Aegean civilization

Aegean civilization is a general term for the Bronze Age civilizations of Greece around the Aegean Sea. There are three distinct but communicating and interacting geographic regions covered by this term: Crete, the Cyclades and the Greek mainland.[1] Crete is associated with the Minoan civilization from the Early Bronze Age. The Cyclades converge with the mainland during the Early Helladic ("Minyan") period and with Crete in the Middle Minoan period. From ca. 1450 BC (Late Helladic, Late Minoan), the Greek Mycenaean civilization spreads to Crete.

Periodization

Mainland

  • Early Helladic (EH): 3200/3100–2050/2001 BC
  • Middle Helladic (MH): 2000/1900–1550 BC
  • Late Helladic (LH): 1550–1050 BC

Crete

  • Early Minoan (EM): 3650–2160 BC
  • Middle Minoan (MM): 2160–1600 BC
  • Late Minoan (LM): 1600–1170 BC

Cyclades

  • Early Cycladic (EC): 3300–2000 BC
  • Kastri (EH II–EH III): ca. 2500–2100 BC
  • Convergence with MM from ca. 2000 BC

Commerce

Commerce was practiced to some extent in very early times, as is proved by the distribution of Melian obsidian over all the Aegean area. We find Cretan vessels exported to Melos, Egypt and the Greek mainland. Melian vases came in their turn to Crete. After 1600 BC there is very close commerce with Egypt, and Aegean things find their way to all coasts of the Mediterranean. No traces of currency have come to light, unless certain axeheads, too slight for practical use, had that character. Standard weights have been found, as well as representations of ingots. The Aegean written documents have not yet proved (by being found outside the area) to be epistolary (letter writing) correspondence with other countries. Representations of ships are not common, but several have been observed on Aegean gems, gem-sealings, frying pans and vases. They are vessels of low free-board, with masts and oars. Familiarity with the sea is proved by the free use of marine motifs in decoration.[2] The most detailed illustrations are to be found on the 'ship fresco' at Akrotiri on the island of Thera (Santorini) preserved by the ash fall from the volcanic eruption which destroyed the town there.

Discoveries, later in the 20th century, of sunken trading vessels such as those at Uluburun and Cape Gelidonya off the south coast of Turkey have brought forth an enormous amount of new information about that culture.

Evidence

For details of monumental evidence the articles on Crete, Mycenae, Tiryns, Troad, Cyprus, etc., must be consulted. The most representative site explored up to now is Knossos (see Crete) which has yielded not only the most various but the most continuous evidence from the Neolithic age to the twilight of classical civilization. Next in importance come Hissarlik, Mycenae, Phaestus, Hagia Triada, Tiryns, Phylakope, Palaikastro and Gournia.[3]

