Mummies of Ürümchi

Author: Elizabeth Wayland Barber

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 9780393320190

Category: History

Page: 240

View: 4523

A look at the incredibly well-preserved ancient mummies found in Western China describes their clothing and appearance, attempts to reconstruct their culture, and speculates about how Caucasians could have found their way to the feet of the Himalayan mountains. Reprint.

The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance

Author: Elizabeth Wayland Barber

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393089215

Category: Social Science

Page: 448

View: 1064

A fascinating exploration of an ancient system of beliefs and its links to the evolution of dance. From southern Greece to northern Russia, people have long believed in female spirits, bringers of fertility, who spend their nights and days dancing in the fields and forests. So appealing were these spirit-maidens that they also took up residence in nineteenth-century Romantic literature. Archaeologist and linguist by profession, folk dancer by avocation, Elizabeth Wayland Barber has sleuthed through ethnographic lore and archaeological reports of east and southeast Europe, translating enchanting folktales about these “dancing goddesses” as well as eyewitness accounts of traditional rituals—texts that offer new perspectives on dance in agrarian society. She then traces these goddesses and their dances back through the Romans and Greeks to the first farmers of Europe. Along the way, she locates the origins of many customs, including coloring Easter eggs and throwing rice at the bride. The result is a detective story like no other and a joyful reminder of the human need to dance.

Prehistoric Textiles

The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with Special Reference to the Aegean

Author: E. J. W. Barber

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691002248

Category: Social Science

Page: 471

View: 6196

This pioneering work revises our notions of the origins and early development of textiles in Europe and the Near East. Using innovative linguistic techniques, along with methods from palaeobiology and other fields, it shows that spinning and pattern weaving began far earlier than has been supposed. Prehistoric Textiles made an unsurpassed leap in the social and cultural understanding of textiles in humankind's early history. Cloth making was an industry that consumed more time and effort, and was more culturally significant to prehistoric cultures, than anyone assumed before the book's publication. The textile industry is in fact older than pottery--and perhaps even older than agriculture and stockbreeding. It probably consumed far more hours of labor per year, in temperate climates, than did pottery and food production put together. And this work was done primarily by women. Up until the Industrial Revolution, and into this century in many peasant societies, women spent every available moment spinning, weaving, and sewing. The author, Elizabeth Wayland Barber, demonstrates command of an almost unbelievably disparate array of disciplines--from historical linguistics to archaeology and paleobiology, from art history to the practical art of weaving. Her passionate interest in the subject matter leaps out on every page. Barber, a professor of linguistics and archaeology, developed expert sewing and weaving skills as a small girl under her mother's tutelage. One could say she had been born and raised to write this book. Because modern textiles are almost entirely made by machines, we have difficulty appreciating how time-consuming and important the premodern textile industry was. This book opens our eyes to this crucial area of prehistoric human culture.

Women's Work

The First 20,000 Years : Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times

Author: E. J. W. Barber

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 9780393313482

Category: Social Science

Page: 334

View: 8271

Drawing on the latest archaeological and technological research, this intriguing study of women's history explores the relationship between the development of the fiber arts and women's roles in society.

When They Severed Earth from Sky

How the Human Mind Shapes Myth

Author: Elizabeth Wayland Barber,Paul T. Barber

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400842867

Category: Social Science

Page: 312

View: 8082

Why were Prometheus and Loki envisioned as chained to rocks? What was the Golden Calf? Why are mirrors believed to carry bad luck? How could anyone think that mortals like Perseus, Beowulf, and St. George actually fought dragons, since dragons don't exist? Strange though they sound, however, these "myths" did not begin as fiction. This absorbing book shows that myths originally transmitted real information about real events and observations, preserving the information sometimes for millennia within nonliterate societies. Geologists' interpretations of how a volcanic cataclysm long ago created Oregon's Crater Lake, for example, is echoed point for point in the local myth of its origin. The Klamath tribe saw it happen and passed down the story--for nearly 8,000 years. We, however, have been literate so long that we've forgotten how myths encode reality. Recent studies of how our brains work, applied to a wide range of data from the Pacific Northwest to ancient Egypt to modern stories reported in newspapers, have helped the Barbers deduce the characteristic principles by which such tales both develop and degrade through time. Myth is in fact a quite reasonable way to convey important messages orally over many generations--although reasoning back to the original events is possible only under rather specific conditions. Our oldest written records date to 5,200 years ago, but we have been speaking and mythmaking for perhaps 100,000. This groundbreaking book points the way to restoring some of that lost history and teaching us about human storytelling.

