Seeds and wild grasses were processed with round or oval grinders (manos) of hard quartzitic sandstone. These were rubbed against a larger mill stone to make flour. A depression in the lower stone's surface prevented spillage. The abundance of grinding stones shows that plant food made up a significant part of the diet at this time. From Nabta Playa... [continue reading]
From early 3rh century BCE until the 4th century CE the majority of Meroitic rulers were buried beneath pyramids close to the city of Meroe. On several occasions the kingdom was ruled by queen whose title was Kandake. A distorted reference to this practice appears in Classical accounts, which report that the "Ethiopians" were always ruled by women... [continue reading]
This bronze head comes from a larger than life size statue. The statue probably stood in a public space in Roman London, perhaps in the forum. It may have been put up to commemorate Hadrian's visit to Britain in 122 CE, during which he ordered the construction of a wall to defend the north of the province. Hadrian (reigned 117-138 CE) traveled widely... [continue reading]
This head, found in 1907 CE, formed part of a large life-size bronze statue of an emperor, probably Claudius (reigned 41-54 CE), who led the invasion of Britain in 43 CE, or Nero (reigned 54-68 CE). Such portraits were set up in public and official spaces, and the head may have come from a statue in the Roman town (Colonia) at Colchester. 1st century... [continue reading]
This small circular relief shows Hercules wrestling Anteus. This fragment was part of a silver vessel. Some of these fragments of highly decorated silver vessels, perhaps from a temple treasure, were found in 1747 CE. All the decoration is purely Roman and depicts religious and mythological subjects. 2nd to 3rd centuries CE. From Capheaton, Northumberland, UK. (The British Museum, London).
This handle features a bust of Juno, below which is seated figure of Mercury, and in the lower register, Bucchus and Ariadne. This fragment was part of a silver vessel. Some of these fragments of highly decorated silver vessels, perhaps from a temple treasure, were found in 1747 CE. All the decoration is purely Roman and depicts religious and mythological... [continue reading]
This pyxis once had a lockable lid and perhaps used to hold sacramental bread. Its carvings refer to Biblical tale of Daniel in the lions' den. Byzantine, 5th or early 6th century CE. From modern-day Egypt or Syria. (The British Museum, London).
A figure of young Christ stands full-face up to waist in water. To the left, St. John, the Baptist, stands and leans forward upon a rock. One of his hands rests upon Christ's head. At the upper part of the panel, the hand of God appears, with rays of light. A dove, issuing from the God's hand, holds a shallow bowl in its beak. An angel appears... [continue reading]
The Virgin, in the center, sits and holds the child Christ in her lap. To the left behind her right should, an angel carries a cross-staff. The 3 Magi (dressed in trousers, chlamyses and Phrygian caps) present their offerings with veiled hands. The lower smaller register depicts the Nativity. The Virgin lies on a mattress at the left left. A child... [continue reading]
This is one of the largest surviving ivories from the Byzantine Empire. It comes from a hinged 2-leaf diptych, possibly used as a writing table. It shows an archangle holding an orb and scepter. The style of his drapery is classical, but the Christian subject matter is Byzantine. The ivory extraordinary size and quality suggest that it was an imperial... [continue reading]