Internal evidence

  • Structures: Ruins of palaces, palatial villas, houses, built dome- or cist-graves and fortifications (Aegean islands, Greek mainland and northwestern Anatolia), but not distinct temples; small shrines, however, and temene (religious enclosures, remains of one of which were probably found at Petsofa near Palaikastro by J. L. Myres in 1904) are represented on intaglios and frescoes. From the sources and from inlay-work we have also representations of palaces and houses.
  • Structural decoration: Architectural features, such as columns, friezes and various mouldings; mural decoration, such as fresco-paintings, coloured reliefs and mosaic inlay. Roof tiles were also occasionally employed, as at early Helladic Lerna and Akovitika,[4] and later in the Mycenaean towns of Gla and Midea.[5]
  • Furniture: (a) Domestic furniture, such as vessels of all sorts and in many materials, from huge store jars down to tiny unguent pots; culinary and other implements; thrones, seats, tables, etc., these all in stone or plastered terracotta. (b) Sacred furniture, such as models or actual examples of ritual objects; of these we have also numerous pictorial representations. (c) Funerary furniture, for example, coffins in painted terracotta.
  • Art products: for example, plastic objects, carved in stone or ivory, cast or beaten in metals (gold, silver, copper and bronze), or modelled in clay, faience, paste, etc. Very little trace has yet been found of large free-standing sculpture, but many examples exist of sculptors' smaller work. Vases of all kinds, carved in marble or other stones, cast or beaten in metals or fashioned in clay, the latter in enormous number and variety, richly ornamented with coloured schemes, and sometimes bearing moulded decoration. Examples of painting on stone, opaque and transparent. Engraved objects in great number for example, ring-bezels and gems; and an immense quantity of clay impressions, taken from these.
  • Weapons, tools and implements: In stone, clay and bronze, and at the last iron, sometimes richly ornamented or inlaid. Numerous representations also of the same. No actual body armour, except such as was ceremonial and buried with the dead, like the gold breastplates in the circle-graves at Mycenae or the full length body armour from Dendra.
  • Articles of personal use: for example, brooches (fibulae), pins, razors, tweezers, etc., often found as dedications to a deity, for example, in the Dictaean Cavern of Crete. No textiles have survived other than impressions in clay.
  • Written documents: for example, clay tablets and discs (so far in Crete only), but nothing of more perishable nature, such as skin, papyrus, etc.; engraved gems and gem impressions; legends written with pigment on pottery (rare); characters incised on stone or pottery. These show a number of systems of script employing either ideograms or syllabograms (see Linear B).
  • Excavated tombs: Of either the pit, chamber or the tholos kind, in which the dead were laid, together with various objects of use and luxury, without cremation, and in either coffins or loculi or simple wrappings.
  • Public works: Such as paved and stepped roadways, bridges, systems of drainage, etc.[3]

External evidence

  • Monuments and records of other contemporary civilizations: for example, representations of alien peoples in Egyptian frescoes; imitation of Aegean fabrics and style in non-Aegean lands; allusions to Mediterranean peoples in Egyptian, Semitic or Babylonian records.
  • Literary traditions of subsequent civilizations: Especially the Hellenic; such as, for example, those embodied in the Homeric poems, the legends concerning Crete, Mycenae, etc.; statements as to the origin of gods, cults and so forth, transmitted to us by Hellenic antiquarians such as Strabo, Pausanias, Diodorus Siculus, etc.
  • Traces of customs, creeds, rituals, etc.: In the Aegean area at a later time, discordant with the civilization in which they were practiced and indicating survival from earlier systems. There are also possible linguistic and even physical survivals to be considered.

Mycenae and Tiryns are the two principal sites on which evidence of a prehistoric civilization was remarked long ago by the ancient Greeks.[3]

Discovery

The curtain-wall and towers of the Mycenaean citadel, its gate with heraldic lions, and the great "Treasury of Atreus" had borne silent witness for ages before Heinrich Schliemann's time; but they were supposed only to speak to the Homeric, or, at farthest, a rude Heroic beginning of purely Hellenic civilization. It was not until Schliemann exposed the contents of the graves which lay just inside the gate, that scholars recognized the advanced stage of art which prehistoric dwellers in the Mycenaean citadel had attained.[6]

There had been, however, a good deal of other evidence available before 1876, which, had it been collated and seriously studied, might have discounted the sensation that the discovery of the citadel graves eventually made. Although it was recognized that certain tributaries, represented for example, in the XVIIIth Dynasty tomb of Rekhmara at Egyptian Thebes as bearing vases of peculiar forms, were of some Mediterranean race, neither their precise habitat nor the degree of their civilization could be determined while so few actual prehistoric remains were known in the Mediterranean lands. Nor did the Aegean objects which were lying obscurely in museums in 1870, or thereabouts, provide a sufficient test of the real basis underlying the Hellenic myths of the Argolid, the Troad and Crete, to cause these to be taken seriously. Aegean vases have been exhibited both at Sèvres and Neuchatel since about 1840, the provenance (i.e. source or origin) being in the one case Phylakope in Melos, in the other Cephalonia.[6]

