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A Dictionary of Archaeology

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planning is evident within urban sites, with their formal road and drainage systems, it is important to note that large Indus sites typically consist of multiple mounds, and research during the 1990s has increasingly demonstrated considerable inter-site variability in site plan (Kenoyer 1991: 352).

Several monumental structures have been found on the western mound of Mohenjo-Daro, including three identified as a ‘granary’, ‘college’ and ‘assembly hall’ respectively, as well as the ‘great bath’: a large basin lined with brick and plaster and surrounded by a portico and a series of rooms, often interpreted as a ritual structure. The precise functions of these structures are unknown, but they clearly represent a considerable investment of human labour and planning (Kenoyer 1991: 353).

The eastern mound is characterized by dense blocks of domestic architecture arranged into a gridiron pattern of streets equipped with brick drains. A project of mapping and surface survey during the 1980s–1990s (Jansen 1989) has revealed artefactual patterns characteristic of specialized craft production areas, but no cemetery has yet been located. Mohenjo-Daro is threatened by a rising water-table and a UNESCO project is currently attempting to save the site from destruction.

S.J. Marshall: Mohenjo-daro and the Indus civilization

(London, 1931); E.J.H. Mackay: Further excavations at Mohenjodaro (New Delhi, 1938); M. Jansen: ‘Some problems regarding the Forma Urbis Mohenjo-Daro’, South Asian archaeology 1985, ed. K. Frifelt and P. Sorensen (London, 1989), 247–54. J.M. Kenoyer: ‘The Indus Valley tradition of Pakistan and Western India’, JWP 5 (1991), 331–85.


Mohs scale A scratch (scelerometric) test for hardness, named after Friedrich Mohs (1773–1839). Hardness is determined using a set of standard minerals, the steps between which are unequal. In order of increasing hardness these are:


Equivalent Item for Field Tests



Can be scratched with fingernail



Can be scratched with fingernail



Can be scratched with copper coin



Easily scratched with knife



Can be scratched with knife



Can be scratched with steel file



Can be scratched with window














The test is commonly used in archaeology for describing ceramic or lithic objects. Though other types of hardness test are available, they are mainly applied to other material, and the Mohs scale remains a useful and widely used field test in both geology and archaeology.

F. Mohs: Treatise on mineralogy, trans. W. Haidinger (London, 1825).



Molokwane (Selonskraal) Extremely large Sotho-Tswana town in the Transvaal dated to the end of the 18th century AD. A series of homesteads and wards each based on the ‘CENTRAL CATTLE PATTERN’, forms the town, and virtually every level of administration was present. At this time the Sotho-Tswana lived in anomalously large settlements compared to others with political stratification of equal (or even greater) complexity. This concentrated settlement pattern at Molokwane has usually been attributed to the comparatively dry environment, traditional cultural preferences or greater social stratification. However, archaeological data show not only that this urbanization only began after AD 1750 but also that the climate was wetter.

Large towns such as Molokwane were probably formed by the aggregation of small settlements with the chief’s capital for mutual protection during the unprecedented military stress of the 18th and 19th centuries AD. Urbanism continued throughout most of the 19th century and is now an important element of Sotho-Tswana culture.

T.N. Huffman: ‘Archaeological evidence and conventional explanations of Southern Bantu settlement patterns’, Africa 56 (1986), 280–98; R.J. Mason: Origins of black people of Johannesburg and the Southern Western Central Transvaal AD 350–1880 (Johannesburg, 1986); J.C.C. Pistorius: Molokwane, an Iron Age Bakwena village: early Tswana settlement in the western Transvaal

(Johannesburg, 1992).



Monks Mount see CAHOKIA

monothetic culture see POLYTHETIC






Montagu Cave Cave in the Cape Folded Mountain Range, in the SW Cape, South Africa, 160 km east of Cape Town. Rich ACHEULEAN horizons occur, but with no organics, and no dating. An MSA (Middle Stone Age) layer is assigned to the HOWIESON’S POORT industry, with radiocarbon dates (five ranging from 19,100 to 50,000, and >38,000 uncal BP LSA (Later Stone Age) occupations at the site are undated but fall typologically within the range of the WILTON industry.

C.M. Keller: Montagu Cave in prehistory: a descriptive analysis (Berkeley, 1973).


Monte Albán see ZAPOTECS

Monte Verde Cold-forest/tundra settlement in southern Chile, which is currently the earliest welldated PALEO-INDIAN site in the Americas. The remains of wood and skin huts are associated with a larger y-shaped structure, a hafted stone tool, BOLAS, and abundant plant remains, including nonlocal species such as potato.

T.D. Dillehay: Monte Verde: a late Pleistocene settlement in Chile (Washington, D.C., 1989).


Mont Lassois Natural outcrop commanding the Seine valley in the eastern France, 6 km north of Châtillon-sur-Seine, which was crowned with massive fortifications (2.7 km perimeter) in the 6th century BC. Mont Lassois was the means by which the local Celtic chieftans exerted control over a river valleys trade route that led eventually to the Mediterranean; the great wealth and contact with the civilized world that this control afforded are vividly demonstrated by the contents of the princely tomb of VIX nearby.

