Trade and Trophy: Near Eastern Imports in the Sarmatian Culture

By: Oleksandr Symonenko, Institute of Archaeology, Kyiv, Glassman Holland Research Fellow

The main purpose of my project was the study of Near Eastern artifacts from Sarmatian graves. The Sarmatians were Iranian-speaking nomads who inhabited the territory stretching from the Altai Mountains up to the Danube from the 3rd – 4th centuries CE. The Near Eastern artifacts objects came to the Sarmatians in two main ways, as military trophies and as traded merchandise.

Spoils of war included Montefortino- and Pilos-type helmets and fragments of body armor found at Sarmatian sites. The helmets came to the Sarmatians during the Mithridates’ wars against Rome between 88 – 63 BCE. They were used by the Galatian soldiers of Mithridates’ army and were passed on from them to the Sarmatians. The Roman scale armors of the lorica plumata type, found in Sarmatian graves, were most probably seized by the Sarmatians during the war of 47 BCE in Asia Minor. Fragments of Parthian type armor were found in Sarmatian kurgans in the second half of the 1st  – early 2nd centuries CE. Such trophies fell into Sarmatian hands during their battles with the Parthians in 72 CE. Continue reading

Chinese and Western Cultural Exchange in Archaeology: A Focus on Glassware

Geng_ShuoBy: Shuo Geng, Peking University, China, Noble Group Fellow

My project at the Albright Institute during the academic year, 2011-2012 was entitled “Chinese and Western Cultural Exchange in Archaeology:Focusing on Western Glassware Found in China from the First Century B.C. to the Sixth Century A.D.”  It was during this period that China initiated wide-ranging cultural contacts with the western world, resulting in large numbers of western artifacts being found in China at sites and in tombs, such as gold, silver, and glass ware, as well as pottery, brass objects, textiles, seals, and coins, etc. with glassware being one of the most important of these finds. Previous research on glass-ware has achieved significant results. Studies by Chinese scholars, however, have generally lacked in-depth research on the primary data of Western ancient glassware. Continue reading

Nomad Archaeology in the Near East

Cheng_JiafenBy: Jiafen Cheng, Jilin University, China, Noble Group Fellow

 My project involved using Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis with ethno-archaeological materials in researching the nomads in the Negev region in Israel with the aim of explaining the patterns of ancient pastoral and nomadic settlement in late antiquity. I chose two small areas in this region - Makhtesh Ramon and Har Karkom – as a case study.

With the introduction of the Negev Emergency Survey, a series of systematic field surveys of the entire Negev had been undertaken since 1978. Continue reading