It is likely that the sociocultural and 19 spatiotemporal contexts of production for these amulets were very different. The perforated flange at the top allows its 24 suspension by a string, and the upper right corner is damaged. The feet are omitted, and 26 the head, with an elongated eye and a slight indication of an ear on top, tapers toward a snout or nose 27 and may represent that of a dog.
Around her are a comb and a spindle, beneath those, a dog and a 28 pig let. A horizontal arrow lies in the upper left corner. In the upper right corner, there is a bent 29 object, but most of it is broken away. The imagery is bordered by a horizontal line at the top and at the bottom. The sign forms, rather crudely incised into the surface, cannot be securely dated, but a 33 context of the early first millennium BCE is plausible.
It is noteworthy that signs are missing at the ends of the first, second, and fourth 2 lines. As known from parallel examples, the inscription begins with the term for incantation — EN2 or 3 EN2. RU — but the stone cutter left out the sign RU. ME, but here too the final sign, ME, was omitted. The stone cutter, for example, might have copied the incantation from a damaged source. Pseudo-inscriptions i. Within a society with relatively limited literacy, an inscription itself could hold 15 significant symbolic power, regardless of the actual content or lack thereof of the signs. MMA All four corners are chipped, and there is a large loss at the upper left.
Its perforated 20 flange along the top edge is almost entirely lost. The imagery is executed more artistically 22 than NBC The carvings are detailed and modeled, including emphasized muscles. On separate ground lines, there 25 is a seated dog to the left and a walking pig to the right. The figure is surrounded by a comb, a spindle, 26 a donkey leg, and an arrow. An element in the upper left corner is broken away. The cuneiform, according to Harper , is a variety of 33 Babylonian script that would have been common in the first millennium BCE. The cylinder seals 3 The YBC also holds two cylinder seals made from obsidian.
Both of the seals date to the Old 4 Babylonian period circa — BCE and exhibit standard iconography. The carving of the seal is very 9 fine with great attention to detail. This is also the case with the head of the mace, which is 11 not visible on most Old Babylonian seals showing the same figure. The lines of the flounced dress of 12 the suppliant goddess are slightly undulating, reminiscent of Sippar Workshop I seals Werr, The simple 14 scene and the significant amount of empty space between the figural scene and the inscription 15 suggest a date later during the Old Babylonian period.
The rest of the seal is left blank, again suggesting a date 21 later in the Old Babylonian period. The seal is less finely carved than NBC , and the imagery is 22 slightly fuzzy along the edges. The two female deities were carved directly 24 on top of these imperfections, partially obscuring them and leaving the large blank area smooth and 25 undisturbed cf. This instrument is outfitted with a Rh anode and 32 a 4-W X-ray tube capable of voltages up to 50 kV.
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High X-ray count rates correspond to superior repeatability, lower measurement uncertainty, 5 and shorter measurement times. The total time needed for each measurement was 30 sec: 20 sec for 6 the heavier elements, immediately followed by 10 sec for the lighter ones. There are varied approaches to correction, including empirical methods Sherman, 10 ; Lucas-Tooth and Price, Using an onboard quad-core processor, our instrument uses the 11 fundamental parameters FP method, which employs a physics-based model as a means not only to 12 describe relationships between X-ray intensities and elemental concentrations but also to account 13 for various parameters e.
FP has been used in select XRF applications for decades de 15 Boer and Brouwer, ; however, since it requires intensive calculations, only pXRF instruments 16 with powerful onboard processors can implement FP in real time. After FP correction, the data were 17 calibrated using a series of geological certified reference materials CRMs. Subtle but measurable 10 compositional differences do, though, exist between them e.
There has been, over time, 13 variability, which, to an extent, is inevitable given differences in the techniques and procedures. Yet 14 the overall mean values for these trace elements exhibit excellent agreement with our data. Data for other sources plotted in 17 Figs. Table 26 3 shows how well this seal matches our geological reference specimens as well as published values.
All but two obsidian sources across the Near East, spanning from the Aegean Sea 2 to the Southern Caucasus, are alkaline. Trace elements also reflect these trends. For example, alkaline 5 obsidians tend to have high Sr contents, whereas peralkaline obsidians have high Zr contents, often 6 above ppm.
