Archive for August, 2015

Commander's house

Commander’s house

There is also a reconstruction of a commanding officers house dating from the third century. It is built in the Mediterranean style and reflects the status of the commanding officer.

Plan of Commander's house

Plan of Commander’s house

Living Room

Living Room

Summer Dining Room

Summer Dining Room

Courtyard

Courtyard

Bedroom

Bedroom

Commander's office

Commander’s office

Red-Headed Woodpecker

Posted: August 20, 2015 in Birds, Natural History
Tags: ,

DSCN9376a

A widespread species, but my recent visit to St Louis was the first time I had managed to catch up with this stunning bird. With its red head and black and white plumage it is certainly hard to miss.

DSCN9394b

Reconstructed barrack block

Reconstructed barrack block

In one section of the site there are a number of reconstructed buildings which sit on original foundations. One of these is a barrack block dating from the beginning of the third century.

Plan of barrack block

Plan of barrack block

The centurian lived in a four room apartment at one end of the building. It is thought that these were a bedroom for himself and his wife if he had one, a bedroom for his slave and children, a living room and a kitchen.

Centurions bedroom

Centurions bedroom

Slave / child's bedroom

Slave / child’s bedroom

Kitchen

Kitchen

By comparison his soldiers slept up to 8 men to an apartment of 2 rooms. The front room was probably kept for cooking and storage of equipment although it could have also been used for sleeping and the rear room was packed with beds. It is possible that soldiers may have shared beds between men on different watches – one slept whilst one was on duty.

Soldiers cooking/ storage room

Soldiers cooking/ storage room

Soldiers bedroom

Soldiers bedroom

Reconstructed Gateway

Reconstructed Gateway

 

The site of Arbeia is in modern South Shields on the southern shore of the estuary of the river Tyne. It was built in the early 2nd century, most likely as part of the development of Hadrian’s wall, which terminated  a few miles upstream on the northern bank. Originally it was a base for 2 auxiliary cavalry units, 1 from Spain and the other from Hungary.

Foundations of a granery

Foundations of a granery

Diagram of a granery

Diagram of a granery

At the beginning of the third century, the base underwent a major redevelopment. The garrison capacity was reduced and many of the buildings were replaced by granaries. A normal fort of this size would have 1 or 2 granaries, but after this redevelopment Arbeia had 24. This is thought to be due to the campaigns of Septimus Severus in Scotland. Grain could be brought by sea to Arbeia and stored in the granaries before being shipped to units fighting north of Hadrian’s wall. At this time the cavalry units were withdrawn and replaced by a single unit of infantry from Gaul. After the conclusion of the Severan campaign, Arbeia continued to act as a supply base for the forts on Hadrian’s wall.

Around the beginning of the 4th century some granaries were converted back to barracks and a unit of Tigris boatmen from Iraq were stationed there. It is thought that the fort remained in use until near the end of the 4th century when Rome began to withdraw units from Britain.

"Uruk3000BCE" by PHGCOM (2007). Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Uruk3000BCE.jpg#/media/File:Uruk3000BCE.jpg

“Uruk3000BCE” by PHGCOM (2007). Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Uruk3000BCE.jpg#/media/File:Uruk3000BCE.jpg

Uruk continued to be a prominent and influential city throughout the third millennia. When King Eannutum established the first proto- Empire in the region, he chose Uruk to be his capital and it remained the capital of the Lagash Empire for over 200 years until Sargon of Akkad brought it under the control of the Akkadian Empire in 2334 BCE. Sargon also seems to have revered the city and there is evidence during these early years of the Akkadian Empire the sacred districts continued in use and there is evidence of renovation within them from this time. This suggests that Uruk flourished under the rule of the Akkadians. The start of the city’s decline came about 1750 BCE with the invasion of the Elamites and the Amorites, although the city seems still to have maintained a significant role in the area and did not fare nearly as badly as many of its neighbours. In around 850 BCE, it became a provincial capital under the Assyrians and later the Babylonians, and this period marked a new revival of the city. A new Temple complex was added to the Anu district and we know from Babylonian records that this was one of the main centres for the study of astronomy. In addition to this new Temple site, the existing temples and canal system were restored. In 200 BC, a further Temple district was added to the city situated between the existing Anu and Ianna districts and was known as the great sanctuary of Ishtar. Ishtar being the Babylonian equivalent of Ianna. The invasion of the Parthians around 140 BCE, signalled the beginning of a second period of decline, one from which it would not recover.

Statue bearing an inscription on the back: "Satam, son of Lu-Barab, son of Lugal-kisal-si, king of Uruk, servant of Girim-si, prince of Uruk". Limestone, Early Dynastic III, ca. 2400 BC.by Unknown - Jastrow (2006). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Satam_Louvre_AO5681.jpg#/media/File:Satam_Louvre_AO5681.jpg

Statue bearing an inscription on the back: “Satam, son of Lu-Barab, son of Lugal-kisal-si, king of Uruk, servant of Girim-si, prince of Uruk”. Limestone, Early Dynastic III, ca. 2400 BC.by Unknown – Jastrow (2006). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Satam_Louvre_AO5681.jpg#/media/File:Satam_Louvre_AO5681.jpg

Use of the temples and settlement within the city does seems to have continued until the seventh century A.D, long after many of its neighbours been abandoned. Uruk was not finally abandoned as a settlement until after the Muslim conquest of Mesopotamia around the year 630. It lay undisturbed until the site was discovered again in 1849 by William Kennet Loftus, who cvexcavated from 1850 to 1854. Further excavavtions on the site took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After that there have been sporadic one off digs mostly by German archaeologists. Most recently, from 2001 to 2002, the German Archaeological Institute team carried out a geo-physical survey using both ground techniques and satellite imagery, which have reveled new information about the layout of the city

