Wenamun in Byblos: shopped for wood, a valued Phoenician commodity
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Wenamun was sent to purchase much-valued timber from Byblos for the Pharaoh of Egypt. Wood was a valuable commodity which the Phoenicians traded.

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Wenamun had a pretty bad trip to Phoenicia

Acting on behalf of the Pharaoh Smendes, Wenamun was sent with linen, oils, and other goods valued in gold and silver (equivalent to five deben of gold and 31 deben of silver, a sum greater than an average Egyptian made in a lifetime) to purchase much-valued timber from Byblos for the Egyptian king. The sum he was willing to pay could have purchased many thousands of cords of wood. He arrived in this outpost of the former Egyptian empire only to be robbed, mistreated, and even imprisoned. In a well-known document referred to as The Report of Wenamun (written ca. 1570-1070 B.C.), a distressed Wenamun complains to the pharaoh about his misfortune and asked for more money.

He was sent to Byblos to buy wood for the sacred barque for Amon. He carried along a portable idol of Amon-of-the road. He landed in Dor and had his money stolen by a member of his crew. Wenamon blamed the local government. The King of Byblos, Zakar-Baals refused to see him for twenty-nine days and finally one of the king's men had a frenzy of prophesying and demanded that they listen to Wenamon and his idol.

The Report of Wenamun, since its discovery in 1891, has been heralded as a literary masterpiece of the Late Period of the New Kingdom and also as an illustration of the decay of Egypt's prestige abroad during this time period. As the Egyptian empire crumbled, something once as simple as trading for wood became quite difficult and Wenamun had almost to plead with the King of Byblos to sell him the wood.

Here is his story by Herihor with the permission of Smendes I, prince of Tanis.

Year 5, fourth month of summer, day 16, the day of departure of Wenamun, the Elder of the Portal of the Temple of Amun, Lord of Thrones-of-the-Two-Lands, to fetch timber for the great noble bark of Amen-Re, King of Gods, which is upon the river and [is called] Amen-user-he.

On the day of my arrival at Tanis, the place where Smendes and Tentamun are, I gave them the dispatches of Amen-Re, King of Gods. They had read them out before them and they said: "I will do, I will do as Amen-Re, King of Gods, our lord has said".

I stayed until the fourth month of summer in Tanis. Then Smendes and Tentamun sent me off with the ship's captain Mengebet, and I went down upon the great sea of Phoenicia in the first month summer, day 1. I arrived at Dor, a Tjeker town; and Beder, its prince, had fifty loaves, one jug of wine, and one ox-haunch brought to me. Then a man of my ship fled after stealing one vessel of gold worth 5 deben, four jars of silver worth 20 deben, and a bag with 11 deben of silver; [total of what he stole]: gold 5 deben, silver 31 deben.

That morning when I had risen, I went to where the prince was and said to him: "I have been robbed in your harbor. Now you are the prince of this land, you are the one who controls it. Search for my money! Indeed the money belongs to Amen-Re, King of Gods, the lord of the lands. It belongs to Smendes; it belongs to Herihor, my lord, and [to] the other magnates of Egypt. It belongs to you; it belongs to Weret; it belongs to Mekmer; it belongs to Tjekerbaal, the prince of Byblos!" He said to me: "Are you serious? Are you joking? Indeed I do not understand the demand you make to me. If it had been a thief belonging to my land who had gone down to your ship and had stolen your money, I would replace it for you from my storehouse, until your thief, whatever his name, had been found. But the thief who robbed you, he is yours, he belongs to your ship. Spend a few days here with me; I will search for him".

I stayed nine days moored in his harbor. Then I went to him and said to him: "Look, you have not found my money. [Let me depart] with the ship captains, with those who go to sea".

[The next eight lines are broken. Apparently the prince advises Wenamun to wait some more, but Wenamun departs. He passes Tyre and approaches Byblos. Then he seizes thirty deben of silver from a ship he has encountered which belongs to the Tjeker, an obvious act of piracy. He tells the owners that he will keep the money until his money has been found. Through this action he incurs the enmity of the Tjeker].

