CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: One of the most important painted Palaeolithic caves (as is Lascaux, France) and one of the earliest discovered (1879). The site is in the Cantabrian Mountains of northeast Spain and the 280-meter long cave is famous for its polychrome animals, which include deer, bison, and wild boar painted in red, black, and a range of earth colors. Most of the art in the cave was produced by Solutrean and Magdalenian peoples, with one layerradiocarbon-dated to c 13,000 BC. The most famous panel is of 15 bison, plus deer and horses. There is also a hall with black paintings, and symbols are found in several parts of the cave. The paintings' authenticity was challenged right up to 1902 when Emile Cartailhac finally accepted that they were genuine.
Cartailhac, Émile (1845-1921)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: A French prehistorian sometimes called one of the founders of archaeology in France. He edited the journal Matéreaux pour l'histoire primitive et naturelle de l'homme" and wrote books on French and Mediterranean prehistory including "La Caverne de Font-de-Gaume..." (1910; "The Cave of Font-de-Gaume...") with Henri Breuil. He is best remembered for his long refusal to accept the authenticity of cave art denouncing such archaeologists as Marcellino de Sautuola. After visiting the Spanish site of Altamira with the Abbé Breuil Cartailhac changed his opinion and in 1902 published an article subtitled "Mea culpa d'un sceptique" in which he admitted the antiquity of the cave paintings. He then helped to convince many scholars that cave paintings were indeed genuine and the earliest manifestations of art in the world."
Evans, Sir John (1823-1908)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: British scholar, collector, and antiquary; the father of Sir Arthur Evans. Sir John conducted detailed studies of pre-Roman coinage, and the stone and bronze implements of Britain. He was actively concerned in the controversies over the authenticity of the handax and the eolith. He published three major works on British prehistoric artifacts.
CATEGORY: related field DEFINITION: The writing of history, with particular reference to the examination and evaluation of primary source material. Historiography is also the study of the development of historical method. The study is based on the critical examination of sources, the selection of facts from the authentic materials, and the synthesis of facts into a narrative.
Karlgren, Bernhard (1889-1978)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Swedish archaeologist was the first person to reconstruct the phonology of Chinese characters in use around 600 AD and then in earlier periods. He reconstructed the vowel system of Old Chinese to account for the language in Classic of Poetry" (800-600 BC). He studied numerous fundamental texts of the pre-Han period and succeeded in assessing their authenticity and in translating them into English and providing commentaries. In field of early bronzes he laid the foundations for an analytical method the principles of which are still valid."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mungo CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A dry lake with an associated lunette in the Willandra Lakes, a complex of former Pleistocene lakes in western New South Wales, Australia. Excavation of the lunette has produced the best authenticated series of radiocarbon dates for the earliest evidence of man's occupation of Australia, and the remains of a cremated human female date to c 26,000 bp, the oldest evidence of cremation in the world. The remains of a man in an extended inhumation covered with red ochre is dated to c 30,000 bp. Stone tools belong to the Australian Core Tool and Scraper Tradition and there are artifact scatters, freshwater shell middens, and hearths dated by thermoluminescence to 31,400-36,400 years ago. The Willandra Lakes started to dry up c 13,000 BC. The appearance of grinding stones in this period suggest adaptation to wild grain exploitation. Intensive occupation ceased with increasing aridity, although sporadic visits occurred during the Holocene.
Lartet, Edouard (1801-1871)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: A French scholar, one of the pioneers of Palaeolithicarchaeology, known as the founder of the science of palaeontology. He proposed a classification scheme for the Palaeolithicperiod based on animal bones: the Cave Bear period; the Woolly Mammoth and Rhinoceros period; the Reindeer period and the Aurochs or Bison period. He collaborated with Henry Christy in excavating many of the well-known rock shelter sites of southern France and was one of the first to recognize in situ mobiliary art; the publication of these objects from well-excavated contexts made it easier for scholars to accept the authenticity of cave art. With Christy, he carried out the first systematic study of south French caves, and excavated many of the most famous sites in the Dordogne (Laugerie-Haute, Le Moustier, La Madeleine). Their results appeared in several important articles, and also, during the decade 1865-1875, in the volumes of Reliquiae Aquitanicae"."
