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Heads found in Vessels in the Maďarovce-Věteřov-Böheimkirchen Cultural Complex. What Can They Tell Us?

Abstract

The author of the present article applies cognitive science theories to archaeology, and more specifically to the findings of human skulls deposited in ceramic vessels from the time of settlement of the Maďarovce-Vetěrov culture. This ritual expression is explained in the comparison with the postmortal manipulations from burial sites from the viewpoint of the theory on religious ideas and their retention in memory and Harvey Whitehouse’s theory on modes of religiosity.

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Introduction to the „Archaeology of Childhood“

Abstract

The investigation of children and childhood in the past, swiftly developing as a new subfield of study around the world for almost 30 years under the term “archaeology of childhood”, has not been yet sufficiently incorporated in Czech archaeology. The aim of this paper is to introduce this topic, give an overview of research development both home and abroad, outline the available literature, summarise the actual fundamental knowledge and starting points in order to energise the progress in this field of study in our country. The article presents areas of material culture where traces of children can be identified. In the absence of any interest in childhood and children in the past or the integration of these subjects into the archaeological discourse, the testimony of archaeology on prehistoric life remains as a result, incomplete and distorted.

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On the Art of Fighting: A Humanist Translation of Fiore dei Liberi’s Flower of Battle Owned by Leonello D’Este

Abstract

The author presents a study of Bibliothèque National de France MS Latin 11269, a manuscript that he argues was associated with the court of Leonello d’Este and which represents an attempt to “fix” or “canonize” a vernacular work on a practical subject in erudite Latin poetry. The author reviews the life of Fiore dei Liberi and Leonello d’Este and discusses the author’s intentions in writing, how the manuscript shows clear signs of Estense associations, and examines the manuscript both in light of its codicological context and in light of humanist activity at the Estense court. He also presents the evidence for the book having been in the Estense library. Finally, he examines the place of the manuscript in the context of the later Italian tradition of fencing books. A complete concordance is presented in the appendix.

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Organisation of funerary areas and character of burial practices at Pohansko near Břeclav (based on a comparison of the cemetery around the second church and the dispersal burial grounds in the stronghold’s southern suburb)

Abstract

At the early medieval site Břeclav – Pohansko we can distinguish two different types of funerary areas: church cemeteries with clearly defined locus sacer and dispersed burial grounds in settlements, where the boundary between the living and funerary spaces is not clearly defined. The organisation of the area for funerary activities, the selection of the burial place and the homogeneity of applied burial rites in the above-mentioned two types of funerary areas were different. In order to find out how extensive this difference is, we chose several characteristics of funerary areas and compared them with one another. The key determinants were: the spatial structure of funerary areas, and the orientation and position of individuals buried in grave pits. As an example of a church cemetery we chose the cemetery around the second church in the North-Eastern Suburb of Pohansko. The Southern Suburb of the stronghold yielded data related to funerary areas dispersed in and between settlement structures. The comparison of selected characteristics of burial customs identified in the above-mentioned church cemetery and in dispersed cemeteries demonstrates that burials around churches were most probably organised and planned centrally and that the organisation and supervision of funerary activities might have been in the hands of the clergy. The burials in cemeteries within the settlement structure, on the other hand, were organised in accordance with customs of local community. The organisation and supervision of these funerary areas were most probably in the hands of persons approved and authorised by the community, maybe some significant community member, or the “Council of Elders” or pagan priests.

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Regional exchange, long-distance trade, and local imitations: Liuwan cemetery in the context of the cultural transformation from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age (cca 2000 BC) in the Chinese Northwest

Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that in the Qijia Culture Period (cca 2200–1500 BC), the Chinese Northwest participated in a broader network of contacts spanning from the Middle Yellow River Valley to Central Asia. However, opinions differ considerably as one regards the character of those contacts and their role in the genesis of the culture. On one hand, many Chinese scholars view the emergence of the Qijia Culture as a result of large migrations from the East; on the other, some western scholars suggest that a number of western human groups participated in its formation. In the present article we use the model of non-uniform institutional the complexity to explain the emergence of the Qijia Culture. We first point out its continuity with earlier Late Neolithic local cultures, and then focus on the spread of new artefacts and, as evidence suggests, of institutions from the East which led to the transformation of various aspects of the material culture within the broader region of the Chinese Northwest, while other elements – burial rites, for instance – preserved their regional diversity. We suggest that eastern innovations spread partly through channels established earlier within an exchange network of locally produced painted pottery and also in association with local area’s social development. These suggestions are supported by the case study which considers the process of development at the well-known site of Liuwan in the middle reaches of the Huang River Valley, Qinghai Province.

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Reliefs and Symbols at Göbekli Tepe. Records of Early Neolithic Communication

Abstract

The archaeological site of Göbekli Tepe in southeast Turkey has garnered attention over the last two decades thanks to circles of megalithic T-shaped stone pillars dating to the 10th–9th millennium BCE. These stone pillars, which could be considered as representing figures, reach as far as 5.5 metres in height, weigh between 10 and 15 tons and, in many cases, are covered in animal reliefs or geometric motifs. Both the monumentality of the circular structures and their symbolism raise many questions and bring a whole new insight into the life and rituals of early Neolithic societies.

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Visualizing the Fight Book Tradition: Collected Martial Knowledge in the Thun-Hohenstein Album

Abstract

The Thun-Hohenstein album, long-known as the Thun’sche Skizzenbuch, is a bound collection of 112 drawings that visualize armoured figures at rest and in combat, as well as empty armours arrayed in pieces. The collection gathers drawings that span the period from the 1470s to around 1590. While most of the images were executed in Augsburg during the 1540s, the album’s three oldest drawings date to the late-fifteenth century. Two of these works, which form a codicological interlude between the first and second quires, find parallels in the illustrations of contemporaneous martial treatises. This article traces the pictorial lineages of these atextual images through comparative analyses of fight books produced in the German-speaking lands, and considers how the representational strategies deployed in martial treatises inflected the ways that book painters and their audiences visualized the armoured body. This exploration situates a manuscript from which one of the drawings derives, Peter Falkner’s Art of Knightly Defense, now in Vienna, within the Augsburg book painters’ workshops that would later give rise to the Thun album. Finally, this study considers how the transmission and representation of martial knowledge in late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Augsburg contributed to the later depictions of armoured bodies that populate the album.

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