R. Joffroy: L’Oppidum de Vix (Paris, 1960); ––––: Vix et ses trésors (Paris, 1979).


mortuary temple see MEDINET HABU;


Moshebi’s Shelter Stone Age rockshelter in southeastern Lesotho excavated in 1969 by P. Carter. An earlier and a later MSA (Middle Stone Age) level are overlain by LSA (Later Stone Age) material. The MSA industries contain interesting blade elements, those in the later industry being notably smaller. Backed pieces in the later industry invite comparison with the

industry. The LSA material post-dates 218 uncal BP and contains delicate backed blades and bifacially flaked barbed and tanged arrowheads.

P.L. Carter: ‘Moshebi’s shelter’, Lesotho Notes and Records, 8 (1969), 13–23; –––– and J. Vogel: ‘The dating of industrial assemblages from stratified sites in eastern Lesotho’, Man n.s. 9 (1974), 557–70.


Motupore An island near Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea (see OCEANIA 2), which is the traditional home of the Motu people. Excavations uncovered evidence of pottery production, shell bead manufacturing and domestic debris dating back to 800 BP. In oral historical traditions the island is connected with the production of pottery for hiri trading expeditions to the Gulf of Papua, where the pottery was exchanged for sago. Archaeological evidence demonstrates a rise in intensity of both production and trade over eight centuries, as well as the extensive nature of local trading interactions.

J. Allen: ‘Fishing for wallabies: trade as a mechanism for social interaction, integration and elaboration on the central Papuan coast’, The evolution of social systems, ed. J. Friedman and M. Rowlands (London, 1977), 419–55;

––––: ‘Pots and poor princes: a multidimensional approach to the role of pottery trading in central Papua’,

The many dimensions of pottery, ed. S.E. van der Leeuw and A Pritchard (Amsterdam, 1984).


mound center see AZTALAN; CAHOKIA;


Mound City Earthwork and mound complex dating to the Middle WOODLAND period (c.200 BCAD 400, see HOPEWELL) and situated in the Scioto River valley, Ross County, Ohio (USA). When first reported in 1848, the site consisted of a large square earthwork enclosing c.5 ha and containing at least 24 earthen mounds. Excavation of several of the mounds in the 1920s revealed a variety of Hopewell mortuary features, including the ‘Great Mica Grave’ found in Mound 13. Many of the mortuary features contained Hopewell-series pottery and exotic artefacts, such as animal-effigy and plain-platform pipes, obsidian projectile points, copper effigies of animals and humans, plates, beads, axes and marine-shell cups.

W. Mills: ‘Exploration of the Mound City Group’, OAHSP 31 (1922), 422–584.


Mound Velarde Site in Bolivia dating from c.AD 100 to the early 20th century, which is still one of the very few stratified lowland sites in this part of the world to have been investigated. An earthen ‘island’, one of a large number of artificial living platforms connected by long causeways and surrounded by drained field systems on the seasonally inundated Llanos de Mojos. The upper stratum contained urn burials and painted tripod bowls, while the ceramics from the lower stratum show stylistic ties with both the Andes and the Amazon.

E. von Nordenskiold: ‘Urnengräber und Mounds im Bolivienischen Flachlande’, Baessler Archiv 3/1 (1912), 210–56.


Moundville Large ‘mound center’ in the valley of the Black Warrior River, Alabama, USA, which is one of the largest MISSISSIPPIAN sites in the south-eastern United States, and the focus of an important regional group. Mound construction began by the late 11th century AD, and Moundville came to dominate neighbouring smaller mound centers by the 13th century. This control, however, had faded by the 16th century. The site extends over 120 ha, and contains at least 20 large earthen mounds, most of which are distributed around a large rectangular plaza. Other sites in the settlement system are smaller, but include 10 minor centres each with a single mound. Elite burials are found at these centres, with the highest ranking at Moundville itself.

The well defined settlement cluster and the presence of the single large site at Moundville suggests that this is a case of a unified chiefdom society. The Moundville settlement system has been used to test theories of settlement location in chiefdom societies, in particular a version of CENTRAL PLACE THEORY modified to recognize labour service and tribute payment, whether in staple commodities or luxury goods, as the dominant modes of economic activity rather than retail marketing as in Walter Christaller’s original model. In such a system the costs of providing labour or tribute would require that the subordinate centres be located significantly nearer to the main central place than would otherwise be the case. The actual settlement system fits the expectations of such a model, although other factors such as local exchange, political rivalry or even warfare may also have been important factors.

V. Steponaitis, ‘Location theory and complex chiefdoms’,

Mississippian settlement patterns, ed. B.D. Smith (London and New York, 1978), 417–53; C.S. Peebles: ‘The rise and fall of the Mississippian in western Alabama: the


Moundville and Summerville phases, AD 1000 to 1600, Mississippi Archaeology 22 (1987), 1–31; V.P. Steponaitis: ‘Contrasting patterns of Mississippian development’,

Chiefdoms: power, economy, and ideology, ed. T. Earle (Cambridge, 1991), 193–228; P.D. Welch, Moundville’s economy (Tuscaloosa, 1991).


