Further Archæological Excavation in Syria


    SIR LEONARD WOOLLEY'S third season of excavation on the ancient sito of Allalakh at Atchana near Antioch, as anticipated, has enlarged and added further detail to the picture of a great meeting place of the civilizations of East and West at an entrance gate to western Asia; but at its close it held out promise of an even greater field of discovery still to be explored. Of this a glimpse may be afforded when the numerous cuneiform inscriptions retrieved in the season just past have been submitted to inspection. Sir Leonard in his preliminary report (The Times, August 2 and 3) opened with an account of the further excavation of the earlier palace, which preceded that of the fifteenth-century Hittite king, Nig-me-pa. This earlier building, cannot, Sir Leonard thinks, be much later than the time of Hammurabi, and he assigns it tentatively to the eighteenth century B.C. The structural features, which point to its use in part for administrative and business purposes, in part as a royal residence, convey the impression of a sense of dignity and propriety, combined with an unusual appreciation of space and air, particularly noticeable in the arrangement of the upper residential chambers, with a loggia giving an extensive view over the city, and an approach by newel stairs, of which the first two flights are nearly perfectly preserved. It was, however, from a private house of the fifteenth century that the much desired further evidence was obtained of the contact with Crete, for which mainly the excavation of Atchana was undertaken. This now took the form of a fresco, which is exactly similar to a scheme of decoration found at Knossos, and a 12-wick lamp in red porphyry in the form of the capital of a column, which at Knossos would be hailed, Sir Leonard says, as a typical, but unusually fine, example of Minoan art.

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    Further Archæological Excavation in Syria. Nature 144, 277 (1939). https://doi.org/10.1038/144277a0

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