alta. Trykkforum Finnmark. van der Sanden, W. 1996. Through Nature to Eternity: The Bog Bodies of Northwest Europe. Batavian Lion.

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Vitebsky, P. 1995. The Shaman. Duncan Baird. Watson, A. 2001. The sounds of transformation: acoustics, monuments and ritual in the British Neolithic. In Price, N. (ed.) The Archaeology of Shamanism. Routledge: 178-92. Williams, M. 2002. Tales from the dead: remembering the bog bodies in the Iron Age of north-western Europe. In Williams, H. (ed.) Archaeologies of Remembrance: Death and Memory in Past Societies. Kulwer. Williams, M. 2010. Prehistoric Belief: Shamans, Trance and the Afterlife. The History Press. Winkelman, M. 1986. Trance States: A Theoretical Model and Cross-Cultural Analysis. Ethos 14: 174203. ***

Carved boulder depicting a hybrid human-fish from Lepenski Vir in Serbia. Credit: Wiki Commons. 21


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Pyramid and Sphinx, Giza. Credit: Codadilupo78 via Wiki Commons.


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HUMAN SACRIFICE IN ANCIENT EGYPT By Dr. Lisa Swart

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he ritual sacrifice of human beings has been practiced regularly throughout history in various forms and for various reasons. Mention of the words “human sacrifice” for many people brings to mind gruesome scenes of Aztec priests ripping out the still-beating hearts of their unwilling victims in a debauched sadistic ritual replayed continually on television documentaries world wide. As such, human sacrifice is not typically associated with Ancient Egypt and is still considered a controversial topic despite evidence to the contrary. It was long believed that the Egyptians were too civilized to perform this type of barbarous deed, an excellent example of the transmission of western moral superiority onto the Ancient Egyptians. In fact, the sacrifice of humans is attested in two primary forms in Ancient Egypt. The first being the practice of killing servants (retainer sacrifice) during the formative years of the Egyptian state, and ritualized sacrifice within a magico-religious context that appeared in later periods at the peak of Egyptian civilization.

period (c. 3500 – 3200 BCE), where several dismembered bodies have been excavated. This burial custom had not previously been demonstrated in earlier times. In a few cemeteries, it has been noted that parts of the bodies were buried or reburied separately, and many bodies were decapitated. In one tomb, the skulls and longer bones were arranged along the perimeter of the tomb, which has been interpreted by some scholars as the development of retainer sacrifice. By the reign of King Aha, the first king of the First Dynasty, numerous retainers were killed an extravagant display of conspicuous consumption, demonstrating the solidification of central authority of the new Egyptian civilization.

Experiments in Absolute Power: Retainer Sacrifice in the First Dynasty

The royal cemetery of Umm el-Qa’ab contains the impressive mud brick tomb complexes of the kings of the First Dynasty (c. 2950 – 2775 BCE). Located in the desert, west of the ancient city of Abydos, Umm el-Qa’ab, was in use as an exclusively royal cemetery The earliest occurrences of sacrifice of from earliest times. According to the custom retainers are attested archaeologically of the time, and for reasons unknown, each from most prominently in the Naqada II First Dynasty ruler built a corresponding 23


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The name “Umm el-Qa’ab,” literally translated means “Mother of Pots,” due to astounding amount of ceramic pots littering the site. Flinders Petrie first excavated here from 1899-1903, and again in 1922.


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The occurrence of these graves increases, peaks, and then decreases over the course of the First Dynasty. 34 subsidiary burials accompanied the tomb of Aha, and his funerary enclosure in northern Abydos contained 6 additional burials. Aha’s successor, Djer noticeably increased the amount of burials to 326 around his tomb, and added 269 subsidiary graves to his funerary enclosure in northern Abydos. Beginning with the burial of following ruler, Djet, there is a gradual decrease in the number of secondary burials. Djet’s tomb was surrounded by 174 subsidiary burials, and his funerary enclosure contained 154. Queen Merytneith, who probably acted as a regent to her son Den, was interred with 41 subsidiary burials around her tomb, and a further 80 graves around her enclosure. This steady reduction of subsidiary tombs is demonstrated by the 121 subsidiary burials surrounding Den’s tomb, 63 around Anedjib’s tomb, 69 at Semerkhet’s tomb, and 26 at Qa’a’s tomb. No subsidiary graves occur

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The most recent excavations undertaken by German and American missions uncovered a vast number of small subterranean graves surrounding both the tombs of the First Dynasty kings in Umm el-Qa’ab and their enclosures in north Abydos. The majority of these subsidiary tombs contain the skeletal remains of one individual interred in a wooden box. The subsidiary burials border the royal tombs and enclosures, and are laid out in regular patterns. The subsidiary graves surrounding the tomb of King Aha were laid out in parallel rows of three, facing the east.

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royal mortuary enclosure 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles) north of the royal cemetery, closer to habitation. Each enclosure may have been related to the specific king’s mortuary cult.

Map of the Umm el Qa’ab cemetery.

in Second Dynasty tombs and enclosures, however, three skeletons were found lying near Khasekhemwy’s burial chamber, which may be attributed to sacrifice (O’Connor, 2009:173). As is often the case with ancient civilizations, there are more questions than answers with each new discovery. Were the occupants killed, i.e., sacrificed or did they commit suicide? Conversely, did they die natural deaths and were buried at varying intervals of time around the mortuary complexes of their monarch? Archaeological evidence strongly supports the argument for sacrifice, the subsidiary graves in both Aha and Djer’s enclosures were roofed at the same time. The wooden roofs over the individual graves were covered by a compacted layer of mud plaster laid down concurrently over all the graves, and parallel to the construction of the enclosure. The 69 subsidiary burials surrounding Semerkhet’s 25


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Ivory label of King Den. The king is depicted in the customary smiting pose; here he is striking an Asian dignitary. The inscription reads “first time of striking the easterners.� This label may indicate conflict with the Levant.

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tomb were constructed directly around the burial chamber, and were covered by the same roofing structure. Moreover, the necropolis at Umm el-Qaab and the northern Abydos enclosures exhibited very strict social hierarchy in that only royalty were permitted burial. Thus, making the case for ritualized group sacrifice and simultaneous burial with the royal funeral very likely. Additional evidence for retainer sacrifice can be found in the early Dynastic cemetery at Abu Roash, Saqqara, and Tarkhan, indicating the possibility that retainer sacrifice 26

was not just a royal prerogative. At Abu Roash, in the 1913-1914 season, the French archaeologist, Pierre Montet excavated at least two mastabas (tombs I and VII) that were surrounded by rows of subsidiary graves dating to the time of Den. Tomb VII contained eight subsidiary tombs. The seven subsidiary tombs of Tomb I, though badly looted, still contained skeletal remains and remnants of wooden coffins. Fortunately, one grave contained a well-preserved coffin, not only with human remains, but also the bones of unspecified animals. Although the superstructures of these mastaba tombs no


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In Semerkhet’s tomb at Umm el Qa’ab, analysis of the skeletal remains reveals that several retainers were dwarfs. During the Old Kingdom, dwarves were actively involved in the administration of the kingdom. Although, the six burials surround Aha’s enclosure was heavily plundered, excavators found valuable funerary articles of ivory, lapis lazuli, and carnelian, indicating that the individuals buried there were of a very high social standing.

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Who was sacrificed and why were they sacrificed? Are more enduring questions that have arisen since the discovery of the subsidiary tombs. Forensic analysis of the skeletal remains from the tombs around Aha’s enclosure provides further evidence that these individuals were killed simultaneously. The occupants were healthy males, between twenty and twenty-five years of age, and in the prime of their lives. In a re-examination of the tomb occupants’ teeth, it appears that these young men died of strangulation (van Dijk, 2007:5). Most of the burials around Djer’s enclosure were women.

many of the occupants were skilled artisans who were more than likely working for the monarch at the time of his or her death.

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The Transference of Social Hierarchy in the Afterlife

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longer exist, it is possible to discern that they are much smaller than the royal mortuary tombs in Abydos. It is possible that these tombs belonged to members of the ruling elite, the relatives of the reigning monarch.

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In many ancient civilizations, the practice of sacrificing individuals at the burials of highranking persons is a custom that sought to transfer the social hierarchy that existed on earth in the afterlife. For the First Dynasty rulers, it appears that the occupants of the subsidiary tombs were slain in order to continue to provide goods and services Despite having being badly plundered in to their deceased monarch in the afterlife. antiquity, the subsidiary tombs have yielded Thus, these attendants become part of the many clues concerning their function within funerary equipment included in the burial. the funerary complexes. It appears that the occupants of the subsidiary burials around The discovery of the burials of ten donkeys, at the enclosures provided basic services to the least seven lions, and fourteen full-size boats deceased rulers, while the burials around around the funerary complex of Aha, gives the tomb at Umm el Qa’ab contain higher credence to this hypothesis. Consequently, status occupants. The enclosure subsidiary the needs for supply and transportation of graves have generated an unexpected the dead King Aha were provided for his use number of copper tools, and it appears that in the afterlife. the occupants were interred with the tools of their trade, such as adzes, chisels, knives, An Extravagant Display of Coercive needles, and axes. Moreover, following Power? the reign of Aha, a number of small stelae inscribed with the names and occupations What is the significance of retainer sacrifice of the deceased individuals have been in Egypt? Wilkinson (2000: 32) maintains that unearthed from the subsidiary graves around these great tombs with their complementary Djer, Djet and Merytneith’s enclosures. Thus, enclosures and subsidiary tombs represent 27


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Tomb of Den, Abydos, Um el-Qaab. Credit: Wiki Commons.

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a transitional period in Egyptian funerary beliefs. King Narmer of Dynasty O(c. 3150 3100) is credited with the final unification of the predynastic kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt, and ushering in the Dynastic period of the pharaohs. His successor, King Aha firmly stamped his authority as an absolute ruler over Egypt by having his servants sacrificed and buried alongside his tomb in an extravagant demonstration of royal power. Aha also set the precedent for the construction of a new style of funerary architecture, and provision for the afterlife. Not to be outdone, his actions were promptly emulated by his successors, each working to stamp their own authority on the new Egyptian realm.

formation of early dynastic Egypt. These monarchs now had the ability to command the life and death of their loyal retainers to serve them further in the afterlife. By embarking on grand architectural projects, and initiating new forms of artistic and iconographic conventions, the First Dynasty kings reformulated and strengthened their power. The royal First Dynasty tombs symbolized the new political order, with a state religion headed by a king to legitimize this order. In doing so, they distinguished themselves from the previous dynasts of Egypt by effectively eradicating traces of Predynastic cultural traditions.

Retainer sacrifice disappeared from the Within the greater scheme of monarchial archaeological record by the Second power, the subsidiary burials signify the Dynasty, and it seems that the First Dynasty cementation of absolute royal power in the represents a transitional period in terms of

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The fortress of Mirgissa. It was located on the west side of the Nile, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of Buhen and built to keep the Egyptians in control of the Second Cataract of the Nile, as it was an important transit route for trade goods. Credit: Wiki Commons.

royal power and authority, and the royal necropolis was relocated to Saqqara. After this period, small-scale wooden models of workers involved in a number of industries were included in the tombs of the monarchy and elites. Van Dijk (2007:152) avers that with the development of a strong centralized authority and the growing demand for luxury goods and services, the ruling elite may have contemplated more economically sustainable options to serve their departed rulers. It is logical to assume that the deaths of these skilled courtiers and craftsmen would deprive the succeeding monarchy and elite of vital expertise and skills. Taking this inference one step further, occupations were family affairs in ancient Egypt and were passed down from father to son; thus, retainer sacrifice could potentially deplete valuable skill bases, and endanger the economy.

Execration, State-Sanctioned Killing, and the Mirgissa Deposit It was believed until very recently that the Predynastic Period and First Dynasty offered the only evidence of human sacrifice, which many scholars attributed to the expansion of royal power in the formative stage of the Egyptian civilization. However, the discovery of a decapitated disarticulated skeleton lying adjacent to a skull in a red bowl at the Middle Kingdom fort (c. 2100 BCE) in Mirgissa provided indisputable evidence for the continuation of human sacrifice in Egypt. The intact assemblage contained the skeleton of an executed man; his body was badly mutilated and he was buried in a shallow pit. Numerous broken red clay vessels, several limestone and clay figurines of bound prisoners, and associated materials were included in the burial. It is believed that this deposit reveals the existence of human 29


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Execration texts aimed at destroying destructive elements and enemies were inscribed on pots, and then deliberately smashed to ensure the efficacy of the spells. Egyptian Museum, Berlin Inv. no. P. 14.517. Credit: Wiki Commons.

sacrifice within the parameters of the well- locked in a box, burned and saturated in known Egyptian rites of “Breaking of the Red urine, before being buried (often upside down) (Muhlestein, 2008: 2) Pots� and the execration ritual.

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The Egyptians regularly practiced a ritual involving the magical removal of their enemies called Execration Rituals. This often involved writing texts with curses on red pots and deliberately breaking them in the belief that this would increase their efficacy. The colour red was believed to be a very potent symbol in Egyptian magic. Clay, stone or wax figurines depicting bound prisoners, often broken, were included in these rites, and the pots and figurines were buried near areas that needed protection. Hence, these deposits are frequently found near military forts along the outlying frontiers of Egypt. Ritual objects could also be stomped on, stabbed, cut, speared, burned, spat on, 30

The finds at Mirgissa comprised of four burials, or deposits, one of which included the human remains. The other three contained 197 broken red pots, 346 assorted clay figures, three limestone prisoner figures, and the single head of a fourth figure. The human skull was found resting upside down on one half of a broken ceramic pot. About the skull were traces of beeswax dyed with red ochre. A flint blade, the traditional ceremonial knife used for ritual slaughter was found five centimetres from the skull. The mutilated skeleton was found nearby. It can be assumed that this ritual provided a magical safeguard for the inhabitants of the


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An execration figure made from clay and inscribed. It was believed that figurines were subsititued in effigy for human sacrifice. Brussels, Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire E.7491. Credit: Wiki Commons.

frontier fort against their Nubian enemies on the border, and the single head may allude to the sacrificed skull formed part of the ritual. Forensic analysis points to a Nubian origin of the skull and skeleton. It cannot be ascertained whether the individual was simply chosen at random with the human sacrifice being the primary objective of the ritual, or, whether, the deposit represents the religious significance of a ritualized execution that would have taken place on the basis of some military or legal precedent. It is also likely that the victim could have been a Nubian criminal or rebel leader whose execution took on greater cosmic meaning by the application of the execration rituals to his execution.

yielded more evidence for human sacrifice. Archaeologists uncovered two execration pits dating to the Eighteenth Dynasty (c. 1550 – 1295 BCE). The smaller pit, Locus 1055 contained three human skulls and human finger bones. Further examination of the skulls revealed that one skull belonged to a mature male adult, and the remaining two were young adolescent males. One skull displayed a prominent hole on the right side above the ear, and indication of a hard blow that have damaged his temple. The finger bones belonged to three right hands, and are believed to correspond to the owners of the skulls. The cutting off of the hands of enemies was a common practice in Egypt, and very often, Egyptian soldiers were rewarded for the amount of hands they brought back with them following a conflict. The Avaris Deposit The second pit, Locus 1016 contained two The Mirgissa Deposit is not the only one of human skeletons and a large quantity of its kind. In 1997, the Austrian Archaeological broken clay pots. Institute in Egypt’s excavations at Avaris (Tel el Dab’a) in the delta region of northern Egypt These rituals typically substituted a figurine 31


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A severed right hand discovered in front of a Hyksos palace at Avaris (Tell el-Daba). Credit: Axel Krause.

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in effigy for a human sacrifice, which is why it was believed that human sacrifice was not practiced when a symbolic form was used instead. Here, the inclusion of humans in these rituals corroborates with and intensifies the efficacy rituals.

Conclusion

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From the beginning of the Egyptian state and at the peak of Egyptian civilization, there is convincing evidence for the sacrifice of humans. These findings correlate to many cultures that practiced human sacrifice, with the centralization ofabsolute royal power, the ultimate authority was the divine king upon whose death retainers were offered as sacrifices. Later, at peak periods of Egyptian history, execration rites were utilized to rid Egypt of evil and dangerous beings, and 32

the Mirgissa and Avaris deposits provide compelling evidence for the practice of state-sanctioned human sacrifice in a highly ritualized setting in Ancient Egypt. *** Further Reading Muhlestein, K. “Royal Executions: Evidence Bearing on the Subject of Sanctioned Killing in the Middle Kingdom.” Journal of the Economic and
Social History of the Orient 51 (2008) 181-208. Muhlestein, Kerry. (2008). Execration Ritual. UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, 1(1). nelc_uee_7901. Retrieved from: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/ item/3f6268zf O’Connor, D. 2009. Abydos: Egypt’s First Pharaohs and the Cult of Osiris. Thames & Hudson: London. Penn Museum, “Archaeologists Discover Evidence that Courtiers Were Sacrificed to Accompany Early Egyptian Kings into the Afterlife.” 24 March 2004.


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<http://www.penn.museum/press-releases/727archaeologists-discover-evidence-that-courtierswere-sacrificed-to-accompany-early-egyptiankings-into-the-afterlife.html> Ritner, R. 1993. The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice. Oriental Institute of University of Chicago: Chicago.

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Van Dijk, J. “Retainer Sacrifice in Egypt and in Nubia.” In Jan N. Bremmer (ed.), The Strange World of Human Sacrifice. – Studies in the History and Anthropology of Religion, Vol. 1 (Leuven, Peeters, 2007), 135–155.

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Wilkinson, A. H. “What a King Is This: Narmer and the Concept of the Ruler.” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 86 (2000), pp. 23-32. Wilkinson, A. H. 1999. Early Dynastic Egypt. Routledge: London.

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Carved relief inside the main temple of Ramesses II showing showing bound Nubian prisoners,13th century BCE..

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Archaic Palladium statuette of the late 6th century BCE from Sparta, Greece in The Walters Organization.


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T he Sacre d I mage of the Palladium By Eva Alex. Statherou

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Remember to establish in the city

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which you shall build perpetual worship to the gods, and to honour them with safeguards, sacrifices and choirs. For, as long as these venerable gifts of the daughter of Zeus to your wife shall remain in your country your city shall for ever be impregnable. — Dion of Halicarnassus

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he Palladium, perhaps the most legendary sacred image among the miraculous cult idols of Greek antiquity, was both a unique talisman of divine power and an insuperable political weapon. Said to have fallen from the heavens, this mysterious statue was an indisputable symbol of divine authority over the land in which it stood and the most powerful cities of the Graeco-Roman world vied for its ownership. According to ancient sources, the Palladium was an image of Pallas Athena, given either to Dardanus’ wife Chryse as a wedding gift by the gods or sent to Ilus, Dardanus’ son, during Troy’s foundation as assurance that the new city would be divinely protected as long as the

idol remained untouched within its shrine. Ancient sources also refer to the incident of its theft by Odysseus and Diomedes before or during the sack of Troy since, as the seers Calchas and Helenus had prophesied, its removal from the sacred shrine was crucial for the Greeks’ victory over the Trojans. The Palladium, as one scholar says, “is the secret strength of Troy … or [rather] it is the secret weakness of Troy, the magical weak link that is mastered” [James M. Redfield, 2003]. After the fall of Troy the Palladium was transferred to the Greek city of Argos by Diomedes, though some accounts place it in Athens or Sparta. Yet other versions of the myth refer to the Palladium’s venerable 35


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Apulian red-figure oinochoe of ca. 360–350 BCE from Reggio di Calabria depicting Odysseus and Diomedes stealing the Palladium from Troy. Credit: Wiki Commons.

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removal by Aeneas, forced to abandon the beleaguered city, to Italy as a promising symbol of the continuity of the Trojan race. Later ancient scholars in fact reasoned that there must have been at least two palladia in the temple of Athena at Troy, either because the gods had given Chryse more than one statue or because the Trojans had fashioned duplicates in an effort to protect the original.

not a truly anthropomorphized figure at all, but was instead a phallus-shaped idol that represented the male attributes of the Virgin Goddess. This phallocentric theory certainly has some merit given that primitive idols often take the form of a phallic trunk or a single stone column on which the abstract shape of a face is etched, much like those seen in pottery depictions of Dionysian and other primitive ritual cults. This also explains the idol’s talismanic properties since the Palladium served as a kind of ‘conjuring totem’ whose original ritual function was to protect and legitimize a royal clan’s right to rule.

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Ancient depictions of the Palladium in both Greek and Roman art present a repeated and somewhat static portrayal of the goddess Athena holding a spear or javelin in her right hand and a shield in her left. However, the fact that common mortals were forbidden to gaze upon the statue raises questions Indeed, the Palladium did not lose its totemic about its true form. Robert Graves [1955], for power even after Aeneas had transferred example, believed that the Palladium was it to Italy where it served as a venerable 36


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Roman Lamp showing Aeneas fleeing Trow carrying his father on his shoulders, while dragging his little son Askanius by the hand. The Palladium (and probably goddess herself) is depicted near by him on the right, standing on its shrine. Credit: Wiki Commons.

cult symbol of the Trojan (i.e. Roman) supremacy over Magna Graecia. Like other “traditional phylacteries”, the Palladium was an object of rituals which were revealed to only a handful of select individuals, either hereditary priesthoods or the highest rank of political leadership [C. A. Faraone, 1988]. The foundation of the temple of Vesta and the rigorous preservation of the Sacred Fire by the virgin priestesses who were also entrusted with the safe-guarding of the sacred image of the Palladium maintained this totemic function insofar as the preservation of Roman dominion was concerned [F. Bennett, 1913]. It is further apparent that the patron hero-deity Aeneas

was little more than a ‘fictional requirement’ from the earlier saga [Tim Cornell, 1995], serving to complement the Palladium myth as a pre-shamanic or proto-shamanic resynthesizing element of the Palladium’s cult, whose early myth was greatly developed by later Roman Emperors to bolster their growing dominion over conquered lands. Of course, the early Roman policy of empire building and the reassurance of divine support derived from the possession of the original sacred image, thus fulfilling an old oracle about the global revival of Troy’s power as rightful inheritor, was not the sole purpose of the Palladium cult. It also 37


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Nike offers an egg entwined around a column, at the top of which the Trojan Palladium stands, to a Greek warrior. Marble bas relief, Roman copy of the late first century CE after a Greek original of the Hellenistic era, in the.Louvre Museum. Credit: Wiki Commons.

