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NEW: Taymāʾ I: Archaeological Exploration, Palaeoenvironment, Cultural Contacts edited by Arnulf Hausleiter, Ricardo Eichmann, Muhammad al-Najem. Hardback; 210x297mm; xii+268 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white (66 plates in colour). 499 2018 Taymāʾ: Multidisciplinary Series on the Results of the Saudi-German Archaeological Project 1. Available both in print and Open Access. Printed ISBN 9781789690439. £55.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781789690446. Book contents pageDownload

Archaeological investigations in the north-western part of the Arabian Peninsula has increased during the last 15 years. One of the major sites in the region is the ancient oasis of Taymāʾ, known as a commercial hub on the so-called Incense Road connecting South Arabia with the Eastern Mediterranean. In the context of this new research a multidisciplinary project by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and the Orient Department of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) has been investigating the archaeology and ancient environment of Taymāʾ since 2004. A major aim of this project was the development of new perspectives of the site and the region, characterised by elaborating the local socio-cultural and economic contexts. So far, Taymāʾ has been known mainly through exogenous sources.

The present volume is the first of the publication series of the Saudi-German archaeological project and focuses on three fundamental aspects of research at Taymāʾ: the current archaeological exploration of the oasis is contextualised with previous and ongoing research within the region, while at the same time offering a first overview of the settlement history of the site, which may have started as early as more than 6000 years ago. New information on the palaeoenvironment has been provided by multiproxy- analysis of sediments from a palaeolake immediately north of the settlement. The results indicate an Early Holocene humid period in the region that is shorter than the so-called African Humid Period. The abrupt aridification at around 8 ka BP, known from other regions in the Near East, is also attested in north-western Arabia. The reconstruction of the past vegetation of the site and its surroundings demonstrates that oasis cultivation at Taymāʾ started during the 5th millennium BCE with grapes and figs, rather than with the date palm. According to hydrological investigations on water resources, groundwater aquifers provided the main source of local water supply. These were exploited through wells, some of which have been identified in the area of the ancient oasis. Finally, since the time of early travellers to Northwest Arabia evidence of cultural contacts has been observed in the records from the site, which had been occupied by the last Babylonian king, Nabonidus (556–539 BCE) for ten years. A historical-archaeological essay on Egypt and Arabia as well as a study on the ambiguous relationship between Assyria and Arabia – characterised by conflict and commerce – shed new light on the foreign relations of ancient Taymāʾ.

About the Editors
ARNULF HAUSLEITER is researcher at the DAI’s Orient Department for the Taymāʾ project, funded by the German Research foundation (DFG). He has been field director of the excavations at Taymāʾ since 2004 and has co-directed the project with Ricardo Eichmann.

RICARDO EICHMANN is director of the Orient Department at the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. He is the head of the German component of the Taymāʾ project and has co-directed it with Arnulf Hausleiter.

MUHAMMAD AL-NAJEM is head of the Antiquities Office of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and director of the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography at Taymāʾ, Province of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.
Palmyra, Pastoral Nomads, and City-State Kings in the Old Babylonian Period: Interaction in the Semi-Arid Syrian Landscape by Kristina J. Hesse. Pages 1-9 from Palmyrena: City, Hinterland and Caravan Trade between Orient and Occident Jørgen Christian Meyer, Eivind Heldaas Seland and Nils Anfinset.Download

Abstract: The aim of the paper is to inhabit the semi-arid landscape of Palmyrena in the Old Babylonian period, by describing some of the surveyed archaeological remains and relate this to inhabit and events in this area described in ancient documents. Some examples from the area of Jebel Bishri will also be discussed. Besides landscape surveys and climate studies, the research draws upon several ancient tablets describing the interaction between pastoral nomads and urban societies originating from the Mari Archives during the reign of Zimri-Lim and Yasmah-Addu. The study shows that pastoral nomadic tribes, called the Suteans, inhabited these mountainous areas, which in this period might have been wetter than today and sparsely covered with bushy woodland. These people were engaged in escorting caravans through the desert, but they also had a reputation as raiders, hence the Jebel Bishri plateau was avoided by travellers. Palmyra, was an important stop over for caravans and an advanced station guarding the desert route between Mari and Qatna, and seems to have been located within the territory of the latter. The settled and nomadic people of Palmyra were engaged as messengers as well as in pastoralism, escorting, guarding, and with the provisioning of caravans.
Naturvorstellungen im Altertum Schilderungen und Darstellungen von Natur im Alten Orient und in der griechischen Antike edited by Florian Schimpf, Dominik Berrens, Katharina Hillenbrand, Tim Brandes and Carrie Schidlo. ii+285 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white (56 colour plates). German text. 411 2018. Available both in print and Open Access. Printed ISBN 9781784918255. £32.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784918262. Book contents pageDownload

