Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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April 16, 2014

Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

April Pieces Of My Mind #1

  • I want my spell-checker word list to reside in the cloud so that I won’t have to start from scratch, adding names of Swedish provinces and archaeologists to the list, separately for each computer I work at.

  • I’m tired of Star Trek and Star Wars. Let’s forget about them. The Space Odyssey took place 13 years ago. I want new scifi! 2010s scifi.
  • I ask this senior male scholar for the name of a qualified woman under 40 to review a book. He replies that there is none in his country. Hey man, at least you could have said ”I personally don’t know of such a person, but, you know, I’m getting old”.
  • Facebook wants to know who my favourite sports teams are. I’ll tell you: the ones that are never on TV and hardly ever have any spectators at their games. Because though I can fully understand that it may be fun to play soccer, I have only nerdy incomprehension for those who watch others playing soccer.
  • Theobromine is a wimpy mind-altering substance. I’m pretty sure chocolate would sell equally well without it.
  • My wife has found a dependable dealer. Ostensibly this person is a dentist in the Old Town, a high-rent area, but it’s pretty clear how the guy makes his real money. Growing at home and selling to the patients. Must be one of the bigger Chinese duck egg pushers in town. It’s good shit too.
  • Roots hiphop credibility is not something I value. But it surprised me to learn that Nikki Minaj once had it.
  • There may not be many things I care about in this world, but throwing out old sauce bottles and condiment jars in the fridge, years past their use-by dates, is certainly one of them. Aaaaah!
  • Oxford Archaeology has a specialist department for “Heritage Burial Services”. What an unusually infelicitious phrase. Do they bury heritage? Do they perform funeral services? Or if they deal with “heritage burials”, then what does that mean?
  • I like Jrette’s belly laugh. She doesn’t giggle.
  • What a marvellous headline. “Archaeological dig unearths secrets below the ground”. Yes! So true!
  • Thinking about honour-related violence against women, it struck me that to the extent that Swedish men have a concept of honour, one pretty sure-fire way of losing that honour is to threaten or beat women.
  • Oh what sweet relief it is to go from a barely good book to a very good book and realise that you haven’t lost your pleasure in reading after all.
  • I’d like to wear my denim jacket more but I can’t because I always wear denim pants.
  • Another strange usage. “How amazing is that?”, when you are actually amazed. I’d make that “How amazing *isn’t* that”, or “Isn’t that amazing?”.
  • Somebody named Gürkan, Sw. “the cücümber”, just tried to add me as a business associate on Linkedin.
  • I didn’t like American Hustler so I left with an hour to spare. Stupid people doing stupid scams but neither in a comedic nor a tragic way. Didn’t care about any of them.
  • Galileo was Danish, from Gilleleje.
  • The Guardian’s chief arts writer Charlotte Higgins pissed me off on Little Atoms, saying that archaeology’s view of Roman Britain is strongly historically contingent because the Victorians had different ideas about it. No, you /&%#(]&)(*, our ideas change because we keep digging and developing new methods. Our current ideas about Roman Britain are not just contingently different from those of 150 years ago. They are more accurate and based on better material and argument.
  • I love Robbie King’s fat and audacious hammond licks on the Incredible Bongo Band’s tunes!
  • Australia was peopled from the north as one of humanity’s first conquests outside Africa. New Zealand was peopled tens of thousands of years later from the East, as one of the last.
  • The 90s tunes in my song & chords binder have somehow become two decades old.
  • I celebrate 15 years as editor of Fornvännen today (15 April). The median tenure among the editors since 1906 is 8 years.
  • Skalk is a great Danish archaeology mag. I just wish it didn’t look like the Watchtower or Reader’s Digest when I bring it on the train.
  • OMG, there’s a planet-sized ball of shiny rock hanging in the sky!

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

Are These Inscriptions Known?

A couple of items which have shown up in online forums in the past while:


Mary Beard (A Don's Life)

A revision course in Livy


I think I have already said that my next book (the one that I am working on nowm not the one just about to appear) is a  History of Rome -- from Romulus to Caracalla (reasons for end point will be revealed in due course). It is primarily meant for a general intelligent audience, and the register I am trying to hit is the one I struck in Pompeii. That is to say: I'm not assuming that the reader knows a lot about ancient Rome, certainly not the technicalities, but I am not assuming that they are stupid either or that they want to be given a "baby version" with the problems and big questions skated over.

The point about Roman history (as with the archaeology of Pompeii) is that "how we know what we know" can be almost as interesting (sometimes as interesting) as what we know. On the other hand, readers dont want a  book which adds up to little more than a series of laments about how inadequate the evidence is (you cant believe Livy, the archaeology is misleading, etc etc, over and over again). The knack seems to me (and I hope I have got it) to find the right questions to ask of the material we do have, There is a hell of a lot of surviving evidence for ancient Rome. It is only inadequate if you ask it the wrong question.

Take the stories of Rome's foundation, Romulus and Remus inter alia.

There is very little benefit at all in trying to work out which bits of the ancient narratve history of the earliest phases of Rome might reflect historical reality. All those that survive were written well over half a millennium after the supposed events concerned, drawing on lost sources written about half a millennium. It is absolutely clear that some of the story is fantasy/myth (the suckling of the babies by the wolf, for example; some Romans themselves saw that couldnt be factually accurate and pointed out that lupa meant both wolf and prostitute -- the twins had actually been found by a prostitute). It is also quite likely that there are a few traces in the accounts of some aspects that may go back, albeit indirectly, to the very earliest period. The trouble is that we dont have any reliable criteria at all for sorting the wheat from the chaff. Most historians simply cherry pick the "facts" that suit their argument.

On the other hand, if you read the extensive foundation stories that we have (Livy's first book, 4 books of Dionysius of Halicarnassus etc ), you get a wonderfully rich view of how Rome had come to see itself, and debate its own position by the first century BC. The very "fact" that Romulus killed Remus seemed to write fratricide and civil war into Roman identity from the start (continued according to the "myth" by the idea that Romulus' death was not necessarily natural, nor some form of apotheosis; some said he was hacked to death by the senators).  And the notion that Romulus first acquired a population for his new city by declaring an asylum, and inviting the runaways and criminals from Italy to join his settlement, chimes loudly with Rome's historical approach to migration and the extension of citizenship.

But the foundation stories (which are almost always retrospective creations anyway, in any culture) are the easy bit. I am now trying to get to feel a bit more comfortable with the "history" of the early Republic, and its rather ambivalent heroes (Camillus and Cincinnatus and co). It's not a period that I have taught for years and years. So I am sitting down with my Livy and reading it quite carefully (flitting a bit between the Latin and the translation I confess).

Going back to it after so long (and reading at a bit of a pace) , I must say that Livy seems sharper and wittier than I recall. Over the last few years, I have got rather stuck in all the cruces and puzzles (like on the impenetrable discussion on the origin of Roman theatrical performance in Book 7), to the exclusion of all else.

My favourite bit so far? It's when he writes (also in Book 7 I think) "I expect readers might have got a bit bored by now with all these wars against the Volsci"! Well, yes and no.



James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Classic Video Game Biblical Epic Art

It is hard to find one title that summarizes what Dan Hernandez's art incorporates and focuses on. So here is an example. Click through to see more of his series “Genesis 2014.” HT Gizmodo.



Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Matthew Kirschenbaum Lecture at UND Today

The UND Working Group in Digital & New Media is happy to present “Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing,” A Virtual Talk by Matthew Kirschenbaum. The talk is free and open to the public and will take place at 4pm on Wednesday, April 16 in the East Asian Room in the Chester Fritz Library. You should be able to stream his talk here.

KirschenbaumFlyer pdf

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Maryland and Associate Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH, an applied think tank for the digital humanities). He is also an affiliated faculty member with the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at Maryland, and a member of the teaching faculty at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School. Kirschenbaum served as the first director of the new Digital Cultures and Creativity living/learning program in the Honors College at Maryland.

A 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, Kirschenbaum specializes in digital humanities, electronic literature and creative new media (including games), textual studies, and postmodern/experimental literature. He has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia, and was trained in humanities computing at Virginia’s Electronic Text Center and Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (where he was the Project Manager of the William Blake Archive). His dissertation was the first electronic dissertation in the English department at Virginia and one of the very first in the nation.

Kirschenbaum’s first book, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination, was published by the MIT Press in early 2008 and went on to receive numerous awards. Kirschenbaum serves on the editorial or advisory boards of a number of projects and publications, including Postmodern Culture, Text Technology, Textual Cultures, MediaCommons, and futureArch. His work has received coverage in the Atlantic, New York Times, National Public Radio, Wired, Boing Boing, Slashdot, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. For more information, see his website.

DigiPal Blog

25% Off 'English Vernacular Minuscule' until 1 July 2014

Boydell are offering a 25% discount for English Vernacular Minuscule until 1 June 2014. If you want to take advantage of this offer then you can either order it from their website, using offer code 14082, or you can download the flyer below, complete the form and post it to them (click on the image to get the full PDF).

I see that some people are reading it already and am very interested to hear what they think. I expect it will be controversial, at least in part, and I would be very interested to receive any feedback, either to me directly or in the Comments below.

Boydell Flyer for 'English Vernacular Minuscule' 

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Wand- und Deckenmalereien spätklassischer und hellenistischer Zeit im nord- und westpontischen Raum

Moritz, R. (2006) : Wand- und Deckenmalereien spätklassischer und hellenistischer Zeit im nord- und westpontischen Raum, PHd thesis Hambourg.

Cette thèse est assez originale puisqu’elle s’intéresse aux fresques retrouvées en Thrace et dans le Royaume du Bosphore.  La plupart des 22 peinture étudiées proviennent de tombes. On notera notamment la présence de le fresque de Nymphaion, où est représenté un navire égyptien vers 250 av. J.-C..

L’ouvrage compte 65 planches dont une bonne partie en couleur.  Les photos des fresques ne sont pas toujours de bonne qualité.

David Gill (Looting Matters)

James Ede responds to Christos Tsirogiannis

London-based antiquities dealer James Ede has responded to Dr Christos Tsirogiannis in Apollo ("In Defence of the Antiquities Trade", April 11, 2014). Ede is right to suggest that the scandal  --- is there another word that could be used? --- relating to recently surfaced antiquities has been "embarrassing" for those involved in the market. And it is surely appropriate for Tsirogiannis (and others) to draw attention to the need for the application of a rigorous due diligence process to be applied to objects offered for sale.

There is a suggestion by Ede that the photographic dossiers from Medici, Becchina and Symes are not available to authorities and to the Art Loss Register. I am aware of a case (in London) where the ALR was aware of the appearance of an object in the Medici Dossier and had informed the auction house who had still proceeded with the sale.

Ede cannot be unaware of the huge damage that was sustained to the reputation of Sotheby's in London following the detailed investigative book by Peter Watson that revealed the way that antiquities moved from Italy, India and elsewhere to the London market. The research undertaken by Tsirogiannis (and others) has been able to reveal the networks that allow the material to cross international frontiers.

Ede asks for the evidence that the objects were "stolen". Why do so many of the objects in the Polaroid photographs still show the objects in a broken and uncleaned state? These do not appear to be items that had been residing in some private collection. Rather there is the suggestion that they were fresh out of the ground when the photographs were taken. "Stolen" is an interesting word to use, and one used by the press officer of Christie's to describe objects identified from the polaroid photographs.

Ede concedes that some ("many") of the objects handled by Medici and Becchina entered the market "illicitly". It is therefore important for dealers and auction-houses to identify objects handled by Medici, Becchina, Symes (and others) in the collecting histories.

Have the changes in the market in the last twenty years --- 25 years takes us to the period before the Medici scandal broke --- been the result of enlightened dealers, or the concern that photographic evidence would emerge? Ede draws attention to the IADAA's Code of Ethics and to the removal of membership from some dealers. (He does not give their names, but see here.)

Ede suggests that documentation is hard to find. Yet the Medici Conspiracy places the emphasis on the need to demonstrate the authenticated collecting history for an object before it is offered on the market. The Conspiracy has shown us the way that "oral histories" have been supplied to mislead buyers.

Ede reminds us of Syria. The full collecting histories of a pair of statues now on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art are not without interest. And material from Egypt is not without significance.

Ede wants the "legitimate trade" in antiquities to flourish. To do so, those handling recently surfaced antiquities need to work co-operatively with authorities seeking to return items to archaeological collections in the countries where they were discovered. I am aware of a number of cases where auction-houses and dealers (including a member of IADAA) have ignored photographic evidence linking items to the networks that handled recently surfaced antiquities.

The article in The Times is a reminder that we cannot be complacent about how objects have moved from archaeological contexts to the market.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

ArcheoNet BE

14-18. Oorlog in België

Hoe is de Eerste Wereldoorlog in België vastgelopen? Hoe was het vier jaar lang niet mogelijk om het front aan de IJzer en bij Ieper te doorbreken? Hoe is het eigen Belgische leger de oorlog doorgekomen? Deze en tal van andere vragen krijgen een concreet antwoord in ’14-18. Oorlog in België’, het ultieme overzichtswerk over het militaire verloop van het grootste en bloedigste conflict dat ooit op Belgische bodem uitgevochten is. Het boek werd vandaag in Nieuwpoort voorgesteld.

Van de forten rond Luik en de slag aan de IJzer, over de loopgraven voor Ieper tot de slag van Passendale: voor het eerst worden alle militaire operaties waar Belgische troepen bij betrokken waren of die zich voltrokken op Belgisch grondgebied in één boek besproken. Bovendien worden de militaire gebeurtenissen in een ruimere Belgische en internationale context geplaatst.

De kleine feiten en grote gebeurtenissen worden voorzien van bijna 400 unieke, vaak nooit eerder gepubliceerde illustraties en meer dan 50 kaarten. De schrijvers van het boek zijn stuk voor stuk specialisten ter zake. Onder leiding van Luc De Vos maakten ze met 14-18. Oorlog in België een belangrijke synthese, wetenschappelijk onderbouwd en toegankelijk voor een breed publiek, onmisbaar voor al wie interesse heeft in de grote oorlog.