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possessed a moral dimension. It is said that during the sack of Troy the king’s daughter, Cassandra, had taken refuge inside the temple and was embracing the Palladium when was violently dragged away by Locrian Ajax to join the other captives. According to some accounts Ajax also raped Cassandra before the Palladium’s unflinching presence. In recompense for this transgression, often referred to as the ‘sin of Ajax’, the Locrians were obliged to send two maidens annually to the Trojan temple of Athena for more than a thousand years. The German classicist A. 38

Reinach [1916], in an attempt to reconcile the story of Ajax to a ritualistic framework, claimed that “the Athena of Ilium was the successor of the great Phrygian goddess who may have been worshipped at Troy under the name of Cassandra; that the Palladium [that was guarded in the temple] was the primitive statue of this goddess; that when Cassandra became a distinct personality it was necessary to chain her to the stone which had once symbolized the goddess herself... to explain the story of blood on the stone due to the generative


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Locrian Ajax raping Cassandra. Tondo of an Attic red-figure cup by the Kodros Painter, ca. 440430 BCE, in the Louvre Museum. Credit: Wiki Commons.

character of the original goddess”. This argument recalls a similar assertion for the supposed existence of a primeval deity named Iphigeneia, later associated with the cult images of Vrauronia Artemis in Athens and Orthia Artemis in Sparta. In any case, Ajax’s sacrilegious act cannot support the idea of a ‘sacred wedding’ simply because the consequence of this insolent behaviour was the cruel and humiliating punishment of the Locrians in historical times. Rather, the theme of the Ajax-Cassandra myth is one of ritual punishment. Ajax’s transgression was a direct insult against the sacred image itself, of which Cassandra was a supplicant,

and thus against the goddess herself [L. R. Farnell, 2004]. Certainly the most remarkable point which emerges from the different versions of the myth and its associated cult conventions is the fact that the image was treated as a living entity. It was, for all intents and purposes, the earthly manifestation of the goddess herself. Ancient references about the Palladium’s movement or of the blinding of unqualified persons who had gazed upon its forbidden countenance are common traits shared by many mysterious talismans. Such magical attributes are physical manifestations of the 39


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Detail from a Roman fresco in the atrium of the Casa del Menandro in Pompeii, showing Locrian Ajaxâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s insult upon Cassandra who is embracing the sacred Palladium in supplication. Credit: Wiki Commons.


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consecrated through ritual and which became animated and imbued with mystical power. To sum up, the primary function of the Palldium was that of a ‘transcedental weapon‘ which assured the safety of both a city and a clan. Ultimately, it represents that ceaseless human desire to communicate with the supernatural, to seek solace in the divine, to surpass the limitations imposed by a transient and all too mortal existence. It was, for all intents and purposes, a little piece of heaven.

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deity’s power instilled in the talisman by the divinity that is worshipped through that symbol. In epic and archaic literature, the contentious influence of primitive images over their possessors is particularly striking in images referred to as daidala [Sarah P. Morris, 2004].

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The Palladium then was a talismanic xoanon, a mythological archetype dating from remote antiquity used to explain objects that had fallen from the sky, often connected with heroic legend and around which were performed mysterious and unusual rites [F. Bennett, 1917]. An etymological analysis of the word talisman reveals that it is derived from the perfect passive participle of the Greek verb telein, meaning “to complete or consecrate” [Peter Struck, 2008]. In Medieval Greek, as well as in Arabic and Turkish, the root evolves into words designating amulets

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According to the historian and traveller Pausanias says (IX, 3:2 & VIII, 53:8) that daidala were the same as the wooden images or xoana worshipped in prehistoric times “when people used to call the images *** of gods by the name of their first mortal Further Reading creator”, in this case the master craftsman Florence M. 1913, “A Theory concerning the Daidalus. These images were said to be Bennett, Origin and the Affiliations of the Cult of Vesta” in The possessed by something divine, some sort Classical Weekly, Vol. 7, No. 5 (Nov. 1, 1913), pp. 35-37. of celestial animating power. Writing in the Bennett, Florence M. 1917, “A study of the word fifth century BCE, a certain Pherecydes says ΞΟΑΝΟΝ” in American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar. 1917), pp 8-21. that palladia were forms not fashioned by Tim. 1995, The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and human hands and derives the term from the Cornell, Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000-264 Greek verb pallein or ballein, meaning ‘to B.C.), Routledge. throw’, because they had been cast down Dowden, Ken. 1992, The Uses of Greek Mythology, from the heavens. This if often interpreted Routledge. C.A. 1988, Talismans, Voodoo Dolls and other as evidence of early meteorite worship and, Faraone, Apotropaic Statues in Ancient Greece, Stanford. while there is no mention in Homer’s Iliad Farnell, L. R. 2004, Greek Hero Cults and the Idea of of the Palladium as such, there are in fact Immortality, Kessinger. several passages (e.g. XIX:126-131) which Graves, Robert, 1955, The Greek Myths Vol. 2. Penguin describe “Athena descending meteorically Books. McBeath, A. A. & Gheorghe, A. D. 2004, “Meteor to Earth” (McBeath & Gheorghe, 2004).

Beliefs Project: The Palladium in ancient and early Medieval sources” in Journal of the International Meteor Organization, vol. 32, no. 4, p. 117-121 McBeath, A. & Gheorghe, A. D., 2005, “Meteor Beliefs Project: Meteorite worship in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds” in Journal of the International Meteor Organization, vol. 33, no. 5, p. 135-144 Morris, Sarah P. 2004, Daidalos and the Origins of Greek Art, Princeton. Redfield, James M. 2003, The Locrian Maidens, Love and Death in Greek Italy, Princeton. Struck, Peter T. 2008, Birth of Symbol: Ancient Readers at their Limits of their Texts, Princeton. Reinach, A. cite (p. 493) in William N. Bates, “Archaeological Discussions” of American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec. 1916), pp. 475-509, Archaeological Institute of America.

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Masked actors: mosaic from the House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii, Italy. 1st century BCE-1st c. CE. Naples Archaeological Museum. Credit: Wiki Commons.


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Unmasking Ancient Colour

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Colour and the Classical Theatre Mask By Andrea Sinclair M.A.

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he purpose of this article is to provide the reader with an overview of the characteristics of traditional theatre masks from the Hellenistic Greek and

the Roman Imperial periods. The primary literary source employed to illustrate this discussion is the Onomasticon of Julius Pollux, which will be examined from the point of view of the importance of colour to convey meaning in the creation of a theatrical mask. Who introduced masks, prologues, the number of performers and such things is unknown. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Aristotle, Poetics, 1449b

background in theatre design. But this assumption of austerity would be faulty, for theatre performance in antiquity was a different animal, less refined and more diverse in its application and unlike The idea of theatre performance in ancient contemporary theatre, all actors wore Greece and Rome conjures up a variety of masks. images for me, one of vast semi-circular auditoriums, layered schema with elegant The intention of this article is to elaborate columns and facades, audiences dressed on a topic relating to theatre from ancient in their â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Sunday bestâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; reclining leisurely Rome and Greece that appears to be sadly on steeped seating and, of course, the absent. A factor which one could argue is performers. Somehow I cannot help but as crucial to the nature of an object as its be influenced by the elegance of modern form and texture: the colour of these masks reconstructions of classical theatre when worn by performers in early plays. Much I envision ancient theatre performance. literature has applied itself to the physical Perhaps this may be blamed on my own characteristics of masks from late antiquity 43


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Theatre masks: architectural relief from the Roman theatre at Side, Turkey. Credit: Bruce Allardice.

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and their relation to earlier Greek masks from the Classical and Hellenistic periods, with particular emphasis placed upon masks from comedy. However, there appears to be little or no discussion of the nature of colours associated with these highly visual objects.

to take advantage of the visual nature of a magazine format by providing a range of relevant colour images. When we think of Greek and Roman theatre masks our own perception is highly â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;colouredâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; by the extant material that we have available to us as representative of these early performance tools. Sadly, because the original masks were constructed from degradable materials, such as leather, fabric and fibre, we do not have examples of the original artefacts. Instead, we are dependant on imagery of masks from the visual arts and some (few) references in texts for the physical nature of these objects.

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Classical masks were intended to provide strong visual cues to an audience in what was, to all intents and purposes, a large performance space. This goal was achieved by using full head/helmet masks with broad and exaggerated features. The sculptural qualities of these very visual theatrical tools were an important feature of their legibility, but this legibility ought also to entail the use of colour. I consider this article to be an The visual evidence consists of two primary opportunity to discuss this facet of ancient sources: the two dimensional, via wall mask and also, unlike academic publications, paintings, ceramics and mosaics and the 44


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The venue for masked drama: a Roman theatre from Bosra, Syria. Credit: Wiki Commons.

three dimensional, from sculpted terracotta figurines and from architectural ornaments. Of the aforementioned types, only mosaics and wall paintings employ colour, and I would hazard that you, the reader, when thinking of a mask, conjure up a monochrome image most likely related to masks from architectural and sculptural sources.

Theatre Performance in Greece and Rome

Aeschylus and comedic writers such as Aristophanes, Menander and Plautus. In ancient Greece plays were an important component of public festivals and were designed to be performed by a reasonably small group of actors. This troupe comprised three core actors who would perform all the speaking roles, in addition, there was a chorus of up to fifteen performers who sung and danced and guided the audience through the storyline. Finally there was the potential for a non specific amount of nonspeaking roles, such as attendants, slaves, guards or citizens. All characters, actors, chorus and extras were masked, and all parts were performed by men.

To begin this discussion, I will provide a brief overview of the theatrical context with which we are dealing. The performance of public theatre in Greece and Rome has a long and illustrious history which one could argue remains with us today with contemporary interpretations of the plays of renowned Within the theatre space, the action proper tragedians such as Euripides, Sophocles, would take place on a raised stage, while

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Three actors from Greek comedy: Apulian bell-krater. 2nd century BCE. National Archaeological Museum, Spain. Credit: Wiki Commons.

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the chorus would sing and dance in the semi-circular orchestra at the front of this stage. It is worth noting that with the limited number of actors performing all speaking roles, the use of mask would have been a convenient device to facilitate scene, character, and particularly, gender changes in a performance. But this may not be considered the sole motivation behind the choice of mask for performance.

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The earliest use of mask was not bound to character types and thus the masks of 4th century Athenian drama and comedy would have been constructed to suit the requirements of a given play and playwright. It was not until the second half of the fourth century and the plays of Menander and his contemporaries that costume and mask types became clearly defined. The grotesque 46

padding and phalli of the Old Comedy were dispensed with and masks too were adapted into more rigid characters. This does not mean however, that a playwright could not still adapt or invent masks to suit his own requirements.

What is a mask and what was a classical mask? In any dictionary a mask may be defined in a variety of ways: as the likeness of a face, a covering for all, or part of a face, an object worn as a disguise, or to amuse, or frighten others. When employing this term â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;maskâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, I am referring to the head coverings in the likeness of beings (divine, human and animal) that were employed in the performance of theatrical plays in Greece and Rome in the classical period (500 BCE-


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Tragic actors: Roman fresco. 1st century CE. Archaeological Museum of Palermo, Italy. Credit: G. Dall’Orto, Wiki Commons.

300 CE). I use the term ‘head coverings’ intentionally, since it must be emphasised that a mask in the context of classical drama was not simply a covering for the forepart of an actors head. Rather, it was a combination of hair, headdress and the face. For the intentions of this work I clearly distinguish between a mask that is designed to be worn on a human head and a reproduction of a human face. And it is worth noting that the features required to identify a mask that may be worn in performance are the presence of eye sockets, breathing holes and suspension holes. They also must be light and durable. There is absolutely no point in describing a

ceramic mask as a performance mask, these on the contrary, must be either ornamental copies of an original, or replicas perhaps intended for votive use. The term used in Greek literature to describe a mask was prosȏpon (πρόσωπον). This noun may be literally translated as ‘something which is (placed) before the eyes’, that is, a covering for the face, but it can also be used to refer to the face proper. Another word which may be used in the discussion of masks in antiquity is protomȇ, (προτομή) which actually refers to a reproduction of a bust, head, or face, and may therefore, not be considered crucial to this discussion. (It is however, of value to an examination of 47


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Satyr mask: marble (provenance unknown). 2nd century CE. Capitoline Museum, Rome. Credit: Wiki Commons.


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the origins of masks).

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— Lucian, Anarchasis: 23.

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characteristics from Greece and Rome may lead you to the realisation that our information pool is indeed small. However, The sources for masked performance we have one detailed account by a classical It is a considerable disadvantage to modern author left to discuss. scholarship that we have only limited textual evidence for the use and description The primary textual source employed of masks in antiquity. While we do have in literature for mask in antiquity is the secondary sources, we are casting about in Onomasticon (Ονομαστικόν) of Julius Pollux the dark with regard to the original objects. of Naucratis, (2nd century CE). Now this text Aristotle in the Poetics, his discussion of is a form of thesaurus and was intended 4th century Greek theatrical practice, refers by its author as a general description of sparingly and somewhat dismissively to the a variety of topics from geography to use of masks in Greek theatre and with a few astronomy and so forth. Therefore, the sentences he passes laconically over them. discussion of theatre and theatrical masks is necessarily concise and most probably A direct example (of this) is the comic functions on the assumption that the mask which is ugly and distorted yet reader has a basic awareness of the topic. without (being) distressful. This applies particularly to his discussion of the characteristics of masks. For each detail — Aristotle, Poetics: 1449 provided, there appears to be much that is Somewhat later in the Roman period, we absent, or assumed. have another brief but colourful reference to mask characteristics in Lucian’s Anacharsis. This text is nonetheless our best literary source for the description of masks in I have seen those tragedians and antiquity and for this reason I too have comedians of whom you speak, if they used it as my source, but I would emphasise are those individuals wearing heavy here that this article is naturally biased raised shoes, with costumes decorated in towards the late 1st millennium before the gold and quite ridiculous head-dresses Common Era and the early Common Era. with enormous gaping mouths from This time frame is governed by the period within which they shout out mightily, contemporary with Julius Pollux (2nd and I do not know how they cannot century) and on the understanding that fall over in those shoes when walking. I his information is considered to be derived believe at that time the city was celebratfrom an earlier 3rd century BCE Alexandrian ing a festival of Dionysus. But comedians source. Discussion of the nature of 5th are shorter than them, use their feet, century Attic theatre masks shall therefore are more human and bellow less. Their be considered a topic for another article. head-dresses are more comical and the entire theatre laughed as one.’

The Masks in Pollux: the Satyr Play

In antiquity there were three specific From the fact that these sources are often varieties of theatrical performance and each employed in literature to describe mask was masked. In the Onomasticon of Pollux 49


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these three are duly listed as masks that were used in the performance of Tragedy, those for Comedy and those belonging to the Satyr play. We shall begin with the Satyr play since it has been argued that it is from these that later theatrical performances were derived (Aristotle, Poetics). The Satyr play was a risqué rough and tumble farce which (much like that of tragedy) revolved around anecdotes sourced from traditional mythology. The costumes somewhat reflected the animal nature of these followers of the god Dionysus and consisted of horse tails, erect phalli and masks.

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The Satyr masks described in the Onomasticon pose the least challenge to us and contain only four clearly defined characters: an old satyr, a bearded satyr, a clean-shaven satyr and one that was worn for the god Silenus. Pollux is sparing with detail for these masks, but describing their characteristics is not difficult, since we have adequate resources for the characteristics of satyrs and of satyr masks from antiquity.

Above: Silenus mask: fresco from Villa of Fannius Synistor, Boscoreale, Italy. 1st century BCE, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Credit: WikiCommons; Below: Old man: encaustic painting from Solunto, Italy. 1st century CE. Palermo Archaeological Museum. Credit: G. Dall’Orto, Wiki Commons. 50

The satyr mask may be identified by the bestial characteristics of the classical satyr: the presence of horns on the upper forepart of the mask, elongated and pointed goat ears framing the face and unkempt, shaggy hair. Colour is not indicated in the text with the exception of the use of polios (πολιός) or ‘grey haired’ to describe the old satyr, and Pollux is emphatic that the distinction between the four rests with their names: old, bearded, beardless and the god Silenus.


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The Masks in Pollux: Tragedy and Comedy

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In the Onomasticon the categories for masks from both tragedy and comedy have been arranged into four groups: those for old men, young men, male servants and for women. In addition there is a description of ‘equipped’ (ἔνσκευα) or ‘extra` masks belonging to tragedy. These were masks with unusual features, such as animals, deities, demi-gods, or monsters (nymphs, gorgons, titans, sea monsters, giants, centaurs); forces of nature (rivers, mountains, cities); and abstract concepts (justice, death, persuasion, deceit, envy). It is worth noting that Pollux states that any one of these masks may also be used for the performance of comedy.

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The following is a brief list of the names for characters that are given by Pollux. Old Men Six tragic masks: Shaved hair, White, Greying, Black, Yellow, More yellow. Nine comic masks: 1st Grandfather/Pappos, 2nd Grandfather, Leader, Old man, Hermeneios, Brothel keeper, 2nd Hermeneios, Peaked beard, Lycomedeios. Young Men Eight tragic masks: All purpose young man, Curly haired, More curly, Delicate, Dirty, 2nd Dirty, Ochre, Faded Ochre. Eleven comic masks: All purpose, Black, Curly haired, More curly, Delicate, Bumpkin, Wavy haired, 2nd wavy haired, 1st Parasite, 2nd Parasite, Foreigner, 3rd Parasite.

Above: Young man: mosaic from the House of Masks, Sousse, Tunisia. 3rd century CE. Sousse Archaeological Museum; Below: Comic servant: mosaic from the House of the Faun, Pompeii. 1st century BCE-1st c. CE. Naples Archaeological Museum. Credits: Wiki Commons. 51


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Masks of women: mosaic from the House of Cicero, Pompeii. 2nd-1st centuries BCE. Naples Archaeological Museum. Credit: Wiki Commons.

Servants Three tragic masks: j o u r n a l

Leather, Peaked beard, Snub nosed.

Grey talking, Mistress, Hetaira (prostitute) at the end of her career, Hetaira in her prime, Golden hetaira, Diademed hetaira, Hetaira with torch hair-do and two serving girls.

Eight comic masks:

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Grandfather, Leader, Lower 3rd or 4th attendant, Perhaps the one notable detail for womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Curly haired, Middle attendant, Tettix (cicada), masks is that they mostly differ by hairstyle and, excluding the mention of specific Wavy haired leader. Women Eleven tragic masks:

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Grey old woman, Freed old woman, Old domestic servant, Domestic (medium hair), Leather, Ochre (long hair), Ochre (medium hair), Medium cropped, 1st sallow maiden, 2nd sallow maiden, Young girl. Seventeen comic masks:

characteristics, may therefore be viewed as having reasonably regular features. In fact, this observation may be made for all the masks listed in Pollux. Where facial features are absent, we must assume that they are in fact there, but in each example relatively regular, such as aquiline nose, level brows and so on.

Lean old woman, Fat old woman, Old domestic, And this brings us in a roundabout way to the Talking, Curly haired, Girl, False girl, 2nd false girl, issue of the characteristics for these masks. 52


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Marble relief of tragic masks showing the onkos headress and curly beard (this would have been real hair in antiquity), Rome. 2nd century CE. Museum of Art History, Vienna. Credit: Wiki Commons.

I do not feel that I can throw you headlong into a discussion of mask colour without some brief explanation of the features of the masks in Pollux. There are actually a limited range of features listed in the text and they may be summarised as follows: — Hair: straight, curly, wavy. — Hairstyle: various for women: for men: waving forward, bald, receding. — Headpieces: onkos, stephanȇ and speira. — Beards: long, short, curly, peaked, beardless. — Brows: knitted, raised, lowered, asymmetrical. — Eyes: lazy, cheerful, severe, distorted. — Nose: hooked, snub. — Mouth: flat lips. — Battered ears and snaggle teeth.

Finally we have descriptions of the complexion which may be ‘good’, wrinkled, lined or of a specific hue, and thus we come to the discussion proper.

Colour for Masks: Age and Gender On examining the characteristics above, it could be argued that the distinctions between masks in classical drama were based on stereotypes: a character’s age, their social standing and their gender. In addition, it has been asserted in the past that due to the auditorium distance, only age and gender would be easily recognised by an audience and that there was actually little distinction between the characteristics of individual masks. 53


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Gender expressed by using light and dark complexions, tragic female and comic servant: mosaic from Hadrianâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Villa, Tivoli, Italy. 2nd century CE. Credit: Wiki Commons.

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It is not this writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intention to support such a claim, for while costume, hair, and physical features do provide enough scope for identifying a character, mask colour could also provide similar important visual cues to a distant audience. Nonetheless, these three basic distinctions: age, status and gender are reasonably apparent from the evidence of extant plays and the description in the Onomasticon and it is worth noting that they are still basic distinctions for a modern audience.

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Age distinction for a mask could be conveyed through a variety of methods, such as wrinkled skin, or varying shades of grey through to white hair on both men and women. In Pollux white hair is indeed reserved for the oldest characters. For the complexion, age is conspicuously indicated by lack of pigment and older 54

characters have whiter skin than younger. Facial hair on men is another criterion for distinguishing age, as after the Hellenistic period it became fashionable for young men to shave. Thus the absence of a beard infers youth (although in earlier periods this would have been used to convey a notion of effeminacy). Older, respectable men are correspondingly to be recognised by the various styles of beard. Gender distinction is consistent with Greek artistic convention and is characterised by the use of dark and light skin tones. Thus, a male character will have a darker complexion than a female, whose ideal colouring was white, no doubt from a notion of seclusion in the domestic environment (but this may apply more to women of higher social standing). For young male characters the complexion is generally described by a


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Tragic woman: fresco from the House of the Golden Bracelet, Pompeii. 1st century CE. Credit: Wiki Commons.

