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Aren Maeir

Biblical archaeology is defined as the study of the archaeological remains of the peoples, cultures, and periods in which the biblical texts were formed. While in the past biblical archaeology was often seen as an ideologically motivated field of inquiry, currently, a balanced and scientifically advanced approach is common among most practitioners. The large body of research in this field, continuing to the present, provides a broad range of finds, insights, and understanding of the relevant cultures, peoples and periods in which the biblical texts were formed.Biblical archaeology may be defined as the study of the archaeological remains of the regions, cultures, and periods, in which the biblical texts were formed. Modern biblical archaeology does not attempt to prove or disprove the Bible. Rather, archaeological study of the cultures in which the Bible was formed, or which are included in the Bible narratives, can provide a better understanding of the material and intellectual context of the biblical texts. The primary aim, however, is to study the archaeology of these regions, periods, and cultures associated with the Bible, the biblical interface being secondary. Biblical archaeology focuses primary attention on the regions and cultures of the Southern Levant, specifically the region of modern-day Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and southern Syria. Nearby regions such as Egypt, northern Syria, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Cyprus, and the Aegean are within its scope of interest. The main chronological focus of biblical archaeology are the periods in which the actual biblical texts were formed and written down—the Iron Age, Persian period, and Hellenistic period for the Hebrew Bible, about .


Guy D. Middleton

Around 1200 bce, the Mycenaean palace centres of mainland Greece and Crete were destroyed along with, presumably, the states they governed; key aspects of palatial culture that had developed over the preceding two centuries, such as writing and administration, were lost or rejected. Although there was rebuilding at some sites, such as Tiryns, the style was different from the preceding age, which suggests an ideological shift and likely a weakening of central authority. Elsewhere, in Messenia, there was no rebuilding at Pylos palace, and the landscape appears depopulated. Many explanations for the collapse have been proposed, from migration and climate change to plague and shifts in trade; the continued disagreement over what happened and why demonstrates the difficulty of arriving at an unambiguous conclusion from the available evidence. Mycenaean culture continued for more than a century after the collapse, but the features associated with palaces and kings disappeared.The collapse.


Jan Stubbe Østergaard

The term “polychromy” has been in use since the early 19th century to denote the presence of any element of colour in Greek and Roman sculpture. The evidence for such polychromy is literary, epigraphical, archaeological, and archeometric; research on the subject therefore requires collaboration between the humanities, conservation science, and natural science. Such research should go hand in hand with the investigation of the polychromy of Greek and Roman architecture, since it is symbiotically related to sculpture, technically as well as visually.

Knowledge of Greek and Roman sculptural polychromy is still very uneven. Scholars have focused on stone sculpture, and most research has been directed towards the Archaic, Early Classical, Hellenistic, and Imperial Roman periods. For terracottas, the Hellenistic period has enjoyed the most research, while investigation of the polychromy of bronze sculpture has only recently begun.

The scientific research methodology applied concerns the materials and techniques employed. The main colouring agents are paints, metals, and coloured marbles. Pigments are based on inorganic and organic materials applied with proteins, wax, or plant gums as binding media. Metals used are bronze, copper, silver, and gold. A range of coloured marbles came into use in the Roman Imperial period, but in all periods, assorted materials such as semi-precious stones and metals were used for inlaid details and attached objects like jewelry and weapons.


Herbert William Parke and Michael Vickers

Most Homeric references to arms and armour are best interpreted in connection with Minoan and Mycenaean armaments, known from such representations as those on the shaft-grave daggers (see mycenae). The characteristic armour here is a figure-of-eight-shaped shield made from a single ox-hide and swung from the neck by a strap. The only other protection was a helmet. The chief weapon was a long rapier-like sword. Towards the end of the bronze age this style was displaced by the use of a much smaller round shield carried on the arm; a change which involved the addition of a breastplate and greaves, while the sword became shorter and was used for cut as well as thrust. In the Homeric poems the champions begin by throwing spears at each other, and when these are gone they proceed to close combat with swords.The standing type of the Archaic and Classical soldier was the *hoplite, ultimately derived from the soldier of the transition to the iron age.


D. F. Easton

Palaeolithic and mesolithic occupation was in caves and rock-shelters and has left simple paintings. The neolithic (c.8000–6500 bce) brought settlement in plains and valleys, growth of villages, and the domestication of plants and animals. Vigorous wall-paintings at Çatal Hüyük and clay statuary at Hacılar emphasize hunting, virility, fertility, and childbirth. Painted pottery first appears in the chalcolithic (c.6500–3400 bce). An economic upsurge in the early bronze age (c.3400–2000 bce) was made possible by developments in metallurgy, attested in metalwork from Troy and from royal burials at Alaca Hüyük, and was perhaps stimulated by Mesopotamian demand for native Anatolian metals. Greater wealth led to universal fortification of settlements and the rise of citadels (e.g. *Troy) and of palaces (e.g. Norşun Tepe). By the middle bronze age (c.2000–1700 bce) Assyrians had trading-stations in central Anatolia on which indigenous rulers at (e.g.) Kültepe, Alişar, and Acemhöyük imposed levies. *Cuneiform writing was introduced.


