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Archaeology in 1958

Archaeological expeditions in 1958 made significant discoveries in Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. In North America many expeditions were carried out at sites "in the way of" an improvement project (dam, highway, etc.).


columns and mosaic floor at PellaA significant event was the discovery of Pella, the birthplace of Alexander the Great and capital of Macedonia from the late fifth century B.C. until its capture by the Romans in 168 B.B. A large house with courtyards surrounded by Ionic columns was uncovered. The floors of certain rooms were decorated with mosaics of natural pebbles and strips of metal.

left: columns and mosaic floor at Pella

westernmost end of the diolkosAnother notable event was the clearing of 528 feet of the diolkos, the ancient portage for ships across the Isthmus of Corinth. The route was traced an additional 4,432 feet. The portage consisted of a paved roadway with two deep grooves down the center and which curved back and forth up the slope from the sea. It was dated as having been built in the Archaei Period.

right: westernmost end of the diolkos

An expedition from the Peabody Museum of Harvard University and the National Science Foundation unearthed a 20,000-year-old "Venus" near Périgeuex, France. The 3-inch figure was carved in high relief on a 12-pound stone. Only four other such figures are known (from Périgeuex and Czechoslovakia). The expedition studied the stratigraphy of the Upper Paleolithic in the area and hoped to relate the site to the geology of the local river system.

A joint expedition from Harvard and Cornell universities began new excavations at Sardis, the ancient capital of Lydia, and located the main area of the ancient town. []

Middle East

gold bowl found at HasanluA major contribution to the study of ancient civilizations of the Middle East was made by a joint expedition from the University of Philadelphia Museum and the Archaeological Service of Iran. At a site known as Teppe Hasanlu, the team found remains of the Mannaeans, a people living south of Lake Urmia and previously known only through inscriptions referring to them. Excavations uncovered a powerful citadel wall with towers and buttresses and a large building that likely served as a royal residence. Among the many artifacts was a solid gold bowl covered with figures showing mythologcal scenes, including a triad of god riding in chariots. []

left: gold bowl found at Hasanlu

Hazor temple floorIn Israel, a fourth century church was excavated at Hazor, in western Galilee, by the Israeli Department of Antiquities. Built during the reign of Constantine the Great, the church was a two-story structure supported by a colonnade in Roman style, but with an interior of inlaid marble slabs in the Phoenician tradition. []

right: early Christian mosaic, part of a floor of a 4th-century temple at Hazor

Far East

Niah Cave paintings and 'death ships'Explorations in the Niah Caves of Borneo by the Sarawak Museum revealed wall paintings of ships manned by dead men wearing plumed headdresses. They also found a fleet of thse ritual "death ships," each large enough to hold a body (7 to 9 feet long) and lidded. Bones of the dead lay around them.

left: paintings and 'death ships' in Niah Caves

The Academy of Sciences of Peking was conducting excavations near Siking in Shenai Ptovince when it found four gates and a section of the massive city wall of Changan, capital of the Han Dynastry from 208 B.C. to A.D. 25. Swords and halberds were found in the guards' rooms flanking the gates.

In the Year 1958

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The Robinson Library >> Archaeology

This page was last updated on 07/22/2017.