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Abu Ballas
DEFINITION: A site in the Western Desert of Egypt, occupied 8500-5000 years ago.
Ballana and Qustul
DEFINITION: Two Nubian necropolis sites on opposing sides of the Nile, 15 km south of Abu Simbel and now submerged under Lake Nassar. Ballana was the type site of a period which lasted from the decline of the Meroitic empire to the arrival of Christianity (c 350-700 AD). Some pictographic writing dating c 3400-3100 BC was discovered at Qustul on pottery, slate palettes, and stone. Qustul may have been one of the earliest places of state formation in the world when rulers of the A-Group culture adopted symbols of kingship similar to those of contemporary kings of Egypt's Naqadah II-III periods.
Caballo Muerto
DEFINITION: A complex of monuments of the Initial Period and Early Horizon on the north coast of Peru. There are 17 mounds on the Moche Valley site, with the most complex structure at Huaca de los Reyes. It is a multi-level, U-shaped complex decorated with relief friezes, which inside is a series of structures, stairways, pillared halls, and a courtyard.
Grauballe Man
DEFINITION: A Danish bog burial in central Jutland of the Roman Iron Age with a radiocarbon date c 310 AD. Grauballe Man was naked and his neck had been cut almost from ear to ear. His skin was particularly well-preserved by the peat. His last meal had consisted of a gruel made of 63 different types of identifiable seeds.
DEFINITION: A small Greek vase or a large Inca pottery jar. The Greek flask was one-handled, normally globular (quasi-spherical or pear-shaped), with a narrowing neck. It was used mostly for oil, perfume, unguent, or condiments and stood about 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) high. Aryballos were originally made at Corinth from about 575 BC. There were painted patterns on them until 550 BC and sometimes patterns were engraved. The Inca version was a large jar with conical base, tall narrow neck, and flaring rim. It was used for carrying liquids, designed to be carried on the back by a rope which passed through two strap handles low on the jar's body and over a nubbin at the base of the jar neck.
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A round object used in games.
ball clay
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A fine-textured, highly plastic sedimentary clay, usually composed of the mineral kaolinite, typically containing considerable organic matter and firing white or cream
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ballcourt, ball court
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: The structure upon which the ball game was played in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. It was shaped like a capital I with exaggerated end pieces, and in the Post-Classic period stone rings or macaw heads were fixed to the side walls. Aztec records say that the team which passed the ball through one of these rings won the game outright.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ballgame, ball game; ollama, pok-ta-pok
DEFINITION: The ritual and sporting activity played throughout pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, especially in Mexico and Guatemala from the Pre-Classic period. (Stone reliefs at Dainzu and the possible remains of a ball court at San Lorenzo Tenochititlan indicate that the game existed as early as Pre-Classic times.) It may have originated among the Olmecs (La Venta culture, c 800-400 BC) or even earlier and it spread to other cultures, including Monte Albán and El Tajín; the Maya (called pok-ta-pok); and the Toltec, Mixtec, and Aztec. In Aztec times, it was a nobles' game and was often accompanied by heavy betting. Various myths mention the ball game, sometimes as a contest between day and night deities. It is still played in isolated regions. The players, who were sometimes heavily padded, were allowed to use only their hips and thighs in propelling a rubber ball around the court. The ball-court itself was shaped like a capital I with exaggerated end pieces, and in the Post-Classic period stone rings or macaw heads were fixed to the side walls. Aztec records say that the team which passed the ball through one of these rings won the game outright. Tlachtli is the name of the court itself, but also for the game. Tlachtli and ollama are Nahuatl words. There was considerable diversity in the rules both over time and across culture. Death through injury was not unusual and the loss of a game could sometimes result in the sacrifice of the losing team. There is a considerable inventory of artifacts associated with the ball game, including hachas, palmas, court markers, elbow stones, and yokes.
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: An ancient heavy missile launcher designed to hurl javelins or heavy balls on the principle of a crossbow. The smaller ballista was just that - a basic, large crossbow fastened to a mount. It was also used to hurl iron shafts, Greek fire, heavy darts, etc. during sieges. The huge, complicated Roman ballista, however, was powered by torsion derived from two thick skeins of twisted cords through which were thrust two separate arms joined at their ends by the cord that propelled the missile. The largest ballistas were quite accurate in hurling 60-pound weights up to about 500 yards. The catapult was yet another machine used for firing bolts and other arrow-like missiles. The two terms are often used interchangeably.
carved stone ball
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Roughly spherical or slightly lobate artificially shaped carved stones dating to the later Neolithic and found only in Scotland. Where decorated, the motifs used are similar to those in MEGALITHIC ART. Unornamented stone balls are, however, found in other areas of the British Isles in 4th and 3rd millennia BC contexts.

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