Praktisch: ’14-18. Oorlog in België’, verschenen bij Davidsfonds Uitgeverij, telt 600 pagina’s en kost 55 euro.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Egypt Officially Asks U.S. for MoU to Protect Cultural Heritage

Oh, shock horror (Tompa-alert) a SECRET meeting!! The US Gubn'mint is talking things over with foreign governments and US citizens are going to have to buy licitly imported artefacts.  Eeeeeek.

Egypt Officially Asks U.S. for MoU to Protect Cultural Heritage

At last. Egypt Officially Asks U.S. for MoU to Protect Cultural Heritage' (15 Apr 2014). Egypt has made a formal request to have restrictions on the  import into the US of endangered archaeological material without the paperwork proving legal export. On June 2, the CPAC will begin a review of Egypt's proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU - not emergency restrictions). Not before time.

I am sure that, as in the case of every other one of these MOUs involving material they want to collect, a certain group of Black Hat Guys will be fighting this one tooth and nail.  Let them, let the world see what Philistines they, and the collectors that fail to oppose them, are. Exposing the no-questions-trade for what it is is the only way to clean up the antiquities market.

Between now and  May 14, when public comments close, the nasties will be comment-bombing Docket No. DOS-2014-0008 on the Federal eRulemaking Portal with all their 'arguments' against entering such an agreement with the Egyptians. No doubt they will be trotting out their normal whinges, whines and demands, and there is the prospect that political and anti-Moslem prejudices will be well visible alongside the usual antiquitist loose-thinking.

I would like to urge any US collectors intending to buy looted artefacts reading this to go to the docket and make fools of yourselves by following your lobbyists' instructions and opposing the Gubn'mint in the way they tell you. Show us who you are. Go,on, off you go now.

I'd like the rest of us who feel it is worth making a comment (just for the principle of it) to read the "four determinations" laid out by the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act and think about them for themselves (something the collectors seem incapable of doing) and then write something from their heart and mind which stands apart from the Philistines.  Rick St Hilaire gives the four as "including":
(A) [whether] the cultural patrimony of the State Party is in jeopardy from the pillage of archaeological or ethnological materials of the State Party; 
(B) [whether] the State Party has taken measures consistent with the Convention to protect its cultural patrimony; 
(C) [whether] --(i) the application of the import restrictions . . . with respect to archaeological or ethnological material of the State Party, if applied in concert with similar restrictions implemented, or to be implemented within a reasonable period of time, by those nations (whether or not State Parties [to the 1970 UNESCO Convention]) individually having a significant import trade in such material, would be of substantial benefit in deterring a serious situation of pillage, and(ii) remedies less drastic than the application of the restrictions set forth in such section are not available; and 
(D) [whether] the application of the import restrictions . . . in the particular circumstances is consistent with the general interest of the international community in the interchange of cultural property among nations for scientific, cultural, and educational purposes.
As every time this happens, the Black Hat Guys will try to present this as a competition ("there were more of us than them, but the Gubn'mint did not listen to us"). It is not a competition of course, nor is it a vote. But let the comments reflect that there are not just exploitive selfish Black Hat Guys thinking about Egypt and its cultural heritage. Their comment-bombing campaigns have been getting progressively weaker and ill-focussed, I'd very much like to see them given a run for their money this time. Come on, we all care about ancient Egypt, surely.

No Shame, Really

Heritage activist Monica Hanna has been labelled a "grifter" by John Hooker of the ACCG. These  Philistines are totally incapable of any kind of appreciation for what Ms Hanna has done for the heritage and it is shameful to watch how they
attack her.

Jim Davila (

Maaloula retaken

LEBANON DAILY STAR: Syrian regime troops sweep through Maaloula.
MAALOULA, Syria: Syrian troops triumphantly swept through some of the last remaining opposition strongholds north of Damascus, including the ancient Christian village of Maaloula, sending rebel fighters fleeing to nearby hills amid an ever-tightening noose.

The near total collapse of rebels along a key supply route that has long funneled weapons to opposition-held districts around Damascus helps strengthen President Bashar Assad’s hand in and around the capital.

The dramatic capture of Maaloula, Sarkha and Jibbeh was the fastest series of army successes against rebels in the Qalamoun region since the government launched an offensive in November in the strategic area, a wedge of mountainous territory between the capital and the Lebanese border.

This is certainly news, but it remains to see whether it is good news or bad news for Maaloula (Ma'aloula, Malula). Background here with many links. Cross file under "Aramaic Watch."

GJW and online discussion

LIV INGEBORG LIED: GJW and the status of online academic discussion: will you cite this?
This post will neither discuss aspects of the textual contents of GJW nor the possible status of the fragment or its text as a forgery - I am not a Coptologist. Rather, this post concerns the function, use and status of online academic discussions: the discussions that take place in blogs, in their commentary fields, and sometimes even on Facebook, and which sometimes may turn out to make a difference to wider academic debates.
Background on the Gospel of Jesus' Wife is here and links.

Noah and white people

EXPLANATION: "Noah" Screenwriter Ari Handel Addresses the Reason For An All White Cast: To Represent "Stand-ins for All People" (Diane Cho, Complex).

I raised this issue in passing in my review of the movie, but I didn't really think through the implications until later. The problem, of course, is that by making everyone white before the Flood, the film opens the door to the old racist meme that dark skin color is the curse of Ham. Now to be absolutely clear, the movie does not include the curse of Ham (although Ham does go into self-imposed exile) and I am not for a moment suggesting that the writers intended any such implication. Still, I do not find their explanation satisfactory. Myths do matter, and the problem could easily have been solved with a little diversification of the cast.

Much more on Noah here and links.

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Ukrainian law on protection of cultural heritage in occupied territory

Obviously, I’m working via machine translation (and back-and-forth machine translation of documents), and the Ukrainian parliament’s website has been dysfunctional, but I believe that I’ve understood the details of Ukraine’s law on the protection of cultural heritage in its occupied territory. Original bill In the original bill on the rights and freedoms of citizens in […]

Antiquity Now

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Green Borscht with Matzah for a Multi-Cultural Passover

Monday night, April 14th, was the first night of Passover, the eight-day festival celebrated by Jews around the world to commemorate the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. The start of the holiday always corresponds to the … Continue reading

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Monica Hanna Grilled at Woodrow Wilson Centre

Peter Tompa's report of Monica Hanna's appearance at the Woodrow Wilson Centre ('Monica Hanna: The Arab Spring and the State of Egyptian Antiquities' CPO Tuesday, April 15, 2014) largely skips over the details of what the speaker said but concentrates on what the US questioners were drilling away at. His account of Washington hospitality is as uncharitable as his previous comments on her.  It is quite clear that Mr Tompa's aim is to exploit every opportunity provided to question the US introducing any additional controls on the import of paperless Egyptian antiquities.
1) "The first questioner [who appeared to be associated with the Wilson Center] asked about government involvement in looting, but Hanna did not answer that question".
2) "The first questioner again asked Hanna if the authorities were involved [and] pressed Hanna about any involvement by the current government".
3) "Another questioner asked about whether there was a “concerted international response” to looting". 4) "Another questioner asked Hanna about the MOU with the United States".
5) "Another individual indicated he had a State Department contract with a company that planned to assist Egypt create a database of artifacts in State Museum stores. He wanted it to be known that two consecutive US Ambassadors had tried to get the Egyptian government to cooperate with the project, but the Mubarak Government stymied it".
6) "In response to another question, Hanna indicated that she does not approve of private collecting".
And that, according to Mr Tompa, is it. Three questions intended to entrap Ms Hanna over the MOU and one bloke whose contract was not approved by the Egyptian government came along to complain. Two of the reported public questions intended to entrap came from somebody from the inviting institution which is a crass breach of professional courtesy. In Tompa's account, there were no questions from the floor about Ms Hanna's work, there were no questions about what concerned Americans can do to help. The main thrust of the report seems to be that the presence of Ms Hanna in Washington was being exploited to gather facts with which to oppose the signing of any bilateral cultural property agreement. If this is what happened (and I look forward to seeing a report that indicates that Mr Tompa presented an untrue version) it's disgusting.

As for the guy who "had a State Department contract with a company that planned to assist Egypt create a database of artifacts in State Museum stores" supported by "two consecutive US Ambassadors", perhaps the problem is that in cultural property protection measures, the United States rather than offering help, seems awfully sure of its right to impose additional conditions on others. We see this all the time in the discussion of the MOUs. Funnily enough, not all of us 'welcome' excessive US interference in internal affairs. I would suggest that the reason why this firm could not fulfil its contract most likely is that the US was trying to impose something on the Egyptians to which they were not inclined to agree (for example if this was a firm from the US, would the proposed record have been in English or Arabic?). Certainly The Egyptian Museum Registrar Training Project, made possible through a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was running from January 2007, so it is not as if there was no willingness in Egypt to work with Americans in cataloguing objects.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Ossuaries From the Time of Jesus Discovered in Israel

Eleven ossuaries presumably from near Mt. Scopus found by police and passed to the Israeli Antiquities Authority.

The post Ossuaries From the Time of Jesus Discovered in Israel appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2014.04.25: Stephanèphoros. De l'économie antique à l'Asie mineure: Hommages à Raymond Descat. Mémoires, 28

Review of Koray Konuk, Stephanèphoros. De l'économie antique à l'Asie mineure: Hommages à Raymond Descat. Mémoires, 28. Bordeaux: 2012. Pp. 421. €70.00. ISBN 9782356130631.

2014.04.24: Aristotele, La Politica, Libro III. Aristotele. La Politica, 3

Review of Paolo Accattino, Michele Curnis, Aristotele, La Politica, Libro III. Aristotele. La Politica, 3. Roma: 2013. Pp. 273. €100.00. ISBN 9788882659219.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Mafia Involvement in Egyptian Antiquities Trade

Peter Tompa is discomfited by Monica Hanna's statement ('Monica Hanna: The Arab Spring and the State of Egyptian Antiquities'), based on her own knowledge due to her work in heritage preservation in Egypt that:
20% of the looting [was due to] locals selling to antiquities dealers and 80% was attributable to “the Mafia.” [...] She said that the same networks that move drugs and guns move antiquities. [...] She also stated that there are direct channels to middle men in the United States.
After each of these statements, the "Cultural Property Observer" plaintively moans that she did not pass on her sources of information to him. Obviously, Mr Tompa wants to shut his own and everybody else's eyes and minds to such a possibility. Yet in his piclk-and-mix mental world, when it suits him, Mr Tompa is quite willing to accept and report that there are police chiefs in with the gangs who he does not want to believe are a significant force in antiquities smuggling. For Mr Tompa, ancient Egyptian antiquities are always "cleaner than clean". Like his shirts. Asked about private collecting, Hanna said she disapproves (as do most sensible and informed people who are not collectors) of private collectors who ignore the absence of proof that an object on sale has no documentation of collecting history defining their origins as licit. As Tompa puts it: "she does not think collectors should be able to “get away with” collecting unprovenanced artifacts. They are likely stolen". Mr Tompa cannot stomach that notion either:
CPO disagrees. Egyptian artifacts have been actively and legally collected since the 19th c. and Egypt itself has only had clear law vesting title in the State since 1983. Many Egyptian artifacts, particularly minor ones, have lost any information on how and where they were found over the years. CPO submits to assume they are “stolen” is both factually wrong and grossly unfair to law abiding collectors.
An assumption cannot be a 'fact' Mr Tompa, but then equally neither is an assumption that a paperless artefact is necessarily licit in origin a 'fact'. Given the uncertainty, and assuming a collector feels looting and financing smugglers (and thus probably organized crime) is the greater evil than a hopeful dealer can't get rid of an artefact he incautiously bought without properly verifying origins, a responsible collector will look beyond what he is merely constrained by the law to do and walk away from potentially dodgy goods. The mafia are no mafia if all they manage to get into the USA are three shabtis and a pocketful of scarabs. In order for organized crime to profit, they'll need to shift loads of stuff onto the international market, which means that loads of stuff on the international market must come from illicit sources. How can anyone "assume" (or even try to argue) other wise without looking utterly ridiculous?

There is nothing for it, Peter Tompa's going to have to go to Egypt, meet with Mr Kingsbury's "Mohammed" and the armed looters of Dashur and El Hibeh. In order to uphold his 'cleaner than clean' assumption, he obviously now needs to prove that there is no looting by a criminal element going on in Egypt today. Take a camera Mr Tompa. Ask some trade associations to put you in touch with some of the dealers who know who the "middlemen" are.


Brit fined for attempting to auction looted Egyptian artefacts

This case intrigues me for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the level of the fine is tiny – considering the crime involved & the value of the artefacts, it counts somewhat lower than a slap on the wrist in the overall scheme of things.

Secondly, the auction house (In this case Christies, although in my past experience, none of the big auction houses have a particularly good reputation when it comes to looted artefacts) takes the moral high ground, making a point about how their due diligence is responsible for bringing about this case. Now, unless I’m misunderstanding the article completely (or the article is incorrect), the sequence of events is rather different to this.

Firstly, Christies lists the looted artefacts. Then, the true origin of the artefacts is spotted by Marcel Marée, a curator at the British Museum, who goes on to alert Christies of this. Finally, Christies contacts the Metropolitan Police’s Arts and Antiques Unit. I see nothing here that really makes me confident in Christies due diligence – the only reason the items didn’t end up at auction was because they happened to be spotted by someone who was entirely independent of the Auction House, who then took their own effort to alert them.

The fact also needs to be noted that the items were smuggled from Egypt in a suitcase on a flight – more needs to be done by countries to protect the egress of looted artefacts through their borders, helping to stop the trade by making it much more difficult for international buyers.

