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Rock Art of Comanche Warriors

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In New Mexico's Rio Grande Gorge, Barnard College archaeologist Severin Fowles and his team have recorded hundreds of panels of barely visible rock art left by Comanche around a basin known as the Vista Verde site. Groups of Comanche traveled to the area from the Great Plains during the early eighteenth century to take part in raiding or trading expeditions. Many of the panels depict warriors on horseback fighting other Native Americans or capturing horses. Unlike most rock art, which often represents timeless, ritually important subjects, these panels appear to depict real-life events, perhaps traced on the rocks by warriors eager to remind their fellow Comanche of their brave exploits. Below are tracings Fowles and his team made of some of the panels, which were scratched onto basalt boulders.

 

Panel-Rock-Art-Comanche

This detail of a panel at the Vista Verde site may depict a single Comanche engaged in feral horse raiding. In the upper left corner the warrior is visibly on horseback, with his headress flowing behind him. The wild horse to the immediate right appears to have a lasso around its neck, and the larger horse below may have an arrow lodged in its body. At the bottom of the panel are semi-circle abrasions around a natural hole in the rock. They may depict hoove prints around a watering hole, represented by the hole. According to tradition, one Comanche horse raiding tactic was to capture feral horses while they gathered around sources of water. 

 

 

 

 

Tepees-Indian-Conflcit

 

This panel appears to depict a Native American, probably Comanche, raid in progress at a tepee encampment. The mounted warrior on the lower left has lines connecting him with another figure. This could be a representation of the act of "counting coup," or physically touching your opponent in battle without a weapon, which was considered the greatest act of bravery a Plains Indian could commit in battle. The Comanche were known as fierce warriors. The very word "Comanche" comes from a Ute term that translates as "anyone who wants to fight me all the time." Outside some of the teppees in this panel are circles on top of three or four lines. These probably represent personal shields, which Plains Indians rested on tripods outside their tepees to represent their owners. 

 

 

 

Animal Mummy Coffins of Ancient Egypt

By ERIC A. POWELL

Thursday, January 30, 2014

In ancient Egypt, the practice of mummifying animals became widespread in the first millenium B.C. Until the advent of Christianity, visitors to temples could buy animal mummy bundles as offerings to the gods. Wealthier pilgrims could also splurge on elaborate coffins shaped as creatures to hold these mummies, which ancient Egyptians probably believed represented the souls of the gods. Along with the sale of animal mummies, the production of lavish bronze and wooden coffins must have been an important source of revenue for temples.

 

The coffins below illustrate the wide array of animal forms taken by Egyptian gods. They will accompany 30 newly rediscovered animal mummies in The Brooklyn Museum's traveling exhibit Soulful Creatures:Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. The exhibit's catalogue is available at gilesltd.com

 

Egypt-Ibis-Mummy-Coffin
 
 
 
 
Epgyptian-Cat-Mummy-Coffin
 
 
 
 
Egypt Hawk Mummy Coffin
 
 
 
 
Egypt Snake Mummy Coffin
 
 
 
 
Egypt Crocodile Mummy Coffin
 
 
 
 
Egypt Shrew Mummy Coffin

 

 

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Ibis Shrew Animal Mummies
Messengers to the Gods

The Sultan’s African Palace

By SAMIR S. PATEL

Monday, December 02, 2013

From the tenth to fifteenth centuries, the East Coast of Africa was home to hundreds of trading towns collectively known as the Swahili Coast. These wealthy, independent Islamic sultanates brought the riches of the African interior, including ivory, gold, and slaves, to a hemisphere-spanning trade network.

 

Among the richest and most influential of these towns was Kilwa Kisiwani, located on an island off the Tanzanian coast. At Kilwa’s height in the early fourteenth century, its leader, Sultan al-Hasan ibn Sulaiman, constructed a massive palace called Husuni Kubwa. The site, built of jagged blocks of coral called coral rag, is now only accessible from a worn staircase carved out of the cliff leading up from the water. Its ruin includes traditional Swahili elements, such as a stepped greeting court bordered by guest rooms for visiting merchants, and elements borrowed from other Islamic palaces, such as an octagonal swimming pool, grand audience court, and a residence with some 100 rooms. But the sultan had overreached in his ambition: The palace was occupied for only a short time before it was abandoned, unfinished.