Everyone who investigates pre-modern concepts of nature cannot avoid a critical reflection on the ancient understandings of it. Here, “nature” is understood in the sense of a seemingly untouched space, largely independent of human culture. While this concept of “nature” is prevalent in modern times, the reconstruction of ancient ideas is difficult in that concepts of nature, if at all present, emphasize other aspects. For example, the Greek term φύσις in pre-Hellenistic times defines the nature of a thing rather than an untouched environment. A word for “nature” in this sense has not been handed down to us in the remaining texts of the Ancient Near East and Classical Antiquity. Nevertheless, such concepts can certainly be reconstructed from descriptions of nature to be found in literature and the representations of natural elements in art.

The present volume aims at identifying these concepts of nature in texts as well as in archaeological remains of the Ancient Near Eastern and the Greek culture from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period. Contributions from the fields of archaeology and philology are juxtaposed for each time period in chronological order. This arrangement provides a good overview of the concepts of nature prevailing throughout different period and cultures.

GERMAN DESCRIPTION: Der Begriff „Natur“ wird in modernen, mitteleuropäischen Gesellschaften meist im Sinne eines vermeintlich unberührten Raumes verstanden, der weitgehend unbeeinflusst von menschlicher Kultur ist. Für vormoderne Kulturen lassen sich solche Vorstellungen bzw. Konzepte sehr viel schwieriger nachweisen, da beispielsweise ein Wort für „Natur“ mit der eben genannten Bedeutung in den erhaltenen Texten des Alten Orients und der griechischen Antike so nicht überliefert zu sein scheint. Gleichwohl werden durchaus Naturelemente in der antiken Literatur, der Flächenkunst sowie in antiken Monumenten beschrieben bzw. abgebildet sowie als integrative Bestandteile genutzt und funktionalisiert. Daraus lassen sich Konzepte von „Natur“ herausarbeiten und rekonstruieren. Der vorliegende Band möchte solche „Naturkonzepte“ in Texten, Artefakten und Denkmälern des Alten Orients und des griechischen Kulturraumes von der Archaik bis in den Hellenismus identifizieren und einen Überblick über die jeweils in einem bestimmten Zeit- und Kulturraum vorherrschenden Vorstellungen sowie deren diachrone Entwicklung geben.

About the Editors
FLORIAN SCHIMPF studied Classical Archaeology and History at the universities of Frankfurt and Istanbul, whilst gaining practical experiences by participating in excavations in Priene (Turkey), Portugal and on the Balkans. In 2013 he joined the Research Training Group “Early Concepts of Man and Nature” at the University of Mainz with a project on natural sanctuaries in ancient Greece and Asia Minor. His research interests lie in the fields of religious history, Greek cult practices and metrology.

DOMINIK BERRENS studied Classical Philology and Biology at the University of Freiburg. From 2013-2017 he was part of the Research Training Group “Early Concepts of Man and Nature” at the University of Mainz, where he received his doctorate with a dissertation on social insects in antiquity in 2016. Since October 2017 he has been a postdoctoral researcher working on the project “NOSCEMUS – Nova Scientia: Early Modern Science and Latin” funded by the European Research Council at the University of Innsbruck. His research interests lie in pre-modern scientific texts and ancient drama.

KATHARINA HILLENBRAND studied Classical Philology and German Studies at the Universities of Würzburg and Frankfurt. In 2014 she joined the Research Training Group “Early Concepts of Man and Nature” at the University of Mainz with a project on concepts of volcanic phenomena in Roman antiquity. Currently she is working at the department of Classical Philology at the University o
Archaeological Explorations in Syria 2000-2011 Proceedings of ISCACH-Beirut 2015 edited by Jeanine Abdul Massih and Shinichi Nishiyama in collaboration with Hanan Charaf and Ahmad Deb. Paperback; 205x290mm; iv+452 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white (124 colour plates). (Print RRP £65.00). 452 2018. Available both in print and Open Access. Printed ISBN 9781784919474. £65.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784919481. Book contents pageDownload

Syria has been a major crossroads of civilizations in the ancient Near East since the dawn of human kind. Until the current crisis began in 2011, Syria was one of the foremost pioneers in the investigation of past human knowledge, diversity, and identity. However, due to the ongoing war, archaeological excavations came to an abrupt halt. Since then, there have been countless alarming reports of damage or destruction inflicted on archaeological, historical, and museum sites.