They departed and I celebrated [in] a tent on the shore of the sea in the harbor. of Byblos. And [I made a hiding place for] Amun-of-the-Road and placed possessions in it. Then the prince of Byblos sent to me saying: "[Leave my] harbor.!" I sent to him, saying: "Where shall [I go]? ----------. If [you have a ship to carry me], let me be taken back to Egypt". I spent twenty-nine days in his harbor., and he spent time sending to me daily to say: "Leave my harbor.!"

Now while he was offering to his gods, the god took hold of a young man [of] his young men and put him in a trance. He said to him: "Bring [the] god up! Bring the envoy who is carrying him! It is Amun who sent him. It is he who made him come!" Now it was while the entranced one was entranced that night that I had found a ship headed for Egypt. I had loaded all my belongings into it and was watching for the darkness, saying: "When it descends I will load the god so that no other eye shall see him".

Then the harbor. master came to me, saying: "Wait until morning, says the prince!" I said to him: "Was it not you who daily took time to come to me, saying: 'Leave my harbor.? Do you now say: 'Wait this night', in order to let the ship that I found depart, and then you will come to to say: 'Go away'?" He went and told it to the prince. Then the prince sent to the captain of the ship, saying: "Wait until morning, says the prince".

When morning came, he sent and brought me up, while the god rested in the tent where he was on the shore of the sea. I found him seated in his upper chamber with his back against a window, and the waves of the great sea of Phoenicia broke behind his head. I said to him: "Blessings of Amun!" He said to me: "How long is it to this day since you came from the place where Amun is?" I said to him: "Five whole months till now". He said to me: "If you are right, where is the dispatch of Amun that was in your hand? Where is the letter of the High Priest of Amun that was in your hand?" I said to him: "I gave them to Smendes and Tentamun". Then he became very angry and said to me: "Now then, dispatches, letters you have none. Where is the ship of pinewood that Smendes gave you? Where is its Phoenician crew? Did he not entrust you to this foreign ship's captain in order to have him kill you and have them throw you into the sea? From whom would one then seek the god? And you, from whom would one seek you?" So he said to me.

I said to him: "Is it not an Egyptian ship? Those who sail under Smendes are Egyptian crews. He has no Phoenician crews". He said to me: "Are there not twenty ships here in my harbor. that do business with Smendes? As for Sidon, that other [place] you passed, are there not another fifty ships there that do business with Werekter and haul to this house?"

I was silent in this great moment. Then he spoke to me, saying: "On what business have you come?" I said to him: "I have come in quest of timber for the great noble bark of Amen-Re, King of Gods. What your father did, what the father of your father did, you too will do it". So I said to him. He said to me: "True, they did it. If you pay me for doing it, I will do it. My relations carried out this business after Pharaoh had sent six ships laden with the goods of Egypt, and they had been unloaded into their storehouses. You, what have you brought for me?"

He had the daybook of his forefathers brought and had it read before me. They found entered in his book a thousand deben of silver and all sorts of things. He said to me: "If the ruler of Egypt were the lord of what is mine and I were his servant, he would not have sent silver and gold to say: 'Carry out the business of Amun'. It was not a royal gift that they gave to my father! I too, I am not your servant, nor am I the servant of him who sent you! If I shout aloud to the Lebanon, the sky opens and the logs lie here on the shore of the sea! Give me the sails you brought to move your ships, loaded with logs for [Egypt]! Give me the ropes you brought [to lash the pines] that I am to fell in order to make them for you ----, -------------- that I am to make for you for the sails of your ships; or the yards may be too heavy and break, and you may die [in] the midst of the sea. For Amun makes thunder in the sky ever since he placed Seth beside him! Indeed, Amun has founded all the lands. He founded them after having first founded the land of Egypt from which you have come. Thus craftsmanship came from it in order to reach the place where I am! Thus learning came from it in order to reach the place where I am! What are these foolish travels they made you do?"