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verbal form of μελάς, ‘black’, here more appropriately translated as ‘dark’. Ideally a healthy active Greek or Roman man was athletic and tanned, thus masks of young men are described as dark and in some instances, ‘flushed with red’ (υπέρυθρος). For male characters this convention could also be manipulated to express character nuances, and a man could indeed have a pale mask, but this could convey specific visual cues to the audience. Thus, a paler mask could be effeminate, sickly, dying, pining away from love, or of delicate constitution. On the other hand, a pale mask on an older man conveys a notion of advanced age and/ or physical weakness. Finally a pale or white mask on a male character could also be used to indicate a ghost or a spirit of the dead.

and I am aware that the choice of name in Pollux often appears to reflect the nature of a mask. One has to concede that ‘leathery’ does conjure up a specific (perhaps modern) notion of texture and age.

Colour and Mask Character

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To turn to the broader colour terminology encountered in Pollux, we have a limited range of colours used to describe theatre masks. These may be divided into two groups: the first is ‘pure’ colour terms: black (μέλας), white (λευκός), grey (πολιός), yellow (ξανθός), red (ἐρυθρός) and ochre (ὣχρα). The second consists of shades: greying (σπαρτοπολιός), flushed red (ὑπέρυθρος), fire red (πυρρός), pale ochre/ sallow (ὕπωχρος), faded ochre (παρωχρός), pale yellow (ὑπόξανθος), slightly white For female character masks the opposite (ὑπόλευκος), faded white (παράλευκος, ought to apply and the presence of colour literally: ‘beyond white’). in a mask could be said to infer absence of social standing, since only women of lower There are two contexts where the colour of status would necessarily have extended a mask is referred to in the Onomasticon: exposure to the sun. This is not as clearly one describes the colour of the hair (both illustrated in the Onomasticon where most beards and head hair) and the other female character masks are described as appears to refer to the complexion, or skin white or sallow. No female mask is described colour of the prosȏpon, and it is worth as red, and only one prostitute past her noting that the Greek stem used to indicate prime is described as flushed, none is of a complexion, chrȏma (χρῶμα, also χροία) may be translated as, ‘skin’, ‘complexion’ dark complexion. or indeed, as ‘colour’. In fact χρῶμα is the One tragic old woman mask is named etymological source for the English terms ‘leather’ (διφθερίτις), and the question chrome/chromatic. would be whether there was a colour significance associated with this epithet. There are five colours used to describe hair Most dictionaries translate this term as for masks, black, grey, white, yellow and fire referring to an individual who is ‘clad in red. Brown is conspicuous by its absence leather’. I am not entirely satisfied with this from this list, but I would suggest that from solution, as only two characters, both from the visual evidence it is subsumed within tragedy, bear this name, an old male servant ‘black/dark’. As already discussed, white and an old woman, both are endowed with hair is used for the oldest characters in little description other than with onkos tragedy and comedy, both male and female. 56


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The mask on the left is a good example of gender ambiguity. The image could be described as ‘two women’, but I would suggest we may instead be looking at a delicate young man and a woman. Note the masculine moulding of the brow. Fresco from the House of the Golden Bracelet, Pompeii. 1st century CE. Credit: Wiki Commons.

Grey hair is applied to older characters, but not the oldest. Black hair is characteristic of middle aged and young men, both athletic and for less than worthy individuals like parasites. Although one prostitute from comedy is black haired, the rest appear to be fair. Yellow hair was fitting for young men and young women, while flame red hair is employed only in comedy for male servants and for one old man.

of colour, or additional colour over another hue. This is best illustrated by the hetaira past her prime who has a sallow yet flushed complexion.

As you may observe, there is little attempt at obtaining actual flesh tones for these masks. Rather, we are dealing with quite highly visible pigments that span a reasonably limited range of hues: white through offwhite, pale yellow, sallow, ochre yellow to The skin colour of individual masks is defined red and finally to black. And this brings by these terms: black, white, ochre, sallow, us finally to another possible motivation pale yellow, ‘livid’, red and flushed red. Dark, behind this use of colour for masks. livid and flushed red are colours specifically associated with healthy male characters and The Hippocratic Theory of Humours I would suggest that where flushed is used The followers of Pythagoras call the it may not necessarily describe the entire family of colours white, black, red and mask, but rather could refer to gradation 57


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Left: Ochre old man: fresco from the House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii. 1st century BCE. Naples Archaeological Museum; Right: Flushed old man: encaustic painting from Solunto, Italy. 1st century CE. Palermo Archaeological Museum. Credits: Wiki Commons.

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ochre. And the differences for colours derive from the mixtures of the elements involved. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; AĂŤtius, (Diels, Doxographi Graeci)

and are summarised in Table (1). On examining these four humours and their corresponding colour associations it becomes abundantly clear that there is potential here for an additional set of visual clues for an audience seated at a distance from the stage in a large auditorium. Indeed, this idea of human personality based on humours will not have been unknown to Pollux in the 2nd century. In fact, we are aware that such theories did contribute to the comedies of both Menander and of Plautus. Therefore, to apply these ideas to the masks of the Onomasticon is no great leap of logic.

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I would like to leave you with an interesting proposition regarding the choice of colour for mask in classical theatre performance. This is that mask colours may have provided an audience with effective visual signals beyond those of gender and age. In the Onomasticon the colours employed to describe masks also reflect the Hippocratic theory of the four humours associated in philosophy with the elements and with the types of human temperament. These four humours or personality types are based in the spectrum of black, white, red and ochre And they do apply. Without much effort it is 58


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Μέλας/black

Μελανχολή/black bile/melancholic

irritable or despondent

Λευκός/white

Φλέγμα/phlegm/phlegmatic

calm and unemotional

Ἐρυθρός/red

Aἷμα/blood/sanguine

courageous and amorous

Ὡχρός/ochre

Χολή/yellow bile/choleric

bad tempered and easily angered

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Table (1): The four humours or personality types based in the spectrum of black, white, red and ochre

relatively easy to associate the colours cited by Pollux with the masks he lists. Old men may be dark or pale and therefore could either broadcast a message of irascibleness (black) or dignity (white). Younger men could be volatile and aggressive (ochre), courageous (red) or weak and passive (white). Male servants may be a range of colours, but favour the irascible reds and ochre. Women are predominantly restricted to white and pale hues and therefore convey a notion of passive temperament, but may lean towards colours associated with less self control, such as ochre, sallow, or flushed red. What this template provides is yet another means for the ancient playwright to give his audience clear visual cues regarding the characters he presents and with these there is scope for combining these cues to create characters of reasonable subtlety and complexity. In this case the mask of a disreputable young man with dark hair and dark complexion could be easily differentiated from that of a delicate young man whose skin was paler and hair

was yellow. Perhaps it is reasonable to argue that with these broad colours and exaggerated features masks could be easily manipulated by the ancient dramatist to convey a range of character nuances to his audience. I would hope that this article has introduced some new perspectives on our current perception of mask in antiquity. It would not be out of place to point out that the foregoing only describes the potential for visual expression that may be contained in a document on theatrical mask from the 2nd century CE. One can only look at the range of visual examples given here to realise the diversity of masks produced in antiquity. So, rather than considering the nature of masks as static and monochrome, I would advise you to instead shift your focus towards a livelier, meaningful and, most of all, polychromatic image of ancient theatre. ***

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Actors with masks: mosaic from the House of Masks, Sousse, Tunisia. 3rd century CE. Sousse Archaeological Museum. Credit: Wiki Commons.

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The English translations of the Greek are the author’s. For lexical citations see the Greek-English Lexicon by H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, or the online database: Perseus Digital Library: http://www. perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/collection?collection=Pe rseus:collection:Greco-Roman.

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Benson, J.L. ‘Chapter 2: Greek Color Theory’. Greek Color Theory and the Four Elements. Paper 6. (2000). http://scholarworks.umass.edu/art_jbgc/6

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Bieber, M. The History of the Greek and Roman Theater. Princeton University Press. (1961). Marshall, C.W. Some Fifth-Century Masking Conventions. Greece & Rome. 46 (2), (1999). 188-202. Pollux, J. Onomasticon. W. Dindorf: Leipzig. (1824). Pollux, J. Extracts concerning the Greek theatre and masks, translated from the Greek of Julius Pollux. Gale Ecco. (2010). 60

Sommerstein, A.H. Greek Drama and Dramatists. Routledge. (2003). Webster, T.B.L. The Masks of Greek Comedy, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, (1949). 97-133. Wiles, D. Greek Theatre Performance: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. (2000).

*** Right: Tragic woman, but colour indicates gender and social status could be ambiguous: fresco from the House of the Stags, Herculaneum, Italy. 1st century BCE. Naples Archaeological Museum. Credit Wiki Commons.


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Head of Athena wearing a crested Attic helmet on the obverse of an Athenian Tetradrachm, c. 455-449 BCE. Image adapted from Wiki Commons.


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Numismatic iconography in Classical Greece

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Most cities in the ancient world produced a single coin so their value was directly correlated to their material weight, and most states had a specific minting standard (Head 1911, p. xlix). Over time, cities occasionally changed the value of their coins or adopted foreign standards in order to stay competitive with fluctuating prices (Head 1911, p. 366). Every coin was unique because of the limitations of minting; the common practice was to pour the silver into a mold and stamp the coin by hand (Head 1911, p. lvii). Aligning the two sides was guesswork and the pressure behind each stamp varied between workers. Though each individual stamper eventually developed a style which he could maintain, most mints had multiple stampers. Ancient coins come in all shapes

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oins provide an influential medium for the artistic expression of a community. Like modern countries, the ancient Greek cities displayed their cultural ideas and traditions on their coinage. However, every coin needed to quickly and clearly communicate its origin as each state had its own system of values. Ultimately, ancient coin iconography serves a practical purpose, but also provided an artistic window into the social self-perception of the community.

and sizes, but every coin was unique due to the difficulties of minting in the ancient world. In the study of ancient numismatics, perfection and uniformity are the signs of a modern forgery (Dodson 1967). The physical limitations of coinage made consistent iconography a necessary development. Unlike modern coins, ancient mints maintained a single design despite differences in denomination (Head 1911, pp. 371-2). Coins that were worth half as much simply had half the silver and citizens were expected to know the size differences. Merchants probably carried a collection of coins and preferred certain coins for specific transactions. As such, the image on the coin needed to quickly and clearly relate to a specific city, and therefore a value (Kraay 1966, p. 14). Whatever the design, the image needed to be intimately related to the state of origin. Some cities were named after deities and these cities, such as Athens, could simply use their namesake as a symbolic representative. Alternatively, some cities were known for their famous sanctuaries. These cities displayed their respective deity or a well-known symbol of the deity and the connection was self-explanatory (Camp 63


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Silver stater from Aegina showing a sea-turtle on the obverse and an incuse square divided into five compartments on the reverse, struck between 550-480 BCE. Image adaped from Wiki Commons.

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2000, p. 140). Aegina was probably the first city to mint coins in Europe and they used a sea turtle. Turtles were associated with Aphrodite and Aegina had a famous sanctuary to the goddess at the entrance of its harbor (Head 1911, p. 395). As one of the largest religious sites in Greece, Olympia could use the profile of Zeus himself on their coins. However, conflicts could arise as many deities had popular sanctuaries throughout Greece. This is most noticeable when comparing coins from Corinth and Athens as both states depicted the profile of Athena. The opposite sides are different enough â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the Corinthian Pegasus in comparison to the Athenian owl â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that any initial confusion would be mediated through further inspection. Interestingly, Athena is wearing a Corinthian helmet on the Corinthian coin and an Attic helmet on 64

the Athenian coin. However, the names of the helmets are later classifications related to where they appear archaeologically; this may be an artistic reference to the citiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; respective helmet preference, but it is more likely an unintentional coincidence. While many cities did not have a single representative deity, some were famous mythical sites. These stories were often religious in nature and famous heroic cults may have inspired some coin iconography (Kraay 1966, p. 13). Some myths were chosen even if they had a negative message. Coins from Knossos often depict a labyrinth from the Minotaur myth, even though the mythical monster ate children. Like depictions of deities, mythic references acted as both an identifier and a celebration of the religious significance of the site.


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Silver stater from Olympia showing head of Zeus on the obverse and an eagle standing next to a thunderbolt on the reverse, struck between 362-312 BCE. Image adapted from Wiki Commons.

Some Ancient Greek cities chose to depict a major export on their coins. The trade item was so ingrained in the communal identity that it could quickly communicate the coin’s city of origin. The Silphium plant only grew in Cyrene, modern Libya, so an image of the plant on their coinage was a logical and practical artistic choice. Silphium was the most important product from the area of Cyrene and the entire economy was based around the crop, but its presence on their coinage suggests that the plant was important to the social identity of the community. Some ancient cities may have used cultural exports as their identifying image. The Theban coin depicts a Dipylon shield, also known as the Boeotian shield. The existence and use of the Dipylon shield is heavily

debated as it only appears in art. The shield may be a misunderstood reference to a specific myth or deity, or it might represent a military preference. The Dipylon shield was probably significantly lighter than the standard Hoplon shield and this military individuality was fitting for a city that is often accredited with inventing battlefield tactics (Warry 1995, pp. 62 - 63). If this shield was in use, Theban coinage may have referenced a unique military preference which was eventually exported and adopted. States also used symbols to reference the name of their city or region. Euboea roughly translates to “well-off/good cattle” and its cities often used an image of a bull or cow on their coins (Kraay 1966, p. 14). The origin of the island’s name was debated in the ancient world and cattle may not have 65


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Above: Silver stater from Corinth showing the winged horse Pegasus on the obverse and the head of Athena wearing Corinthian helmet on the reverse, struck between 415-378 BCE. Credit: The British Museum; Below: Silver tetradrachm from Athens showing the head of Athena in wearing a close-fitting crested helmet adorned with three upright olive leaves on the obverse and ΑΘΕ to the right of an owl with olive spray and crescent on the reverse, struck between 490-430 BCE Image adaped from Wiki Commons. 66


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Above: Silver stater from Knossos showing the head of Hera on the obverse and a square labyrinth on the reverse, struck between 350-300 BCE. Image adaped from Wiki Commons; Below: Silver tetradrachm from Cyrene showing the head of Apollo Carneius on the obverse and the Silphium plant on the reverse, struck between 435-375 BCE. Credit: The British Museum.

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Above: Silver stater from Thebes showing a Boeotian shield on the obverse and a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;mill-sailâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; incuse on the reverse, struck between 550-480 BCE. Image adaped from Wiki Commons; Below: Silver tetradrachm from Eretria showing a a cow scratching herself on the obverse and a squid on the reverse. Credit: The British Museum.

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Silver tetradrachm from Rhodes with the head of Helios on the obverse and ΡΟΔΙΟΝ above a rose with dove to the right on the reverse, struck between 400-333 BCE. Image adaped from Wiki Commons.

had anything to do with it. Similarly, Rhodes used a rose on their coins because of the linguistic similarity to ῥόδον (“rose”) even though the origin of the city’s name may be unrelated. Whether Euboea and Rhodes were named for their flora and fauna or not, they utilized the linguistic similarity to identify themselves on their coins. The tradition of using symbolism to reference linguistic attributes is evident in other coins. The key example comes from Himera where the coins depicted a rooster. The Greek word ἡμέρα translates into “day” or “day-break”, and Rutter suggests that the rooster was a creative linguistic reference to the name of the city (1997, p. 106). The Himeran coin, and surely many others, did not have a self-explanatory design and may have required some explaning. Nevertheless, the choice and continuation

of the rooster suggests that the community preferred cultural representation over easy identification. Some cities chose to use inscriptions in order to further specify where the coin was minted. These inscriptions were often short or incomplete words to aid identification. Athenian coins used the first three letters of their city, ΑΘΕ (“Athe-”), while Rhodian coins generally featured the entire name of the city. Alternatively, some states may have used an inscription in conjunction with the image. An Euboean coin showed a bull, βούς in Ancient Greek, with ΕΥ written above its head and may be read together as ΕΥΒΟΥΣ (roughly “Eubous”). In addition, some states used a single letter to identify themselves. Corinth is noteworthy as they used the qoppa, an ancient Greek letter which was phased out of most alphabets in favor of the 69


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Two silver drachmae from Himera, Sicily with a rooster motif struck before 480 BCE. Credit: The British Museum.

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kappa. Despite the letter’s disappearance, the ancient city of Corinth was spelt as Ϙόρινθος so the qoppa survived as an identifier; it can be found directly beneath Pegasus’ forearms on the Corinthian coin. Wide scale trade was probably frustrating as dozens of Greek cities minted their own coins, but inscriptions attempted to alleviate the issues related to coin identification.

Athena, whose symbol was the owl, because she gave them an olive tree and the first three letters of the city’s name were inscribed. The crescent moon referred to the beginning of the Panathenaic festival dedicated to Athena which attracted visitors to the city from across the Aegean. Every symbol on every Ancient Greek coin was a reference to the social identity and cultural traditions of the community. In many ways, ancient coins are nationalistic celebrations of the community and propagandistic promotions of a city’s cultural legitimacy. Nevertheless, the implications about the ancient economy are enlightening as every coin was made to be distinguishable yet different in value.

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Ultimately, Athenian coins became the most popular coin in the Mediterranean and were apparently accepted by Greeks and non-Greeks alike (Aristophanes, Frogs, 721). They were affectionately referred to as ‘owls’ and were one of the easiest to identify (Seltmam 19). The coin had Athena on one side and on the other there was an Ancient Greek coinage was essential to owl, a crescent moon, an olive branch, and the proper functioning of the ancient an inscription. The city was named after economy. The ancients treated minting as 70


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Camp, J, 2000. The Archaeology of Athens. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Head, B, 1911. Historia Numorum: A Manuel of Greek Numismatics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Kraay, C, & Hirmer, M, 1966. Greek Coins. London: Thomas & Hudson. Rutter, N K, 1997. The Greek Coinages of Southern Italy and Sicily. London: Spink. Seltman, C, 1974. Athens Its History and Coinage Before the Persian Invasion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

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an economic necessity and a nationalistic export. The iconography was important to the social image of the community and, in a way, a mascot for the state. Their use across the Mediterranean highlights their social influence, and a city’s rise and fall interestingly coincides with the popular rise and fall of their coin. As the cultural heart of Classical Greece, it is not surprising that the Athenian ‘owl’ was the Mediterranean’s favorite coin for over two centuries.

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Warry, J, 1995. Warfare in the Classical World. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ***

British Academy Research Project. Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum. [online] Available at: http://www.sylloge-nummorum-graecorum.org/ Dodson, O H, 1967. Counterfeits I Have Known. COINage (April and May).

The reverse of an Athenian silver tetradrachm or ‘owl’, perhaps the most famous of all ancient Greek coins. Image adapted from Wiki Commons.

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Surveying mud houses in Kom el-Nagar (Lower Egypt). Photograph by Penny Wilson)


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Unmuddling ancient choices how

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Egyptian houses better By Maria Correas-Amador M.A.

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he vast majority of houses in ancient Egypt were built with mudbricks; however, we do not know as much about them as we do about other aspects of Egyptian

culture. Many contextual factors are involved in building choices, most notably human decisions, and reproducing all those factors is particularly difficult. However, a study of modern Egyptian mudbrick houses has proved useful in providing clues about the features, distribution and use of space in ancient Egyptian houses.

Introduction At the time of reading this article, you might be sitting at a cafe, or on the train. But the chances are you will be sitting in your own home. You are likely then to be surrounded by choices made by you or your family. That photo of a memorable occasion, hanging on the wall which you repainted some time ago. If you are sitting in a warm country, you may have painted your walls white to make them cooler; if the opposite, you may have used warm colours. If you think of all

the other rooms in your house, you can probably picture this for each room. You will also be able to think of a number of practical elements in your house, if you live in the countryside, you may need some tools to work the land and stores to keep them in; if you have pets, their presence is likely to leave a trace across your house. When we look at houses in the archaeological record, we often tend to forget this complex mixture of environmental, cultural, practical and personal choices. The truth is though that 75


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A mudbrick house in Kom el-Nagar (Lower Egypt). Authors own photograph.


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In Egyptian archaeology, amazing artefacts, temples and tombs often overshadow more ordinary aspects of ancient life. However, domestic architecture can be as fascinating as others, as we unveil human choices and preferences to which we will be able to relate more than we think. In certain lucky occasions, these choices might even be unaffected by time, and this means that we can study the modern feature to understand how the ancient one was built and to reconstruct it.

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An alternative to the traditional archaeological approach, which has not been attempted in Egyptian archaeology prior to the research here presented, is to apply ethnoarchaeology to the study of ancient Egyptian houses; that is, to study modern Egyptian mudbrick houses and analyse what factors are likely to influence their characteristics and appearance and the particular solutions that they materialise in. Since the vast majority of ancient Egyptian houses were made of mudbrick, the material provides an element of comparison. Mudbrick houses are unfortunately disappearing nowadays in Egypt, with the vast majority being replaced with concrete and brick structures; however, the remaining examples can help us understand how houses were built and the constraints and facilities that were imposed upon the inhabitants.

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architecture responds to a series of choices which are hardly random. Investigating these choices is crucial to understand archaeological remains of houses and thus, the people that live in them. This is an obviously difficult task when we bear in mind that such people are not around anymore to tell us about their preferences and needs. For that reason, in most cases, archaeologists need to use material culture, that is, the objects found in an excavation, to try and explain why a house was arranged in a certain way, what its rooms were used for and, most importantly, what all that says about the people living in them. The difficulty with that approach is that the same or similar objects can be used for different things and therefore have various meanings, depending on the context. Our brain is used to seeing them in that context and thus understanding them in a certain way. If that context is lost, the meaning gets diluted.

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Thus, this article intends to give a brief account of the ways in which the investigation of modern houses has helped broaden our understanding and potentially clarified some aspects related to ancient Egyptian houses. First, we will start by offering a short introduction to our traditional sources of information about ancient Egyptian houses.

Sources of knowledge about ancient Egyptian houses There are two main traditional sources of information about ancient Egyptian houses; domestic archaeological remains and artistic representations of houses, namely depictions on tomb walls and clay and wooden houses models. Archaeological remains There are a number of reasons why not as many houses have been excavated in ancient Egypt as they have in other ancient cultures. Due to the fact that in ancient Egypt the Nile flooded every year, many sites were located on high ground, and it is difficult to excavate them (Bietak 1979, 97). The annual flood 77


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Above: Remains of an ancient Egyptian staircase in Amarna. Credit: Peet and Wooley 1923; Below: a mudbrick staircase built with the same technique in modern Dendera (Upper Egypt). Authors own photograph.