Ludwig Ross, the German archaeologist appointed Curator of the Antiquities of Athens at the time of the establishment of the Kingdom of Greece, by his explorations in the Greek islands from 1835 onwards, called attention to certain early intaglios, since known as Inselsteine; but it was not until 1878 that C. T. Newton demonstrated these to be no strayed Phoenician products. In 1866 primitive structures were discovered on the island of Therasia by quarrymen extracting pozzolana, a siliceous volcanic ash, for the Suez Canal works. When this discovery was followed up in 1870, on the neighbouring Santorini (Thera), by representatives of the French School at Athens, much pottery of a class now known immediately to precede the typical late Aegean ware, and many stone and metal objects, were found. These were dated by the geologist Ferdinand A. Fouqué, somewhat arbitrarily, to 2000 BC, by consideration of the superincumbent eruptive stratum.[6]

Meanwhile, in 1868, tombs at Ialysus in Rhodes had yielded to Alfred Biliotti many fine painted vases of styles which were called later the third and fourth "Mycenaean"; but these, bought by John Ruskin, and presented to the British Museum, excited less attention than they deserved, being supposed to be of some local Asiatic fabric of uncertain date. Nor was a connection immediately detected between them and the objects found four years later in a tomb at Menidi in Attica and a rock-cut "bee-hive" grave near the Argive Heraeum.[6]

Even Schliemann's first excavations at Hissarlik in the Troad did not excite surprise. But the "Burnt City" of his second stratum, revealed in 1873, with its fortifications and vases, and a hoard of gold, silver and bronze objects, which the discoverer connected with it, began to arouse a curiosity which was destined presently to spread far outside the narrow circle of scholars. As soon as Schliemann came on the Mycenae graves three years later, light poured from all sides on the prehistoric period of Greece. It was recognized that the character of both the fabric and the decoration of the Mycenaean objects was not that of any well-known art. A wide range in space was proved by the identification of the Inselsteine and the Ialysus vases with the new style, and a wide range in time by collation of the earlier Theraean and Hissarlik discoveries. A relationship between objects of art described by Homer and the Mycenaean treasure was generally allowed, and a correct opinion prevailed that, while certainly posterior, the civilization of the Iliad was reminiscent of the Mycenaean.[6]

Schliemann got to work again at Hissarlik in 1878, and greatly increased our knowledge of the lower strata, but did not recognize the Aegean remains in his "Lydian" city of the sixth stratum. These were not to be fully revealed until Dr. Wilhelm Dorpfeld, who had become Schliemann's assistant in 1879, resumed the work at Hissarlik in 1892 after the first explorer's death. But by laying bare in 1884 the upper stratum of remains on the rock of Tiryns, Schliemann made a contribution to our knowledge of prehistoric domestic life which was amplified two years later by Christos Tsountas's discovery of the palace at Mycenae. Schliemann's work at Tiryns was not resumed till 1905, when it was proved, as had long been suspected, that an earlier palace underlies the one he had exposed.[6]

From 1886 dates the finding of Mycenaean sepulchres outside the Argolid, from which, and from the continuation of Tsountas's exploration of the buildings and lesser graves at Mycenae, a large treasure, independent of Schliemann's princely gift, has been gathered into the National Museum at Athens. In that year tholos-tombs, most already pillaged but retaining some of their furniture, were excavated at Arkina and Eleusis in Attica, at Dimini near Volos in Thessaly, at Kampos on the west of Mount Taygetus, and at Maskarata in Cephalonia. The richest grave of all was explored at Vaphio in Laconia in 1889, and yielded, besides many gems and miscellaneous goldsmiths' work, two golden goblets chased with scenes of bull-hunting, and certain broken vases painted in a large bold style which remained an enigma until the excavation of Knossos.[6]

In 1890 and 1893, Staes cleared out certain less rich tholos-tombs at Thoricus in Attica; and other graves, either rock-cut "bee-hives" or chambers, were found at Spata and Aphidna in Attica, in Aegina and Salamis, at the Argive Heraeum and Nauplia in the Argolid, near Thebes and Delphi, and not far from the Thessalian Larissa. During the Acropolis excavations in Athens, which terminated in 1888, many potsherds of the Mycenaean style were found; but Olympia had yielded either none, or such as had not been recognized before being thrown away, and the temple site at Delphi produced nothing distinctively Aegean (in dating). The American explorations of the Argive Heraeum, concluded in 1895, also failed to prove that site to have been important in the prehistoric time, though, as was to be expected from its neighbourhood to Mycenae itself, there were traces of occupation in the later Aegean periods.[7]

