BMCR 2005.09.72

Response: Carstens on Carstens

Response to 2005.05.02

Response by

The following is both an addendum and a clarification of certain points touched upon in my review of Jan Zahle and Kjeld Kjeldsen, The Maussolleion at Halikarnassos. Vol. 6 (BMCR 2005.05.02).

First the clarifications: in the review I mention an antemion stele, now on display in the Maussolleion Open Air Museum. However, some confusion as to the findspot of the stele led me to false conclusions regarding its adding to the cemetery-like nature of the site. During his brief summer campaign this year the director of the Danish Halikarnassos Project, Asst. Professor, dr.phil. Poul Pedersen has kindly investigated the matter. An employee at the Bodrum Museum, Mr. Ali Uçarer, found the stele in question in the mid 1990s. It had been exposed during road construction work on the south side of the by-pass road, c. 120-130 m north-northwest of the northwestern corner of the Maussolleion terrace and southwest of the theatre below the Göktepe hill, corresponding with the western analemna wall of the theater. Hellenistic and Roman rock-cut tombs here honeycomb the mound. Most likely the stele has tumbled down the hillside to the position where it was found. It is thus not related to the Maussolleion site but rather to the Göktepe necropolis.

I also point to the fact that the rock-cut chamber described in chapter 7 may add to what I saw as the cemetery-like nature of the site. It should be underlined that Zahle and Kjeldsen do not interpret the chamber as a tomb. It is referred to as the garbage-chamber, and, while such a label may be suitable for very many of the rock-cut chambers in the Halikarnassos region (!), it was hardly the original purpose of the building. The authors make no suggestion.

Finally some comments may be needed on the discussion of the nature of the three chambers in the quadrangle. In my Ph.D. dissertation from 1999, Death matters. Funerary Architecture on the Halikarnassos peninsula, I suggest that the Cb1 may be inspired by the Cypriot royal tombs at Tamassos, since both have a central staircase leading to a subterranean chamber, which is unknown (at least to me) in Karia. Furthermore, the far end of the landing was framed with or ended in two antae which may have carried Aiolian capitals just like the ones from the Tamasssos tombs. I still find the parallel quite close and quite interesting, not least since the remains of a meat sacrifice are known from Tamassos, reminiscent of the raw meat sacrifice found in front of the Maussolleion tomb chamber on the landing. Aiolian ante-capitals have been found near Halikarnassos at Theangela, where a production of Cypriote-like terracottas has been established as well.1

Regarding the bothros that crossed and blocked the stairway leading to Cb1, Leif Erik Vaag is quoted from volume 7 of the series stating, “the contents of the Bothros can therefore hardly be seen as the result of cleaning-up of grave furnishings”. The argument is built on the fact that more than 75% of the fine ware finds were drinking vessels, and about 93% of the plain ware was intended for pouring or storing liquids. I fail to see why this shouldn’t be quite suitable for either grave furnishing or some kind of collective tomb cult. The history of libation in connection with funerary and tomb cult in Karia shows a strong tendency to prefer drinking and pouring vessels, at least from the Late Bronze Age to the Archaic period and perhaps beyond.2

It is stated on p. 171 that since I do not mention the pre-Maussollan structures in my AJA article “Tomb Cult on the Halikarnassos Peninsula” (106, 2002, 391-409), it must be by silent agreement with the arguments presented to me by Zahle and Kjeldsen. Although I do not disagree with their repudiation of Cb1-3 as sepulchres as such, the reason for my ‘omission’ of the issue is much more pragmatic. The authors of the work in review invited me to discuss their by then preliminary ideas of the chambers during the spring 2002, at a time when my article was already submitted. What is more, the pre-Maussollan structures were not a matter of essential interest for the article, its focal point being a suggested Maussolleion precursor, a dynast’s tomb, in the hinterlands of Halikarnassos.