Mount Carmel Group of Middle and Upper Palaeolithic cave-sites to the east of Haifa in Israel, which were excavated by Dorothy Garrod in 1927–35. At Tabun cave she found a series of MOUSTERIAN levels of occupation, including a NEANDERTHAL burial. In the Tabun and (Mugharet) el-Wad caves Garrod found remains spanning the crucial period of transition between the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic, as well as later strata dating to the Mesolithic and NATUFIAN periods (Garrod and Bate 1937). In 1931–2 the excavations of Ted McCown at the nearby Skhul rock-shelter revealed 10 human burials (including the skull of a child) in association with Lower Mousterian artefacts similar to those at Tabun. René Neuville excavated similar human remains at the Qafzeh cave, and it was suggested that the remains from QAFZEH AND SKHUL represented different elements within a Levantine population which was evolving from Neanderthals into anatomically modern humans in about 40,000 BP (McCown and Keith 1939), although uncertainty remained as to whether this population was ‘evolutionary’ or ‘hybrid’. This speculation, however, was superseded by Arthur Jelinek’s re-examination of Tabun, revealing 85 strata, as opposed to Garrod’s six layers, which suggested that this Mousterian occupation site probably dated back to 90,000 BP (Jelinek 1981). In 1988, the TL DATING of burnt stone flakes from the Qafzeh burials produced a date of 92,000 ± 5000 BP, thus indicating that anatomically modern humans had arrived in the Levant 50,000 years earlier than previously thought (Vandermeersch 1989).

The Mount Carmel region also includes Nahal Oren, an important stratified occupation site which, like the upper strata at el-Wad, dated from the Kebaran (c.16,000–14,000 BC) to the ACERAMIC

NEOLITHIC (c.8000–5500 BC). The NATUFIAN

levels at Nahal Oren (c.11000–9300 BC) included a small cemetery alongside a settlement consisting of circular drystone huts.

D.A.E. Garrod and D.M.A. Bate: The Stone Age of Mount Carmel I (Oxford 1937); T.D. McCown and A. Keith: The Stone Age of Mount Carmel II (Oxford, 1939); D.R. Brothwell: ‘The people of Mount Carmel: a reconsideration of their position in human evolution’, PPS 27 (1961),



155–9; A. Jelinek: ‘The Middle Palaeolithic of the Levant: synthesis’, Préhistoire du Levant, ed. J. Cauvin and P. Sanlaville (Paris, 1981); B. Vandermeersch: ‘The evolution of modern humans: recent evidence from southwest Asia’, The human revolution, ed. P. Mellars and C. Stringer (Edinburgh, 1989), 155–64.


Mousa Scottish Iron Age broch (defensive stone tower) on the islet of Mousa off mainland Shetland, probably built largely in the 1st century BC and occupied and internally modified up to the 3rd century AD. Although Mousa has not been properly excavated, it is important as the finest surviving example of the BROCH class of monuments in Scotland. (It survived almost intact because there were no subsequent settlements nearby, and thus no stone robbing.) It consists of a massive drystone tower over 13 m high and 15 m in external diameter, tapering towards the top. After a single solid drystone wall to a height of nearly 4 m, the wall becomes a hollow double-skinned structure bounded by stone lintels at regular intervals to preserve its strength. The most architecturally striking feature of Mousa is a stairway with stone steps that runs up through this hollow wall from the first-floor height to the top of the building. The tower wall also contained several intramural cells, while its internal face is ledged so as to support a timber framework (gallery or floor) of some kind. It is uncertain whether the tower was ever roofed.

Inventory of Shetland, Royal Commission on the Ancient Monuments of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1946), 48–55.


Mousterian One of the key industries of the Early (or ‘Middle’) PALAEOLITHIC, it succeeded the ACHEULEAN and related industries and preceded the first industries of the Upper Palaeolithic. The Mousterian differs from earlier industries in that it is based on flakes produced from carefully prepared cores using the LEVALLOIS TECHNIQUE; as these smaller flake-based implements become dominant in assemblages, heavier handaxes tend to disappear. It was first identified at the French site of Le Moustier in the Dordogne, although variants are recognised across Europe, the Near East and parts of Asia; in western Europe, the relationship between the industries of the Palaeolithic has been clarified at sites such as PECH DE L’AZÉ in the Dordogne valley, which in the 1950s yielded a sequence of Acheulean and Mousterian deposits. Industries based on flakes had begun to emerge before 200,000 BP, while the classic Mousterian can

be identified after perhaps 160,000 BP and lasts until c.40,000 BP in Europe.

