4Lascaux is famous for its Palaeolithic cave paintings, found in a complex of caves in the Dordogne region of southwestern France, because of their exceptional quality, size, sophistication and antiquity. Estimated to be up to 20,000 years old, the paintings consist primarily of large animals, once native to the region. Lascaux is located in the Vézère Valley where many other decorated caves have been found since the beginning of the 20th century (for example Les Combarelles and Font-de-Gaume in 1901, Bernifal in 1902).Sections have been identified in the cave; the Great Hall of the Bulls, the Lateral Passage, the Shaft of the Dead Man, the Chamber of Engravings, the Painted Gallery, and the Chamber of Felines. The cave contains nearly 2,000 figures, which can be grouped into three main categories - animals, human figures and abstract signs. Most of the major images have been painted onto the walls using mineral pigments although some designs have also been incised into the stone.
8Stonehenge is an enigmatic prehistoric monument located on a chalky plain north of the modern day city of Salisbury, England. It was started 5,000 years ago and modified by ancient Britons over a period of 1,000 years. Its purpose continues to be a mystery. The biggest of its stones, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall and weigh 25 tons (22.6 metric tons) on average. It is widely believed that they were brought from Marlborough Downs, a distance of 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the north. Smaller stones, referred to as “bluestones” (they have a bluish tinge when wet or freshly broken), weigh up to 4 tons and most of them appear to have come from the Preseli Hills in western Wales, a distance of 156 miles (250 km). It’s unknown how people in antiquity moved them that far; water transport was probably used for part of the journey. Recently, scientists have raised the possibility that during the last ice age glaciers carried these bluestones closer to the Stonehenge area and the monument’s makers didn’t have to move them all the way from Wales. There are numerous theories as to why Stonehenge was built. At the time it was made, people in the area were herders and farmers. They left no written records behind.An “avenue” connecting Stonehenge with the River Aven is aligned with the solstice. In addition, research at the nearby ancient settlement of Durrington Walls, a site that also contains a series of wooden pillars, shows that pigs at the site were slaughtered in December and January, suggesting that the winter solstice was marked at Stonehenge.The burials at Stonehenge offer another clue. Recent research indicates that the burials took place from its beginning, around 5,000 years ago, to its high point when the sarsen stones were set down. Among the burial goods is a mace head, an item historically associated with elite members of society. This discovery raises the question whether the people buried at the monument were local leaders and Stonehenge, in some way, commemorated them.
10Most surviving objects of Early Dynastic art are small figurines of worshipers, which were discovered in temples, where they were probably left as offerings by pious visitors and pilgrims. These sculptures are generally small, under 30 cm (11.8 in) in height, although a few rare examples are as tall as two-thirds life-size. Most of the figurines are male, although some are of females with elaborate gowns and headdresses. The typical male worshiper is shown standing, wearing a long, fringed skirt, which leaves the chest bare. The most prominent features of these statues are the inlaid eyes, which seemingly stare toward the god to whom they were dedicated, and the hands clasped in prayer. Many of the statues are crudely made, perhaps by amateurs; others exhibit more skillful carving, and a few reflect exceptionally fine craftsmanship.
12The Role of Architecture In the pre-industrial world, the three main types of large-scale architecture were palaces (royal residences), temples (buildings devoted to religious activity), and royal tombs. Often, two of these types (or even all three) were combined in a single building. In many palaces and temples, some rooms were used for secondary activities, such as commercial business, manufacturing, or food storage.The architectural term complex denotes a cluster of buildings, which may stand separately or attached. A tomb complex, for instance, might contain hundreds of tombs, commemorative buildings, and monuments. A palace complex might feature multiple palaces, as well as administrative buildings (e.g. meeting halls) and defensive structures (e.g. walls, towers).Art and architecture were harnessed by all civilizations to reinforce the power and legitimacy of the state and its ruler. The sheer size of a city’s buildings would communicate its power (to both the native population and any would-be invaders), while murals and sculptures often illustrated divine approval (or even full-blown divinity) of the monarch. In many societies, the power of the monarch and the priestly class was periodically reaffirmed through dramatic ceremonies conducted in the presence of monumental art and architecture.Mesopotamian ArchitectureAs Mesopotamia is virtually devoid of stone, bricks (made from clay or mud) were the primary construction material. (Clay and mud are both a mixture of earth and water; clay is simply finer-grained.) Consequently, little survives of Mesopotamian architecture. Large-scale Egyptian and Greek buildings, on the other hand, were generally built from stone, making them far more durable.The most distinctive type of Mesopotamian architecture is the ziggurat, a structure shaped like a stepped pyramid. A ziggurat typically had little or no interior space, instead serving mainly as a platform for a temple. The exterior of a ziggurat was often decorated with glazed tiles, murals, or mosaics, and landscaped with trees and gardens.