Prehistoric research had now begun to extend beyond the Greek mainland. Certain central Aegean islands, Antiparos, Ios, Amorgos, Syros and Siphnos, were all found to be singularly rich in evidence of the Middle-Aegean period. The series of Syran-built graves, containing crouching corpses, is the best and most representative that is known in the Aegean. Melos, long marked as a source of early objects but not systematically excavated until taken in hand by the British School at Athens in 1896, yielded at Phylakope remains of all the Aegean periods, except the Neolithic.[3]

A map of Cyprus in the later Bronze Age (such as is given by J. L. Myres and M. O. Richter in Catalogue of the Cyprus Museum) shows more than 25 settlements in and about the Mesaorea district alone, of which one, that at Enkomi, near the site of Salamis, has yielded the richest Aegean treasure in precious metal found outside Mycenae. E. Chantre in 1894 picked up lustreless ware, like that of Hissariik, in central Phtygia and at Pteria, and the English archaeological expeditions, sent subsequently into north-western Anatolia, have never failed to bring back ceramic specimens of Aegean appearance from the valleys of the Rhyndncus, Sangarius and Halys.[3]

In Egypt in 1887, Flinders Petrie found painted sherds of Cretan style at Kahun in the Fayum, and farther up the Nile, at Tell el-Amarna, chanced on bits of no fewer than 800 Aegean vases in 1889. There have now been recognized in the collections at Cairo, Florence, London, Paris and Bologna several Egyptian imitations of the Aegean style which can be set off against the many debts which the centres of Aegean culture owed to Egypt. Two Aegean vases were found at Sidon in 1885, and many fragments of Aegean and especially Cypriot pottery have been found during recent excavations of sites in Philistia by the Palestine Fund.[3]

Sicily, ever since P. Orsi excavated the Sicel cemetery near Lentini in 1877, has proved a mine of early remains, among which appear in regular succession Aegean fabrics and motives of decoration from the period of the second stratum at Hissarlik. Sardinia has Aegean sites, for example, at Abini near Teti; and Spain has yielded objects recognized as Aegean from tombs near Cadiz and from Saragossa.[3]

One land, however, has eclipsed all others in the Aegean by the wealth of its remains of all the prehistoric ages— Crete; and so much so that, for the present, we must regard it as the fountainhead of Aegean civilization, and probably for long its political and social centre. The island first attracted the notice of archaeologists by the remarkable archaic Greek bronzes found in a cave on Mount Ida in 1885, as well as by epigraphic monuments such as the famous law of Gortyna (also called Gortyn). But the first undoubted Aegean remains reported from it were a few objects extracted from Cnossus by Minos Kalokhairinos of Candia in 1878. These were followed by certain discoveries made in the S. plain Messara by F. Halbherr. Unsuccessful attempts at Cnossus were made by both W. J. Stillman and H. Schliemann, and A. J. Evans, coming on the scene in 1893, travelled in succeeding years about the island picking up trifles of unconsidered evidence, which gradually convinced him that greater things would eventually be found. He obtained enough to enable him to forecast the discovery of written characters, till then not suspected in Aegean civilization. The revolution of 1897–1898 opened the door to wider knowledge, and much exploration has ensued, for which see Crete.[3]

Thus the "Aegean Area" has now come to mean the Archipelago with Crete and Cyprus, the Hellenic peninsula with the Ionian islands, and Western Anatolia. Evidence is still wanting for the Macedonian and Thracian coasts. Offshoots are found in the western Mediterranean area, in Sicily, Italy, Sardinia and Spain, and in the eastern Mediterranean area in Syria and Egypt. Regarding the Cyrenaica, we are still insufficiently informed.[3]