The Tarim Mummies

Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West

Author: J. P. Mallory,Victor H. Mair

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780500283721

Category: History

Page: 352

View: 5071

Preserved in the Täklimakan desert sands of China lay the well preserved remains of a people who settled in the Tarim Basin four thousand years ago. This book forms the first comprehensive study of the mummies, their clothing and physiology, and also speculates on their identity. The possible contenders for the origins of these people and their linguistic background are discussed and the authors conclude with the rather controversial claim that these in fact represent the first Europeans in China. A most interesting and important book.

The Mummy Congress

Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead

Author: Heather Pringle

Publisher: Hachette Books

ISBN: 0786871865

Category: Social Science

Page: 368

View: 5429

Now available in paperback--The Mummy Congress is "clear, direct and intense . . . all the stories sparkle. Pringle is a crack-shot storyteller." --New York Times Book Review Perhaps the most eccentric of all scientific meetings, the World Congress on Mummy Studies brings together mummy experts from all over the globe and airs their latest findings. Who are these scientists, and what draws them to this morbid yet captivating field? The Mummy Congress, written by acclaimed science journalist Heather Pringle, examines not just the world of mummies, but also the people obsessed with them.

Nart Sagas from the Caucasus

Myths and Legends from the Circassians, Abazas, Abkhaz, and Ubykhs

Author: N.A

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 140086528X

Category: Social Science

Page: 576

View: 4446

The Nart sagas are to the Caucasus what Greek mythology is to Western civilization. This book presents, for the first time in the West, a wide selection of these fascinating myths preserved among four related peoples whose ancient cultures today survive by a thread. In ninety-two straightforward tales populated by extraordinary characters and exploits, by giants who humble haughty Narts, by horses and sorceresses, Nart Sagas from the Caucasus brings these cultures to life in a powerful epos. In these colorful tales, women, not least the beautiful temptress Satanaya, the mother of all Narts, are not only fertility figures but also pillars of authority and wisdom. In one variation on a recurring theme, a shepherd, overcome with passion on observing Satanaya bathing alone, shoots a "bolt of lust" that strikes a rock--a rock that gives birth to the Achilles-like Sawseruquo, or Sosruquo. With steely skin but tender knees, Sawseruquo is a man the Narts come to love and hate. Despite a tragic history, the Circassians, Abazas, Abkhaz, and Ubykhs have retained the Nart sagas as a living tradition. The memory of their elaborate warrior culture, so richly expressed by these tales, helped them resist Tsarist imperialism in the nineteenth century, Stalinist suppression in the twentieth, and has bolstered their ongoing cultural journey into the post-Soviet future. Because these peoples were at the crossroads of Eurasia for millennia, their myths exhibit striking parallels with the lore of ancient India, classical Greece, and pagan Scandinavia. The Nart sagas may also have formed a crucial component of the Arthurian cycle. Notes after each tale reveal these parallels; an appendix offers extensive linguistic commentary. With this book, no longer will the analysis of ancient Eurasian myth be possible without a close look at the Nart sagas. And no longer will the lover of myth be satisfied without the pleasure of having read them. Excerpts from the Nart sagas "The Narts were a tribe of heroes. They were huge, tall people, and their horses were also exuberant Alyps or Durduls. They were wealthy, and they also had a state. That is how the Narts lived their lives. . . ." "The Narts were courageous, energetic, bold, and good-hearted. Thus they lived until God sent down a small swallow. . . ." "The Narts were very cruel to one another. They were envious of one another. They disputed among themselves over who was the most courageous. But most of all they hated Sosruquo. . . . A rock gave birth to him. He is the son of a rock, illegally born a mere shepherd's son. . . ."

Oasis Identities

Uyghur Nationalism Along China's Silk Road

Author: Justin Jon Rudelson,Justin Ben-Adam Rudelson

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 9780231107860

Category: History

Page: 209

View: 6490

Drawing upon extensive fieldwork in the Xinjiang oasis of Turpan, Rudelson assesses the factors that undermine the creation of a pan-Uyghur identity.

