Science

Balance Weights from Tell Mardikh/Ebla and the Weighing Systems in the Levant during the Middle Bronze Age

Description
Balance Weights from Tell Mardikh/Ebla and the Weighing Systems in the Levant during the Middle Bronze Age
Categories
Published
of 18
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
Share
Transcript
  ISTITUTOITALIANODINUMISMATICA WBIGHTSINCONTEXT BRONZEAGEWEIGHINGSYSTEMSOFEASTERNMEDITERRANEAN CHRONOLOGY,TYPOLOGY,MATERIALANDARCHAEOLOGICALCONTEXTS .~ PROCEEDINGSOFTHEINTERNATIONALCOLLOQUIUM Rome 22nci_24th November2004 (ESTRATTO) ROMA2<f6  1. Introduction1 ThestudyofancientNearEasternmetrologyisaspecificfieldofresearchthatoffersthepossibilitytoconnectinformationfromadministrativetextswithobjectsthatwereusedinpre-monetaryeconomyeitherforeverydayexchangeoperationsorfor"international"commerciaItransactions.TheimportanceofanapproachthattakesintoconsiderationmetrologicalstandardswithalIthetechnicalmattersconcerned,aswelIasthearchaeologicalcontextofweightsandtherelationshipsbetweenspecimensandotherbroadfunctionalclassesofmaterials,mustbeconsideredaprimarygoalforacomprehensiveevaluationofthisclassofmaterials,asstressedintheintroductiontothiscolloquium.ThisisparticularlyevidentforananalysisoftheEblaicweightsdatingfromtheEB IVA, almostalIdiscoveredinsidetheRoyalPalaceG,inwelIstratifiedandundisturbedlayersofthepalacedestruction/butalsofortheMBcorpus,whichalIowsadistributiveandcomparativestudyaJ.'D,0ngdifferentarchitecturalcontexts,thankstotheextensiveexcavationsoftheOldSyrian town.3 1 § I byE.Ascaloneand L. Peyronel;§§ III,V byE.Ascalone;§§ II,IV by L. Peyronel. 2 SeeASCALONE,PEYRONELinthisvolumeandASCALONE,PEYRONELinpressa. 3 ForapreliminaryevaluationofthecontextsseeASCALONE,PEYRONEL2000a;SomeMBweightsdiscoveredbefore1986arepublishedinARCHI1987;thecompletecorpusoftheweightsiscurrentlyinpressinavolumeofthefinalrepartaftheEblaExpeditian:ASCALONE,PEYRONELinpressb. 127  ENRICOASCALONE-LUCAPEYRONEL TheMiddleBronzebalance-weightsfromTellMardikharesofarmorethan200:thesmallerspecimensareusuallycarefullymanufacturedinhardstoneswithahighpercentageofironelements,suchashematiteorpyrite,withasmoothedandpolishedsurface,whereas~biggerexamplesareinlimestone,orinbasalt.Themostcommonmorphologyistheovoidalorbarrd-weight,usuallycalledsphendonoidweight,eitherwithroundedandthinnerends,eitherwithcutends;theMiddleBronzespecimensshowusuallyflattenedbases,whereastheEarlySyrianspecimenshavearoundbase:thissituationprobablyreflectsa,changeintheweighingprocedurescfuringtheMiddleBronzeage,whentheweightsweredirectlyputonthebalancepans.Spherical,hemisphericalanddoméjq-shapedweightsarealsoattestedandseveralunworkedpebbleswereprobablyusedinthemetrologicaltransactions,accordingtotheirabsoluteweights,althoughwemustb.everycarefultoincludetheminthereconstructionoftheweighingsyst~'s.Regardingterminologyandstandardvalues,theEblaicMBweightscanberelatedtofourdifferentmetrologicalsystems:the"Syrian"systemwithashekelof c. 7,8g;thecoastalSyro-Palestinianor"Egyptian"systemwithashekelof c. 9,4g;the"Anatolian"systemwithashekelof c. 11,7g;theMesopotamiansystemwithashekelof c. 8,4g,widelyknowninBabyloniaandAssyriafromtheEarlyDynasticperiodoThefirstthreeshekelswerelinkedtoacommonminaof c. 470'~,respectivelywith60,50and40units,whereastheMesopotamiansexagesimalsystemwaslinkedtoaminaof c. 504g,mentionedinthecuneiformtextsandinseveralinscribedweightsfromthesouthernalluvium,4 4 Fortheminaof470ganditsdivisionsseetheseminaIworksofN.Parise(PARISE1970-1971;1981;1984);themorecompletediscussionontheMesopotamiansystemisstilirepresentedbyPOWELL1978,integratedby1989-1990.ForanupdatedgeneraIpresentationoftheweightsystemsintheNearEastcf.alsoASCALONE,PEYRONEL2003,inpart.pp.348-358. 