Lost Worlds of Ancient and Modern Greece

Dr D.J. Ian Begg (Trent University) introduces us to the life and adventures of Italo-Canadian archaeologist, Gilbert Bagnani

The names of Gilbert and Stewart Bagnani were well-known around Trent University and Peterborough, Ontario. It wasn’t just that they had taught part-time in the Classics Department after retiring from the University of Toronto, but their hospitality at Vogrie, their country house in the rolling hills near Port Hope, was legendary. An oasis of knowledge, the home was filled with stories of antiquity and excavations and art manifest in their enormous art gallery/library added to the house.

Vogrie Photo ©Art Gallery of Ontario

Gilbert died in 1985, leaving most of his property to Trent. Before her death in 1996, his wife Stewart donated many cartons of letters and photographs to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Although unfortunately I never met the Bagnanis, when I heard that their papers had arrived in the archives at Trent in January 1998, I contacted the archivist who told me that among much else there were hieroglyphic texts! That was the beginning of a multi-faceted project lasting decades.

The most critical link in the project was Prof. Thomas Symons. After having been a student of Gilbert’s at the University of Toronto, by happenstance he became his neighbour in Toronto and, later as the Founding President of Trent University, also Gilbert’s employer at Trent. With so many social and professional links to both Gilbert and Stewart, Prof. Symons was always keen to support any research and public awareness of them.

It eventually became evident that their early lives in Europe could be neatly subdivided both chronologically and geographically: Gilbert’s student years in Greece in the early 1920s, their travels separately around Europe and North America and Egypt in the late 1920s, and their excavations in Egypt in the 1930s before emigrating from Rome to Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. 

In particular Gilbert’s adventures around Greece were a narrative gift: the Odyssey meets Gone with the Wind. The life of a young archaeologist with a secret identity and on spy missions seems like fiction but was actually documented in Gilbert’s letters to his mother in Rome. Through the archaeological sites he visited he was transported to earlier Greek worlds, underwent an ordeal of sweltering heat, and eventually emerged a more mature hero.

The research for a second volume will require more time and travels in the Bagnanis’ footsteps around Italy, Hungary and Germany, postponed by COVID restrictions.

Due to the history of other related archives, the research for a third and final volume to complete the trilogy is well underway. Prof. Carlo Anti asked Gilbert to assist him in his Italian excavations at Tebtunis in the Fayyum basin south-west of Cairo in 1931 but was promoted in 1932 to become the Rector of the University of Padua, leaving Gilbert to act as Field Director until 1936. As a result, the relevant excavation archives are scattered not only in Toronto and Peterborough in Canada but also in Padua and Venice in Italy. A decade ago my Italian colleagues initiated an international collaborative project to research and publish these old previously unpublished excavations. Many academic papers have been presented at international conferences and subsequently published in Italy.

Carlo Anti standing between Stewart and Gilbert Bagnani at Tebtunis 1932.
Photo ©Art Gallery of Ontario

Sincerest thanks to Dr Begg for this contribution to the Archaeopress Blog.

Read full details of Gilbert Bagnani’s Greek adventures in Lost Worlds of Ancient and Modern Greece (2020), published in the Archaeopress Archaeological Lives series (Hardback: £25, eBook: from £16).

For more information, or to contact the author, please visit: https://www.lostworlds.ca/

Watch Dr Begg’s recent presentation at the Canadian Institute in Greece: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFJEoGzs3NPPdo-2qa1vNKA

Book reviews for Lost Worlds of Ancient and Modern Greece:

This is a lively account of a formidable personality, scholar and archaeologist in the making. – Sir Michael Llewellyn Smith (2020), British Ambassodor to Greece 1996 – 1999

This first of three volumes based on {Bagnani’s] personal letters and news’ reports covers the momentous years from 1921-1924… We are treated to highly-entertaining sketches of leading archaeologists in Greece, and the way fieldwork was conducted, as well as the social life of the political class and wealthy elite of Athens. Informative, excellently-edited and a delight to read. – Professor John Bintliff (2020), Edinburgh University

This book stands as a major contribution—and an accessible one—to our understanding of the history of Greece in the years 1921-1924. In bringing Gilbert Bagnani back to life through his subject’s letters and through his own careful delving into primary sources, Ian Begg joins a group of scholars (among them Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan, Jack L. Davis, Susan Heuck Allen, Kostis Kourelis, Artemis Leontis, Despina Lalaki) who have examined the personal lives, attitudes and idiosyncrasies of archaeologists, artists and performers, anthropologists, and historians as entryways into the discoveries they made, using their personalities as lenses for their scholarly or artistic methods. Such approaches by later generations of scholars shed fresh light on the work of their predecessors and enlarge our understanding of the histories they wrote or performances they created. – Robert Pounder (2021): Bryn Mawr Classical Review

The titles of some books act like magnets. They pull you towards them and command attention… It is not about the lost worlds of Ancient Greece alone but also about the lost worlds of Modern Greece… Who is Gilbert Bagnani and what adventures is he having in Greece before and after the Asia Minor Catastrophe? Any hesitation you may have had vanishes into thin air when you start reading this absorbing, literate, informative and simply wonderful book. – James Karas (2022): Greek Press, Toronto, March 4, 2022

In 2022 Greece will be commemorating the one-hundredth anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastrophe. There are only a few books in English accessible to a broad audience that consider the events of 1922. These include, for example, Michael Llewellyn Smith’s Ionian Vision (1973), Lou Ureneck’s The Great Fire (2015), and Philip Mansel’s Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean (2010). To these we should now add Begg’s Lost WorldsLost Worlds of Ancient and Modern Greece is also the first part of a projected trilogy that will follow Bagnani and his future wife Stewart (Mary Augusta Stewart Huston) throughout the 1920s and 1930s before they finally left Europe for a new life in Canada. We should all very much look forward to learning about the next stops in this journey… – Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan (2022): Journal of Modern Greek Studies

A Note on Sex and Sexism in Archaeology

Over-simplified black-and-white classifications can sometimes be detrimental to the understanding of past populations; Jessica Ryan-Despraz considers the roles sexism and preconceived notions of sex and gender play in archaeological research and data interpretation.

