Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bactria in the Bronze Age (2500-1500 BC)

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"Known as Bactra to the ancient Greeks, Balkh is found in northern Afghanistan and is descibed as the 'Mother of Cities' by Arabs. It reached its peak between 2,500 BC and 1,900 BC prior to the rise of the Persian and Median empires."....

"Bronze Age, third phase in the development of material culture among the ancient peoples of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, following the Paleolithic and Neolithic ages. The term also denotes the first period in which metal was used. The date at which the age began varied with regions; in Greece and China, for instance, the Bronze Age began before 3000 bc, whereas in Britain it did not start until about 1900 bc.

"The eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age ended in about 1225-1175 BCE during a catastrophe that swept across the entire region, affecting Mycenaean Greece (Teichos Dymaion, Pylos, Nichoria, The Menelaion, Tiryns, Midea, Mycenae, Thebes, Lefkandi, Ioklos), Crete (Knossos and Kydonia), Anatolia and the Hittite empire (Troy VI, Miletus, Tarsus, Hattusas, etc.), Cyprus, Syria (Ugarit, Kadesh, Aleppo, Carchemish, etc.), the Southern Levant (Hazor, Meggido, Bethel, Ashkelon, etc.), and (to a lesser extent) Egypt. The catastrophe peaked in the 1180s and ended about 1179 during the reign of Ramesses III in Egypt (virtually the last of the great pharaohs). The regimes in the region had been stable palace-centered, wealthy, and relatively peaceful, but what followed (at least in Greece) was a dark age (and there are few inscriptions in Egypt thereafter as well). A transition in Greek pottery from ceramic phase LH IIIB [i.e., Late Helladic c. 1320/1300 - 1190 B.C.] to LH IIIC coincides with this catastrophe. With the iron age came also the development of alphabetic writing, the growth of nationalism, republican forms of government, monotheism, and eventually rationalism......http://www.mcgoodwin.net/pages/otherbooks/rd_endbrozeage.html

"The Oxus civilization was a Bronze Age Central Asian culture dated to ca. 2300–1700 BC and centered on the upper Amu Darya (Oxus). In the Early Bronze Age the culture of the Kopet Dag oases and Altyn-Depe developed a proto-urban society. This corresponds to level IV at Namazga-Depe. Altyn-Depe was a major centre even then. Pottery was wheel-turned. Grapes were grown. The height of this urban development was reached in the Middle Bronze Age c. 2300 BC, corresponding to level V at Namazga-Depe. This Bronze Age culture is called the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC).

"The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age. The term Stone Age implies the inability to smelt any ore, the term Bronze Age implies the inability to smelt iron ore and the term Iron Age implies the ability to manufacture artifacts in any of the three types of hard material.

"The Altai Mountains in what is now southern Russia and central Mongolia have been identified as the point of origin of a cultural enigma termed the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon. It is conjectured that changes in climate in this region around 2000 BC and the ensuing ecological, economic and political changes triggered a rapid and massive migration westward into northeast Europe, eastward into China and southward.....

"The inhabitants of the BMAC were sedentary people who practised irrigation farming of wheat and barley. With their impressive material culture including monumental architecture, bronze tools, ceramics, and jewellery of semiprecious stones, the complex exhibits many of the hallmarks of civilization. The complex can be compared to proto-urban settlements in the Helmand basin at Mundigak in western Afghanistan and Shahr-i Shōkhta in eastern Iran, or at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley.

"Models of two-wheeled carts from c. 3000 BCE found at Altyn-Depe are the earliest complete evidence of wheeled transport in Central Asia, though model wheels have come from contexts possibly somewhat earlier. Judging by the type of harness, carts were initially pulled by oxen, or a bull. However camels were domesticated within the BMAC. A model of a cart drawn by a camel of c. 2200 BCE was found at Altyn-Depe......The discovery of a single tiny stone seal (known as the "Anau seal") with geometric markings from the BMAC site at Anau in Turkmenistan in 2000 led some to claim that the Bactria-Margiana complex had also developed writing, and thus may indeed be considered a literate civilization. It bears five markings strikingly similar to Chinese "small seal" characters, but such characters date from the Qin reforms of roughly 100 AD, while the Anau seal is dated by context to 2,300 BCE. It is therefore an unexplained anomaly."

" In the Early Bronze Age the culture of the Kopet Dag oases and Altyn-Depe developed a proto-urban society. This corresponds to level IV at Namazga-Depe. Altyn-Depe was a major centre even then. Pottery was wheel-turned. Grapes were grown. The height of this urban development was reached in the Middle Bronze Age c. 2300 BCE, corresponding to level V at Namazga-Depe. It is this Bronze Age culture which has been given the BMAC name.....Mallory points out that the BMAC fortified settlements such as Gonur and Togolok resemble the Qala (Kala), the type of fort known in this region in the historical period. They may be circular or rectangular and have up to three encircling wall. Within the forts are residential quarters, workshops and temples.".....http://balkhandshambhala.blogspot.com/2012/12/balkh-yaz-culture-1500-bc-map.html

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….January 2013

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