I said to him: "Wrong! These are not foolish travels that I am doing. There is no ship on the river that does not belong to Amun. His is the sea and his the Lebanon of which you say, 'It is mine'. It is a growing ground for Amen-user-he, the lord of every ship. Truly, it was Amen-Re, King of Gods, who said to Herihor, my master: 'Send me!' And he made me come with this great god. But look, you have let this great god spend these twenty-nine days moored in your harbor. Did you not know that he was here? Is he not he who he was? You are prepared to haggle over the Lebanon with Amun, its lord? As to your saying, the former kings sent silver and gold: If they had owned life and health, they would not have sent these things. It was in place of life and health that they sent these things to your fathers! But Amen-Re, King of Gods, he is the lord of life and health, and he was the lord of your fathers! They passed their lifetimes offering to Amun. You too, you are the servant of Amun!

If you will say 'I will do' to Amun, and will carry out his business, you will live, you will prosper, you will be healthy; you will be beneficent to your whole land and your people. Do not desire what belongs to Amun-Re, King of Gods! Indeed, a lion loves his possessions! Have your scribe brought to me that I may send him to Smendes and Tentamun, the pillars Amun has set up for the north of his land; and they will send all that is needed. I will send him to them, saying 'Have it brought until I return to the south; then I shall refund you all your expenses'". So I said to him.

He placed my letter in the hand of his messenger; and he loaded the keel, the prow-piece, and the stern-piece, together with four other hewn logs, seven in all, and sent them to Egypt. His messenger who had gone to Egypt returned to me in Phoenicia in the first month of winter, Smendes and Tentamun having sent: four jars and one kakmen-vessel of gold; five jars of silver; ten garments of royal linen; ten hrd-garments of fine linen; five hundred smooth linen maats; five hundred ox-hides; five hundred ropes; twenty sacks of lentils; and thirty baskets of fish. And she sent to me: five garments of fine linen; five hrd-garments of fine linen; one sack of lentils; and five baskets of fish.

The prince rejoiced. He assigned three hundred men and three hundred oxen, and he set supervisors over them to have them fell the timbers. They were felled and they lay there during the winter. In the third month of summer they dragged them to the shore of the sea. The prince came out and stood by them, and he sent to me saying: "Come!" Now when I had been brought into his presence, the shadow of his sunshade fell on me. Then Penamun, a butler of his, intervened, saying "The shadow of Pharaoh, your lord, has fallen upon you". And he was angry with him and said: "Leave him alone".

As I stood before him, he addressed me, saying: "Look, the business my fathers did in the past, I have done it, although you did not do for me what your fathers did for mine. Look, the last of your timber has arrived and is ready. Do as I wish, and come to load it. For has it not been given to you? Do not come to look at the terror of the sea. For if you look at the terror of the sea, you will see my own! Indeed, I have not done to you what was done to the envoys of Khaemwese, after they had spent seventeen years in this land. They died on the spot". And he said to his butler: "Take him to see the tomb where they lie".

I said to him: "Do not make me see it. As for Khaemwese, the envoys he sent you were men and he himself was a man. You have not here one of his envoys, though you say: 'Go and see your companions'. Should you not rejoice and have a Stella [made] for yourself, and say on it: 'Amen-Re, King of Gods sent me Amun-of-the-Road, his envoy, together with Wenamun, his human envoy, in quest of timber for the great noble bark of Amen-Re, King of Gods. I felled it; I loaded it; I supplied my ships and my crews. I let them reach Egypt so as to beg for me from Amun fifty years of life over and above my allotted fate'. And if it comes to pass that in another day an envoy comes from the land of Egypt who knows writing and he reads out your name on the Stella, you will receive water of the west like the gods who are there".

He said to me: "A great speech of admonition is what you have said to me". I said to him: "As to the many [things] you have said to me: if I reach the place where the High Priest of Amun is and he sees your accomplishment, it is your accomplishment that will draw profit to you".

I went off to the shore of the sea, to where the logs were lying. And I saw eleven ships that had come in from the sea and belonged to the Tjeker [who were] saying: "Arrest him! Let no ship of his leave for the land of Egypt!" Then I sat down and wept. And the secretary of the prince came out to me and said to me: "What is it?" I said to him: "Do you not see the migrant birds going down to Egypt a second time? Look at them traveling to the cool water! Until when shall I be left here? For do you not see those who have come to arrest me?"

