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TMA 15 – Wonen in de Oudheid

In search of an urban residential form

Elisabeth van ‘t Lindenhout

This article demonstrates that our own definition of “living” is a major factor in the investigation of the subject in antiquity. The activities of eating, drinking and sleeping cannot themselves archaeologically be recognised as isolated features in the early urban history of Latium (600-400 BC). This article presents different building types in this period which housed domestic functions. Sufficient evidence indicates that these houses also possessed commercial, industrial or cult functions. In an urban context the plans of the houses therefore show a contrast: domestic functions are secluded from public life, while industrial functions, such as shops, face the outer world.

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Speaking Mosaics

Angelique Notermans

Roman mosaics, and especially those with inscriptions, are an important source for our knowledge about daily life in ancient times. Mosaics with inscriptions often had the intention of impressing visitors. Because the commissioner wanted to display his wealth, possessions, benefactions and status, we find these mosaics in the more public rooms in the house, such as vestibula and triclinia, which where accessible to clients and more intimate guests. Mosaics with inscriptions are often easy to interpret and can therefore be used in turn to interpret mosaics bearing the same themes but having no inscription.

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Sheltered living at the end of antiquity. The citadel of Pessinus (Turkey)

Frank Vermeulen

This article briefly presents information concerning an early Byzantine fortress, excavated by a Belgian team from Ghent University. The fortified settlement was erected in the 6th century A.D. near the Central-Anatolian town of Pessinus, an important religious metropolis with Phrygian antecedents. Although probably not permanently occupied, this fortification prolongued the life of the former ancient city into the 11th century. Combined investigations of the fortress and of living quarters in the lower city may well shed some light on the decline of city life in the Dark Ages of Asia Minor.

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Impressions of Egypt in houses in Pompeii and the Nile mosaic in Palestrina

P.G.P. Meyboom

Nilotic scènes were a popular decorative motif in the Roman world, as may be seen by many examples which have been preserved in Pompeian houses. Their meaning is variously understood, either as scènes of an exotic, colonised world, comparable to the genre of Chinoiserie in later Europe, or as propaganda for the Egyptian cults. From a study of the Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, the earliest and richest of the extant examples, it appears that the essential motif of these scènes is the Nile flood and its beneficial effects on Egypt, which are given by Isis and Osiris. The meaning of these scènes as symbols of welfare and divine providence made them generally acceptable as decorations for surroundings where a festive mood was required, such as dining rooms and gardens, just like Dionysiac motifs.

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Living in a tower. A view on the possible residential functions of Attic towers

Steven Thielemans

Several ancient towers have been discovered in Attica. Various functions for these isolated towers and tower complexes have been suggested, based on their location, plan, construction and finds. These suggestions will here be examined together with the possibility of these towers, both military and civil, as a place of residence.

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The American-European schism. Theoretical trends in the archaeology of death

Tsjeard R. Hoekstra

In this review article of Regional Approaches to Mortuary Analysis (edited by Lane Anderson Beck, Plenum Press 1995), the author evaluates the influence of the theoretical ideas of British post-processualists on their American colleagues working in the field of the archaeology of death. Although the author supports the adoption of a regional scope in mortuary studies, he believes the contributions are still characterized by an essentially passive notion of material culture, ecological determinism and a preference for cross-cultural generalisations. As European archaeologists seem more willing to acknowledge the active role of material culture, this will inevitably lead to a widening gap between the archaeologies of the Old and the New World.