Lot 61 An Egyptian painted limestone relief fragment 1550.1069 B.C

Lot 61 An Egyptian painted limestone relief fragment 1550.1069 B.C

Ahram Online

Briton fined £500 by UK court for attempted sale of smuggled Egypt antiquities
Amer Sultan in London
Tuesday 15 Apr 2014

A UK court has fined a British citizen £500 after he admitted having attempted to sell a number of ill-gotten Egyptian antiquities.

Neil Kingsbury, who had previously worked on BBC documentary series about the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and other early archaeological adventures, was arrested after six items were identified in Christie’s London antiquities sale last year.

Kingsbury told Christie’s that he inherited the items from an uncle who had lived in Egypt for some years after serving in World War II.

However, one of the items – a relief fragment of a Nubian prisoner appearing to originate from the Amenhotep III Temple in Luxor’s Thebes – was spotted in Christie’s catalogue of items before the auction sale by Marcel Marée, a curator at the British Museum.

All six items — which are between 3,000 and 4,000 years old — were pulled from the sale a few days before it was due to start.

Christie’s contacted the Metropolitan Police’s Arts and Antiques Unit (MPAA) which arrested Kingsbury and interviewed him before referring him to court.

During a nine-month trial, Kingsbury revealed he had bought the items from a man called Mohamed who owned a series of shops, including one in a five-star hotel complex in Luxor, and brought them to Britain in a suitcase.

Due to his cooperation and confession, Kingsbury was told he would not be sentenced to prison. Beside the £500 fine, he was also ordered to pay £50 as a court fee.

“This case shows how our procedures, our due diligence and the transparent and public nature of our sales combine to make our salesroom highly unattractive to those engaged in the illicit trade,” Christie’s spokesman told Ahram Online, adding that he hoped the incident will send a strong message to those engaged in illicit trade.

The post Brit fined for attempting to auction looted Egyptian artefacts appeared first on Elginism.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Mubarak Regime "Deeply Involved" in Antiquities Trafficking?

According to Peter Tompa ('Hanna: Mubarak Regime Involved in Antiquities Trafficking', CPO Tuesday, April 15, 2014) "In response to a question from the audience at yesterday's event at the Wilson Center, Dr. Monica Hanna stated unequivocally that the Mubarak Regime (her words) was deeply involved in antiquities trafficking":.
"Specifically, Hanna identified the former police chief of Cairo as a major smuggler". 
and who was buying these antiquities from the (reportedly) corrupt cop? Coins for example? Any ACCG dealers for example?

In his later account however a few more details imply that it was not so much the deposed regime itself involved, but officials appointed by it ('Monica Hanna: The Arab Spring and the State of Egyptian Antiquities' CPO Tuesday, April 15, 2014)  "she stated the Mubarak regime was certainly involved and that the Chief of Police for Cairo was arrested for running a smuggling ring". This may have been the bust in November 2003 in which a number of police officials were charged. In that case we know who in Europe and the USA had been buying those smuggled antiquities and facilitating the smuggling ring. 

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

New Beginnings for the Mausoleum of Augustus?

Archaeologists now plan to clean up, restore and reopen the Mausoleum while the city is to spend €12m on creating a pedestrian's area to facilitate the access of visitors.

The post New Beginnings for the Mausoleum of Augustus? appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

David Connolly, Maggie Struckmeier, and Felicity Donohoe (Past Horizons: Adventures in Archaeology)

Unwrapping Ancient Egypt

Howard Carter opens the innermost shrine of King Tutankhamen's tomb near Luxor, Egypt (New York Times 1923). Image: Wikimedia CommonsThe study and popular perception of Egyptian antiquities focuses too much on the unwrapping of mummies and the use of technologies such as scanning, according to one academic

BiblePlaces Blog

Museum Photographs

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

A few weeks ago, it was announced that cuneiform texts in the Israel Museum have been added to CDLI, the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. I would like to draw attention to two of these inscriptions that should be of interest to teachers and students of the Bible.

The first is the Iran Stele, a limestone stele of Tiglath-pileser III which is preserved in fragments that were found in western Iran. The stele depicts the king and symbols of deities, and the inscription records the king's annals, including a report that he imposed tribute upon (among others) king Menahem of Samaria (2 Kings 15:19).

Iran Stele of Tiglath-pileser III, Israel Museum

The second is the "Jerusalem Prism" of the Assyrian king Sennacherib. Sennacherib recounts his campaign to Sidon, Philistia, and Judah in 701 B.C. He reports how he defeated the Egyptians at Eltekeh and Tamna (2 Kings 19:9), reinstalled Padi as king of Ekron, and then conquered many of Judah's towns while confining Hezekiah to Jerusalem like a caged-up bird (2 Kings 18-20). Sennacherib recorded the account of this campaign on several other prisms and cylinders like this one, such as the Taylor and King Prisms and Rassam Cylinder (British Museum) and the Chicago Prism (Oriental Institute).

Jerusalem Prism of Sennacherib, Israel Museum

Readers may also be interested in the British Museum's free Image Service, which is not new. Once you search the museum's online collection for the item in which you have an interest, you will be able to see if there are photographs available. After clicking on the thumbnail, you can enlarge the photo or see if there are "More Views" available. Below the photograph, there should be a link "Image service: Use image." This link will take you to a page where you can register or sign-in to the Image Service and request the photograph. The website will ask you to select how you intend to use the photograph; options include "Classroom or teaching material" and "Private or professional study or research (without print publication)." Once you submit the request, the photograph will be emailed to you within a day or two. The stated limit is 100 images per month. I successfully requested about a dozen images in one sitting for use in a classroom PowerPoint.

Rosetta Stone, British Museum

Objects one might wish to use in teaching could include: Enuma Elish, Atrahasis, Epic of Gilgamesh, Lachish Reliefs, Rosetta Stone, Black Obelisk, Kurkh Monolith, Taylor Prism, Armana letters, and Lachish letters. One could search for the name of a king from Assyria or Egypt or Rome, or a particular type of object such as coins, lamps, papyri, and so forth.

Bronze wheeled stand with sphinx from Cyprus, British Museum

A helpful source to consult as to what kinds of things are to be found in the British Museum that might have relevance for Bible teaching is:

Fant, Clyde E., and Mitchell G. Reddish.
2008  Lost Treasures of the Bible: Understanding the Bible through Archaeological Artifacts in World Museums. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans.

HT: Jack Sasson

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Sajid Javid: what lies ahead for the new UK culture secretary?

The way ahead, but no
rocking the boat by
UK's 'sit back and wait'
Dave O'Brien, 'Sajid Javid: what lies ahead for the new culture secretary?' Guardian Professional, Friday 11 April 2014. Maria Miller's successor could make a positive impact on UK arts, but first must address lack of coherent policy at DCMS
'The lack of coherent cultural policy is something with which Britain has traditionally struggled, irrespective of the party in government'

obviously the current nonsensical approach to artefact hunting, collecting and the aberrations of the antiquities market are only part of the problem. But these issues are the one government can - with a will - sort out at a stroke of a pen.  Alternatively, the UK and its jobsworth archaeologists can all can continue to sit back and pretend there is no problem and fail to deal with it, as they have all done for the past decade and a half.

Insurance Company's Comedy Metal Detectorist Still Popular

Comedy metal detectorist in action
Empty-brain metal detectorists in the US are claiming tonight that a commercial was modified due to their concerns about the way it portrays brown bears on motorbikes. Sadly, bears are still being exploited to sell insurance and metal detectorists are no wiser.
Farmers Insurance TV Spot, 'Bear'
Joe Woods and Stephen William Sylvia continue to be one-of-a-kind ambassadors for the hobby in the comments section.

Wallwork and the Real Lawyers

The joke piece "The archaeology paradox: more laws, less treasure" by Adam Wallwork, a law student at the University of Chicago, inadvertently published by the La-La Times as newsworthy is inexplicably still being discussed. David Knell (Wednesday, 9 April 2014) contrasts the view of two commentators: 'A Tale of Three Lawyers: Views on LA Times piece'. He contrasts the uncritical reception of the text's methods and conclusions by paid lobbyist and self-titled "cultural property observer" Peter Tompa with the much more incisive analysis by Rick St. Hilaire, professor of cultural property law at Plymouth State University.
Rick St. Hilaire rightly quotes the AIA: the mission of archaeology is to "preserve, protect, and interpret the precious record of the human past". Archaeology is about the study of the human past by analysing material evidence; it is NOT only about finding new tourist attractions or digging up loads of pretty objects. Nor is conserving the evidence of the past inherently "anti-collector"; it just doesn't pander to those dealers and collectors who wish to exploit it without consideration for anyone else.
Vignette: Post hoc, even tee shirt manufacturers get the idea.

Nazi War Digger Detectorists: "Stitched up by National Geographic"?

As Heritage Action note:
You’d expect a TV series showing detectorists  incompetently digging up dead bodies” (as one termed it) would be universally condemned. Yet many detectorists still haven’t done so and the overall hobby “verdict” seems to be settling down to a comforting “they were stitched up by National Geographic”. But the question is: “would bus drivers or bank clerks have been?”  It seems unlikely.
Who, actually, would sign a contract with anyone to do such a thing without ensuring the details of the document would not allow the event to develop into the reputation-damaging fiasco we saw? Only somebody totally incapable of appreciating that this sort of escapade involves issues that need to be fully addressed in such a contract. If detectorists themselves cannot cope with the task of understanding such contracts and their implications, maybe the NCMD should offer its members the facility of supplying members with professional legal advice as part of their membership when faced with such contracts.

Vignette: "It's a stitchup"

Debate on Authenticity of the So-called "Gospel of Jesus' Wife"

There has been a delicate silence for over a year about the so-called Gospel of Jesus' Wife (otherwise known as "Papyrus Dodge") revealed at a Rome conference by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012. This was broken on Thursday by its publication in a long-delayed, online peer-reviewed paper in the Harvard Theological Review, by Karen L. King. The discussion was accompanied by a report that it had been "tested by scientists who conclude [...] that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery" (Laurie Goldstein, 'Papyrus Referring to Jesus’s Wife Is More Likely Ancient Than Fake, Scientists Say

t M.I.T.’s Center for Materials Science and Engineering:
Timothy M. Swager, a chemistry professor, and two students used infrared spectroscopy to determine whether the ink showed any variations or inconsistencies.“The main thing was to see, did somebody doctor this up?” Dr. Swager said in an interview. “And there is absolutely no evidence for that. It would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible.”
The problem with this is that, as far as I know, nobody had suggested that the object owned by an anonymous collector and studied by Dr King had been "doctored" by adding a few words to an authentic papyrus. The nubby handwriting of the whole fragment is suspect. 

The final test was (I would say) equally inconclusive. In it the fragment was compared with another manuscript, a fragment of the Gospel of John of unstated provenance. The conclusions of the report are in fact based only on a direct comparison of those two samples:
The “Jesus’s Wife” papyrus was analyzed at Columbia University using micro-Raman spectroscopy to determine the chemical composition of the ink. James T. Yardley, a professor of electrical engineering, said in an interview that the carbon black ink on this fragment was “perfectly consistent with another 35 or 40 manuscripts that we’ve looked at,” that date from 400 B.C. to A.D. 700 or 800.
Basically they found that the ink used was carbon black, consistent with that from burning oil in a lamp. Surely if a forger was wanting to make a forged document which would be expected to be analysed, that is exactly what he or she would use to write it with. Nothing is said about any analysis of the medium within which the carbon black was suspended. So far the two analyses have produced results which are not inconsistent with the object being an authentic antuiquity, but that is not the same as saying that they have proven its authenticity, the tests have hardly been exhaustive. Like where is the microphotography showing the relationship between the ink and any corrosion of the papyrus surface, was the inscriptioon placed over a surface that had already been in the ground for any length of time. What about the microflora?

The HTR also published a rebuttal by Egyptologist Leo Depuydt, who declares the fragment so patently fake that it “seems ripe for a Monty Python sketch.”
He said he decided based on the first newspaper photograph that the fragment was forged because it contained “gross grammatical errors,” and each word in it matched writing in the Gospel of Thomas, an early Christian text discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945. “It couldn’t possibly be coincidence,” he said.
Dr. King is quoted as saying that "her big disappointment is that so far, the story of the fragment has focused on forgery, not on history", but of course if the object had some history, some collecting history, none of the suspicions of when and where it was written would not exist.

For the record, for reasons I set out earlier, I think it is a fake.

UPDATE 13.4.13
Candida Moss wonders ('The ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ is Still as Big as Mystery as Ever', The Daily Beast, 13 April 2014), is there any way to figure out the truth?
Esteemed New Testament scholars like Francis Watson and Mark Goodacre, together with the renowned manuscript expert Alin Suciu, began to poke holes in the thesis.  The biggest problems were the grammatical errors in the text and the similarities between GJW and another early Christian Coptic text, the Gospel of Thomas. Francis Watson argued that all of the fragmentary sentences preserved on the papyrus are also found in the Gospel of Thomas. He tentatively suggested that the text is a pastiche compiled by a modern forger with an elementary grasp of Coptic. Even more damning was the argument that one of the typographical errors in the fragment appears to have been copied from an erroneous online edition of the Gospel of Thomas. The sixth line of the GJW nonsensically seems to read, “Evil man habitually does not he does habitually bring [sic].” Interestingly, precisely the same error appears in a 2002 online edition of the Gospel of Thomas. The chances of two independent texts making the same grammatical error are remarkably small.
The new test results have opened the debate again but the grammatical errors and similarities to the Gospel of Thomas "are still a problem. A modern forger with the right materials could still have made this text". Moss concludes controversially:
In some ways GJW is actually more interesting if it is a modern forgery. As an authentic text it offers late evidence of a debate about the role of women in the church. That’s something that scholars already knew about. As tantalizing as the potential reference to Jesus’s wife is, the phrase ‘my wife’ doesn’t tell us anything about Jesus himself. But if this is a modern forgery, then it raises lots of interesting questions about how forgeries are made, by whom, and for what purposes. Someone would have gone to great lengths to place this shocking manuscript in the hands of one of the foremost scholars of Early Christianity alive today. Did they do it for the money, in the hopes of bringing down established Christianity, or just for fun? 

