The history of Peru spans several millennia, extending back through several stages of cultural development in the mountain region and the coastal desert. About 15,200 years ago, groups of people are believed to have crossed the Bering Strait from Asia and survived as nomads, hunting, gathering fruits and vegetables and fishing in the sea, rivers, and lakes. Peruvian territory was home to the Norte Chico civilization, one of the six oldest in the world, and to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. It was conquered by the Spanish Empire in the 16th century, which established a Viceroyalty with jurisdiction over most of its South American domains. The nation declared independence from Spain in 1821, but consolidated only after the Battle of Ayacucho, three years later. This is essentially a foundation article for the discussion of artifacts that will follow.
I visited the Nubia museum when I visited Aswan. Nubia was known on the Nile for its vast resources, such as ebony, ivory, copper, minerals, carnelian and most importantly gold. In the first dynasty Nubia was known to the Egyptians as “Ta Sety,” the “Land of the Bow,” because of the fame of Nubian archers. It was later called Kush/Cush until the fourth century AD when the name Nubia came into general use due to the Noba people, nomads who settled the area in the 4th century, with the collapse of the Kingdom of Meroë. Nubia stretched over 1,000 miles along the Nile River, beginning at the first cataract, and like Egypt it was a land defined by the river. Surrounded by a harsh desert environment, the river supported Nubian culture and economy. Nubia formed a trade corridor along the River Nile, linking continental Africa through Egypt to the Mediterranean. It has been suggested that the origin of the word 'Nubia' might be nbw, the Egyptian word for gold. The relationship between Nubia and Egypt was complex, involving military raids, expeditions and conquest by the Egyptians, subjugation in turn of Egypt by Nubia based kings, pharaohs of Nubian origin, trade interactions and cultural influence both ways from the earliest times and down through the centuries. In the words of Osama Abdel Meguid, Director of the Nubia Museum, “They dealt like Egyptians, they dressed like Egyptians, but they were still proud of their black faces.”
I thought that because I like to write about topics in archaeology, I would devote a few posts to the various dating schemes used by archaeologists beginning with the Neolithic, the end of the Stone Age and just prior to the beginning of metallurgy in the Levant, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Mesopotamia. The worldwide beginning of the Neolithic culture is considered to be in the Levant (Jericho, modern-day West Bank) about 10,200–8,800 BC. It developed directly from the Natufian culture in the region, whose people pioneered the use of wild cereals, which then evolved into true farming and animal husbandry. The Metropolitan Museum has a beautiful collection from just this time period and location and I thought I would share. The Neolithic is known as the time humanity transitioned from hunter-gatherers to a more sedentary farming behavior. Several markers of this transition have proven to be more complicated than originally imagined. Pottery, a marker of sedentary life that produced relatively heavy objects is both older and younger than first imagined. Apparently ceramic objects were discovered and forgotten on multiple occasions in the period from 30,000 to 10,000 years BC. In fact, the Halif Culture in Syria and northern Mesopotamia only started making actual pottery around 5,500 BC. So the beginning of the Levant Neolithic Period began in the pre-pottery era. Another marker of sedentary life might be buildings. The evidence of temples built at Göbekli Tepe by hunter gatherers from at least 11,000 BC suggests that while the site formally belongs to the earliest Neolithic (PPNA), up to now no traces of domesticated plants or animals have been found. The inhabitants are assumed to have been hunters and gatherers who nevertheless lived in villages for at least part of the year. Probably the best indicator of the beginning of the Neolithic Period may be the use of grains to make bread although even that is blurred by Ohalo.
The Hittites, one of the great Bronze Age civilizations of the Mideast, are less well known than other great ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Sumarians, Persians and Egyptians but no less deserving of our attention. For a long time, the Hittites were only known to historians as an obscure tribe mentioned in the Bible. In 1834, when archeologist Charles Texier stumbled upon the ruins of Hattusha (modern-day Boghazkoy/Bogazköy), his discovery went unrecognized. The Hittites were an Anatolian people who established an empire at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1750 BC. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Suppiluliuma I, when it encompassed an area that included most of Asia Minor as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia. After about 1180 BC, the empire came to an end during the Bronze Age collapse. The two main periods of Hittite history are customarily referred to as the Old Kingdom (1700-1500 BC) and the New Kingdom, or Empire (1400-1180 BC). The less well-documented interlude of about a hundred years is sometimes referred to as the Middle Kingdom. The early Hittites, whose prior whereabouts are thought to be in the southern Ukraine, borrowed heavily from the pre-existing Anatoloian Hattian and Hurrian cultures, and also from that of the Assyrian colonisers—in particular, the cuneiform writing and the use of cylindrical seals. The Boğazköy Museum is located 82 km southwest from Corum, in the district of Bogazkale. The museum, displaying excavation finds from the Hittite capital of Hattusha, opened on September 12 1966 and was completely refurnished in 2011.
Dolní Věstonice is an open-air site located along a stream, in the south Czech Republic on the northern slopes of the Pavlovske Hills, close to the village of Pavlov. Its people hunted mammoths and other herd animals, saving mammoth and other bones that could be used to construct a fence-like boundary, separating the living space into a distinct inside and outside. In this way, the perimeter of the site would be easily distinguishable. At the center of the enclosure was a large bonfire and huts were grouped together within the barrier of the of the mammoth bones. The radiocarbon dates for the occupations at DVII are 27,070-25,570 years uncal BP, which calibrates to 31,500 years ago according to the INTCAL calibration curve (Reimer et al. 2009). The mammoth deposit (202 bones) is generally thought to be contemporary with one or more of these occupations and has been dated to 26100 uncal BP (Svoboda, 1991).