14The practice of using funerary statues existed in Egypt for almost 3000 years, from the Old Kingdom onward. Most royal tombs contained a wide variety of ritualistic objects. Often they were placed in upright, resin-coasted wooden shrines. In Tutankhamun's tomb, the most obvious items were the life size ka-statues that guarded the sealed entrance to the burial chamber. Other items notable from Tutankhamun's tomb include various statues of the king walking, harpooning, or on the back of a leopard. There were also some 28 statues of gods, includingAtum, Duamutef andSakhmet, along with more obscure deities. It is probable that other tombs were likewise equipped.The tomb of Sethos was said to have contained as many as 700 to 1,000 shabti figures. These are "magical" fieldworkers for the next life, often produced of stone, faience or wood. Many tombs held for fewer Sethos, but for example, we know that Tutankhamun was buried with 413 shabti figures. In some cases, model hoes and other implements and tools for the shabti figures were also included.Another class of ritualistic object was the Osiris beds. These are wooden trays in the form of the god, Osiris, which were planted with seeds of grain They were expected to germinate once the tomb was sealed, and were symbolic of the continuation of life after death.There were any number of models buried along with many kings. While the early pyramid builders buried full size boats, at the Valley of the Kings, models of royal boats were included in the tomb, along with full size chariots and even couches. We believe these were a symbolic means of transporting the dead king. But even models of armies were buried with the king, along with full size knives and swords, and we can only imagine the purpose of these for the afterlife.
16The Great Sphinx of Giza (or, commonly, the Sphinx) is a statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx (a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head) that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, near modern-day Cairo, Egypt. It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 metres (241 ft) long, 6 metres (20 ft) wide, and m (66.34 ft) high. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom in the reign of the pharaoh Khafra (c BC).It is not known by what name the original creators called their statue, as the Great Sphinx does not appear in any known inscription of the Old Kingdom, and there are no inscriptions anywhere describing its construction or its original purpose.In the New Kingdom, the Sphinx was called Hor-em-akhet (Horus of the Horizon), and the Pharaoh Thutmose IV (1401–1391 or 1397–1388 BC) specifically referred to it as such in his Dream Stele.The commonly used name Sphinx was given to it in Classical antiquity, about 2000 years after the accepted date of its construction, by reference to a Greek mythological beast with a lion's body, a woman's head and the wings of an eagle (although like most Egyptian sphinxes, the Great Sphinx has a man's head and no wings). The English word sphinx comes from the ancient Greek sphinx, apparently from the verb sphingo, means I strangle, after the Greek sphinx who strangled anyone who failed to answer her riddle.Despite conflicting evidence and viewpoints over the years, the traditional view held by modern Egyptologists at large remains that the Great Sphinx was built in approximately 2500 BC by the pharaoh Khafra, the supposed builder of the second pyramid at Giza.The "circumstantial" evidence mentioned by Hassan includes the Sphinx's location in the context of the funerary complex surrounding the Second Pyramid, which is traditionally connected with Khafra. Apart from the Causeway, the Pyramid and the Sphinx, the complex also includes the Sphinx Temple and the Valley Temple, both of which display the same architectural style, with 200-tonne stone blocks quarried out of the Sphinx Enclosure.