archaeology

The Venus of Willendorf and its Controversial Interpretation

The Venus of Willendorf and its Controversial Interpretation

On August 7, 1908, among railway construction work on the Donauuferbahn in Lower Austria, a lime stone figure was discovered, the Venus of Willendorf. The high statuette of a female figure estimated to have been made between about 28,000 and 25,000 BCE. The Willendorf Hamlet The Willendorf hamlet is located near today’s Aggsbach, a small wine-growing town in the Krems-Land district of Lower Austria. Wilendorf had already been known as a Palaeolithic…
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Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s Adventures in Archaeology

Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s Adventures in Archaeology

On July 22, 1976, British archaeologist Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler passed away. Wheeler is recognised as one of the most important British archaeologists of the twentieth century, responsible for successfully encouraging British public interest in the discipline and advancing methodologies of excavation and recording. Further, he is widely acclaimed as a major figure in the establishment of South Asian archaeology.  However, many of his specific interpretations of archaeological sites have been discredited…
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The Aswan High Dam – the Eighth Wonder of the World

The Aswan High Dam – the Eighth Wonder of the World

On July 21, 1970, the construction of the Egyptian Aswan High Dam was completed. A key objective of the Egyptian Government following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, the dam has the ability to control floods, provide water for irrigation, and generate hydroelectricity were seen as pivotal to Egypt’s industrialization. The High Dam was constructed between 1960 and 1970, and has had a significant effect on the economy and culture of Egypt. Soviet leader…
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Arthur Evans and the Palace of Knossos

Arthur Evans and the Palace of Knossos

On July 8, 1851, English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans was born. Evans was a pioneer in the study of Aegean civilization in the Bronze Age. He is most famous for unearthing the palace of Knossos in Crete. He continued Heinrich Schliemann‘s concept of a Mycenaean civilization, but found that he needed to distinguish another civilization, the Minoan, from the structures and artifacts found there and throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Arthur Evans –…
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Marc Aurel Stein and the Dunhuang Caves

Marc Aurel Stein and the Dunhuang Caves

On November 26, 1862, Hungarian-British archaeologist Sir Marc Aurel Stein was born. Stein is primarily known for his explorations and archaeological discoveries in Central Asia. Stein was also an ethnographer, geographer, linguist and surveyor. His collection of books and manuscripts taken from Dunhuang caves is important for the study of the history of Central Asia and the art and literature of Buddhism. When the Dunhuang Caves, China, closed for centuries, were reopened,…
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Flinders Petrie –  a Pioneer of Systematic Methodology in Archaeology

Flinders Petrie – a Pioneer of Systematic Methodology in Archaeology

On June 3, 1853, English egyptologist Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie was born. Petrie was a pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology and preservation of artefacts. He held the first chair of Egyptology in the United Kingdom, and excavated many of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt in conjunction with his wife, Hilda Petrie. Moreover, Petrie also developed the system of dating layers based on pottery and ceramic findings. “The man…
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Augustus Pitt Rivers – the Father of British Archaeology

Augustus Pitt Rivers – the Father of British Archaeology

On April 14, 1832, English army officer, ethnologist, and archaeologist Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers was born. He is often called the “father of British archaeology”, who stressed the need for total excavation of sites, through stratigraphic observation and recording, and prompt and complete publication. Like Sir Flinders Petrie, Pitt-Rivers adopted a sociological approach to the study of excavated objects and emphasized the instructional value of common artifacts.[4] “Tedious as it may…
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Auguste Mariette and the Discovery of the Serapeum

Auguste Mariette and the Discovery of the Serapeum

On January 19, 1881, French scholar, archaeologist and Egyptologist François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette passed away. Mariette conducted major excavations throughout Egypt, revealing much about the earlier periods of Egyptian history. Sent by the Louvre, in 1850, to purchase papyruses, at Saqqara he discovered the Serapeum, the burial place of the Apis bulls, living manifestations of the god Ptah. “The Egyptian duck is a dangerous animal: one snap of its beak and you are infected…
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Christian Jürgensen Thomsen and the Three-Age System

Christian Jürgensen Thomsen and the Three-Age System

On December 29, 1788, Danish antiquarian Christian Jürgensen Thomsen was born. He is best known for the development of early archaeological techniques and methods. He also introduced the Three-age system, i.e. the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective tool-making technologies, the Stone Ages, Iron Ages and Bronze Ages. “…nothing is more important than to point out that hitherto we have not paid enough attention to what was…
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Jacques de Perthes and European Archaeology

Jacques de Perthes and European Archaeology

On September 10, 1788, French archeologist Jacques Boucher de Crèvecœur de Perthes was born. He was the first to establish that Europe had been populated by early man. Further, his discovery of whole handaxes, tools and fragments embedded in and scattered about the fossilized bones of prehistoric mammals in the high banks of the Somme River showed that man existed at least as early as the ancient creature. Jacques de Perthes Background…
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