Vignette: Mr and Mrs Jesus.

Ancient Art

Cave 19 at the Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra, India. Ajanta contains...

Cave 19 at the Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra, India.

Ajanta contains 30 excavated rock-cut caves which belong to two distinct phases of Buddhism: the Hinayana phase (2nd century BC-1st century AD) and the Mahayana phase (5th century AD-6th century AD). These caves are considered to be one the finest examples of early Buddhist architecture, cave-paintings, and sculpture.

The Archaeological Survey of India, Aurangabad Circle, speaks specifically of Cave 19:

The small chityagriha [prayer hall] is considered one of the most perfect specimens of Buddhist art in India. The exquisitely decorated facade and beautiful interior form a grand combination of richness of detail and graceful proportion. The inscription in Cave 17 records that a feudatory prince under Vakataka King Harisena was a munificent donor of this cave, datable to the 5th century AD. It consists of a small but elegant portico, verandah, a hall, and chapels. The apsidal hall is divided into a nave, an elaborate and elongated drum, and a globular dome which stands against the apse. 

The pillars and the stupa are intricately carved with the figures of Lord Buddha and other decorative motifs. The sidewalls are also adorned with countless figures of Buddha while the ceiling is filled with painted floral motifs in which animals, birds, and human figures are cleverly interwoven. The chapel contains the panel of Nagaraja with his consort known for its serenity and royal dignity.

The first and second photos were taken by Kirk Kittell, the third is by Arian Zwegers.

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: April 16

Here is a round-up of today's proverbs and fables - and for previous posts, check out the Bestiaria Latina Blog archives. If you are looking for more fables to read (LOTS more fables), you can download a free PDF copy of Mille Fabulae et Una: 1001 Aesop's Fables in Latin.

HODIE (Roman Calendar): ante diem sextum decimum Kalendas Maias.

MYTHS and LEGENDS: The art image for today's legend shows Achilles and Penthesilea; you can also see the legends for the current week listed together here.


3-WORD MOTTOES: Today's 3-word motto is Aetate prudentiores reddimur (English: We turn out wiser with age).

3-WORD PROVERBS: Today's 3-word proverb is Lux luceat vester (English: Let your light shine).

RHYMING PROVERBS: Today's proverb with rhyme is: Qui miseros spernit, sibi callem ad tartara sternit (English: He who scorns the wretched is paving his own road to hell).

VULGATE VERSES: Today's verse is Varius eventus est proelii (II Samuel 11:25). For a translation, check out the polyglot Bible, in English, Hebrew, Latin and Greek, at the Sacred Texts Archive online.

ELIZABETHAN PROVERBS: Here is today's proverb commentary, this time by Taverner: Summum ius, summa iniuria: Extreme lawe is extreme wrong. This is to say, then most of all men swarve from right and equitie whan they most supersticiouslye sticke to the letters of lawes, not regarding th'intent of the makers. For this is called, Summum ius, that is to say, the extremitie or rigoure of the lawe, whan all the strife and contencion is upon the wordes of the law without any respecte to the meaning and purpose of the lawe makers.

BREVISSIMA: The distich poster for today is Compatiens. Click here for a full-sized view.

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:


FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Ciconia et Uxor Eius, a marvelous story of some birds with very human problems (this fable has a vocabulary list).

MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Cicada et Noctua, the story of the owl's revenge on a noisy neighbor.

Noctua et Cicada

And I have something special to add today! Thanks to Nemo Oudeis at Google+, we have a true LatinLOLCat, a rejoinder to the LOLCat above! Isn't it wonderful???!

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Continuity Errors in Tim LaHaye’s Fiction/Theology

Fred Clark continues his insightful and entertaining review of Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist in the Left Behind series. Here is a key point in his most recent post on the subject, after noting a major blunder in the story's consistency:

For the fans of these books, though, the stakes are even higher. They have to believe that this story makes sense because this story is a vehicle for the theology they rely on to make sense of their own lives. I suspect that, too, is a big part of why those fans are able to keep reading here without getting thrown off by the absurdity of this Hebrew-speaking “Global Community peacekeeping force” officer shredding the plot by showing up in the wrong jurisdiction. LaHaye’s disciples can acknowledge and forgive minor continuity errors because they don’t reflect on the validity of that core theology. But they cannot afford to acknowledge the way these books repeatedly reject continuity and logic because to allow themselves to notice that would force them to confront the fact that LaHaye’s theology, like his story, just plain doesn’t make any sense.

Click through to read the rest.



Brice C. Jones

Facsimile Edition of P.Bodmer VIII (1-2 Peter)

I just learned that there is a facsimile edition (or perhaps replica is a better designation) of P.Bodmer VIII, part of a famous (and somewhat mysterious) codex containing the texts of 1-2 Peter, among other things. The facsimile is crafted by a Spanish company, and it comes in a nice wooden case along with an introductory booklet containing a "Traducción y Transcripción" (translation and transcription). According to the website at the link above, it sells for a steep €806 ($1,113). The images look nice. Does anyone know anything about this facsimile? I would love to know what the quality is like and if the material is papyrus. For $1,113, it better look just like the original! This is a great way for libraries or departments to facilitate learning of ancient Greek manuscripts.  

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Treasure hunt at Pulau Nangka

A strange story that is developing in Malaysia: The Malacca government has authorised a treasure hunt in Pulau Nangka, in search of gold thought to belong to the Malacca Sultanate. The rumours of treasure on the island seem to be more steeped in legend than fact, and according to Malaysia’s Heritage Commissioner, the state government does not have the authority to do authorise a hunt.

Pulau Nangka. Source: The Star, 20140414

Pulau Nangka. Source: The Star, 20140414

Antiquarian: Decipher scripts and symbols – and treasures will be found
The Star, 15 April 2014

Billion-ringgit treasure hunt in Malacca
The Star, 14 April 2014

Could the treasure be Sultan Mahmud’s riches?
The Star, 14 April 2014

Mysterious scripts and symbols reportedly written on the walls of a cave in Pulau Nangka hold the key to finding its hidden treasures.

According to a local antiquarian, those who had entered the cave had seen the strange writings. “But, they could not interpret them.”

Th antiquarian, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said people had also seen the same writings replicated on a palm leaf scroll, which could no longer be traced.

“The key to finding the treasures is to decipher the writings,” he said, adding that since the late 1970s, there had been several attempts to salvage the treasures. “However, all were futile.”

Full story here.

Cambodia reports $2.5 billion earnings from tourism

While not exactly an archaeology story, the fact that most tourists who visit Cambodia go to Angkor makes this a relevant one to post here.

Source: Bangkok Post 20140415

Source: Bangkok Post 20140415

Cambodia earns $2.5bn from tourism
Bangkok Post, 15 April 2014

Sok An, head of the Office of the Council of Ministers, said the number of foreign tourists to Cambodia has been steadily increasing from only around 120,000 in 1993 to more than 4.2 million in 2013, most of them visitors to Cambodian cultural heritage sites such as the Angkor Wat temples.

Last year’s income from tourism accounted for around 16% of the nation’s gross domestic product and provided jobs directly to about 400,000 people, Sok An said.

Full story here.

Chinese tourists to Angkor up

Chinese tourists to Angkor see a 10% increase compared to last year for the January-February period.


Chinese tourists to Cambodia’s Angkor world heritage site continue to grow
Xinhua, 13 April 2014

The number of Chinese visitors to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple, one of the World Heritage Sites, has continued to grow in the first two months of this year, a tourism official said Sunday.

Some 71,100 Chinese had visited the 12th century temple during the January-February period this year, up 10.5 percent compared with the same period last year, said Chhoeuy Chhorn, administration chief of the tourism department in Siem Reap province, where the temple is located.

“China is the second largest source of tourists to the temple after South Korea,” he told Xinhua by telephone.

Full story here.

photo by:

Archaeology Magazine

Site of Rhode Island’s First Orphanage Excavated

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND—The Rhode Island State Home and School Project, led by E. Pierre Morenon of Rhode Island College, has collected oral histories, video, state records, and conducted excavations on the grounds of the state’s first orphanage, which operated from 1885 to 1979. Its last remaining wooden building, known as Yellow Cottage, and two other buildings still stand on the Rhode Island College campus. Morenon and his team uncovered a toy soldier, pieces of roller skates and toy guns, a toy tow truck, buttons, little purses, and many marbles. “For me, there’s a lot of meaning attached to objects. I tend as an archaeologist to think that they are not just functional things, but part of a child’s life,” Morenon told The Providence Journal

April 15, 2014

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Monica Hanna: The Arab Spring and the State of Egyptian Antiquities

On April 14, 2014, Monica Hanna, an Egyptologist and social media activist, spoke at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.  She was introduced by Haleh Esfandiari, the Director of Middle East Programs at the Center.  There were approximately forty (40) attendees in the audience.

Esfandiari indicated Hanna’s talk was co-sponsored by the Antiquities Coalition.  Hanna is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Humboldt University (Berlin) and was recently awarded the SAFE Beacon Award.  She created Egypt’s “Heritage Task Force” as a social media platform to combat looting.

Dr. Hanna discussed serious damage done at several Pharaonic, Ptolemaic, Coptic, and Islamic sites. Those most at risk are in urban areas.  A “Land Mafia” typically repurposes sites over time so they lose their character as archaeological sites in the mind of locals.  Tactics include using the sites as garbage dumps, farms and cemeteries.  Cemeteries in particular are difficult to remove for obvious reasons.   Local government, Religious Institutes or even National Government ministries have also been at fault.  They have built football pitches or even buildings adjoining or directly on archaeologically sensitive sites.  In the process, monuments are either defaced or utterly destroyed.  In this regard, Dr. Hanna displayed several slides that compared 19th century prints with present day vistas.  In each case, significant monuments are no longer visible at all or have suffered considerable damage.

Villagers are a problem.  Families with children go out for a picnic and then loot.   There also is more organized looting that Hanna attributes to the illicit international antiquities trade.  They use bulldozers and dynamite to destroy sites in search for loot.  Hanna showed pictures of a looted Coptic site where religious reliefs were pried out from stonework.  She also showed other pictures of looters’ pits where remnants of mummies and mummy cases were left behind.  Apparently, families know not to store looted material in their houses because of the danger of arrest.  Instead, they bury it elsewhere for later retrieval once a middleman is found.

Hanna next discussed looting and destruction at the Malawi Museum in Minya.  She showed before and after slides of mummies that had been burnt by the mob.  Unfortunately, mummies burn quite easily.  Little kids destroyed pottery and other artifacts.  She asked one teenager why he did it.  In response, he told her, “Because they belong to the Government and I’m mad at the Government.”   [Looting of the museum was tied to rioting following a military coup that overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood Government of deposed President Mohamed Morsi.]  Hanna blamed the government for a slow response.  She was finally able to persuade a local police official to bring his family along to drive out the looters.  It took the army three days to send one tank to protect the museum.  [This sounds familiar.  The archaeological community registered similar complaints against the American Army’s alleged slow response to the looting of the Iraq National Museum.]

Hanna asserts that looting destroys history because 70% of an object’s historical value comes from the context in which it was found.  [Others will disagree.]  She advocates that activists report on anyone they believe is selling looted material.

Hanna  then answered some questions.  The first questioner [who appeared to be associated with the Wilson Center] asked about government involvement in looting, but Hanna did not answer that question.  Instead, she maintained that 20% of the looting came from locals selling to antiquities dealers and 80% was attributable to “the Mafia.”  She did not explain how she came by these figures.  She indicated that there needs to be much better community outreach to stem looting.  She wants to use social media to get information about sites being looted.  She said that the same networks that move drugs and guns move antiquities. Again, she did not disclose the source of this information.  She also stated that there are direct channels to middle men in the United States.  Again, no source was provided for this information.  She stated that two (2) recently looted artifacts surfaced at auction in London.  These were discovered because they were from museum stores and were published in 1956.  

The first questioner again asked Hanna if the authorities were involved.  In response, she stated the Mubarak regime was certainly involved and that the Chief of Police for Cairo was arrested for running a smuggling ring.  The questioner then pressed Hanna about any involvement by the current government.  Hanna indicated that it was too soon to tell.

Another questioner asked about whether there was a “concerted international response” to looting.   Hanna indicated it was essential to get the UN involved.  There are markets in the US and the Gulf.  If these markets were closed, the problem would be lessened.  Over the long term there needs to be more investment in local communities in Egypt.  The people must see that antiquities have a value to them.  One reason they loot is that they think it’s their right to do so because corrupt government officials are doing it too.  

Another questioner asked Hanna about the MOU with the United States.  Hanna indicated that it is essential to close markets.  She indicated that Egyptian authorities recently recovered 6,000 artifacts destined for a Swiss collector.   

Another individual indicated he had a State Department contract with a company that planned to assist Egypt create a database of artifacts in State Museum stores.  He wanted it to be known that two consecutive US Ambassadors had tried to get the Egyptian government to cooperate with the project, but the Mubarak Government stymied it.

Hanna indicated that governments need to be pressured to take a strong stance against illicit antiquities collecting.   The last time this was successful was Iraq.  In response to another question, Hanna indicated that she does not approve of private collecting.  She indicated that private collectors should be satisfied with objects with a demonstrable provenance back to 1970 or 1983, the date of a clear Egyptian patrimony law.   She does not think collectors should be able to “get away with” collecting unprovenanced artifacts.  They are likely stolen.  [CPO disagrees.  Egyptian artifacts have been actively and legally collected since the 19th c. and Egypt itself has only had clear law vesting title in the State since 1983.   Many Egyptian artifacts, particularly minor ones, have lost any information on how and where they were found over the years.  CPO submits to assume they are “stolen” is both factually wrong and grossly unfair to law abiding collectors.]

