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Burial of the dead is the act of placing the corpse of a dead person in a tomb constructed for that purpose or in a grave dug into the earth. In cultures such as Mesopotamia, tombs and graves were cut into the ground in the expectation that the soul of the individual so buried would more easily reach the afterlife which was thought to exist underground. Graves... [continue reading]
Chamber Tomb 12 at the site of Dendra, is most famous as being the tomb from where the Dendra Panoply came from, and like that panoply, dates to around the end of the 15th century BC. Unlike the rest of the chamber tombs at Dendra, this one is unique in not having a 'dromos' (a long narrow passage way) leading to the tomb proper, instead it had an entrance... [continue reading]
Egyptian faience is a glassy substance manufactured most expertly by the ancient Egyptians (though the process was first developed in Mesopotamia, first at Ur and, later, Babylon). Some of the greatest faience-makers of antiquity were the Phoenicians of cities such as Tyre and Sidon who were so expert in making glass that it is thought they invented... [continue reading]
Gilgamesh is the semi-mythic King of Uruk best known from The Epic of Gilgamesh (written c. 2000-1400 BCE) the great Sumerian/Babylonian poetic work which pre-dates Homer’s writing by 1500 years and, therefore, stands as the oldest piece of epic western literature. Gilgamesh’s father was the Priest-King Lugalbanda (who is featured in... [continue reading]
Giza is a plateau southwest of modern Cairo which served as the necropolis for the royalty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt. Most famous for the pyramids of Khufu (completed in 2550 BCE) Khafre (2520 BCE) and Menkaure (2490 BCE) and the Great Sphinx (built 2500 BCE), recent excavations on the plateau have revealed numerous private tomb complexes and workers'... [continue reading]
The royal grave circle within the walls of Mycenae (1600 BCE). It was in the shaft graves here that Heinrich Schliemann discovered in 1876 CE the famous gold death mask attributed (incorrectly) to King Agamemnon.
The interior ceiling of the 'Treasury of Atreus', tholos tomb (1450 BCE), Mycenae.
The Harpy tomb and the pillared sarcophagus, two monumental Lycian tombs from Xanthos (Lycia, Turkey). The Harpy tomb (left) dates to approximately 480–470 BCE whilst the pillared sarcophagus (right) dates to the 4th century BCE.
published on 24 October 2012
This drawing, by a Mr. Gibb of Aberdeen, Scotland, depicts the state of Maeshowe shortly after the excavation through the roof of the structure in 1861 by the antiquarian James Farrer.
The Mausoleum of Augustus was actually one of the first of many large building projects undertaken in the reign of Rome's first emperor. When the Mausoleum was completed in 28 BCE, it was easily the biggest tomb in the Roman world, a record it held throughout the Roman period. Now a ruin situated in Piazza Augusto Imperatore near the river Tiber, this... [continue reading]
A tomb is an enclosed space for the repository of the remains of the dead. The most elaborate tombs in ancient times were those built by the Egyptians for their kings, the pharaohs. Early on, the Egyptians built mastabas, tombs made of dried bricks which were then used to shore up shafts and chambers dug into the earth. In every mastaba there was a large room... [continue reading]