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also buried these sites over time (Bard 2000, 65). In addition, because the settlements were built with organic materials, they also eroded and weathered away. The removal of soil for its use as fertiliser also contributed to this erosion (Bietak 1979, 110).

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One site however, provided substantial information; this was the site of Amarna, an over 400ha site located c.312km south of Cairo. Amarna was first excavated in 1891-1892 (Petrie 1894) and continues to be excavated annually until present. El-Lahun, located in the Fayum Oasis, c.91km south of Cairo, also provided substantial information about ancient Egyptian domestic architecture. Many of the assumptions and archaeological discourse about ancient Egyptian houses have been focused on those two sites. A number of other sites have also produced interesting remains and are subject to continuing excavations, such as Tell el-Daba and Elephantine.

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Artistic representations Archaeologists have also used artistic representations of houses in an attempt to add more information to the archaeological data, although this has not always been easy as sometimes the artistic conventions used are not clear. In addition, certain parts of the houses are difficult to compare to the archaeological remains; for example, reliefs on tomb walls show houses with two or three floors, however the archaeological evidence found is limited because these are obviously the first parts of the house to erode and collapse. Clay and wooden models are found in funerary contexts and date mainly from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055-1650 BCE) and New Kingdom periods (c. 1550-1069 BCE).

Map indicating archaeological sites mentioned.

Clay models represent schematised views of houses (Petrie 1907, 20). Wooden models, usually plastered, mostly reproduce workshops, stables, bakeries and breweries, while models of residences show gardens and schematised house features.

Contributions of the study of modern mudbrick houses As we explained at the beginning of this article, the appearance and distribution of houses respond to a number of factors, which can be grouped as environmental, sociocultural, communityrelated and individual factors. The research carried out as part of my PhD thesis 79


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Representation of a house on the walls of Theban tomb 23 (Thebes New Kingdom (c. 1550-1069 BCE). After Davies 1929, 243.

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analysed these factors in modern mudbrick houses through fieldwork and analysis of previous ethnographic work, including an analysis of how those factors may have influenced mudbrick houses in Egypt over the last century. The information obtained from this study was used to identify the range of factors that could have influenced ancient houses, as well as to better understand their material characteristics.

to provide a better understanding of the practical applications of this research: Architectural features

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One of the main problems archaeologists have when excavating mudbrick houses is that roofs are organic. Mudbrick house ceilings are often made of beams and matted reeds, sometimes tied with string. These tree-trunk beams can rarely span over For this article, some examples of the 2.5-3m. There is evidence that indicates specifics of this research have been selected this type of ceiling was also used in ancient 80


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times, as remains of semicircular acacia beams, covered with a marl mortar have been found; additionally, remains of mud coming from roofs show imprints of matted reeds, impressions of string and impressions of beams. The study of modern houses has also revealed that in some instances, roofs can be covered with a light cladding of branches instead, using no beams, and that type of cover would leave little trace in the archaeological record. Evidence for this type of roof can occasionally be confirmed in the archaeological record by the finding of a large amount of vegetal material; therefore recording adequately this type of material is essential. If this is missed or misinterpreted, it is possible that, following no evidence of cover, the room may be wrongly interpreted as a courtyard.

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This may appear unimportant, but courtyards have played an important part in the archaeological interpretation of ancient Egyptian houses, to the point that most houses have been classified as belonging to either the ‘courtyard’ or the ‘tripartite’ type. The justification for the need for courtyards has been commonly based on the comparison with traditional near eastern houses, on the impossibility of covering a very large room with just tree trunks, and on the need of the courtyard to get air and light into the Above: Clay model, mid 13th dynasty (c. 1773 – house and to provide an area for fumes to 1650 BCE) el-Rifeh Tomb 72; Below: Wooden model (tomb of Meketre Theban tomb 280. 12th dynasty escape. In addition, it has been assumed c. 1981–1975 BCE). Credits: www.metmuseum.org. that a central position would best suit these functions. affect cooking performance or extraction of fumes as long as the orientation of the However, the study of the modern mudbrick ovens within the room was correct. In fact, houses confirmed, first, that the presence of not all cooking activities need to take place courtyards is not always necessary and their in an open space, as roof openings could location need not be in a central position, have been provided for extraction. Similarly, but can also be located on the sides or at the courtyard is not essential for ventilation the back of the house. The research noted either, as air and light could have entered that the position of the courtyard would not the house through high-placed windows 81


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Representation of a house on the walls of Theban tomb 254 New Kingdom (c. 1550-1069 BCE). After Davies 1929, 242.

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such as could be interpreted from Theban public face of the house; the second, having the practical role of storing grain. Therefore, representations. the analysis of modern mudbrick houses has Secondly, it has been confirmed that wooden shown that â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;house spaceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; is not delimited beams can span over a width of 2.5-3m and by the external walls of the house. The fact hold a roof without need for any further that these features are seldom described support. In addition, partially covered rooms for ancient Egyptian houses, should at least raise some questions about our criteria to are not uncommon. define and consequently record domestic Consequently, not bearing these practical architecture. factors in mind may result in an important loss of information which can lead to the Another subject of debate concerning misinterpretation of a space. Similarly, a ancient Egyptian houses is the number and substantial loss of information often results location of windows in them, since very from a lack of recording of features in the few openings have been preserved in the immediate surroundings of the house. archaeological record. In contrast, artistic In modern houses, a number of outside representations often depict numerous features were found, mostly mastabas (mud windows. These drawings appear to show benches usually attached to the wall) and no windows in the ground floor, unless mud storage containers. These were part of they are located high up, and this has led to the domestic sphere and had an integral role arguments concerning the amount of floors in the house; the first ones, serving as the in these representations, as no ground 82


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Pottery model of a house used in a burial from the First Intermediate Period. Credit: Wiki Commons.

floor windows would have made the house gloomy and stuffy. However, it was observed during fieldwork that, in many two-storey houses, natural light came into the house through the stairwell and through the main door of the house, which was usually kept open; therefore, the presence of windows in the ground floor is not essential. This means that it is potentially feasible to interpret those representations either as depicting windows high up in the ground floor wall â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which would have been enough to provide light â&#x20AC;&#x201C; or as not having windows in the ground floor at all. In the case of roofs and windows, the modern houses have provided practical information about architectural features, their use and feasibility, which are highly influenced by environmental conditions. However, as has been reiterated, architectural choices often respond to a mixture of practical, cultural

and social factors which are difficult to separate. For example, in modern Naqada, certain walls are built embedding large pots or parts of pots in mud. These may not appear to be the most practical of choices; however, when we bear in mind that this location is famous for pottery production, we can understand how the locals portray their identity and, why not, show off their trade through the use of this original feature. When we look at the archaeological record, the use of a rare material is often interpreted as a sign of affluence; however, we must not underestimate factors other than economic ones in the architectural choices. For example, in ancient Elephantine, an island in the south of Egypt, we find red granite in some Middle Kingdom houses (c. 2055-1650 BCE). We could again easily interpret these as belonging to wealthy inhabitants was it not for the fact that red granite was locally available in the island and can therefore be 83


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rather representing a local idiosyncrasy. Use of space With regards the use of space, as was pointed out at the beginning of this article, an object solely cannot be used to justify the function of a room (Kamp 1993, 308). Certain identical objects or features are an indication of potential different uses depending on the context in which they are found. For that reason, a focus of the research was on identifying the predominant use of space with the aid of organic remains, architectural features and the application of the practical observations carried out in modern houses. We will mention here storage, animal keeping, cooking and sleeping.

often located upstairs. The archaeological record does not contradict this point as remains of large animals are mostly found in the ground floor; this does not preclude the presence of small animals as we must bear in mind the fact that traces of poultry keeping can be more easily lost in the archaeological record and, that, in most cases, we do not have evidence for what happened in the upper storeys. Another interesting activity from an archaeological point of view is cooking. A concept which has been developed as a result of the study of modern mudbrick houses is relevant here, and that is the diachronic use of space, that is to say, the changes in use of space over time, not only throughout the years but also during different seasons within a year and even across each day. The activity of cooking is highly seasonal, so that cooking mostly takes place in open spaces in the warm months and closed spaces in the cool ones (Kramer in Hardin 2004, 75). This indicates that, when analysing the archaeological record, we should be expecting that indication of cooking may occur in more than one area of the house.

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Storage could take place in either or both the ground floor and upper floor of modern mudbrick houses, but more often than not took place in the first floor. Grain, for example, could be kept in dedicated rooms, or most often in bins and small containers on the first floor or roof terrace. As we mentioned before, evidence for upper storeys is difficult to pin in the archaeological record, but the fact that there is no storage signs in the ground floor does not necessarily indicate Lastly, the study of the modern mudbrick that the house did not have storage ability. houses has revealed that sleeping conditions can be fairly flexible and depend on a series The presence of animals in the house can be of factors. For example, if there are animals or identified from the existence of dung and other possessions to be protected, sleeping manure. However, in the case of mudbrick may move close to those; in addition, houses, care has to be taken as floor and wall depending on the time of the year, sleeping construction techniques make use of animal areas may be shifted within the house in the dung, which may be mistaken as remains of search for cooler or warmer locations. animal keeping (Panagiotakopulu et al 2010, 480). In the modern houses studied, large Practical use of space within houses is thereanimals were kept on the ground floor due fore not as crystal clear as it may seem from to their weight. On the other hand, poultry our Western understanding, and thus the could freely roam around both the ground archaeological record must be approached and the first floor and chicken coops were with an open mind. The location of activities 84


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Panagiotakopulu, E, P. C. Buckland, and B. J. Kemp. “Underneath Ranefer’s floors - urban environments on the desert edge.” Journal of Archaeological Science 37 (2010): 474-481. Peet, T. E. and L. Woolley. Excavations of 1921 and 1922 at El-’Amarneh. London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1923. (Fig. 2 only)

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Modern mudbrick houses provide a fasci- Petrie, W. M. Gizeh and Rifeh. London: School of nating insight into the lives of people in Archaeology [etc.], 1907. rural Egypt nowadays and their choices. This article has aimed to breathe some life Relevant internet links: into archaeological remains of houses by www.amarnaproject.com exploring the vast array of factors which http://www.digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk/house/index.html influence such human choices with regards living spaces. It has sought to emphasise *** that, just as nowadays, houses are dynamic entities which change and adapt to suit the needs of their inhabitants and which reflect their identity. If we find the tools to reproduce that dynamism, we can start sensing in those flat house plans the bubbly noise of the household, the smell of bread making and the bleat of the goat.

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Petrie, W. M. F. Tell el Amarna. London: Methuen & Co., 1894.

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might respond to an array of practical or cultural factors, which are changeable in the short and long term; what factors in particular operate in each case is often obscure to us.

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Bard, K. “The emergence of the Egyptian state (c. 3200-2686 BC).” In The Oxford history of ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. 57-82. Bietak, M. “Urban archaeology and the ‘town problem’.” In Egyptology and the social sciences: five studies. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1979. 95-144. Davies, N. “The town house in ancient Egypt.” Metropolitan Museum of Studies 1, no. 2 (1929): 233-255. (Figures 5 and 8 only). Hardin, J. “Understanding domestic space: an example from Iron Age Tel Halif.” Near Eastern Archaeology 67, no. 2 (2004): 71-83. Kamp, K. “Towards an archaeology of architecture: Clues from a modern Syrian village.” Journal of Anthropological Research 49, no. 4 (1993): 293-317.

Background image: Walls built with pots in Naqada (Upper Egypt). Authors own photograph. 85


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View of the Baga Gazariin Chuluu valley, Middle Gobi desert, Mongolia. Authors own photograph.


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Exploring Pastoral-Nomadic Origins a n d Pop ulatio n Histo r y of the X io ng n u C o n f e d e r a c y o f I r o n A ge M o n go l i a

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By Ryan W. Schmidt, PhD.

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his article discusses the complex history of Mongolia during the Xiongnu Period (209 BCE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2nd Century CE). The origins of the Xiongnu are still relatively unknown to archaeologists. I

describe on-going research of these pastoral nomads and attempt to elucidate questions of their provenience and biological relationships to other groups in the region, specifically to groups in China and Siberia. Current hypotheses suggest a complex population history, and data from bones, genes, and artifacts attest to this complexity. Here, I show that the Xiongnu are not entirely biologically homogenous and are closely related to both nomadic Chinese and Siberian populations.

Introduction When we think of Mongolia most people conjure up images of hordes of warriors on horseback led by Genghis Khan running over the vast steppe of Inner Asia, plummeting and destroying along the way to what would eventually become the largest contiguous land empire in known history. Or conversely, if your mind is more on modern Mongolia, perhaps you think of the vast wealth of unplucked natural resources lying below the surface. Whether we think of the past or the present, there is much that Westerners do not

understand about the country of Mongolia. Bordering several countries (Kazakhstan, China and the Russian Federation), Mongolia is, and always has been, a fascinating place, both in its beauty and its peoples. Of course most people know about Genghis Khan, however, what most do not know is that the land empire created by the Great Khan was fashioned on the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first steppe empire, thousands of years before his existence, during the Iron Age (~ 3rd century BCE). Chinese historians referred to the people who belonged to this culture 87


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The author excavating a Xiongnu burial, Baga Gazariin Chuluu valley, Middle Gobi desert, Mongolia. Authors own photograph.

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as the Xiongnu, who were simply an amalgamation of tribes occupying the vast steppe during this time. The origins of these people and their culture remain largely unexplored among most western researchers. Until recently, only Mongolian, and perhaps some Russian and Chinese researchers, knew of the complex history that is modern Mongolia and modern Mongolian people. This article will explore the origins of the Xiongnu people from an archaeological and anthropological perspective. During the summer of 2008, I had the opportunity to conduct bioarchaeological research as a volunteer with the Center for the Study of Eurasian Nomads, co-directed by Drs. William Honeychurch, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Yale University, and Chuang Amartuvshin, at the Institute of Archaeology, Mongolian Academy of 88

Sciences in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I was also able to work under the guidance of Dr. Russell Nelsen at the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan. Volunteer work consisted of excavation, survey, and osteological analysis of human bones. Dr. Honeychurchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s research into the Xiongnu examines political organization of small-scale pastoral nomadic societies in order to inform our interpretation of political relationships, state organization, and inter-cultural contact of Eurasian peoples. His research attempts to explain how large-scale empires were created and maintained over time, especially in the Andes, Mediterranean, and Southwest Asia, where other pastoral peoples lived. Our work in Mongolia included survey and excavation of an area called Baga Gazariin Chuluu in the middle Gobi desert. We were mapping burial environments of several


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3rd century BCE to 2nd century CE

Turk

6th to 8th centuries CE

Uighur

8th to 9th centuries CE

Khitan

10th to 12th centuries CE

Mongol

13th to 14th centuries CE

Manchu

17th to early 20th centuries CE

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Chronology of steppe polities of Inner Asia.

time periods, including Bronze Age (4th – 2nd centuries BCE), Xiongnu Iron Age, and Medieval period cemeteries dating to the time of Genghis Khan (13th – 14th centuries CE). During my time, I was able to excavate several Xiongnu burials, as well as spend time getting to know my Mongolian colleagues through wrestling and attending the local Naadam festival. The Naadam festival is an annual gathering of Mongolian peoples to witness the “three games of men”, which includes Mongolian wrestling, horseback riding, and archery. Everyone gets to participate, even Westerners

effort to tell a similar complex story about the people who created those artifacts.

Background: Archaeological Evidence of the Xiongnu Prior to the rise of the Mongolian Empire in the 13th century, little is known about the Mongols except there were many warlike tribes occupying present day Mongolia, alternating between large-scale empires and small-scale tribal organizations (Di Cosmo, 2002). The Xiongnu polity is the prototypical example of regional political organization on the northeastern steppe, defined as the territories of Mongolia, South Siberia, and Inner Mongolia. The Xiongnu were a nomadic group contemporary with the Qin (221 – 07 BCE), the Western Han (202 BCE – 8 CE), and the Eastern Han (25 – 220 CE) dynasties of China. The Xiongnu are among the first of many succeeding steppe polities to dominate the large geographic expanse of Inner Asia and specifically to control the core territory of modern day Mongolia.

My time in Mongolia was brief, however, I wanted to know more. Since I was in the infancy of my PhD program, I decided that my dissertation should be based on the Xiongnu nomads. Although archaeologists had been excavating Xiongnu cemeteries for decades, little research was actually done with the human remains themselves. Many of the artifacts suggested a complex network trade with more sedentary peoples, perhaps from as far as the Indus Valley. I wanted to analyze the human remains in an This steppe zone is a diverse environment

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Above: The local Naadam Festival held at Baga Gazariin Chuluu. The national Naadam Festival is held annually in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital during July. In 2010, the festival was listed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO; Below: The author participating in one of the “three games of men” with Galdan Ganbaatar, one of the Mongolian archaeologists on the team. I lost quickly. Authors own photographs. 90


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are normally found in groups, ranging in size from a few burials to hundreds of graves of various sizes.

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Wright et al. (2009) suggest a regional system of hierarchy and political organization as evidenced in the material remains of grave goods found in both smaller cemeteries and lager elite cemeteries. These non-local connections seem to connect inhabitants of smaller settlement sites to a larger system of external decision-making. Grave goods, such as silks, jade items, bronze mirrors and Chinese lacquer indicate a tribute system in payment by Chinese rulers to Xiongnu elite. However, the archaeological evidence also points to a more complex and sophisticated exchange network. For example, at the large elite site of Noyon Uul, material and textual evidence suggest the Xiongnu elite also developed a system of exchange with Bactrian origins in Central Asia (Honeychurch and Amartuvshin, 2006).

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and contains various vegetation, lake and river systems, mountains and deserts. It is in this ecological zone that the Xiongnu people originated, although at its height, the empire is reported to have directly or indirectly controlled territory from Manchuria to Kazakhstan, southern Siberia to Inner Mongolia, and the Tarim Basin of present day Xinjiang Province in western China, home of the Silk Road. Much of what is known archaeologically comes from mortuary research and burial data excavated in Mongolia and the Zabaikalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;e region, located along the Selenge River valley to the shores of Lake Baikal in southern Siberia.

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Although variable, Xiongnu material culture has been radiocarbon dated and a firm chronological framework established. This material culture includes evidence for a complex and large-scale polity of pastoral nomads. Excavation of large cemeteries and settlement sites have shown distinct Xiongnu ceramics, paleobotanical remains, metalwork, and skeletal remains of sheep, An interesting aspect to the archaeological cattle and horses (Wright et al., 2009). research conducted in Mongolia concerns the distinctive mortuary and monumental The Xiongnu burials reveal a hierarchy of transition that occurred during the Eurasian scale and mortuary style and complexity. Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age. During Large, royal Xiongnu tombs were immense this period, Mongolia witnessed the constructions tens of meters square and emergence of three monumental forms deep (Wright, 2006). These types have and features that were associated with been found only at the largest cemeteries. changes in social relations, technologies, The most common grave associated with and the broader socio-political setting Xiongnu material culture are stone ring of the time (Allard and Erdenebaatar, burials between five and ten meters in 2005). These mortuary forms are known as diameter with a central shaft two or more khirigsuurs, slab burials, and Xiongnu ring meters deep at the center, usually containing tombs. Khirigsuurs have been dated to the a wooden or stone coffin, though many of late second and early first millennium BCE, these have been disturbed over the years and are ubiquitous throughout Mongolia, (Wright, 2006). The majority of interments although they are better represented in are adults, with a single individual or the western Altai mountains. Slab burial sometimes double burial. Xiongnu graves assemblages have been stylistically dated

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Above: Slab burial type often seen in the Early Iron Age of Mongolia, dating to approximately 2000 BCE; Below: Stone ring burial type common of the Xiongnu burials excavated at Baga Gazariin Chuluu, Middle Gobi desert, Mongolia. Authors own photographs.

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Molecular biologists have also analyzed the ancient remnants of DNA left behind in some of the larger Xiongnu settlement sites and cemeteries. Keyser-Tracqui et al. (2006) analyzed ancient DNA for a small skeletal sample from Egiin Gol, located in northern Mongolia, and compared it to present-day Mongolian populations located in the same region (along the Selenge River, a main tributary of Lake Baikal), and a small sample of Yakuts, a pastoral people who inhabit areas of the Sakha Republic in eastern Siberia. Their results indicate a close biological relationship among the ancient Egiin Gol sample and modern Mongolian samples, with some

Kim et al. (2010) extracted ancient DNA from three Xiongnu skeletons in the elite cemetery of Duurlig Nars. They found for one male skeleton the presence of a distinct paternal Indo-European lineage known to be associated with the Kurgan expansion model, which explains the origin and eastward migration of Indo-European speaking peoples from the Volga region in modernday central Russia. These findings tentatively support the archaeological evidence for not only material exchange, but also potentially mate exchange between the Xiongnu and Central Asian groups. Interestingly, researchers working in southern Siberia have also found evidence for the Indo-European lineage in a sample of ancient remains from the Krasnoyarsk area of Russia dated from between the middle of the second millennium BCE to the fourth century CE (Keyser et al., 2009). These authors even suggest that this region in south Siberia was predominately settled by Europeans who had blue eyes, fair skin and light hair.

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Background: Molecular and Bioanthropological Studies of the Xiongnu

genetic distance between all the Mongolian samples and the Yakuts.

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According to some authors (Volkov, 1967; Erdenebaatar, 2002), the construction of the khirigsuurs and slab burials were performed by differentiated cultural groups from western and eastern Mongolia, respectively. Slab burials were supposedly left by an indigenous eastern and central group while khirigsuurs are the remnants of an intrusive group from the west with cultural ties to the central Asian kurgan building peoples. The Xiongnu ring tombs are thought to have emerged from the slab burials or were joined within the growing Xiongnu polity (Honeychurch and Amartuvshin, 2006).

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from the terminal second to the mid-first millennium BCE and are more numerous on the eastern plains of Mongolia. Xiongnu ring tombs have been dated to a range between the fourth century BCE to the third century CE and are found in both Mongolia and southern Siberia.