David Gill (Looting Matters)

Hull Hands on History Museum

In November 2013 it was announced that Hull would be the UK City of Culture in 2017, beating Leicester, Dundee and Swansea Bay (see BBC News; DCMS Press Release). The news story reminded us:
Phil Redmond added that the panel was "particularly impressed with Hull's evidence of community and creative engagement, their links to the private sector and their focus on legacy, including a commitment to enhance funding beyond 2017".
Hull's Council Leader, Stephen Brady was also quoted:
"It will give Hull a platform to tell the world what this great city has to offer, transform perceptions and accelerate our journey to make Hull a prime visitor destination."
However, five months on, Hull City Council has decided that it will close the Hands on History Museum housed in the Old Grammar School with its associations with William Wilberforce (see Hull City Council website). The Hull Daily Mail has more details.

Those concerned about the removal of this museum from the portfolio of the UK City of Culture 2017 should consider signing the online petition (here). What message is Hull City Council "telling the world"?

For some of the objects from the museum see here.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Derniers numéros de revue

Боспорских исследований, 30, 2014  le sommaire

Археологический Сборник, 39, 2013 le sommaire

Pontica, 46, 2013

Il Mar Nero, 7 le sommaire

Il Mar Nero, 8, le sommaire

Archaeology Magazine

Tests of Chilean Mummies Suggest Arsenic Poisoning

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA—New research suggests that contaminated water caused chronic arsenic poisoning among the Incas and the Chinchorro who lived in northern Chile between A.D. 500 and 1450. The skin, hair, clothes, and soil encrusting a naturally preserved mummy from the Tarapacá Valley of the Atacama Desert were examined by with nondestructive instruments by archaeological scientist Ioanna Kakoulli of the University of California Los Angeles and her colleagues. The condition of the mummy’s skin suggested arsenic ingestion, so the scientists imaged the hair samples with a very high resolution scanning electron microscope, and analyzed the distribution of elements and minerals in the hair sample with the synchrotron light source at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They found that the arsenic had been uniformly distributed through the hair, and that the soil contained much lower concentrations of the toxic element. “The results are consistent with modern epidemiological studies of arsenic poisoning by ingestion,” Kakoulli told Live Science.  

All Mesopotamia

twitchitywitchity: Originating from Mesopotamia, beryl was...


Originating from Mesopotamia, beryl was worshipped as a magic stone. It is said to protect marital feelings and love and will help the one who possesses it reach high positions.

It is a very gentle healer, helping with homesickness and anxiety caused by traveling. Beryl aids in treating eye problems, placing the stone on the closed eye in the evening. It can alleviate mild stomach and bowel disorders and detoxify the body. Beryl is used in the treatment of angina and can relieve the effects of long-term stress when placed on the neck. When worn with morganite, it can enhance the physical appeal and erotic feelings of the wearer.

Beryl is a protective stone, especially when travel over water as that is its corresponding element.

It should always be placed in a bowl of hematite stones overnight and cleansed under warm running water while rubbing lightly.

Via: The Whimsical Pixie on Facebook.

EAGLE News: Europeana Network of Ancient Greek and Latin Epigraphy

New cooperation agreement between EAGLE and Rodopis

We are proud to announce that Rodopis ( has just signed a Cooperation Agreement with the EAGLE Best Practice Network. This cooperation will hopefully lead to the involvement of Rodopis members in the project’s User Engagement activities (via its network of members and friends). It may also facilitate a significant contribution to our Wikimedia Commons contents through the addition of links to EAGLE databases. Rodopis will also cooperate with EAGLE in organising intensive workshops on Digital Humanities and the digitalisation of texts in Italy. The aim of such activities will be the training of young students and researchers, especially in TEI-EpiDoc, one of the standards adopted by the EAGLE consortium for the publication of inscriptions online.

logo-rodopisRodopis is a cultural association of students, researchers and people interested in Ancient History. In recent years, Rodopis members have carried out several initiatives for promoting the study of Ancient History, both in and outside the academic world.

Many of the events organised by Rodopis are tightly linked to research. The most important among these are the cycles of graduate and postgraduate seminars “Ricerche a Confronto”, which were held in many Italian universities (Bologna, Trento, Roma Tre, Torino, Cagliari). In addition to this, the association has organised international Postgraduate Conferences in Classics.

Rodopis also focuses on the divulgation of Classics-related themes. To this end, several initiatives have been organised, including educational seminars and annual trips to important sites to the study of ancient culture.

All members of Rodopis look forward to this cooperation and are very glad to be part of this international effort to bring top quality epigraphic contents and data to the public for use and reuse. This is the mission we share!

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #389

Open Access (free to read) archaeology articles for everyone:

Excavation at Lintshie Gutter Unenclosed Platform Settlement, Crawford, Lanarkshire, 1991.

Who were the Professional North American Archaeologists of 1900? Clues from the Work of Warren K. Moorehead

Excavations at the Buries, Repton


Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Hanna: Mubarak Regime Involved in Antiquities Trafficking

In response to a question from the audience at yesterday's event at the Wilson Center, Dr. Monica Hanna stated unequivocally that the Mubarak Regime (her words) was deeply involved in antiquities trafficking.  Specifically, Hanna identified the former police chief of Cairo as a major smuggler.

But that is not all.  Another speaker from the floor complained that two successive US Ambassadors had offered the Egyptian Government money to help complete an inventory of artifacts in state collections, but this effort was stymied by the Egyptian Government itself.  No wonder. Without an inventory, it's far easier for corrupt Egyptian cultural bureaucrats to sell antiquities from "the museum store" without notice.  And yet, the same Egyptian cultural bureaucracy has  convinced the US Government to bring criminal cases and forfeiture actions to recover Egyptian artifacts from US citizens in the recent past.

When asked if the current military government was also involved in antiquities trafficking, Hanna could only meekly state that it was too soon to tell.  But just how different is the current military government from the Mubarak regime, which was also dominated by military men?   And, if the differences are as it appears only "skin deep," why should the US Government clamp down on US collectors on behalf of a deeply hypocritical and corrupt Egyptian cultural establishment?

CPO hopes to post a full report of  Dr. Hanna's talk in the not too distant future, but in the interim will highlight some of her admissions that should give US Government decision makers and the press pause.

Ancient Peoples

Sandstone statue of king Montuhotep II  Statue of the king shows...

Sandstone statue of king Montuhotep II 

Statue of the king shows him in his Heb-sed (jubilee) costume. This feast was meant to renew the king’s youth and demonstrate his strength as king, so as to be show to be fit to rule Egypt. 

Egyptian, Middle Kingdom, 11th dynasty, 2051 - 2000 BC. 

Found in Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, temple of Montuhotep II 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

Ancient Art

Seated divinity. Maya Culture, Rio Bec (?) or Chenes region,...

Seated divinity. Maya Culture, Rio Bec (?) or Chenes region, Mexico, Classic period. Made of polychrome stucco, dates to between circa 550 and circa 950.

Former collection of Jean Lions, 1970s; former collection of H. Law; auctioned by Binoche & Giquello on 21 March 2011. Photo taken by Marie-Lan Nguyen.

Archaeology Magazine

Sod House Dissected in Nebraska

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA—A multidisciplinary team of researchers is dissecting a section of wall removed from a sod house in the Great Plains to learn about the lives of nineteenth-century homesteaders. Weighing in at nearly two tons, the wall was carried to The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where the “autopsy” is taking place. The wall itself comes apart easily, but the bricks, composed of dirt held together with the roots of prairie grasses, are very sturdy. “It’s a laboratory that we can kind of look to see over the course of a hundred years, what happened as people dealt with changing economic situations and as droughts came and affected them,” archaeologist LuAnn Wandsnider told NET Nebraska.

He has a wife you know

archaicwonder: Pegsus and Swastika, Silver Stater of Corinth c....


Pegsus and Swastika, Silver Stater of Corinth c. 550-500 BC

Coin shows Pegasos (Pegasus), with curved wing, flying to left, a koppa below. On the reverse, an incuse in the form of a swastika.

Very rare. This is one of the finest of all archaic Corinthian staters known. Instead of walking, as on the earliest examples of this type, Pegasos is clearly flying here since all his hooves are diagonal and not flat on the ground. The swastika patterned incuse on the reverse is actually a very ancient solar symbol, found in many parts of the world, and has no political meaning.

The ancient city of Corinth was founded in the 10th century BC on the remnants of a Neolithic settlement. The town was extremely well situated on the isthmus that joins the Peloponnesus with the mainland of Greece. This location gave Corinth the possibility to control all roads connecting the two parts of Greece. As a result, Corinth soon developed into one of the most important trade centers of the ancient world.

Thanks to this vivid trade, Corinth belonged to the first western towns to take up coinage, supposedly around the middle of the 6th century BC. The motif on the coins of Corinth was Pegasus, the legendary winged horse – legend had it that Pegasus, scratching with his hoof on the rock Acrocorinthus, had released the spring of Peirene, the fountain that supplies Corinth with fresh water. The reverse of the early Corinthian coins showed a simple square, the so-called “quadratum incusum.” Soon however, the square was transformed into a swastika, as can be seen on this coin.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

"Sign the UK up to the Hague Convention"

Helen Goodman, 'Stolen art cannot be brushed over, so sign the UK up to the Hague Convention' Guardian Comment is Free,  15 April 2014: 
"Cultural objects often become a part of conflict as aggressors and defenders seek to control their history and identity, and that of their enemies. [...] The Hague convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, originally drawn up in 1954 and amended in 1999, is an international treaty that stemmed from the destruction and appropriation of cultural objects in the second world war. The convention provides protection for cultural heritage in international law, prohibiting looting, theft, vandalism and reprisals against cultural property and barring the use of cultural property for military purposes except in exceptional circumstances. Importantly, it also forbids the export of cultural property from occupied territories and makes provision for the return of objects deposited with third-party territories for safekeeping during conflict. Yet the UK is one of the only western powers not to have ratified the convention. I am calling on the new culture secretary, Sajid Javid, to introduce legislation in the next Queen's speech to ratify the convention, and have asked a parliamentary question that will be addressed after Easter. Labour will back such a move if he agrees to this. There can be no excuse: the legislation was prepared by the last Labour government; the coalition has run out of ideas. Let's use the final year of this parliament to do something really useful on a cross-party basis".
Who'll support this? British archaeologists and their metal detecting "partners"?

Archaeology Magazine

Court Rules Clay Tablets Remain at Chicago’s Oriental Institute

persepolis tablets1CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—Nine American survivors of a 1997 terrorist attack in Jerusalem were awarded damages in a U.S. court for more than $300 million from the Republic of Iran. When Iran refused to pay the damages, the plaintiffs claimed a collection of Achaemenid Tablets on loan to the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute. But a U.S. court has ruled in a second appeal that the tablets are classified as noncommercial property and are therefore not subject to seizure. The tablets are currently being digitized and cataloged as part of the university’s Persepolis Fortification Archive Project. “We will return them [to Iran] when we are done recording, analyzing, and publishing them,” Matthew Stolper, head of the project, told The Chicago Maroon.  

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Luxor Theft: Laughable Fine for Antiquities Smuggling in Bonkers Britain

"Now, let that be a lesson to you, you naughty man".
A UK court has fined a British citizen £500 after he admitted having attempted to sell a number of ill-gotten Egyptian antiquities through Christie’s. He bought then illegally in Egypt, smuggled them out of the country, lied to Christie's about where they came from, greedily counted on making a packet. And he would have done if they'd not been spotted by an archaeologist who knew where one of the items had been stolen from. Neil Kingsbury was arrested:
During a nine-month trial, Kingsbury revealed he had bought the items from a man called Mohamed who owned a series of shops, including one in a five-star hotel complex in Luxor, and brought them to Britain in a suitcase. Due to his cooperation and confession, Kingsbury was told he would not be sentenced to prison. Beside the £500 fine, he was also ordered to pay £50 as a court fee.
and told "not to do it again", no doubt. Laughable, and gives out a clear message that the British do not give a tinker's about looted material on the UK market. No surprise there though when their jobsworth archaeologists refer to artefact hunters and collectors as their "partners" and refuse to discuss the issue in public.

The fate of "Mohammed" after Mr Kingsbury shopped him to get a lighter sentence is unknown

Amer Sultan, 'Briton fined £500 by UK court for attempted sale of smuggled Egypt antiquities', Ahram Online, Tuesday 15 Apr 2014

Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

A marvellous collection of photographs – Following Hadrian, by Carole Raddato

Over the last couple of months, I have become aware of another individual who, quietly, and without any fanfare, is making a real difference to ancient history online.  Her name is Carole Raddato, and she writes the Following Hadrian blog.

What she is doing is travelling all over the Roman Empire, and photographing its material remains.  The results appear on Flickr here.

She’s going into museums, and photographing exhibits, and placing them online.  In quantity:  there are over 14,000 photographs in that Flickr collection.  And at very high quality: far, far better than anything we see in published literature.

I became aware of her work, while working on the Mithras site.  Again and again I found that a striking, clear, good quality image would be … by Carole Raddato.  It might be in Wikimedia Commons (a site that takes a pretty casual attitude to copyrights of others); more usually on her own Flickr feed.

Again and again I would look for some artefact in some museum and then find … Miss Raddato had visited that museum and made a collection of photographs, all now freely online.

The path she is following – that of the Emperor Hadrian in his travels about the empire – is taking her to the major sites and repositories of the ancient and modern world.  The result is this marvellous collection of material.

A lot of people put holiday photos online.  They are of variable quality.  But I don’t know of anybody else who is undertaking such a herculean task, and doing so in a way that is of permanent value.

We are all in your debt, Madam.  May your camera flash never grow dim!

Ancient Peoples

Bronze statuette of Jupiter  18.1cm high (7 1/8...