The International Syrian Congress on Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (ISCACH), held December 3-5, 2015 in Beirut, Lebanon, was designed to bring together international scholars who have directed or participated in archaeological expeditions in Syria, and colleagues from Syria. By doing so, not only could the results of years of archaeological investigations and cultural heritage management in Syria be shared and discussed, but also a spirit of friendship and collaboration could be fostered and strengthened during this turbulent period.

The Congress focussed on the scientific aspects of each explored site and region allowing researchers to examine in detail each heritage site, its characteristics and identity. Archaeological Explorations in Syria 2000-2011: Proceedings of ISCACH-Beirut 2015 consists of two parts. The first part presents the results of archaeological investigations conducted between 2000 and 2010. The second part comprises abstracts of papers and posters presented during the Congress. It is hoped that this book will represent an important contribution to the scientific dialogue between international and Syrian scholars, and will appeal to the general public interested in the culture and history of Syria.

About the Editors
JEANINE ABDUL MASSIH is professor in art and archaeology at the Lebanese University. She specializes in Hellenistic and Roman settlements, town planning, and architecture. She co-directed the excavations of Cyrrhus (Aleppo, Syria) on behalf of the Lebanese University and the DGAMS and coordinated many field and research projects in Syria and Lebanon. Since 2014, she has been in charge of the excavations and management of the Quarries of Baalbek (Lebanon) and of a survey project on the Southern Beqaa (Lebanon).

SHINICHI NISHIYAMA is associate professor at Chubu University, Japan. He specializes in the Iron Age culture of the ancient Near East, especially in the northern Levant. He has participated in various archaeological projects in the Near East and Central Asia including Syria, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. He was also involved in the UNESCO-led cultural heritage projects in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. He currently co-directs archaeological projects in Iraqi Kurdistan (Yasin Tepe) and in Lebanon (Southern Beqaa).

HANAN CHARAF is assistant professor in art and archaeology at the Lebanese University. She specializes in Near Eastern history and archaeology during the Bronze and Iron Ages in the central Levant. Her research interests include Bronze Age ceramic production and distribution, Bronze Age Cypriot pottery imported to Lebanon, supra and intraregional trade (exchange commodities and routes) in the Levant during the Bronze Age, and cultural characteristics of the transitional period Late Bronze Age-Iron Age in the central Levant.

AHMAD DEB holds a PhD in archaeology and is currently Head of the Department of the Historical Buildings and Archaeological Documentation at the Directorate General of Antiquities of Syria. He directed the Syrian excavations of Tell Nahr El-Arab (Tell Al-Shamiyeh) between 2011 and 2018. He specializes in Bronze Age settlements and burials in the Near East. Today, he dedicates his time to saving and documenting Syrian endangered cultural heritage.
Dja’de el-Mughara (Aleppo) by Eric Coqueugniot Taken from A History of Syria in One Hundred Sites by Y. Kanjou and A. Tsuneki (eds). Pages 51-53.Download

Excavated as part of the rescue campaigns of the Tishreen Dam in the Euphates valley, the Neolithic tell of Dja’de el Mughara has yielded archaeological levels belonging mostly to the 9th millennium BC (9310-8290 cal. BCE). It concerns a crucial phase in the process of Neolithisation, the one which corresponds to the end of the period of gestation, and invention of the domestication of plants (raw agricultural practices but with wild cereals). ...
Tell Barri/Kahat (al Hassake) Taken from A History of Syria in One Hundred Sites by Raffaella Pierobon Benoit. Pages 304-308.Download

