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Sculpting, technique of

(1,584 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Neudecker, Richard (Rome)
[German version] I. Near East The oldest examples of a developed sculptural technique in stone from the Ancient Near East are from the later 4th millennium BC (Uruk). The most important genres of monuments are free-standing sculpture and relief (stele, rock reliefs, orthostats, obelisks). The material was worked with metal tools and probably hard stone tools. Traces of tools are rarely preserved due to smoothing and polishing of the surface with abrasives. Surfaces could be shaped through the incisio…

Bricks; Brick stamps

(1,288 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In Egypt and the Near East, the history of the brick and its predecessor, the mud brick, dates back to the 8th/7th millennia BC. The raw material was generally a local mixture from clay/loam and sand/gravel, in Egypt the silt deposits of the Nile. The mixture, made lean through the addition of vegetal (chopped) straw, chaff, mineral (crushed stones or potsherds) or waste material (animal dung), was shaped into bricks in wooden frames. After drying out in the sun, th…

Lapis lazuli

(419 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin)
[German version] (Sumerian iagin > Akkadian uqnû > Greek κύανος/ kýanos > Lat. cyanus; Egyptian ḫsbḏ). The blue rock is a complicated silicate related to the artificial ultramarine. It is characterized by its more or less deep blue colour, often with golden specks of iron pyrite. Lapis lazuli (LL) was extracted in what is present-day Afghanistan/province of Badaḫšān and in the Afghan-Pakistani borderland (Quetta), brought from there to the Near East and to Egypt via the Sinai. It was traded raw, separated from…


(355 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Ruffing, Kai (Münster)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt The sickle is a classic harvesting tool with a largely unaltered basic form: a curved blade with its edge on the inside, made of wood, ceramic, copper/bronze or iron. The earliest evidence of sickles in Egypt and the Near East is from the 8th/7th millennia BC: flint or obsidian blades with traces of use on one side (bright 'polish') and remains of bitumen on the end with which the blades were fixed to the inner side of a curved piece of wood, less often to a…


(2,746 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) | Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin)
[German version] I. Definition of technology Technology describes the ensemble of tools, devices and procedures used for the acquisition and transformation of materials, the production and transportation of foodstuffs and consumables, the erection of structures, the provision of infrastructure, and the storage of information. The devices and procedures employed in different areas of technology are not independent of one another; rather, they constitute a technological complex with many interdependenci…


(636 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | M.PU.
Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) [German version] I. The Ancient Orient The winch, as a mechanical device for moving and lifting or lowering objects, is not attested archaeologically in Egypt nor in the Ancient Near East. However, its functional components, the spool with protruding crank arm (handspikes) for the application of muscle power (horizontal spool = reel, vertical spool = windlass), the pulley for transferring or diverting the applied force, the rope/hawser with the drum for winding and unwinding it, …


(1,451 words)

Author(s): Riederer, Josef (Berlin) | Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin)
[German version] I. Definition and properties Pure copper is relatively rare in nature. Also, it quickly turns into secondary minerals through oxidation and therefore was hardly available as a usable material for early cultures. It was obtained through the smelting of copper ores. In metal form, copper can be processed and worked on in many ways. From early on, a large part of the processed copper was used to create alloys with  tin,  lead, and zinc, which are superior to pure copper in technical usab…


(2,559 words)

Author(s): Riederer, Josef (Berlin) | Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin)
[German version] A.1 Iron and Iron Ores Since iron does not naturally occur in usable concentrations, it must be obtained by smelting iron ores. Previously, meteorite iron was occasionally worked to make tools and weapons. Iron obtained by smelting is differentiated with certainty from meteorite iron by its nickel content: meteorite iron usually has more than 5% nickel (values up to 10% are normal) while iron extracted from ores usually has less than 0.5% nickel. Various types of naturally occurring ir…


(1,194 words)

Author(s): Riederer, Josef (Berlin) | Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin)
[German version] I. Definition Tin is a metal, used in Antiquity for casting, for making sheet-metal, for plating other materials, for alloys, primarily with copper to make bronze or with lead to make tin-lead solder. The starting material was cassiterite, the only tin ore that occurs naturally in sufficient quantities for metallurgical processing. Cassiterite, an oxide of tin (SnO2), is dark brown to black in colour, has a high density (6800-7100 kg m-3) and is very hard (6-7), characteristics which must have immediately attracted attention when ores were being so…


(538 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In Middle Eastern archaeology intarsia is the term for the laying of decorative elements of different materials onto or into a substratum. To achieve better colour contrasts, combinations of different materials, especially coloured stones, shells, bones, ivory, metals, ceramics, glass and silicate were used; the most common substrata were stone, metal, wood and clay/ceramics. The binder was usually bitumen. The oldest examples of intarsia were found in the preceramic Neolithic of Palestine ( c. 8000 BC; e.g. gypsum-coated human skulls wi…


(279 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] I. Middle East Elektron as a natural alloy of gold and silver that was mostly worked as found in the Middle East and Egypt. According to analysis, objects seemingly consisting of gold usually contain a large amount of silver, which may constitute more than 40% (e.g., vessels from the royal graves of Ur, c. 2600 BC). Later, elektron was also artificially produced as an alloy. Elektron is harder than gold and, therefore, was preferred for jewellery, display weapons, statues, plating, inlays and units of value (e.g., as rings).  Gold;  Amber Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) Bibliogr…

