Item description for A View from the Highlands: Archaeological Studies in Honour of Charles Burney (Ancient Near Eastern Studies. Supplement, 12) (Ancient Near Eastern Studies Supplement Series) by Charles Burney, Antonio Sagona, Johan Van Benthem, Henrik Boensvang, Rasmus K. Rendsvig & Stephen Kessler...
Interest in the mountainous regions of the Syro-Mesopotamian plain came relatively late in the development of Near Eastern archaeology. In the psyche of scholars, who were attracted initially to the civilizations of the lowlands, the edge of the rugged highland terrain formed a disciplinary boundary as much as a geographical one. While an initial spurt of interest in the ancient 'mountain cultures' of Anatolia was expressed in the early 1900s, it was short-lived. Subsequently, archaeological explorations in the highest altitudes in Anatolia languished until the 1950s and the arrival of Charles Burney, who through a series of pioneering projects rediscovered the Kingdom of Urartu and prepared solid foundations for the future study of earlier periods. Always probing and speculative, Charles Burney has been a source of inspiration for archaeologists working in the highlands of east Anatolia, Trans-Caucasus and north-west Iran. Despite the difficulties that modern political boundaries presented in this geographically broken terrain, he has managed to offer engaging accounts of its pre-classical past without ever loosing sight of its human element. The essays gathered in this volume are a reflection of an archaeological community that wishes to pay tribute to a scholar whose panoramic vision of antiquity is rivaled only by the wide extent of his generosity, expressed in so many ways, to fellow workers in the field. Although this is a substantial volume of essays, written by pupils, friends and colleagues, the contributors are merely representatives of a much larger number who join them in honoring him.
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Studio: Peeters Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.75" Width: 8.5" Height: 11.75" Weight: 6.15 lbs.
Release Date Aug 30, 2004
Publisher David Brown
ISBN 9042913525 ISBN13 9789042913523
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More About Charles Burney, Antonio Sagona, Johan Van Benthem, Henrik Boensvang, Rasmus K. Rendsvig & Stephen Kessler
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Important critical Essays on Ancient near East history Sep 28, 2004
The essays gathered in this volume are reflections of an archaeological community that wishes to pay tribute to a scholar whose panoramic vision of the past is rivalled only by the wide extent of his generosity, expressed in so many ways, to fellow workers in the field. Always probing and speculative, Charles Burney has been a source of inspiration since the 1950s for archaeologists working in the highlands of east Anatolia, Trans-Caucasus and north-west Iran. Though this is a substantial volume of essays, written by pupils, friends and colleagues, the contributors are merely representatives of a much larger number who join us in honoring him. Charles managed, before the age of sophisticated gadgetry and the soul searching that accompanies much contemporary archaeology, to prepare solid foundations for future study and to point us all in the right direction. A breadth of vision accompanies his empirical approach in the field that is represented by pioneering surveys and excavations. Charles has always been adamant that sequences of sites or regions should not be merely parochial and his determination to set the highlands in the context of the wider Near East is reflected in the range of contributions in this volume. CHARLES BURNEY IN THE NEAR EASTERN HIGHLANDS Altan ÇILINGIROGLU
Antonio SAGONA Mountains have always played a part in popular imagination. Their ruggedness and altitude foster a sense of danger and uncertainty. Beyond their peaks is fable and mystery. Often mountains are seen as borders and peripheries, promoting the idea of marginalisation and `the other'. At the same time, mountains occupy a central position in the ideology of those communities who live in their shadow, and who accord them individuality and often sacredness. In the history of archaeology of the Near East, the exploration of the highlands has lagged behind that of the lowlands. Initial interest in the Near East's antiquity was fuelled by an eagerness to unearth the ruins of civilisations mentioned in the Graeco-Roman and biblical historical traditions. Accordingly, discoveries at sites situated along the Mediterranean coast and in the Mesopotamian alluvium soon made the headlines of the popular press and further focussed attention on the lowlands. The monumentality and spectacular discoveries in Egypt also enhanced this riverine and coastal perspective of the past. This historical circumstance also suited a rather negative view of `mountain culture' prevalent in the nineteenth and early twentieth century that had endured since the time of Classical writers.' These populist images tended to picture lowland communities as innovators and the regions as more conducive for settlement, whereas mountain people were depicted as fiercely independent though dismissed as somehow culturally backward, living in remote regions and under inhospitable conditions. In the Near East, the highlands lacked their own `civilisation' and their exploration was not seen as a priority. In Anatolia, a mountainous landmass, the move beyond the western coastal plains, initially to the central plateau, came relatively early, where the homeland of the Hittites attracted attention, most especially the extensive site of Bogazköy. But the most rugged highland regions to the east of the Euphrates, an archaeological wilderness, remained virtually unexplored. It was the material remains of the kingdom of Urartu that first caught the eye of early antiquarians. As early as the fifth century A. D., Moses of Khorene, in his narrative of Queen Semiramis, made reference to this ancient civilisation. But it was not until the French scholar, Friedrich Edward Schulz, carried out surveys of Van and its environs in 1827 that east Anatolia entered academic discussions, if only briefly. Although the untimely death of Schulz had interrupted investigations on Urartu, he should none the less be considered a pioneer on the subject. The transportation of many findings obtained from the area of Van to museums in Europe - British Museum, Louvre and Berlin - increased scholarly interest in Urartu that led to the commencement of the first academic archaeological excavations at the end of the nineteenth century.