The NCBS seal has what is called an intermediate composition e. This, in turn, excludes most obsidian sources around the world 9 from consideration as its volcanic origin. In fact, a comparison to more than obsidian analyses 10 worldwide yielded no clear matches. This also eliminated the possibility that it had been fabricated 11 from an obsidian that would have been commonly available to a forger. In Kenya, farther to 16 the south, more than 80 obsidian sources have been reported and chemically characterized over the 17 last four decades e.
In contrast, to the north 19 in Eritrea and Yemen, source characterization endeavors remain relatively nascent Khalidi et al.
In these countries, the situation today is akin to that of Renfrew et 22 al. Additional 24 challenges lie in the elements well measured with different analytical techniques versus those best 25 for distinguishing ATJ obsidians — that is, different elements can be important for sourcing different 26 compositional varieties of obsidian e. Unfortunately, the technique favored for recent studies in 30 the ATJ — laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry LA-ICP-MS — has rarely 31 been used to quantify Zn in these obsidians e.
A reasonable match was found, 2 however, to an Egyptian artifact analyzed by Bavay et al.
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Discussion 12 The four objects in this study and our findings provide noteworthy contrasts between their 13 styles and the origins of their raw materials. Its imagery is coarser, and the inscription was poorly executed, likely by an 16 individual who, due to limited knowledge of cuneiform, copied from a damaged text. If placed side- 17 by-side, the MMA amulet would appear to exhibit greater effort and, in turn, value than the YBC one.
The sources of the material, 19 however, are identical. It must also 23 be kept in mind that, if a dark stone communicated a particular meaning, other stones, such as onyx 24 or black serpentinite, might have fulfilled the same purpose that obsidian did. The two seals 26 are, simply put, unremarkable examples of their type. The sources of their raw materials, however, 27 are remarkably different. One seal originated from one of the most widely used obsidian sources in 28 Mesopotamia. The other cylinder seal, however, can only be matched to 31 a vessel fragment from an Abydosian tomb.
Visually these different obsidians are indistinguishable 32 Figs. The sources of obsidian 7 used in Egypt have long been a topic of interest. Lucas notes: 8 It has been suggested by various writers that the source of the obsidian of the objects made 9 of this material from ancient Egypt was the Aegean, Armenia, or Abyssinia, respectively. If 10 the question can ever be settled, this can only be done by the comparison of the physical 11 constants of the obsidian from ancient Egypt with those of the obsidian from the various 12 possible sources.
Since then, obsidian sourcing of Egyptian artifacts has been 17 rare e. It may have been a gift sent by the Pharaoh to the Hittite king. Instead, it was a small vessel fragment engraved with the cartouche 5 of Pharaoh Khyan Mellink, It is also noteworthy that this fragment was 8 found in a debris level that seemingly dates to the 13th century BCE — that is, three centuries after 9 the reign of Khyan. Hence, this small vessel might not be an example of king-to-king gifting.
Instead, 10 it could have arrived at the Hittite capital as, for example, a curiosity or as booty from a city within 11 Northern Mesopotamia. Furthermore, the obsidian was not tested or shown to originate from the 12 ATJ. Its inscribed cartouche is all that distinguishes this vessel fragment from other such fragments 13 occasionally found at archaeological sites throughout the Near East Mellink, Scientifically establishing the origins of such obsidian 19 objects will be an important step to further understand the NCBS seal.
Consequently, we 24 recommend a complete revaluation of such objects within museum collections. Conclusions 27 Our findings here establish that, for Mesopotamian glyptic objects such as inscribed amulets 28 and cylinder seals, style is a poor proxy for origins of their raw materials. The advantages of pXRF — 29 namely, its portability and its nondestructive quantitative analyses — permitted us to analyze objects 30 that, in past decades, were beyond the reach of traditional laboratory-based obsidian sourcing.
The 31 result is an intriguing contradiction. In contrast, the Old 4 Babylonian cylinder seals — both unremarkable examples of their type — reflect obsidian sources on 5 virtually opposite sides of the ancient Near Eastern world: Eastern Anatolia and the ATJ Figure 3. The two obsidians are, to the naked 9 eye, indistinguishable, so they could not readily communicate disparate meanings.