Traditionally, this technological shift was thought to be very closely associated with the early forms of homo sapiens and especially with the emergence of – the Mousterian date range roughly coincides with that of skeletal evidence for the Neanderthals. However, the relationship between Mousterian technology and human evolution is now recognised to be significantly more complex: at some sites ANATOMICALLY

have been found in levels that yield ‘Mousterian’ technology – for example, at the site of STAROSEL’YE. Like the evidence from QAFZEH AND SKHUL caves in the Near East, this suggests that ‘modern’ humans made ‘Mousterian’ tools. Furthermore, towards the end of the Neanderthal date range, around 40,000 to 35,000 BP, the remains of Neanderthals seem to be associated with early variants of Upper Palaeolithic (ie non-Mousterian) blade-based technology, such as the CHÂTELPERRONIAN in France, the SZELETIAN of central Europe and the ULUZZIAN of Italy. At St Césaire, for example, a cave site in the Charente region of France, a Neanderthal burial has been found in apparent association with Upper Palaeolithic Châtelperronian tools.

Parts of eastern Europe, and particularly the Caucasus, were intensively settled during the Mousterian epoch as is clear from the cave-sites of Azykh, KUDARO and many others. Mousterian sites are also located near Volgograd (Sukhaya Mechetka), near Kursk (Khotylevo) and in a few other areas of European Russia, as well as in Moldovia and in the Ukraine (the Crimean cave sites of KIIK-KOBA, AK-KAYA and others). Many sites reveal sequences of Acheulean and later Mousterian levels, including KUDARO in Georgia; the five Acheulean levels at KOROLEVO seem different to the other Acheulean assemblages of central and western Europe: choppers are common, handaxes are atypical, and there is an early development of the Levallois technique.

Whatever the precise relationship between tool industry and anatomical evolution, some archaeologists associate the more advanced Mousterian tool assemblages with a shift in human capabilities, notably in terms of conceptualisation and tool design. Steven Mithen (1996: 119), for example, notes that considerable skills were needed to envisage and knap flint tools using this new ‘prepared core technology’. It is less certain whether this advance was essentially limited to the technological sphere, or whether it signified a more general advance in social and environmental intelligence

reflected in hunting strategy, shelter construction and burial of the dead. At AK-KAYA (Zaskal’naya) in the Crimea, Zaskal’naya 5 comprises eight Mousterian levels with abundant faunal remains, numerous hearths and a rich flint inventory. Nearby, Zaskal’naya 6 contained the remains of burials of five children, aged 8–12 years old, and classed as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis; the skeletal evidence is morphologically similar to that from KIIK-KOBA in Crimea, TESHIK TASH in Uzbekistan and some Palestinian Neanderthals (see WADI AMUD, MOUNT CARMEL). At Kiik-Koba, the two Mousterian occupation levels included an upper level with an artificial enclosure made of large cobbles, and two burials of Neanderthals – one adult and one child (5–8 months old) laid close to each other in contracted postures. For further discussion and bibliography, see PALAEOLITHIC.

S. Mithen: The prehistory of the mind (London, 1996).


MSA (=Middle Stone Age) See AFRICA 4

Muang Fa Daet Large moated site located in the Chi valley, northeast Thailand. In its final form, the defences enclosed 171 ha, and a large rectangular reservoir lay outside the moats. It is possible to define three possible enclosures, suggesting that the site was progressively enlarged. The interior contains numerous decorated sema stones, Buddhist markers of sacred precincts. These are decorated with scenes from the life of the Buddha, but one also depicts city walls manned by defenders, an image of the defences that once surrounded such sites. Muang Fa Daet has not been dated archaeologically and was probably occupied for a lengthy period, for a mound in the northern part of the site is covered by prehistoric pottery. The main building period, however, belongs to the later 1st millennium AD and corresponds to the central Thai sites of the


H. Quaritch-Wales: Dvaravati: the earliest kingdom of Siam (London, 1969), 105–13.


Muang Sima One of a handful of large moated settlements of the late 1st millennium AD in northeast Thailand, this site is strategically situated in the upper Mun Valley so as to control traffic between the Central Plain and Khorat Plateau. The site has not been extensively excavated, but an inscription records a gift of cattle, water buffalo and slaves to the temple by the overlord of Sri Canasa, probably


a small independent polity contemporary with those of the DVARAVATI CULTURE. Muang Sima was probably the centre of a polity which, to judge from the Khmer as well as Sanskrit text, was orientated towards the polities of the middle Mekong in Cambodia.

H. Quaritch-Wales: Dvaravati: the earliest kingdom of Siam (London 1969), 100–5.


Mubende Hill Hilltop shrine in west-central Uganda, dating from the mid-Iron Age to modern times, which contains ritual objects of various ages (up to the present). Like other shrines in the interlacustrine region, that of Mubende Hill stands on an archaeological site of the mid-Iron Age, dating approximately to the 14th century AD. With its tall and ancient ‘witch tree’, it is renowned as a centre of religion, healing and traditional lore; some scholars (e.g. Lanning 1966, Sutton 1993) consider that it was also an ancient royal capital. The pottery from Robertshaw’s excavations of 1987 (see Sutton 1993) relates Mubende to the same cultural complex as NTUSI and BIGO.

E.C. Lanning: ‘Excavations at Mubende Hill’, UJ 30 (1966), 153–63; J.E.G. Sutton: ‘The antecedents of the interlacustrine kingdoms’, JAH 34 (1993), 33–64.