 

Husuni-Kubwa-greeting-court

 

Husuni-Kubwa-roof-visitors-quarters

 

Husuni-Kubwa-live-coral-decorations

 

Husuni-Kubwa-octagonal-swimming-pool

 

Husuni-Kubwa-audience-court

 

Husuni-Kubwa-collapsed-dome

 

Husuni-Kubwa-courtyard-residence rooms

 

 

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Sidebar:
Swahili Towns feature item
Stone Towns of the Swahili Coast
 Swahili Towns Sidebar1
Matters of Context

Animal Mummy Coffins of Ancient Egypt

Thursday, January 23, 2014

In ancient Egypt, the practice of mummifying animals became widespread in the first millenium B.C. Until the advent of Christianity, visitors to temples could buy animal mummy bundles as offerings to the gods. Wealthier pilgrims could also splurge on elaborate coffins shaped as creatures to hold these mummies, which ancient Egyptians probably believed represented the souls of the gods. Along with the sale of animal mummies, the production of lavish bronze and wooden coffins must have been an important source of revenue for temples.

 

The coffins below illustrate the wide array of animal forms taken by Egyptian gods. They will accompany 30 newly rediscovered animal mummies in The Brooklyn Museum's traveling exhibit Soulful Creatures:Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. The exhibit's catalogue is available at gilesltd.com

 

Egypt Ibis Mummy Coffin

 

 

Epgyptian Cat Mummy Coffin

 

Egypt Hawk Mummy Coffin

 

Egypt Snake Mummy Coffin

 

Egypt Crocodile Mummy Coffin

 

Egypt Shrew Mummy Coffin

 

 

 

A Civil War POW Camp in Watercolor

By NIKHIL SWAMINATHAN

Sunday, November 10, 2013

On November 27, 1863, Union Private Robert Knox Sneden was captured by soldiers under the command of Confederate leader John Singleton Mosby at Brandy Station, Virginia. It would mark the beginning of a year of captivity for the topographical engineer-turned-mapmaker. He would spend six-and-a-half months at the infamous Andersonville prison in southwest Georgia, a site that would come to symbolize the brutal suffering of the Civil War.

 

Almost a year after his capture, Sneden was paroled and left under the supervision of Isaiah White, a physician serving Camp Lawton, a newly built POW camp in east Georgia where Sneden had been transferred two months earlier. During his short stint there, Sneden produced several drawings of the prison and its surrounding environs. He would later turn these into watercolors once he returned to New York after the war. “In exchange for promising not to escape, Sneden worked as a clerk for an army surgeon at Camp Lawton," says Andrew Talkov, head of program development at the Virginia Historical Society, which keeps an archive of 5,000 pages from Sneden's personal memoirs that includes the Camp Lawton paintings. "Because of that position, he had greater liberty to move freely around the camp."

 

Sneden's paintings offer insights about the construction of the prison, how the prisoners lived within it, and the layout of the Confederate encampment that surrounded it. The artwork helped to orient the archaeologists excavating Camp Lawton nearly 150 years after its brief stint holding prisoners of war. “Sneden’s drawings give us imagery in many cases where imagery doesn’t otherwise exist," says VHS lead curator Dr. William M. S. Rasmussen. "Sneden had an incredible visual memory and he combined it with notes and sketches he made in the field to produce an impressive visual record of life during the Civil War.”

 

 Click on the map to view a larger, scrollable version of Sneden's depiction.

 

Sneden-Camp-Lawton-plan-article

 

 

Camp-Lawton-Winder-HQ-article

 

 

Camp-Lawton-stockade-article

 

 

Camp-Lawton-ovens-deadline-Sneden

 

 

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Life on the Inside
camp-lawton-sidebar-item
Camp Lawton's Stockade and Forgotten Population

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Trenches

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