This articlefocuses on Achaemenid Persia’s rule of the Levant. It explains that the Levant fell under the control of Persia after Cyrus the Great defeated the last Babylonian king,Nabodinus, in 539 BC. The article describes the conquest and organisation of the Levant from 539–486 BC, the situation of the Levant under Persian domination in the fifth century and the disturbances and changes in the Levant from 404–332 BC. It also highlights the difficulty in reconstructing the history of Levant during the Iron Age III or the Persian Period.
This article discusses the Ptolemaic legacy and Egyptian independence; the annexation of Egypt; and the first Roman prefects in Egypt. In contrast to earlier changes of ruler, the annexation of Egypt by Octavian represents a particularly lasting break in the country's history. Octavian was quickly able to stabilize Roman authority in the newly created province. As in the other provinces of the empire, a new, well-designed, and effective administration was speedily introduced. It was headed by the prefect, the direct representative of the emperor. To secure his rule, Octavian-Augustus also sought engagement with the priests, the elite of the country. This is evident in the numerous temples that were built, particularly in areas of strategic and economic importance.
Roman Egypt is the only part of the ancient world where documentary evidence for the age composition of the general population has survived. Pertinent information is provided by extant census returns from the first three centuries of Roman rule. Gathered every fourteen years, these documents list the members of individual households with their names, familial status, and ages. Knowledge of the age distribution enables us to track mortality rates and infer average life expectancy, which is a critical measure of overall well-being. This article discusses mortality patterns, causes of death, and disease and physical well-being.
Patrice Cressier and Sonia Gutiérrez Lloret
The archaeology of al-Andalus did not emerge as a discipline until the end of the 1970s, slightly later than medieval archaeology in Northern Europe. Its spectacular development in subsequent decades goes hand in hand with the revision, sometimes conflicting, of a historiography which traditionally underestimated and sometimes even denied the societal transformations following the Arab-Berber conquest of 711. The principal themes of controversy relate to the degree of transformation that occurred, the existence of ruptures, and the “Oriental” character of the new political, social, and familial structures that emerged. Focusing on the materiality of historical processes, archaeology has made it possible to approach these debates from different perspectives and to give new meaning to the concepts of Islamization and Arabization. This chapter examines some of the most significant research themes in the archaeology of al-Andalus.
Paul J. Kosmin
Alexander’s conquest of the Achaemenid Empire marks a watershed in Iranian history. The conquest and the Greek sources available that discuss it are assessed, as is Alexander’s treatment of Iranian cities and their inhabitants. The influence of Achaemenid ceremony on Alexander and his successors is analyzed. The conflicts between Alexander’s successors, particularly Antigonus and Eumenes, over succession to his conquered domains were equally important for the future of western Iran, as was the eventual emergence of a new empire under Seleucus I. The organization of Seleucid rule in western Iran and the archaeological and epigraphic evidence of its extent are summarized.
Marjorie S. Venit
Distinguished in the first century
Randall W. Younker
This articleexamines some of the major developments in Ammon during the Iron Age II. It explains that the Ammonites became an important local polity on the central Jordanian plateau from about the middle of the second millennium BCEuntil the latter part of the first millennium BCE, and that they were known for their numerous encounters with the biblical Israelites and their control of the Fertile Crescent. The article also discusses the geographic extent of Ammon, the settlement patterns of the Ammonites, and their material culture and architecture.
This article addresses Anatolia during the Neolithic, a time-span covering approximately 5,000 years, and a geographical region broadly covering modern-day central and southern Turkey. The period is traditionally divided up chronologically into time spans which broadly correspond to those of the Levant. These are, the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN), which is further subdivided into the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) (c.10000–8550), and Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, which is itself further subdivided into early, middle and late: EPPNB (c8550–8100), MPPNB (c8100–7300), the LPPNB (c7300–6750), and the Pre-Pottery Neolithic C (PPNC) (c6750–6300). This is followed by the Pottery Neolithic (PN), which includes the subdivisions of ‘Hassuna’ and ‘Samarra’ (until c6000), and ‘Halaf’ (c6000–5200) periods. The sites chosen include features ranging from the small to large-scale: Domuztepe with its Death Pit, containing the disarticulated and further fragmented remains of around forty people; Göbekli Tepe, a mountain-top site displaying monumental stone pillars, sculptures, and shrines; and Çayönü Tepesi, with its communal architecture and ‘special buildings’, including the Skull Building, which contained the remains of over 450 people.
This article focuses on the relationship between the Hittites of Anatolia and the people of the Levant. It explains that a new orientation of Near Eastern contact and trade emerged during the late third and early second millennia which made the Levant a crossroad of land routes and maritime contacts. This article describes the Hittite military intervention in Syria, the situation of the Ugarit under Hittite overlordship, and the Ura and the Hittite participation in Mediterranean trade. It also discusses the breakdown of Hatti, Ugarit, and the economic and political systems of the Levant about 1200 BC and identities the factors that contributed to the decay of Hittite control in the Levant.