Many scholars have contributed to the development of Urartian archaeology. Hormuzd Rassam's excavations at Van, together with C. E Lehman-Haupt and W. W. Belck's excavations, in 1898, at Toprakkale were among the first. Likewise I. A. Orbelli, in 1911 and 1912, and Kirsop and Silva Lake, in 1938-39, played significant roles in publicising Urartu and its achievements. Shortly after, in the 1940s, Kiliç Kökten rode through the east Anatolian regions on horseback, noting some of the prehistoric heritage. He was quickly followed by another Turkish archaeologist trained as an ethnographer, Hamit Kosay, who excavated at Karaz, near Ezrurum, focusing attention on a distinctive culture noted for its red and black burnished pottery, often boldly ornamented.
But this initial spurt of interest in the `mountain cultures' was short-lived and the archaeology of the highest altitudes in Anatolia once again languished until the 1950s and Charles A. Burney. Unaffected by the influential images of highland society and bristling with indefatigable energy, a young Charles tackled the Anatolian highlands, not on horseback, but on a bicycle, a feat that is justifiably considered one of those legendary accomplishments of Near Eastern archaeology. A scholar at the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara for 1954-55, Charles initiated a number of ground breaking reconnaissance, in swift succession, that soon changed our perception of ancient highlands. In 1954 and 1955 he surveyed northern Anatolia. The Annual Report of the British Institute for 1954 states: [Charles Burney] ...arrived in Turkey from Palestine in April 1954. He took part in the Beycesultan excavations after which he undertook a mound-survey covering an area approximating to the ancient province of Bithynia. Traveling mostly by bicycle, he made a thorough investigation, over a period of three months. The pottery notes and distribution maps prepared after his return to Ankara in the autumn should fill an important gap in our knowledge of northwestern Turkey.
And the Annual Report for the following year, 1955, continues: [Charles Burney] ...spent the months of August-October in completing the mound survey of the northern provinces which he had begun in the previous summer. Mr Burney, who again traveled by bicycle (our emphasis), this year covered an area approximately corresponding to the ancient province of Pontus ...4
Charles did indeed fill an important gap in the archaeology of northern Anatolia, but his attention would soon focus on the eastern highlands. There he recorded the key sites in the provinces of Sivas, Malatya, Adiyaman, Elazig, Mus, Bitlis, Van and Agri. (Map), paying particular attention to large mounds and Urartian sites. In four reports that remain fundamental to this day, Charles not only provided the first detailed and coherent account of the later prehistory of eastern Anatolia, he also published, with the assistance of G. R. J. Lawson, the first collection of plans and drawings of Urartian fortresses and towns located around Lake Van. This was the first systematic field research focused on Urartu. Years later, one of us (A. Ç.) with access to much improved equipment and facilities than were available to Charles, visited most of the castles around Van. It soon became clear that Charles had already visited all of them, except one, Ayanis. Though he later played down the impact of these surveys - "the [survey] was a preliminary reconnaissance without pretence of being definitive" - he had in fact opened up the archaeology of eastern Anatolia and had `empowered' the ancient highlanders by show casing their cultural achievements. Moreover, Charles' surveys and early publications on Urartu played a fundamental role in leading many scholars to work on Urartian history and art, and to conduct excavations in the area.