Fall

Bronze-age-collapse
A map of the Bronze Age collapse

About 1000 BC there happened a final catastrophe. The palace at Knossus was once more destroyed, and never rebuilt or re-inhabited. Iron took the place of Bronze, and Aegean art, as a living thing, ceased on the Greek mainland and in the Aegean isles including Crete, together with Aegean writing. In Cyprus, and perhaps on the south-west Anatolian coasts, there is some reason to think that the cataclysm was less complete, and Aegean art continued to languish, cut off from its fountain-head. Such artistic faculty as survived elsewhere issued in the lifeless geometric style which is reminiscent of the later Aegean, but wholly unworthy of it. Cremation took the place of burial of the dead. This great disaster, which cleared the ground for a new growth of local art, was probably due to yet another incursion of northern tribes, possessed of superior iron weapons—those tribes which later Greek tradition and Homer knew as the Dorians. They crushed a civilization already hard hit; and it took two or three centuries for the artistic spirit, instinct in the Aegean area, and probably preserved in suspended animation by the survival of Aegean racial elements, to blossom anew. On this conquest seems to have ensued a long period of unrest and popular movements, known to Greek tradition as the Ionian Migration and the Aeolic and Dorian "colonizations", and when once more we see the Aegean area clearly, it is dominated by Hellenes, though it has not lost all memory of its earlier culture.[8]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Aegean civilizations". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  2. ^ Hogarth 1911, p. 247.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hogarth 1911, p. 246.
  4. ^ Joseph W. Shaw, The Early Helladic II Corridor House: Development and Form, American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 91, No. 1. (Jan. 1987), pp. 59–79 (72).
  5. ^ Ione Mylonas Shear, “Excavations on the Acropolis of Midea: Results of the Greek-Swedish Excavations under the Direction of Katie Demakopoulou and Paul åström”, American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 104, No. 1. (Jan. 2000), pp. 133–134.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Hogarth 1911, p. 245.
  7. ^ Hogarth 1911, pp. 245-246.
  8. ^ Hogarth 1911, p. 251.

External links

Arthur Evans

Sir Arthur John Evans (8 July 1851 – 11 July 1941) was an English archaeologist and pioneer in the study of Aegean civilization in the Bronze Age. He is most famous for unearthing the palace of Knossos on the Greek island of Crete. Evans continued Heinrich Schliemann's concept of a Mycenaean civilization, but found that he needed to distinguish another civilization, the Minoan, from the structures and artifacts found there and throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Evans was also the first to define Cretan scripts Linear A and Linear B, as well as an earlier pictographic writing.

Although not a professional statesman or soldier, and probably never a paid agent of the government, he nevertheless negotiated or played a role in negotiating unofficially with foreign powers in the Balkans and Middle East. He was, on request of the revolutionary organizations of the peoples of the Balkans, a significant player in the formation of the nation of Yugoslavia.

Atlantic Bronze Age

The Atlantic Bronze Age is a cultural complex of the Bronze Age period of approximately 1300–700 BC that includes different cultures in Portugal, Andalusia, Galicia, France, Britain and Ireland.

Borġ in-Nadur

Borġ in-Nadur is an archaeological site located in open fields overlooking St George's Bay, near Birżebbuġa, Malta. It is occupied by a Tarxien phase megalithic temple as well as the remains of a Bronze Age village which includes the earliest fortification in Malta. The site is located close to various Bronze Age cart ruts and silos, a Roman villa at Ta' Kaċċatura, as well as Saint George Redoubt which was built thousands of years later in 1715–1716.

Catacomb culture

The Catacomb culture (c. 2800–2200 BC) is a group of related cultures in the early Bronze Age occupying essentially what is present-day eastern Ukraine and southern Russia.

The culture applied cord-imprinted decorations to its pottery and shows a profuse use of the polished battle axe, providing a link to the West. Parallels with the Afanasevo culture, including provoked cranial deformations, provide a link to the East. It was preceded by the Yamnaya culture. The Catacomb culture in the Pontic steppe was succeeded in the west by the Multi-cordoned ware culture from c. 22nd century BC, and the Srubna culture from c. the 17th century BC.