Throughout my PhD work in biological anthropology and prehistoric archaeology, I began to see the ubiquity of sexism, subtle though it may sometimes seem, in theoretical research. Sexism in archaeology, in particular field archaeology, has been at the forefront of many recent conversations, with several institutions attempting to make strides at improving inclusivity and mutual respect. However, sexism and preconceived notions of sex and gender in research and data interpretation requires continued discussion.

My particular research examined archery during the Bell Beaker period and the application of osteological analyses to identify specialized activity. This therefore involved investigating the possible links between an individiual’s physical biomechanical developement and his or her burial context. One primary object of interest was stone wristguards, which are interpreted as the protective equipement worn by archers, and first appear in the archaeological record during the Bell Beaker period. The appearance of these items in a funerary context immediately raised questions of their links to social prestige and a possible “archery” culture as well as drove parallel interpretations examining the appearance of copper daggers, which sometimes appeared in the same graves. My research problematic therefore revolved around using osteological analyses in order to determine whether or not the individuals in these burials were specialized archers and then using that data to better understand the possible link between archery and Bell Beaker social organization. One of my results was that not all “archer” burials contained likely specialized archers. However, a common theme to such analyses of course looks at sex and gender differentiation, especially in terms of labor practices, meaning this work also needed to address one large theoretical hurdle driven by a history of sexist interpretations in archaeology; mainly, the tendency in some past research to classify an individual’s sex based on interpretations of burial goods.

The problem went like this. Archery-related items are linked to warfare and hunting, and warriors and hunters are men; therefore “archer” burials are masculine and prestigious. However, osteological analyses determinging probable biological sex found that some “archer” burials contained females! These burials were immediately assumed to be either great exceptions of “Amazon” warrior women, or as a sign of familial links because a woman couldn’t possibly have been an archer, therefore it must have been the wristguard of a male family member, making the burial symbolic on a familial or societal level. From my perspective as a new researcher, one problem seemed to be a penchant in archaeology and anthropology to over-generalize and attempt to classify people (and cultures) into black-and-white categories that make academic definitions simpler, but perhaps at the expense of the individual.

One of the reasons why identifying specialized archery in Bell Beaker burials is so significant to Neolithic archaeology is because archaeological interpretations often require additional analyses from outside fields. Many areas of research, archaeology and anthropology included, often like to create classifications for each culture and society that can sometimes leave little room for exceptions and outside interpretations. In terms of my study, that was a problem when considering questions of warfare, occupation, and sex. Bell Beaker sites are classified according to pottery – if a site does not have this pottery, then it is not Bell Beaker. Likewise, warriors must have a particular grave context, otherwise he or she was not a warrior. Much work from archaeology, anthropology, and ethnology has argued that 1) women would not have been warriors, and 2) “archer” burials were warriors; but then this all becomes problematic when excavations uncover female “archer” burials. So which is it? Are females not warriors or are “archer” burials something else? And why does it have to be one or the other, with no room for nuance? This is problematic because trends are not rules, and each site and individual needs to be analyzed according to its own attributes in order to avoid sweeping generalizations, particularly those that fail to distinguish between sex and gender. One of my study’s findings was that an archery context does not always imply “archer”, just as “masculine” objects do not always imply male. In fact, in her PhD dissertation, Belard (2014) concluded that people were more often interred based on their social standing  rather than on their sex or gender.

For these reasons, collaboration between fields, specifically anthropology and archaeology, remains vital to interpreting these contexts. Just as differentiating between sex and gender has entered modern conversation, it should also be at the forefront of modern research interpretations of past populations. For research archaeology projects dealing with human remains, osteological analyses are necessary for determining biological sex, rather than relying solely on archaeological context and preconceived notions of male and female burial identity. As anthropological research continues to develop, it can also help provide assessments of occupation and specialization, and such analyses can contribute to archaeological interpretations of social position and community identity. The essence of this argument is that the research needs to continue moving beyond the paradigms — dagger presence does not equal man just like archery equipment does not equal archer. This also acts as another example for the value of individual analyses in addition to population analyses because they allow for specific identifications rather than sexist generalizations based on what women “would likely” have been doing. Some ethnoarchaeological findings, comparisons with societies throughout history and the modern era, and even several examples cited in “Practice and Prestige” suggest that a majority of warriors and leaders are men. However, just like everything else, this is not a black-and-white rule and treating it as such does a disservice to the women, past and present, who have helped shape the modern world. Here are a few examples from this work alone proving that the situation is not so simple:

  • Ethnoarchaeological findings from the Americas showing that women were not only warriors, but also sometimes war chiefs (Holliman, 2001; Koehler, 1997; Thorpe, 2003)
  • 18% of female Bell Beaker burials had a copper dagger and 10% had a stone wristguard (Müller, 2001)
  • The LBK site from Halberstadt (Germany) with the likely burial of a small band of warriors, one of whom was female (Meyer et al., 2018)
  • Sites of likely massacres, such as at Schöneck-Kilianstädten (Germany) and El Trocs (Spain), have young children and adults over the age of 30 but no teens or younger adults. This includes males and females. One theory[1] for this is because they were warriors away from the settlement
  • A cave painting of El Cingle de la Mola Remigia, which clearly depicts a battle scene, and possibly a female warrior[2]
  • With regard to conceptions of leadership, the presence of prestigious female burials (e.g. Hulín 1 grave 86 and Tišice 77/99) demonstrates that even this was not exclusive to men
  • A female burial from Durankulak, the Bulgarian Copper Age, contained a flint “super-blade” (sword?) likely measuring more than 30 cm, which was also the largest in the cemetery (Gurova, 2013; Stratton, 2016)

The point of all of this is not to say that women were just as likely as men to be warriors, because that is obviously not true. Much more evidence exists for mostly male warriors as well as for a patriarchy. The point is to say that modern research would do well to make habitual distinctions between sex and gender a regular part of each interpretation. Specifically, over-simplified black-and-white classifications can sometimes be detrimental to the understanding of past populations. While there is a need to define societies and cultures at the population level, thus necessitating some level of generalization, this should not be done at the expense of the individual. Individuals as well as cultures deserve thorough examinations based on their own unique attributes, and this is perhaps one of the most consequential takeaways from my own research – that analyses at the individual level are just as crucial as those at the population level.