Life along the Silk Road

Second Edition

Author: Susan Whitfield

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520960297

Category: History

Page: 312

View: 1088

In this long-awaited second edition, Susan Whitfield broadens her exploration of the Silk Road and expands her rich and varied portrait of life along the great pre-modern trade routes of Eurasia. This new edition is comprehensively updated to support further understanding of themes relevant to global and comparative history and remains the only history of the Silk Road to reconstruct the route through the personal experiences of travelers. In the first 1,000 years after Christ, merchants, missionaries, monks, mendicants, and military men traveled the vast network of Central Asian tracks that became known as the Silk Road. Whitfield recounts the lives of twelve individuals who lived at different times during this period, including two characters new to this edition: an African shipmaster and a Persian traveler and writer during the Arab caliphate. With these additional tales, Whitfield extends both geographical and chronological scope, bringing into view the maritime links across the Indian Ocean and depicting the network of north-south routes from the Baltic to the Gulf. Throughout the narrative, Whitfield conveys a strong sense of what life was like for ordinary men and women on the Silk Road, the individuals usually forgotten to history. A work of great scholarship, Life along the Silk Road continues to be both accessible and entertaining.

The Lost Camels Of Tartary

A Quest into Forbidden China

Author: John Hare

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 1408707322

Category: Travel

Page: 272

View: 1819

John Hare has made three expeditions to the Mongolian and Chinese Gobi deserts, the first in 1993 with Russian scientists and the second and third with Chinese scientists in 1995 and 1996. The book records the amazing adventures he has experienced on those expeditions and will record details of the 30-day walk on foot in the formidable Kum Tagh sand dunes in the spring of 1997. He is the first recorded foreigner to have crossed the Gashun Gobi from north to south. The expeditions were primarily concerned with tracking down the mysterious wild Bactrian camel 'camelus bactrianus ferus' which lives in the heartland of the desert and is the ancestor of all domestic Bactrian stock. There are under a thousand left in the world and the wild Bactrian camel is more endangered than the giant Panda. This is John Hare's magnificent account of a formidable feat of modern exploration.

Mysteries of the Mummy Kids

Author: Kelly Milner Halls

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin School

ISBN: 9780547073996

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 68

View: 2707

Learn about child mummies from the Incas and other ancient civilizations around the world, plus a Civil War-era mummy from the United States.

Nart Sagas

Ancient Myths and Legends of the Circassians and Abkhazians

Author: N.A

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400880734

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 456

View: 8752

The sagas of the ancient Narts are to the Caucasus what Greek mythology is to Western civilization. This book presents, for the first time in the West, a wide selection of these fascinating myths preserved among four related peoples whose ancient cultures today survive by a thread. In ninety-two straightforward tales populated by extraordinary characters and exploits, by giants who humble haughty Narts, by horses and sorceresses, Nart Sagas from the Caucasus brings these cultures to life in a powerful epos. In these colorful tales, women, not least the beautiful temptress Satanaya, the mother of all Narts, are not only fertility figures but also pillars of authority and wisdom. In one variation on a recurring theme, a shepherd, overcome with passion on observing Satanaya bathing alone, shoots a "bolt of lust" that strikes a rock--a rock that gives birth to the Achilles-like Sawseruquo, or Sosruquo. With steely skin but tender knees, Sawseruquo is a man the Narts come to love and hate. Despite a tragic history, the Circassians, Abazas, Abkhaz, and Ubykhs have retained the Nart sagas as a living tradition. The memory of their elaborate warrior culture, so richly expressed by these tales, helped them resist Tsarist imperialism in the nineteenth century, Stalinist suppression in the twentieth, and has bolstered their ongoing cultural journey into the post-Soviet future. Because these peoples were at the crossroads of Eurasia for millennia, their myths exhibit striking parallels with the lore of ancient India, classical Greece, and pagan Scandinavia. The Nart sagas may also have formed a crucial component of the Arthurian cycle. Notes after each tale reveal these parallels; an appendix offers extensive linguistic commentary. With this book, no longer will the analysis of ancient Eurasian myth be possible without a close look at the Nart sagas. And no longer will the lover of myth be satisfied without the pleasure of having read them. Excerpts from the Nart sagas "The Narts were a tribe of heroes. They were huge, tall people, and their horses were also exuberant Alyps or Durduls. They were wealthy, and they also had a state. That is how the Narts lived their lives. . . ." "The Narts were courageous, energetic, bold, and good-hearted. Thus they lived until God sent down a small swallow. . . ." "The Narts were very cruel to one another. They were envious of one another. They disputed among themselves over who was the most courageous. But most of all they hated Sosruquo. . . . A rock gave birth to him. He is the son of a rock, illegally born a mere shepherd's son. . . ." In a new introduction, folklorist Adrienne Mayor reflects on these tales both in terms of the fascinating warrior culture they depict and the influence they had on Greco-Roman mythology.

