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DEFINITION: An island in the Nile just above Aswan, Egypt, which was the traditional southern boundary between Egypt and Nubia during the Old and Middle Kingdoms. It had famous granite quarries whose stone was used extensively throughout ancient Egypt. Two temples recorded by the archaeologists of Napoleon's expedition have since disappeared. Remains show continual occupation from the Archaic period to the Greco-Roman period.
chryselephantine statue
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A type of figurine sculpture made of ivory and gold. The flesh was of ivory and the drapery of gold. These were produced in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Crete, and in Greece from the 6th century BC. They were often colossal cult figures placed in the interiors of major temples, such as that of Minerva by Pheidias, which stood in the Acropolis at Athens and was 40 ft high, and that of Zeus, 45 ft high, also by Pheidias, in the temple of Olympia.
DEFINITION: Either of two species of the family Elephantidae, characterized by their large size, huge head, columnar legs, and large ears. The Indian elephant was regularly employed for show and war as early as the Bronze Age in China. Wild herds survived in the Near East into the 1st millennium BC, when they were hunted to extinction for their ivory, and in North Africa, where they supplied Hannibal with his war elephants. Forms now extinct, especially the mammoth, were an important source of food in the Palaeolithic period, and are portrayed in cave art. Living elephants are now confined to Africa. The African elephant formerly occupied a far larger area, as is attested by skeletal evidence and cave paintings in North Africa. The reduction in its range is probably due to the combined effects of climatic change, human hunting, and cattle-grazing. The straight-tusked elephant, Elephas antiquus, apparently adapted to the open deciduous woodlands of interglacials in Europe, but became extinct at the end of the Ipswichian interglacial. Dwarf forms of the straight-tusked elephant evolved on islands of the Mediterranean.

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