Berdysyčran-depe – a new site of the Oxus civilisation in the Tedjen alluvial fan

Widok na północne wzniesienie Berdysyczran-depe wraz z tymczasowym obozowiskiem lokalnego pasterza © B. Kaim
A view of the northern mound of Berdysyčran-depe with the temporary campsite of a local shepherd
© B. Kaim

Berdysyčran-depe, a hitherto wholly unknown and inconspicuous site located in Turkmenistan in the ancient Tedjen River (Hari Rud) alluvial fan, turned out to have hidden remains of the Oxus civilisation.

Just two days after the publication of the results, the news about the discovery by Polish archaeologists was described by the N+1 portal. Soon it was quoted across various services popularising science and internet forums. That prompted us to write about this discovery on the Archeowieści portal.

Continue reading “Berdysyčran-depe – a new site of the Oxus civilisation in the Tedjen alluvial fan”

Roman Imperial epigraphic traditions

In the Roman Imperial period commemorative inscriptions became omnipresent in nearly all aspects of social life, and the afterlife. Yet, quite suddenly, during the third century AD, this practice fell into decline. In the regions where the practice survived, it acquired a new face, and the so-called epigraphic cultures of Late Antiquity developed. Inscription took a new form with clumsier and less regular lettering, shaping, and their genres were now less diverse. Despite decades of research, beginning in the early 1980s, the reasons for this great transformation remain to be explained. The answer, however, may lie in the changing face of Roman workshops and how they shaped their clients’ tastes: “There is a pressing need to develop a wholly new approach to the study of cultural impact of the third-fifth century stonecutters’ and mosaicists’ workshops, a study which would encompass the entire Roman world,” said Dr Nowakowski from the Faculty of History, a laureate of the prestigious ERC grant.

Vannucci A., 1873, Storia dell'Italia antica, Domena Publiczna
Vannucci A., 1873, Storia dell’Italia antica, Domena Publiczna

Continue reading “Roman Imperial epigraphic traditions”

How long did women in the ancient Near East breastfeed?

The length of the period of breastfeeding depends on many factors, both individual and cultural or environmental ones. In human societies that have no access to easily digested food alternatives (this refers to foragers in particular) this period is usually longer, while in farming communities, where infants are fed with porridge or yoghurt, it can be shortened. This implies demographic consequences: a mother who breastfeeds her child for a shorter time can have more children, therefore, the breastfeeding period influences the birth rate.

Terakotowa plakietka z Babilonii przedstawiająca kobietę karmiącą dziecko piersią. Muzeum miasta Sulejmanija, Iracki Kurdystan © Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg) Opublikowano na licencji CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikipedia Commons
Babylonian terracotta plaque representing a breastfeeding woman. Sulaimani Museum, Iraqi Kurdistan
© Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg)
published under CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Continue reading “How long did women in the ancient Near East breastfeed?”

Scientific Activities in COVID Epoch? 4th Warsaw Seminar on Underwater Archaeology is on Next Week!

Previous year was not easy at all, also for archaeologists. Possibilities of fieldwork were very limited, especially for abroad expeditions, and the conferences happened nearly only in the virtual reality.

As the previous editions of the Warsaw Seminar on Underwater Archaeology gave both the participants and organizers loads of positive effects and satisfaction, we agreed that we don’t want to be pushed into the Internet! We succeeded in moving the funds forward in time (like in case of the previous one, also this edition is sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, DNK/SN/464684/2020) and – finally – we meet in November! And you can join us live via YouTube channel of Faculty of Archaeology, University of Warsaw!

4th Warsaw Seminar on Underwater Archaeology will take place on the 18–20 of November 2021. Deadline for applications passed in April. Also this time, despite the pandemic, a huge interest of both ‘old friends’ and ‘debutants’ is close to sensational. We will host the researchers not only from Poland, but also Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Montenegro, Turkey, Croatia, Spain, Slovenia, Germany, Russia, Wales, Austria, and Switzerland…

Continue reading “Scientific Activities in COVID Epoch? 4th Warsaw Seminar on Underwater Archaeology is on Next Week!”

Bi(bli)oArch: Bibliographic database for human bioarchaeological studies in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East

Scholars from the Cyprus Institute, Nicosia, have prepared a bibliographic database for human bioarchaeological studies in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME), chronologically covering skeletal assemblages from prehistory to early modern times.

