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Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, monuments became a focal point: protestors toppled or spray-painted them, even danced on them. These politically, visually, and emotionally potent events may have looked instantaneous, yet frequently sprang from years of activism, as well as protracted political and academic debate. Toppling Things challenges stereotypical notions monument topplings as riotous, spontaneous, or irrational. Bringing together the ideas and emotions, the uncertainty and convictions, of artists, activists, and academics, the volume rejects a neatly tied-up, distant narrative. As it sheds light on the global, personal, immediate, and historical processes around the fall of a monument, the volume engages directly with the complexity of toppling activism and monument removal as a form of lived experience.

Abstract

In this paper we investigate lexical materials in Latin and Romance that appear to stem from ancient substrata in the Mediterranean. We focus on plant names and landscape related vocabulary, e.g., words for ‘berries’, ‘shrubbery, herbs and trees’, and words for ‘rocky’ and ‘swampy’ terrains, as both of these semantic fields are parts of the lexicon considered to be of very archaic origin. After investigating evidence for potential cognates in languages in the Mediterranean and exploring the geolinguistic distribution of the investigated words, we try to form conclusions about the involved strata and their chronological organization. We identify two important strata: an older Eurafrican layer (Hubschmid 1960) and a widely attested Euskaro-Caucasian layer associated with the arrival of Neolithic farming (see the discussion in Bengtson (2017a/2022, 2017b) and Bengtson/Leschber (2019, 2021, 2022)).

The so-called ‘Mediterranean Thesaurus’ (in memory of Johannes Hubschmid) aims to establish a compilation of lexical data featuring words with unclear or highly disputable etymologies in the languages around the Mediterranean Sea. As a first step, we are collating words in an open-ended table and their geolinguistic/dialect-geographical distribution across the ranges of the Mediterranean languages, some of which are geolinguistically remote areas. We trace two main questions: (a) whether there are characteristic semantic fields that can be more often identified (such as plant names and topography); (b) whether we can highlight typical phonetic features and sound clusters in these words.

Since the period of the Swiss and Italian etymological pioneers of the 20th century (Johannes Hubschmid, Giovanni Alessio, Carlo Battisti, Vittorio Bertoldi, Jakob Jud, Laura Lombardo, Alfredo Trombetti and many others), there has been great scientific progress in human genetics and archaeology that is increasingly revealing the prehistory of the Mediterranean. We recognize the work of these etymologists who – under much more demanding circumstances – offered suggestions about the origin of etymologically difficult words. Several hypotheses have been revisited in order to include or to reject the contribution of a specific substrate to the linguistic substrata of the macro-area. Our aim is to explore the prehistory of the Mediterranean area to understand the ethnogenesis of its peoples and their rootedness in millennia past, and to find evidence for a tentative stratification of substratum languages.

Open Access
In: Old World: Journal of Ancient Africa and Eurasia
In: Old World: Journal of Ancient Africa and Eurasia

Abstract

In Anatolian archaeology, as it is the case in the neighbouring regions of the Near East and Aegean, the Bronze Age is considered in three consecutive stages, however, defined not in accordance with metallurgical achievements, but on changing modalities in social and economic structures. Before the beginning of the Early Bronze Age there were fully established farming communities across almost all of Anatolia, though subsisting mainly on family-level farming with no indication of complex social structuring. Likewise, during the final stages of the Late Chalcolithic there was a notable decrease in population, particularly in Central and Western Anatolia. In this respect, the south-eastern parts of Anatolia differ considerably from the rest of the peninsula, developing a complex socio-economic model in connection with the bordering regions of Syro-Mesopotamia. This pattern changed by incoming migration from the north, with subsequent dense population patterns in the eastern and western parts of the peninsula. Following the reorganization and consolidation of this system, the Early Bronze Age is characterized by urbanisation, institutionalized long-distance trade, intensification and revolutionized agricultural and weaving practices. The urban model that developed in Anatolia differs considerably from those of the Near East both in size and in organization. The Middle Bronze Age is marked by state formations, which by the Late Bronze Age developed into empires with their own foreign policies. Concerning the role of metals, copper and lead were used since the Neolithic and arsenic bronze by the Late Chalcolithic. The Bronze Age may be viewed as a time of mass production and development of complex technologies in casting, alloying and forming.

Open Access
In: Old World: Journal of Ancient Africa and Eurasia

Abstract

The key term of this volume is bronze: in its basic meaning it is an alloy of two metals, copper and tin, even if there are other combinations, such as arsenical bronze. In Mesopotamia, the area I will discuss here, every form of bronze shared a common characteristic, however. To make bronze it was necessary to bring together two metals with origins in separate and distant places. The sources changed over time, but in Mesopotamia itself bronze was never the product of elements found in the same location. The outcome was something special, a compound stronger and deemed to be more appealing than its separate components. My discussion here will not be about metallurgy or material culture, however, but about literate culture, which in the Mesopotamian Bronze Age, I argue, showed a similar amalgamation of elements from sources that were geographically distinct. We can see bronze as a metaphor for literate culture in Mesopotamia.