Bronze statuette of Jupiter 

18.1cm high (7 1/8 inch.) 

Roman, Early Imperial period, 1st century AD. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews)

Bronze Age chronology revised by ancient weather report

An inscription on a 3,500-year-old stone block from Egypt may be one of the world's oldest weather reports, and could provide new evidence about the chronology of events in the...

Prehistoric DNA paints more complex picture of human evolution

According to Dr Mike Bunce, a researcher at Curtin University's Trace and Environmental DNA Laboratory, the ability to look deeper into fossils - past the traditional methods of simply carbon-dating...

4,000-year-old pit houses found in Arizona

A major ancient human settlement possibly dating back 4,000 years - including pit houses, the likely remnants of an irrigation canal, and human burials - has been discovered under the...

Blogging Pompeii

Article: Prima ipotesi sul limite orientale dell’abitato dell’antica Ercolano

Just out: the latest number of the journal "Oebalus. Studi sulla Campania nell'Antichità", which includes the results of new research to identify the extent of ancient Herculaneum. Prima ipotesi sul limite orientale dell’abitato dell’antica ErcolanoDOMENICO CAMARDO, ALDO CINQUE, GIOLINDA IROLLO & MARIO NOTOMISTA

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Heidelberger historische Bestände: Ägyptologische Literatur – digital

Heidelberger historische Bestände: Ägyptologische Literatur – digital
Zu den Beständen des Sondersammelgebietes Ägyptologie der UB Heidelberg gehört auch ein umfangreicher und sehr bedeutender Bestand ägyptologischer Literatur des 16. bis frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, aus dem ausgewählte Werke vollständig digitalisiert und via Internet kostenfrei zugänglich gemacht werden.

Seit dem 1. September 2009 wird das Angebot im Rahmen eines DFG-Projekts systematisch ausgebaut. Über das Themenportal „Rezeption der Antike im semantischen Netz: Buch, Bild und Objekt digital“ können die Heidelberger Titel gemeinsam mit weiteren digitalisierten Werken der Projektpartner recherchiert werden.
Überblick nach: AutorenLändern und OrtenThemen

He has a wife you know

Leicester dig unearths Iron Age mint and Roman tile with dog paw prints

Leicester dig unearths Iron Age mint and Roman tile with dog paw prints:



Archaeologists believe they might have stumbled across an Iron Age mint which produced gold and silver coins for the coveted Hallaton Treasure.

The dig at Blackfriars, in the city, unearthed coin mould fragments which, combined with evidence from previous…

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

South Arabian inscriptions on wood at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

Altsüdarabische Inschriften auf Holzstäbchen - Ancient South Arabian inscriptions on wood
Die Bayerische Staatsbibliothek verwahrt die weltweit zweitgrößte Sammlung an hölzernen Schriftdokumenten aus dem antiken Südarabien, dem heutigen Jemen. Es handelt sich dabei um Alltagskorrespondenz in sabäischer und minäischer Sprache: Briefe, Rechts- und Wirtschaftsurkunden, Schreibübungen und Texte aus der rituellen Praxis. Die in Palmblattrippen und Holzstäbchen eingeritzten Texte dokumentieren die gesamte Spanne der altsüdarabischen Kultur vom frühen 1. Jahrtausend v. Chr. bis in die unmittelbar vorislamische Zeit. 

The Bavarian State Library houses the second-largest collection worldwide of written documents on wood from Ancient South Arabia (present-day Yemen). These contain everyday-life’s correspondence in Sabaic and Minaic languages, such as letters, legal and business documents, writing exercises and texts from ritual practice. The texts are carved in palm-leaf stalks and wooden sticks. Historically, the documents cover the entire span of the so-called Ancient South Arabian civilisation – from the early 1st millennium BC up to the period immediately before the emergence of Islam. 

Dekoration Alphabetische Liste

Dekoration Chronologische Liste

Dekoration Liste nach Signaturen


Sunoikisis: A National Consortium of Classics Programs

Sunoikisis: A National Consortium of Classics Programs
Sunoikisis is a national consortium of Classics programs. Since 1999, Sunoikisis has yielded new collaborative and interdisciplinary paradigms of learning in the liberal arts for the 21st century.

“Sunoikisis” comes from Thucydides (3.3.1) in reference to the alliance formed by the cities of Lesbos (Methymna excluded) in their revolt against the Athenian empire in 428 B.C.E. Likewise, this collaborative program seeks to develop a set of common goals and achieve a degree of success and prominence that goes beyond the capacity of a single program.
Sunoikisis enables students and faculty at participating institutions to benefit from opportunities normally available only at large research institutions, while maintaining the advantages of a small liberal arts learning environment. The curricular elements within Sunoikisis include inter-institutional collaborative courses, excavations, internships, travel study, undergraduate research symposia, and faculty development seminars.
The curricular elements of Sunoikisis expose our students to a wider range of subject material and faculty than would be possible otherwise. Indeed, the president of an elite northeastern college commented in October 2004 that the Sunoikisis program surpasses programs offered by large institutions in that the collaborative nature unusually enriches it in terms of content and methodological approach. The program, by providing a range and quality of opportunities for majors, prepares students who choose to continue their training in graduate school to compete with graduates from the leading research universities in the country.

For more information about how Sunoikisis is impacting Classics education, read “Collaborative Classics: Technology and the Small Liberal Arts College” by Rebecca Frost Davis and “Chaos and in the New Academy” by Susan Frost and Aimee Pozorski.

Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Journal

Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Journal
The Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Journal is a peer-reviewed online journal with a variety of features intended to make research attractive and accessible to a broad spectrum of readers, from scholars to curious young people.

The Center for Hellenic Studies publishes two issues each year to correspond with the biannual research symposia in December and April.

Volume 1

Issue 1: December 1, 2012  | Issue 2: April 27, 2013

Volume 2

Issue 1: December 7, 2013 | Issue 2: April 26, 2014

Open Access Backfiles: Classical Philology (Open Access Backfiles)

Classical Philology (Open Access Backfiles)
ISSN: 0009837X
E-ISSN: 1546072X
Classical Philology is a University-owned journal that is sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Department of Classics. The Department of Classics retains editorial control and appoints editors. The Chair of the Department has recommended the appointment of Mark Payne to replace Elizabeth Asmis as editor of Classical Philology. Both the Department and the Press are fully confident in Payne’s ability to lead the journal, as he has already exhibited this competence by serving as acting editor during Asmis’s leave 2009-10.

Classical Philology has been an internationally respected journal for the study of the life, languages, and thought of the Ancient Greek and Roman world since 1906. The journal covers a broad range of topics from a variety of interpretative points of view.
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And see also:
AWOL's full list of journals in JSTOR with substantial representation of the Ancient World

He has a wife you know

spokanesammirose: jeannepompadour: Recreation of an Ancient...



Recreation of an Ancient Roman hairstyle from the Flavian period (69-96 A.D.)

My new pilum - assembled and looking good! Click here for other...

My new pilum - assembled and looking good! Click here for other pics of my armour, as well as other stuff I’ve worn (you’ll need to scroll down a bit)

Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 12)

Came across this blog post on the so-called salt mummies of Iran, which has pictures of the mummies on display in the Zanjan Museum... which seems to need an osteologist.  These are two shots of one mummy, from the feet and from the head.  Check out the tibiae/fibulae and humeri.  Those are wonky, no?

Saltman no. 2 , currently on display in Zanjan Musem.
By Mardetanha (Own work) 
or GFDL (], 
via Wikimedia Commons

Saltman no. 2 , currently on display in Zanjan Musem.
By Mardetanha (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0
or GFDL (],
via Wikimedia Commons

Previous installments of Who needs an osteologist?

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Beam Me Up, Lotty

A commenter pointed me to a web site which suggests that Lot’s wife may have been caught in something like a Star Trek transporter beam, a “pillar of vanishing” rather than being turned into a “pillar of salt.”

If you are going to bring in Star Trek, you could also have Lot’s wife become a Salt Vampire. (It will be no surprise that the approach on that website is indebted to Zecharia Sitchin).

The interesting thing is that such approaches are attempting to avoid the more obvious plain meaning of the text, that Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt, since that seems hard to believe when taken literally.

And so the meaning of the text is twisted into something else, so that the interpreter can take their preferred meaning literally, and still claim to believe the Bible to be factually true.

The ironic and self-contradictory character of this approach should not be missed.

The story of Lot’s wife, like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, was presumably aetiological – an attempt to explain the barrenness of the region around the Dead Sea, and the existence of one particular human-looking mineral formation in its vicinity.

Ancient Peoples

Glass jug  10.2cm (4 inch.) high  Roman, Late Imperial period,...

Glass jug 

10.2cm (4 inch.) high 

Roman, Late Imperial period, 4th century AD.

Source: Metropolitan Museum

ArcheoNet BE

Bij nader inzien. Nieuw onderzoek naar oude opgravingen

In het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden opende vandaag een tentoonstelling over nieuw onderzoek naar 31 oude archeologische opgravingen in Nederland. In de vorige eeuw werden door het hele land duizenden opgravingsprojecten uitgevoerd. Lang niet altijd werden de resultaten goed in kaart gebracht. Vondsten en documentatie verdwenen zelfs ongezien in dozen en lades. 31 van deze ‘vergeten’ opgravingen zijn de afgelopen jaren door middel van nieuwe technieken opnieuw bestudeerd. De resultaten zijn nog tot half september te zien op de tentoonstelling ‘Bij nader inzien’.

Gebrek aan geld en tijd was vaak de reden dat opgravingen niet verder werden uitgewerkt. De vergeten opgravingsprojecten hebben vervolgens lang moeten wachten voordat iemand zich erover ontfermde. In de afgelopen vier jaar vormden deze projecten het vertrekpunt voor nieuwe zwerftochten door archieven en depots. De onderzoekers van nu doken in de stoffige dozen en mappen met vondsten, tekeningen, foto’s en documentatie en deden soms verrassende ontdekkingen.

Het project om de vergeten opgravingen nieuw leven in te blazen kreeg de naam ‘Odyssee’ mee. Hiermee werd de behouden thuiskomst van belangrijke informatie over ons verleden gesymboliseerd, vrij naar de behouden thuiskomst van de Griekse held Odysseus na zijn mythische omzwervingen.

De resultaten van dit Odyssee-project zijn nu dus te zien in Leiden. Samen leverden de opgravingsprojecten een fraaie staalkaart van archeologisch Nederland op: de Boshoverheide met de grootste prehistorische begraafplaats van Noordwest-Europa, Romeinse forten en dorpjes langs de limes en de kust, vroegmiddeleeuwse grafvelden en stadsopgravingen de eerste onderwateropgraving van Nederland en vondsten uit de Tweede Wereldoorlog.

Praktisch: de tentoonstelling ‘Bij nader inzien’ loopt nog tot en met 14 september 2014 in het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden. Meer info op

American Philological Association

“Gallows enthusiasm” on and beyond the academic job market

This month’s column is adapted from a paper I gave at the invitation of the Graduate Student Issues Committee at the CAMWS meeting in Waco earlier this month.


The humanities are a field in crisis because the number of students pursuing liberal-arts degrees has plummeted over the past couple decades.  Classics is producing more Ph.D.s than the discipline can support.  Online education will be the death of us all.

Sound familiar?  Well, most of that’s bull.  The decrease in liberal-arts majors was caused by opening non-humanities fields like engineering to women: without formal gender discrimination, as Heidi Tworek explains, women’s humanities-degree rates have adjusted to match men’s, which have remained stable since the 1960s.  Online education has indeed opened opportunities to people otherwise lacking access — but isn’t close to usurping in-person teaching, as witnessed by abysmal completion rates of overhyped MOOCs.

Yet our discipline does face grim realities: almost nobody nowadays lands tenure-track positions when first on the market, and many classicists never will.  Adjunct faculty outnumber tenure-line faculty nationwide, and tenure-line employment has remained stagnant while the number of Ph.D.s awarded has blossomed.  White privilege, class privilege, male privilege, thin privilege, and abled privilege affect academic careers in big and small ways, from hiring to service workloads.  It’s not necessarily Sisyphean, though it is definitely a steep uphill path.  But it’s worth considering three interrelated ways of achieving a strong, satisfying career: the value of non-tenure-track faculty positions, possibilities for non-faculty employment, and mindful approaches to the academic market.


Dreams of landing tenure-track jobs straight from grad school — dreams from the ivory gate of false dreams, for most — overlook important advantages in a stint as a postdoctoral fellow, visiting assistant professor (VAP), or other non-tenure-line position.  Postdocs tend to have lower teaching loads and no service expectations: more time for research, pedagogy, and professional growth, and an easier entry into professional academic life.  VAPs teach as much as or more than tenure-track faculty, but being a VAP for a few years means building a portfolio of courses taught, proving teaching competence, and learning from mistakes before the teaching record formally becomes part of tenure review.  These positions provide time to get distance from your grad-student self, start work on research without the ruthless ticking of the tenure clock, and develop a network and profile.

While on a VAP or postdoc, demonstrate your value and build yourself by seeking out mentors, getting experience with the responsibilities of full-time academics, and learning the principles of good pedagogy from the university’s teaching center.  Contingent employment is also a great time to develop what I call “administrative maturity”: a body of knowledge and ability to speak fluently about program development, departmental growth, navigating institutional procedures, etc.

Relatedly, it’s important always to be a generous colleague by, e.g., spending time with fellow faculty outside formal university functions, helping out around the department, or reviewing colleagues’ research — without, of course, overcommitting.  Being a generous colleague intra- and extramurally is virtuous.  It’s also expedient, because it cultivates friends and allies who’ll help with professional objectives, inside or outside academia.