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TMA 16 – Gender

Putting women in their place in Pergamon

Christina Williamson

-original article in english, summary only in dutch-
Onderzoeken naar de plaats van de vrouw in antieke steden geven aan dat het domein van de vrouwen idealiter het huis was terwijl de bewegingsruimte van mannen veel groter was. Door deze studies, die grotendeels gebaseerd zijn op het klassieke Athene, worden de polariteiten man/vrouw verbonden met die van openbaar/privé. Aan de andere kant lijken Hellenistische vrouwen een grotere mate van vrijheid te hebben genoten door de toename van gevallen van vrouwen die in het openbaar verschenen als invloedrijke koninginnen of weldoeners. De ruimten die belangrijk waren voor vrouwen in de Hellenistische periode blijven echter onontgonnen gebied. In dit artikel wordt gepoogd de plaats en positie van de vrouw in Pergamon in de tweede eeuw vóór Christus vast te stellen. De stad wordt gezien als een verkeerssysteem die richting geeft aan de behoeften van bewoners; door de aard en betekenis van de verschillende ruimten in de stad te onderzoeken, wordt de plaats van vrouwen in dit systeem duidelijker.

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Spinning a yarn on textile production in ancient Greece (900-500BC)

Marja Vink

Greek archaeology is strongly biased towards the masculine-elite sector in society. In this discipline textile-production has received little attention, probably because of its feminine-lower class connotations. Male participation, however, can be conjectured if we consider for example the manufacture of sails or the agricultural requirements for producing fibres. Female occupations are largely known through written, mythological and iconographic evidence. We know more about Penelope and Helena than about women whose bones have been excavated while their attributes and utensils have been neglected. The inadequacy of the identifications of female-related artefacts has led to an imbalance in text-free archaeology in favour of the male-related artefacts. Typical female attributes such as spindle whorls have also been interpreted as beads and buttons. A reinterpretation of these objects from Geometric burials reveals that spindle whorls are the female equivalent of swords in male burials. The whorls in the Geometric graves seem to refer to costly and time-consuming weaves. In the Archaic and Classical poleis, complicated weaves were confined to dedications, while the aristocracy uniformly dressed in plain linen. There are a few indications that men entered the textile business at this time through the establishment of a true textile industry.

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Nude or Naked?

Marianne Kleibrink

The art historical theory of the development of the female nude in the visual arts appears to be dominated by literary platitudes on the ‘Aphrodite of Knidos’ and the presumed sublime erotic aura of that image. The hierarchical use of the sources at the disposal of Classical archaeology (1. philosophy, 2. literary texts, 3. sculpture, 4. (vase)painting, 5. jewelry) has led to wrong conclusions. Furthermore, scholarly attention has been drawn away from the actual subject of study (the female nude) to the problems of men (the sculptor Praxiteles and the art historian Kenneth Clark). When one sticks with the actual subject, one observes that the female nude was already erotically depicted in the 5th c. BC, and that this had to do with the (semi-)public bathing of women of pleasure.

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Political implications of a recent textual discovery in Israel

C.H.J. de Geus

In this article the precarious relationship between archaeology, textual sources, and politics is dealt with through the inscription on the fragments of an old Aramaic stele, recently found in Tel Dan, in the northern part of Israel. After the first fragment was found in 1993, the excavator, A. Biran, believed he had unearthed the first extra-biblical proof of the existence of king David; his opinions, however, were opposed by various archaeologists and philologists. Although a second find in 1994 underscored Biran’s view, the inscription remains the subject of tedious discussions in which political as well as linguistic motives play a leading role.

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Dutch and Flemish field archaeology in Turkey

Jos Beelen & René van Beek

This article describes the changing attitudes towards archaeological fieldwork in Turkey. The funding of many Turkish excavation-projects is becoming increasingly difficult because of inflation and the preference for research on Islamic monuments. The Dutch excavations on Karantina Island (Klazomenai) started in 1987. An article about Klazomenai appeared in TMA 3 (1989). Since then, the remains of a Roman house, abandoned in the early 3rd century, and several pottery-kilns have been excavated. The Belgian excavations in Pessinus were resumed in 1987 and have been described briefly in TMA 3 and in detail in TMA 15 (1995). Present research is directed towards the water supply of the ancient city in an attempt to establish the relationship between the city and the surrounding farmland.

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