The History of Central Asia

The Age of the Steppe Warriors

Author: Christoph Baumer

Publisher: I.B.Tauris

ISBN: 1780760604

Category: History

Page: 372

View: 8825

An illustrated history of one of the most compelling and mysterious regions on earth. It is a unique travelogue and resource and will appeal to scholars and students of antiquity, history, archaeology and religious studies. The epic plains and arid deserts of Central Asia have witnessed some of the greatest migrations, as well as many of the most transformative developments, in the history of civilization. Christoph Baumer's ambitious treatment of the region charts the 3000-year drama of Scythians and Sarmatians; Soviets and transcontinental Silk Roads; trade routes and the transmission of ideas across the steppes; and, the breathless and brutal conquests of Alexander the Great and Chinghiz Khan.

Ancient Heritage of Täklimakan: Uyghur Urbiculture

Author: Dolkun Kamberi, PhD

Publisher: Radio Free Asia

ISBN: 1632180782

Category: History

Page: 95

View: 2644

In Ancient Heritage of Täklimakan and Uyghur Urbiculture, Dr. Dolkun Kamberi helps readers understand the Taklimakan was the main region through which the ancient Silk-Road had to pass. Discoveries many ancient heritages, cities sites, richness, and diversity of Uyghur literature provide a great deal of information regarding the early Uyghur civilization. The increasing role archaeology has played in aiding experts in constructing a chronology of Uyghur urbiculture using unearthed Uyghur manuscripts, medieval travelers’ accounts, and historical heritage of well-developed Uyghur literature.

Catastrophe

An Investigation into the Origins of the Modern World

Author: David Keys

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ISBN: 0345444361

Category: History

Page: 368

View: 9327

It was a catastrophe without precedent in recorded history: for months on end, starting in A.D. 535, a strange, dusky haze robbed much of the earth of normal sunlight. Crops failed in Asia and the Middle East as global weather patterns radically altered. Bubonic plague, exploding out of Africa, wiped out entire populations in Europe. Flood and drought brought ancient cultures to the brink of collapse. In a matter of decades, the old order died and a new world—essentially the modern world as we know it today—began to emerge. In this fascinating, groundbreaking, totally accessible book, archaeological journalist David Keys dramatically reconstructs the global chain of revolutions that began in the catastrophe of A.D. 535, then offers a definitive explanation of how and why this cataclysm occurred on that momentous day centuries ago. The Roman Empire, the greatest power in Europe and the Middle East for centuries, lost half its territory in the century following the catastrophe. During the exact same period, the ancient southern Chinese state, weakened by economic turmoil, succumbed to invaders from the north, and a single unified China was born. Meanwhile, as restless tribes swept down from the central Asian steppes, a new religion known as Islam spread through the Middle East. As Keys demonstrates with compelling originality and authoritative research, these were not isolated upheavals but linked events arising from the same cause and rippling around the world like an enormous tidal wave. Keys's narrative circles the globe as he identifies the eerie fallout from the months of darkness: unprecedented drought in Central America, a strange yellow dust drifting like snow over eastern Asia, prolonged famine, and the hideous pandemic of the bubonic plague. With a superb command of ancient literatures and historical records, Keys makes hitherto unrecognized connections between the "wasteland" that overspread the British countryside and the fall of the great pyramid-building Teotihuacan civilization in Mexico, between a little-known "Jewish empire" in Eastern Europe and the rise of the Japanese nation-state, between storms in France and pestilence in Ireland. In the book's final chapters, Keys delves into the mystery at the heart of this global catastrophe: Why did it happen? The answer, at once surprising and definitive, holds chilling implications for our own precarious geopolitical future. Wide-ranging in its scholarship, written with flair and passion, filled with original insights, Catastrophe is a superb synthesis of history, science, and cultural interpretation.

Central Asia in World History

Author: Peter B. Golden

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199793174

Category: History

Page: 192

View: 8623

A vast region stretching roughly from the Volga River to Manchuria and the northern Chinese borderlands, Central Asia has been called the "pivot of history," a land where nomadic invaders and Silk Road traders changed the destinies of states that ringed its borders, including pre-modern Europe, the Middle East, and China. In Central Asia in World History, Peter B. Golden provides an engaging account of this important region, ranging from prehistory to the present, focusing largely on the unique melting pot of cultures that this region has produced over millennia. Golden describes the traders who braved the heat and cold along caravan routes to link East Asia and Europe; the Mongol Empire of Chinggis Khan and his successors, the largest contiguous land empire in history; the invention of gunpowder, which allowed the great sedentary empires to overcome the horse-based nomads; the power struggles of Russia and China, and later Russia and Britain, for control of the area. Finally, he discusses the region today, a key area that neighbors such geopolitical hot spots as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China.