Outside academia, yes: you should think seriously about non-faculty positions.  Faculty life is much different from grad school.  Jacqui Shine asks important questions that might clarify whether professional academia is even right for you: “[w]ill you be able to work alone, without receiving much affirmation or feedback?…How badly will you chafe against the academy’s particular pecking order?…What if you never use your body when you work?”  The Ph.D. prepares for a broader range of careers than the narrow scope of higher-ed faculty, as Allison Schrager asserts: “self-direction, an ability to translate complicated ideas, communicat[ion]…and creative approaches to problems…are also traits the new economy values.”  Common “alt-ac” options include high-school teacher, higher-education administrator, editor, corporate researcher or historian, consultant, entrepreneur.

A doctorate in Classics comprises a desirable skill set; the trick is to become an eloquent advocate for those skills and add in some non-humanities skills.  Learn to code: programming isn’t difficult for experts in synthetic languages like Latin and Greek, and programming know-how is valuable on the non-academic market and in digital-humanities research.  Learn from others’ experiences by reading some former-faculty “quit lit.”  And learn what’s out there — look around for appealing alt-ac opportunities to spark a career-path brainstorm, volunteer, and tap personal networks.


When/if approaching the academic market, keep in mind that it’s extremely rough, but commit yourself to the value of your chosen path.  It’s irrational to take on the stress and grief of the market unless you’re passionate about a more-than-40-hours-per-week life of teaching, research, and service—even if you’ve spent six, eight, twelve years on the degree.  Nonprofit experts talk about the “sunk-cost fallacy,” the phenomenon of humans’ pursuing something no longer matching their true interests just because they’ve already invested resources in it.  Don’t do this with something as central to life as your profession.

Do a cost-benefit analysis, and embrace your decision with both realism and optimism — what I term “gallows enthusiasm.”  Be mindful of the uphill path, but don’t do job-market things halfway: instead, do them enthusiastically.  Cultivate an enthusiastic rather than jaded persona around students and colleagues.  Use advice like Joy Connolly’s to guide realism and bolster optimism.  Know yourself — respect where you are emotionally and in life — and present the most mature and enthusiastic version of yourself at conferences, during searches, on the job, and in public discourse.


It’s crucial that we sharpen not only our rhetoric about the value of a Classics Ph.D. but also our own perceptions of the degree and what it qualifies someone to do.  There are countless reasons why we chose to devote ourselves to Classics.  Many of those reasons are unique.  But something we all share is a belief that we are studying and teaching transformative literature and artifacts, ones that interrogate us as we interrogate them.  Encounters with Graeco-Roman civilization have had a profound effect on us, and we believe it will on our students and successors.  So it’s incumbent upon us to be enthusiastic advocates for Classics — interventionists, even — in the public forum, whether as professional academics and teachers or as participants in careers beyond the borders of the college campus.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Chilean Mummies Reveal Signs of Arsenic Poisoning


People of numerous pre-Columbian civilizations in northern Chile, including the Incas and the Chinchorro culture, suffered from chronic arsenic poisoning due to their consumption of contaminated water, new research suggests.

Previous analyses showed high concentrations of arsenic in the hair samples of mummies from both highland and coastal cultures in the region. However, researchers weren’t able to determine whether the people had ingested arsenic or if the toxic element in the soil had diffused into the mummies’ hair after they were buried.

In the new study, scientists used a range of high-tech methods to analyze hair samples from a 1,000- to 1,500-year-old mummy from the Tarapacá Valley in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Read more.

Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 27 (The blood moon: Joel 2:31 and its echoes)

Given last night’s total lunar eclipse, mostly viewable in the Americas, the biblical references of the moon appearing blood-like are a great place to turn to now for some brief reading practice in Georgian. For good measure, I’ve included the Greek and Armenian verses, too.

First, here are the three verses in the venerable KJV:

  • Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
  • Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
  • Rev. 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

Joel 2:31

Greek (where it is numbered 3:4) and Armenian:

ὁ ἥλιος μεταστραφήσεται εἰς σκότος καὶ ἡ σελήνη εἰς αἷμα πρὶν ἐλθεῖν ἡμέραν κυρίου τὴν μεγάλην καὶ ἐπιφανῆ.

արեգակն դարձցի ՛ի խաւա́ր եւ լուսին յարիւն, մինչչեւ եկեալ իցէ օր տ(եառ)ն մեծն եւ երեւելին։

  • արեգակն sun
  • դարձցի aor. subj. mid./pas. 3s դառնամ, դարձաւ to turn
  • խաւար, -ի, -աւ dark(ness)
  • լուսին, -սնի/-սնոյ moon
  • արիւն, արեանց blood
  • եկեալ ptcp. գամ to come
  • իցէ pres. subj. 3s եմ to be
  • երեւելի glorious, splendid


მზჱ გარდაიქცეს ბნელად, და მთოვარჱ სისხლად ვიდრე მოსლვადმდე დღისა მის უფლისა დიდისა და განჩინებულისა.

  • მზეჲ sun
  • გარდა-ი-ქცე-ს aor. conj. 3s გარდაქცევა to change (NB version with -ი-)
  • ბნელი dark(ness)
  • მთოვარეჲ moon
  • სისხლი blood
  • მოსლვაჲ coming
  • განჩინებული fixed, determined, appointed, set

Acts 2:20

ὁ ἥλιος μεταστραφήσεται εἰς σκότος καὶ ἡ σελήνη εἰς αἷμα, πρὶν ἐλθεῖν ἡμέραν κυρίου τὴν μεγάλην καὶ ἐπιφανῆ.

արեգակն դարձցի ՛ի խաւա́ր՝ եւ լուսին յարիւն, մինչչե́ւ եկեալ իցէ օր տ(եառ)ն մեծ եւ երեւելի։

Both the Sinai (ed. Garitte) and AB (ed. Abuladze) redactions read in agreement:

მზჱ გარდაიქცეს ბნელად და მთოვარჱ სისხლად პირველ მოსლვადმდე დღისა მის უფლისაჲსა დიდისა და განჩინებულისა.

The differences between Acts 2:20 and Joel 2:31 are only two:

  1. პირველ instead of ვიდრე (i.e. “before” in Acts, “until” in Joel)
  2. უფლისაჲსა (gen. + gen.) instead of უფლისა (gen.)

Rev. 6:12

Καὶ εἶδον ὅτε ἤνοιξεν τὴν σφραγῖδα τὴν ἕκτην, καὶ σεισμὸς μέγας ἐγένετο καὶ ὁ ἥλιος ἐγένετο μέλας ὡς σάκκος τρίχινος καὶ ἡ σελήνη ὅλη ἐγένετο ὡς αἷμα

Եւ տեսի յորժամ եբաց զկնիքն վեցերորդ՝ եղեւ շարժումն մեծ, եւ արեգակն եղեւ սեա́ւ իբրեւ զկապերտ այծեայ, եւ լուսինն բոլորովին եղեւ արիւն։

  • տեսի aor. 1s տեսանեմ, տեսի, տես to see
  • եբաց aor 3s բանամ, բացի to open. For this kind of verb, see Meillet, Altarmenisches Elementarbuch, § 113; for the augment, attached to consonant-initial (at least in early Arm.) forms in the aor that would otherwise be monosyllabic (3s), see Godel, Intro. Class. Arm., §§ 2.213, 2.31, 3.233, 5.3.
  • կնիք, կնիքոց seal
  • վեցերորդ six (“six” is վեց)
  • եղեւ aor 3s եղանիմ to be(come)
  • շարժումն (movement >) earthquake
  • սեաւ black (cf. Georgian შავი)
  • կապերտ, -ից linen, cloth, sackcloth
  • այծեայ, -ծէից made of goat-hair
  • բոլորովին totally, completely, entirely

Ed. I. Imnaišvili, 1961:

და ვიხილე, რაჟამს აღაღო მეექუსჱ ბეჭედი, და ძრვაჲ იქმნა დიდი, და მზჱ შავ იქმნა, ვითარცა ძაძაჲ ბალნისაჲ, და მთოვარჱ ყოვლითურთ იქმნა, ვითარცა სისხლი.

  • ვ-ი-ხილ-ე aor 1s ხილვა to see (cf. ხილვით ვიხილე Acts 7:34 [Sinai] for ἰδὼν εἶδον!)
  • აღ-ა-ღ-ო aor 3s აღღება to open
  • მეექუსეჲ sixth (“six” is ექუსი)
  • ბეჭედი seal (also “ring”)
  • ძრვაჲ (movement >) earthquake
  • შავი black (cf. Armenian սեաւ)
  • ძაძაჲ rough garment, mourning garment, sack
  • ბალანი skin, pelt, animal hair
  • ყოვლითურთ totally, completely, entirely


It was too cloudy here last night to see it, but hopefully some of you got to view the eclipse!

DigiPal Blog

Public Lectures: 'Collaboration for the Digital Future' and 'Book Conservation and Digital Humanities'

There will be two public lectures as part of Medieval and Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age (MMSDA) 2014. As previously reported, MMSDA is running again in 2014 in a new expanded form. Applications for the course itself closed some time ago, and we had 145 eligible applicants for only 18 positions, so unfortunately there is no space for taking anybody else. However, two evening lectures are open to the public, as follows.

Simon Tanner (King's College London): Collaboration for the Digital Future

17:30–18:30, Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Room GR06/07, Faculty of English, 9 West Rd Cambridge


Alberto Campagnolo (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana): A Tale of Two Fields: Book Conservation and Digital Humanities

17:30–18:30, Thursday, 1 May 2014
IALS Lecture Theatre, 17 Russell Square, London
To attend this lecture please e-mail to request a place.

I hope to see you there.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Features of Fundamentalism Mnemonic


Paul Regnier shared the above useful mnemonic for remembering key features of fundamentalism. Here is his further explanation of the points:

Science – Rejection of scientific views when they conflict with sacred texts. However, many fundamentalists have made effective use of modern technology to promote their message.

Elect – The view held by some fundamentalists that they are part of a spiritual elite, chosen by God for a particular mission. In some cases, this may justify violence.

Patriacrchy – The view that men and women have different roles, with women subordinate to men. In fundamentalist groups this is seen as being ordered by God, not the product of culture or history.

Authoritarian – Blind obedience to authority, as opposed to individual freedom and conscience. This may involve obedience to the teachings of a religious text or a religious leader.

Reaction Against Modernity – Fundmentalism is seen as being a reaction against the modern world. Fundamentalists view themselves as being distinct from, and separate to, modern secular society.

Apocalyptic – The view that we are living in the last days, and that the world as we know it will shortly be brought to a sudden end.

Texts – Belief that a sacred text is inerrant (contains no errors). Fundamentalists hold that their sacred texts are literally true, and are hostile towards attempts at historical or literary criticism of them.

Ethically Conservative – The moral commandments of religious texts are seen as being binding for all time. In practice, this tends to lead to a conservative moral position, for example opposing homosexuality.

Dualism – Dividing the world into clear categories of good and evil, right and wrong, “with us” and “against us”. There is little room for ambiguity or grey areas in fundamentalist thinking.


Click through to read the rest. Are there any features you would add, remove, or alter?



Elena Cano (Γνωθι τους αλλους)

El milagro del ser humano

Para descansar un poco de tanto mal rollo como nos rodea  y ya que la commemoración de la Pascua cristiana nos proporciona unos cuantos días de anhelado descanso, se me ha ocurrido confrontar dos textos de la rica tradición europea, esa que  a tantos parece estorbar últimamente.

 El primero es de la  erudita medieval Hildegarda de Bingen, también conocida como la Sibila del Rin. El segundo  es un famoso coro de Sófocles, de la época en que el ser humano era el centro de todo y el mundo aún estaba hecho a su medida. Espero que os gusten.

"O quam mirabilis", versión del grupo musical  SEQUENTIA


O quam mirabilis

O quam mirabilis est 
prescientia divini pectoris,

que prescivit omnem creaturam.

Nam cum Deus inspexit 
faciem hominis,
 quem formavit,

omnia opera sua in eadem 
hominis integra aspexit.
O quam mirabilis est inspiratio,

que hominem sic suscitavit.

Ordo Virtutum, Hildegarda de Bingen

( ¡Oh, qué admirable
oh, qué admirable es
la clarividencia del pecho divino,
que conoció con anticipación a toda criatura! .
Pues cuando  Dios miró 
a la cara al hombre, que había formado,
toda su obra entera 
en  la forma del hombre contempló .
¡O qué admirable es la inspiración
que al hombre así despertó!)


Πολλὰ τὰ δεινὰ κοὐδὲν ἀνθρώπου δεινότερον πέλει.
Τοῦτο καὶ πολιοῦ πέραν πόντου χειμερίῳ νότῳ       
χωρεῖ, περιβρυχίοισιν
περῶν ὑπ᾽ οἴδμασιν.
Θεῶν τε τὰν ὑπερτάταν, Γᾶν
ἄφθιτον, ἀκαμάταν, ἀποτρύεται
ἰλλομένων ἀρότρων ἔτος εἰς ἔτος
ἱππείῳ γένει πολεύων.       
Κουφονόων τε φῦλον ὀρνίθων ἀμφιβαλὼν ἄγει
καὶ θηρῶν ἀγρίων ἔθνη πόντου τ᾽ εἰναλίαν φύσιν       
σπείραισι δικτυοκλώστοις,
περιφραδὴς ἀνήρ·
κρατεῖ δὲ μηχαναῖς ἀγραύλου
θηρὸς ὀρεσσιβάτα, λασιαύχενά θ᾽       
ἵππον ὀχμάζεται ἀμφὶ λόφον ζυγῶν
οὔρειόν τ᾽ ἀκμῆτα ταῦρον.
Καὶ φθέγμα καὶ ἀνεμόεν φρόνημα καὶ ἀστυνόμους       
ὀργὰς ἐδιδάξατο καὶ δυσαύλων
πάγων ὑπαίθρεια καὶ δύσομβρα φεύγειν βέλη
παντοπόρος· ἄπορος ἐπ᾽ οὐδὲν ἔρχεται
τὸ μέλλον· Ἅιδα μόνον φεῦξιν οὐκ ἐπάξεται·       
νόσων δ᾽ ἀμηχάνων φυγὰς ξυμπέφρασται.
Σοφόν τι τὸ μηχανόεν τέχνας ὑπὲρ ἐλπίδ᾽ ἔχων       
τοτὲ μὲν κακόν, ἄλλοτ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἐσθλὸν ἕρπει,
νόμους γεραίρων χθονὸς θεῶν τ᾽ ἔνορκον δίκαν,
ὑψίπολις· ἄπολις ὅτῳ τὸ μὴ καλὸν       
ξύνεστι τόλμας χάριν. Μήτ᾽ ἐμοὶ παρέστιος
γένοιτο μήτ᾽ ἴσον φρονῶν ὃς τάδ᾽ ἔρδει.         

