Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond
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Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond
Pre-modern for Africa, North Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond
Curated by diana buja
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Inventory and accounts from a temple of Abusir. During the reign of Djedkare-Isesi, the Mortuary Temple of Neferirkare-Kakai. 5th dynasty. These archives, discovered in the 19th century in Abusir, ...

Inventory and accounts from a temple of Abusir. During the reign of Djedkare-Isesi, the Mortuary Temple of Neferirkare-Kakai. 5th dynasty. These archives, discovered in the 19th century in Abusir, ... | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
diana buja's insight:

Ancient egyptian administration and accounting - spectacular in its details:

 "Offerings made from the solar temple of King Neferirkare to his funerary temple." The solar temple, located a few kilometers away, was the economic center. It sent goods from various agricultural centers or services to the funerary temple; these were all noted in vertical headings in this table. Three columns were devoted to each product:

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How I Rediscovered the Oldest Zero in History : The Crux

How I Rediscovered the Oldest Zero in History : The Crux | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

But who invented the zero, which gives so much power to our number system? We don’t know who invented it, but we are pretty sure that the zero is an Eastern invention. The oldest zero in India with a confirmed date is from the mid-ninth century, and found in the Chatur-bujha temple in the city of Gwalior.

At one point, an older zero was known. In the 1930s a zero from the year AD 683 was found in Cambodia, and its great antiquity allowed a French researcher by the name of Georges Coedes to prove that the zero is of Eastern provenance. This is because, while the Gwalior zero is concurrent with the Arab empire based in Baghdad (the Caliphate), the zero from 683 predates extensive Arab trading. It also comes from a location that is much farther east than India. Its existence thus makes it highly unlikely that the zero was invented in Europe or Arabia and traveled east through Arab traders, as some had believed in the early 20th century. The Cambodian zero proved that zero was an Eastern invention. But this zero disappeared during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, and no one knew if it still existed...

The location where the oldest zero in the world—on a seventh-century stone inscription—was kept was plundered by the Khmer Rouge as late as 1990. I traveled to that location, not far from the famous Angkor Wat temple, and after weeks of searching among thousands of artifacts, many of them damaged or discarded, I was able to discover the inscription.

 

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DESCRIPTION BY AHMED IBN-FOZLAN OF THE INCREMATION OF A NORSE CHIEF, 10TH.C.

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" The Arab I speak of was called Ahmed Ibn-Fozlan (or Fodhlan),
who in one of the first decades of the tenth century A.D. was sent by the
Caliph Al-Moktader (who reigned from. A.D. 907 to 932) as an ambassador
to the King of Bolgaria (Volgaria), on the Volga. Here he came into
contact with the merchants of that nation, whom the Arab writers of the
middle ages called Eussian and by which they understood the people
who in the greater part of Europe were called Northmen, and later
Scandinavians. Ibn-Fozlan employed his sojourn in Bolgaria (among
other things) in obtaining information regarding the so-called Eussian
usages and customs, and writing a manuscript in which these are
described. This manuscript was, in the thirteenth century, incorporated
into an Arabic geographical work by Abdallah Yakut, of which manuscript copies are preserved at Paris, Oxford, Copenhagen, and St Petersburg.

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Back Matter: Commencement Day, 1818: a bit of victorian social darwinism?

Back Matter: Commencement Day, 1818: a bit of victorian social darwinism? | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

1818: Education generates habits of application, of order, and the love of virtue, and controls, by the force of habit, any innate obliquities in our moral organization. We should be far too from the discouraging persuasion that man is fixed by the law of his nature at a given point—that his improvement is a chimera, and the hope delusive of rendering ourselves wiser, happier, or better than our forefathers were. As well might it be urged that the wild and uncultivated tree, hitherto yielding sour and bitter fruit only, can never be made to yield better; yet we know that the grafting art implants a new tree on the savage stock, producing what is most estimable both in kind and degree. Education, in like manner, engrafts a new man on the native stock, and improves what in his nature was vicious and perverse into qualities of virtue and social worth. And it cannot be but that each generation succeeding to the knowledge acquired by all those who preceded it, adding to it their own acquisitions and discoveries, and handing the mass down for successive and constant accumulation, must advance the knowledge and well-being of mankind: not infinitely, as some have said, but indefinitely, and to a term which no one can fix and foresee.