128 BALANCEWEIGHTSFROMTELLMARDIKH-EBLADURINGTHEMIDDLEBRONZEAGE Mostproblematicistheevaluationofsomeweightswithmassesclusteredaround5,5-5,8gor10-10,5g,actuallyattestedinthecorpusofEblabyafewspecimens.However,mostofthesearehematitepartiallyworkedcylinders,whichcanbealsoconsideredascylindersealsnotyetengraved.VeryfewOldSyrianspecimens,mostofthemnotconformingtostandardmorphologiesand/ormaterials,canberelatedtoaunitof65-68gortothelOfractional-multipleof6,6g,possiblylinkedtotheAegeansystemandinterrelatedwiththeproblemofwool-measures.5Finally,apparentlynoMBweightscanbeusedascluesfortheintroductionofsome"hybrid"systems:minaof420 = shekelof8,4reckonedat50unitsorminaof564 = shekelof9,4reckonedat60units,identifiedbyC.ZaccagniniatKultepeduringtheOldAssyrianperiodandatZincirli,TellShiukFawqani,Karkemish,andinAssyriaduringthe1stMill.BC,butpossiblyalreadyatEbladuringtheEarlyBronzeAge period.6 MorethanonehundredMiddleBronzeweights (c. 2000-1600 BC)aredirectlyrelatedtoarchitecturalcomplexes,foundonthefloorlevelintheirprimaryfunctionalcontextorinthedestructionlayersoverthem.ThearticulatedtownplanningofOldSyrianEbla (Fig.1), well-knownfromtheextensiveexcavationsandforthelackingofsubstantialarchaeologicalremainsoflaterperiodsintheLowertown,makesthecontextualapproachtothismaterialveryinteresting.Weightscomefrompublicpalatinebuildings,militarycomplexes,privateresidencesorhouses,andfromoneofthetemples,testifyingfortheiruseinseveralareasofthecityandfordifferentactivities.Inthispaperwewillbrieflydiscusstheevidencefromeachcategoryofbuildings,consideringtheweightslinkedtoabroadandgeneraIweighing"function"butalsotothespecificcontextinwhichtheywerefound.Wewillstartwiththematerialfromthefortificationsandfromtheprivatehousesafterwhichwewillpresenttheevidencefromthepublicstructures. 5 OntheAegeansystemsseeALBERTI1999. 6 Ontheexistenceof"mixed"systemsseeZACCAGNINI1999-2001;2000;PARISE2001-2003. 129  ENRICOASCALONELUCAPEYRONEL II. De/ensivebuildings LargesectorsespeciallyoftheWestern,NorthernandEasternrampartwereinvestigatedfrom 1995tq 2000inarenewedprojectofexcavationsofthefortificationsystem,bringingtolightseveralfortsand towers.7 Fourweightswere'foundduringtheSixtiesinthestructuresneartheDamascusGate,and12weightsareassociatedtotheMBNorthern Fort:8 theyarerelatedtotheshekelof7,8and9,4withoutevidenceoftheMesopotamiansystem.HerewewillpresentinsomedetailtheevidencefromtheWesternFort (Fig. 2),completelyexcavatedduringtne1995-1998seasons.9Thisisanarticulatedfortifiedcomplex,Iocatedonthetopandontheinnerslopeofthewesterndefensiverampart,withseverala~~hitecturalunitsarrangedaroundanuppercourtyardandplacedontwodifferentIevelsconnectedbystaircasesandaramp.lOTheNorth-westernunitisamassiverectanguIar'Structure,theheartofthedefensivecomplex:itiscomposedofsixnoncommunicatingroomsandaIargevestibuleprovidedwithastaircasewhichIedtoapresumedsecondfloor.Outof23weights (Tabs. l,9), II attestingtheMesopotamiansystemtogetherwiththewesternsystem,20werefoundinthenorthernandeasternunits-tenscatteredinsomeroomsoftheeasternwingsflankingtherampandnineinoneroomofthefortress.Thisisquiteanunusualroom,12asitistheonlycommunicatingwiththevestibuleandtheonlyonewithaIargeamountofpotteryandobjects insituo Itmusthave 7 MATTHIAE1998:572-588;2000a:580-600;2000b:1032-1035;2001;2002:547-558.' 