The Egyptian Deities Essay Research Paper The — страница 8

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knowledge of the sea bottom that allowed Bass and his colleagues to locate the first shipwrecks scientifically excavated, including the one at Uluburun. In recompense, over the more than 30 years Bass has worked in Turkey, his recompression chamber has spared several sponge divers from the bends. Now the Turkish sponge industry has diminished greatly due to a shrinking sponge population and the lure of greater gains in tourism. Although the Uluburun seafarers probably fell victim to unfavourable breezes, their demise provided nautical archaeologists with treasures exceeding all expectations. The quality and type of objects range from the mundane to the spectacular, but due to the unique nature of the shipwreck, and the energy invested in its excavation, every artefact acquires

almost priceless value. Even a brief overview of the cargo presents a remarkable cross-section of the international nature of elite material culture at the time: From the Mycenaean world (now southernmost Greece) there is painted pottery, bronze weaponry, faience and glass jewellery. Mycenaean Greek, Canaanite and Cypriot swords were among the more than six tons of metal aboard the 50-foot vessel—most of it 60-pound copper ingots. From Cyprus over 350 ox-hide shaped copper ingots and hand-made ceramic juglets,bowls and cups; Researchers removed silt from artefacts like this Cypriot bowl with giant suction tubes connected to compressors on the research vessel. To avoid severe cramps or a fatal euphoria, divers had to resurface within 20 minutes of hitting the water. From the

Syro-Palestinian coast more bronze weaponry, blue and purple glass ingots, gold and silver jewellery, cylinder seals, a bronze statuette, finished ivories, dozens of storage jars filled with terebinth resin, olive oil and wine;From Egypt gold jewellery (including a unique scarab seal bearing Nefertiti’s name), African ebony and ivory and an ostrich egg drinking vessel. Golden objects included a pendant bearing an unidentified nude goddess; a medallion with a Canaanite star emblem popular among Syrian sailors of the era; and a talisman. There was enough tin (whose source is unknown) on board to convert the entire copper shipment into bronze, the metal of choice for tools and weapons of that era. Careful sieving of the storage jars produced organic remains of the Bronze Age

seafarer’s diet, namely, fish, figs, grapes, olives, spices and other staples. Of special interest to the economic historian are the dozens of stone weights, in various shapes and sizes, that were used to weigh out bullion on a balance-pan scale (at that time, about seven centuries before coinage, known quantities of precious metals were used as currency). One of the most spectacular finds, a golden goblet, ironically provided little or no information on the wreck’s date or location, in contrast to some of the less ostentatious, yet more informative, pottery. A folding wood writing board with ivory hinges, the oldest of its kind, unfortunately contained no message for us; lessons lost, as it were. The only reference to writing in Homer is to a “book” of this type:

“…he sent him to Lycia and gave him baneful signs in a folding wooden tablet.” (Iliad, VI, 169). The writing surface was beeswax coating the inner covers. If the text had survived, this would have been the world’s oldest “book.” Preserved only in small amounts where it was deeply buried beneath cargo, the hull appears to have been constructed in a manner similar to later Greek merchantmen; that is, the planks were joined edge-to-edge via mortises and tenons, a labour and materials-intensive technique that later gave way to frame-first construction. The ship that sank at Uluburun was probably in the 50-65 foot length range and a third or a fourth wide. Where exactly the ship was built cannot be determined since the primary woods used—fir and oak—were available all

around the Eastern Mediterranean basin (save Egypt) at the time. * * * * * Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters—Psalms 107:23 The ship was sailing west from Cyprus toward an unknown port in the Aegean or southwestern Anatolia, but who was sailing it, for whom, and for what purpose are complicated issues. To address these sorts of questions one must venture beyond the wreck itself and ask what is known about society and economy of the 14th century BC. Toward this end I came to Michigan in 1990 to study seriously the languages, history, anthropology and archaeology of the Ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean. The mixed geographic origins of the cargo are a direct reflection of political conditions at the time. Rulers of the empires of