Bronze Age Tell Communities in Context – An Exploration Into Culture, Society and the Study of European Prehistory Part 1 – Critique: Europe and the Mediterranean by Tobias L. Kienlin. vi+168 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white.
This study challenges current modelling of Bronze Age tell communities in the Carpathian Basin in terms of the evolution of functionally-differentiated, hierarchical or ‘proto-urban’ society under the influence of Mediterranean palatial centres. It is argued that the narrative strategies employed in mainstream theorising of the ‘Bronze Age’ in terms of inevitable social ‘progress’ sets up an artificial dichotomy with earlier Neolithic groups. The result is a reductionist vision of the Bronze Age past which denies continuity evident in many aspects of life and reduces our understanding of European Bronze Age communities to some weak reflection of foreign-derived social types – be they notorious Hawaiian chiefdoms or Mycenaean palatial rule. In order to justify this view, this study looks broadly in two directions: temporal and spatial. First, it is asked how Late Neolithic tell sites of the Carpathian Basin compare to Bronze Age ones, and if we are entitled to assume structural difference or rather ‘progress’ between both epochs. Second, it is examined if a Mediterranean ‘centre’ in any way can contribute to our understanding of Bronze Age tell communities on the ‘periphery’. It is argued that current Neo-Diffusionism has us essentialise from much richer and diverse evidence of past social and cultural realities. Instead, archaeology is called on to contribute to an understanding of the historically specific expressions of the human condition and human agency, not to reduce past lives to abstract stages on the teleological ladder of social evolution.
This book is also available in paperback, priced £38.00. Click here for more information.Ostentazione di rango e manifestazione del potere agli albori della società micenea by Federica Gonzato. 262 pages; black & white illustrations. Italian text. 4 2012. ISBN 9788876992278.
Le manifestazioni materiali del potere sono una caratteristica fondamentale delle società umane e costituiscono pertanto, per lo studioso delle culture antiche, una delle chiavi di lettura più ricche e promettenti. In questo volume, l’autrice propone una interpretazione delle prime fasi di formazione (XVII-XV secolo a.C.) dell’organizzazione sociale della cultura micenea attraverso l’esame degli attributi di potere (insignia dignitatis) trovati nelle sepolture di questo periodo in Argolide, culla della civiltà micenea in Grecia. Lo sviluppo della realtà micenea precedente la grande fase palaziale del XIV-XIII secolo a.C. viene analizzato da un punto di vista etnoantropologico e storico, introducendo una fondamentale distinzione fra beni di prestigio ed attributi di potere (spesso effimeri e polisemantici, in quanto soggetti ad una continua variazione della nozione di valore), ma ponendo anche attenzione alle storia delle dinamiche sociali e alle strategie per il mantenimento della leadership attraverso la manipolazione di una ideologia di cui gliinsignia dignitatis rappresentano la materializzazione.Site, Artefacts and Landscape Prehistoric Borġ in-Nadur, Malta by Davide Tanasi and Nicholas C. Vella. 450 pages; illustrated throughout in black & white. 3 450. ISBN 9788876992230.
The Bronze Age of the Maltese archipelago has long been overlooked by archaeologists whose attention has mostly been focused on the Late Neolithic temples. This book attempts to understand the islands’ Bronze Age society in the course of the second millennium BC by exploring the history of Borg in-Nadur in south-east Malta. The site of a megalithic temple and re-used in later periods when a fortified settlement was built on the plateau, Borg in-Nadur was visited by travellers and antiquarians in the course of the Early Modern period, and was investigated by archaeologists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This collection of essays discusses the early attempts to understand the site, and presents a comprehensive catalogue of the finds that have never been properly published. It also considers the site in its local landscape setting and in its regional south-central Mediterranean context, and explores issues related to past and present public outreach and site management.La necropoli protostorica di Montagna di Caltagirone by Davide Tanasi. 451 pages; illustrated throughout in black & white. 1 2008. ISBN 9788876991158.
