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Etruscan Finds at the "Necropolis of the Pub"

By JARRETT A. LOBELL

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

For the last three years, Italian archaeologists have been excavating a large Etruscan necropolis at the site of Vulci, 75 miles from Rome. Called (for reasons now obscure) the “Necropoli dell’Osteria,” or "Necropolis of the Pub," the large cemetery's most spectacular burial has been been dubbed "The Tomb of the Silver Hands," after the discovery of a pair of silver hands once adorned a wooden dummy. But the team has also uncovered dozens of other tombs containing remains and grave goods belonging to Etruscan nobles and common folk alike who lived in this region of Italy more than 2,500 years ago. Below is a selection of some of the most interesting artifacts from the site.

 

 

Etruscan-Necropolis-Altars


Among the many tombs in the necropolis, the team also found a small rectangular altar (left) that once held a jar containing cremated remains, and impressive tomb (right) filled with artifacts, including a pair of silver hands, that likely belonged to an Etruscan noble family.

 

 

Etruscan-Necopolis-SphinxAnother wealthy tomb, excavated in 2012 near the “Tomb of the Silver Hands,” contained this spectacular stone figure of a sphinx.

 

 

Etruscan-Necropolis-ScarabThe “Tomb of the Sphinx” also contained a blue faience scarab dating from sometime in the 25th or 26th Dynasty (746-525 B.C.). The Etruscans were particularly fond of Egyptian objects, many of which are found in tombs in this and other Etruscan tombs.

 

 

Etruscan-Necropolis-Family-GraveAlong with the tombs belonging to Etruscan nobility, archaeologists also found small family tombs like this one in the necropolis containing at least one, and possibly several, pottery jars in which the deceased cremated remains were buried.

 

 

Etruscan-Necropolis-Terracotta-DecorationMany of the artifacts, such as this painted terracotta architectural element from a well-decorated tomb in the necropolis, have been taken to a nearby lab to be reassembled, if possible, and conserved.

Rock Art of Comanche Warriors

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In New Mexico's Rio Grande Gorge, Barnard College archaeologist Severin Fowles and his team have recorded hundreds of panels of barely visible rock art left by Comanche around a basin known as the Vista Verde site. Groups of Comanche traveled to the area from the Great Plains during the early eighteenth century to take part in raiding or trading expeditions. Many of the panels depict warriors on horseback fighting other Native Americans or capturing horses. Unlike most rock art, which often represents timeless, ritually important subjects, these panels appear to depict real-life events, perhaps traced on the rocks by warriors eager to remind their fellow Comanche of their brave exploits. Below are tracings Fowles and his team made of some of the panels, which were scratched onto basalt boulders.

 

Panel-Rock-Art-Comanche

 

This detail of a panel at the Vista Verde site may depict a single Comanche engaged in feral horse raiding. In the upper left corner the warrior is visibly on horseback, with his headress flowing behind him. The wild horse to the immediate right appears to have a lasso around its neck, and the larger horse below may have an arrow lodged in its body. At the bottom of the panel are semi-circle abrasions around a natural hole in the rock. They may depict hoove prints around a watering hole, represented by the hole. According to tradition, one Comanche horse raiding tactic was to capture feral horses while they gathered around sources of water. 

 

 

 

 

Tepees-Indian-Conflcit

 

This panel appears to depict a Native American, probably Comanche, raid in progress at a tepee encampment. The mounted warrior on the lower left has lines connecting him with another figure. This could be a representation of the act of "counting coup," or physically touching your opponent in battle without a weapon, which was considered the greatest act of bravery a Plains Indian could commit in battle. The Comanche were known as fierce warriors. The very word "Comanche" comes from a Ute term that translates as "anyone who wants to fight me all the time." Outside some of the teppees in this panel are circles on top of three or four lines. These probably represent personal shields, which Plains Indians rested on tripods outside their tepees to represent their owners. 

 

 

Comanche-Rock-Art-Battle

 

Reminiscent of a football coach’s chalkboard diagramming plays this rock art panel depicts several different warriors on foot wearing headdresses and bearing shields. To the upper left the initials “E.T.” are visible, a reminder that cowboys, herders, and modern tourists have left their own graffiti on the same boulders used by the Comanche. Lines likely depicting the act of counting coup connect several of the warriors on this panel.  