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Ricaut et al. (2011) compared dental traits with genetic data for the Egiin Gol necropolis. Interestingly, their results show that this population was highly homogenous, similar to previous studies (Keyser-Tracqui et al., 2003), indicting the necropolis was occupied by the same people over its continuous five centuries of use (300 BCE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 200 CE). The Egiin Gol necropolis (known as Borkhan Tolgoi) has been extensively investigated (Crubezy et al., 1996; Keyser-Traqui et al., 2003), and contains the skeletal remains of 99 individuals. The necropolis was organized into three main sections (A,B,C) that have been car-

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bon dated. The oldest part of the cemetery is sector A, followed by B and then C. The development of sector C corresponds to the end of the necropolisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s use and appears to reflect a Turkish influence on the Xiongnu. This finding is based on genetic evidence found in present-day Turkish individuals. The Ricaut et al. (2011) study also found a similar distinction in sector C, indicating a possible demographic transition toward the end of the Xiongnu empire.

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Several indicators suggest the cemetery of Borkhan Tolgoi represented only a subset of the Xiongnu community, who appear to have been high-status individuals. These include low-burial frequency, funerary artifacts, elaborate practices, including the use of coffins and chests, and the depth of the graves (two to five meters). The genetic analysis performed by Keyser-Tracqui et al. found that the majority of the Xiongnu mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA, inherted along the maternal line) sequences belong to predominately Asian genetic lineages, however a few belong to predominately European lineages. This would suggest that European and Asian contacts were being made prior to the development of the Xiongnu culture, as seen in other studies (Clisson et al., 2002; Bennett and Kaestle, 2010).

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The Egiin Gol valley also contains sites composed of kurgan-style graves and range in time from the Bronze Age until the period of Genghis Khan. Crubezy et al. (1996) discuss an interesting finding in the Egiin Gol valley related to the practice of kurgan graves. Kurgans (a Russian word for tumuli) are barrows characteristic of a culture arising on the steppes of southern Russia around 5000 BCE and later spread into eastern, central, and northern Europe between 4400 94

and 2800 BCE (Keyser et al., 2009). Most of the kurgan style graves found in the Egiin Gol valley date to the Bronze Age, however Crubezy et al. (1996) describe an isolated kurgan dated to around the 9th century CE, suggesting a Uighur origin. The Uighur empire was founded by a Turkic tribe in 744 CE and fell in 840 CE after its capital in the Orhon valley of Mongolia, fell to a Turkic group of Kirghiz (Crubezy et al., 1996). This finding may be related to those individuals buried in sector C of Borkhan Tolgoi who, genetically, appear to have several paternal genetic signatures linking them to modern Turks. Of importance is the fact that, archaeologically, there is a material and cultural (and perhaps genetic) connection from Bronze Age Mongolia through the Uighur/Turk period, at least for the Egiin Gol valley, and perhaps throughout Mongolia during that period as well.

Testing Xiongnu Origins I tested the null hypothesis that the Xiongnu people were self sustaining and did not interact biologically with other peoples. Therefore we would expect to see biological continuity among Mongolian nomadic groups through various time periods. If this hypothesis is true, then we should see a distinct clustering of Xiongnu with other Mongolian samples. I tested this hypothesis using data taken from the human skull. The human skull has been shown to be a good indicator of group relationships and thus could be used to test Xiongnu relationships to other groups in the region (Relethford, 1994). To test this, I obtained data on many other populations in the regions, including Chinese, Siberian and Central Asian skeletal populations. For more information


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This scatterplot is known as a Principal Components (PC) plot. Here, we see craniometric variation of major geographic human populations with the Mongolian and Xiongnu samples plotting in the upper right quadrant with northern Chinese and southern Siberian groups.

on materials used and analytical methods perhaps the Egiin Gol sample is not entirely employed, see Schmidt (2012). Xiongnu, and those individuals should be considered a part of the Turk (Uighur) Empire that dominated parts of Mongolia Results & Discussion during the 8th and 9th centuries CE. The Initial analysis suggested the Xiongnu were pooled sample shows a clear relationship to not all alike in terms of their cranial variation. both the Mongol period (12-14th centuries) I found that those individuals who came sample and the modern Mongolian sample. from the Egiin Gol cemetery in northern This finding would suggest that at least some Mongolia were much different, and in fact individuals who composed the Xiongnu appeared more closely related to a Bronze steppe polity are connected biologically to Age Mongolian sample (called Chandman) peoples who composed the Mongol Empire and a sample of Mongolian Turks dating under Genghis Khan, and to individuals who to the Uighur period. The Egiin Gol sample now compose the modern nation-state of may represent an isolated element within Mongolia. Xiongnu society, while the other pooled Xiongnu sample may include individuals who When the Xiongnu are compared to a larger composed the majority of its peoples. Or, geographic sample, they clearly located 95


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A PC plot of craniometric variation showing Mongolian and Chinese differences. Here, we see that the Egiin Gol Xiongnu are plotting separately from the pooled samples of other Mongolians. In addition, we see the other pooled Xiongnu sample plotting closer to the Liaoning sample of Xianbei nomads discussed in the text.

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among those groups that have a historical relationship, such as populations from China and Siberia. More interestingly, when the Xiongnu are analyzed separately against some of these other groups, it shows they have close biological and historical connections to nomadic groups in northern China and southern Siberia. For example, when compared to Chinese groups, the Xiongnu are closely connected to a sample from Liaoning province in China, which is composed of nomads known as the Xianbei (206 BCE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 581 CE). The Xianbei were contemporaneous with the Xiongnu and historical records indicate that after the fall of the Xiongnu empire, many individuals joined with the Xianbei.

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The Xiongnu also exhibit some similarity to the Yakut of southern Siberia. The Yakuts (or Sakha as they call themselves) are a Turkicspeaking group with borrowed Mongolic words who reside in the modern republic of Yakutia, an autonomous region in Central and northeastern Siberia that is part of the Russian Federation. They are semi-nomadic cattle and horse breeders surrounded by Tungustic-speaking reindeer herders (known as Evenks and Evens) and huntergatherers. This group has been studied extensively at the molecular level (Zlojutro et al., 2008, 2009), and also at the ancient DNA level (Amory et al., 2006; Ricaut et al., 2006; Crubezy et al., 2010). The evidence from ancient mtDNA suggests the Yakuts


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A PC plot of craniometric variation showing Mongolian and Siberian differences. Here, we see the pooled Xiongnu sample showing some affinity with the Yakut of southern Siberia as discussed in the text.

Xiongnu individuals had shared mtDNA sequences with modern Yakuts. The lack of Y chromosome similarity could be the result of a significant loss of genetic diversity in the Yakuts after their contact with the Mongol Empire, which probably resulted in significant loss of males to the gene pool, or could simply result from other genetic The origin of the Yakut population is more processes. complex. Using ancient DNA taken from the Egiin Gol cemetery, Keyser-Traqui et al. Amory et al. (2006) characterized the (2006) compared modern Yakut DNA with ancient mtDNA of a single Yakut individual the ancient DNA from the Xiongnu. These (dated 2300 years before present) from the authors found no evidence, on the basis of Altai-Baikal region near the Lena River and Y chromosomal analysis (inherited through found the mitochondrial lineage of this the paternal line), for a link between individual matched a woman buried at Egiin Xiongnu and Yakut, however, some of the Gol cemetery. Crubezy et al. (2010) analyzed are closely related to southern Siberian and Central Asian groups, which confirms a southern origin for this group. The timing of their northward migration into presentday Siberia has been suggested as being caused by the expanding Mongol empire (Pakendorf et al., 2006).

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a more extensive sample of Yakuts from the 15th century. They found that the male lineage was composed of a small group of settlers from the Cis-Baikal region and that the maternal lineage was more diverse and composed of groups from different south Siberian origins. My work has shown a direct link between the Yakut and Xiongnu based on craniofacial variability. This evidence highlights an admixture event(s) between peoples now living in central and northeastern Siberia, and the Xiongnu.

others should help shape further research by bioarchaeologists, physical anthropologists, and molecular biologists. The relationship to groups in Siberia may be even more complex, due to the nature of the region of Southern Siberia with numerous and varied cultures and peoples who have passed through there in the last 3000 to 4000 years. On the basis of craniofacial morphology, the Xiongnu may be connected to the Yakuts, though further analysis is certainly warranted.

Conclusion

All of these findings are preliminary. Of course, greater sample sizes are needed, in addition to new methods and hypotheses to be tested. The craniofacial traits represented here may only account for some of the variation seen in these groups. In addition, more analyses using ancient DNA may help clarify issues of origin and demography. For now, it appears the Xiongnu have been more exposed to the analyses of biology and biological anthropology, and we now know more than we did before we started about the origin of this incipient steppe polity.

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In trying to elucidate questions of origin and relationships to surrounding groups of the people who composed the Xiongnu polity, it is rather apparent the complex nature of group dynamics, historical demographic processes, and biological relationships that define the region of Inner Asia. In terms of craniofacial diversity, the Xiongnu people were rather heterogeneous. One segment seems to be an outlier, possibly through cultural isolation, while the other segment seems to integrate into and define a con*** tinuity of populations that have inhabited modern-day Mongolia for at least the last Acknowledgements 2000 plus years. I would like to thank my dissertation advisor, Dr.

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The population history of the Xiongnu is just as complex. When compared to regional skeletal samples, it is not surprising that some of the individuals who were a part of the Xiongnu polity to show a clear biological relationship with groups inhabiting northeastern China and parts of what is today Inner Mongolia. This connection has been well documented by archaeologists working in the region and is similar to what has been proposed elsewhere. The similarities to some groups in China as opposed to 98

Noriko Seguchi, and the many collections managers around the world for allowing access to their skeletal collections. I need to thank Mary-Margaret Murphy for her help with data formatting, and lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Bill Honeychurch for guidance and discussion of hypotheses related to the origins of the Xiongnu people. This work was partially supported through a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (BCS #1028773).

*** Further Reading Allard F.D., & Erdenebaatar D. Khirigsuurs, ritual and mobility in the Bronze Age of Mongolia. Antiquity 79, (2005). 547-563.


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Bennett C.C. & Kaestle F.A. Investigation of ancient DNA from Western Siberia and the Sargat culture. Human Biology 82, (2010). 143-156.

Crubezy E., Amory S., Keyser C., Bouakaze C., Bodner M., Gilbert M., Rock A., Parson W., Alexeev A., & Ludes B. Human evolution in Siberia: from frozen bodies to ancient DNA. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10, (2010). 25. Di Cosmo N. Ancient China and its enemies: The rise of nomadic power in East Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (2010) Erdenebaatar, D. Mongol nutgiin dorvoljin bulsh, khirigsuuriin soel [Slab Burial and Khirigsuur Culture of Mongolia]. Ulaanbaatar: Academy of Sciences. (2002) Honeychurch W. & Amartuvshin C. States on horseback: The rise of Inner Asian confederations and empires. In: Stark M, editor. Archaeology of Asia. Malden (MA) & Oxford: Blackwell. (2006) Keyser C., Bouakaze C., Crubezy E., Nikolaev V.G., Montagnon, Reis T., & Ludes B. Ancient DNA provides new insights into the history of south Siberian Kurgan people. Human Genetics 126, (2009). 395-410. Keyser-Tracqui C., Crubezy E., & Ludes B. Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA analysis of a 2,000-yearold necropolis in the Egyin Gol valley of Mongolia. American Journal of Human Genetics 73, (2003). 247260. Keyser-Tracqui C., Crubezy E., Pamzsav H., Varga T., & Ludes B. Population origins in Mongolia: genetic structure analysis of ancient and modern DNA. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 131, (2006). 272-281.

Relethford J.H. Craniometric variation among modern human populations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, (1994). 53-62. Ricaut F.X., Kolodesnikov S., Keyser-Tracqui C., Alekseev A.N., Crubezy E., & Ludes B. Molecular genetic analysis of 400-year-old human remains found in two Yakut burial sites. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 129, (2006). 55-63. Ricaut F.X., Auriol V., von Cramon-Taubadel N., Keyser C., Murail P., Ludes B., & Crubezy E. Comparison between morphological and genetic data to estimate biological relationships: the case of the Egyin Gol necropolis (Mongolia). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 143, (2011). 355365.

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Crubezy E., Ricaut F.X., Martin H., Erdenebaatar S., Coqueugnot H., Maureille B., & Giscard P.H. Inhumation and cremation in medieval Mongolia: analysis and analogy. Antiquity 80, (2006). 894-905.

Pakendorf B., Novgorodov I.N., Osakovskij V.J., Danilova A.P., Protodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;jakonov A.P., & Stoneking M. Investigating the effects of prehistoric migrations in Siberia: genetic variation and the origins of Yakuts. Human Genetics 120, (2006). 334-353.

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Clisson I., Keyser C., Francfort H.P., Crubezy E., Samashev Z., & Ludes B. Genetic analysis of human remains from a double inhumation in a frozen kurgan in Kazakhstan (Berel site, early 3rd century BC). International Journal of Legal Medicine 116, (2002). 304-308.

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Amory S., Crubezy E., Alekseev A.N., & Ludes B. Early influence of the steppe tribes in the peopling of Siberia. Human Biology 78, (2006). 531-549.

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Schmidt R.W. Unraveling the population history of the Xiongnu to explain molecular and archaeological models of prehistoric Mongolia. Unpublished PhD dissertation: University of Montana. (2012) Volkov, V.V. Bronzovyi i rannii zheleznyi vek severnoi Mongolii [The Bronze and Early Iron Age of Northern Mongolia]. Ulaanbaatar. (1967) Wright J. The adoption of pastoralism in Northeast Asia: monumental transformation in the Egiin Gol valley, Mongolia. Unpublished PhD dissertation: Harvard University. (2006) Wright J., Honeychurch W., Amartuvshin C. The Xiongnu settlements of Egiin Gol, Mongolia. Antiquity 83, (2009). 372-387. Zlojutro M., Tarskaia L.A., Sorensen M., Snodgrass J.J., Leonard W.R., & Crawford M.H. The origins of the Yakut people: evidence from mitochondrial DNA diversity. Int J Human Genetics 8, (2008). 119130. Zlojutro M., Tarskaia L.A., Sorensen M., Snodgrass J.J., Leonard W.R., & Crawford M.H. Coalescent simulations of Yakut mtDNA variation suggest small founding population. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 139, (2009). 474-482. ***

Kim K., Brenner C.H., Mair V.H., Lee K.H., Kim J.H., et al. (17 co-authors). A western Eurasian male is found in 2000-year old elite Xiongnu cemetery in northeast Mongolia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 142, (2010). 429-441.

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A Seer at Aṃbaranātha Śiva Temple: Photgraph courtesy of Rupali Mokashi


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he Śilāhāras of north Kokaṇa originated as a feudal clan of the Rāṣṭrakuṭas (c. 800 CE-1265 CE). Hitherto only five copper plates

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By Shashikant Dhopate and Rupali Mokashi, PhD.

issued by the twelfth Śilāhāra king Chittarāja (1022 CE – 1035

CE) or by his vassals are known and deciphered. V. V. Mirashi compiled them all in his epic volume ‘Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras’ published in the Corpus Inscriptinum Indicarum series in 1977. The recent discovery of the Kalyāṇa grant in May 2012 fills the gap between the ṭhāṇe Copper Plates of king Arikesarī (1017 CE) and the Bhōīghara Plates of king Chittarāja (1024 CE) confirming the fact that Chittarāja had certainly ascended the throne by 1019 CE. The object of the present plates was to record the grant of a village and an orchard by king Chittarāja to a learned Brāhmaṇa of Jāmadagnya Vatsa Gotra called Rāmba Paṃḍita for the performance of religious rites. The details recorded by the grant provide a fascinating glimpse into the socio-religious life and administrative machinery of eleventh century India.

Introduction The police authorities in the city of Kalyāṇa had received complaints about the frequent water meter thefts. In the month of May 2012, during a vigilant search by the police of Kalyāṇa, a set of three copper plates was discovered, held together with the Garuḍa (eagle) seal in a scrap shop owned by Prakash Jain in the city. There were many speculations about these plates in the print and electronic media. It was hastily

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Kalyāṇa Copper Plates of Śi lāhāra K i n g C h i t t a r āja (1019 C E)

reported by them that the plates belonged to the eleventh king of the Śilāhāra dynasty of north Kokaṇa, namely Arikesarī. However our careful study divulged that donations issued by the twelfth Śilāhāra king Chittarāja were in fact inscribed on the set of three plates. Separate weighing of the copper plates was not possible as they were strung together by the Garuḍa (eagle) seal. However, the three plates together with the seal weighed exactly 101


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The Eagle Seal in padmāsana position. Photograph courtesy of Shrikant Joshi.

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5 kilograms and 480 grams. Each plate measured precisely 28.2 cm in length and 22.2 cm in width. The Garuḍa or eagle on the seal is depicted in human form in the seated lotus position ( padmāsana mudrā) with wings spread out.

and Śiva are extolled in the traditional verses. Obeisance is paid to Jīmūtavāhana, the legendary ancestor of this dynasty. Thereafter, the dynastic history of the house of Śilāhāra, from king Kapardī to king Aparājita is described in the standardized style adopted by this family. King Chadvaideva, who is deliberately omitted in subsequent king lists for reasons as yet unknown, does not appear in this record also. Of the thirty-seven verses engraved on all the three plates, fouteen are found on the First Plate.

The first plate is inscribed on the inner side, the second on both sides and the third again on the inner side only. The characters are written in the Nāgarī alphabet and resemble those of the copper-plate grants of the early Śilāhāra kings. The language used throughout is Sanskrit and the text is partly in verse and Second Plate (A) partly prose. Twenty two lines engraved on the second plate. The standard eulogistic portion of the First Plate remaining kings, from king Vajjaḍadeva to The First Plate is in an excellent state of the issuer of the present grant king Chittarāja, preservation and is thus quite legible. A total forms the subject matter of this plate. It is of twenty three lines are engraved on this recorded in the ninth line that ‘though a child, plate. In the first six lines the deities Gaṇeśa king Chittarāja raised the Silāra race to high 102


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Plate 1. Photograph courtesy of Shrikant Joshi.

eminence.’ It therefore indicates that king Chittarāja ascended to the throne at an early age after the untimely death of the preceding ruler, his uncle king Arikesarī. Chittarāja is here praised with the customary royal titles such as Mahāsāmaṃtādhipatī (mighty feudal lord), Tagarapura Parameśvara (lord of the city of Tagara), Sīlāranareṃdra (king of the Śilāhāra), Paścimasamudrādhipati (lord of the western sea, ie., the Arabian Sea), and Tyāgajagajhaṃpyaguṇa (greatest donor).

even life. He further expresses his concern over the neglect that is shown to the felicity of departed ancestors. Second Plate (B) Twenty four lines are engraved on side ‘B’ of the second plate. The importance and the merit derived from the act of charity or dāna, especially the donation of land during the Age of Kalī, is described in detail. The donation was made to grant merit for the parents of the king and for himself. The particulars of the donation, including the date, details of the donee, his expected duties as well as the locations of the villages and the orchards donated to them are then described.

The remaining part of this plate records the arrival of the king and his speech to his loyal subjects. Among the royal retinue accompanying him is Vātsapai, the Chief Minister (Mahāmātya), and Śauṃḍalaiya, the Minister in charge of War and Peace (Mahāsaṃdhīvigrahaka), as well as several Third Plate princes, ministers, governors, chiefs of towns, villages and many others. In his speech, the Twenty two lines are engraved on the third king talks of the futility of wealth, youth and plate. The customary warning to the subjects

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Plate 2-a and 2-b. Photographs courtesy of Shrikant Joshi.

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Plate 3. Photograph courtesy of Shrikant Joshi.

not to encroach upon the donations and the details of the punishments incurred are noted. The name of the scribe is Joūvena, who proudly refers to himself as the nephew of the ‘great poet’ (bhāṃḍāgārasena mahākavī) Mahākavī Nāgalaiya. A study of other copper plates reveals that Joūvena had served as a scribe for not less than thirty six years. The political career of king Chittarāja King Chittarāja was the twelfth ruler of the house of the northern Śilāhāra dynasty. With the help of the known dates it can be said that he ruled from 1019 to 1035CE (1). When Chittarāja ascended the throne, Bhoja the king of Paramāra had occupied northern Kokaṇa for some time. However, Chittarāja soon received possession of it (2). The Kalyāṇa plates also make no mention of the suzerainty of the western Cālukya king Jayasiṃha, who had intended to invade northern Kokaṇa as indicated by the Miraj Plates dated 1024

CE (3). Apparently Chittarāja also withstood the attack of Kadaṃba’s king Ṣaṣṭhadeva during the early part of his reign. King Goṃka of the southern branch of the Śilāhāra did however manage to take Kokaṇa as revealed from his epithet ‘Lord of the mighty Kokaṇa’. Though king Chittarāja addresses himself as mahāmaṃḍaleśvara (mighty feudal lord) in his copper plates, he does not acknowledge suzerainty to any overlord (4). King Chittarāja, Patron of the Arts King Chittarāja was a patron of arts and letters He commenced the construction of the magnificent temple of Śiva at Aṃbaranātha in Thane district. He also sponsored the poet Soḍhḍhala, the author of Udayasuṃdarīkathā (5). First known grant of king Chittarāja Until now, the only known and deciphered plates issued by king Chittarāja or by his vassals 105


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Above: The Aṃbaranātha Śiva Temple; Below: Brahma savitri at Aṃbaranātha Śiva Temple. Photographs courtesy of Rupali Mokashi.

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Above: Śiva killing the Elephant Demon (Gajāṃtaka Śiva) at Aṃbaranātha Śiva Temple; Below: An architect at Aṃbaranātha Śiva Temple. Photgraphs courtesy of Rupali Mokashi.

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Geographical description of the village donated Talāikāgrāma (Village)

Deīkṣetra (Sacred area of the Goddess)

Kokumvadabhūgrāma (Village)

Silāvalīgrāma (Village)

Maniregrāma (Village) Geographical description of the orchard donated Lālā (ṇāṇā) Bhivāna taḍāga (Lake of Nana Bhivana)

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Gurugutuvihārikā pratitatvā ārāma (Orchard next to one owned by a monastery)

Mādha(vavai)dya ārāma (Orchard of Mādhav, the physician) Above: The various villages mentioned to specify the location of Kokumvadah grāma that Rāmba Paṃḍita received as a grant. The village was situated in Cemulya Digbhāga and Pāṇāḍa Viṣaya (districts) which can be successfully identified as Chaul and Poyanāḍa in the Raygad District, 111 km away from Mumbai. However none of the villages can be satisfactorily identified today. Below: The various orchards, lake and vihārarikā (monastery) mentioned to specify the location of Kavalīpāṭaka ārāma, the orchard donated to Rāmba Paṃḍita. None of these landmarks can be satisfactorily identified today.