Was it obtained via direct or indirect contact with Egypt, or did it cross the Arabian 12 Peninsula by other means? Unfortunately, source identification and characterization within the ATJ 13 region is relatively nascent, and as a result, rare obsidian sourcing of Egyptian artifacts have, more 14 often than not, yielded uncertain attributions. Consequently, while our results here offer tantalizing 15 clues and show the great promise of obsidian sourcing using pXRF, there is also considerable work 16 yet to be done.
Nevertheless, the NCBS seal represents, to our knowledge, the first time that an 17 Egyptian-linked obsidian has been chemically identified in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, or the Levant. In 18 fact, the three known obsidian items — one from Anatolia and two from the Levant — inscribed with 19 Egyptian pharaonic cartouches have not been scientifically attributed to particular volcanic origins, 20 further highlighting a need for additional sourcing of existing collections.
Three reviewers provided comments that improved the clarity of the final 33 manuscript. The triangles represent obsidian sources, and the 5 circles represent sites at which obsidian artifacts have been analyzed. The four possible wedges in 6 the circle symbols are color-coded to reflect the presence of obsidian from a particular source. The triangles represent obsidian sources, and 9 the circles represent sites at which obsidian artifacts have been analyzed. The four possible wedges 10 in the circle symbols are color-coded to reflect the presence of obsidian from a particular source.
Archaeological sites green squares and obsidian sources red triangles mentioned in 12 the text. Obsidian sources not referenced in text are represented by the unlabeled black and grey 13 triangles. Photographs by the authors. Photographs in 17 the public domain without copyright, Creative Commons 0 CC0 1.
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Images by the authors. Plot of Zn vs. Zr vs. Nb with data for 1 geological sources in Kenya and Ethiopia, 2 24 archaeological sites in Eritrea and Yemen, 3 an obsidian vessel fragment from Abydos in Egypt, 25 and 4 the NCBS seal. Ethiopian data from Negash et al. Syria 78, Obsidian dating and source exploitation studies in Africa: implications for the 7 evolution of human behavior.
History: Ancient Mesopotamia for Kids
Next was Akkad, which flourished in central Mesopotamia at the end of the 3 rd millennium and was the first large Mesopotamian hegemon. After Sumer and Akkad, the next dominant powers were Assyria in the north and Babylonia in the south. Romans misleadingly labeled all of Mesopotamia as Chaldea.
According to the statement of Herodotus, grain yielded a return of "two hundred fold and even up to three hundred fold" while "the blade of the wheat plant and the barley plant if often four fingers in breadth, and the stalks of the millet and sesame are surprisingly tall. This reveals that Neanderthals buried their dead instead of leaving them out in the open. Mesolithic humans were hunter-gatherers who lived in caves mostly but also built seasonal settlements. Near Shanidar Cave is a Zawi-Chemi, a cave that was used for shelter during this period. Humans underwent the Neolithic Revolution by shifting from hunter-gatherers to food-producers.
Permanent villages were built and agriculture began. The first shrines and cult figures were made. Trade developed, particularly of obsidian. In the Neolithic period "New Stone Age", circa 10, — 5, BC nomads perhaps under conditions of food scarcity began to cultivate grains and domesticate dogs, sheep, and goats. As agricultural land became increasingly important, early farmers established permanent settlements.
Most were simple villages, but some had substantial public architecture such as a stone city wall, and tower or cult buildings. Rituals involving not only fertility but also ancestral ownership of land seem to have become increasingly important, as suggested by the proliferation of images of humans and divinities. During the final phase of the Neolithic period, villagers began to make the first ceramic vessels to cook and serve their new foods. In Chalcolithic Mesopotamia BC; or - BC , surplus food production allowed lifestyles to develop and villages to urbanize.
By BC, settlements large enough to accommodate twenty thousand inhabitants existed at many sites in Mesopotamia. Economic and political life is thought initially to have centered around temples, which controlled land, labor, and raw materials. The Chalcolithic is marked by: the use of native copper in pace of stone; a myriad of painted pottery cultures; the growth of land and river trade; and the interaction of distant cultures.