Muguruk see SANGOAN

multidimensional scaling (mdscal) A way of reducing the dimension of a MULTIVARIATE DATASET such as the shapes of artefacts as expressed by a set of measurements made on each one. For example, it enabled the shapes of a set of Iron Age fibulae to be plotted as points on a twodimensional SCATTERGRAM, although it took many dimensions to accurately describe the shapes. The number of dimensions is reduced one at a time to the required number (usually two). At each step the distances between each pair of objects are calculated and ranked in size order; the aim is to preserve this order, as far as possible, as the pattern is squeezed down to one fewer dimension, so as to preserve the overall pattern of the objects in the space. The extent to which the order has to be distorted is called the strain. Mdscal can produce very good results on a small dataset, but it is very demanding of computer time, and it is difficult to tell whether the ‘best’ result has been achieved. It has been relatively little used since a period of experimentation in the 1970s.

J.B. Kruskal: ‘Multidimensional scaling in archaeology:


time is not the only dimension’, Mathematics in the archaeological and historical sciences, ed. F.R. Hodson, D.G. Kendall and P. Tautu (Edinburgh, 1971), 119–32; J.E. Doran and F.R. Hodson: Mathematics and computers in archaeology (Edinburgh, 1975), 213–7.


multiplier effect see SYSTEMS THEORY

multivariate dataset, multivariate statistics Branch of statistics concerned with the simultaneous behaviour of two or (usually) more VARIABLES. The approaches used are often EXPLORATORY, rather than concerned with


ING, and the VISUAL DISPLAY of data is an important tool. The starting point of such analyses is frequently the presentation of a DATASET (such as a set of chemical analyses made on a series of artefacts) as points in a multidimensional space, each point representing an object and each dimension a VARIABLE. The distribution of the points in the multidimensional space may be analysed (see CLUSTER ANALYSIS), or the number of variables/ dimensions may be reduced (using techniques such as



results may be reproduced graphically or analysed using conventional statistical processes.

J.E. Doran and F.R. Hodson: Mathematics and computers in archaeology (Edinburgh, 1975), 132–264; S. Shennan: Quantifying archaeology (Edinburgh, 1988), 166–297; M.J. Baxter: Exploratory multivariate analysis in archaeology

(Edinburgh, 1993).


mummification (Arabic: Mummiya, ‘bitumen’) The flesh and skin of humans and animals have sometimes been inadvertently preserved in particularly waterlogged, arid or frozen contexts


and Tollund man. However, the term ‘mummification’ is more properly applied to instances of deliberate, artificial preservation. The concept of the physical survival of the body after death was fundamental to the funerary practices of many ancient cultures, and a wide range of methods of artificial mummification were practised in Egypt, America, Libya, Siberia, China, Japan, Australia and Melanesia. Not unexpectedly, mummification has invariably been adopted in those extreme geographical locations (such as the Sahara, the Andes and the Siberian steppes, see PAZYRYK) where

extreme climatic conditions no doubt produced the first instances accidentally. Grafton Elliot Smith (1923) argued that the apparent spread of mummification was an example of DIFFUSIONISM, but there is now little support for this theory that the process was invented in Egypt and then disseminated throughout the world, along with other innovative aspects of the pharaonic culture.

1. Egypt. Burials of the predynastic period in Egypt (c.5500–3000 BC) were spontaneously mummified by the desiccating effect of the desert sand in which they were buried. The earliest Egyptian technique of artificial mummification, involving only linen wrappings and resin, was developed at least as early as the 2nd dynasty (c.2770–2649 BC), but by the 4th dynasty more elaborate methods of embalming had been developed. At first only the heart, liver, lungs and intestines were removed and preserved separately in four CANOPIC JARS. In later times the brain tissue was extracted through the nostrils and the torso itself was dehydrated by covering with powdered natron. There are no surviving descriptions of mummification from the pharaonic period, but the later accounts of Greek writers such as Herodotus (c.450 BC) indicate that the entire process took about 70 days, including the precise placing of numerous prophylactic amulets among the linen wrappings.

Most surviving Egyptian mummies date to the New Kingdom (c.1550–1070 BC) or later, although the earliest surviving example is the body of a man called Waty dating to the 5th dynasty (c.2400 BC), from a tomb at Saqqara. The mummified bodies of many of the New Kingdom pharaohs were discovered at Western Thebes, having been reinterred in two caches, one in the tomb of Amenhotep II (in the VALLEY OF THE KINGS) and the other in a shafttomb at DEIR EL-BAHARI. From the Late Period onwards millions of mummified animals, such as falcons, ibises and cats, were dedicated at the temples of such deities as the cat-goddess Bastet and the crocodile-god Sobek, resulting in the creation of vast mummy-filled catacombs, such as the sacred animal necropolises at Saqqara and Tuna el-Gebel. 2. Americas. In Peru, the earliest surviving mummies are the four eviscerated and desiccated bodies found at Tres Ventanas Cave and dated at between 4000 and 2000 BC. The funerary rites of the PARACAS and INCA cultures of Peru, dating to c.900–200 BC and AD 1200–1534 respectively, involved the burial of desiccated bodies wrapped in a variety of materials, including cotton, cactus-fibre net, matting and basketry. Among the ANASAZI people of North America (c.AD 1–1300) desiccated bodies were placed in pits, stone-lined cists and

caves along with funerary offerings such as baskets and weapons. See also CHINCHORRO and MUMMY BUNDLE. For mummification in Siberia see PAZYRYK.

