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Author: Rachel Finnegan
In Richard Pococke’s Letters from the East (1737-1740), Rachel Finnegan provides edited transcripts of the full run of correspondence from Richard Pococke’s famous eastern voyage from 1737-41. In this new volume, Finnegan combines updated biographical accounts of the traveller and his correspondents (his mother, Elizabeth Pococke and his uncle and patron, Bishop Thomas Milles) from vol. 1 of the original edition of Letters from Abroad (2011) with transcriptions of the letters from vol. 3 of the series (2013), together with new material that has hitherto been unpublished. Thus, in a single volume, she sets the context of the life and times of the traveller and his family against the background of this voluminous corpus of fascinating correspondence, which can be read in conjunction with Pococke’s own published account of his travels, A Description of the East and Some Other Countries (1743-45).
Editor: Vanessa Davies
The Phoebe A. Hearst Expedition to Naga ed-Deir, Cemeteries N 2000 and N 2500 presents the results of excavations directed by George A. Reisner and led by Arthur C. Mace. The site of Naga ed-Deir, Egypt, is unusual for its continued use over a long period of time (c.3500 BCE–650 CE). Burials in N 2000 and N 2500 date to the First Intermediate Period/Middle Kingdom and the Coptic era. In keeping with Reisner’s earlier publications of Naga ed-Deir, this volume presents artifacts in chapter-length studies devoted to a particular object type and includes a burial-by-burial description. The excavators’ original drawings, notes, and photographs are complemented by a contemporary analysis of the objects by experts in their subfields.
Author: Daniela Tănase
In Craftsmen and Jewelers in the Middle and Lower Danube Region (6th to 7th Centuries) Daniela Tănase examines the practice of metalworking with the aim of comparing the archaeological evidence of different peoples in the Middle and Lower Danube in the Early Middle Ages, with a particular focus on blacksmithing, goldsmithing and burial customs. Evidence suggests that the distinction between these specialties was quite fluid, so blacksmiths could craft jewelery, while jewelers were able to create tools and weapons. The study also reveals how the production process and the main techniques employed by craftsmen for the ornamentation of dress and accessories were subject to multiple influences, from Byzantium, the eastern steppe, and the Merovingian kingdoms.
In this book, Volodymyr Koloda and Serhiy Gorbanenko discuss the important role of agriculture in the socio-economic development of the Khazar Khaganate and its influence on neighboring peoples. Drawing on the methods of the natural sciences (such as palaeobotany, archeozoology, soil science, palaeoclimatology), the volume focuses on how agriculture became the basis of the economy of the Khazarian populace. Comparative analysis suggests a significant influence of the agricultural traditions of the Saltiv population on the neighboring tribes of the Eastern Slavs, such as Severians mentioned in the annals (the Romny culture of Left-Bank Ukraine) and Slavs on the Don (the Borshevo culture).
Editor: Therese Martin
The Medieval Iberian Treasury in the Context of Cultural Interchange—expanded beyond the special issue of Medieval Encounters from which it was drawn—centers on the magnificent treasury of San Isidoro de León to address wider questions about the meanings of cross-cultural luxury goods in royal-ecclesiastical settings during the central Middle Ages. Now fully open access and with an updated introduction to ongoing research, an additional chapter, composite bibliographies, and indices, this multidisciplinary volume opens fresh ways into the investigation of medieval objects and textiles through historical, art historical, and technical analyses. Carbon-14 dating, iconography, and social history are among the methods applied to material and textual evidence, together shining new light on the display of rulership in medieval Iberia.

Contributors are Ana Cabrera Lafuente, María Judith Feliciano, Julie A. Harris, Jitske Jasperse, Therese Martin, Pamela A. Patton, Ana Rodríguez, and Nancy L. Wicker.
In the historiography of trade in the Middle Ages, there is a wide current of theoretical consideration referring to the ways contemporaries perceived trade. The present work pays specific attention to how trade functioned within the range of the influence of the Ottonian Empire and Byzantium, from the 10th to 12th centuries. This book attempts to verify these concepts in the extensive available source. The manner of circulation of goods and the phenomenon of accumulating goods is a significant product of the present book, demonstrating how imperial influences that perceived through the prism of generative centres on the peripheries of Europe. This volume is the English translation of Handel interregionalny od X do XII wieku. Europa Środkowa, Środkowo-Wschodnia, Półwysep Skandynawski i Półwysep Bałkański. Studium Porównawcze (Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika,Torun 2016).