Our sincerest thanks to Dr Ryan-Despraz for providing this article for the Archaeopress Blog, extrapolated from her new book Practice and Prestige: An Exploration of Neolithic Warfare, Bell Beaker Archery, and Social Stratification from an Anthropological Perspective, available in paperback (£34) and free to download in Open Access.

Print ISBN 9781803270524
Online ISBN 9781803270531
Available here.


Bibliography

Belard, C., 2014. Les femmes en Champagne pendant l’Age du fer et la notion de genre en archéologie funéraire : (derniers tiers du Vie – IIIe siècle av. J.-C.) (PhD thesis). Paris, EPHE.

Gurova, M., 2013. Towards the Meaning of Flint Grave Goods: A Case Study from Bulgaria, in: Comşa, A., Bonsall, C., Nikolova, L. (Eds.), Facets of the Past: The Challenge of the Balkan Neo-Eneolithic. Presented at the International Symposium Celebrating the 85th Birth Anniversary of Eugen Comşa 6-12 October 2008, Bucharest, Romania, The Publishing House of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, pp. 375–393.

Holliman, S., 2001. Warfare and gender in the northern plains: osteological evidence of trauma reconsidered, in: Arnold, B., Wicker, N. (Eds.), Gender and the Archaeology of Death. Altamira Press, Walnut Creek, CA, pp. 179–193.

Koehler, L., 1997. Earth mothers, warriors, horticulturalists, artists, and chiefs: women among the Mississippian and Mississippian-Oneota peoples, A.D. 1000 to 1750, in: Claasen, C., Joyce, R.A. (Eds.), Women in Prehistory: North America and Mesoamerica. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, pp. 211–226.

Meyer, C., Knipper, C., Nicklisch, N., Münster, A., Kürbis, O., Dresely, V., Meller, H., Alt, K.W., 2018. Early Neolithic executions indicated by clustered cranial trauma in the mass grave of Halberstadt. Nature Communications 9, 2472.

Müller, A., 2001. Gender Differentiation in burial rites and grave-goods in the Eastern or Bohemian-Moravian Group of the Bell Beaker Culture, in: Nicolis, F. (Ed.), Bell Beakers Today: Pottery, People, Culture, Symbols in Prehistoric Europe, Proceedings of the International Colloquium Riva Del Garda 11-16 May 1998. Provincia Autonoma di Trento Servizio Beni Culturali Ufficio Beni Archeologici, Trento, pp. 589–599.

Stratton, S., 2016. “Seek and you Shall Find.” How the Analysis of Gendered Patterns in Archaeology can Create False Binaries: a Case Study from Durankulak. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 23, 854–869.

Thorpe, I.J.N., 2003. Anthropology, Archaeology, and the Origin of Warfare. World Archaeology 35, 145–165.


[1]     Part 1 of “Practice and Prestige” discusses other theories.

[2]     The vast majority of cave paintings appear to depict men only, however this does not make it permissible to dismiss those of women.

An Educator’s Handbook For Teaching About the Ancient World

Dr Pinar Durgun discusses the context and background behind her innovative new handbook presenting ‘recipes’ for teaching about the ancient world.

How did the book come about?

The world has changed so quickly and so drastically around us in 2020. So has our teaching: online and open-access resources have often been the only way students and educators can access and share information, when libraries, schools, and cultural organizations have been closed for much of the year, and in many cases remain so. Even when they have re-opened, educators have been forced to teach in entirely new or hybrid formats.

Teachers (inspired by ancient Assyrian, Mayan, and Greek depictions holding teaching tools)  and students (holding various school supplies) in a classroom. The image imitates the style of painted ancient stone reliefs. The colors and details are worn. Cover artwork by Hannah M. Herrick.

Now that many of us are required to teach over digital platforms, can we expect our students to listen to us lecture for two hours and give us their undivided attention? The instructional designers I work with in preparing my online courses suggest that online lectures should be 10 minutes maximum. So do many other educators. This is how long your students can focus on your lecturing voice and your ‘floating head talking’ video. In the physical classroom, the maximum is around 15-20 minutes. So how do we communicate information and teach content for longer stretches of time while still enabling students to interact and engage?

Interactive classroom activities make learning undeniably more engaging and fun, in addition to providing students with physical dexterity, collaboration, critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills. There are very creative educators among us who have been teaching about the ancient world in exciting ways using hands-on, project-based, and experiential activities. I wanted to use these activities in my classes. And based on dozens of activity exchanges with my educator friends, I was sure that other educators were also looking for new strategies to engage their students with the ancient world. This is why I created An Educator’s Handbook for Teaching About the Ancient World.

‘Live like it’s 3000 BC: Experimental Archaeology; students are flintknapping to produce an Acheulean hand axe. Brown University, 2018.

What is in the book?

The initial idea was to format the lesson plans into a cookbook, with teaching ‘recipes’, which include the materials, budget, preparation time, and level of students so that any educator could replicate these recipes in their classes. Some of these activities require materials, some do not. Some need to be prepared before class, some require no preparation. Some of the activities are very much tied to the culture, time period, or place, but some can be applied to any content. Some of the activities were written by a single educator, and some are a product of collaborative teaching. All of the activities, however, are tested in the classroom and peer-reviewed by other educators. More importantly, all activities are engaging, hands-on, immersive, and/or experiential. They are only a small portion of the endless possibilities of making teaching and learning about the ancient world fun, meaningful, and informative.