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Binghamton University - Ruler of history: Gerald Kadish retiring after 50 years

Binghamton University - Ruler of history:  Gerald Kadish retiring after 50 years | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

“He sits behind his desk, with mounds of books and all sorts of Egyptological paraphernalia spread about the room, and you sometimes feel like you’re talking to a sympathetic colleague and other times you feel like you’re talking to the high priest of Ma’at,” says Andrew Scholtz, associate professor and chair of the Classical and Near Eastern Studies Department.

 

Ma’at is the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, law, morality and justice, personified as a goddess who wears a single feather on her head.

 

“He’s fond of wearing a Ma’at feather pin,” Scholtz says.

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Deir el-Medina objects at Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Deir el-Medina objects at Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

Objects originating from the site of Deir el-Medina, Egypt, now housed in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.  Gayer-Anderson donated part of the collection of Egyptian antiquities to Fitzwilliam Museum in 
Cambridge. The artefacts arrived between 1943 and 1949.
Altogether the Fitzwilliam Museum obtained 46 pieces of ostraka. 15 of these have sketches on both verso and recto, so the number of representations is 61. Majority - 54 - are images of figures, only 4 carry text.

diana buja's insight:

This is a unique ostrakon from Deir el-Medina, showing a woman riding a stallion.  I'm unaware of any other textual or pictoral representations of women riders in ancient Egypt

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E-Journals and Digitized Paper Periodicals (EEF)

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A reminder - excellent source of digitized items for egyptology.

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Introduction - Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations (Philip A. Harland)

Introduction - Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations (Philip A. Harland) | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

Associations and guilds were small, unofficial groups (ranging from about 10-100 members) that met together regularly for a variety of intertwined social, religious and burial purposes.  These groups were widespread in the Roman empire, especially in regions like Asia Minor, and they went by a variety of ancient terms including koinon (“association”), synedrion (“sanhedrin”), thiasos (“cult-society”), synodos (“synod”),synergasia (“fellow-workers” or “guild”), collegium (“college”), and corpus (“body”). 

 

They could draw their membership from numerous social settings, including connections associated with the household or family, the work-place, the neighbourhood, and the temple or shrine.  There were also associations consisting of persons from a common ethnic or geographic background, like the associations of Phrygians (from Asia Minor) that existed in the city of Rome and the group of Samaritans that gathered together on the Greek island of Delos. 

 

Included among these various types of associations were the many groups of initiates that devoted themselves to “the mysteries” of specific deities, which you can read about here, including Demeter and Kore (see photo of Demeter below), Dionysos, Isis, Mithras, the Great Mother, and theGreat Gods of Samothrace.  But virtually all kinds of associations chose a deity as patron of the group, honouring the gods in a variety of ways.

On this web-site you can learn about these associations and guilds in various places...

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PLOS ONE: Sago-Type Palms Were an Important Plant Food Prior to Rice in Southern Subtropical China

PLOS ONE: Sago-Type Palms Were an Important Plant Food Prior to Rice in Southern Subtropical China | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
Poor preservation of plant macroremains in the acid soils of southern subtropical China has hampered understanding of prehistoric diets in the region and of the spread of domesticated rice southwards from the Yangtze River region. According to records in ancient books and archaeological discoveries from historical sites, it is presumed that roots and tubers were the staple plant foods in this region before rice agriculture was widely practiced. But no direct evidences provided to test the hypothesis. Here we present evidence from starch and phytolith analyses of samples obtained during systematic excavations at the site of Xincun on the southern coast of China, demonstrating that during 3,350–2,470 aBC humans exploited sago palms, bananas, freshwater roots and tubers, fern roots, acorns, Job's-tears as well as wild rice. A dominance of starches and phytoliths from palms suggest that the sago-type palms were an important plant food prior to the rice in south subtropical China. We also believe that because of their reliance on a wide range of starch-rich plant foods, the transition towards labour intensive rice agriculture was a slow process..
diana buja's insight:

A very wide diversity of collected foods.