Continue reading “Bi(bli)oArch: Bibliographic database for human bioarchaeological studies in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East”

1739 BC – year when the Sumerian civilization collapsed

Sumerians are known as the founders of the urban civilization that dominated in southern Mesopotamia in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC. They developed a network of irrigation channels that made it possible to cultivate cereals in desert areas of the Lower Euphrates, introduced an ideographic script, initially pictographic and then simplified to the form of cuneiform characters impressed in wet clay, built the biggest cities in the world at that time, with monumental temples and enormous palaces.

Najważniejsze miasta południowej Mezopotamii pod koniec III tysiąclecia p.n.e. Sumer rozciąga się od Eridu do Nippur, obszar między Kisz a Sippar był zamieszkany przez Akadów, a w II tysiącleciu stanowił trzon państwa babilońskiego. Na mapie został zaznaczony przybliżony zasięg Zatoki Perskiej na przełomie III i II tysiąclecia Near_East_topographic_map-blank.svg: Sémhur (na podstawie licencji CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
The most important cities of Mesopotamia in the late 3rd millennium BC. Sumer stretches from Erid to Nippur, the region between Kish and Sippar was occupied by Akkadians, then in the 2nd millennium it was the core of the Babylonian state. The map shows the range of the Persian Gulf in the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC
Near_East_topographic_map-blank.svg: Sémhur(published under CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Continue reading “1739 BC – year when the Sumerian civilization collapsed”

Rapid change of climate did not cause the fall of the Akkadian Empire

The latest issue of Antiquity published a paper presenting results of biochemical analyses of human bones from a few sites situated in north-eastern Syria, and showing on this basis that in the 22nd century BC, when the Akkadian Empire was declining, there was no change in the local economy which could be a response to a long-term drought, and even if there was a temporary climate change, the local human societies survived it in a good condition.

Stela upamiętniająca zwycięstwo nad plemionami górskimi odniesione przez Naram-Sina, króla imperium akadyjskiego w latach około 2254–2218 p.n.e. © F. Romero, France - Paris - Musée du Louvre, na podstawie licencji CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Stele commemorating a defeat of mountain tribes by Naram-Sin, the king of the Akkadian Empire in 2254-2218 BC. 
© F. Romero, France – Paris – Musée du Louvre, published under CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Continue reading “Rapid change of climate did not cause the fall of the Akkadian Empire”

The Dawn of the Polish State

The circumstances surrounding the birth of the Polish state have been a source of fascination for a long time. Currently there are a number of research projects, conferences and individual studies that are looking at this issue in an interdisciplinary way. However, there are still many questions.

The book The Dawn of the Polish State, both to professionals and to the wider audience, shows a colourful picture of the past from a thousand years ago, but also illustrates the contribution of archaeology to the exploration of the roots of the state, Poland and Poles.

Continue reading “The Dawn of the Polish State”

Pomerium – new discovery

On 17 July 2021, an important and rare discovery was made during archaeological works carried out near the recently restored Mausoleum of Augustus in the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, just off the Via del Corso in Rome. A sizable travertine block (pomerium cippus) was unearthed, which defined the sacred boundary (pomerium) of Rome extended by Emperor Claudius in 49 AD. Although the discovered block is only partially preserved, with he censorial power of the the ruler (line 6) and a final formula: 

[au]ctis populi R[omani] / finibus, pomerium / ampliavit terminavitque 

(lines 7 – 9) 

linking this inscription to the activities of Claudius and similar cippi is most reasonable.

Why is the recent discovery in Rome so unique and of such a great significance?

Moment odkrycia pomerium © Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali
Discovery of the pomerium
© Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali

Continue reading “Pomerium – new discovery”

Legitimization of the Elites in Poland and Norway – series of minilectures

A series of six mini-lectures was published by ELITES – Symbolic Resources and Political Structures on the Periphery: Legitimization of the ELITES in Poland and Norway, c. 1000 – 1300.The project focuses on the forms and means of symbolic power the members of the political elites in the two peripheral areas of Europe (Norway and Poland) employed to manifest their privilege right to rule to their peers and subjects.

The mini-lectures (in Polish and English, with subtitles) by an interdisciplinary team from the University of Warsaw and the University of Oslo, in partnership with the Museum of the Origins of the Polish State in Gniezno, deal with the legitimacy of elites in Poland and Norway and discuss topics such as:

 

Continue reading “Legitimization of the Elites in Poland and Norway – series of minilectures”