The naval battle representation on the walls of Ramesses III’s ‘mansion of a million years’ at Medinet Habu (ca. 1175 BCE) stands as one of the earliest, and certainly most detailed, depictions of ship–to–ship combat. It also depicts the only known vessels of Helladic galley type to be depicted with stem–and–stern avian decoration. As such, they have been called upon as evidence for the inclusion of Central Europeans (‘Urnfielders’) in the Sea Peoples coalition(s), and – more recursively – to bolster the view that the highly schematic designs on the stemposts of Helladic galleys were avian in nature. This paper addresses these conclusions and evaluates the evidence that has been presented for an ‘Urnfield’ connection to the Sea Peoples’ ships, along with some notes on the ostensibly avian nature of Helladic galleys’ finial decorations.
In Naval Warfare and Maritime Conflict in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Mediterranean, Jeffrey P. Emanuel examines the evidence for maritime violence in the Mediterranean region during both the Late Bronze Age and the tumultuous transition to the Early Iron Age in the years surrounding the turn of the 12th century BCE.
There has traditionally been little differentiation between the methods of armed conflict engaged in during the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages, on both the coasts and the open seas, while polities have been alternately characterized as legitimate martial actors and as state sponsors of piracy. By utilizing material, documentary, and iconographic evidence and delineating between the many forms of armed conflict, Emanuel provides an up-to-date assessment not only of the nature and frequency of warfare, raiding, piracy, and other forms of maritime conflict in the Late Bronze Age and Late Bronze-Early Iron Age transition, but also of the extent to which modern views about this activity remain the product of inference and speculation.
The Late Bronze Age ended with a bang in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean: palaces and empires collapsed, from Greece to Egypt; coastal territories were beset by pirates and marauders; migratory peoples were on the move across land and sea; and geopolitical lines were permanently redrawn – conditions reflected, in many ways, by the world portrayed in Homer’s Odyssey. The notorious ‘Sea Peoples,’ mysterious groups of warriors who were credited by the pharaoh Ramesses III with destroying empires across the Near East at this time, fit into this puzzle in some way, although their exact role continues to be hotly debated. In the Odyssey’s various subplots, Odysseus himself carries out activities that are that highly reminiscent of the Sea Peoples, as he engages in raids and skirmishes while circuitously making his way back from Troy. Though it is presented as a falsehood within Homer’s master narrative, one such subplot, the “Second Cretan Lie” (Odyssey xiv 191–359) is striking in its similarity to the experience of one specific Sea Peoples group, whom Egyptian pharaohs referred to as the ‘Sherden of the Sea’, and whose seaborne attacks they claimed that “none could withstand.”
This book marshals documentary, pictorial, and material evidence to examine Odysseus’ Second Cretan Lie in the context of the Late Bronze–Iron Age transition, with particular emphasis on changes in the iconography of warriors and warfare, social and economic upheaval, and remarkable innovation in maritime technology and tactics. Particular focus is given the hero’s description of his frequent raiding activities, including an ill–fated attempt on the Nile Delta, and on his description of seven subsequent years spent in the land of the pharaohs, during which he claims to have gathered great wealth. Setting the evidence for the Sherden of the Sea against this Homeric narrative demonstrates not only that Odysseus’ Second Cretan Lie fits into the temporal framework of the Late Bronze–Early Iron Age transition, but that there were historical people who actually lived that which Odysseus falsely claims as his own experience.