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Mālī māmāsakt ārāma Kavalīpāṭakaārāma (Orchard next to one (Orchard called Kavalīpāṭaka) owned by a gardener called Mālī Māmā)

were five in number: the Bhōīghara Plates (1024 CE) (6), the Bhāṃḍūpa Plates (1026 CE) (7), the Dive Āgara Plates (1027 CE) (8), the Berlin Museum Plates (1034 CE) (9) and the 108

Ciṃcaṇī Plates (1034 CE) (10). The Kalyāṇa Plates, which date to 1019 CE, are thus the earliest plates issued by king Chittarāja that we are aware of (11). The present grant fills


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Map from the Corpus Inscriptinum Indicarum showing find spots of Śilāhāra inscriptions After Mirashi, 1977. 109


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the gap between the sole Thāṇe Copper Plates of king Arikesarī (12) and the Bhōīghara Plates of king Chittarāja, confirming the fact that he definitely had ascended the throne by 1019 CE. The missing link

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The history of the Śilāhāra dynasty is mostly gleaned through the compilation of epigraphs by V. V. Mirashi in the epic volume Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras published in the Corpus Inscriptinum Indicarum series in 1977. Thereafter, only two records have been deciphered by the co-author of the present article, Mr. Shashikant Dhopate (13). As such the surprising discovery of the present plates is of immense historical importance. At this juncture, remarks made by Mirashi about a missing Śilāhāra Copper Plate that had eluded historians need to be taken note of. Gen. Carnac has remarked in the first volume of his Asiatic Researches published in 1787 that, while digging for some works in the Thane Fort, two sets of copper plates were discovered (14). One of these, which belonged to king Arikesarī (1017 CE), was immediately deciphered and published in the same volume. However, Carnac is silent about the details and whereabouts of the second set of plates. There is a gap of only two years in the issuance of king Arikesarī’s plates (1017 CE) and the present grant of king Chittarāja (1019 CE). An english translation of king Arikesarī’s plates is provided by Gen. Caranc together with a facsimile of only first plate. At present these plates are untraceable. Considering the short time gap and the repetition of some verses, it may be assumed that the missing plates mentioned by Gen. Carnac are those discussed here. 110

Purpose and date of the Kalyāṇa Plates The purpose of the present plates was to record the grant of a village and orchard by Śilāhāra’s king Chittarāja to the learned Brāhmaṇa Rāmba Paṃḍita of Jāmadagnya Vatsa Gotra, son of Rupamaiya. On the occasion of the lunar eclipse that occurred on the fifteenth tithī of the bright fortnight of Kārtika, in the cyclic year (Saṃvatsara) of Siddhārtha, he journeyed from the city of Karahāṭaka (Karhāḍa) to Śrī Sthānakapattana (Thāṇe) to receive the aforementioned grant. The grant itself not only provided the donee with the necessary resources to perform obligatory and occasional religious rites, including the study and teaching of the sacred texts, but also for the general maintenance of his family. However, a closer study reveals an error in this record. The lunar eclipse in fact occurred during the full moon of the month of Aśvina and not Kaārtika as stated in this grant, and which corresponds to Thursday, the 17th of September, 1019 CE. Similar errors have been observed in earlier grants given by Chittarājar and its existence in the Kalyāṇa Plates constitutes further proof of their authenticity (15). Supplementary Notes Unfortunately some of the words in Lines 1013 on Plate 2b have been badly effaced. It is very important to note that the same verse was engraved only in the Thane Plates of King Arikesarī. It’s very strange that in 1876, when Gen. Carnac published the Thane Plates in the Asiatic Researches (Vol. I) as provided by Ramlochan Pandit, he included the following English translation of these verses: ... the moon then being full and eclipsed, I having bathed in the opposite sea resembling the girdles round the waist of the female Earth, tinged with a variety of rays like many


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1  Mirashi V.V. [Ed], Corpus Inscriptinum Indicarum, Vol. VI, Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras, pub., The Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, (1977). The first known date of Thāṇe Plates of King Nāgārjuna is 1039 CE, pp. 75-82. 2  ibid, Bēṭamā Plates indicate this fact. p. XIII 3  ibid p. XIII 4  ibid p. 26, 34 and 42. The Śilāhāra of North Kokaṇa had acknowledged their obeisance to the Rāṣṭrakuṭa kings from whom they received the feudal lordship up until the time of king Aparājita. His gratitude was so deep that king Aparājita in his Jaṃjirā (1 and 2) and Bhādāna copper plates expressed deep remorse on the decline of the Rāṣṭrakuṭa dynasty. No records of Vajjaḍadeva are available. As such we cannot comment as to whether he continued obeisance to the Rāṣṭrakuṭa kings. However, this long tradition had come to an end by the time of the ṭhāṇe plates of king Arikesarī (1017 CE). Though he claims to be ‘mahāmaṃḍaleśvara’ like his predecessors, there is no mention of the western Cālukya dynasty that had usurped power from the Rāṣṭrakuṭa kings during the reign of king Tailapa. A similar silence on the matter was adopted by his nephew and successor king Chittarāja. 5  ibid, p. XIV 6  ibid, pp. 274-279 7  ibid, pp. 54-60 8  ibid, pp. 60-64 9  ibid, pp. 64-71 10 ibid, pp. 71-75 11 Only one copper plate of the preceding king and uncle of king Chittarāja, namely king Arikesarī alias Keśideva I, dating to 1017 CE is available. 12 J. Carnac, An Indian grant of land found at Tanna, Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1787, pp. 357367. 13 A new Copper Plate Grant of Śilāhāra Mallikārjuna and New Grant of Śilāhāra Mahākumāra Keśideva, pp. 190-200, Maid Arun [Ed.], Kalākaustubha, 2010. 14. Carnac, op cit, pp .357-367 15 Mirashi, op cit, p., 55 A solar eclipse has been wrongly mentioned on Kṣaya Saṃvatsara Kārtika śuddha Paurṇimā.

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On Plate 2a, line 13, we found that two new titles have been used for the King, namely sarohaṃsa (f lamingo bird in the pool) and jagadaṃḍagajānkuśa (‘an elephant hook’ in the forehead of the world). These titles were probably used for the preceding King Arīkesarī in the Thane Grant. As the original text is not available we have to rely once again on Mirashi’s English translation: “The English translation”, says Mirashi, “has ‘an elephant hook’ in the forehead of the world, pleased with increasing vice a f lamingo bird in the pool decked with f lowers like those in paradise’. Nothing corresponding exactly to this occurs in any Śilāhāra grants.” With the discovery of the present plates we have been able confirm the usage of the titles sarohaṃsa and jagadaṃḍagajānkuśa in the Śilāhāra grants for the first time. ***

References

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However, Mirashi does not include them in his translation in the Corpus Inscriptinum Indicarum. He remarked in the footnote: ‘Nothing like this occurs in any Śilāhāra grant.’ The facsimile of only first plate of Arikesarī’s grant was available in the Asiatic Researches. As such Mirashi translated the remaining part based on the English translation. He relied heavily on the standardized verses of the preceding Śilāhāra Copper Plates, and thus concluded that such verses would not have been engraved on the copper plates of King Arikesarī. There is no important historical data included. However, the discovery of these plates not only enabled the exact reading but also proved the historicity of these verses is beyond doubt.

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exceedingly bright rubies, pearls and other gems with water whose mud was become musk through the frequent bathing of the fragrant bosom beautiful goddesses rising up after having dived in it ...

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Anomalies in the Social Norm A description of battle graves and execution graves in the british archaeological record By Amy Talbot B.A. Introduction: Deposit or Burial? Certain intentional deposits of human remains have nothing to do with burial. (Duday,2006: 30)

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his votive statement from Henri Duday creates a new atmosphere in the archaeological funerary record, the idea that there is a difference between a human burial and a human deposit, where we can take that a human deposit is a corpse that has been place in the ground with intention, as opposed to a traditional burial. This then looks at the idea of a “deviant burial” or a “burial anomaly” as burials that do not fit the norm (Cherryson 2008). As Duday goes on to explain, a burial is prepared for the deceased through preparation and treatment, deliberate positioning of the body and some form of funerary material (Duday 2006). Anglo-Saxon burials from the seventh century onwards, for example, were placed in the ground in a certain position, with the The main Anglo-Saxon peoples in about 600 CE, heads oriented West-East (Cherryson 2008). divided into Bede’s three traditional groupings But what of those burials placed in battle although the reality may have been more complex. Credit: Wiki Commons. or execution cemeteries? Is this not a social 112


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Marker stones from the Street House Anglo-Saxon cemetery near Loftus, North Yorkshire. Credit: Wiki Commons.

burial norm as well? To explain fully what a “burial anomaly” or “deviant burial” is, I will classify in this paper social norms and complexity regarding different burial-types in Anglo-Saxon England from the seventh century onwards.

Normal type of burial vs a “deviant burial” The term deviant is applied to burials not accorded whatever mortuary rites deemed appropriate and acceptable by contempory society. (Cherryson: 119) Defining a “deviant burial” in the archaeological record is crucial to funerary research in order to identify the difference between the social norm and the social exiles of the funerary record. The example I will be using focuses on the seventh century (Cherryson 2008) Anglo-Saxon period as urban social

complexity (Reynolds 2009) developed after this date, potentially tied with the spread of Christianity throughout the country. It was around this period that burials had a designated space within the community, focussing around the churchyard and the social laws that governed a churchyard burial, in obeisance to the new church laws (Reynolds 2009). This, then, from the seventh century onwards had become the designated “norm” and anyone outside of a churchyard burial was seen as “deviant” (Cherryson 2008). The Anglo-Saxon churchyard norm is pointedly marked in the burial record. In the fifth and sixth centuries, only a third of burials had their heads oriented to the west, while by the seventh century over half of the burials were placed with their head facing west (Cherryson 2008; Reynolds 2009). Supine inhumation was the normal burial position 113


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Representation of a house on the walls of Theban tomb 254 New Kingdom (c. 1550-1069 BCE). Credit: Davies 1929, 242.

also, where the body was placed horizontally, facing up, with arms down by the sides (Reynolds 2009). The rite of cremation had by and large ceased by this period, except for a few that have been found in Hamwic, now modern day Southampton on the south coast (Hadley 2000). The custom of furnished graves had likewise more or less ceased by the close of the seventh century (Reynolds 2009). Christianity, therefore, appears to have been a primary (Cherryson 2008), though perhaps not the only, influence for the development of a social norm in the burial record.

(Reynolds 2009), face down, with the head not necessarily pointing west as dictated by Christian convention. Other indicators include decapitations, forced limb removal (i.e. not from taphonomic indicators such as animal interference), tied hands and crouched and flexed burials (Reynolds 2009). Going upon a very basic definition therefore of a “deviant burial” in the Anglo-Saxon record, we may conclude that it is a burial made outside of the seventh century social norm of the churchyard burial following the Christian Conversion and lasting until the late medieval period (Cherryson 2008).

Consequently “deviant burials” in the AngloSaxon record can be safely assumed to be those buried outside of a churchyard, whether as individuals or in a multiple interment (Reynolds 2009). Typically, these burials are in the so-called “prone position”

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Left: An example of a Supine burial [Credit: E.T. Leeds, 1940]; Right: An example of a Prone burial. Credit: Wessex Archaeology.

a defined location, normally that of a battle site unsurprisingly enough. Often, findings such as armaments, clothing and personal artefacts will still be with the burials (Ucko 1969), unless they were taken by the winning side. Essentially, warriors buried in a normal cemetery will have been buried by their own side regardless of who won the battle, while the mass graves can either be placed by compatriots on the losing side quickly clearing the scene, or by the winning side (Reynolds 2009). Often the bodies will have osteological indicators of a battle or trauma inflicted, such as cut marks and blade injuries. One

such example is that of an adult male from the sixth century found at Puddlehill who evidently died from a savage sword cut to the mastoid process below and behind the left ear (Reynolds 2009). In St Andrews Fishergate, York, the remains of twenty-nine individuals were found in graves arranged in rows, indicating compatriot burial. Dating to the eleventh century, all had signs of major blade injuries to the head, back, upper arms and legs (Reynolds 2009). Arguably the best known examples of battle graves in England are those dating from from the English civil war found at Towton in North Yorkshire 115


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An example of a blade injury to the skull from the battle of Towton. Credit: Badford University.

(Hayman and Reynolds 2005). Though not Given that warfare is generally a last minute Anglo-Saxon, they are worth including here resort (Armit 2011), the inevitable conclusion for reference purposes. when all other avenues have failed, battle graves are fairly rare but easily identifiable A working definition of battle graves as in the archaeological record. They constitute “deviant burials” can thus be summed-up as a “deviant” or “anomalous” burial-type from follows: the conversion to Christianity onwards, though they do not particularly appear • Deliberate pre-determined location until later medieval periods, potentially • Contempory pit dug with the development of social ownership • Organised burial, normally with the as social complexity grew within the towns bodies in the same orientation and cities (Hadley 2000). Most battle graves are the products of conflicts that have been • Males aged 18-35 fought with invaders, such as the Viking • Similar trauma patterns. raids of the eleventh century and so are also 116


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Example of a burial with tied hands Credit: geograph.org.uk.

prominent in the historical record (Hadley 2000). As battle graves are a widespread phenomenon in any society, it is interesting to look at outside examples. For example in Celtiberian warfare, the bodies were normally left exposed to be taken by carrion birds (Armit 2011).

Execution graves and social outcasts The main defining point in an execution cemetery as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;deviant burialâ&#x20AC;? is the deliberate location set out for the grave with some form of symbolism given to the place. By the tenth century special burial locations for criminals and social outcasts were common, like that at Stockbridge Down in Southern England (Cherryson 2008; Gilchrist and Sloane 2005; Hayman and Reynolds 2005). Social outcasts were normally individuals with a criminal status, and in Anglo-Saxon terms they were often those who rejected the teaching and status of the church as the focal point of the community. The location for the execution

burials were typically placed upon barrows, linear earthworks and boundaries between defined counties (Gilchrist and Sloane 2005; Hayman and Reynolds 2005). At a large execution cemetery recently excavated at 42-54 London Road in Staines, for instance, the boundary was a Roman road as well as a County border with Surrey 880m SW of Staines (Hayman and Reynolds, 2005). Here thirty skeletons were found in twenty-six graves, of which sixteen have been certainly identified as executions, showing signs of decapitations, multiple burials, facedown and hands tied behind backs. Skeleton S227 from grave 227, for example, was found lying prone with the head end pointing north, while the skull was placed beside the pelvis. A large angled chop mark to the left side of the second cervical vertebral axis, as well as on the mandible, is a clear sign of execution damage. There is also circumstantial evidence the ankles may have been tied. In another decapitated execution burial, skeleton S454 from grave 454, the skull was placed between the ankles, with the rest of 117


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Example of a decapitation with the skull placed by the feet from Romano-British burial site in Great Ellingham, Norfolk dated to the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Credit: Chris Birks Archaeology.

the skeleton lying on the front. This prone positioning indicates a shame and fear of the dead. It should be noted, however, that, the principal mode of execution in the seventh century was hanging, the tell-tale signs of which are Peri-mortem fractures of the cervical vertebra or crushing of the hyroid. Shallow and cramped graves were also common, indicating that very little time and care was placed on the burial of the 118

deceased. Of course, it was not just seventh century Anglo-Saxons who defined social outcasts, According to Peter Ucko (1969) African ethnography shows social outcast categories of lepers, battle victims, disease victims, witches, murderers and suicide victims. This list over-laps greatly with the brief list compiled here of â&#x20AC;&#x153;deviant burialsâ&#x20AC;?. So it appears that the idea of social outcasts is as much an ethnographic and anthropo-


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Hadley D, The northern Danelaw: its social structure c. 800-110 AD (studies in the early history of Britain) Leicester university press, Leicester, 2000 Hayman G and Reynolds A, “A Saxon and Saxon Norman Execution cemetery at 42-54 London Road, Staines” Archaeological Journal 162:215-255, London: Royal Archaeological Institute 2005 Reynolds A, “Burials, Bodies, and Beheadings: Interpretation and Discovery”: 34, Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009 Ucko P, Ethnography and archaeological interpretation of funerary remains, World Archaeology, Vol 1: 2, 262280, 1969

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And so it appears that early medieval Christians died well in accordance with the ritual surrounding the church, which appears to have been the focal centre of Anglo-Saxon society (Gilchrist and Sloane 2005). At the same time, however, a certain mythological dimension is also evident in these beliefs. The placing of criminals and execution victims on the boundaries between counties (Cherryson 2008; Hadley 2000), for example, meant that these social outcasts became undead (Gilchrist and Sloane 2005) and could never enter the concept of heaven (Ucko 1969). By the tenth century specially designated burial grounds for social outcasts had been laid, whereas boundary burials ceased to exist by the eleventh century (Gilchrist and Sloane 2005). During the mid-fourteenth century a set of guidelines had been drafted by the church that defined both a “good person” and “good conduct” (Gilchrist and Sloane 2005). The topic of early medieval Anglo-

Gilchrist R and Sloane B, Sacred and social topographies: the location of burial, requiem, the medieval monastic cemetery in Britain: 56-77, London: museum of Archaeology, 2005

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Murphy E, Deviant Burial in the Archaeological record, Oxbow: Oxford, 2008

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logical question as it is an archaeological Saxon “deviant burials” therefore touches upon a broad range of subjects ranging one. from social and town planning norms, to A brief list of definitions for execution graves the more spiritual and religious side of early as a “deviant burial” process can thus be medieval Britain. summed-up as follows: *** • Deliberate location by the community Further Reading • Pattern of similar trauma, for example Armit I, Violence and Society in the Deep Human Past, neck and spinal injuries from hanging British Journal of Criminology, 51:499-517, 2011 • Deliberate grave placement Duday H, L’ Archaeothanatologie ou l’ archaeologie • Mainly male, however age is rarely de la mort (Archaeothanatology or the Archaeology of below 18 years death)30-56: Translated by C. Knusel, Gowland R and C Knusel: Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains, Oxbow: • No religious differences, often those Oxford 2006 being executed were criminals and Cherryson A, chapter 77: “Normal deviant and a typical: therefore ostracised from the church Burial variation in Late Saxon Wessex CE 700-1100”: 115• Circumstantial evidence, such as tied 130 hands.


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Depiction of a death-head skull from Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh. Authors own photograph


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urial grounds have been fashioned as much by the people who founded and used them, as by the buildings, gravestones and other features which they contain. Graveyards can also be

used as records of social change, the symbols engraved upon individual memorials convey a sense of peoples inherent belief systems, as they were constructed, adapted or abandoned depending on peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needs. Their stones tell of the extraordinary events that once shaped the community as a whole and provide a rare insight into the small details of daily life long since gone.

For my first foray as a contributor to this journal I have chosen to take the reader on a rather personal journey and petition your indulgence for but a moment. For some years, due to a serious health issue, I found myself unable to travel to Egypt, in order to pursue my PhD research, and subsequently chose to locate to the wilds of Scotland to recuperate. I was well aware of the vast richness of Scottish archaeology yet, with a heavy heart, I felt these intervening years would be both a professional and personal

low-point for me. Oh how wrong could I be! For it soon became apparent that my new world was full of archaeological wonderment in the guise of local burial grounds and graveyards. I shall kerb my zeal somewhat but suffice to say I became enchanted, some may argue a little obsessed, with graveyards and their inherent symbolism and I soon found my days consumed by a wide variety of death-skulls, memento mori imagery, totemic emblems and the ambiguously entitled â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;pirates graveyardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;! But prior to 121


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sharing such delights with you, it would be commemoration, a location for people to appropriate to commence with a brief over- celebrate with the community and to trade view of Scottish graveyards. their wares. A remnant of these times, a large flat stone, can be seen in the burial ground of Dornoch Cathedral. Named the ‘Plaiden An Introduction to Scottish Ell’ this stone is not a marker for the dead but Graveyards an old medieval measuring device. An ‘ell’ Before I start I would just like to clarify is an ancient Scottish unit of measurement that the ancient term ‘burial ground’ for cloth, equating to approximately ninetyand ‘graveyard’ are interchangeable in three centimetres in modern terms. The Scotland, I will use both expressions, with word ‘plaiden’ means blanket in Scottish the former still officially used to this day Gaelic but refers to any form of cloth-like in more rural parts of Scotland rather than material, even tartan. This stone would have its more modern counterpart ‘cemetery’. been used by market traders to lay out the One major difference between Scottish cloth and then measure and cut the material burial grounds and those found in other accordingly. parts of the United Kingdom is that those in Scotland have very little allegiance to the Weapons’ training was also a common Church. People’s loyalties rested with the occurrence within selected burial grounds. ancient ‘Clan’ system, a traditional form of A surviving fifteenth-century charter recomancestral identity, together with wealthy mends that regular archery practice should lairds and their associative farms. It is, be undertaken in specific parish graveyards. therefore, not uncommon to find many of A closer examination of any individual Scotland’s history makers lying side by side church tower from this period may show with common folk. Graveyards were of vital the marks left by bowmen as they often economic importance to the Church though sharpened their arrows upon the stone. This as they allowed a clergyman to supplement was followed by further legislation in the his meagre earnings through the provision late sixteenth-century, when the Scottish of grazing rights, activities such as bee- Parliament ordered that a show of weapons, keeping and by offering a basic medical the ‘wappanshaw’, must take place in all service to the local population. The Church parish graveyards four times a year. Another was also expected to act as the local jail: feature would be the provision of specific the Presbytery had the power to mete out areas set aside for victims of disease. From punishment for parish misdemeanours, and the fourteenth to the eighteenth century, an Act of Parliament in 1593 decreed that Scotland was blighted by many forms of all parish churches must have a set of iron plague and vast numbers of the population ‘jougs’, a hefty chain with a collar used for perished. With little or no time for individual memorials, mass graves were dug and the punishment. recently deceased hurriedly buried to avoid From the medieval period onwards, many contamination. of Scotland’s parish graveyards were used to host markets and fairs, a tradition that From the early nineteenth century onwards continued well into the nineteenth-century. a new sinister presence would overshadow They were as much a place for recreation as many Scottish graveyards in the shape 122


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Recumbent grave slab depicting symbol of mortality in the shape of raised skull and crossbones from Kirkmichael, Resolis. Authors own photograph

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Plaiden Ell stone for measuring cloth, Dornoch Cathedral. Authors own photograph


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William Burke and William Hare, body snatchers extraordinaire Credit: Wiki Commons.

