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Article

Ester Salgarella

Linear A is a Bronze Age (c. 1800–1450 bce) script attested primarily on Crete but also sporadically in the Aegean islands, mainland Greece, and Asia Minor. Typologically it is classified as a logo-syllabary since it consists of signs representing both syllables (syllabograms) and real-world referents (logograms/ideograms). To date, the script, which was used to write the still poorly understood Minoan language, remains undeciphered. Linear A seems to have been used for both administrative and cultic purposes: incised clay documents (tablets, roundels, and sealings) were used in palace administration to record economic transactions, while inscribed carved-stone and metal objects and painted clay vessels have been found in non-administrative contexts, mostly cultic or utilitarian. There is no evidence of Linear A’s use in monumental inscriptions, diplomatic correspondence, historiography, or other forms of literature. Still, Linear A is likely to have been used for writing on perishable material (papyrus or parchment) as well, although no examples have survived. Although the script remains undeciphered, some information—place names, personal names, names for commodities, and terms for various sorts of transaction—can still be gleaned from the available texts. Nevertheless, the nature of our evidence (short formulaic inscriptions with limited syntax), the relatively small number of inscriptions that have survived, and their often poor state of preservation significantly hamper our understanding of the language.

Article

Louise Hitchcock

The term “Sea People” is a modern designation for some nine tribes known from Egyptian, Hittite, Ugaritic, and biblical texts. Their origins are uncertain, but they are associated with maritime activity that contributed to the destruction of many city-states in the Mediterranean during the era known as the Late Bronze–Iron Age transition. An outcome of this activity was the collapse or destruction of many Bronze Age sites and an emergence of new cultures.One of the great remaining mysteries in Mediterranean archaeology is understanding the identities of the Sea People and their role in contributing to the end of the Bronze Age (c.1200bce). This era of collapse was followed by a new Age of Iron that saw the emergence of the classical Greeks, biblical Israelites, and Romans. The term Sea People is misleading as it is a modern category first used in the 19th century to refer to a collection of different tribal groups wreaking havoc around the Mediterranean. Their tribal names include Denyen, Ekwesh, Lukka, Peleset, Shekelesh or Tjeker, Shardanu, Teresh, Meshwesh, and Weshesh. The origins of some of these groups are associated with particular places in the minds of many (for example, many of the authors in the bibliography and even myself), whereas the origins of others are completely uncertain or continue to be debated. Their names also have variant spellings, based on their being attested in different languages including, chiefly, Egyptian, but also .

Article

Ilion  

Charles Brian Rose

The name of Ilion is generally applied to the site of Troy to designate the settlement in existence there following the end of the Bronze Age. After the destruction of Troy (VIIb2) in the mid-11th century bce, probably by an earthquake, a few of the buildings were repaired but the town was not systematically rebuilt as in earlier periods. Some of the Protogeometric pottery uncovered at the site is paralleled in mainland Greece, especially in and around Euboea, Phocis, and Macedonia, so Ilion was clearly still part of an Aegean trade network at this time.1The fortunes of the city began to rise again during the late 9th and early 8th centuries bce, when there was new construction in the West Sanctuary, a complex on the southwest side of the citadel mound. One of the ruined Late Bronze Age structures in the sanctuary was rebuilt with benches inside and out, as well as a stone base that may have supported a cult image (Figures 1 and 2).

Article

Dimitri Nakassis

Linear B is a script used to write the Greek language during the palatial period of Mycenaean civilization, c. 1400–1200 bce. It employed 87 syllabic and 143 logographic signs written from left to right. The vast majority of Linear B texts take the form of clay tablets, labels, and sealings that were used by palatial administrators to record diverse transactions. The other major document type is the inscribed stirrup jar, a coarse transport vessel with short texts painted before firing. Major deposits of Linear B texts are located at palatial sites on the Greek mainland and Crete, especially at Pylos and Cnossus. The texts are entirely administrative in nature and are therefore silent on historical events, but they shed light on many aspects of the Late Bronze Age world, especially economy, society, religion, and of course language and writing itself.Linear B is a Late Bronze Age script that was used to write documents in the Greek .

Article

Shelley Wachsmann

During the Bronze Age, ships and seafaring capabilities transformed the Mediterranean and Red Seas from insurmountable barriers to highways over which cultures communicated for a variety of reasons. Watercraft were essential to the development of maritime cultures in the Bronze Age. Our knowledge of these vessels derives primarily from contemporaneous iconography, but also from remains of the actual vessels and from texts. Each culture developed ships and boats that best suited their individual needs based on the availability of materials and local traditions.Ships and boats played a pivotal role in the Bronze Age Mediterranean, both on inland waterways and at sea. Virtually everything made or used by humans travelled in some way by watercraft, which allowed cultures to interact over vast distances through exploration, trade, warfare, piracy, and migration. Acquiring copper and tin was of primary importance, and in the late 2nd millennium bce the shape of some ingots, termed “oxhide ingots,” was particularly suited for ship transportation. Militarily, ships could be used as mobile fighting platforms during battles, but more commonly they served for coastal raiding and as naval transports for men and supplies. It is impossible to understand the Mediterranean Bronze Age world without taking into consideration the influence of .

Article

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 .

Article

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.

Article

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.

Article

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.

Article

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.