G.E. Smith: The ancient Egyptians and the origin of civilization (London, 1923); J.E. Harris and K.E. Weeks: X-raying the pharaohs (New York, 1973); K.E. Stothert: ‘Unwrapping an Inca mummy bundle’, Archaeology 32/4, (1979), 8–17; A. Cockburn and E. Cockburn, eds:

Mummies, disease and ancient cultures (Cambridge, 1980); C.A. Andrews: Egyptian mummies (London, 1984); A.R. David: ‘Mummification’, Ancient Egyptian materials and technology, ed. P.T. Nicholson and I. Shaw (Cambridge, 1999).


mummy bundle Term used to describe the form often taken by cadavers in Andean South America. The seated or flexed body is wrapped in layers of clothing and other textiles as well as artefacts and plant offerings, forming a large bundle.


K.E. Stothert: ‘Unwrapping an Inca mummy bundle’, Archaeology 32/4, (1979), 8–17.



Munsell colour charts Set of eight charts, comprising 251 standard colours, derived from a Soil Survey Manual which forms part of Handbook 18 of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (based on a system devised between 1900 and 1912 by an American artist, Alfred Munsell). The so-called ‘Munsell Book of Color’ (or, more usually, the smaller version known as the ‘Munsell Soil Color Charts’) is commonly used by archaeologists as a standard means of identifying and naming colours of such features as soils, sediments, pigments and pottery fabrics.

With use of the Munsell charts, soils or fabrics can be labelled with an alphanumeric defining three variables: hue (e.g. R = red, GY = green-- yellow), value (lightness or darkness measured from 0 to 10) and chroma (i.e. saturation or purity). Each sheet of the book is perforated with holes so that both the archaeological sample and the Munsell colour chip can be viewed simultaneously. Thus, a yellowish-brown sample from a given layer at a site might correspond to a colour chip defined in the Munsell Book as 10YR 3/4. Munsell books usually also include a chart facilitating the distinction between deposits according to different ‘granular and crumb structures’, i.e. variation in texture from ‘very fine’ (comprising grains less


than 1 mm in diameter) to ‘very coarse’ (more than 10 mm diameter).

There are several colour charts other than the Munsell Book, such as the Ostwald Colour Album, which was used to describe the colours of ceramics at the Egyptian site of ARMANT in the 1930s, the Schwaneberger chart (designed for philatelists), and the charts produced by the Japanese Colour Research Institute in Tokyo (see Coles 1972: 204).

In some instances, such as the accurate recording of the colours of ancient wall paintings, electronic measuring systems have been adopted. The Minolta CR–221, for instance, employs silicon photocells and a data processor to store and analyse colour measurements, displaying the results in the form of five different methods of colour notation, including the Munsell system (see Billmeyer, Jr. and Saltzman 1981; Strudwick 1991).

J. Coles: Field archaeology in Britain (London, 1972); Munsell Color Company: Munsell soil color charts

(Baltimore, 1975); F.W. Billmeyer, Jr. and M. Saltzman:

Principles of colour technology (New York, 1981); N. Strudwick: ‘An objective colour-measuring system for the recording of Egyptian tomb paintings’, JEA 77 (1991), 43–56.


Muqayyar, Tell el- see UR

Mureybet Tell site comprising deposits dating


periods (c.9000–7000 BC), located next to the Euphrates in Syria. There were three major phases: a Natufian hunters’ camp, a Proto-Neolithic cluster of circular mud huts and an Aceramic Neolithic village consisting of large, rectangular stone-built structures, some incorporating the bones and horned skulls of wild oxen, as in the later settlement at ÇATAL HÜYÜK. Although the animals and cereal crops on which the inhabitants of Mureybet relied for their subsistence were apparently undomesticated, it has been suggested that the wild barley may have been brought to the area from the Anatolian region of Gaziantep, almost 150 km away.

M. Van Loon: ‘The Oriental Institute excavations at Mureybet, Syria’, JNES 27 (1968), 264–90; J.C. Cauvin: ‘Nouvelles fouilles à Tell Mureybet (Syrie) 1971–72. Rapport préliminaire’, Les Annales Archéologiques Arabes Syriennes 22 (1972), 105–15; ––––: Les premiers villages de Syrie-Palestine du IXe au VIIe millénaire avant J.C.

(Lyons, 1978).



Murray Springs Kill site of the CLOVIS culture, located in the San Pedro Valley, southeastern Arizona, 20 km north of the LEHNER site. Both the main site, including the remains of mammoth, bison and possibly horse, and an associated temporary camp site have been dated to 11,000 BP.