He went and told it to the prince. And the prince began to weep on account of the words said to him, for they were painful. He sent his secretary out to me, bringing two jugs of wine and a sheep. And he sent me Tentne, an Egyptian song stress who was with him, saying: "Sing for him! Do not let his heart be anxious". And he sent to me, saying: "Eat, drink; do not let your heart be anxious. You shall hear what I will say tomorrow".

When morning came, he had his assembly summoned. He stood in their midst and said to the Tjeker: "What have you come for?" They said to him: "We have come after the blasted ships that you are sending to Egypt with our enemy". He said to them: "I cannot arrest the envoy of Amun in my country. Let me send him off, and you go after him to arrest him".

He had me board and sent off from the harbor. of the sea. And the wind drove me to the land of Alasiya. Then the town's people came out against me to kill me. But I forced my way through them to where Hatiba, the princess of the town was. I met her coming from one of her houses to enter another. I saluted her and said to the people who stood around her: "Is there not one among you who understands Egyptian?" And one among them said: "I understand it". I said to him: "Tell my lady that I have heard it said as far away as Thebes, the place where Amun is: 'If wrong is done in every town, in the land of Alasiya right is done'. Now is wrong done here too every day?"

She said: "What is it you have said?" I said to her: "If the sea rages and the wind drives me to the land where you are, will you let me be received so as to kill me, though I am the envoy of Amun? Look, as for me, they would search for me till the end of time. As for this crew of the prince of Byblos, whom they seek to kill, will not their lord find ten crews of yours and kill them also?" She had the people summoned and they were reprimanded. She said to me: "Spend the night --------------------(the story is broken here)

Though the story is broken, we can be sure that Wenamon reached Egypt or the story would not have been told.

This story would be contemporary with the lives of Deborah or Gideon. It shows that the city of Dor, which was situated on the coast just south of Mount Carmel, was in the possession of a tribe kindred to the Philistines, who soon afterward appear in Biblical history. We also learn from it that Egyptian authority in Phoenicia, which was at the time of the El-Amarna letters so rapidly decaying, had entirely disappeared. Zakar-Baal stoutly asserts his independence, while the king of the Thekel is evidently quite independent of Egypt. The way in which these city-states dealt with one another is quite after the manner of the international relations reflected in the book of Judges.

-- Adaptation and compilation by Salim George Khalaf


Please note: many important philological words in this text require the use of an 'S' with a hacek, a figure so far not universally translatable in HTML. Each time this character is required, it is written immediately after the word thus: [s-hacek].

Wood. Forests were exploited from the very beginnings of Near Eastern civilization. Enough hints exist from such Aceramic Neolithic sites as Jericho in Israel and Çayönü, Asikli Höyük, Nevali Çori, and Hallan Çemi in Turkey to indicate that extensive forest use has a history in this region of at least ten thousand years. These sites provide ample burned evidence for architectural timbers used as building foundations, headers and stretchers in walls, roof posts, roofs themselves, ladders, and furniture. Although the evidence is sometimes to be assessed only by counting empty beam holes, enough burned beams survive at Middle Bronze Age palatial sites such as Kültepe (Kanes) [s-hacek] or Acemhöyük in Turkey so that a reasonable estimate for wood use is in excess of 2,000 trees per 150-room building. The archaeological evidence includes cedar, pine, fir, juniper, oak, spruce, cypress, box, chestnut, walnut, maple, and ash.

Forests. The Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon, Amanus, Taurus, Anti-Taurus, Pontus, and Zagros Mountains probably provided the bulk of quality timber for construction and fine furniture, especially after local wood supplies were exhausted. There is reason to believe, however, that some local supplies--for example, from the Anatolian plateau--were sufficient for most needs, at least until Hellenistic times. At all times lesser-quality woods--poplar, willow, plane, tamarisk, sycamore, elm, beech, and acacia--or wood for specialized uses, such as terebinth, and assorted fruit and nut trees--must also have been exploited for ordinary carpentry, fuel, and pottery production. Wood products such as resins were used in treating illness, in mummification, and for caulking boats.