The first copper objects were small ornaments and simple tools. However, by the 4 th millennium BC, sophisticated methods of smelting, alloying, and casting were being employed in the southern Levant and western Iran. These societies often had a specialized ruling class that used the prestigious metal objects, as well as highly decorated and skillfully made pottery. Later developments were dominated by the rise of the first large cities in the Uruk period in Mesopotamia 4, — 3, BC.
Fundamental changes of this time included the rise of the first kings and states; elite art and massive public architecture; and the invention of cuneiform writing.
Many of the earliest cities continued to be major centers throughout much of ancient West Asian history, including Arbil which remains significant to the present day. Sargon of Akkad established the first empire in the ancient Near East and controlled Sumer, Akkad, and parts of Subartu to the north and Elam to the east. Akkadian, a Semitic language, became the official language of the empire.
Merchants, trading with distant regions over sea and land routes, acquired precious stones and metals in exchange for agricultural products and textiles. Expressing new political and social ambitions, Akkadian imperial art depicted military victories and the assumption of divine powers by the Akkadian kings. The collapse of the Akkadian empire came about in BC, due in part to incursions of nomads known as Guti from the Zagros Mountains in Iran.
Under the Third Dynasty of Ur — BC founded by Ur-Nammu in the city of Ur, a regional empire was reestablished, and Mesopotamian bureaucracy reached a height of complexity. The ziggurat, a distinctive Mesopotamian stepped temple-tower, is first known from excavations at various cities in southern Mesopotamia. Instead of the vitality and naturalism of Akkadian art, artisans working for the court of the Third Dynasty of Ur produced orderly and hieratic compositions that emphasized pious supplication to the gods. Some may have had a small circle of subsidiary villages around them.
The end of the Ubaid period was characterized throughout the Near East by a regression of the number of settlements, and a number were destroyed and abandoned. Ubaid culture replaced Halaf culture throughout Mesopotamia. In the north was the North Ubaid culture; in the south was Ubaid The early 4th millennium heralds the start of the Uruk period and a vast increase in the number and size of settlements, especially in central and south Babylonia.
The increase in population is likely undue solely to indigenous population growth; it likely involved in sedentarization of previously undetectable semi-nomadic people, and the arrival of outsiders for climatic or other reasons. The number of people seems to have been almost equal in central and southern Mesopotamia, but in central Babylonia they lived in three centers of 30 to 50 hectares, while in the south one site alone dominated with a size of 70 hectares: Uruk. They were of Asian origin but further detail is open to dispute.
They founded city-states whose political, social and economic epicenter was the local temple dedicated to the city's main deity. The ensi governor ruled the city as the representative of the chief deity. Sumer was is credited for inventing: a pictographic script that was the prototype for cuneiform; mathematical numbers and multiplication tables; instrumental music, including the lyre; the wheel, quickening trade via the first carts; terracotta cone mosaics, used to decorate walls of monumental temples; and the cylinder seal, allowing infinite bands of reliefs onto wet clay.
Urban growth exploded, particularly in the south of Babylonia at and around Uruk. The center of Babylonia underwent a negligible increase in permanently settled population and is attributable to natural growth. Uruk underwent further urbanization. Regarding the broader Near East, there was no longer cultural hegemony exuding from Babylonia; the Near East underwent a reversion to local traditions and certain skills became rare including writing. Within southern Mesopotamia itself, however, written sources actually increased thus illuminating more detail than ever to modern scholars.
Initially, Southern Mesopotamia was slower to develop, lacking any settlements during Northern Mesopotamia's Neolithic era and only being settled during the North's Chalcolithic era. However, once the Chalcolithic began then Southern Mesopotamia developed faster, and southern cultures would spread north along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to permeate the whole of Mesopotamia. The Early, Middle and Late Uruk periods saw a tremendous increase in the number of sites.
The former two periods saw the north of Sumer predominate in terms of number of settlements, but environmental factors or perhaps even conflict drove the extreme south to dominate in the Late Uruk era with the most settlements and also the largest settlement, which was at Uruk. The Early Dynastic era heralded hyper-urbanization, as evidenced by a sharp decrease in the number of settlements and a tremendous expansion of certain urban centers in the extreme south to a scale of a hundred hectares or more.