Lapis lazuli

(356 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[English version] (Sumer. iagin > akkad. uqnû > griech. κύανος > lat. cyanus; äg. ḫsbḏ). Der Lasurstein ist ein kompliziertes Silikat, das mit dem künstlichen Ultramarin verwandt ist. Er zeichnet sich durch mehr oder weniger tiefblaue Farbe, oft mit goldgelben Einsprengseln von Eisenpyrit, aus. L. wurde im heutigen Afghanistan/Prov. Badaḫšān bzw. im afghanisch-pakistanischen Grenzgebiet (Quetta) gewonnen und gelangte von dort nach Vorderasien sowie über den Sinai nach Äg. Verhandelt wurde L. unbearbeitet, get…


(1,289 words)

Author(s): Riederer, Josef (Berlin) | Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin)
[English version] I. Definition und Materialeigenschaften K. kommt in der Natur relativ selten in gediegener Form vor und wird auch rasch in sekundäre Oxidationsmineralien umgewandelt, so daß es in dieser Form den frühen Kulturen kaum als Werkstoff zur Verfügung stand; es wurde durch die Verhüttung von K.-Erzen gewonnen. In metallischer Form läßt sich K. vielfältig ver- und bearbeiten; ein großer Teil des erzeugten K. wurde schon früh zur Herstellung von Legierungen mit Zinn, Blei und Zink verwendet, …


(1,325 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Neudecker, Richard (Rom)
[English version] I. Vorderer Orient Älteste Beispiele einer entwickelten B. in Stein kennt der Alte Orient aus dem späteren 4. Jt.v.Chr. (Uruk). Die wichtigsten Denkmälergattungen sind Rundplastik und Relief (Stelen, Felsreliefs, Orthostaten, Obelisken). Zur Bearbeitung wurden Werkzeuge aus Metall, wahrscheinlich auch aus Hartgestein benutzt. Werkzeugspuren sind wegen der Glättung und Polierung der Oberfläche mit Schleifmitteln nur selten erhalten. Die Oberflächen konnten durch Einritzungen von Deta…


(495 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[English version] I. Alter Orient Als I. bezeichnet man in der Vorderasiatischen Arch. die Auf- oder Einlage von dekorativen Elementen aus unterschiedlichen Materialien auf bzw. in einem Trägermaterial. Um bes. Farbkonstraste zu erzielen, wurden Kombinationen unterschiedlicher Stoffe, insbes. farbige Steine, Weichtiergehäuse, Knochen, Elfenbein, Metalle, Keramik, Glas und Kieselkeramik genutzt; die häufigsten Trägermaterialien waren Stein, Metall, Holz und Ton/Keramik. Als Bindemittel diente zumeist …


(2,479 words)

Author(s): Riederer, Josef (Berlin) | Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin)
[English version] A.1 Eisen und Eisenerze Da E. in der Natur nicht in verwertbaren Mengen metallisch vorkommt, muß es durch die Verhüttung von Eisenerzen gewonnen werden. Davor kam es vereinzelt zur Verarbeitung von Meteoreisen als Rohstoff für die Herstellung von Geräten und Waffen. Durch Verhüttung gewonnenes E. kann durch die Bestimmung des Nickelgehaltes sicher von Meteoreisen unterschieden werden: Meteoreisen enthält in der Regel über 5% Nickel (Werte bis zu 10% sind üblich), während das aus Erze…


(267 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[English version] I. Vorderer Orient E. als natürliche Legierung von Gold und Silber wurde in Vorderasien und Ägypten zumeist wie vorgefunden verarbeitet. Nach Analysen enthalten scheinbar aus Gold bestehende Objekte zumeist einen hohen Anteil von Silber, der mehr als 40 % betragen kann (z.B. Gefäße aus den Königsgräbern von Ur, ca. 2600 v.Chr.). Später wurde E. als Legierung auch künstlich hergestellt. E. ist härter als Gold und wurde deshalb bevorzugt für Schmuck, Prunkwaffen, Statuetten, zur Plattierung und für Einlagen sowie als Werteinheit (z.B. in Ringform) verwendet. …


(852 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Burford-Cooper, Alison (Ann Arbor)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Pitch (also bitumen; asphalt) is a natural product of fossil origin and varying composition. Its use in the Ancient Orient mostly remained limited to the source regions in Mesopotamia, Ḫūzistān and the Dead Sea. Egypt did not have any noteworthy deposits of pitch, therefore pitch was irrelevant until the Ptolemaic period, and was then imported from Syria and Palestine as an agent for mummification (Mummies). Pitch, which is viscous, was rarely used unadulter…


(687 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Pingel, Volker (Bochum)
[German version] I. General The fossil resin of the conifers that gets its name in German ( Bernstein) from its combustibility or as a succinite. The magnetic power of attraction of amber was already known to Thales (A 1,24 and A 3 DK); from the Greek name ἤλεκτρον ( ḗlektron) the modern term ‘electricity’ is derived. Mentioned in Aristotle (e.g. Met. 4,10,388b19 ff.) and Theophrastus (H. plant. 9,18,2; Lapid. 3,16; 5,28 and 29 [2]), and as sucinum in Tacitus (Germ. 45). Pliny (Italian thium, German glaesum: HN 37,31-46) characterizes amber as defluens medulla pinei generis arboribus (‘t…


(1,441 words)

Author(s): Wartke, Ralf-B. (Berlin) | Onken, Björn (Marburg/Lahn)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East and Egypt The tools of the Near Eastern cultures and Egypt comprised the most important types still used in similar designs and functions today. The use of natural objects as tools and their adaptation in order to improve their properties dates back to the Palaeolithic period (e.g. stone tools with various basic functions; increasing differentiation in relation to the qualities for particular usages). Improvements were made in handling (grip, mounting, shafts), the systematic exploitation of mechanical principles, e.g. axial mounting ( tournet…
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