C.V. Haynes and E.T. Hemmings: ‘Mammoth-bone shaft wrench from Murray Springs, Arizona’, Science 159 (1968), 186–7.


Murzak-Koba Mesolithic cave site in the valley of the river Chernaya, Balaklava region, Crimea (Ukraine). The site was discovered and excavated by S.N. Bibikov in 1936–8. The faunal remains include wild goat, wild pig, red deer, wild cat, brown bear and dog. The stone industry includes geometric microliths (trapezes, lunates and triangles). The bone industry consisted of harpoons, awls, arrowheads, needles and pendants. The cultural stratum included burials of a female, 20–25 years of age, and a male 40–50 years old. Finger bones in both of the female’s hands had been amputated during her life-time.

S.N. Bibikov: ‘Grot Murzak-Koba – navaja pozdnepaleoliticˇ eskaja stojanka v Krymu’ [Murzak-Koba cave – a new Late Palaeolithic site in the Crimea], Sovetskaja arheologija 3 (1940), 159–78; E.A. Vekilova: ‘Kamennyi vek Kryma: nekotorye itogi’ [The Crimean Stone Age: some conclusions], MIAS 173 (Leningrad, 1971), 117–62.


Mushabian complex Term applied in the late 1970s to a set of EPIPALAEOLITHIC assemblages from sites in Wadi Mushabi and the surrounding region of northeastern Sinai. As a result of the discovery of similar sites in the Negev and southern Jordan, the Mushabian has been identified as a ‘complex’ of different microlithic assemblages spread throughout the arid parts of the southern Levant, all dated by radiocarbon to c.14,170–11,700 BP. The Mushabian material culture typically consists of chipped stone tools, occasionally accompanied by groundstone, bone or shell artefacts.

D.O. Henry: From foraging to agriculture: the Levant at the end of the Ice Age (Philadelphia, 1989), 124–49.


Mussau Islands Extensive excavations on these Pacific islands by Kirch have uncovered a series of

sites from the LAPITA CULTURAL COMPLEX and

later periods. Some sites, such as those on Eloaua Island, are waterlogged and have preserved wooden

posts and plant remains (which demonstrate that all the tree crops in use in Melanesia today were exploited 3000 years ago), as well as large samples of pottery, obsidian, worked shell and faunal remains. Pottery at the sites may have been traded during the Lapita period, as was obsidian during all periods.

P.V. Kirch; ‘Lapita and Oceanic cultural origins: excavations in the Mussau Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, 1985’, JFA 14 (1987), 163–80; P.V. Kirch et al.: ‘Mussau Islands prehistory: results of the 1985–6 excavations’,

Report of the Lapita Homeland Project, ed. J. Allen and C. Gosden (Canberra, 1991), 144–63.


Mwitu tradition see EARLY IRON AGE

Mycenae, Mycenaeans Mycenae is the principal surviving site of the Mycenaean civilization of late Bronze Age Greece, comprising a citadel palace and concentric rings of richly furnished shaft graves. The site began as a substantial but unremarkable Middle HELLADIC settlement until, around 1650 BC, a richer culture developed, based on the local Helladic but adopting many MINOAN artistic and cultural conventions. The earliest evidence for this culture is a circle of shaft graves on the citadel excavated in the 1950s, known as ‘Circle B’. These graves contained local Helladic material culture, pottery that reveals influences from the CYCLADIC CULTURE, stone vases imported from Crete, and sword-types that are derived from Crete. This mix of material culture and the form of the earliest graves in Circle B – a simple, relatively shallow pit burial that is similar to other pit graves in southern Greece in this period – proves that the Mycenaean civilization developed locally rather than representing an intrusion.

A slightly later set of shaft graves (c.1550–1500 BC), excavated earlier by Heinrich Schliemann and thus rather confusingly called Circle A, had formed the type-site for the Mycenaean civilization. (It now seems clear that the latest Circle B graves may be almost contemporary with the earliest Circle A graves.) Like the earlier circle, stelae were set over these shafts, some plain and some decorated with carvings of spirals, warriors, chariots etc. Again like Circle B, the grave goods in Circle A are a heterogeneous mix, including simple implements and jewellery as well as extraordinary gold and silver works of art revealing both strong local traditions and connections with Crete and other Mediterranean regions. The most remarkable items from Circle A include a silver bullshead rhyton that

is almost certainly the work of a Cretan artisan, and a series of five goldsheet ‘death masks’ that are Helladic and have no real Cretan parallels. There are also items made locally but showing Cretan stylistic influence.

The sudden efflorescence of material culture at Mycenae has been explained in the past in terms of an incursive Minoan aristocracy, or of Helladic plundering of Crete. In fact, the mix of relative continuity in pottery styles with the presence of striking imported goods and a wider adoption of exotic styles seems more likely to be the result of a local polity building power and wealth, perhaps through trade, and then adopting selected elements of the richest cultures in the wider region. (The process may even be comparable to the importing and adaption of classical artistic styles and motifs by the HALLSTATT chiefdoms of north and west Europe in the last few centuries BC.) Between its genesis soon after 1700 BC, until its height in around 1450 BC, Mycenaean cultural influence spread throughout the Aegean, directly influencing Minoan society.

