Category: Bronze Age

An astonishing late Bronze Age collection of swords, axes, spearheads and bracelets were found in Havering, in East London, in 2018. With 453 items it is the 3rd-largest hoard ever found in England! And the largest ever found in London. The Havering Hoard was uncovered as part of routine archaeological excavations before the land was opened up for gravel extraction.

The bronze axe heads and spear heads are shown here; they date to between 800 and 900 BCE.

A child-sized cup with a nipple-like spout was included in the burial of a small child, about 2,500 years ago in southern Germany. It is one of many miniature cups, many with nipple-like spouts, that have been found interred with young children’s remains across Europe. The oldest are almost 5,500 years old! They look like sippy cups, but what were these Bronze and Iron age babies drinking?

Analysis of the residue inside the containers strongly suggest that they were used to feed the babies animal’s milk. Perhaps it was part of weaning from their mothers, and transitioning to solid food. There was also evidence that the milk was fresh when it was put in sippy cup to be buried.

Drought has revealed the remains of a 3,400-year-old palace in the Mosul Dam reservoir, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. The palace, at a site known as Kemune, once stood on an elevated terrace on the eastern banks of the Tigris River. It appears to be from the Mittanni Empire. For those (like me) whose history classes did not mention the Mittanni, it was a Bronze Age, Hurrian-speaking empire, which ruled parts of northern Mesopotamia and Syria in the 1400s and 1300s BCE.

There are a number of notable finds from archaeological examinations of Kemune. Ten cuneiform tablets were uncovered, which have been sent for translation. The palace’s mudbrick walls are 6 feet thick and 6 feet high in some places. Suggesting when they were originally built, the walls were even taller and more impressive. There are also traces of rare red and blue wall-paint still detectable. That makes Kemune only the second site in the region where Mittanni wall paintings have been found.

Unfortunately, the palace has been overtaken by the dam’s water since the archaeological investigation took place. And no emergency archaeological efforts are planned – just a wait until the next drought.

A hand made of bronze was crafted sometime around 1500 – 1400 BCE in Europe. More than a pound of bronze went into it, plus gold for a socket at the bottom. Why it was made is unknown. It may have been attached to another object, like a staff or a statue, or used as a prosthetic.

Whatever it was used for, the hand eventually ended up in the ground near Switzerland’s Lake Biel. Nearby were a bronze dagger and a rib bone. All three artifacts were uncovered by metal detectorists in October 2017.

A hand made of bronze was crafted sometime around 1500 – 1400 BCE in Europe. More than a pound of bronze went into it, plus gold for a socket at the bottom. Why it was made is unknown. It may have been attached to another object, like a staff or a statue, or used as a prosthetic.

Whatever it was used for, the hand eventually ended up in the ground near Switzerland’s Lake Biel. Nearby were a bronze dagger and a rib bone. All three artifacts were uncovered by metal detectorists in October 2017.

The Hittite Empire held sway over much of Anatolia and modern Syria between ~1600 BCE and 1100 BCE. They are credited with starting the Iron Age in the Mediterranean region, and being the first in the region to use chariots for warfare. And now, they may be credited with inventing the smiley face!

A ceramic jug, dating to about 1,700 BCE,

was found during excavations at the Hittite city of Karkemish along the border of Turkey and Syria. When it was pieced back together, archaeologists were surprised to see a smiley face smiling back at them. It was used for drinking sherbet, a sweet drink commonly enjoyed in the Middle East as a dessert. Which supports the marks being a smile. With no other examples of such marks from that period, however, interpretations must be made cautiously.

Amazingly, this was made between the late 2000s and early 1000s BCE! That’s ancient Bronze Age.

It appears to have been a lid for a larger vessel, lost with time. If so, that’s an impressive vessel, because its lid is all silver. Found in eastern Iran, the culture that produced it is unknown.

Unmentionables, From Figleaves to Scanties, Robert Cortes Holliday, 1933

HURRIANS: 

THE Hurrians (aka Hurri or Khurri) were a Bronze Age people who flourished across the Near East from the 4th millennium BCE to the 1st millennium BCE. Hurrian is also the name of the language these people spoke and, indeed, is the one constant and identifying feature of the culture over time and geography. 

Hurrians formed the principal cultural element of the Bronze Age Mitanni kingdom and blended with the culture of the neighbouring, and then conquering, Hittites. By the late Bronze Age, the Hurrians had been assimilated into surrounding cultures in the Near East but many of their gods and myths would live on in later cultures, notably the Urartu civilization, and even inspire elements of myth found in Archaic Greece.

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HAYASA-AZZI: 

THE Hayasa-Azzi were an indigenous Bronze Age tribal confederation which flourished on the plateau of ancient Armenia and Turkey between c. 1500 and c. 1200 BCE. Although the historical record is impoverished and disputed regarding the region at this time, it is known that they were enemies of the powerful Hittites further to the east, were probably infiltrated by the Thraco-Phrygians following the collapse of the Hittite Empire c. 1200 BCE, and then became part of the kingdom of Urartu from the 9th century BCE.

The Hayasa-Azzi are the eponym of the Hay people, the term Armenians use to describe themselves and their state, Hayastan. Whether there is an actual connection between the ancient Hayasa-Azzi people and the more modern Armenia state (which only first appears in records from the 6th century BCE) is still being debated amongst scholars. The first mention in the historical record of the people of the Armenian highlands is in inscriptions of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser I (r. 1274-1245 BCE) in which they are referred to as the Uruatri. The term, meaning “of the mountainous country”, likely refers to all tribes of the region and not one particular kingdom.

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