Li Chi (1896-1979)
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: [Li Ch'i] CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Chinese archaeologist responsible for establishing the historical authenticity of the semilegendary Shangdynasty of China (c 1766-1122 BC). He supervised numerous excavations at Anyang (An-yang), working to identify the features distinguishing the Shangcivilization from previous Neolithic cultures. More than 300 tombs, including four important royal burial sites, were uncovered and carefully studied. Some 1,100 skeletons and oracle bones, unquestionably linked with the Shangperiod, were recovered. Li Chi created a typology of bronzes based on their shapes, of ceramic sherds, and bone hairpins. Following the Japanese invasion of China and the expulsion of the Chinese Nationalists from the mainland, many of Li's Anyang remains and notes were lost. After escaping to Taiwan, he established the first archaeology and anthropology department at a Chinese university (National University in Taipei). He published a number of books, including The Beginnings of Chinese Civilization" (1957). "
Piette, Edouard (1827-1906)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: French prehistorian who excavated many caves in the Pyrenees and was the first to recognize the Azilianculture, bridging the gap between the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. He was a pioneer in accepting the authenticity of Altamira's art and worked at Le Mas D'Azil and Brassempouy. He amassed the greatest collection of Palaeolithic portable art for the French government. He was the author of various classificatory schemes for prehistory, subdividing the Palaeolithicperiod into three, the Amydgalithic, Niphetic and Glyptic periods (approximately equivalent to the Lower, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic), but this system was never very widely adopted.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A huge cave in the Dordogne, southwest France, with Mesolithic levels (Sauveterrian and Tardensoisian) at the entrance dating from 9150-8370 bp. Deep inside this large cave system are black paintings and engravings in which mammoth predominates from the Magdalenian. There has been much controversy on which of the cave's paintings and engravings are authentic and which are modern.
Sautuola, Marcellino Sanz de (1831-1888)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: Spanish amateur geologist and archaeologist who excavated Altamira Cave, near Santillana, in northern Spain, which contains the earliest known (c 13,000-20,000 BC) examples of Stone Age painting. The colored ceiling paintings in a side cavern, which came to be regarded as the Sistine Chapel of Prehistory" were the most spectacular. Sautuola had accurate drawings of the paintings prepared and published a book in 1880. He was unable to persuade scholars of the paintings' authenticity and died dishonored and bitter. Not until other similar paintings had been found in southwestern France (1895-1901) was Sautuola's contribution finally vindicated. "
CATEGORY: artifact; language DEFINITION: A device for impressing characteristic marks into a soft surface, such as wet clay or wax, to indicate ownership or authenticity. Seals were made of bone, ivory, stone, or wood and had an intagliodesign and were in the form of stamps or cylinder seals. The first can have a very wide range of shapes, and gives single impressions. The second, characteristic of ancient Mesopotamia, is rolled across the surface to yield a frieze of repeat designs. Their social and linguistic significance is great. They were fundamental in the development of writingsystem and were a statussymbol of authority and sometimes accorded talismanic properties. The use of seals and writing on clay tablets appeared together in Mesopotamia, towards end of 4th millennium BC.
CATEGORY: artifact; language DEFINITION: A small, hard block that has a flat surface engraved with a design that can be transferred to soft clay or wax as a mark of ownership or authenticity. Stamp seals appear in Mesopotamia from the Halafian period in the fifth millennium BC, when they were used to impress ownership marks on lumps of clay which were then attached to goods. In the Bronze Age, it was differently shaped for different cultures: square in the Indus, round in the Persian Gulf (Barbar), and compartmented in central Asia (Bactrian). Stamp seals preceded cylinders and developed over a period of about 1,500 years until largely replaced by the cylinder in the 3rd millennium BC. Seals came into use before the invention of writing for the securing of property and the method was either to shape clay over the stopper or lid or to make a fastening with cord and place clay around the knot and then impress it with the seal. The sealing of written documents, mainly clay tablets and papyrus scrolls, became regularly established in the latter part of the 3rd millennium BC.