Wood Production. The surviving architecture at many sites shows considerable use of wood in a wide range of quantities and quality. Much of the wood was probably local, especially for sites on the Anatolian plateau, along the Levantine coast, and in the forested areas mentioned above, where it could be dragged to a site by ox cart. At Gordion in Turkey, cuttings exist in the logs that form the tomb chamber of the Midas Mound Tumulus that reflect precisely this form of timber transport. In Egypt and Mesopotamia, however, good wood had to be imported by water. As far back as Old Kingdom Egypt, timber was transported from Lebanon to Egypt in multiple shiploads. At all times, timber must have been floated down the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers to Mesopotamian cities. The occupations or crafts of woodcutter, timber transporter, timber merchant, and carpenter must have been established from the very beginnings of civilization. Cuneiform texts indicate that royal authorities were concerned about regulating timber cutting, setting timber prices, and imposing taxes on timber.

Timber Trade. The oldest surviving written evidence for an international timber trade is the Palermo stone, in which Snefru, the first pharaoh of the fourth dynasty, tells of importing cedar from Lebanon: "Bringing forty ships filled [with] cedar logs. Shipbuilding [of] cedar wood, one...ship, 100 cubits [long] [=45.73 m], and of meru wood, two ships, 100 cubits [long]. Making the doors of the royal palace [of] cedar wood." The text does not specify a place of origin, but Byblos is likely. It is worth noting that the actual word translated here as cedar is ash wood or [symbol: apostrophe s- hacek] wood in the texts; there is less than total agreement among Egyptologists that the word does indeed mean "cedar." Meru may mean cypress or juniper. One school of thought proposes that the Egyptians did not make a distinction between cedar and juniper, and that ash refers to better-quality conifers and meru refers to some kind of second-quality timber. At any rate both ash and meru, whatever they may mean, are foreign (imported), usually sold in long lengths, and thus readily distinguished from the local acacia or sycamore. This wood was put to refined uses: shipbuilding and making palace doors. Philologists may argue about the meaning of the words ash and meru, but archaeologists do have large quantities of identifiable cedar and some juniper in the Egyptian collections of the world's museums.

In dockyard accounts from the time of Thutmosis III (c. 1450 BC), a fragmentary papyrus in the British Museum records the issuing of timbers to the workers. The parts of the ship for which the timbers were intended (which ought to help identify them) are also given; however, the meaning of all the maritime terms is not known. Four times as many ash timbers as meru timbers are required, suggesting that whatever ash really is, it is straight, pliable, and free of knots--and thus suitable for shipbuilding. The longest timber specified was of ash, 30 cubits long (13.72m), and intended for the mast. Ash is required for masts in other documents, and again the lengths are quite long; 40 cubits (18.29m) and 42 cubits (19.21 m).

No doubt the import and export of high-quality wood goes back even further than these Old and New Kingdom references. That international timber production and marketing were not occasional adventures is attested by the much later report of Wenamun. That the king of Byblos in Wenamun's tale could produce three hundred woodcutters upon demand, as well as sufficient animals and drivers to drag the timbers down to the port, suggests that both he and his woodsmen were accustomed to the practical requirements of the timber business and to fulfilling large foreign orders. A tour through any Egyptian gallery in a Western museum corroborates the texts, revealing a mixture of both local and imported wood on the more elegant of their sarcophagi, furniture likely to be cedar, and domestic objects likely to be riverine wood, such as sycamore, tamarisk, and acacia.

The earliest Mesopotamian reference to cedar is from Sargon of Akkad (c. twenty-third century BC), who claims that the god Dagan gave him the Upper Country (i.e., Mari), Iarmuti, and Ebla as far as the Cedar Forest and the Silver Mountain. One of his successors, Naram-Sin, has the god Nergal give him Arman and Ebla, and also the Amanus, the Cedar Mountain, and the Upper Sea.

In a military campaign into Phoenicia and Cilicia Shalmaneser III (ninth century BC) demands as tribute from one prince one talent of silver, two talents of purple wool, and two hundred cedar logs. Another prince in the Amanus, somewhat poorer, must send metal, cattle, two hundred cedar logs, and two measures of cedar resin at once, and annually thereafter one hundred cedar logs and one measure of cedar resin. A third prince has to include three hundred cedar logs annually. Sargon II (late eighth century BC) not only uses the timber for taxes, but also places an embargo on sale of it to the Egyptians and other inhabitants of the Levant. Depictions on Assyrian royal reliefs confirm the textual account, with men hauling and floating large logs down from the mountains to Assur [s-hacek, s-hacek].