Abstract

Excavations at several archaeological sites in and around Gao have resulted in the recovery of thousands of glass beads presumed to have been acquired from glass bead-producing centers through trade. The bead assemblages cover the period from the eighth to the fourteenth century CE. Here we report on the results of compositional analysis by LA-ICP-MS of 100 beads, permitting comparison with the growing corpus of chemical analyses for glass from African and Near Eastern sites. In this analysis, several compositional groupings are recognized. These include two types of plant-ash soda-lime-silica glass (v-Na-Ca), a mineral soda-lime-silica glass (m-Na-Ca), a high-lime high-alumina (HLHA) glass, a mineral soda-high alumina (m-Na-Al), glass, a plant ash soda-high alumina (v-Na-Al) glass and a high lead composition glass. The reconstruction and dating of depositional contexts suggests a shift in glass sources at the end of the tenth century CE. The issue of source identification is discussed and occurrences at other African sites are mapped, providing new data towards an understanding of trade and exchange networks.

In: Journal of African Archaeology

Abstract

Miniaturized stone tools made by controlled fracture are reported from nearly every continent where archaeologists have systematically looked for them. While similarities in technology are acknowledged between regions, few detailed inter-regional comparative studies have been conducted. Our paper addresses this gap, presenting results of a comparative lithic technological study between Klipfonteinrand and Sehonghong – two large rock shelters in southern Africa. Both sites contain Late Glacial (~18-11 kcal BP) lithic assemblages, though they are located in regions with different geologies, climates and environments. Results demonstrate that lithic miniaturization manifests differently in these different regions. Both assemblages provide evidence for small blade production, though key differences exist in terms of the specific technological composition of this evidence, the raw materials selected, the role played by bipolar reduction and the manner in which lithic reduction was organized. Patterned variability of this nature demonstrates that humans deployed miniaturized technologies strategically in relation to local conditions.

In: Journal of African Archaeology

Abstract

Excavations at three urban sites, Harlaa, Harar, and Ganda Harla, in eastern Ethiopia have recovered substantial assemblages of faunal remains. These, the first to be analysed from Islamic contexts in the country, were studied to reconstruct animal economies, and to assess if it was possible to identify Islamic conversion or the presence of Muslims in archaeological contexts through examining butchery practices and diet via the species present. Differences in animal economies between the sites in, for example, management strategies, use of animals for traction, and presence of imported marine fish, infers the development of different traditions. However, conversion to Islam was evident, and although issues of non-observance, mixed communities, and dietary eclecticism have to be acknowledged, the appearance of a similar range of butchery techniques suggests these were linked with the appearance of Muslim traders, and subsequent spread of Islam.

In: Journal of African Archaeology

Abstract

Salvage excavations in the 1970s uncovered a sizeable commoner occupation at Great Zimbabwe, as well as evidence for the early construction of an elite stonewalled enclosure. As a result of these excavations, we can revise somewhat the chronology of Great Zimbabwe. The most important changes are the extension of Period IVa, lasting from AD 1285±10 to 1395±10, and the appearance of P, P/Q and Q-coursed walling in Period IVa. The small Nemanwa palace was built in P/Q and first dates to Period IVa, as does the Outer Perimeter Wall, and both were linked to the growth of the Zimbabwe state. Period IVb represents the floruit of Great Zimbabwe, while Period IVc encompasses the occupation after the political elite moved north to become the well-known Mutapa dynasty. After the move north, the Mutapa established a masungiro ritual centre at Great Zimbabwe, perhaps to maintain territorial rights in the face of Torwa expansion.

In: Journal of African Archaeology