An example of the ‘recipe’ format: ‘Making Lions at Babylon’ by Anastasia Amrhein and Elizabeth Knott

In addition to these teaching recipes, this book also addresses some important issues in ancient world pedagogy: Why should we publish educational resources as open access? How can we effectively make use of museums and ancient objects in our teaching? Why should our research and pedagogy be collaborative? Our teaching has broader implications. These essays address such implications and provide great examples and case studies for educators to apply these methods and ways of thinking to their own teaching. I hope this book will be a resource where we can learn from each other about ancient world pedagogy regardless of the time periods, cultural or geographical areas, and subjects we teach.

Who is this book for?

Educators teaching about the ancient world. Students and parents learning how to teach about ancient world. Anyone who is interested in the ancient world and pedagogy. The activities in this book can be implemented online or in-person, in school, university, library, museum, or home classrooms. Every activity specifies the age/grade level of students for which the activity is appropriate. Many activities also have optional steps to make the activity work for other ages/levels. The activities and essays were written by school teachers, university instructors, and museum educators who teach about ancient objects, materials, peoples, and cultures.

Some of the activities were also written in different languages. Contributors and educators Leticia Rovira and Cecilia Molla from Argentina, who wrote their activity both in English and Spanish, say that this book is:

“a novel contribution to the didactics of ancient societies’ teaching. The main objective is challenging and enthralling: to go beyond the thresholds of academy and reach another very important audience –students at different levels- and try to capture their interest, drawing their attention towards our fields of study through a wide diversity of appealing didactic proposals.”

You can find out more about the Contributors here: https://pinardurgunpd.wixsite.com/teachancient

One of the goals of this book was to open up the conversation about ancient world pedagogy and create a hub for more collaboration. I encourage you to try out the teaching activities and share your photos and observations with other educators: https://pinardurgunpd.wixsite.com/teachancient/gallery 

You can also explore further pedagogical resources about ancient world pedagogy here: https://pinardurgunpd.wixsite.com/teachancient/copy-of-about

About the Author

Dr Pınar Durgun is an art historically-trained archaeologist with a background in anthropology, cultural heritage, and museums, passionate about outreach and education. She received her Ph.D. from Brown University and has been teaching for about a decade in universities, museums, and school classrooms about archaeology and the ancient world. As a dedicated public scholar and educator, Dr Durgun hopes to make academic information about the ancient world accessible, fun, and inclusive. Find out more about her work here: https://pinardurgunpd.wixsite.com/pinardurgun

Grab it and spread the word!

The eBook version of my book is FREE to download in Open Access. To download the free eBook or to purchase a printed hardback copy, please click on the cover image below:

Sincerest thanks to Dr Durgun for writing this article for the Archaeopress Blog. To submit an article, please send your proposal to Patrick Harris: patrick@archaeopress.com

The Turkish Long-Necked Lute or Bağlama

Hans de Zeeuw introduces the tanbûr long-necked lute

In contemporary Turkey, the saz or bağlama, being a member of a large family of long-necked lutes called tanbûrs, is the core instrument of all folk musical ensembles and orchestras and a popular instrument in the arabesk, entertainment, and pop music in Turkey. The bağlama also plays an important role during the ceremonies of the heterodox sects of the Alevî and Bektaşî and among the âşıks, the Anatolian wandering poet-musicians, to accompany their partly religious repertory. The bağlama plays furthermore an important role in musical education to teach folk-music theory, notation, performance, and teaching of acoustics and instrument construction. Its importance is also testified by the fact that musicians, such as Arif Sağ, Musa Eroğlu, and Erdal Erzincan, play the bağlama as solo instrument on national and international concert stages.

The long-necked tanbûr, which appeared in literary and iconographic sources during the Sâsânian era (c. AD 224-651), diffused into the various musical traditions along the Silk Road, resulting in a variety of closely or distantly related tanbûrs with two or more, occasionally doubled or tripled courses, a varying number and variously tuned frets, each having its own characteristic sound, playing technique, and repertory. Similar or identical instruments are also known by other names, such as saz or bağlama, dotâr or dutâr, setâr, dömbra, and damburâ (FIGURE 1).

Plate Plate
Figure 1. Sâsânian silver plate showing a poet-musician playing a tanbûr, 5th–7th centuries AD (bottom left). Freer Gallery of Art, Washington.

The tanbûr arrived with the Seljuks in Anatolia in the eleventh century or even may be before. Possible intermediaries in the development of the Turkish saz instruments are the by Abd al-Qâdir Ibnu Ghaibî al-Marâghî in his book Maqâsid al-Alhân (The meaning of melodies, early fifteenth century) discussed tanbûr-i şirvânîyân (the tanbûr of Shirwân, located in the north of Azerbaijan) and the tanbûre-i türkî (the tanbûr of the Turks). The tanbûre-i türkî had, compared to the tanbûr-i şirvânîyân, a smaller pear-shaped body, a longer neck and two or three strings (FIGURE 2). Saz is a Persian word meaning musical instrument. It appeared for the first time in a work by Nezami van Gandja (1141-1209), one of the greatest poets in Persian poetry. In Anatolia we come across the word saz in the fifteenth century as a name for the tanbur of the travelling poet singers, the âşık, who were also called saz şaileri, poets with the saz.

Fliesen aus dem Kiosk des  Arslan II
Figure 2. Poet-musician playing a tanbûr in the usual cross-seated playing position of Central Asia with the neck pointed downwards, like the tanbûr players on the Sâsânian silver plates, on an excavated ceramic tile from the summer palace of Sultan Alâ al-Dîn Kayqubâd I, Anatolia, early 13th century. Museum für Islamische Kunst, Staatliche Museen, Berlin.