During the 2013-14 academic year, Harvard University piloted the use of MOOCs as tools for blended learning in select undergraduate and graduate residential and online courses. One of these courses, The Ancient Greek Hero, combined for–credit (Harvard College and Harvard Extension School) and open online (HarvardX) groups into a single online unit, marking the first time the same instance of a MOOC was used simultaneously by both tuition–paying, credit–seeking students and non–paying, non–credit students enrolled exclusively online. In this article, we analyze and compare the online behavior of students and participants in the three groups that simultaneously participated in The Ancient Greek Hero via the edX platform. We find that, in similar fashion to a traditional learning setting, students enrolled in all three versions of the course engaged the online content in a transactional way, spending their time and effort on activities and exercises in ways that would optimize their desired outcomes. While user behavior was diverse, HarvardX participant engagement tended to be either very deep or virtually nonexistent, while College and Extension School students displayed relatively homogenous patterns of participation, viewing most of the content but interacting mostly with that which affected their overall course grades. Ultimately, we conclude that educators who intend to utilize MOOC content in an effort to apply blended learning techniques to their classrooms should carefully consider how best to incorporate each online element into their overall pedagogical strategy, including how to incentivize interaction with those elements. Further, for MOOCs to have maximum impact, they must address multiple learner motivations and provide participants with multiple modes of interaction with the content and with their peers.
One of the most noteworthy, and most discussed, groups of material finds from Beth-Shean comes from the site’s Northern Cemetery, where the remains of at least 50 clay anthropoid coffins were uncovered in eleven tombs dating mainly to the 13th and 12th centuries BC. Five of these in particular, from Tombs 66 and 90, are unlike anything known from the corpus of anthropoid coffins in Canaan or the greater Egyptian world.
While the view of these coffins as representations of Sea Peoples has fallen out of favour in recent years, this paper argues that this specific coffin group—and site—should be separated from the larger phenomenon of anthropoid coffin burials in Canaan as well as in Egypt and Nubia, and that this iconographic and chronological connection adds to the evidence for a presence of individuals connected to the Sea Peoples’ tradition in the Egyptian garrison at Beth-Shean in the 12th century BC.
Primary sources from the end of the Bronze Age have long been read as suggesting a time of chaotic transition, particularly with regard to threats from the sea that the established powers had no means of combatting. While the scale and severity of seaborne attacks seems to have increased in the late 13th century, these were not in themselves new phenomena, as a state of maritime threat seems to have been a constant for coastal polities and mariners in the Late Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean. However, a combination of internal and external factors in the late 13th and early 12th centuries combined to make these attacks more effective than they had been in the past, and polities more vulnerable to them. These included the rapid spread of improvements in maritime technology, particularly from the Aegean and the Levant, via high–intensity ‘zones of transference,’ as well as an increase in the scale of ship–based combat operations, due in part to the displacement of people during the Late Bronze Age collapse. This paper addresses this in two parts, beginning with the ‘background’ evidence for a constant state of maritime threat in the centuries leading up to the end of the Bronze Age, and concluding with the ‘foreground’ evidence for zones of transference and the transmission of groundbreaking elements of naval technology in the years surrounding the Late Bronze–Early Iron Age transition.
Emerging technologies and shared standards have opened up new avenues for the curation and presentation of data in archives and published research. Among their many benefits, these developments have made collections across archives more accessible, and have vastly improved the visual experience for users. This paper focuses on the next step in applying technical development and standards to digital collections: improving discoverability and providing a visual product that is simultaneously informative and experiential. The cases presented here focus on new approaches in these areas, with an emphasis on the utilization of visual search and discovery across a research archive and the integration of data and image into an augmented reality (AR) experience, with discussion of how these approaches can improve the usability of visual material while broadening the user’s experience from the purely visual into the realm of the immersive.
Despite the late date and dubious veracity of the Deuteronomistic history, and despite the Bible’s status as the only Bronze or Iron Age text which indisputably refers to Dagon in a southern Canaanite geographical context, scholars have traditionally accepted 1 Samuel 5:1–8’s portrayal of Philistine cult in the Iron Age I as being centered on this deity and his temple at Ashdod. This study marshals archaeological and historical evidence to assess the level of support for the presence of Dagon in Iron I Philistia, and for a temple at Ashdod as described in the biblical account. Also considered, through comparison with the materially analogous situation in the Bronze Age Aegean, is the critical role that a textual complement to physical evidence (or, in the case of the Philistines, the lack thereof) plays in cultic analysis and pantheonic reconstruction.