Ashurnasirpal (883-859) has left the most detailed records of the logging activities of the Assyrian kings. His men cut four kinds of trees: erenu, surmenu [s-hacek], and dapranu in the Lebanon and Amanus, and burasu [s-hacek] in the Amanus only. The information regarding Assyrian names for wood is not much better than for Egyptian names. It is believed that erenu is Cedrus libani, although the arguments are complicated; dapranu is a kind of juniper, as is burasu, although the latter has also been identified as cypress; and surmenu is probably cypress (see essay by Postgate in Postgate and Powell, eds., 1992). It is known that the words refer to wood because they are preceded by a Sumerian logogram, GIS [s-hacek], meaning "wood." GIS.ERIN.MES [s-hacek, s-hacek] (=cedar) seems more certain than the others, however, particularly because of the Wadi Brisa inscription of Nebuchadrezzar: in it he claims to have built a road and a canal to carry "mighty cedars, high and strong, of precious beauty and of excellent dark quality (?), the abundant yield of the Lebanon, as [if they be] reed stalks [carried by] the river" (Wadi Brisa inscription of Nebuchadrezzar in Brown, 1969, p.199).

On the other hand, if it were not for the immediate proximity of Wadi Brisa to the cedar forest, the text could refer to Juniperus excelsa, which also has red or "dark" wood, as well as to cedar. The Assyrian inscription in Wadi Brisa is of additional interest because only 50m away, on the wall of the wadi, a Roman inscription (one of about two hundred that encircle the remaining cedar forest but now about 1.5km downhill from the forest edge) from near the end of the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian, (c. AD 134) delimits the forest boundary. Hadrian's procurators had marked this off as a very special forest, and the public was officially informed that four genera were not to be cut. Whether these are the same four genera mentioned in the Assyrian text only 50m away is not known. At any rate, the cedar forest boundary did not change significantly, at least in Wadi Brisa, for more than seven hundred years. The present deforestation is a post-Roman phenomenon. A scrap of evidence from the western edge of the Near Eastern world, and from a much later time, is that the cedar for the treasury doors at Eleusis (in central Greece) was supplied, at vast expense (seventy days' wages for a 2" x 4" x 12' board), by an emporos, an overseas trader and merchant from Knidos, in Caria.

Wood Use. Although evidence for constructional timbers of all classes is the most commonly found demonstration of the use of wood in antiquity, furniture is an obvious but less-common use. Fine furniture, indeed, is rare, except for the remarkably well- preserved inlaid wooden furniture at Gordion. Stone furniture, such as funeral beds, can be presumed to be copies of wooden furniture. Enough furniture inlay exists elsewhere--of ivory or bone or metal--at Assur [s-hacek, s-hacek], for example, to show that elaborately carved and decorated furniture was more common than the archaeological record might otherwise suggest. Almost every Urartian site has produced elaborate metal furniture fittings--bronze animal feet and terminals, silver or gold medallions, plaques, and other attachments both practical or ornamental--and the lists of booty taken by the Assyrian kings include furniture of boxwood and ebony embellished with gold, silver, and ivory. Painted furniture representations on Greek pottery are another important indirect source of information.

Shipbuilding as an activity speaks for itself (see above). Every ship lost at sea, whether accidentally or in a naval engagement and then replaced, must have represented a drain on forest resources. Cedar timbers with up to four hundred annual rings from a twelfth-dynasty Egyptian ship, the so-called Dahshur boat now in the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of five funerary vessels found near the pyramid of Senwosret III, and therefore presumed to belong to the time of Senwosret (c. 1860 BC) at Dahshur, are clearly cut from enormous trees--some centuries old and probably the size of standing trees found today in the Lebanon and the Taurus ranges. In what was an extremely wasteful woodcutting practice, the timbers were carved or sculpted to shape, not bent, as can be seen on a representation of boat builders at work on a relief in the tomb of Ti (fifth dynasty) at Saqqara, Egypt. At least half the wood was thereby lost.