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Alabama city destroying ancient Indian mound for Sam's Club

Alabama city destroying ancient Indian mound for Sam's Club | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
City leaders inOxford, Ala.have approved the destruction of a 1,500-year-old Native American ceremonial mound and are using the dirt as fill for a new Sam's Club, a retail warehouse store operated by Wal-Mart.{C}A University of Alabama archaeology report commissioned by the city found that the site was historically significant as the largest of several ancient stone and earthen mounds throughout the Choccolocco Valley. ButOxford Mayor Leon Smith -- whose campaign has financial connections to firms involved in the $2.6 million no-bid project -- insists the mound is not man-made and was used only to "send smoke signals."t
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The Venus Fly-trap and the Great Chain of Being | Romantic Natural History

The Venus Fly-trap and the Great Chain of Being | Romantic Natural History | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

GOD
ANGELS
SPIRITS
GHOSTS
HUMAN BEINGS
MAMMALS
BIRDS
REPTILES
AMPHIBIANS
FISH
INSECTS
PLANTS
MICROSCOPIC CREATURES
INANIMATE OBJECTS

 

The fly-trap clearly broke the chain, since it was a plant that could attract, capture, kill and digest insects, which were supposed to be higher on the scale. Like various species of mimosa, the fly-trap also possessed a form of sensation, supposedly only a property of animals.
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Temple Of Karnak in 3-D, engraved wall

Temple Of Karnak in 3-D, engraved wall | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
360° panoramic photography by www.360-images.com. Visit us to see more amazing panoramas from Luxor & Karnak and thousands of other places in the world.
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Tracking colour | Glyptoteket

Tracking colour | Glyptoteket | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

Greek and Roman marble statues were not set up in blazing white. They were colourful. We are now on the track of the colours that remain on sculptures in our collection.

The research project now under way in the Glyptotek is the first of its kind. The aim is to identify, document and study traces of colour on our Greek and Roman sculptures.

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A Contextual Approach to the Emergence of Agriculture in Southwest Asia: Reconstructing Early Neolithic Plant-Food Production

A Contextual Approach to the Emergence of Agriculture in Southwest Asia: Reconstructing Early Neolithic Plant-Food Production | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

"The scale and nature of early cultivation are topics that have received relatively limited attention in research on the origins of agriculture.

 

We have assembled in this supplement the primary sources of archaeobotanical datasetsretrieved from sites in Southwest Asia (Part 1) and the radiocarbon dates by which these siteshave been assigned calendrical ages (Part 2). Part 3 presents the radiocarbon dates for earlyPPN sites that, to date, have not produced relevant published archaeobotanical assemblages.

 

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Eve Emshwiller's curator insight, June 6, 2013 12:02 AM

Saving here to look at later.

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Investing in higher education, including the social sciences, would promote growth in Britain (and the U.S.?)

Investing in higher education, including the social sciences, would promote growth in Britain (and the U.S.?) | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
The chart below shows student enrolments in higher education in three subject areas in the OECD or advanced industrial countries in 2010, with Britain and the United States identified separately. The data refer to the percentage of students enrolled in higher education who study science, engineering and also social science, business and law. The latter category is rather broad but the UNESCO data does not allow a finer distinction to be made between these subjects. The data are very relevant to the debate about the importance of science and technology as opposed to the arts, humanities and social science in stimulating investment and growth in Britain.
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A Templar's Guide to Dan Brown's 'Inferno'

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Dan Brown‘s new book ‘Inferno’ is nearly upon is with its references to the 13th century classic poem The Divine Comedy by Dante – let me give some friendly assistance with some of the people, places and concepts you’ll find in the book:

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In the Artifact Lab - An introduction to our child mummy Tanwa

In the Artifact Lab - An introduction to our child mummy Tanwa | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

Now, all of our mummies are special, but this child mummy has several qualities that make her particularly endearing. One of the things that we really love is that her name is written on her wrappings, near her feet.  

 

Her name is actually written in both Greek and Demotic – Demotic is the language/script that developed in later periods in Egypt (and is one of the languages inscribed on the Rosetta Stone, along with Greek and hieroglyphic Egyptian). In Greek, this inscription reads: “Tanous (daughter of) Hermodorus”. In Demotic her name reads as “Tanwa”.

