What is a Tell?
A tell is an artificial mound that has built up over time through layers of living occupation. They date from the neolithic period, c.8500 BC, onward.
The construction material used for the houses and other structures was mostly from mud brick, and as these broke down over time, they were just built upon. Buildings constructed, and that form tells, include homes of everyday people, shrines, government buildings, religious buildings, and military buildings.
The most famous tell site is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Çatalhöyük, located in Turkey. Excavations have been ongoing there since 1958. It has an amazing history and one which is still being pieced together today.
The main areas where tells have been uncovered are Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and the Middle East. They are also called by different names in different regions; in Turkey they are commonly called hüyük; in Arabic they are commonly called tell; in Slavic they are called mogila; other variations include tal, depe, tepe, and til, but there are a mixture of names across all regions mentioned.
Other well known tell sites include Citadel of Arbil, Göbekli Tepe, Güreütepe, Sultantepe, Tall al-Ajjul, Tall Jawa, Tel Be’er Sheva, Tel Bet Shean, Tel Dan, Tel Hazor, Tel Lachish, Tel Magiddo, Tell Barri, Tell Bazmusian, Tell Shemshara, Tell Ab Hawam, Tell el-Ghassil, Tell Mastuma, Tel Kinrot, Tell Qarqar and many, many more!
The tells really are a unique type of site and such an exciting one to excavate as you never know what you may turn up from as far back as the neolithic period!
Archaeology Wow!! – Persian Textiles from Pazyryk, Siberia
Persian textiles were well known in history for their luxurious textures and bright colours. They were sort after across the world for their quality and luxury. In times of war they were stolen as part of the spoils, in some areas they were paid as tribute, they were traded widely, were very expensive and had great economic value.
The textiles included carpets, hangings and garments, and a few of these items have actually managed to survive to this day. Textiles do not usually survive in the archaeological record, however, under the right circumstances they can – and this has been the case in some tombs in Siberia where very low temperatures have meant that Persian textiles dating from as far back as the 4th century BC have survived!
They were discovered inside a tomb of a high status family in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. The tomb is beleived to have belonged to a Siberian Princess due to the luxury of the goods that were buried with her. The above image of a carpet from the tomb illustrates the beautiful workmanship and amazing bright colours of the textiles.
Colours often used in Persian textiles included dark red, blue, green, yellow, and orange. The vibrancy of the colours are amazing, and some of the textiles were even decorated with gold thread. Other pieces were hemmed, demonstrating the care and attention to detail that would have gone to make these works of art sort after across the world, resulting in their expensive cost and connections to luxury.
The tomb of the Siberian princess were the textiles were found, was first excavated in 1929. It had been previously robbed of a number of its items, but lucky for archaeology they left the textiles! They are the oldest remains of Persian textiles in the world and due to their location, and where they were found, it also shows that there was wide spread trade for the items as far away as China.
An awesome and amazing find and one which sheds more light onto the life and times of people living in the past!
Archaeological Site Guide – Nazca Lines, Peru
The Nazca Lines are a truly unique and incredible site situated in Peru, South America. They are a collection of geoglyphs dating from as far back as 500 BC – AD 500 and were created by the Nazca Culture.
The images are best viewed from above as they are so large, with the largest one, a Pelican, measuring 285 meters across! No one knows why they made such huge images, or who they made them for, but many believe they are meant to be viewed from above.
The geoglyphs were made by scraping together and piling up the natural gravel of the ground, making it into small mounds, giving the outlines. Another method that was used was to pull the gravel away in lines exposing the lighter ground beneath it. We do not know how they managed to get their shapes so exact, but the remains of wooden stakes have been found at the ends of some of the lines, so we do know that there was some planning and measuring put into their designs.
The images are of birds, animals, humans, flowers, plants and trees. Some of the animal represented include birds, fish, lamas, jaguars, monkeys, hummingbirds, sharks, orcas, and lizards. There are some human forms too.
The Nazca lines were first recorded on paper in 1553 by Pedro Cieza de Léon, but were then forgotten about until 1927 when the Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe came across them. He bought the worlds attention to the lines when speaking about them at a conference in Lima in 1939. Between 1940-1941, whilst World War II was raging away on the other side of the world, the lines were officially studied by Paul Kosok from Long Island University. He discovered that the area in which the geoglyphs were situated covered 500 m 2.
The chronology for the site has been put forward as follows
Theories have been put forward for their use, meaning and significance, including, but not limited to, astronomy, cosmology, an observatory, heavenly shapes, associated with religious practices, and even alien encounters!
Unfortunately the site is currently threatened by pollution, erosion and deforestation, as well as visitors and heavy rains. They have lasted so long – lets hope they last another couple of thousand years so future generations can enjoy them and guess over what they may mean. Nazca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Great Web Pages to Look At…….
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