Open Access
In: Old World: Journal of Ancient Africa and Eurasia
Author:

Abstract

As the scholarly border between China and Southeast Asia has dissipated, so the vast region from the Yangtze River to Malaysia has been integrated into a whole. There was an inexorable expansion of copper-base expertise southward, reaching Lingnan and Yunnan by 1400-1200 bc, and Southeast Asia one or two centuries later, with ultimate origins in the Asian steppes via the Chinese Central Plains and Sichuan. As prospectors identified and exploited the Southeast Asian copper mines, a limited range of copper-base artefacts moved along established exchange routes, including socketed axes, bangles and spears. At first rare and used to advertise status in communities advantaged by a strategic location, with increased production and in situ casting within consumer settlements, bronzes were no longer associated with social elites. Only with different regional stimuli during the Iron Age, were bronzes again employed by societies characterized by social inequality.

Open Access
In: Old World: Journal of Ancient Africa and Eurasia

Abstract

The Bronze Age was a time of pivotal economic change when new long-distance trading networks became associated with a macro-regional division of labour and decentralised political complexity. These developments occurred against the background of a shifting mosaic of subsistence patterns, which included the east-west exchange of crops across Eurasia and (in some areas) greater use of secondary products. As Bronze Age economies became more specialised and diverse, it might be assumed that there was also an increased emphasis on the procurement and trade of fish and other marine resources. However, archaeological analyses of such resources are limited in contrast to land-based subsistence patterns and many questions remain. This essay aims to build a broad interpretive framework for analysing the role of marine resources in the Bronze Age. Our provisional results find that an increased emphasis on specialist systems of agropastoralism reduced the use of marine resources in many parts of Eurasia during this period. However, evidence from Japan and the eastern Mediterranean suggests that, at least in some regions, marine resources became commodities traded over long-distances by the late Bronze Age, though this requires further quantification. Island Southeast Asia displays a different pattern from other regions considered here in a greater continuity of marine resource use from the Neolithic into the historic era, perhaps due to a lower reliance on agropastoralism.

Open Access
In: Old World: Journal of Ancient Africa and Eurasia
Author:

Abstract

This paper considers the extent to which ancient Nubian cultures might be considered ‘Bronze Age’ during the Second Millennium bce and questions the application of the term ‘Bronze Age’ to Middle Nubian cultures in some scholarly discourse. Using evidence from Nubian cemeteries and settlements in the Nile Valley, it is argued that while the Kerma culture and ancient Kush might be seen to participate in Bronze Age networks, other contemporaneous Nubian cultures did not directly participate. The author stresses the important of defining terminologies and a deeper consideration of Eurocentric perspectives when studying ancient northeast African cultures.

Open Access
In: Old World: Journal of Ancient Africa and Eurasia

Abstract

This article aims to revisit the terms ‘Jade Age’ and ‘Bronze Age’ in respect to Chinese archaeology and history. It argues that the active exchanges of techniques, ideas, and tools between the bronze and stone producers have blurred the definitions of these periods and proposes that we focus more on the concrete agents in history. This article adopts evidence from the cold mechanical treatments of precious stones and bronzes. It presents and analyzes traces of polishing and chiseling on bronze surfaces and argues that some of the traces may have been left by abrasives as practiced in the lithic industry. This demonstrates that lapidary skills and the post-casting treatments of bronze objects were interrelated.

Open Access
In: Old World: Journal of Ancient Africa and Eurasia
Author:

Abstract

At the critical junction of the Early and Middle Bronze Ages, marked by the fall of the Ur iii polity, the city of Susa in today’s southwest Iran left Mesopotamian control and became the lowland seat of the Shimashki and then Sukkalmah dynasts of the Zagros mountains, who elevated Elam as a significant power on the dynamic early Middle Bronze Age Near Eastern geopolitical stage. This transition ushered in new political, economic, and social conditions, which this paper argues can be detected in Susa’s mortuary record, particularly in the consumption of copper-base materials. A comparison of burial assemblages and evidence for the copper-base metallurgy industry before and after the transition demonstrates that while copper-base objects had already played a critical social role under Mesopotamian rule, their deployment in the structuring of Susian society expanded with the transition to eastern rule and more widespread changes in economic production and trade.

Open Access
In: Old World: Journal of Ancient Africa and Eurasia