Colchian culture

Colchian culture (Georgian: კოლხური კულტურა; 3000 BCE to 600 BCE) is Neolithic - an early Bronze Age and Iron Age culture of the western Caucasus, mostly in western Georgia. It was partially succeeded by the Koban culture in northern and central Caucasus.

It is named after the ancient geographic region of Colchis, which covered a large area along the Black Sea coast. Today Colchs are known as Laz and Megrel.

It is mainly known for highly developed bronze production and artistic craftsmanship. There are many items of copper and bronze found in ancient graves. Graves found and studied have been located in the Abkhazia region, the Sukhumi mountain complexes, the Racha highlands where brick tiles and graffiti have been found, and the Colchian plains (კოლხეთის დაბლობი) where collective graves have been found.

Collective graves occurred during the last stages of the Colchian culture (c.8th century to 6th century BCE). In these graves bronze items were found that represented foreign trade occurred with the Colchian culture. At this time an increase in the production of weapons and agricultural tools is seen. Evidence of copper mining has been found in Racha, Abkhazia, Svaneti, and Adjara. Ruins of palaces are present in the Colchian Plains.Colchian culture is characterized by Colchian axes, sickles, short spears, flat axes, bow-shaped and cylindrical axes, belts, bracelets, bearings, and statuettes. The items are often painted and sometimes even with the sculptural expression expressing the religious ideas of the Colchis.

Cycladic culture

Cycladic culture (also known as Cycladic civilisation or, chronologically, as Cycladic chronology) was a Bronze Age culture (c. 3200–c. 1050 BC) found throughout the islands of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. In chronological terms, it is a relative dating system for artefacts which broadly complements Helladic chronology (mainland Greece) and Minoan chronology (Crete) during the same period of time.

Deverel–Rimbury culture

The Deverel–Rimbury culture was a name given to an archaeological culture of the British Middle Bronze Age. It is named after two barrow sites in Dorset and dates to between 1600 and 1100 BC.

It is characterised by the incorrectly-named Celtic fields, palisaded cattle enclosures and cremation burials either in urnfield cemeteries or under low, round barrows. Some cremations from this period were also inserted into pre-existing barrows. The people were livestock farmers.

The Deverel–Rimbury ware pottery they produced included distinctive globular vessels with fluted or channelled decoration and scratched lines along with squat, thick-walled bucket urns with cordoned decoration and fingerprint marks on the rims. The fabric is tempered with coarse flint.

The term is now normally only used to refer to the pottery types as modern archaeologists now believe that Deverel–Rimbury does not represent a single culture but numerous disparate societies who shared only certain technologies.

Heinrich Schliemann

Heinrich Schliemann (German: [ˈʃliːman]; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German businessman and a pioneer in the field of archaeology. He was an advocate of the historicity of places mentioned in the works of Homer and an archaeological excavator of Hisarlik, now presumed to be the site of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. His work lent weight to the idea that Homer's Iliad reflects historical events. Schliemann's excavation of nine levels of archaeological remains with dynamite has been criticized as destructive of significant historical artifacts, including the level that is believed to be the historical Troy.Along with Arthur Evans, Schliemann was a pioneer in the study of Aegean civilization in the Bronze Age. The two men knew of each other, Evans having visited Schliemann's sites. Schliemann had planned to excavate at Knossos but died before fulfilling that dream. Evans bought the site and stepped in to take charge of the project, which was then still in its infancy.

Helladic chronology

Helladic chronology is a relative dating system used in archaeology and art history. It complements the Minoan chronology scheme devised by Sir Arthur Evans for the categorisation of Bronze Age artefacts from the Minoan civilization within a historical framework. Whereas Minoan chronology is specific to Crete, the cultural and geographical scope of Helladic chronology is mainland Greece during the same timespan (c.3200–c.1050). Similarly, a Cycladic chronology system is used for artifacts found in the Aegean islands. Archaeological evidence has shown that, broadly, civilisation developed concurrently across the whole region and so the three schemes complement each other chronologically. They are grouped together as "Aegean" in terms such as Aegean civilization.

