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Historical Materialist Perspectives in Archaeology from America, Europe and the Near East in the 21st Century
Volume Editor:
This volume gathers papers written by archaeologists utilising the methods of historical materialism, attesting not only to what Marxism has contributed to archaeology, but also to what archaeology has contributed, and can contribute, to Marxism as a method for interpreting the history of humanity. The book’s contributors consider the question of what archaeology can contribute to a historical perspective on the overcoming of present-day capitalism, synthesising developments in world archaeology, and supplying concrete case studies of the archaeology of the Americas, Europe and the Near East.

Rafał Quirini-Popławski offers here the first panorama of the artistic phenomena of the Genoese outposts scattered around the Black Sea, an area whose cultural history is little known. The artistic creativity of the region emerges as extraordinarily rich and colorful, with a variety of heterogeneous, hybrid and intermingled characteristics.
The book questions the extent to which the descriptor "Genoese" can be applied to the settlements’ artistic production; Quirini-Popławski demonstrates that, despite entrenched views of these colonies as centres of Italian and Latin culture, it was in fact Greek and Armenian art that was of greater importance.
[Ancient Architecture in Syria: The ͑Alā and Ḳaṣr Ibn Wardân]
Editor / Translator:
العلا وقصر ابن وردان من تأليف باتلر وترجمة عائشة موسى يسلط الضوء على (19) موقعًا أثريًا في المنطقة الشمالية من وسط سوريا. ويعد قصر ابن وردان تحفة عمرانية منقطعة النظير تنفرد بين جميع المواقع الأثرية في شمال سوريا بجمالها الأخَّاذ وتنوعها المذهل. وقد بدت مساقطه الأفقية وطرز عمارته ومواد بنائه مماثلة إلى حدٍ كبير لتلك المتَّبعة في تشييد الصروح الإمبراطورية التي اشتهرت في القسطنطينية خلال عهد الإمبراطور جاستينيان.
وتتباهى المنطقة بأكملها بكثرة مبانيها الأثرية التي تمثل فنونًا معماريةً متنوعةً تجسدت في نمطٍ فريدٍ اختصت به سوريا دون غيرها من البلدان؛ إذ لا يوجد في أي مكان آخر في العالم مثل هذا الغنى في أوابده الأثرية الدينية والعسكرية والسكنية والجنائزية والتي تفتح الباب واسعًا أمام كل راغبٍ في دراستها وكشف خفاياها.

The ͑Alā and Ḳaṣr Ibn Wardân, written by Butler and translated by Aisha Moussa, covers (19) ancient sites in Northern Central Syria. Ḳaṣr Ibn Wardân is the most prominent architectural masterpiece which is unmatched in beauty and diversity of style among all ancient ruins in Northern Syria. It was built on a ground plan, in a style, and of material similar to those employed in the imperial edifices of Constantinople during the reign of Justinian.
The whole area boasts its great body of buildings representing every variety of architecture, in a style which is peculiar to the country. No where else are there such abundant remains of the religious, military, domestic and funerary architecture open for study and research activities.
The introduction of writing enables new forms of literature, but these can be invisible in works that survive as manuscripts. Through looking at inscriptions of poetry on garbage and as graffiti, we can glimpse how literature spread along with writing.
This study uses these lesser-studied sources, including inscriptions on pottery, architecture, and especially wooden tablets known as mokkan, to uncover how poetry, and literature more broadly, was used, shared and thrown away in early Japan. Through looking at these disposable and informal sources, we explore the development of early Japanese literature, and even propose parallels to similar developments in other societies across space and time.
The prestigious MDP series, started in 1899, has published excavation reports of various sites of ancient Iran as well as studies on the archaeological material excavated there. The present continuation of this series will pursue these same aims on an international level.

The series published one volume over the last 5 years.