William Burke and William Hare, whose story has since been made into a Hollywood movie starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis. In 1828 Burke and Hare were charged with the murder of sixteen individuals in the West Port district of Edinburgh. They were tried, found guilty and later executed for their crimes, yet during the court hearings it emerged that Burke and Hare were, in fact, obtaining corpses for Dr Robert Knox, an Edinburgh based anatomist of considerable reputation and an extra-mural lecturer at the Edinburgh Medical School. Although Burke claimed, during his interrogation, that Knox knew nothing about how the bodies were obtained, and Knox was never charged with complicity if any of the murders, the public and press still believed Knox was guilty through association. It is perhaps ironic that from their rather gruesome method of killing the word “burking” arises, meanThe most famous example of body-snatching ing to smother and compress the chest of is that of two Irish immigrants named a murder victim. Understandably, Scotland

of ‘resurrectionists’ or ‘body-snatchers’. As medical science began to flourish the demand for cadavers increased sharply, the primary source of specimens stemming from recently executed criminals. But with the reduction in the number of executions being carried out, the demand for fresh bodies would soon outstrip supply. With too few corpses available by legal means, it was only a matter of time before criminal elements began excavating the recently deceased and selling them on to willing doctors for lucrative pay-offs. The universally renowned Edinburgh Medical School was a primary culprit and relied increasingly on body-snatchers for a steady supply of “anatomical subjects”. With such tempting financial inducements, the illegal trade continued to grow and before long graverobbery would turn to murder.

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Full skeleton on Kildrummy graveslab, Aberdeenshire. Authors own photograph.


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and wheat-sheaf would show the interred was a local farmer. These particular grave markers offer an important and poignant insight into the daily life of ordinary Scottish folk as many of the tools found carved upon the stone are no longer in use today, they can be only found in museums across Scotland.

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Mortality Symbolism

Kirkmichael, Resolis

Mortality images have been carved on gravestones in Scotland since the medieval period, from around 1100 AD, with emblems representing a belief that the soul would rise and live on in heaven as well as reminders of how short this mortal life could be. Representations of ‘memento mori’, meaning ‘remember your mortality’, would take on many forms, from a simple skull surrounded by angel’s wings, often referred to as a death-head, to the full regalia of mortality images, such as the skull and crossbones, the hourglass, representing the sands of time, the trumpet, to announce the day of judgement and one’s arrival into heaven, death bells, the coffin and a shovel or spade, to represent the gravediggers tools. There were no set rules or guidelines to the number of symbolic images people could use. It was simply a matter of choice, though particular individuals within the community would take advantage of this rather liberal attitude to commemoration, as illustrated in this delightful example from Kildrummy Kirk burial ground, Aberdeenshire, who I have affectionately nicknamed ‘Hamish’.

Returning to the individual nature of this critique, I would like to illustrate the diversity of mortality symbolism by presenting a traditional Scottish burial ground, namely Kirkmichael in the northern Highland parish of Resolis. The reason I have chosen this particular example is threefold: firstly, it has a wealth of mortality symbolism, some of which are unique to the region; secondly, it contains a wide variety of grave markers: the mausoleum, the recumbent slab, or flatstone, the table slab, mural or wall plate and headstone and finally, it is a rare example of a rural working burial ground, still used by the surrounding hamlets and villages today, with over five hundred years

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From the late seventeenth-century to the early eighteenth-century, craftsmen would often portray their own trade insignia upon their graves, side by side with mortality images. For example, images of weaving tools would indicate the recently deceased was possibly a weaver, or a farmers scythe

Map of Scotland with the parish of Resolis highlighted. Credit: Wiki Commons. 127

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was horrified, the fear of body snatching was widespread and many parish graveyards were forced to invest money into structures like mort-safes, mort-houses and watch-houses to protect fresh graves from the heinous activities of unscrupulous body snatchers.


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The remains of Kirkmichael, Resolis with surrounding burial ground. Authors own photograph. 129


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Recumbent slab with an inscribed face complete with curly wig, Kirkmichel, Resolis. Authors own photograph.

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of continuous use.

beneath the turf. The remains of Kirkmichael are oriented east to west, and consist of an unroofed chancel, measuring 5.8m by 5.4m externally with walls 0.7m wide, and a nave. The two sections of the church are used as burial aisles for the high-ranking members of the local Clans; the ‘chancel’ is the mausoleum of the powerful Urquhart family of Braelangwell and the Gordons and Shaw Mackenzies of Newhall whilst the once roofed central portion, the ‘nave’, is a private burial place for the Gunn Munros of Poyntzfield.

The site of Kirkmichael can be found in the parish of Resolis on the Black Isle, just to the north-east of Inverness, and consists of a partially ruined church dating to possibly the fifteenth or sixteenth century. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, as are many of the surrounding grave slabs, and comprises the foundations of a preReformation church, a medieval chancel, an early nave/mausoleum and the associated graveyard. To the west lies the remains of an earlier church site and evidence of a rough rubble wall with a round arch tomb recess The first structure you see upon entering perhaps of sixteenth century origin. The the burial ground is the striking mausoleum, base of the west gable wall is still evident situated to the south of the church. It was 130


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McCulloch recumbent grave slab dating to 1725 rich with images of mortality, Kirchmichael, Resolis. Authors own photograph. 131


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built in the seventeenth century by William Grant of Ardoch for his first wife Florence Dunbar and it is constructed from a series of pink sandstone blocks, measuring 3.85m in length, 2.47m high, together with exquisite stone balusters. The entranceway is capped by a pyramid shaped lintel, 1.34m in length, 0.45m high, depicting a large skull and cross bones motif in raised relief. Below are engraved the names of both husband and wife. On the back wall is mounted a grey schist plaque complete with the Dunbar family crest carved with later mortality images of crowns and flowers together with a totemic stags head in the centre. Animal images such as stags and boars have been found on other grave markers within the parish area, no doubt a throwback to the previous Pictish age, and were common heraldic features used by Scottish clans. To the west of the mausoleum, surrounding the church, are a number of early medieval recumbent/flatstone slabs. The oldest ones are situated in close proximity to the church walls and are protected by law. At present they are not on display and now lie below the turf to offer protection from both the elements and the harmful actions of man. A few are accessible to the public and remain in a remarkable state of preservation for their age. I have chosen three varied samples for your appreciation. The first consists of a grey sandstone recumbent slab dating to 1725, 1.80m in length, 0.71m wide, with an inscription around the perimeter and a wealth of memento mori imagery inside. The upper register consists of a raised plaque, inside which is a small shield with the letters ‘H JJ’ and ‘MC MC Y’, on either side. The historical records show that the MC initials belong to the local Maculloch family. Below this are carved a death-bell, an hour glass and a coffin, underneath which is a one132

sided spade together with a full set of skull and crossbones. The second example, also a recumbent slab, is 1.50m in length, 0.55m wide and depicts rather unusual imagery in the shape of an incised face complete with curly wig, possibly resembling some form of skull. Another example from Kirkmichael, now below ground, also has a similar face cut into the stone, complete with curly wig two dots for eyes and a primitive triangular nose. The reasoning behind this symbolism is unknown, especially to the significance of the curly wig, but it may represent a form of rudimentary portraiture, the families of the deceased seeking a reminder of their loved ones when they were alive. The final example of a recumbent slab has not survived the ravages of time well. Measuring approximately 1.65m in length and 0.65m wide, it depicts an ornate medieval cross with a central boss, the stem of the cross arises from the top of a Calvary stepped base, complete with a floret head flanked by two swords. The sword on the left has a straight blade and on either side of the handle, above the quillions, is carved the letters R and E. The sword on the right has a wide swelling on the blade near the handle and on either side are engraved the letters C and E. It is not known to whom these letters refer to. Although the symbolism is in a poor state of preservation, we can still gain an understanding of its splendour by looking at a similar example from Kirkmichael’s sister burial ground, Cullicudden, seven miles to the west. In both examples the meaning behind the symbolism is uncertain, although the application of such burial motifs would only be used by prominent members of the community. Perhaps the sword and cross indicates the presence of high-ranking


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Above: Unusual grave symbolism depicting ornate medieval cross flanked by two swords, Kirkmichael, Resolis Authors own photograph; Below: Grave marker from Cullicudden burial ground depicting medieval ornate cross and swords. Photograph Andrew Dowsett.

warrior elite or even an ecclesiastical topped by an hour glass, representing the association. It is possible there may even be sands of time, and two equal pairs of skull a masonic link. and crossbones on either side. Above this emanates two stone pillars, running the Moving inside the church, the medieval length of the middle register, thought to chancel contains a number of important wall represent the pillars of Solomon. Each pillar plaques, the largest and most ostentatious terminates with a winged cherub between example belongs to William Urquhart of which lies a startling three-dimensional Braelangwell Dating to 1708, it is carved skeleton. The wall mural terminates at from pink sandstone, measuring a full 1.73m the top with a semi-circle of sandstone in length, 0.94m wide, and combines both depicting the Urquhart coats of arms, on mortality symbols together with biblical either side of the crest is a trumpet baring imagery. The bottom register contains the angel, possibly representing the Archangel usual memento mori, with a skull in the centre Michael, blowing a trumpet for the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;day of 133


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Wall mural rich with mortality symbolism, Kirkmichael, Resolis. Authors own photograph


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Willsher, Betty. 1998. Scottish Epitaphs and Images, Canongate Books Ltd. Willsher, Betty. 2005. Understanding Scottish Graveyards, NMSE. ***

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From 1640 onwards upright head stones first start to appear in Scottish graveyards and quickly became a popular alternative to recumbent slabs. Smaller in nature and cheaper to produce, a greater number of ordinary people could now afford to erect a memorial to themselves and their families. With a limited surface area for mortality carvings, as time passed the older memento mori symbols became no longer fashionable. Christian imagery would take their place in the form of flowers, foliage, anchors, symbolising hope, and doves, symbolising peace, followed by emblems drawing on a Classical past, such as draped urns and weeping women. With the rapid

Turnball, Michael. 2008. Edinburgh Graveyard Guide, Scottish Cultural Press.

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The End of the Road

Mackay, Jim. 2006. Resolis: Guide to a Black Isle Parish, Kirkmichael Trust.

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judgement’. The inscription is faded but it is growth of towns and cities, many local just possible to make out the following: burial grounds faced a series problem with overcrowding. As a consequence countless Thy dead man shall live/together with my were closed, replaced by the more familiar dead bodie shall they arise/Awake and public cemeteries we see today. It may not sing ye that dwell in dust/surely he shall surprise you to hear that I am not a huge fan no [.......?]oved for ever the/righteous shall of these new regimented cemeteries, with [.....?] remembrance. their rows of sombre, impersonal graves expressing little or no individuality. Why The material presented here gives a brief some even resemble botanical gardens, insight into the varied symbols of mortality complete with pathways, fountains and found on display in old burial grounds. It is maintained grounds! Me, I would plump a pity that nowadays such a rich expression for an old-fashioned death-skull over a of death is disappearing at an alarming strategically placed shrub any day……. rate, as grave-slabs and memorials become weathered, eroded or damaged by invading *** plant matter. Throughout the world there are Further Reading many well-meaning individuals and groups who are devoting their efforts to recording Alston, David. 1999. Ross and Cromarty: A Historical what has survived and I urge anyone with Guide, Birlinn United (1999) a few spare moments to explore their own Evans, Lorraine. 2013. Symbols of Mortality, local graveyard. It is an enjoyable distraction, Leafblade Press (In Print) which requires no formal archaeological qualifications, and you may just become a Historic Scotland. 2005. Researching Your Graveyard, Edinburgh. smitten.


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Dinosaurs on Ice

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A Review of Arc tic and

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Antarc tic Dinos aur s By Tristan Stock

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inosaurs are often thought to have lived in warmweather environments, like swamps and tropical forests, and for a long time these were the only places where

we found their fossils. However, recent discoveries over the last 20 years have proven this false, and revealed that dinosaurs were not just limited to the warm-weather world of the Equator. Fossils of dinosaurs have been turning up in the most unlikely of places, from the frigid cold of Alaskaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s North Slope, to coastal Mountains of Antarctica. What were these animals doing in what are today the harshest environments on Earth? And how on Earth did they survive in such unforgiving conditions?

Alaska 70 million years ago would have been deep within the Arctic Circle, giving the dinosaurs living there, like Troodon, a brilliant view of the northern lights. Scientists are unsure if the Troodon fossils from Alaska represent a new species or genus of dinosaur unique to this region. Original artwork by Julio Lacerda 137


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uring the first half of the 20th century, paleontologists used dinosaur fossils as indicators of a warm, tropical environment, and wherever you found a fossil of one, it meant that the environment it lived in must have been warm. After all, these were giant lizards, and probably could not survive the harsh, cold-weather conditions of the Arctic. Or could they? This idea was finally challenged by American paleontologist John Ostrom in 1970, who found this theory to be no longer viable. Evidence suggested that some of the dinosaurs actually lived in very cold, polar climates, and he discussed the fossils in a series of papers that inspired the Dinosaur Renaissance, where Ostrom suggested that dinosaurs were not ectotherms (coldblooded) like lizards and crocodiles, but more like endothermic (warm-blooded) mammals and birds. The Dinosaur Renaissance inspired many new paleontologists to try to find more of these animals. In the last few decades alone, the number of fossils uncovered from these localities has increased tenfold, and continue to be an area of active study (Brett-Surman et. al. 2012).

Reconstructed head of Cryolophosaurus ellioti. Credit: Wiki Commons.

The Crested Killer of Antarctica: The First of the Polar Saurians One of the most famous examples of a polar dinosaur was uncovered in 1991 on Mount Kirkpatrick in the Transantarctic Mountains. It was a large theropod, or meateating dinosaur, that lived during the early Jurassic about 190 million years ago, and was later given the name Cryolophosaurus ellioti, or â&#x20AC;&#x153;Frozen Crested Lizard,â&#x20AC;? for the large crest over its eyes and the frigid cold of the Antarctic conditions. While originally thought to be a very primitive tetanuran (an advanced form of theropod) related to T-rex and Allosaurus, further studies suggested it to be a close relative of other crested theropods, such as Dilophosaurus (Smith et. al. 2007).

Scientists have debated for years about just how these animals could survive in such an unforgiving environment. Ostromâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s now well-accepted theory that these animals were endothermic still does not fully explain how some of these animals were able to survive up to five months of total darkness and temperatures below freezing. However, many new theories have been presented with new finds to back them up, and suggest that dinosaurs had a range of survival strategies Unlike every other known crested theroagainst the frigid cold. pod, however, the crest of Cryolophosaurus 138


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Fossilized skull of Cryolophosaurus ellioti. Adapted from Wiki Commons.

was unique, as it did not run midline along the snout. Instead it ran across the skull and curved forward, leading to the dinosaurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nickname of Elvisaurus, as the crest resembled the legendary musicianâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pompadour. The crest is thought to have been used in visual or mating displays, much like the tail of a peacock, and suggests an active lifestyle. Future expeditions to the same bone bed unearthed another dinosaur named Glacialisaurus, which was a primitive sauropodomorph related to the giant Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus. It is quite likely that Glacialisaurus was what Cryolophosaurus ate for lunch. Other animals found include an unidentified small ornithischian (plant-eating dinosaur), another smaller theropod, a synapsid (small mammal-like reptile), and a pterosaur (Smith

et. al. 2007). The presence of these animals seems to be a surprise considering the frigid cold of Antarctica today, but back during the early Jurassic, Antarctica was further north. Many of the animals living along the edges of this continent would be walking through temperate forests that rarely dipped below freezing. However, colder conditions likely existed further inland, and it is quite possible that winds may have pushed occasional snow towards the coastal systems. So far, we have few details on how Antarctic dinosaurs would have survived these occasional cold snaps, but it is quite likely that soft anatomy like integument and fat or behavioral adaptations like migrating may well have helped some of these animals survive. 139


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to the Asian Gallimimus, on the basis of only two fossil femurs (one adult and one juvenile). However, a recent analysis of the two femurs found the adult to be a valid Tyrannosauroid, related to the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex (although they could not identify the juvenile as being the same). Another famous fossil from the cove was a toe bone thought to belong to an Allosaurus relative, but careful analysis found the bone to resemble the recently discovered Australian theropod Australovenator, and could be a closely related species, if not the same (Benson et. al. 2012).

Other than some fossil footprints recently discovered in Alaska and some fragmentary remains unearthed in Russia, not many other locations from the Jurassic period have provided evidence of polar dinosaurs. This quickly changes when we get to the Cretaceous period, however, when an explosion in dinosaur diversity occurs, and the number of polar species rises dramatically. Australia has been providing a large number of polar specimens over the last few years, and is proving to have a rich history, most of which is being uncovered in a fossil location Over the years, many other polar dinosaur called Dinosaur Cove (Agnolin et. al. 2010). remains have been unearthed in Victoria. 106 million years ago, Victoria, Australia Numerous small carnivores that may was within the Antarctic Circle, and experi- belong to both the ceratosauridae and enced conditions even more extreme than Celurosauria (Benson et. al. 2012), a number Antarctica millions of years earlier. Despite of small herbivores that range from gazellethis, scientists have identified a very large like ornithopods to primitive ankylosaurs number of animals from this region, mostly (Agnolin et. al. 2010), and the recent disthanks to Paleontologist couple Thomas covery of an isolated vertebra suggest and Patricia Rich, who conducted expedi- the presence of a spinosaur (Benson et. al. tions at the site and unearthed a number 2012). Given that all of these diverse families of species in the 1980s and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;90s. Their two of dinosaurs are present points toward a most famous finds are Timimus hermani and thriving existence in this polar ecosystem. Leaellynasaura amicagraphica, which were But how did they survive so well? Unlike named after their son and daughter Tim and Antarctica, some studies have found that Leaellyn (Agnolin et. al. 2010). the global environment during the earlier part of the Cretaceous was very cold, and Leaellynasaura was a small, bipedal herbivo- some mountainous areas had large, alpine rous dinosaur of unknown relations. At first glaciers. Southern Australia at the time was it was classified as a primitive ornithopod, within the Antarctic Circle and was situated related to the European Hypsolophodon, but in a thick polar forest, and Victorian dinomore recent studies suggest it might be a saurs would have experienced almost five more basal ornithischian. Some scientists months of constant darkness along with this think it could even be related to armored dreadful cold (Brett-Surman et. al. 2012). dinosaurs like Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus, despite not resembling either in overall Unlike Antarctica however, many of the body shape or form (Agnolin et. al. 2010). animals found in Victoria are thought to have Timimus was originally classified as an been too small to have made long treks to ornithomimid, or ostrich dinosaur related escape the dark of winter, and the discovery 140


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Map showing all the fossil sites mentioned. There are many more polar sites known to paleontologists, but most are poorly documented at present. Credit: Tristan Stock.

of burrows in the area suggest many of the creatures were year-round residents (BrettSurman et. al. 2012), so migration seems unlikely. The presence of burrows might suggest the possibility of hibernation, the state in which animals slow down their metabolism to survive hard times. However, a recent study of the bone microstructure in these animals finds no evidence of hibernation (Woodward 2011), and not a single dinosaur species (polar or not) has yet been found with the well-developed zonal bone that results from hibernation (Brett-Surman et. al. 2012). These observations suggest that the animals stayed active throughout winter, as many had already suggested based on other studies. A previous study of the braincase of Leaellynasaura found enlarged optic lobes, which suggests great vision, possibly to help it see during the prolonged darkness (Holtz 2007). The discovery of integument and

feathers on related species in China suggests many of these animals could keep themselves warm through insulation. The spinosaur is quite possibly the most surprising animal present, and is quite extraordinary, since all of its relatives lived in warm, tropical wetlands and mangrove forests. How it was able to survive in this area is a mystery we cannot yet solve.

Rich New Species of Alaska and Russia After the early Cretaceous, evidence suggests a significant warming of the planet had begun. Increased volcanic activity caused a greenhouse effect that warmed the atmosphere and, as a result, glaciers receded, and dinosaurs became accustomed to a much warmer, tropical climate (Brett-Surman et. al. 2012). However, this does not mean that all the ice was gone from the landscape. There were still some places in the far north where the conditions were still very cold, and some 141


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Australia 106 million years ago experiences a blizzard, with a Leaellynasaura amicagraphica shown with hypothetical body fluff based on current knowledge of related dinosaur covering. Although it is not shown in the image or mentioned in the article, Leaellynasaura is well-known among paleontologists due to its incredibly long tail, which is close to three times the length of its body. Original artwork by Julio Lacerda. 143


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dinosaurs took up residence there.

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One notable geological area that has produced dinosaur fossils is Prince Creek Formation in Alaska, which has provided a number of species over the years. Prince Creek dates back to the earlier part of the Maastrichtian stage, a mere five million years before the extinction of the dinosaurs. The environment seems to be large, boreal forest with conifers and woody angiosperms present that may have benefited from the constant daylight of summer, and while not as cold and harsh as Australia, the region would have still experienced four months of winter darkness. During this winter, however, the oceans surrounding Alaska stayed rather warm from ocean currents coming from the Equator. This caused precipitation to rise up in the form of clouds, which in turn would have blown inland to create snowstorms and blizzards (Brett-Surman et. al. 2012). Animals living here include Troodon, which is famously one of the most intelligent dinosaurs so far known (although it was still only as smart as an emu); Edmontosaurus, a large hadrosaur or duck-billed dinosaur; a new species of Pachyrhinosaurus, named Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum, was a ceratopsian related to Triceratops, but with a flat, bony knob on its skull instead of horns; and Alaskacephale, a pachycephalosaurid with a thick dome above its skull. Other fossils have also shown the possible presence of dromeosaurs, tyrannosaurs (Fiorillo, 2001), and small ornithopods (Brown 2011). Like Australia, these fossils provide evidence of a rich ecosystem, but the animals themselves have also revealed proof of a number of evolutionary methods for surviving in these conditions.