The origin of the name bağlama is still unknown. It could have been derived from the verb bağlamak (Turkish for to bind), the tying of frets around the neck or strings to the tuning pegs. The description of a saz with the name bağlama appeared in the second half of the 18th century in several European writings. Histoire générale, critique et philologique de la musique (1767) by Charles-Henri de Blainville (1711-1769), Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien und andern umliegenden Ländern (1774, 1778) by Carsten Niebuhr (1732-1815), and Essai sur la musique ancienne et moderne (1780) by Jean Benjamin de Laborde (1734-1794), who was sentenced to the guillotine during the French Revolution. De Blainville and Niebuhr were probably the sources of de Laborde. The bağlama was a small sized lute compared to the other lutes on the engravings of de Blainville, Niebuhr, and de Laborde (FIGURE 3).

FIG_3
Figure 3. Bağlama (3), bozuk (2), and iki telli (1) on an engraving from the Essai sur la musique ancienne et moderne of Benjamin de Laborde.

A few decades later we find the name bağlama as tanbour baghlama in another European writing Description historique, technique et littéraire des instruments de musique des orientaux of 1823 by Guillaume André Villoteau. Villoteau, who stayed in Cairo from 1799 until 1803 as a member of Napoleons Egypt-expedition, discussed several tanbûrs, which were mainly played by Turks, Jews, Greeks, and Armenians. In Lane’s time (1830s), tanbûrs were still ignored by native musicians in Egypt and only played by Greeks and other foreigners (FIGURE 4).

FIG_4
Figure 4. The Ottoman tanbûr (tanbour kabyr tourky) in the centre is flanked on the left by the tanbour charqy and the small tanbour boulghâry and on the right by the tanbour bouzourk and the small tanbour baghlama. Furthermore, in the foreground, a violin and a ‘ûd, engraving from the Description historique technique et littéraire des instruments de musique des orientaux (1823) of Guillaume André Villoteau.

We know from the Seyâhatnâme of Evliyâ Çelebi that sazs, which travelled with the Ottomans to the Middle East and the Balkans, were present at the Ottoman court and in the Turkish cities. Literary and iconographic sources as well as surviving instruments to reconstruct the history of the saz in the rural areas of Anatolia before the 20th century are scarce or absent. The separation between urban and rural culture was mirrored by the sophisticated courtly and urban sazs and the simple rural sazs, a situation that only increasingly changed after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.

The proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 in Ankara had a major impact on the musical traditions and musical instruments of which the modernized and standardized saz became the most important instrument. In the 1930s musicologists started to construct a theory of folk music parallel to that of the Ottoman makam tradition. A body of modal structures, instrument tunings, plectrum movements, and rhythms were established through collection and notation inseparably linked to the saz. Moreover, the number of tied-on movable frets was, in imitation of the Ottoman tanbûr, increasingly expanded to create a larger tonal range. An earlier example of this practice can be found on a drawing of a saz from the Tefhîmü’l Makamat fi Tevlîd-in Neğamât (The concept of the makams in the making of melodies,  mid-18th century) of Kemânî Hızır Ağa.

Around 1940, the number of frets further increased, a development in which Mahmut Ragıp Gazimihâl (1900-1961) and Muzaffer Sarısözen (1899-1963) played an important role. This development took place around Radio Ankara and aimed to reform the music and musical instruments of the many regions, each with their own characteristics, into a coherent whole. For that purpose, choirs and orchestras were established, which performed uniform folk music on standardized sazs like those of Radio Ankara and Radio Istanbul.

Since the 1950s it became increasingly customary, starting in radio circles, to use the name bağlama instead of saz as a generic name for saz instruments. From literature we learn, however, that the traditional bağlama of Anatolia was a small saz. It is therefore obvious that not the small bağlama, but a larger saz was used to expand the number of frets. In contemporary Turkey, bağlama and saz are still used alternately.

FIG_5
Figure 5. Fret tuning (perde taksimati) of the long-necked bağlama (uzun saplı bağlama) and short-necked bağlama (kısa saplı bağlama) according to Cafer Açin.

Due to the modern entertainment industry and the changing taste of the audience after 1960, better trained musicians developed virtuoso playing techniques and set higher demands on technical and artistic issues such as the timbre and sound volume of their instrument, the method of stringing, and the number of frets and their arrangement on the neck. Around 1970 there was still a great variety in the number of frets and their tuning. Nail Tan concluded in Bağlama yapımı (Bağlama construction) that generally seventeen frets were used for the octave, but that the number of frets, among which non-diatonic ones, and their position on the neck was not yet standardized. Since second half of the 1980s, there seems to be some agreement. Sabri Yener in Bağlama öğretim metodu (Bağlama teaching method) and Irfan Kurt in Bağlamada düzen ve pozisyon (Bağlama tuning and vertical technique) both established seventeen frets in the octave, including five non-diatonic frets. Cafer Açin (1939-2012) established in Bağlama. Yapım sanatı ve sanatçıları also seventeen frets in the octave for the long-neck bağlama as well as short-neck bağlama (FIGURE 5).

The development of virtuoso playing techniques consisted of an increasing combination of vertical and horizontal playing techniques on the bağlama. In order to make an effective use of its vertical possibilities, the neck had to be shortened. By constructing a more pear-shaped bowl it was possible to lengthen the neck inwardly. In this way, the neck could be kept relatively short keeping the necessary space for the frets (FIGURE 6).

FIG_6
Figure 6. On the left, Muzaffer Sarısözen playing a ten-stringed of which the number of frets are expanded on the soundboard. On the right, the expansion of the number of frets on the neck by modifying the bowl of the saz.

Modern entertainment required, furthermore, the amplification of the sound. The bowl was therefore changed from a small U-shape to a larger and deeper U-shape with a soundhole (kafes) under the tailpiece (tel bağlama takozu) or, sometimes, in the soundboard. The soundboard changed from slightly arched and composite to a flat one made of a singular sheet of wood. For constructional reasons, the characteristic straight pegbox of the saz was replaced by a slightly angled attached pegbox. Moreover, on the first, third, and sometimes second course one of the strings was replaced by a so-called ‘bam teli’ or ‘octave’ string (brass-wrapped string), which was introduced towards the end of the 1950s by Neşet Ertaş (1938-2012) who was probably the last of the great bozlak (songs of agony) poet-musicians. These changes increased the soundvolume and changed the timbre. Moreover, the bağlama was amplified with electronic devices to facilitate playing in clubs or concert halls (FIGURE 7).

