Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

p.p1 this dating? A poorly preserved burned

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Maya Elizabeth Thorne s1906895
World archaeology2-2 1081ARC06Y-1718ARCH22: 
Assignment 1: 
Read the article written by A. Betts et. al., A carved ivory cylinder from Akchakhan-kala, Uzbekistan: problems of dating and provenance, Journal of Archaeological Science. Reports 5 (2016) 190-196 and try to answer, reflect on and discuss the following questions: 

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1) What does the term Chorasmia mean or indicate? 
Chorasmia is an antique name for the region Akchakhan-kala in Uzbekistan located in the delta of the Amu-dar’ya.

2) Where was the cylinder found and in what kind of context?
The cylinder was found during the excavation of the site from the corner of the low rectangular clay fire altar in the central building of the Akchakhan-kala ceremonial complex. It was in a completely blacken colour due to burning and the covering of charcoal. 

3) What was the dating of the cylinder proposed before the research presented in this article was undertaken? What were the arguments for this dating?
A poorly preserved burned cylinder made the analysis very difficult, but a piece was preserved which broadly dates to 1st century BCE to first century CE based on radiocarbon dating.

4) What is Zoroastrianism? (you may use the www to find an answer)
Zoroastrianism is mentioned in the text as a religion which the royal ceremony at area 10 from Akchakhan-kala has a relation to its fire cult. 

Zoroastrianism, the ancient pre-Islamic religion of Iran that survives there in isolated areas and, more prosperously, in India, where the descendants of Zoroastrian Iranian (Persian) immigrants are known as Parsis, or Parsees. (Source: https://www.britannica.com)

5) Provide a short description of the object: what do you see?
It is an ivory cylinder that is 35 cm high and approximately 10 cm wide with two distinct designs. The upper part is representing five rounded wings and lower part showing an ornamental and complex combination of elements by curving. It is also said that it contained an image of a fantastic creature with wings which the head and body are missing. 

6) The authors mention parallels from the Achaemenid and the Parthian worlds. Who were the Achaemenids and the Parthians? Also place these terms chronologically. (you may use the www to find an answer)
Achaemenids (Source: https://www.britannica.com)

nomadic Persians from Western Asia
Achaemenids empire began with Cyrus in the 6th century BC
It was the first Persian empire lasted from 559-330BC

Parthians (Source: https://www.britannica.com)

Parthia is an ancient term referring to the modern region of Khor?s?n in Iran which is also used to reference the Parthian empire lasted from 247BC-AD224.

7) Why is it useful to look for parallels with archaeological interpretation? (this will be discussed explicitly during the tutorial by theTAs) 
Archaeology can study the ‘when’ and ‘what’ but it often impossible to provide information on ‘why’ such practice/activities took place. Therefore, there are many cases that researchers just interpret it as ritual when they encounter difficulty in finding the purpose. In this case, parallels are the strongest indicator to elucidate elements to give a sense in its reason and purpose.

8) Visit http://www.parthia.com/nisa/default.htm and familiarise yourself for a quarter of an hour with the archaeology of the city of Nisa and the Italian excavations there. Would you like to excavate in Nisa? 
Yes, it would be my pleasure to join the excavation if there is chance. The landscape is very appealing to me! 

9) The authors identify the material the cylinder is made from as ivory. What kind of scientific methods they used to arrive at this conclusion? (Just mention the methods indicated in the article, also if you do not understand what they mean!) 
Neutron tomography was used to examine the internal structure first, which was followed by the application of X-ray Diffraction to study the chemical composition of the material. 

10) What kind of scientific methods were used to investigate the provenance of the ivory? (Just mention the methods indicated in the article, also if you do not understand what they mean!) Where did the ivory come from?
Since the ivory pointed to a piece from elephant but no other animals, archaeological evidence were used to detect which spice was selected for creating the cylinder. 
It is assumed to be an ivory from either the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) or the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) but is it not discovered clearly. It is at least known that it is not from Uzbekistan, probably brought by trade and exchange. 

11) What is the dating of the cylinder proposed after the research presented in this article was undertaken? What are the arguments for this dating?
The study of ?13C from carbon isotope in the animal material indicated that the cylinder has an age of 1000 or more years BCE.

12) Do you think that the cylinder was made in Akchakhan-kala or that it was already an antiquity when it ended up in Akchakhan-kala? Why? 
I think the cylinder was made in Akchakhan-kala since the materials suggests an un-local origin. If the patterns were made locally and brought to the site, I would think it would appear to be having an exotic design. 

13) (reflection) How does the research presented in this article relate to the general theme of the course “the ancient world in its global context”? 
I think the somewhat connected cultures influencing each other which is visible in material cultures reflects the increasing connectivity. As states in the text, the object is assumed to be handed down over many generations and its design possibly indicates that it was specifically made for the Chorasmian kings. I think it represents the increasing importance of identity under the wider interaction, a movement towards protecting their local identity under the wave of the world opening up.

14) (reflection) To what culture does the cylinder belong? How should we call the artefact?
Perhaps it could be a culture related to the religion Zoroastrianism since the cinder was found in the building associated with royal ceremony linked to this religion. I think it is an ivory ornament. 


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