 

So, based on this inscription, we know that she dates to the Ptolemaic Period, and that she is a girl. According to our Egyptologists, what is interesting about the names is that they give a good indication of the multi-cultural nature of this time period. Not only in the fact that 2 languages are represented, but that the girl’s name incorporates the name of an Egyptian goddess, Iwnyt, while her father’s name includes the name of a Greek god, Hermes.

 

Tanwa has been CT-scanned, which has confirmed the fact that she is a girl, and was likely right around the age of 5 when she died.

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Pharaoh's Tomb Crew: The History of Deir el-Medina course - UC Berkeley Extension

Pharaoh's Tomb Crew: The History of Deir el-Medina course - UC Berkeley Extension | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
For approximately four centuries during ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom (ca. 1567–1070 BCE), the Deir el-Medina community inhabited a small desert valley across the Nile from the splendid capital, Thebes. Because its houses were built of stone and located on the edge of the desert, and because its citizens boasted an unusually high level of literacy, Deir el-Medina has preserved an enormous number of documents for modern historians. Study the history and archaeology of this community, the everyday lives of its people, and their preparations for death and the afterlife. Examine the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens; learn how the men’s work was organized, and view their accomplishments. Lectures are illustrated with vivid slides, and you read and discuss translations of texts from Deir el-Medina to gain an understanding of this unique culture.
diana buja's insight:

If you are in the Bay area, here is an interesting course to take this summer.  When at the (then) Lowie Museum at Berkeley, I worked on translations of several of the artifacts from Deir el-Medina that had been procured in the early 20th century by Reisner.

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Le harpiste ithyphallique: Pièce en vedette - Université de Strasbourg

Le harpiste ithyphallique: Pièce en vedette - Université de Strasbourg | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
La papyrologie grecque et l’égyptologie sont des disciplines distinctes, l’une centrée sur les textes grecs et sur l’histoire de l’Égypte hellénistique, romaine et byzantine, l’autre consacrée à la langue, à l'histoire et à l'archéologie de la...
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Book Review: The Roman Market Economy

Book Review: The Roman Market Economy | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
Temin argues that markets for land, labour, capital and wheat spanned the Roman Empire and were part of an economy that was as market-oriented as those of pre-industrial England and the Netherlands. Markets across the provinces were linked and under the Pax Romana (a time of relative peace during the 1st and 2nd centuries CE), and this afforded centuries of improvement in living standards for the average citizen, who was nonetheless trapped in a society still subject to long-run Malthusian constraints. Such bold statements made in the realm of ancient history – where economic evidence may be extensive but is always fragmentary – are hard to prove. Temin does not aim to present comprehensive evidence that supports this theory, but rather to introduce the underlying assumptions and the economic framework necessary for test it.
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ancient ale: once upon a time ...

ancient ale: once upon a time ... | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

Once upon a time in the back garden, I started to do some archaeological grain processing experiments. It was the summer of 1995. I'd just finished an archaeology degree. Now I was enrolled on a master's degree course at Manchester University and I was beginning my investigations into how people may have made the ale in prehistory. 

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Cemetery Reveals Baby-Making Season in Ancient Egypt

Cemetery Reveals Baby-Making Season in Ancient Egypt | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
The best time for sex, it seems, was during the heat of summer.
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Mimosa & Shelley | Romantic Natural History

Mimosa & Shelley | Romantic Natural History | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

A Sensitive Plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light.
And closed them beneath the kisses of Night.

And the Spring arose on the garden fair,                          5
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

But none ever trembled and panted with bliss
In the garden, the field, or the wilderness,                        10
Like a doe in the noontide with love’s sweet want,
As the companionless Sensitive Plant.    

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PLOS ONE: Earliest Archaeological Evidence of Persistent Hominin Carnivory

PLOS ONE: Earliest Archaeological Evidence of Persistent Hominin Carnivory | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
PLOS ONE: an inclusive, peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE. Reports of well-performed scientific studies from all disciplines freely available to the whole world.
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