Uruk (taken from www.pandorando.it)

Uruk (taken from http://www.pandorando.it)

Storm brewing over London

Posted: August 16, 2015 in London, UK
Tags:

This is an amazing photo!

image001St pauls

 

Photo by Sue

There is a legend in Sumerian mythology that Inanna went to the sacred city of Eridu where she stole a number of sacred items belonging to the father God Enki ,which she then bought back to her Temple at Uruk. The tale of Inanna and the God of wisdom details how Enki when he discovered that the objects had been removed went to great lengths to have them brought back to the sanctuary at Eridu. There is an underlying message in this tale, the removal of these artefacts, which was said to define the basis of the cultural pattern of Sumerian civilisation, from the city of the god’s Eridu to a city of men, marked a shift in the focus of power. A clear statement is being made in this story about where the power lies in the region. It has shifted from the old god’s of Eridu to those god’s who have taken up residence in Uruk, as seen by the helplessness of the old gods. It would also of course, strengthen Uruk’s position amongst the other settlements of the area.

Mute Swan

Posted: August 14, 2015 in Birds, Natural History
Tags:
photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

DSC00695u

DSC00689u

DSC02958

Administrative tablet, Jamdat Nasr, Uruk III style - 3100–2900 B.C (détail)". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Met_(2)_-_Administrative_tablet,_Jamdat_Nasr,_Uruk_III_style_-_3100%E2%80%932900_B.C_(d%C3%A9tail).jpg#/media/File:Met_(2)_-_Administrative_tablet,_Jamdat_Nasr,_Uruk_III_style_-_3100%E2%80%932900_B.C_(d%C3%A9tail).jpg

Administrative tablet, Jamdat Nasr, Uruk III style – 3100–2900 B.C (détail)”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Met_(2)_-_Administrative_tablet,_Jamdat_Nasr,_Uruk_III_style_-_3100%E2%80%932900_B.C_(d%C3%A9tail).jpg#/media/File:Met_(2)_-_Administrative_tablet,_Jamdat_Nasr,_Uruk_III_style_-_3100%E2%80%932900_B.C_(d%C3%A9tail).jpg

Aside from the Temples themselves, the Temple district also contains several other buildings, some of which have been identified as workshops. There are also varying interpretations about purposes of these Temple districts and it has been argued that they serve both an important religious and state function, although this is predominantly based on the findings from a later neo-Babylonian temple archive, which documents the social and economic functions of the Temple as a redistribution centre for food and other goods. Kenneth Harl argues that it was within temple complexes that the economic activity of the city was focused and there is some evidence to support this from Uruk itself. It is clear that the extensive trade networks of the early Sumerian cities were not the work of individuals trading on a freelance basis. There is clearly a large organisation behind these trade routes which exported jewellery, weapons, furniture, textiles and ceramics and returned with wood, metals, stone and gems such as lapis lazuli, which were not available in the Euphrates River Valley. Evidence suggests that these networks reached to Arabia and Egypt to the South and West; Syria and Turkey to the North and East across the Zagros mountains. There is also some evidence that at least in the latter part of the city’s dominance they also imported slaves to act as Labour. If as Harl and others suggest the Temple was the primary engine of economic activity within the city, then the activities of the merchants operating within the trade network would also have been regulated from here. Evidence suggests that there may have been a specialised priest who managed the trade and economic activity of the Temple known as “en”. This word has been variously translated as overseer or Lord although in later periods it can also mean King. The level of organisation can be seen in the document known as the “standard list of professions” which uses the term ‘nam’ which is most often translated as leader in association with a number of different professions, including priests, gardeners, cooks, smiths, jewellers and potters and would seem to referred to a head or leader of each profession. One fascinating entry on this list is “nam nam” or leader of leaders possibly a reference to the chief priest or the senior official of the city.

"Sumerian-akkadian Lexicon - Louvre, Near Eastern Antiquities in the Louvre, Room 3, Case 15 - AO 7662" by Poulpy. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sumerian-akkadian_Lexicon_-_Louvre,_Near_Eastern_Antiquities_in_the_Louvre,_Room_3,_Case_15_-_AO_7662.jpg#/media/File:Sumerian-akkadian_Lexicon_-_Louvre,_Near_Eastern_Antiquities_in_the_Louvre,_Room_3,_Case_15_-_AO_7662.jpg

“Sumerian-akkadian Lexicon – Louvre, Near Eastern Antiquities in the Louvre, Room 3, Case 15 – AO 7662” by Poulpy. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sumerian-akkadian_Lexicon_-_Louvre,_Near_Eastern_Antiquities_in_the_Louvre,_Room_3,_Case_15_-_AO_7662.jpg#/media/File:Sumerian-akkadian_Lexicon_-_Louvre,_Near_Eastern_Antiquities_in_the_Louvre,_Room_3,_Case_15_-_AO_7662.jpg

The development of trade was coupled with the development of writing as a way to keep records of stock, materials and transactions. Cuniform tablets record the distribution of grain to workers, ptresumibly as part of their recompense for laboura swell as other goods movements.

After the rain

Posted: August 12, 2015 in Natural History
Tags:

Just walk around your garden or a local park after a rain shower and you can see some amazing sights

DSCN7992a

DSCN8022a

DSCN7993a

DSCN8025a

DSCN8027a