Carpentry. Almost every tool--from the crude to the sophisticated--known to modern carpenters was used by the ancients: axes, adzes, hammers, mallets, wedges, chisels, drills, lathes, right- angles (or T-squares), plumb bobs, compasses, planes, rasps, and polishing agents of various kinds. Evidence exists for the use of almost every modern technique as well: mortising, tenoning, treenailing, beveling, gluing, and intricate joining and inlaying. A glance at the more elegant pieces of the Gordion furniture (eighth century BC) should remove any doubt about the skill and sophistication of the ancient carpenter, not only in the craftsmanship thereby demonstrated, but also in the selection of a half-dozen species of wood for their contrasting colors and textures and the assemblage of thousands of such fragments into an agreeable whole.

-- Peter Ian Kuniholm
On wood

The full citation of this article is "Wood" in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, Eric M. Meyers, ed., New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 347-349.

Bibliography (on wood)
    1. Arnold, Dieter. Building in Egypt: Pharaonic Stone Masonry. Oxford, 1991.
    2. Brown, John Pairman. The Lebanon and Phoenicia: Ancient Texts illustrating their Physical Geography and Native Industries, Volume I: The Physical Setting and the Forest. Beirut, 1969.
    3. Davis, P. H. Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands. 10 Vols. Edinburgh, 1965ff. The standard Flora for the region.
    4. Glanville, S. R. K. "Records of a Royal Dockyard of the Time of Tuthmosis III," Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 66 (1931) and 67 (1932).
    5. Lucas, Alfred. Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries. 4th ed., rev. and enl. by J. R. Harris, London, 1962. See chapter XVIII, "Wood," 429-456.
    6. Meiggs, Russell. Trees and Timber in the Ancient Mediterranean World. Oxford, 1982. The magisterial overview of the western fringes of the Ancient Near Eastern world as well as a thorough commentary on both Egyptian and Assyrian timber.
    7. Merhav, Rivkah, ed. Urartu: A Metalworking Center in the First Millennium B.C.E. Jerusalem, 1991. Hundreds of artifacts which encased or were in enclosed in wood.
    8. Mikesell, Marvin W. "The Deforestation of Mount Lebanon," The Geographical Review 59:1 (1969) 1-28.
    9. Naumann, Rudolf. Architektur Kleinasiens von ihren Anfängen bis zum Ende der Hethitischen Zeit. 2nd. ed., Tübingen, 1971. The standard architectural handbook for Anatolia. Note his drawings of wood use.
    10. Orlandos, Anastasios K. Les Materiaux de Construction et la Technique Architecturale des Anciens Grecs, Vol. I. Paris, 1966, "Le Bois," pp. 1-49.
    11. Postgate, J. N., and Powell, Marvin A., eds. Trees and Timber in Mesopotamia. Bulletin on Sumerican Agriculture, Vol. VI. Cambridge, 1992. The most up-to-date summary of trees, timber, species identifications including ancient names, wood products, trade, prices, and wood-use, from the texts and from archaeological excavation.
    12. Pritchard, James B. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (ANET), Princeton University Press, 1969.
    13. Rowton, M. B. "The Woodlands of Ancient Western Asia," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 26, (1967) 261-277.
    14. Shaw, J. W. Minoan Architecture: Materials and Techniques. Annuario della Scuola Archeologica di Atene e delle Missioni Italiane in Oriente. Vol. XLIX. Rome, 1973, especially pp. 135-185 on wood use in construction.
    15. Simpson, E., Spirydowicz, K., Dorge, V. Gordion: Wooden Furniture. Ankara, 1992. An extraordinarily well-preserved set of ancient furniture illustrative of the best of the carpenter's craft. Complements R.S.Young's report.
    16. Thirgood, J. V. Man and the Mediterranean Forest. London: Academic Press, 1981.
    17. Westerdorf, Wolfhart, and Helck, Wolfgang. Lexikon der Aegyptologie. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrasowitz (1972- ). s.v., "baum," "zeder."
    18. Young, Rodney S. Gordion I: Three Great Early Tumuli, the Gordion Excavations Final Reports, Volume I. Philadelphia, 1981.
    19. Zohary, Michael. Geobotanical Foundations of the Middle East, 2 Vols. Stuttgart, 1973.

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