Cylinder Seals in Ancient Mesopotamia - Their History and Significance
These changes reveal that Sumerian society transformed from predominantly nomadic to significantly settled, perhaps due to changing environmental conditions that allowed agriculture and husbandry to flourish. I'm sure some of us have even read General Lew Wallace's novel of the same name It's a graphic picture of hardship and very important to Wallace's narrative. The trouble is Think about it - if you're going to.
Ancient coins found in Northern Australia. Now some of you probably feel an Australian connection to the ancient trade routes is pretty unlikely, and, yes, if the Southern Continent had any participation in Classical-era shipping it was more about wrecks and castaways than Phoenician mines or lost Egyptian Pyramids. So did these ancient ship wrecks or occasional visits happen? The answer now appears almost certainly a resounding YES. In five year old copper coins were found on a Wessel Islands beach off the Northwest coast of A. Did Australia play a part in the Classical World I guess you're wondering where this post is going to go?
How could Australia have played any part in Roman history - it wasn't discovered until , right? Fisherman from the Indonesian archipelago have been travelling to the northern coasts of the continent for at least a thousand years. During the 15th and 16th-centuries Portuguese and Dutch traders likewise explored and.
Roman technology versus the Ritual Object.
It's a pretty standard thing in archaeology, something is dug up in a farmer's field that doesn't quite fit in with the standard crockery of a particular era and suddenly it becomes a 'ritual object'. And, yes, a lot of the odd bits and bobs from early history probably do have some sort of ritual or religious connection Think about it, if someone digs up a cassette tape in two thousand years time, it might just as easily be described as a ritual ob. The Roman light bulb. Okay, so it looks like the Romans may have had batteries and did a bit shock therapy or gold electroplating to mug the less wary jewellery shoppers, but as we know, there's a lot of different uses for electricity.
And there's one thing that pretty much put electricity on the map for 19th-century society and gave every household the reason to invest in copper wires I mean, wow, what an invention, right? Well, here's where history gets a little bump. The Roman battery. Electricity, it's a child of the 19th-century, right? The Romans might have been pretty clever but they never mastered putting a D cell in a torch There does seem to be at least some evidence of wet-cell batteries being used on the peripheries of the Roman Empire. The famous Baghdad Battery is more closely related to the post-Persian Parthian Empire, but these two ancient super powers shared borders, Greek culture and technology.
Okay, so what was the Baghdad battery? What was ancient to the Romans? This was Babylon. By the time Pliny writes about this great city it is nearly years old. He describes a city ringed by two walls with circumferences of miles, standing feet high and feet thick. This sounds like a city never mea.
Was the Ninth legion wiped out by the Picts? Part III. Okay, so if the Pictones were most likely incapable of raising a force large enough to wipe out an entire Roman legion, then what's the story with the Ninth? Well, the problem for the Ninth is that after being listed in Trajan's legionary records in AD, the next listing of legions that survives to the present time is from AD - during the reign of Marcus Aurelius So what's the story? I'm te. All right, so if the Ninth Legion did march into the nether regions of the Scottish lowlands or highlands and disappeared, did the Picts actually have the capacity to destroy them?
Thanks to the Vindolanda tablets found on the frontiers of pre-walled Britain, we can get a reasonable picture of life on the Pictones Border in the years leading up to the 'disappearance' of the Ninth Legion. Was the Ninth Legion wiped out by the Picts? It's one of those enduring narratives of Romano-British history - and has been made the stuff of legend in novels and movies for at least the last sixty years, with two feature films produced on the topic in and I'm sure you've heard the story So what is the.
Death and taxes. It shouldn't be any surprise to you that the Romans paid taxes - all those grand infrastructure projects needed cash and the average Roman was the big contributor to all those roads and aqueducts. But what did they pay? Well, for one thing, the Romans didn't have an income tax like we're used to - in fact through much of Roman history, they had a Wealth tax instead.
Throughout the Republic and up until BC, Roman citizens paid tax based on their wealth and asset value. This tax was usually aro.