The systems apply primarily to pottery, which is a benchmark for relative dating of associated artifacts such as tools and weapons. On the basis of style and technique, Evans divided his Cretan Bronze Age pottery finds into three main periods which he called Early, Middle and Late Minoan. These were sub-divided into phases and some of those into sub-phases. The Helladic and Cycladic schemes were devised later and have similar sub-divisions. Evans' system has stood the test of time remarkably well but his labels do not provide firm dates because change is never constant and some styles were retained in use much longer than others. Some pottery can be dated with reasonable precision by reference to Egyptian artifacts whose dates are more certain.

Helladic society and culture have antecedents in Neolithic Greece when most settlements were small villages which subsisted by means of agriculture, farming and hunting. The gradual development of skills such as bronze metallurgy, monumental architecture and construction of fortifications brought about the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. The Late Helladic (c.1550–c.1050) is sometimes called the Mycenaean Age because Mycenae was then the dominant state in Greece. At the end of the Bronze Age (c.1050 BC), Aegean culture went into a long period of decline, termed a Dark Age by some historians, as a result of invasion and war.

Khojaly–Gadabay culture

The Khodzhaly-Kedabek culture (also Khojaly-Gadabay and variants (Azerbaijani: Xocalı-Gədəbəy mədəniyyəti, Russian ходжалы-кедабекская культура), also known as the Gandzha-Karabakh culture (ганджа-карабахская культура) is an archaeological culture of the Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age (roughly 13th to 7th centuries BC) in the Karabakh region of Transcaucasia. The eponymous sites are at Khojaly, Gadabay and Ganja in Azerbaijan.

It was excavated by Soviet archaeologists beginning in the 1920s.It was described by Boris Piotrovsky and other archaeologists specializing in the prehistory of Transcaucasia during the 1930s to 1970s.

Findings from Khojaly burial grounds discovered in 1895 by E. Resler. Hermitage Museum

Koban culture

The Koban culture (c. 1100 to 400 BC) is a late Bronze Age and Iron Age culture of the northern and central Caucasus. It is preceded by the Colchian culture of the western Caucasus and the Kharachoi culture further east.

It is named after the village of Koban, Northern Ossetia, where in 1869 battle-axes, daggers, decorative items and other objects were discovered in a kurgan. Later, further sites were uncovered in the central Caucasus.

Larnax

A larnax (plural: larnakes; Ancient Greek: λάρναξ, lárnaks, plural: λάρνακες, lárnakes) is a type of small closed coffin, box or "ash-chest" often used as a container for human remains in the Minoan civilization and in Ancient Greece, either a body (bent on itself) or cremated ashes.

The first larnakes appeared in the Minoan period of the Aegean civilization, when they took the form of ceramic coffers designed to imitate wooden chests, perhaps on the pattern of Egyptian linen chests. They were richly decorated with abstract patterns, octopuses and scenes of hunting and cult rituals.During the later Hellenistic period, larnakes, in the form of small terracotta sarcophagi, became popular, some of which were painted in similar styles to contemporary Greek vases.

In a few special cases, larnakes appear to have been made out of precious materials, as in the 4th century BC example found at Vergina in northern Macedonia, of gold, with a sun motif (hence known as the "Vergina Sun" motif) on the lid.

Manolis Andronikos, the leader of the archaeological excavation, posited that the larnax most likely contained the remains of King Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.

Leyla-Tepe culture

The Leyla-Tepe culture of ancient Caucasian Albania belongs to the Chalcolithic era. It got its name from the site in the Agdam district of modern day Azerbaijan. Its settlements were distributed on the southern slopes of Central Caucasus, from 4350 until 4000 B.C.

Monuments of the Leyla-Tepe were first located in the 1980s by I. G. Narimanov, a Soviet archaeologist. Recent attention to the monuments has been inspired by the risk of their damage due to the construction of the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline and the South Caucasus pipeline.