8 ForadescriptionoftheEblaicurbangatesseeMATTHIAE1989:"141-147;2001:34-40;ontheNorthernFortseeMATTHIAE2001:46-48;2002:547-552. 9 PEYRONEL2000a;inpressa;MATTHIAE2001:44-46,fig.8. lO ThelastarchitecturalphaseisrelatedtoathickdestructionlevelcertainlytobeascribedtothefinalsackofthetownbytheHittites,withalargeamountofmaterials insitu overthefloors:forthestratigraphicsequenceofAreaVseePEYRONEL2000a:1359-1360.Forpreliminarydescriptionofpotteryandsmallfindscf.PEYRONEL2000a;inpressa;PEYRONEL,SPREAFICOinpress;forsomeartifactsf6undinFort,whichtestifyforinternationalexchangeswiththeEasternregions,seeASCALONE2003:184;inpressa:tab.4andinpressb.' 11 Cf.alsoASCALONE,PEYRONEL2000a:nos.18,22-27,29,31-34,38. 12 FortheroomassemblageseePEYRONEL2000a:1359-1364. 130 BALANCEWEIGHTSFROMTELLMARDIKH-EBLADURINGTHEMIDDLEBRONZEAGE beenunderthecontrolofsomeofficial,asindicatedbythepresenceoftwodoor-sealingswithcylindersealsimpressionsandoneimpres.sedsealingofaperishabIe container.13 TheroomassembIa~ewas~a1~lyconstitutedbyfunctionallydifferentiatedgroupsofobJects:gnndmgtoolsrelatedtoasmallworkingareaforfoodpreparation;vesselsofmedium-smallsizestoredalongthenorthernwall;weights,smallbronzechiselswhetstonesandothertoolsrelatedtospecificcraftsactivities.Thr~eweightswerefoundtogethernearthreeboneinIayswithincisedgeometricdecorations,whichmusthavebeenpartofawoodencasecontainingtheweights.14Unfortunatelytwoofthem(TM.96.V209,TM.96.V210)arebrokenandcanbeonlytentativelyrelatedtoasystem;thethirdone(TM.96.V208)isanirregul~rspheroidinbrecciaweighing90,2g,possiblytenshekels.of9,?2..ItlS,finally,interestingtopointoutthepresenceoftwowe1ghtsmS1deasmallsquareroomIocatedatthesouth-easterncornerofth.eeast~rnunitsouthoftheramp.ThisroomhasnoentranceandwasfilledwlthanashIayerwithcrushedpotteryandsmallvaluabIeobjects;Attheoppositenorth-easternsideoftherampanotherroomischaracterizedbyanicheonthewesternwallwitharoundbasaltstoneatthebottomandcouldbeconsideredasashrineofthefort.15Ifthisisthecasewecansuggestthattheoppositeroomisrelatedwiththecha~elasapl~cewhereofferingsandremainsofsomeritualactsinvolvmgburnmgactivitieswerekeptin.Thepresencehereofahematitemicro-wei~ht(TM.98.V324)of0,82g,a10fractional-multipleofaMesopotam1anshekelof8,2gissurelyadueforasymbolicvalueofthisclassofobject. II!. TheprivatehousesinAreaBEast AIargeareaofprivatehouses (Fig. 3)wasidentif~ed~tthebeginningofthearchaeologicalexcavationsatTellMard1khmthe 13 OntheglypticoftheWesternFortseePEYRONELinpressa. 14 ASCALONE,PEYRONEL2000a:nos.18,22,31,figs.8-9. 15 PEYRONELinpressa:figs.5-6. 