Il sito della Montagna di Caltagirone (CT), indagato per la prima volta in modo sistematico da Paolo Orsi nel 1903, rappresenta un importante caso studio per la pre e protostoria siciliana e costituisce un osservatorio privilegiato per un’analisi delle problematiche legate all’interrelazione tra popolazioni autoctone e straniere. Dalla metà del II millennio a.C. fino alla colonizzazione greca, infatti, la Montagna ha svolto un ruolo fondamentale nei fenomeni d’aggregazione della popolazione del territorio calatino. Nell’età del Bronzo Tardo (XIII-XI secolo a.C.), il suo insediamento ha raggiunto il momento di maggiore splendore, con l’impianto della grande necropoli, ponendosi, insieme a Pantalica, come principale centro produttore di cultura della Sicilia Orientale.
Found: the Palaeolithic of Qatar Taken from Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 45 (2015) by Julie E. Scott-Jackson, Jeffrey I. Rose, William Scott-Jackson & Faisal al-Naimi. Pages 329–336; colour and black & white illustrations. PSAS.
The seeming lack of evidence for a Palaeolithic presence in Qatar has been enigmatic. This has now changed. Here we report on discoveries made by the PADMAC Unit during 2013/2014 and the far-reaching implications of these findings. Our preliminary analysis of the Qatar lithic assemblages — QSS25, QSS29 (PADMAC Unit collection) and A-group Site I and A-group Site III (Kapel collection) — revealed the presence of large chopping tools and crude ‘Abbevillian’ cores, both indicative of an early stage within the lower Palaeolithic period, while the absence of classic Acheulean hand axes might even suggest a date exceeding one million years. Furthermore, the particular suite of technological traits we identified in Umm Taqa ‘B-group’ Site XXXIV (Kapel collection) lithic assemblage, are characteristic of middle–upper Palaeolithic transitional industries found in the Levant, Nile Valley, and southern Arabia. Hence, we tentatively assign the ‘Taqan’ industry to the upper Palaeolithic. Specific lithics from the QSS32 (PADMAC Unit collection) assemblage, allude to further ‘Taqan’ sites in southern Qatar.Generosity, gift giving, and gift avoiding in southern Oman Taken from Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 45 (2015) by Marielle Risse. Pages 289–296. PSAS.
Gibali (Jibbali/Shahri) is a Modern South Arabian language spoken in the coastal plain and mountains of the Dhofar region of southern Oman. Although there are researchers actively documenting Gibali, there has been little anthropological work on the speakers of this non-written language. Building on nine years of research about, and interactions with, Gibali speakers the author describes the concept of the gift in the Arab, Muslim, tribal culture of Gibali speakers. This article tries to form an appreciation of Gibalis by explaining their understanding of the definition of gifts as well as gift giving, receiving, reciprocating, and avoiding. From the field of gift theory, the author draws on Mauss, Godelier, Bourdieu, Appadurai, and Godbout and Caillé, to create a framework for the ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘why’, and ‘how’ of gifts. From the fields of travel writing and history, examples from Wilfred Thesiger and the memoirs of soldiers from the Dhofar War (1965–1975) are used to provide a historical perspective. The result is an insight into a culture in which gifts are, for the most part, not necessary as there are many limits placed on who can give/receive, the time to give/receive, and the kind of object that is considered a gift.To See the Invisible Karelian Rock Art by Arsen Faradzhev. iv+19 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white.ISBN 9781784911249.
This contribution considers 25 years of discovery of the possible origins and development of the Rock Art Tradition to create Karelian Rock Art images under the open sky through the analysis of different types of intercessions into the horizontal surface of granite rocks.
Karelian petroglyphs are located-at the eastern bank of the Onega Lake and 300 km to the north, close to the southern bank of the White Sea. One of them, the “New Zalavruga,” was discovered by the expedition of U.Savvateev under the Neolithic cultural layer and sterile sand layer in 1963-1968. This is a great and very rare opportunity to obtain direct dating of the end of the tradition to create Karelian Rock Art images around 5-6 ka ago. Therefore, the task was to find the “Invisible” evidences of the tradition’s origins and development similar to both regions via the different use of context.