Studia Palmyreńskie — 10.1997

Page: 21
DOI article: DOI Page: Citation link: 
https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/studia_palmyrenskie1997/0046
License: Free access  - all rights reserved Use / Order
0.5
1 cm
facsimile
SMALL FINDS FROM PRE-CLASSICAL PALMYRA

21

there are also gazelles. Representations of gazelles were found also on frescoes from the
royal palace in Mari (Barrelet 1968: 85). The stylistic criteria clearly show that the gazelle
head found in the Palmyra gardens can be dated as the whole just mentioned group to the
period between 2500 BC and 1700 BC but the quality of this figurine suggests in my opinion
that it was produced between 2200 and 2000 BC (Klengel-Brandt 1978, taf. 21: 657, 659).

The second of the objects found in the gardens area is a small human head cut in stone.
It is 5.6 cm high, 3.35 cm wide and measures about 3.5 cm in diameter. Quite cubist in form,
this limestone head belonged most probably to a representation of a male (PI. III.1-3).
Nearly square face with straight nose and prominent, asymmetrically drawn eyebrows has
clearly marked eyes. Within the left eye-socket there is a hole with some remains of
bitumen, while the right one is completely covered with a thin layer of bitumen and has
pupil marked with a point. The forehead, broad and low, is nearly circular in shape. As the
mouth and chin outlines are not noticeable the most conspicuous feature of the face (except
the eyes) remains a long straight nose passing directly into a high neck (2.3 cm) giving to the
head a rather "birdy" appearance. The massive neck with slightly flattened sides was bro-
ken or cut in a careless way. A rather elaborate hairdo is shown in a schematic way. Over
the forehead the hairs are rendered as cut in a straight line while over the temples they are
falling in straight strands as low as the level of the nose tip. They are marked there as verti-
cal lines engraved every 4 mm. On the top of the skull the hairs are marked only with en-
graved tiny points.

This stone head of a man shows some analogies to the so-called "bird terracottas" from
Mesopotamia (Barrelet 1968, pi. IV: 44), as well as to the later Assyrian terracottas (Parlasca
1992, taf. 44a) and stone or clay figurines found in the Early Bronze - beginning Middle
Bronze layers at Hama (Fugman 1958: 74, fig. 93; 77, fig. 98). The figurines of the Hama type
are well known also from the Orontes basin area, Euphrates region and the Mediterranean
coast zone (Badre 1980, pi. XVII: 5; XLVII: 187,194; LI: 14).

Even these modest remains of Palmyrene Bronze Age allow ds to see the city of Tadmor
as a centre situated at the point of junction of cultural zones of Mesopotamia, Levant and
North Syria (Mazzoni 1985: 561-577). At the end of the IIIrd millennium BC and during most
of the IInd millennium Tadmor served as a transition point where different cultural tra-
ditions were melting together and were transmitted to other areas of the ancient Near East.
One should only hope that the recent excavations by Syrian archaeologists within the teme-
nos of the Bel temple will enrich our still so uncomplete picture of this important Syrian city.

LITERATURE

Amiran, R., 1970
Badre, L., 1980

Barrelet, M. Th., 1968
Black, J., Green, A., 1992
Fugman, E., 1958
Klengel-Brandt, E., 1978
Legrain, L., 1930

Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land, Jerusalem

Les figurines anthropomorphes en terre cuite à l'âge du Bronze en
Syrie, Paris

Figurines et Reliefs en Terre Cuite de Mésopotamie Antique I, Paris
Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, London
Hama: L'architecture des périodes pré-hellénistiques, Copenhague
Die Terrakoten aus Assur im Vorderasiatischen Museum Berlin, Berlin
Terracottas from Nippur, Philadelphia
loading ...