 

 

Comanche-Village-Tracings

Some two-dozen tepees are depicted on this boulder, which seems to show Comanche warriors mounting their horses, perhaps in preparation for a raid or trading mission to a nearby settlement. Depictions of tepees are one of the most common scenes found around the Vista Verde site, and it’s possible this panel is a sketch of the site itself. 

 

 


 

 

 

Feature Article:
Comanche-Empire-Chief
Searching for the Comanche Empire

Animal Mummy Coffins of Ancient Egypt

Thursday, January 23, 2014

In ancient Egypt, the practice of mummifying animals became widespread in the first millenium B.C. Until the advent of Christianity, visitors to temples could buy animal mummy bundles as offerings to the gods. Wealthier pilgrims could also splurge on elaborate coffins shaped as creatures to hold these mummies, which ancient Egyptians probably believed represented the souls of the gods. Along with the sale of animal mummies, the production of lavish bronze and wooden coffins must have been an important source of revenue for temples.

 

The coffins below illustrate the wide array of animal forms taken by Egyptian gods. They will accompany 30 newly rediscovered animal mummies in The Brooklyn Museum's traveling exhibit Soulful Creatures:Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. The exhibit's catalogue is available at gilesltd.com

 

Egypt Ibis Mummy Coffin

 

 

Epgyptian Cat Mummy Coffin

 

Egypt Hawk Mummy Coffin

 

Egypt Snake Mummy Coffin

 

Egypt Crocodile Mummy Coffin

 

Egypt Shrew Mummy Coffin

 

 

 

Animal Mummy Coffins of Ancient Egypt

By ERIC A. POWELL

Thursday, January 30, 2014

In ancient Egypt, the practice of mummifying animals became widespread in the first millenium B.C. Until the advent of Christianity, visitors to temples could buy animal mummy bundles as offerings to the gods. Wealthier pilgrims could also splurge on elaborate coffins shaped as creatures to hold these mummies, which ancient Egyptians probably believed represented the souls of the gods. Along with the sale of animal mummies, the production of lavish bronze and wooden coffins must have been an important source of revenue for temples.

 

The coffins below illustrate the wide array of animal forms taken by Egyptian gods. They will accompany 30 newly rediscovered animal mummies in The Brooklyn Museum's traveling exhibit Soulful Creatures:Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. The exhibit's catalogue is available at gilesltd.com

 

Egypt-Ibis-Mummy-Coffin
 
 
 
 
Epgyptian-Cat-Mummy-Coffin
 
 
 
 
Egypt Hawk Mummy Coffin
 
 
 
 
Egypt Snake Mummy Coffin
 
 
 
 
Egypt Crocodile Mummy Coffin
 
 
 
 
Egypt Shrew Mummy Coffin

 

 

Feature:
Ibis Shrew Animal Mummies
Messengers to the Gods

The Sultan’s African Palace

By SAMIR S. PATEL

Monday, December 02, 2013

From the tenth to fifteenth centuries, the East Coast of Africa was home to hundreds of trading towns collectively known as the Swahili Coast. These wealthy, independent Islamic sultanates brought the riches of the African interior, including ivory, gold, and slaves, to a hemisphere-spanning trade network.

 

Among the richest and most influential of these towns was Kilwa Kisiwani, located on an island off the Tanzanian coast. At Kilwa’s height in the early fourteenth century, its leader, Sultan al-Hasan ibn Sulaiman, constructed a massive palace called Husuni Kubwa. The site, built of jagged blocks of coral called coral rag, is now only accessible from a worn staircase carved out of the cliff leading up from the water. Its ruin includes traditional Swahili elements, such as a stepped greeting court bordered by guest rooms for visiting merchants, and elements borrowed from other Islamic palaces, such as an octagonal swimming pool, grand audience court, and a residence with some 100 rooms. But the sultan had overreached in his ambition: The palace was occupied for only a short time before it was abandoned, unfinished.

 

Husuni-Kubwa-greeting-court

 

Husuni-Kubwa-roof-visitors-quarters

 

Husuni-Kubwa-live-coral-decorations

 

Husuni-Kubwa-octagonal-swimming-pool

 

Husuni-Kubwa-audience-court

 

Husuni-Kubwa-collapsed-dome

 

Husuni-Kubwa-courtyard-residence rooms

 

 

Feature:
Sidebar:
Swahili Towns feature item
Stone Towns of the Swahili Coast
 Swahili Towns Sidebar1
Matters of Context

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