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Syrian Basalt Altar with Two Feline Heads

Syrian Basalt Altar with Two Feline Heads


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Directory: Hidden: Viewable: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1379696

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Griffin Gallery Ancient Art
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Syrian Basalt Altar, Chalcolithic, ca late 4th Millennium BCE. Intact and in excellent condition, 3 3/8" h x 3 1/4" w x 5 3/8" l. Ex: Sotheby's New York. Rectangular in form with recessed top and base. Two feline heads at front flanking a tree. Sides carved in shallow relief with panels of volutes and "X" pattern. According to Ancient Near East.net, the Chalcolithic Period in the Levant is that period between the late fifth and late fourth millennia BCE (approximately 4300 – 3300 BCE), during which human material culture consolidated on the advances of the Neolithic Period, utilizing new metal technologies, in order to find expression in a variety of inter-related cultures throughout the region. Variety and innovation seem to be the by-words for the period, so much so that Ami Mazar has aptly sub-titled the Chalcolithic period as “Innovative Communities of the Fourth Millennium”. The term ‘Chalcolithic’ (pronounced kælkol, meaning “copper-stone”) derives from the Greek χαλκος chalcos (‘copper’) and λίθος lithos (‘stone’) and was first coined in by to describe the period of development transitional from the use of stone tools to the use of metals. Outside of the “three age” system, positioned between the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. As such, within the Levant the term designates that general period in which copper (Cu) – the first metal widely utilized by mankind – made its technological advent alongside the continuing extremely wide use of stone tools and implements.