FIG_7
Figure 7. On the left, traditional saz. In the middle, morphological modifications of the soundbox, soundboard, and pegbox of the saz. On the right, contemporary long-necked bağlama.

The ongoing development of virtuoso playing techniques, combining the traditional horizontal playing techniques with vertical playing techniques, fuelled the development of the short-necked bağlama, being actually a long-necked bağlama with a shortened neck, an instrument suiting the combining of vertical and horizontal playing techniques. To distinguish the long-necked bağlama from the short-necked bağlama, the long-necked bağlama was called unzun saplı bağlama, the short-necked bağlama kısa saplı bağlama. The first experimental versions of the short-necked bağlama emerged after 1960. Musicians were, before Arif Sağ asked the luthier Kemal Eroğlu to develop a short-necked bağlama, not very interested in the short-necked bağlama. According to Kemal Eroğlu, the short-necked bağlama was derived from the long-necked saz/bağlama. According to Arif Sağ, however, the short-necked bağlama was not a new development but an older type saz type with a short neck. Some agree that there are certain similarities with the saz of the Alevî dedes.

The short-necked bağlama became after 1980, mainly under the impulses of Arif Sağ, a very popular instrument, particular in combination with the şelpe and parmak vurma technique (see accompanying video of Erdal Erzincan). An example is his virtuoso Teke Zotlaması, which was also played by Talip Özkan (1939-2010) on the long-necked bağlama as well as cura bağlama. Talip Özkan started in the 1960s to combine the traditional horizontal playing technique with vertical playing techniques on the long-necked bağlama tuned to the bozuk düzeni tuning, a tuning facilitating both techniques (FIGURE 8).

Figure 8. On the left, Arif Şağ playing şelpe on the kısa saplı bağlama during a concert in the Tropeninstituut in Amsterdam. Foundation Kulsan, Amsterdam. On the right, Talip Özkan playing a long-necked bağlama combining horizontal and vertical playing techniques.

Many folk musical genres can be played on the long-necked bağlama because it can be tuned in various ways. The short-necked bağlama has, on the other hand, a higher sound volume and can, because of its shorter neck and closely spaced frets, be played ‘easier’ and faster making use of all the three courses. Despite its popularity the short-necked bağlama did, however, not displace the long-necked bağlama.

Modernization and standardization resulted, furthermore, in the 1980s in the in the bağlama family (bağlama ailesi). Within the bağlama family different size categories can be distinguished, although no single classification is in general accepted and there are, moreover, also intermediate forms. A possible classification of the bağlama family, from small to large, is the cura, the short-necked bağlama (kısa saplı bağlama) and the long-necked bağlama (uzun saplı bağlama), the tanbura, the divan sazı, and the meydan sazı. The establishment of a nomenclature of the saz/bağlama family still has to be undertaken (FIGURE 9).

FIG_9
Figure 9. The bağlama family consisting of the cura, the short-necked bağlama (kısa saplı bağlama) and the long-necked bağlama (uzun saplı bağlama), the tanbura, the divan sazı, and the meydan sazı.

The systematic use of all three string courses and making a more effective use of the bağlama düzeni not only resulted in the short-necked bağlama but also initiated the development of instruments such as the dört telli bağlama (four course bağlama) and Oğur sazı, developed by the luthier Kemal Eroğlu after an idea of the musician Erkan Oğur. Both instruments are a continuation of the development of vertical and harmonic playing techniques (FIGURE 10, left).

Since the first six-stringed prototype from 1991, more prototypes were built like the thirteen-stringed and six-stringed Oğur sazı. In the meantime, various versions of the Oğur sazı were built by among others the musician and luthier Engin Topuzkanamış (Izmir) for other musicians like Efrén López and Guillermo Rizotto in Spain and Gilad Weiss in Israel (FIGURE 10, right).

Figure 10. On the left a four-course dört telli bağlama by Murtaza Çağır and ten-stringed Oğur sazı by Engin Topuzkanamış. On the right Engin Topuzkanamış playing a six-stringed version of the Oğur sazı in his workshop in Izmir.

An example of how the bağlama can inspire new forms is the divane of Yavuz Gül. Looking for a larger volume than the divan sazı, Yavuz Gül (Izmir) developed the divane, a family of hybrid instruments inspired by the long-necked bağlama and ‘ûd/lauta. The divane family consist of the efe divane, baba divane, divane deli, and the bass divane (FIGURE 11).

FIG_11
Figure 11. Three-course divane played by Yavuz Gül.

The exploration and development of vertical and harmonic playing techniques and a theory of Turkish harmony, for which the bağlama provides a model, will remain an important issue within Turkish folk music, notwithstanding attempts to standardization. Instrument makers do respond to the changes in the musical practice. This principle has dictated the evolution of music and instrument making for centuries.

FIG_12
Figure 12. Erdal Erzincan playing şelpe on a for this technique made four-stringed bağlama during a concert in the Centrale in Gent in 2017. The Centrale, Gent (Belgium).

Musical instruments are constantly changing and there is always room for improvement, innovation, and evolution. New bağlama types, of which the construction, the number of frets and their tuning, number of strings and their tuning, and playing technique vary, will therefore continue to evolve (FIGURE 12).

Further Reading

Bates, E. 2011. Music in Turkey: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (Global Music Series). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Conway Morris, R. 2001. Bağlama, in S. Sadie (ed.) New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 2: 469. London: MacMillan Press Limited.

Hassan, S.Q., R. Conway Morris, J. Baily and J. During 2001a. Tanbūr, in S. Sadie (ed.) New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 25: 61-62. London: MacMillan Press Limited.