Nine unpublished obsidian artefacts (one cosmetics jar, two vessel fragments, and six eye inlays) from the Garstang Museum collection are presented, with the aim of patching gaps in the current record concerning their excavation contexts and material properties, which were presumably detailed in John Garstang’s now-lost excavation report/notes. The objects date to the Early Dynastic and Old Kingdom periods, and five objects were matched to those described in previous archival research on Garstang’s Abydos excavations. SEM-EDS was conducted to characterise the material compositions and make a preliminary assessment of the obsidian’s provenance. It is suggested that the obsidian for the three vessels (analyses on prepared surfaces) may have originated in the region of modern Eritrea and Ethiopia, but the eye inlays (non-destructive analyses on raw surfaces) could not be matched to any geological obsidian source, highlighting the difficulties with balancing object preservation and analytical quality in researching museum collections.

In: Journal of African Archaeology


Radiocarbon assay of charcoal from four sites in Nola, Central African Republic, provide new age estimates from the Sangha River Interval and doubles the number of radiocarbon dates from the center of this important and controversial biogeographical tract. The new age estimates mark the occupation of a village ~575 cal BP, two iron-smelting events about 1550 cal BP, and a ~2750–2520 cal BP iron production feature that represents one of the earliest smelting sites in the Congo Basin. Although the numbers of dated sites in the northcentral Sangha River Interval remain unfortunately small, most represent iron production loci that predate 1550 cal BP and suggest Nola supported widespread Early Iron Age smelting on the cusp of a proposed human population collapse. The extant record also indicates this profusion of smelting occurred hundreds of years before intensification in metallurgy in the neighboring Lobaye River basin.

Full Access
In: Journal of African Archaeology
The Journal of African Archaeology Monograph Series is a supplement to the Journal of African Archaeology. It offers a platform for more extensive contributions such as research monographs, refereed conference proceedings and other collections that do not fit the Journal’s scope.

Previous volumes (1-11) in the series can be ordered through:
Africa Magna Verlag
Altkönigblick 83
60437 Frankfurt/M
Tel.: +49 6101 9958120


This article presents the results of a comprehensive investigation of Fårdrup and Valsømagle-type shafthole axes from Denmark and southern Sweden. The combination of artefact style and typology with trace element and lead isotope data in the analysis has provided new insights into the chronological relationship between these two axe types. This way, we open a new window to long-standing debates surrounding these artefact types. Did Fårdrup and Valsømagle type axes evolve parallel, or did they replace each other chronologically in evolutionary progression? The archaeometallurgical dataset presented in this article includes more than 70 axes. Four axes have been analysed for this article. This large set of data is then assessed against a background of metal analyses which trace the long and winding evolution of the use of bronze in Scandinavia c.2300–1400 BC. Combining these two datasets shows the provenance of the metals and, thus, provides insights into metallurgical developments at the onset of the Nordic Bronze Age (NBA, c.1600 BC). In particular, the shafthole axes offer new evidence of the use of a novel type of copper from the East Alpine region based on chalcopyrite ores. The first occurrences of this low-impurity copper in southern Scandinavia appeared around 1700 BC. However, it would eventually become dominant in c.1600 BC, when the local production of shafthole axes began. Significantly, a fraction of the shafthole axes – Fårdrup and Valsømagle-types alike – consist of low impurity copper most likely derived from the Italian Alps (Trentino), which was absent in earlier periods. By NBA II 1500–1300 BC, most metal objects can be related to this northern Italian copper. We interpret this in terms of chronology: Fårdrup (⁓Koszider) and Valsømagle (⁓Tumulus B1) consisted of similar types of copper, which had declined by the onset of NBA II, all indicating that Fårdrup and Valsømagle style objects flourished before the beginning of NBA II (c.1500 BC). The small influx of north Italian copper in the axes indicates that its arrival began before the breakthrough of NBA II. Therefore, while the results of the metal analyses cannot exclude chronological differences between the two shafthole axe types over the 16th century BC, it is probable that their timelines coincided. In summary, our results display correlations between societal developments and thresholds on the one hand and metal provenances and trade routes on the other.

Open Access
In: Acta Archaeologica