Tell Barri is located in western Jazira, on the left bank of the river JaghJagh, a tributary of the Habur. The river was fully navigable in antiquity and permitted easy communications as far as the Euphrates. The river supplied water, used not only for drinking but for crops and artisanal activities; cuneiform tablets provide evidence that fishing was also practised. This part of the Jazira was, in any case, favourable to settlements thanks to sufficient rainfall for the development of semi-arid agriculture. Its products, especially grains, combined with intense animal husbandry, notably sheep, formed the mixed economy that seems to have characterized all phases of the life of the site. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Halaf Settlement in the Iraqi Kurdistan: the Shahrizor Survey Project Taken from The Archaeology of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Adjacent Regions by Olivier Nieuwenhuyse, Takahiro Odaka and Simone Mühl. Pages 257-266.Download

The archaeology of the Halaf period has seen a very significant increase over the past decades. This recent work almost exclusively focussed on Northern Syria and Southeastern Turkey, or Upper Mesopotamia (Akkermans and Schwartz 2003; Nieuwenhuyse et al. 2013). As scholarship returns to Iraqi Kurdistan, prehistorians bring implicit expectations and assumptions that are shaped to a large extent by the latest work in Upper Mesopotamia. At the same time, the various new projects are taking up the challenge of adapting the existing models to local expressions of the Halaf cultural idiom (Altaweel et al. 2012; Bonacossi and Iamoni 2015; Gavagnin et al. (forthcoming); Nieuwenhuyse et al. 2016; Saber et al. 2014; Tsuneki et al. 2015; Ur et al. 2013). For the Halaf period, it is necessary to develop a fine-tuned chronological system that is sensitive to local internal sub-divisions in order to assess the significance of fluctuating site densities through time. The coarsegrained chronological framework currently available only permits a generalized slicing-up of later prehistory into ‘Pre-Halaf’, ‘Halaf’ and ‘Ubaid’. Such broad chronological boundaries may well turn out to be less significant if these long periods can be split into more nuanced images of change and continuity. The ultimate aim is to develop local frameworks based on explicitly described parameters so as to facilitate inter-regional comparisons (Ball et al. 1989; Dittmann 1992; Ur 2010, 214-5; Wilkinson and Tucker 1995). Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Palmyra, 30 Years of Syro-German/Austrian Archaeological Research (Homs) Taken from A History of Syria in One Hundred Sites by Andreas Schmidt-Colinet, Khaled al-As‘ad and Waleed al-As‘ad. Pages 339-348.Download

The temple- or house-like tomb no. 36 is situated in the centre of so-called ‘Valley of the Tombs’. With about 18m length from edge to edge and about 300 graves (loculi), it is the largest representative of this palace-like type of tombs at Palmyra. The architectural decoration of the building allows a dating to about 210 to 230 AD. Furthermore the tomb can be attributed probably to the family of the famous Iulius Septimius Aurelius Vorodes. The documentation of the more than 700 fallen blocks of the ruin enables us to draw an exact reconstruction of the building. The architecture documents a fusion of different traditions as well as the grandiose will of the buildings commissioner: The palace-like facade of the entrance contrasts with the square, two-storey and uncovered peristyle courtyard in the centre of the structure. Design and metrology of the building reveal at every point Roman principles of design, brought into line with oriental taste. The themes and the stylistic evidence of the architectural sculpture prove close relations with foreign sarcophagi workshops on the Syrian coast and their connections to Roman art: Dionysos-Baalshamin sitting in the vineyards, nereids and erotes riding on dolphins, seamonsters holding a shell between them, victories,winged Medusas, tragic masks. On the other hand, the exceptionally rich architectural decoration of highest quality was worked out by local workshops and enables us to reconstruct pattern books which partly can be traced back to native textile patterns. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Tell el-Kerkh (Idlib) Taken from A History of Syria in One Hundred Sites by Akira Tsuneki. Pages 61-64.Download

Tell el-Kerkh is a large tell-complex located in the south of the Rouj Basin, Idlib province. It was occupied for long periods from the Neolithic to the Byzantine, however we concentrated our excavations on the Neolithic period. It is the oldest Neolithic settlement in northwest Syria, dating back to the middle of the 9th millennium BC. Therefore, the site provided us with data on how farming villages appeared in this region. Based on the excavated plant remains and animal bones, the subsistence of the people who first settled at Tell el-Kerkh seemed to follow the path from hunter-gatherers to farmer-herders. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Structured Deposition of Animal Remains in the Fertile Crescent during the Bronze Age by José Luis Ramos Soldado. vi+58 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white. Access Archaeology . Available both in print and Open Access. Printed ISBN 9781784912727. £20.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784912697. Book contents pageDownload