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Although Troodon has only been identified in Alaska by its teeth, it fossil is among the most informative of the creatures studied, and by the sheer number of teeth recovered it seems to be the most abundant theropod in the area. Many scientists believe that this is due to its extremely large eyes, which dwarf most other dinosaurs of a similar size. These eyes may have given Troodon good night vision, making it easier for it to forage and hunt during the long, polar night. However, the teeth found in the Alaskan Troodon tell another story: they can be up to twice as large as the teeth of Troodon further south, and suggest animals twice as large. When coupled with the fact that we often find their teeth and bite marks on the bones of herbivores from the area, as opposed to the apparent lack of bite marks on herbivores further south, this suggests these animals were major predators in the Alaskan ecosystem, exploiting the long winter darkness and turning it into an advantage while hunting fairly large prey. (Brett-Surman 2012) Still more animals have yielded other significant data about the ecosystem at the time. Fossils belonging to Edmontosaurus have also been found in Alaska, including those of young juveniles, and suggest the area was a nursery during the summer months. Scientists originally believed that after reproducing and feeding on the abundant food in summer, the animals might then migrate south away from the pole in an annual trek of almost 1,600 miles. However, although a study in 2008 found that it was possible for Edmontosaurus to make such a journey, recent analysis of bone microstructure in the Alaskan fossils shows it is more likely that they overwintered in the region. Juvenile Edmontosaurus would also not be


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There was, however, one last place that provided Artic dinosaur fossils at the very end of the Cretaceous. New Zealand has a very poor record of dinosaur fossils: the entire paleontological record of land vertebrates from the Mesozoic consists of about nine bones (eight are from the late Cretaceous and one is from the Jurassic), but evidence suggests that these animals were unique. Back in the Cretaceous, New Zealand was not a relatively small island like it is today, it was a continent known as Zealandia, about half the size of Australia, and nestled deep within the Antarctic Circle.

It is strange to think that the last polar dinosaurs lived in New Zealand, and the very first of an iconic group of polar birds also seems to have evolved here. The very first fossil penguin, Waimanu manneringi, called Zealandia home about 60 million years ago, five million years after the extinction of its ancestors, the dinosaurs (Brett-Surman 2012). Since then, penguins have been an extremely successful group of flightless birds, surviving in cold waters around the southern hemisphere, swimming with their highly evolved wings as flippers. Five species nest in the Antarctic itself and the most famous of these birds, the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), experiences some of the harshest conditions of any vertebrate on the planet, and can dive to a depth of 1,600 ft (Francis 2011). These penguins are the living polar dinosaurs of our time.

Despite almost 20 years of work, scientists still do not have all the answers as to how these animals were so successful in these polar forests, and most people still do not realize that dinosaurs extended to the The very few fossils found from the island ends of the Earth during their reign as rul-

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have shown the presence of a large theropod, titanosaur sauropods (long-necked dinosaurs from the age), an ornithischian and an ankylosaur that might be related to the Australian Minmi. These animals, unlike all of the previous creatures mentioned, were completely isolated in this polar region, and even if they did migrate, they were unable to leave the island continent to get away from the harsh cold of winter. How did they survive? The fossils are so fragmentary that we really do not know, but they probably had evolved sophisticated ways to do so that we will one day understand.

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Alaska has not been the only place to provide fossils of Arctic animals from the end of the Cretaceous; Russia has also provided us a site called Kakanaut in Northeastern Siberia. It has yet to provide any new species, and what has been learned of the fauna is mostly known from isolated teeth, but identification of these teeth suggests these creatures may be related to Alaskan animals, suggesting a possibility the two regions were connected back in the Cretaceous. It has also provided eggshell fragments, a finding which reveals some of the creatures were reproducing in this environment, again, as in Alaska (Godefroit, 2009).

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able to make such a journey, since they were too small. Perhaps this would encourage the adults of this genus to stay north to protect their young during the winter frost, and from predators that might pose a threat to them (Brett-Surman 2012).

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Alaska 70 million years ago nears the end of the dark winter and the start of an endless summer, with a Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum wandering away from its herd in order to view the new landscape. In these constantly changing environs, many dinosaurs did not reach old age, and Pachyrhinosaurus individuals found in these places are thought to have had an average lifespan of less than 20 years. Original artwork by Julio Lacerda. 147


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ers of our planet. These animals were quite capable of withstanding conditions that would kill most other creatures, and still do today in the form of their descendants, the birds. The Arctic and Antarctic remain largely unexplored, so every time a paleontological expedition visits Antarctica, they return with new fossils to share with the world. The only positive impact global warming will make on our planet might just be the melting of the polar icecaps covering the rocks in which these fossils are deeply buried, bringing new species of dinosaurs to light for the first time in recorded history. Acknowledgements:

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Lisa Agabian – Editing & Proofreading Further Reading

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Agnolin, Federico L., Martín D. Ezcurra, Diego F. Pais, and Steven W. Salisbury, “A reappraisal of the Cretaceous non-avian dinosaur faunas from Australia and New Zealand: Evidence for their Gondwanan affinities.” Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 8 (2), (2010), 257–300 Benson, R.B.J., T.H. Rich, P. Vickers-Rich, M. Hall, “Theropod Fauna from Southern Australia Indicates High Polar Diversity and Climate-Driven Dinosaur Provinciality,” PLoS ONE, 7 (5), (2012). doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0037122 Brett-Surman, M. K., Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., James O. Farlow. The Complete Dinosaur: Second Edition. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. (2012) Brown, Caleb M. and Patrick Druckenmiller. “Basal ornithopod (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) teeth from the Prince Creek Formation (early Maastrichtian) of Alaska,” Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 48 (9), (2011). 1342-1354. Fiorillo, A. R., and R. A. Gangloff. “Theropod Teeth from the Prince Creek Formation (Cretaceous) of Northern Alaska, with Speculations on Arctic Dinosaur Paleoecology,” Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 20 (4), (2001). 675-682.

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Francis, Peter, ed. Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide (Audubon). New York, NY: Metro Books, a division of Sterling Publishing. (2011) Godefroit, Pascal, and Lina Golovneva, Sergei Shchepetov, Géraldine Garcia, Pavel Alekseev. “The last polar dinosaurs: high diversity of latest Cretaceous arctic dinosaurs in Russia,” Naturwissenschaften, 96, (2009). 495–501. Holtz, Jr., Thomas R. Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-To-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages. New York: Random House. (2007) Smith, N.D., P.J. Makovicky, W.R. Hammer, and P. J. Currie, “Osteology of Cryolophosaurus ellioti (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Early Jurassic of Antarctica and implications for early theropod evolution,” Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 151, (2007): 377–421. doi: 10.1111/j.10963642.2007.00325.x Smith, N. D., P. J. Makovicky, D. Pol, W. R. Hammer, and P. J. Currie, “The Dinosaurs of the Early Jurassic Hanson Formation of the Central Transantarctic Mountains: Phylogenetic Review and Synthesis,” U.S. Geological Survey and The National Academies, Short Research Paper 003, (2007) doi:10.3133/of20071047.srp003. Woodward H.N., T.H. Rich, A. Chinsamy, P. VickersRich “Growth Dynamics of Australia’s Polar Dinosaurs,” PLoS ONE, 6 (8), (2012). doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0023339 Websites “Tracking Alaska’s Jurassic Dinosaurs,” University of Alaska, Museum of the North, accessed November 14, 2012, http://www.uaf.edu/museum/info/press/ spotlight/dinoprints/ Tyrannosaur Chronicles, The. New Zealand Fossils, accessed November 23, 2012. http://traumador. blogspot.com/2011/01/new-zealand-fossils.html

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The first penguin Waimanu manneringi from New Zealand. These early penguins, instead of resembling the typical, upright, tuxedo-wearing birds we all know and love, would have looked like today’s loons. Recent fossil evidence also suggests that penguins likely had more varied types of coloration in the past, as opposed to the largely monochromatic animals alive today. Adapted from Wiki Commons.


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Fortress of Maiolo. Authors own photograph.

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MINERVA CULTURAL ASSOCIATION CULTURAL HERITAGE ONLINE

The project “Digital Archaeological Heritage” was born from the desire to promote the use of new technologies related to the use of GIS and the Internet, in the management and enhancement of the world’s cultural heritage, making sure that each page of the platform could be shared by users via the major and most common social networks.

What is desired is a free format that can be used by any kind of organization, whether public or private, for the management of data related to the total assets. The same tool can then be used in the various stages that follow one another during the study Our association began by carrying out and promotion of an archaeological excavadifferent projects of cultural valorization: tion and its finds. the Fortress of Maiolo (RN), the Roman Villa of Lido Silvana (TA) and the town of The idea is based on sharing and promoting Poggio San Marcello (AN); later on we set archaeological, historical, artistic and culup a theatrical performance entitled “The tural activities in general, as we believe that penultimate dinner” at Novafeltria (RN), the work done by our nation, in promoting and we recently organized a 3D Laboratory cultural heritage and broadcasting scientific course for Archaeology. data is insufficient or precarious. In fact, the State and the Superintendence, which in Italy In recent times, however, our interest has has the Constitutional duty to protect and firmly focused on the “Cultural Heritage” enhance the heritage of the nation, seems project (2). On the 20th November of 2012, in too protectionist in the data collection; this fact, a platform which goes under this name approach leads to a very low chance in the was established: a beta version in which it’s search for reliable comparisons and thus to possible to develop the many possibilities the impossibility to develop and promote for the management and spreading of infor- cultural heritage. mation, relating to cultural heritage. 151

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he Minerva Cultural Association was founded in 2010 by a group of students, Dr. Tommaso Saccone (President), Dr. Roberta Vico (Vice President) and Dr. Cristiana Margherita (Treasurer), of the Faculty of Conservation of Cultural Heritage of Ravenna - Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, and aims to promote an actual culture of respect for nature, art, history and traditions of Italy and to protect our heritage that is not only a fundamental part of our roots and identity, but also one of the largest resource of our State (1).

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By Dr. Cristiana Margherita and Dr. Tommaso Saccone


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Above: Arc on the beach of Lido Silvana in Pulsano; Below: Tanks for cleaning the fish on the beach of Lido Silvana in Pulsano. Credit: Ivano Morelli.

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Above: The first parish church, in Poggio St. Marcello, dedicated to St. Marcello, now abandoned and desecrated; Below: Mustiola, one of the first medieval church of Poggio St. Marcello, now collapsed and no longer visible. Authors own photographs.

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Exercise of the 3D lab in archaeology: Teodorico’s Mausoleum. Authors own photograph.

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The platform provides, in this early stage, three key challenges: the archaeological management, the historical-artistic one and the sustainable exploitation of architectural works.

At the time, eight points of Interest are inserted; each one is connected with an article containing: descriptions, graphics pads, photo galleries and multimedia files.

All these web pages will be accessible with The first test, currently underway, is the a Smart-Phone with QR codes that will be documentation acquired by the Minerva placed outside of the buildings to which Cultural Association during the course of they relate. the project for the “Valuation of Cultural Heritage of Poggio San Marcello (AN)” (3). Thanks to the interest shown by Professor Maurizio Tosi, Professor of the University of Points of Interest relating to the heritage Bologna, it was possible to take into account site of Poggio San Marcello, were placed the archaeological excavation of Ra’s alon a satellite map and enriched with infor- Hamra (4), in the Sultanate of Oman, and to mation about every historical building and consider the possibility of developing both archaeological evidence, thus sharing texts, the archaeological and the historical-artistic. but also photo galleries, surveying and all the documentation on ceramic materials The Italian Archaeological Mission has been found during the cleaning of the Cave of the present in the Sultanate of Oman since 1970 Crypt of St. Nicolò of Bari and the Cave of and aims to study the prehistoric cultures of the fishermen who had exploited the coastal the Ex clinic. 154


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Points of Interest of Poggio St. Marcello. Credit: Google Earth.

environment of the Arabian Sea. In recent years, thanks to the Ministry of Heritage and Culture of Oman, researchers are bringing to light the remains of the ancient settlement and cemetery called RH-5 located in Raâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s alHamra (Muscat), dating from the end of the fifth to the end of the fourth millennium BCE.

platform it will be possible to create digital publications at low cost.

From this time on the income from these publications can be divided into four parts, equally distributed: one fourth to the authors, one fourth to the accredited institution that developed the publication, one fourth to support the platform itself The district of Qurum Muscat is one of the and the last fourth will be invested to create most exclusive areas of the Sultanateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new useful work for the same institution. capital, not only from a tourism - residential point of view, but also from an environmen- In this way publishing will be affordable and worthwhile again and it may be possible to tal and archaeological interest. overcome the contemporary state of pubThe artefacts found during excavation or lishersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; speculation and monopoly. preserved in museums and research institutions will be indexed in special databases The structure of the computing platform has containing information relating to the type been designed with CSM through which the of material: size, weight, photographs, de- various accredited institutions will be able to sign and accessibility. In addition informa- add and edit information about new works tion about the studies performed on each of cultural heritage management or cultural material, any restoration work and the name related events. of the people engaged in these operations We made a different database for each type will be reported in the database. of information (stratigraphic units, individuAfter completing the excavation and the als, material, fauna, museum collections) as analysis of the documentation, through the each data that was analyzed had different 155


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The Cave of the Crypt of St. Nicolò of Bari in Poggio St. Marcello. Authors own photograph.


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The second group of works has been set following the archaeological record of Ra’s al Hamra (RH5) and the Burnt Palace Shahr-i Sokhta (SIS-BB). The archaeological record is displayed using Web GIS systems, which will allow us to relate to each other’s topographic data, descriptive ones, those photographers.

Secondly, the platform is intended for all those visiting a city, willing to have the opportunity to learn in detail what they are seeing: the platform will allow them to access a range of digital contents such as Virtual Tours, audio guides and catalogs in high definition accessible using a standard smart-phone.

Once the data of all the archaeological work, carried out by Professor Maurizio Tosi, will be inserted into the system, the user will be able to put them in relation to other user’s databases, and through the use of common databases it will be possible to identify similar characteristics between each site rising new possibility of research and investigation.

In order to reach the international community, databases related to the archaeological field, are compiled and displayed in English, while databases regarding historical-artistic material and information as well as the development of architectural works, will be displayed both in English and Italian.

Also this administration system will be available for any organization that wishes to use it for the management of archaeological information.

It was possible to introduce, within the platform, the personal archives of Professor Maurizio Tosi, composed of all the archaeological and cultural information that he has been collecting in the course of his career. The archive is essentially composed of three nucleus: the extracts, the documentation of the excavation, the stock of photographs and archaeological papers (5).

The third core is built around the photographic and archaeological papers acquired during the mission study and excavation in the Sultanate of Oman, the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian Peninsula in general. The aim is to relate each group of photos with the location where they were taken, using google maps as a cartographic base, getting as many points of interest as you have in the recognitions and excavations. The scanning of the photographs were acquired in good quality, 1600 DPI, and then reduced. So a new page for each point of interest is created and shared, each page enriched not only by photographic material but also by report and any digging or multimedia material that has been collected over time.

The nucleus of the extract was subjected to a first division between originals and copies. The first, the orginals, about 1000, will be soon acquired in a digital format, and organized in a database containing all the in- Through the use of digital systems it will be formation for the search: Author, Title, Year able to eliminate the “papery” cost of traof Publication, Retrieved from and theme, ditional archiving, a first step to reduce the 157

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The target to which the project addresses to is primarily made up of experts in the field of cultural heritage, who, through the use of the platform “Cultural Heritage” will increase the quality and possibilities of research: finding new and more effective option in the management of documentation and, using digital publications, will produce a constant return of image.

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high costs of traditional archiving.

This tool is so versatile that it can be used all over the world.

The platform “Cultural Heritage” has also been designed for the museums, where it’s *** possible to create catalogs in high definition, entering galleries, presenting descrip- Notes/References tive work, comparisons, bibliography and (1) http://asscultminerva.altervista.org/ any 3D reconstruction. (2) http://www.heritageonline.it/

Thanks to the possibilities offered by 3D modelling and Virtual Tours, museums could expand their showcase consistently: this will give visitors the opportunity to access objects and works of art that for whatever reason are not accessible and the museum would get a very important image.

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Through the platform “Cultural Heritage” accredited museums will be allowed to sell their catalogs and tickets and also to offer commercial discounts. With regard to the promotion of the architectural works we have designed a format, accessible to any accredited municipality or local authority which will bring about a real journey through the sights of the city, where every building will be put in relation with a QR code, so that visitors can access with any device enabled and can connect directly to the web page of the platform “Cultural Heritage”. At this moment in the platform, there is a specific page about the work of the Minerva Cultural Association, in which all the material related to 3D Modelling Laboratory for Archaeology was added (6), while the rest of the material above descripted is, little by little, being acquired. The development of the platform was not intended for a specific place or institution, but specifically designed for the types of data that, in 2013, characterize the communication of cultural heritage. 158

(3) The Project Valuation of Cultural Heritage of Poggio San Marcello (AN) was founded in 2012 by the Cultural Association Minerva, under the scientific direction of Dr. Enrico Ravaioli and sponsored by the town of Poggio San Marcello and the Diocese of Jesi (http://heritageonline.altervista. org/progetti/poggio-san-marcello-an/). (4) http://heritageonline.altervista.org/it/archiviotosi/archivio-prof-tosi-fotografie-e-papersarcheologici/oman/lisola-archeologica-di-ras-alhamra/ (5) http://heritageonline.altervista.org/it/archiviotosi/ (6) The Laboratory of 3D Modeling for Archaeology is a project started in November 2012. The course is taught by Dr. Massimiliano Montanari and was built under the patronage of the Municipality of Ravenna and the seat Arci the same city (http:// heritageonline.altervista.org/progetti/laboratorio3d/). ***


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The excavation site at Sant Llorenรง de Montgai. Credit: ArchaeoBarcelona.


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ArchaeoBarcelona Field School Program — 2013 —

ArchaeoBarcelona have an agreement with two research teams. CEIPAC (University of Barcelona) studies the trade routes during the Roman imperial period and has the most extended database of amphorae and trade routes worldwide. They also work with CEPAPUAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) which studies the last testimonies of Neanderthal in Southern Europe. The program Barcelona-La Roca dels Bous is part of the European project POCTEFA, which involves three countries: Spain, France and Andorra.

Program language: English

ArchaeoBarcelona is a non-profit and nongovernmental institution that reinvest the benefits in the programs they work with and in archaeological research. These programs are focused on two blocks: the excavations and all that entails, and in the cultural

ArchaeoBarcelona have two missions. On the one hand, it endeavors to protect and promote some of the most important sites and projects in Europe and raise awareness about archaeology. On the other hand, they work to give the best experience possible to people who join their programs in all archaeological aspects and the cultural areas in which they take place. Detailed information about ArchaeoBarcelona progams 2013 is available on the website: www. archaeobarcelona.com. Program location: Barcelona and St Llorenç de Montgai, SPAIN

Historical periods covered by the programs: Middle Paleolithic, Neanderthals (around 50.000 BCE). This program is divided into two parts. In the first one the people will carry out archaeological work in Sant Llorenç de Montgai (close to Spanish Pyrenees), and the second one takes place in Barcelona. Participants will spend the first 13 days at the archaeological site of La Roca dels Bous, which is a Middle Paleolithic site located in Sant Llorenç de Montgai in Pre-Pyrenees, Spain. There they will excavate stratigraphic levels from 50,000 years ago in which we hope to find the remains left by the last southern European 161

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knowledge and heritage of an important city of the Mediterranean. In this way the programs provide the participant with the most complete experience they may find.

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ArchaeoBarcelona International Archaeology has released its new programs for 2013 and the application process is now open. These educative programs are created to give the opportunity to people around the world to participate in some of the most important excavations and cities in Europe. You can practice archaeology; get in touch with the most innovative technology in archaeology around Europe; assemblage of pottery shards; learn all the theory concerning the world of archaeology and the periods under study from professors; and visit one of the most important cultural capitals in Europe as well: Barcelona. They work jointly with the University of Barcelona and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and their research teams. Academic credits may be granted, each institution has their own policy so we shall mediate with the university in each particular case.


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Neanderthals. The Pre-Pyrenees were inhabited by sedentary groups of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. Because of dramatic changes in subsistence and social organization, a colder climate and a poor ability to adapt to these changes Neanderthals quickly disappeared not only in the Pre-Pyrenees but also rapidly went extinct across Europe during the Paleolithic. The South East Pyrenees have a rich archaeological heritage, with settlements ranging from the Middle Paleolithic to the late Neolithic. This site is part of the European project called POCTEFA, a partnership between the countries of Spain, France and Andorra, seeking to provide highly valuable information on the latest evidence for Neanderthal in this area and the reason for their sudden disappearance. Sant Llorenç de Montgai is the first archaeological site in Spain that has been turned into a museum exhibition with digital technology. Using an iPad you can take an interactive tour through videos, photos and 3D applications. Furthermore, the exact location of the findings is mapped via laser triangulation to provide an unparalleled experience. The site utilizes advanced technology, not found at most other excavations. In the last two years the project has developed a digital system to classify the pieces found innovative worldwide exclusively for this site. This reduces the labeling time by half and the error rate from 40% to 1%. The novelty also lies in incorporating data-matrix codes that, by collecting information on site with a handheld device, allows you to have control of the artifacts and access to more information available in the network. The methodology used in La Roca dels Bous is starting to be adapted to other archaeological investigations across Europe. Participants will learn to use these new innovative technologies.

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You will participate and learn by joining the research group CEPAP in all phases of an archaeological excavation, including artifact recovery (lithic and bone), cataloging, cleaning and restoration. You also will calculate the depth of deposition levels and take the pictures. You will spend the morning working in the field, while in the afternoon you will conduct lab work. There will be a few days during the program where participants will attend seminars given by professors of the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona. A few meters from the site is the Archaeological Park where there are replicas of our ancestors’ huts and their interiors, providing a glimpse of their quotidian lifestyle. It is a great example of experimental archaeology. The next 4 days participants will travel to BARCELONA and carry out different cultural tours around the city. Barcelona has a very ancient history and the city has much to offer. The following tours will be conducted: Archaeological Tour, Museum Tour and the Monuments and Modernist Tour (where you will can see Park Güell or la Sagrada Familia of the famous architect Gaudí. Dates: 16 June – 3 July, 2013 Academic credits can be granted, each institution has its own policy so we mediate with the university in each particular case. The application form can be found and submitted on-line: www.archaeobarcelona.com


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