Minoan civilization

The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands, flourishing from c. 2700 to c. 1450 BC until a late period of decline, finally ending around 1100 BC. It represents the first advanced civilization in Europe, leaving behind massive building complexes, tools, stunning artwork, writing systems, and a massive network of trade. The civilization was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. The name "Minoan" derives from the mythical King Minos and was coined by Evans, who identified the site at Knossos with the labyrinth and the Minotaur. The Minoan civilization has been described as the earliest of its kind in Europe, and historian Will Durant called the Minoans "the first link in the European chain".The Minoan civilization is particularly notable for its large and elaborate palaces up to four stories high, featuring elaborate plumbing systems and decorated with frescoes. The most notable Minoan palace is that of Knossos, followed by that of Phaistos. The Minoan period saw extensive trade between Crete, Aegean, and Mediterranean settlements, particularly the Near East. Through their traders and artists, the Minoans' cultural influence reached beyond Crete to the Cyclades, the Old Kingdom of Egypt, copper-bearing Cyprus, Canaan and the Levantine coast and Anatolia. Some of the best Minoan art is preserved in the city of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini, which was destroyed by the Minoan eruption.

The Minoans primarily wrote in the undeciphered Linear A and also in undeciphered Cretan hieroglyphs, encoding a language hypothetically labelled Minoan. The reasons for the slow decline of the Minoan civilization, beginning around 1550 BC, are unclear; theories include Mycenaean invasions from mainland Greece and the major volcanic eruption of Santorini.

Nordic Bronze Age

The Nordic Bronze Age (also Northern Bronze Age, or Scandinavian Bronze Age) is a period of Scandinavian prehistory from c. 1700–500 BC. The Bronze Age culture of this era succeeded the Nordic Stone Age culture (Late Neolithic) and was followed by the Pre-Roman Iron Age. The archaeological legacy of the Nordic Bronze Age culture is rich, but the ethnic and linguistic affinities of it are unknown, in the absence of written sources. Some scholars also include sites in what is now Finland, Estonia, northern Germany and Pomerania, as part of its cultural sphere.

Papyrus Golénischeff

Papyrus Golénischeff is an artifact of ancient Egypt.

Penard Period

The Penard Period is a metalworking phase of the Bronze Age in Britain spanning the period c. 1275 BC to c. 1140 BC.

It is named after the typesite of Penard in West Glamorgan, where a hoard of bronze tools from the period was found in 1827.

The period is characterised by a flowering in experimentation in bronze working, spurred by increased contact with the Urnfield culture of Continental Europe from where early sword and shield imports came.

Chronologically it follows the Taunton Period metalworking phase, and precedes the Wilburton-Wallington Phase. There are links with Reinecke D and early Hallstatt A1 periods, and the French Rosnoën and the Montelius III phases.

Developments included the invention of the cylinder sickle and leaf-shaped pegged spearheads, mirroring an increase in the use of sheet bronze. Clay moulds and new lead-rich alloys were also employed.

South-Western Iberian Bronze

The South-Western Iberian Bronze is a loosely defined Bronze Age culture of Southern Portugal and nearby areas of SW Spain (Huelva, Seville, Extremadura). It replaced the earlier urban and Megalithic existing in that same region in the Chalcolithic age.

It is characterized by individual burials in cist, in which the deceased is accompanied by a knife of bronze. Stelae with representations of types of weapons and other warriors' accoutrements are associated with these burials. Much more rare but also more impressive are the 'grabsystem' tombs, made up of three adjacent stone enclosures, of quasi-circular form, each one with an opening. They are covered by tumuli and are possibly the burials of the main leaders of these peoples.

Trialeti culture

The Trialeti culture (Georgian: თრიალეთის კულტურა, also known as the Trialeti-Vanadzor [Kirovakan] culture), is named after the Trialeti region of Georgia. It is attributed to the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC. Trialeti culture emerged in the areas of the preceding Kura-Araxes culture.

Bronze Age
Bronze Age
(North Caucasus
and Transcaucasia)
Greece Greece topics

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