Ian Archibald Richmond, Eric William Marsden, and Richard Allan Tomlinson

In the Aegean area small towns with perimeter walls appear early in the bronze age (Khalandriani). More usual is the fortified acropolis, increasingly developed in the troubled times of the late bronze age (*Tiryns, *Mycenae, Athens (see athens, topography)). These are built with large irregular blocks of stone in Cyclopean style. With repairs, they survive as the principal defences of their location into the Classical period.The simple yet robust brick walls of Old Smyrna (900–600 bce, J. M. Cook, BSA1958/9, 35 ff.) illuminate the somewhat obscure position in the Dark Age and Archaic period. Extensive town walls began to develop in the 6th and, especially, 5th cents. bce. These are usually of mud-brick on a stone footing. The Athenian walls at *Pylos were built with stone facings, with rubble and clay packing, an increasingly common form of construction, while the system of *Long Walls shows how large-scale fortifications were used for strategic ends.


Paul Halstead, O. T. P. K. Dickinson, Simon Hornblower, and Antony Spawforth

The stone age is divided into the palaeolithic (to c.9000 bce), mesolithic (c.9000–7000 bce) and neolithic (7th–4th millennia bce); *metallurgy began during the neolithic, before the conventional neolithic–bronze age transition.Classical Greece was an essentially agricultural society and as such can trace its origins back to the first farming communities in Greece in the early neolithic (7th millennium bce). Some at least of the domestic livestock and crop species were introduced from the near east, but Greece had long been occupied by palaeolithic and mesolithic gatherer-hunters (e.g. at Franchthi cave, Argolid). It is unclear whether the first farmers were of indigenous, immigrant or mixed stock. Known early farming settlements (e.g. Argissa) are heavily concentrated in the fertile lowlands of the eastern mainland, particularly in *Thessaly. The southern mainland and smaller Aegean islands, the heartland of both bronze age palatial civilization and the Classical *polis, were not widely colonized by farmers until the later neolithic and early bronze age (5th–3rd millennia bce).


Robin Osborne

Traces of regular division of settlement space have been found even in Dark-Age Zagora on *Andros. Some early Greek colonies (see colonization, greek), notably *Megara Hyblaea, show a degree of planning in the organization of urban space in strips along major arterial streets, and in the reservation of an area for a communal *agora. Many Archaic foundations show a grid of rectangular blocks divided by large streets, although in some colonies (e.g. *Selinus, *Himera) the imposition of a regular street plan was subsequent to the initial settlement. In Greece proper, an Archaic (6th cent.) grid is now attested at *Halieis.The more or less ordered subdivisions of urban space in colonial foundations probably had a social and political correlate in the approximately equal status of colonial settlers. This is explicit in inscriptions about the setting up of colonies in the Classical period, where equal division is extended to the countryside also (e.g. Syll.


Irene Lemos

Lefkandi is located on the west coast of Euboea between Chalcis and Eretria. Its ancient name is unknown. The settlement is situated on Xeropolis, a peninsula between two harbours, while Early Iron Age cemeteries—dated from the late 11th to the end of the 9th centuries bce—have been discovered on a hill in close proximity. Xeropolis was occupied since the Early Bronze Age and was a major Middle Bronze Age site. It is, however, during the Post-Palatial period (12th century bce) and the Early Iron Age that the site evinced its most well known period before its final abandonment around 700bce.Xeropolis was remarkably thriving in the middle of the 12th century bce. Compared with other contemporary sites, it was enormous (some 10 hectares or more). The character of the settlement was “proto-urban” and benefited by its maritime activities and close contacts with other sites within and outside the Aegean.


O. T. P. K. Dickinson

Lerna: the ‘House of the Tiles’, Greek site south of *Argos (1), a fine example of the early Helladic II ‘corridor house’ type, now widely identified (J. W. Shaw, AJArch. 1987, 59 ff.). It is large (25×12 m.: 82×39 ft.), two-storeyed, regularly planned with central, axially arranged rooms between corridors, and roofed with clay and schist tiles. Among the finds were groups of clay sealings for jars, boxes, and baskets, suggesting that it had held considerable stores. Such buildings probably had important functions, but their nature is still disputed (Cullen, 111 ff.).