Sayce and T. Crawford 2001. Lute, in S. Sadie (ed.) New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 15: 329-363. London: MacMillan Press Limited.

Spector, J., R. At’Ajan, C. Rithman C and R. Conway Morris 2001. Saz, in S. Sadie (ed.) New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 22: 361-362. London: MacMillan Press Limited.

Stokes, M.H. 1993. The Arabesk Debate. Music and Musicians in Modern Turkey. Oxford: Claredon Press.

Zeeuw, J. 2009. De Turkse Langhalsluit of Bağlama. Amsterdam.

Zeeuw, J. 2019. Tanbûr Long-Necked Lutes along the Silk Road and beyond. Oxford: Archaeopress.

YouTube

Arif Sağ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPrTu3AWfuM

Talip Özkan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha5mAX1WaMM

Neşet Ertaş: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yQI2mUX7Rc

Erdal Erzincan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__ZGmCkB58I

9781789691696Sincerest thanks to Hans De Zeeuw for providing this article for the Archaeopress Blog.

Hans’ latest book, Tanbûr Long-Necked Lutes along the Silk Road and beyond (Archaeopress, 2019) is available:

Paperback, ISBN 9781789691696, £40

PDF eBook, ISBN 9781789691702, from £16+VAT

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The Value of Simulated Heritage in China

By Cornelius Holtorf, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden; Qingkai Ma, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China; Xian Chen, Zhejiang A&F University, Hangzhou, China; Yu Zhang, Zhejiang A&F University, Hangzhou, China.

Commercially driven copies are conventionally considered to lack relevance to heritage because they are of recent origin and lack heritage values. But for others, including us, heritage should be valued in relation, not to its origin, but to its function in society. In the past, research on cultural heritage has centered on material things which can be catalogued, listed, conserved. In the last decade, heritage has been redefined as an area that is concerned primarily with people. Heritage is now theorized as a range of cultural practices in which people invest meanings to things and ascribe values to them (Smith, 2006; Filippucci, 2009). Heritage is a process which creates new meanings and values, and the cultural meanings of heritage are validated through linkage to the past (Smith 2006). To date, research on the interactions of people, material things and relevant cultural processes is frustratingly scarce (Wells 2015).

Fig 1 IMG_3239
Figure 1. Geometrical perfection: view along the “Champs Elysees Shopping Street” towards the 1:3 scale-Eiffel Tower in Tianducheng, a suburb of Hangzhou, China. Photograph: Cornelius Holtorf 2018.

These issues can be illuminated further by the case of Tianducheng (Sky City), a simulated heritage site in Hangzhou, China. The city is a large suburb, which is designed to incorporate a selection of very prominent architectural heritage features from France including a 1:3 scale but nevertheless imposing copy of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (fig. 1). It is one of many suburbs in China that resemble far-away places and include copies of foreign historical landmarks, reflecting Chinese imaginations of the Western lifestyle (Boskar 2013, Piazzoni 2018). These suburbs are commodities that originated in a specific economic and cultural framework of contemporary China. As such, Tianducheng is part of the cultural heritage of early 21st century China. But questions are also raised about the relationship to the original heritage sites in France which Tianducheng evokes.

Arguably, more important than age is the experience of pastness which has been defined by Holtorf as the quality for a given object to be ‘of the past’. The presence of pastness is not related to age but specific to a particular perception situated in a given social and cultural context (Holtorf 2017a: 500). The Eiffel Tower in Hangzhou may not fool anybody about its recent age. But it plays on pastness insofar as it matches exactly people’s expectations of French 19th century architecture and the history that connects that architecture with the present-day city of Paris. We can therefore, in this case, speak of simulated heritage. It simulates the pastness of Paris’ heritage in another city, Hangzhou in China. We suggest that a strict distinction between simulated and non-simulated cultural heritage is not particularly helpful in any attempt at understanding either; instead we should be looking at what they share with each other (see also Holtorf 2017b).

Tianducheng was initiated by the real-estate company Guangsha Group which started this enormous project in 2001. It was a pioneering project back then, for this corporation wanted to build a self-sustained satellite city around Hangzhou and contended to lead the urbanization process in China. On the webpage of this property, it advertises itself as “taking France culture as its city culture” while “setting ‘business, tourism, residency and education’ as its pillar industry in this city” (http://www.guangsha.com/index.php/newsinfor/23/3682). The Eiffel Tower and the nearby park were finished before the apartment buildings were sold. They present a clear image of French culture to attract people to buy properties and settle down in Tianducheng (figure 2).

Fig 2 IMG_3198
Figure 2. Alternative Paris: model of Tianducheng in Hangzhou, China, as envisaged by Guangsha Group, the real-estate developer of the area. Photograph: Cornelius Holtorf 2018.

Interestingly, the construction of both the original and the Chinese Eiffel Towers were hotly debated. Opened in 1889, the French tower was widely criticized by the cultural elite at the time but became a huge popular success. Intended to be dismantled after 20 years, the 324m tall tower became a valuable asset for the city and has not only been maintained until the present day but also copied several times at other locations in the world (Wikipedia n.d.). Built in 2007, the 108m tall Chinese Eiffel Tower went through a similar controversy. On 20 November 2010, Guangsha Group started to dismantle the tower without notice, which caused a backlash among residents (Chen 2010). Many residents called the media to report what was going on and hung protest banners on the tower. After negotiation, the company decided to cease dismantling and returned the tower to its original condition.

