Aegean Design in Oriental Palaces - The Wall Paintings of Tell el-Dab'a

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Aegean Design in Oriental Palaces

The project „Aegean Design in Oriental Palaces. Knowledge and Materiality in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Second Millennium B.C.", funded by the German Research Foundation, aims to compare different sites with wall paintings in ‘Aegean Style’ or with Aegean influences in Anatolia, Western Asia and Egypt.

The wall paintings from Tell Atchana/Alalakh and Hattusha in present day Turkey, Tall Mishrife/Qatna in western Syria, Tel Kabri in Palestine, and Tell el-Dab'a in the Nile Delta exhibit, on both technical and iconographic ground, obvious references to wall paintings from the Minoan and Mycenaean world. Recent finds from Tel Kabri, Tell el-Dab'a and Qatna in particular have set off an intensive discussion about the distribution of Aegean iconography and fresco technique in the Near East. Accordingly, questions did arise about the supra-regional communication responsible for this - albeit in the form of a technique and motif transfer or rather a direct exchange of ideas via specialized craftsmen. The above-named sites are commonly mentioned in the same breath and their contents gladly linked to one another, however they can hardly be considered as a singular phenomenon simply due to chronological reasons and different cultural contexts. Moreover, local variations in fresco technique, as well as in the acquisition of motifs and stylistic elements points to varying adaption processes in the different regions.
Within the framework of this project, the appearance of this type of painting in Western Asia and the Nile Delta will be studied by an approach through social theory of knowledge and by pulling from different archaeological fields of study and analytical scientific methods.

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