This article examines Anatolian–Transcaucasian interactions spanning the Chalcolithic through the Bronze Age. The five millennia surveyed here have highlighted some broad patterns of cultural interaction. At present, evidence suggests that farming was introduced to the Transcaucasus. It appears fully fledged in the late seventh millennium
G. Kenneth Sams
This article provides an overview of the first millennium
This article discusses dating techniques and the necessity of working with both material and textual evidence to develop secure chronologies for the rather daunting range of Anatolian peoples and sites. It analyzes the comparative dates and phases of Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early Bronze Age, Modern Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, and Iron Age sites.
This article considers the nature of ancient landscapes and their archaeological investigation in southeastern Anatolia, one of the most intensively studied regions in modern Turkey. Southeastern Anatolia's diversity of environments and long history of settlement make it an ideal region for a landscape approach to the human past. Shifting constellations of settlement—in response to environmental, social, and political factors—have been revealed through decades of field survey and have provided a broad geographic frame that complements the spatially limited results of excavation. At present, particularly vivid trends in settlement and land use have been demonstrated for the Late Chalcolithic Uruk Expansion, the mid-to-late-third-millennium-
This chapter introduces the main ways in which archaeology has been used to investigate Arabia’s past during the Islamic era. While the potential for archaeology within the peninsula cannot be overstated, logistical obstacles and political difficulties have made field research difficult, with the result that it has lagged behind that of other areas in the Middle East. However, recent initiatives in most of the states within the Arabian Peninsula have meant that this is now one of the leading areas for archaeological research into Islamic society and culture. Although the chapter mentions some major recent archaeological projects, the aim is to highlight current trajectories of research rather than provide an exhaustive list of excavation and survey sites. Particular attention has been paid to settlement types, partly to counter ideas that the region was primarily inhabited by Bedouin nomads. The chapter emphasizes different regional traditions to reflect the geographical diversity of Arabia and its connections with other regions. The maritime cultures of the Gulf, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean are particularly important in this respect and have meant that Arabia is much less isolated than its often inhospitable interior would suggest.
This chapter surveys the use of Aramaic, Parthian, and Early Middle Persian (the latter two both Middle Iranian languages) in Iran, as well as providing a discussion of the scripts used to write them. The temporal coverage extends from the Iron Age, when Aramaic first appeared in western Iran, to the Sasanian period. The types of texts in which these languages were used are discussed, along with problems of modern transliteration. Early Arsacid texts from sites in Turkmenistan, like Nisa, are reviewed as well. Lapidary inscriptions, texts written on parchment, and coin legends are also treated.
This articleexamines major changes in the Aramean states from the Iron Age II to III. This period witnessed a significant change in the geography of thepolitical borders of the area and introduced different mechanisms for intercultural interaction. Overseas and trans-desertic circulation of goods and tradesmen, and the deportation and forced relocation of populations began, which increased multiculturality and symbiotic processes, and prompted the development of manifold national identities and ethnic forces.
Eivind Heldaas Seland
This chapter reviews the evidence, nature, and development of maritime contacts in the Red Sea and from the Red Sea into the western Indian Ocean from the Neolithic until the start of the Islamic period, c. 4000 BCE–700 CE. In addition to summarizing and highlighting recent archaeological research and ongoing scholarly debates, emphasis is placed on identifying and explaining periods of intensified as well as reduced interaction, and on the relationship between internal Red Sea dynamics and contacts with the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean worlds in light of climate, natural environment, hinterland interest, and a changing geopolitical situation.
This article reviews archaeological studies in the Nile Delta. It discusses problems of archaeological work in the Delta; previous work in the Delta; current research and survey; survey and recording; and excavation. The Nilotic landscape of Egypt was a fantasy place in the Roman imagination. For the people who lived there, the archaeological remains suggest a vibrant society with new towns springing up to manage the agricultural lands. The old Pharaonic temple cities were reinvigorated as metropoleis, with all of the trappings of Roman life from a monetized economic system to marble statuary brought from Italy, and with industrial areas manufacturing goods for local consumers and visitors.
This article discusses the archaeology of the Fayum region, covering land reclamation projects; discoveries and archaeological excavations; layout of Graeco-Roman settlements; and houses of the Roman period. The Fayum was developed in Hellenistic and Roman times to maximize agricultural output, which also led to the foundation and development of several settlements. Although many sites were known by name following the discovery of papyri in the late nineteenth century, early explorations were not well documented or published by the excavators, and considerable damage was wrought by illicit digging and sebakhin activity. Fortunately, a number of ongoing projects, combining archaeology, papyrology, and archival research, are constantly improving our knowledge of Fayum settlements, and in particular the interrelationship between the temple, its dromos, and the residential areas of the towns and villages.
Archaeozoological techniques and protocols for elaborating scenarios of early colonization and Neolithization of Cyprus
This paper summarizes some of the main results that have been obtained through the archaeozoological study of the large Cypriot Pre-Pottery Neolithic site of Shillourokambos, dated between 8300 and 7000 cal bc. It shows how the presence of the archaeozoologists in the field, as well as an original faunal-based critical approach of the relative chronology of the different phases of occupation of this site, can improve the quality of the archaeozoological contribution to the cultural history of the region. Special attention is also paid to the osteometric study of sexually dimorphic ungulates. The results concern the evolution of the system of exploitation of the animal resources during this important phase of the Near Eastern Neolithic transition. They also evidence the long-distance exchanges between early Neolithic villages and they indirectly document the early history of navigation in the eastern Mediterranean.