Arguably, Tianducheng fulfills some of the same functions of heritage in Hangzhou as the original sites fulfill in France, in relation to place-making, for example. According to Laurajane Smith (2006: 79), place is “not only a space where meaningful experiences occur, but is also where meanings are contested and negotiated.” Indeed, place “provides a profound centre of human existence to which people have deep emotional and psychological ties and is part of the complex processes through which individuals and groups define themselves” (Convery et al. 2012, p. 1). People’s sources of meaning and experience as well as their environments all contribute to place-making (Harvey 2001). In the case of Tianducheng, as of course with the French original, local residents construct their sense of place from the iconic tower, its magnificent view during daytime and the light show on display at night, as well as from various leisurely activities around the tower. At daytime, it is relatively quiet. When the night curtain falls, it is lively, and can indeed be difficult to find parking spaces. Many people come here to enjoy square dancing with friends, to visit restaurants, and enjoy the tower light show. What is most important is not the question of whether or not the architecture has been copied, but how each site contributes to the local residents’ lives and their sense of place.

We spoke to some of the local population living in Tianducheng. More and more people choose to settle there, and the majority of them seem to enjoy the place very much. A shopper we spoke with stated that “of course we know we are not in Paris, everybody knows that. But we still enjoy the view and relaxing atmosphere.” On a web forum of local residents, many others expressed their appreciation of the site, too. There are also visitors going there, taking photos to “pretend” that they are in Paris and subsequently posting them on WeChat moments (similar to Twitter). This applies in particular to wedding pictures. The tower serves as a widely known symbol and icon. When people want to meet somewhere or when they want to locate a certain place, they tend to use the tower as a reference point. One of our interviewees is a member of the local Yixing jogging group. Among other activities, the group meets every morning underneath the tower to start a jog around the city. Ma Gangwei, the interviewee, said, “I like it here. But I don’t have any particular thoughts about this France thing. …I’ve never been to France. I don’t know what it is like to live in Paris. But I like the surroundings here. It might not have much to do with the architectural style. It’s about the park, the mountain, the environment here.”

Fig 3 P1180896
Figure 3. Hybrid cultures: “Champs Elysees Noddle Restaurant” serving Chinese food along the “Champs Elysees Shopping Street” in the France-inspired city of Tianducheng in Hangzhou, China. Photograph: Cornelius Holtorf 2018.

Tianducheng is both French and Chinese. Some of the shops in the associated commercial district express an emerging hybrid heritage. One restaurant is called “Champs Elysees Noodle Restaurant”, but it serves local food, a kind of noodles from a city in the Zhejaing province (figure 3). Whereas the simulated Eiffel Tower may represent the power of cultural globalization, the local businesses and their customers appropriate the attractiveness of the iconic structure to enhance the practice of their own traditions. In that sense, we may see in Tianducheng a case where “global forces create conditions for local traditions to survive” (Reisinger 2013: 41). Somewhat ironically but hardly surprising, there are likely some Chinese restaurants in walking distance from the French tower, too. Many seemingly clear distinctions between the French and the Chinese versions of “Paris” and the “Eiffel Tower” thus fade away on closer inspection. What emerges is a common heritage value of the Eiffel Tower materialized on opposite sides of our planet in hybrid forms.

Places like Tianducheng simulate heritage, but at the same time they provide real heritage value in society and should therefore not be dismissed. In cases such as this, we may see some glimpses of a future of heritage that contradicts and replaces familiar concepts of cultural heritage bound to place and time. Tianducheng challenges us to think carefully about the possible character of future pasts and their benefits in society (Holtorf 2017b). It raises some profound questions: will there soon be many more suburbs around the world that simulate the past of other places? Should heritage experts and historians welcome them in the same manner as local communities do, appreciating their qualities? Does China lead the way towards the future of the past?

References

Boskar, Bianca (2013) Original Copies. Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China. Hongkong: University of Hongkong Press and Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Chen, Xiang (2010) The landmark of Tiandu city is gone. Morning Express.November 22nd, 2010, A0003

Convery, I., Corsane, G., & Davis, P. (Eds.). (2014). Introduction: Making Sense of Place. In Convery, I., Corsane, G., & Davis, P. (Eds.). Making sense of place: Multidisciplinary perspectives. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press.

Filippucci, P (2009) Heritage and Methodology: A view from social anthropology. In Sørensen, M. L. S., & Carman, J. (Eds.). Heritage studies: Methods and approaches. London and New York: Routledge.

Harvey, Penelope. (2001) Landscape and Commerce: Creating Contexts for the Exercise of Power. In Bender, Barbara, Winter, Margot. (Eds). Contested Landscapes: Movement, Exile and Place. Oxford: Berg.

Holtorf, Cornelius (2017a) Perceiving the Past: From Age Value to Pastness. International Journal of Cultural Property 24 (4), 497-515.

Holtorf, Cornelius (2017b) “Changing Concepts of Temporality in Cultural Heritage and Themed Environments.” In: F. Carlà-Uhink, F. Freitag, S. Mittermeier and A. Schwarz (eds) Time and Temporality in Theme Parks, pp. 115-130. Hannover: Wehrhahn.

Piazzoni, Maria Francesca (2018) The Real Fake. Authenticity and the Production of Space. New York: Fordham.

Reisinger, Yvette (2013) Reflections on globalisation and cultural tourism. In: M. Smith and G. Richards (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Cultural Tourism, pp. 40-46. London and New York Routledge.

Smith, Laurajane (2006) Uses of Heritage. London and New York: Routledge.

Wells, Jeremy C. (2015). Making a Case for Historic Place Conservation Based on People’s Values. Forum Journal, 29 (3), 44-62.

Wikipedia (n.d.) Eiffel Tower. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiffel_Tower (accessed 18 Nov 2018)

9781784915001Sincerest thanks to Cornelius Holtorf, Qingkai Ma, Xian Chen, and Yu Zhang for providing this article for the Archaeopress Blog.

Further reading available from Archaeopress:

The Archaeology of Time Travel: Experiencing the Past in the 21st Century edited by Bodil Petersson and Cornelius Holtorf

Paperback ISBN 9781784915001 (£38)
eBook available as a FREE download: Download here.

holtorf search the past

Search the Past – Find the Present: Qualities of archaeology and heritage in contemporary society by Cornelius Holtorf

eBook available as a FREE download: Download here.

 

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