After these surveys, Charles, now based at the University of Manchester, turned his hand to excavation and investigated the ancient mound of Yanik Tepe, near Tabriz, in north-west Iran, the first of four sites he has excavated. Located on the western side of Lake Urmia, Yanik Tepe was destined to complement the earlier work by T. Burton Brown at Geoy Tepe, on the opposite side of the lake, and the large-scale project that had begun at Hasanlu, to the south, in the Solduz Plain. Funded on a shoe-string bud-get and with the assistance of a small staff, Charles managed, over three seasons of fieldwork (1960-62), to open up large horizontal exposures, providing what is still one of the clearest pictures of successive Early Trans-Caucasian settlements.? The impact of his discoveries was significant and geographically far reaching, extending to Palestine, where archaeologists were eager to better understand the intrusive Khirbet Kerak culture. Not only did Charles provide a coherent account of life in the north-west Iranian highlands during the third millennium B. C., he also brought into sharper focus the finds at related sites in Trans-Caucasus and beyond. The task of weaving together the details of the Yanik excavations was later assigned to Geoffrey Summers, one of Charles' doctoral students. After this stint in Iran, Charles returned to Anatolia, to the heartland of Urartu. His two articles in Anatolian Studies that had earlier reported the results of his Urartian findings, must have had an impact on the commencement of excavations at Altintepe in 1959, and, subsequently, at Çavu§tepe, Kefkalesi and Aznavurtepe, which started in 1961 and continued for a long time. When Urartu was not a favourite subject among scholars either in Turkey or abroad, Charles A. Burney and Seton Lloyd together initiated the 1965 Kayalidere excavations. They did so while the campaigns carried out by Turkish archaeologists were in progress. Kayalidere represented the first and only systematic excavations carried out by a foreign team at an Urartian site, and many students who were trained in these excavations have become experts on Urartu. Unfortunately, it was not possible to continue with the excavations in the following year. Various people have given different reasons for the cessation of the Kayandere excavations. Whatever the causes, it is an undeniable fact that many rich archeological findings were discovered in a season of excavations and published with commendable speed a year later in Anatolian Studies for academic consideration. The Kayalidere publication is not merely a preliminary report; it contains much basic information on Urartian art, and is still today used as a primary source in research.
After Kayandere, Charles returned to Iran, this time ready to address the second millennium B. C. of the Urmia region. In 1968 he began investigations at the large mound of Haftavan Tepe, near the town of Shahpur, which revealed a polychrome pottery complex later termed `Urmia Ware' by Michael Edwards, another of Charles' doctoral students. These excavations once again not only demonstrated his research versatility, but also his commitment to rapid publication of preliminary results. Charles Burney's contribution to the archaeology of the Near East has not just been empirical, in the form of fieldwork, but also conceptual. His innate ability to synthesise vast amounts of data into a lucidly written and coherent narrative about past peoples and their accomplishments is attested in The Peoples of the Hills: Ancient Ararat and Caucasus, which he co-authored with David Lang." Charles' contribution, the first five chapters, is a sweeping view of life in the mountains from the Caspian Sea to the Euphrates and stretching in time from the earliest settlements to the fall of Urartu. It was the first ever account in English of the archaeology of this region and remains a milestone for its scope and confidence. In this volume, Charles coined the now widely used term `Early Trans-Caucasian culture' and proposed a new developmental sequence for the far-flung and long enduring complex that he had encountered some 15 years earlier in the course of his surveys of eastern Anatolia. The fifth chapter of The Peoples of the Hills is an extensive study of Urartian history since the establishment of the Kingdom and various problems related to different cultures situated around the Urartian heartland. New archaeological and epigraphic findings obtained from excavations since 1975 have required no fundamental changes in the information and suggestions he offered in his book. This chap-ter detailed and insightful as it is, reflects without a shadow of a doubt Charles' deep knowledge of Urartu, and the historical role that the Urartian Kingdom played in the region. Not long after The Peoples of the Hills came From Village to Empire: An Introduction to Near Eastern Archaeology that once again demonstrated Charles' fearlessness in tack-ling the big picture and his fostering of a `mountain perspective' by laying stress "...on the less familiar at the expense of those areas better known ....".12 In more recent times, Charles has been preoccupied with identity and ethnicity, with Hurrians and Indo-Europeans, grappling with some of the thorniest issues in Near Eastern archaeology. Among his quests these days is to determine how far material culture can be reconciled, if at all, with language, especially in pre-literate periods. Charles is not one to sits on his laurels. His studies on Urartu continue to flow, sharing his experience with other scholars through the many articles he has published and papers he has presented. Charles' participation in the third and fifth Iron Ages Symposium that we organized in Van, the capital of the Urartian Kingdom, in 1990 and 2001 pleased all the participants. His colleagues and all his students working on Urartu were very much impressed by the company of a scholar who started a new era with his systematic surveys in field studies. Yet despite his academic stature, Charles never hesitates to share humbly his deep knowledge with other scholars and students. For one of us (A. Ç.), fortunate to be his student, it is possible to read such great modesty in words he uttered to those surrounding him in Manchester: "What Altan has forgotten about Urartu is more than what I know about it".
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