Friday, March 7, 2014

SPECIAL = "World's Oldest Crown" Displayed in N.Y.

The following story is a report on FoxNews which I saw broadcast this morning, and can be found at it's original web address:

The world’s oldest crown will be taking on Manhattan when it goes on display at a new exhibit on the city's Upper East Side. The crown is a relic of the Copper Age, dating back some 6,000 years, and will be on display with 150 other artifacts from the era as part of the “Masters of Fire: Copper Age Art from Israel” exhibit opening this week at Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University.

“To the modern eye, it is stunning to see how these groups of people, already mastering so many new social systems and technologies, still had the ability to create objects of enduring artistic interest,” said Jennifer Y. Chi, ISAW Exhibitions Director and Chief Curator in a statement.  The Copper Age was when people discovered how to make implements and ritual objects out of copper and organize and glean products like milk and wool.

The show is considered to be the most comprehensive collection of artifacts from the era to be seen outside of Israel, according to local news site DNAinfo New York.  The black-colored crown is shaped like a thick ring and adorned with vultures and doors protruding from the top. It is believed to have played a part in burial ceremonies and its adornments are believed a model of a structure where bodies were allowed to decompose before burial. {This is Brian speaking again: According to Ms. Chi's explanation in the video version of this report - for which I would have a link here if I could find it - it is thought that the body would be placed "in an outside environment" where the vultures picking at it, or the natural environment would reduce the remains to bones, which would then be gathered up and placed in ossuaries - see def. below} Many of the objects are part of the Nahal Mishmar Hoard, which is a collection of over 400 objects that were found in a remote cave near the Dead Sea in 1961. The pieces include two clay statues of the Lady of Gilat and The Ram of Gilat and a full array of Copper Age figurines made from stone, ivory, bone, and clay as well as a scepter decorated with horned animals, a copper container designed to look like a woven basket, and clay goblets and bowls.

“The fascinating thing about this period is that a burst of innovation defined the technologies of the ancient world for thousands of years,” Daniel M. Master, Professor of Archaeology at Wheaton College and a member of the curatorial team, said in a statement. “People experimented with new ways to use not just copper, but also leather, ceramics, and textiles—sometimes successfully, sometimes not.”

From Wikipedia =

"An ossuary is a chest, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place of humanskeletal remains. They are frequently used where burial space is scarce. A body is first buried in a temporary grave, then after some years the skeletal remains are removed and placed in an ossuary. The greatly reduced space taken up by an ossuary means that it is possible to store the remains of many more people in a single tomb than if the original coffins were left as is."


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