It seems that, while I may be accused of some eagerness to add the Maussolleion site a sepulchral connection even before the construction of the ruler’s tomb, Zahle and Kjeldsen now strongly reject any interpretation pointing in that direction.3

While I am at it, it seems fair to include an addendum regarding chapter 9 of the volume, containing the publication of more finds from the tomb chamber of Maussollos, glass, ivory, Attic red-figured pottery and alabaster vases. The finds are of course of particular interest, perhaps not so much for their own qualities but since their presence in the tomb chamber gives a terminus ante quem for their production. As such they constitute fixed points in their relative chronologies.

First Despina Ignatiadou most meticulously deals with the colourless glass vessels. The material comprises fragments of two calyx-cups, four beakers, a situla and a bowl — a set “fit for a king” (p. 183). She convincingly argues that the glass vessels all derive from Maussollos’, and not Artemisias’, burial and places the finds in their cultural context, as part of the Achaemenid ‘International Style’ — an eclectic artistic formulation especially prominent of the Western Empire. As such the glass vessels contributed, perhaps on a more discreet level, to the exploitation of “the power of art in politics” (p. 184), that saturates the Maussolleion as such. The same is certainly true of the ivory fragments, also published by Ignatiadou (p. 202-207).

In that light also the 933 fragments of red-figured pottery from the robbers’ cavity may be viewed. Vinnie Norskov presents the finds in a catalogue of 22 numbers, which, however, may not represent 22 different vessels since the extremely fragmentary nature of the finds makes it impossible to calculate the total number of vessels. In general the artistic quality is high. A vase with a decoration of kalathiskos dancers attracts special attention as the motive is also found, e.g., on the Heroon at Trysa, predating the Maussolleion and one of its sources of inspiration.

Finally, the chapter comprises a synopsis of the finds of alabaster jars by Jan Zahle. The Danish excavators found fragments in the robbers’ cavity inside the tomb chamber, corresponding to (but not fitting) the ones that Newton found in front of the tomb as part of the sacrifice on the landing (?), amongst these the well-known vase with Xerxes the Great’s cartouche.

Thus, these fragmentary finds — probably leftovers from ancient grave robbers’ undertakings in the tomb chamber — indeed contribute to the picture of “the power of art in politics” as explored by the early Hekatomnids.


1. A.M. Carstens, “Cypriot chamber tombs,” in: K.W. Jacobsen & L.W. Sorensen (eds.), Panayia Amathoussa II. Political, cultural, ethnic and social relations in Cyprus, Approaches to Regional Studies. Athens, forthcoming.

2. Bronze Age Karian tombs: A.M. Carstens, “Drinking vessels in tombs — a cultic connection?” In: C. Scheffer (ed.), Ceramics in context, Proceedings of the Internordic Colloquium on Ancient Pottery held at Stockholm, 13-15 June 1997, Stockholm 2001, 89-102. Archaic Karian tombs / pottery without context: A.M. Carstens, “Archaic Karian pottery — investigating culture?” In: A. Rathje, M. Nielsen & B. Bundgaard Rasmussen (eds.), Pots for the living — pots for the dead ( Acta Hyperborea 9), Copenhagen 2002, 127-143. The Late Classical tomb of a noble woman, the so-called Karian princess’ tomb contained only one vessels, a black-glazed oinochoe; A. Özet, “The tomb of a noble woman from the Hekatomnid period,” in J. Isager (ed.), Hekatomnid Caria & the Ionian Renaissance ( Halicarnassian Studies Ι), Odense 1994, 88-96.

3. In the preliminary reports the chambers were interpreted as tombs: K. Jeppesen & J. Zahle, “Investigations on the site of the Maussolleum 1970/1973,” AJA 79, 1975, 67-79, and J. Zahle, “The Mausoleum-site before the Mausoleum,” in E. Akurgal (ed.), The Proceedings of the Xth International Congress of Classical Archaeology, Ankara-Izmir 23-30/IX, 1973, Ankara 1978, 529-534.