Although most of the animal remains recorded throughout the archaeological excavations consist usually of large assemblages of discarded and fragmented bones, it is possible to yield articulated animal skeletons in some cases. Most of them have been usually picked up from sacred and/or funerary contexts, but not all of them might fit necessarily in ritual and symbolic interpretations, and not all of the structured deposit of animal remains may be explained due to anthropic factors. In addition, zooarchaeology has traditionally focused on animal domestication, husbandry and economy, and species identification above all, shutting out further discussion about these type of findings. Moreover, the limited condition of the data is also another issue to bear in mind. Thus, the aim of this paper has been to draw up a literature review of the structured deposits of animal remains during the third and second millennia BC in the Ancient Near East for its subsequent classification and detailed interpretation. In this survey it has been attested that not only most of the articulated animal remains have been found in ritual and/or funerary contexts but also that all species recorded– but some exceptions–are domestic. Hence, I argue in this paper that there is a broad religious attitude towards the main domesticated animals of human economy in the Ancient Near East, based on the closeness of these animals to the human sphere. Therefore, it seems that domesticated animals were powerful constituents in the cultural landscape of these regions, never simply resources.

Access Archaeology: Our newest imprint is designed to make archaeological research accessible to all and to present a low-cost (or no-cost) publishing solution for academics from all over the world. Material will range from theses, conference proceedings, catalogues of archaeological material, excavation reports and beyond. We will provide type-setting guidance and templates for authors to prepare material themselves designed to be made available for free online via our Open Access platform and to supply in-print to libraries and academics worldwide at a reasonable price point. Click here to learn more about publishing in Access Archaeology.

‘Metal makes the wheel go round’: the development and diffusion of studded-tread wheels in the Ancient Near East and the Old World Chapter 18 from ΑΘΥΡΜΑΤΑ: Critical Essays on the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honour of E. Susan Sherratt by Simone Mühl. Pages 159-176.Download

As emphasized by the image on the cover of Stuart Piggott’s book Ancient Europe (1965), the wheel is, perhaps, one of humanity’s greatest inventions. The ingenuity and simplicity of its idea and the forms we know today are the result of a long process that involved several stages of construction, testing and cumulative improvement. Developments in wheel technology were, of course, related to the emergence of different categories of vehicles – including different forms of carts, wagons, or chariots – each representing a response to changing needs in agriculture, elite representation and warfare. One of these modifications was the ‘studded-tread wheel’ and this will form the focus of this paper.

This paper is taken from ΑΘΥΡΜΑΤΑ: Critical Essays on the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honour of E. Susan Sherratt edited by Yannis Galanakis, Toby Wilkinson and John Bennet, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
The Aegean and Cyprus Chapter 15 from World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum by Yannis Galanakis and Dan Hicks. 312-335.Download

The Pitt Rivers Museum (PRM) holds c. 480 objects from the Aegean (Greek mainland, Crete and the Cyclades) and c. 292 objects from Cyprus that are currently defined as archaeological. This chapter provides an overview of this material, and also considers the 25 later prehistoric archaeological objects from Turkey that are held in the Museum (Figure 15.1). The objects range chronologically from the later prehistoric (Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age) to the medieval period. Falling outside of the geographical scope of this chapter, elsewhere this volume considers Classical Greek and Roman material from Egypt (Chapter 7) and from the Levant (Chapter 21), Neolithic and Bronze Age material from Italy (Chapter 14), and Iron Age (including Classical Greek) material from Italy (Chapter 16). Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
The Levant: Palestine, Israel and Jordan Chapter 22 from World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum by Bill Finlayson. 471-481.Download

The Pitt Rivers Museum (PRM) has over time acquired a number of flint collections from the Israel, Jordan, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Figure 22.1). Together they number some 4,986 artefacts, and notably includes material from important excavations at sites such as Mount Carmel and Shuqba cave: sites that helped establish the prehistoric culture history sequences in the Levant. The bulk of the collection was received from fieldwork conducted during the British Mandate in Palestine – either directly at the time or indirectly from the purchase of material from the Ipswich Museum in 19661 – and includes material from Turville-Petre and Dorothy Garrod. This period of fieldwork represented not only the opening up of early prehistory, but the most active period of British archaeological involvement in the region (Gibson 1999). The collection is thus a product of a distinctive moment in the history of the region. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
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