131  ENRICOASCALONE-LUCAPEYRONEL south-westernlowertown,nearthefootoftheacropolisfortification.Since2001anewarticulatedprojectofarchaeologicalinvestigationsrestartedinthisarea,inordertoinvestigateextensivelyOldSyriandomesticarchitecture.16Thehouseswerelocatedinb~tweentheSanctuaryB2totheWestandtheSouthernPalacetotheEast,dividedintothreeblocksseparatedbytwoparallelstreetsrunningEasttoWest,whiehintersectathirdstreetflankingtheEasternwalIofSanctuaryB2.AlIofthemwerebuiltatthesamelevel,althoughsomefloorslieatdifferentheightsduetosU,ccessivere-plastering.,'GeneralIyspeakingthedwelIingscanbedatedtoMBIIandtheyshowseveralarchitecturalphases,structuralchangesandfloorrepl~Fements.TheunitsdonotfolIowstandardplans,albeittheyusualIyhaveacentraIrectangularJ;oom,inwhichseveralactivitieswereperformed,withroomsaround iL!? Thehouseen~ranceisavestibulefromwhichitwaspossibletoreachtheroofthro~g'hastaircase,andtheunderstairswereusedforstorage,Tannur,fireplacesandovensrepresentthestandardinstallationsdevotedtofoodpreparationandheating,andtheusualpotteryassemblageincludesseveralcookingpots,tablewareandoneortwolargestoringjarsrelatedtoeach dwel1ing.18 Workingareasforfoodpreparationareindicatedbyanumberofgrindingfacilities,usualIyconcentratedinthecentraI rooms.19 Valuableobjectsarefoundinformofpersonalornaments,suchasbronzepins,earrings,bracelets,beadsinsemipreciousstones,withawidespreaddistributioninsidethehouses.CommerciaIandhandicraftactivitiesaresuggestedbythepresenceofbronzeimplementsandbybalanceweightsinhardstonesorhematite.AlthoughwehavefoundfromonetomaximJmfourweightsineachdwelIingforatotalof15specimens-inotherwordswehavenotunti!nowevidenceforbalancesets-theysurelytestifyforsomekindofeconomietransactionsperformedbytheir 16 PEYRONEL inpressb. l; ForageneraIdiscussiononthetypologyofprivatehousesatEbiasee MATTHIAE 1997. 18 PEYRONEL,SPREAFICO inpress, 19 ASCALONE etal, inpresso 132 BALANCEWEIGHTSFROMTELLMARDIKH-EBLADURINGTHEMIDDLEBRONZEAGE owners (Tabs. 2,9).Theycanberelatedtothreedifferentmetrologicalsystems:theSyrian,thecoastalSyro-Palestinian/Egyptiansystem,andtheMesopotamiansystem.Wewouldliketostressthepresenceofone-shekelweightsof9,5g(TM.69.B.226)and7,9g(TM.70.B.414),anda4fractional-multipleofashekelof8,4g(TM.70.B.452,TM.02.B.798).GeneraIarchitecturalfeatures,someofthematerialsandtheirlocationinthelowertownbetweentwopublicbui!dingsseemtoindicatethatthesehousesbelongedtotheupperclassofthesocialhierarchyofthetown.ThisinterpretationisstrengthenedbythediscoveryofasmallcuneiformtabletwithitsenvelopewhichwaskeptinsideaglobularbowpoAccordingtoapreliminaryreadingbyJ-M.Durand,itisaprivatecontractdealingwithlandandhousepropertieswhiehmentionedaquantityofsi!verweighed"accordingtotheweightofEbla";itwassealedwithacylindersealrelatedtolateOldBabylonianstyle,showingakingcarryingananimaIinfrontofagodwiththering-and-staffandasecondarycontestscene. IV PalaeesandResidenees TheOldSyrianRoyalPalace,builtonthetopoftheAcropolis,isonlypartialIyexcavatedandextensivesuperimpositionoflaterperiodshaspreventedafullarchaeologiealinvestigationofthebui!ding.Onlytheperipheralnorthernwingwasbroughttolightanditisprobablypartoftheresidentialandservice quarters.21 Notwithstandingthelimitednumberofartifactsrecordedinrelationtofloorsordestructionlayers,fiveweightswerefoundincertainstratigraphicalcontextdatingtoMBIIandcanbesurelyrelatedtofloorlevel (Tab. 3).Themostinterestingspecimensareabeautifulhematiteweight(TM.69.E.772),triangularshapedwithroundendsandflattenedbase,correspondingtooneshekel,albeititsmassof8gcouldberelatedeithertotheSyrianortotheMesopotamiansystem,andasphendonoidof11,9g 20 PEYRONEL inpressb:fig.9, 21 MATTHIAE 1985:tavv. 63-64; 1989: 160-162, fig. 36.133
Search
Similar documents
View more...
Tags
Related Search
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks