Ancient Amber: Outline and Bibliography
Points to report on:
- What is amber?
- What did the ancients do with amber (and similar resins?)
- Where did/do people get amber from?
Generally, amber is said to be present in Egypt and Mesopotamia by 2500 BCE, but it is only certain in the Greek cemeteries at Pylos (Grave Circle) and the Mycenae Shaft Graves (Omicron, specifically.) This is at the end of the Middle Helladic period. Amber is then later found in Crete in the Minoan period, and greater Mycenaean importation is probably around 1600 or 1500, and then again at 1200 BCE.
The Germanic Hallstatt culture trades northern amber to the Etruscans and Italics in the Po River delta. By 600, Greek amber declines, but the Etruscans still retain trade of the good until at least 300 BCE. Trade resumes in large scale in the Roman Empire, at which time amber gains a new prestige.
Bibliography and NotesBeck, Curt W. (1966). Analysis and Provenience of Minoan and Mycenaean Amber, I. Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, 7, 191-211
Bound, Mensun (1991) Enalia Suppliments: The Giglio Wreck. Enalia Suppliments.
Grimaldi, D.A. (1996). Amber: Window to the Past. New York: American Museum of Natural History. 148-159
Harding, Anthony and Hughes, Helen. (1974) Amber in the Mycenean World. The Annual of the British School at Athens, 69, 145-172
Lucas, Alfred. (1934) Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industry. London: E. Arnold & Co. 388-390 Oxford : Tempus Reparatum. 191-192, 392-394
Parker, A. J. (1992) Ancient shipwrecks of the Mediterranean & the Roman provinces.
Theophrasus, trans Caley and Richards. (1956) On Stones. Columbus, Ohio:The Ohio State University. 110-117
Williamson, G.C. (1932) The Book of Amber. London:Ernest Benn Ltd.
probably useful, but unavailable at the time: International Conference on Amber in Archaeology (1990) Amber in archaeology : proceedings of the second International Conference on Amber in Archaeology. Praha, Czech Republic : Institute of Archaeology, Czech Academy of Sciences.