Later Mycenaean civilization. There is only fragmentary evidence for defensive structures and palaces contemporary with the shaft graves at Mycenae – as at other sites, the earliest structures were obliterated by later building and landscaping. The earliest well-preserved monumental buildings are the various major THOLOS tombs and chamber tombs, the greatest of which began to be built in the early to mid-14th century BC. From the 14th century BC, roughly in the same period that Minoan society on Crete largely collapsed probably due to warfare or invasions, massive Cyclopean walls were erected at Mycenae, presumably replacing less impressive fortifications. Similar walls defend the citadels of TIRYNS, GLA, Athens and lesser sites, and many of these fortifications were extended or embellished in the 13th century; Mycenae and Tiryns were given extraordinary corbelled stone passageways leading out from the defences to their water supplies. The traditional, but arguably misplaced, association of Mycenaean culture with war and hero-culture is partly due to these impressive fortifications and partly due to Homer’s descriptions of battles and heroic deeds which some scholars believe are based on narratives of events and myths passed down from the Mycenaean era.

The use of ‘Cyclopean’ architecture, which seems to have evolved in the Greek Argolid, is very notable in Mycenean architecture: structures and walling using massive, flat-surfaced but irregularly shaped ashlar stone. Cyclopean walling is best evidenced at Mycenae and Tiryns, where it is used


for defensive walling, bastions and gateways – notably the massive post and lintel gates such as the Lion Gate with its unique sculpture of two lions either side of a relief column. However, the Cyclopean style was also used for a series of dams, bridges and culverts which reveal an extensive Mycenaean road system radiating from Mycenae.

Within the walls of Mycenae, as at Thebes and perhaps Orchomenos in Boetia, and the undefended site of PYLOS in Messenia, palace complexes have been identified that have parallels with, but are much smaller than, the palace complexes of Minoan Crete. Like the Minoan palaces, the Mycenaean examples have ceremonial areas (MEGARON units), administrative areas (the archive at Pylos is the clearest evidence of this), areas for storage of agricultural produce such as oil and textiles and sometimes luxury items; and evidence of specialist manufacture. With the rise of the palaces, a script (Linear B) came to be used for administration, derived from Minoan Linear A but recording a different language – Mycenaean Greek. However, the Mycenaean palaces are organized on quite different principles to those of Crete. Rather than centring on an open courtyard they focus on a ceremonial ‘megaron’: a long rectangular hall approached via a porch and (often) an anteroom, usually surrounded by subsidiary rooms. Judging from evidence at Pylos, the megaron rooms possessed galleries and central hearths. Mycenaean frescoes are heavily influenced by their Minoan predecessors, but evolved a distinct and less naturalistic (more static) style.

The Mycenaean palaces are often associated with groups of villas of enigmatic function: they may be housing for an elite, or have administrative functions like the West House group at Mycenae (which has a megaron element). Other houses, with the finer rooms on the second storey and storage areas beneath – rather like better-preserved counterparts on THERA – may have housed merchants (e.g. the House of the Oil Merchant near the citadel of Mycenae).

The evidence for Mycenaean religion is limited, although there was an apparent ‘cult centre’ at Mycenae itself with altars and large figurines of worshippers, clay snakes, and the famous Room of the Fresco which seems to depict two goddesses facing one another, one with a staff, the other with a sword. The megara themselves may have been at the centre of cult ceremonies. The Pylos archives suggest that there were localized pantheons of gods, rather than a single well-defined set of deities.

It is often assumed that the palaces acted as administrative and redistributive centres, for which


there is archival evidence at Pylos; a few Linear B script tablets have also been recovered from Mycenae. It is also sometimes argued that they encouraged a specialization of local economies, for which there is less direct evidence. Although the wealth of the burials, the sculpture (e.g. Lion Gate) and myth suggest that Mycenae was pre-eminent among the Mycenaean fortresses, it is not clear whether it dominated the other sites economically or politically.

G. Karo: Die Schactgräber von Mykenai (Munich, 1930–3); A.J.B. Wace: Mycenae: an archaeological history and guide (Princeton, 1943); V.R. d’A. Desborough: The

last Mycenaeans and their successors (Oxford, 1964); C. Blegen: The palace of Nestor at Pylos (Princeton, 1966); G. Mylonas: Mycenae and the Mycenaean Age (Princeton, 1966); M. Ventris and J. Chadwick: Documents in Mycenaean Greek (Cambridge, 1973) [contents of Linear B tablets from Pylos and Knossos]; J. Hooker: Mycenaean Greece (London, 1976); J. Chadwick: The Mycenaean world (Cambridge, 1977); A. Harding: The Mycenaeans and Europe (London, 1984); Th. Palaima and C. Shelmerdine, eds: Pylos comes alive: industry and administration in a Mycenaean palace (New York, 1984); K. Kilian: ‘The Mycenaeans Up To Date’, Problems in Greek prehistory, ed. E.B. French and K.A. Wardle (Bristol, 1988).