Antígona, 332- 375, Sófocles

( Muchas cosas hay portentosas, 
pero ninguna tan portentosa como el hombre; 
él, que ayudado por el noto tempestuoso 
 llega hasta el otro extremo de la espumosa mar, 
atravesándola a pesar de las olas que rugen, descomunales;
 él que fatiga la sublimísima divina tierra, 
inconsumible, inagotable,
 con el ir y venir del arado, año tras año, 
recorriéndola con sus mulas.
Con sus trampas captura a la tribu de los pájaros 
incapaces de pensar 
y al pueblo de los animales salvajes 
y a los peces que viven en el mar, 
 en las mallas de sus trenzadas redes,
 el ingenioso hombre que con su ingenio
 domina al salvaje animal montaraz; 
capaz de uncir con un yugo que su cuello 
por ambos lados sujeta al caballo de poblada crin
 y al toro también infatigable de la sierra;
 y la palabra por si mismo ha aprendido 
y el pensamiento, rápido como el viento, 
y el carácter que regula la vida en sociedad, 
y a huir de la intemperie desapacible
 bajo los dardos de la nieve y de la lluvia: 
recursos tiene para todo, y, sin recursos,
 en nada se aventura hacia el futuro; 
solo la muerte no ha conseguido evitar,
 pero sí se ha agenciado formas de eludir 
las enfermedades inevitables. 
Referente a la sabia inventiva, 
ha logrado conocimientos técnicos más allá de lo esperable 
y a veces los encamina hacia el mal, 
otras veces hacia el bien. 
Si cumple los usos locales 
y la justicia por divinos juramentos confirmada, 
a la cima llega de la ciudadanía; 
si, atrevido, del crimen hace su compañía, 
sin ciudad queda: ni se siente en mi mesa 
ni tenga pensamientos iguales a los míos, quien tal haga.

Traducción de Carlos Miralles Solá, Salvat Editores y Alianza Editorial 1969, 
col. Biblioteca Básica Salvat de  Libros RTV)

La sorpresa del día ha sido encontrarme la siguiente versión  del coro sofocleo a cargo del grupo punk  de culto  Scoria. La titularon Σκουριασμένη μονωδία  y aparecía en un álbum de hermoso título,  Συνταγή Αντί Θανάτου,1986 ( Receta contra la muerte) :


When will UK ratify 1954 Hague Convention on stolen art?

After many years of delay, the UK announced in 2005 that they were going to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Since then though, as I noted a few weeks ago, no action has actually been taken.

Time is running out now for the government to ratify it during their current term, although there are no clear reasons for not doing so. As this article notes, the film Monuments Men has helped to draw attention to this topic, so now is the ideal time for them to take a clear step towards helping to prevent the looting of artefacts.

Scene from the film Monuments Men

Scene from the film Monuments Men


Stolen art cannot be brushed over, so sign the UK up to the Hague convention
There is no excuse for Sajid Javid not to ratify the rules that ultimately protect people’s cultural heritage
Helen Goodman
Tuesday 15 April 2014 08.00 BST

No films about art stolen in wartime appear for years and then two come along at once: Wes Anderson’s funny Grand Budapest Hotel, with a plot that revolves around the disappearance of a “priceless” painting called Boy with Apple, or the more serious and realistic The Monuments Men.

The latter is George Clooney’s latest directorial venture and concerns an allied forces group of museum curators and art historians in the second world war who attempt to stop the Nazis destroying the cultural treasures of occupied countries.

One of the characters, on finding a stash of stolen art, tracks down the Parisian address of its rightful owners. The house he arrives at is abandoned, its Jewish occupants long since fled or taken. “They aren’t coming back,” his companion says. But nonetheless, he leaves the portrait of a woman hanging on the bare wall, staring out sadly, defiantly.

The questions raised about the value of culture and the importance of safeguarding it during armed conflicts resonate beyond the film, both in historical and contemporary contexts.

Cultural objects often become a part of conflict as aggressors and defenders seek to control their history and identity, and that of their enemies. This can take the form of controlling living artists through censorship and any resistance to this. For example, Emil Nolde, a German-Danish expressionist, painted miniature landscapes so he could hide his work when the Nazis searched his home for what they described as degenerate art.

It also takes the form of looting. There have recently been a number of high profile recoveries of stolen art. The Tate has just agreed to return Constable’s Beaching a Boat, Brighton, which was looted and smuggled out of wartime Hungary.

There is also, of course, the destruction of buildings and archaeological sites. Since 2003 the British Museum has been involved in providing conservation and archaeological assistance to the Iraqis after the second Gulf war, and in 2008 alongside the British Army it carried out a survey of sites across southern Iraq with a view to preserving the cultural heritage.

The Hague convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, originally drawn up in 1954 and amended in 1999, is an international treaty that stemmed from the destruction and appropriation of cultural objects in the second world war.

The convention provides protection for cultural heritage in international law, prohibiting looting, theft, vandalism and reprisals against cultural property and barring the use of cultural property for military purposes except in exceptional circumstances. Importantly, it also forbids the export of cultural property from occupied territories and makes provision for the return of objects deposited with third-party territories for safekeeping during conflict.

Yet the UK is one of the only western powers not to have ratified the convention.

I am calling on the new culture secretary, Sajid Javid, to introduce legislation in the next Queen’s speech to ratify the convention, and have asked a parliamentary question that will be addressed after Easter. Labour will back such a move if he agrees to this. There can be no excuse: the legislation was prepared by the last Labour government; the coalition has run out of ideas. Let’s use the final year of this parliament to do something really useful on a cross-party basis.

The post When will UK ratify 1954 Hague Convention on stolen art? appeared first on Elginism.

Carole Raddato (Following Hadrian)

Following Hadrian in Achaea

In just a few hours I will be travelling to Greece in Hadrian’s footsteps, retracing the journey he undertook in the province of Achaea in 124-125 AD.

“Hardly any emperor ever traveled with such speed over so much territory” the Historia Augusta tells us. Surely Hadrian was the emperor who honored the provinces with his presence the most. Nicknamed ‘Graeculus’ or ‘the little Greek’, Hadrian held a fascination for Greek philosophy and culture. The foundation for Hadrian’s affection for Athens and Greek culture in general may well have been established during his childhood education. Prior to becoming Emperor he was archon of Athens in 112. Not surprisingly, as Emperor he turned his attention to the east. He visited Athens at least three times, Sparta and Eleusis twice, in 123-124 and again in 128-129. Many Greek cities would benefit greatly from the emperor’s patronage in the form of numerous building projects and improvements.

Hadrian, with "RESTITVTORI ACHAIAE" on the reverse, celebrating his spending in Achaia (Greece)

Hadrian, with “RESTITVTORI ACHAIAE” on the reverse, celebrating his spending in Achaia (Greece)

Athens was always one of Hadrian’s favorites among the cities of his empire. Epigraphic as well as literary evidence (particularly Pausanias’ Description of Greece) tells us about the many benefactions that he bestowed upon the old polis. Many of Hadrian’s benefactions to Athens have been dated to his 3rd visit in 131-132. Among his most ambitious projects was the completion of the vast Temple of Olympian Zeus, a project begun over six hundred years earlier. Other new buildings in Athens included a Temple of Hera and a Temple of Zeus Panhellenios, a Pantheon, a gymnasion and a new library. He also established the Panhellenion, a new league of Greek cities. The philhellenic emperor clearly hoped to restore Hellas to the greatness of her distant past.

Hadrian's Library, Athens Photo taken in 2010 when I first visited Athens. © Carole Raddato

Hadrian’s Library, Athens
Photo taken in 2010 when I first visited Athens.
© Carole Raddato

In the autumn of 124, Hadrian undertook an extensive tour of the Peloponnese, and this is the journey that I am about to embark on. His presence at many famous cities is well attested but his exact itinerary is quite uncertain at times. Hadrian’s fist stop was at Athens’ western neighbour Megara. From Megara, Hadrian proceeded over the Isthmus to Epidaurus and continued south to Troezen and Hermione and on to Argos. From Argos he entered into Arcadia to Mantinea and, in January 125, journeyed south to Sparta with a stop at Tegea on the way. It is not clear witch route he took from Sparta to Olympia (assuming that he did go there). From Olympia he set off eastwards across the Northern Peloponnese to Corinth. Hadrian was back in Athens in March 125. His journey did not stop there. After Athens, Hadrian travelled north into Boeotia and Phocis with visits to Delphi and Abae but for me this will be part of another journey. (Source for Hadrian’s itinerary: Hadrian, The Restless Emperor by Anthony R. Birley).

My guide books:

My guide books

My guide books

My itinerary map:

I will be tweeting and posting many pictures while exploring Greece so join me on Twitter @carolemadge or/and Facebook.


Bibliography and sources:
Hadrian, The Restless Emperor by Anthony R. Birley
Hadrian and the cities of the Roman Empire by Mary T. Boatwright

Filed under: Archaeology Travel, Greece, Hadrian Tagged: Archaeology, Archaeology Travel, Greece, Travel

Katy Meyers (Bones Don't Lie)

What did Genghis Khan eat?

Everyone knows something about Genghis Khan. His story and empire is part of the basic history of the world we learn growing up. He came into power by uniting disparate […]

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Blogs and Archaeology Published Quickly

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been nudging a draft of an article on blogging archaeology forward a little bit each week. I’ve posted part of it here already. The first part of the article looks at blogging among archaeologists as a community of practice. The second part will look at blogging as one of the ways that archaeologists are speeding up the pace of archaeological knowledge production.

This is done not by archaeologists working faster, but rather through a regular stream of information available about archaeological research on the web. Transparency removes what appears to be long pauses from the field work and research process and makes visible the incremental efforts, small revelations, and baffling setbacks that characterize archaeological research.  

Here you go:

Compared to the social media, blogs develop content rather slowly. Even the most fast paced commercial blog rarely rewards more then two or three visits a day to the site. Academic blogs, true to to longstanding rhythms of disciplinary production, tend to update on a much more gradual schedule. At the same time, compared to the traditional print publications, the practice and medium of blogging allows the posts to appear at a blistering pace. Unencumbered by such time consuming processes as editorial oversight, peer review, typesetting, and proofreading, blogs can appear as quickly as the author has words to fill them. Of course, the speed at which blogs posts can appear and the absence of peer or editorial oversight represent blogging practice, and this has attracted the attention of critics who remain skeptical of the value of blogging to the larger academic discourse. Our ability to push unfiltered archaeological knowledge into the web has both outpaced the institutional practices designed to evaluate and control the flow of academic knowledge as well as our interpretative habits which often rely on clear generic indicators to define the character and utility of scholarly production.

Field archaeology is a meticulous process that proceeds at its own pace dictated by the vagaries of manpower, artifact recovery, and recording. The publication process frequently fall prey to the same gradualist approach as famous excavations can take years or even decades to reach publication. While some of this can be attributed to the workflows of particular excavators and their teams, at least some of the issues reside in the traditional process of publishing a field project which involves significant time dedicated to review, editing, and layout. The published results of the field publications are regarded as definitive, although even the most hardened empiricists recognize a difference between a preliminary excavation report and the final publication.

The basic character of blogging streamlines many of these concerns, traditionally going with limited editorial attention and drastically simplified layouts. Both in terms of practice and as a medium, blogging lacks the substantial friction associated with print publication, has allows for almost instantaneous online publication. Bloggers now report on field projects from the field and use the blog to speculate on their work, hypothesize, and even report tentative conclusions. These practices not only lift the veil on the interpretative processes that produce archaeological knowledge (Morgan and Eve 2012; Maguire 2008 for similar attitudes), but also communicate some of the experiences of archaeology from the edge of the trowel. My blog, for example, both documented our misguided expectation that a basilica style church stood on the site of a Hellenistic fortification, and explored the tensions among the project’s senior staff as we struggled to balance the educational and research components of our work. A similar, if more radically inclusive process, was used on the Prescot Street excavations in the U.K. in which all participants were invited to blog and to document their work on the excavation.

While few will argue against the value of blogging for provide a sense of the archaeological experience and to expose archaeological practice to a wider audience, there are limits to the kind of immediacy and transparency that blogging can provide. For example, some nations control stringently the right to reproduce images of objects, architecture, and sites, but have yet to develop comprehensive policies extending to the digital realm. A blog may or may not represent a digital publication. On an even more practical level, announcing the results of an ongoing excavation during the season might make a site more susceptible to looting or other forms of disruption. As with all archaeological work, the limitations and opportunities of a particular medium or practice is not the final work on a decision to disseminate information.

If field work blogs have the potential to make the field processes more transparent, research blogs invite readers into the creative and generative process associated with scholarship. The ability to present ongoing research to a wide audience of peers fits into a continuum of scholarly communication that begins with the conference paper (or perhaps with the informal conversation) and culminates in the peer reviewed book or article. The blog is less clearly vetted than the conference paper or the late, barely lamented, “note” or “correspondence” section of academic journals. In the lead up to the 2014 Society of American Archaeology blogging panel, Doug’s Archaeology Blog curated a blog carnival involving many prominent archaeological bloggers. The responses to the question “Why do you blog?” revealed the range of purposes associated with research from publishing snippets of programing code useful to archaeologists, to staking claim to academic ideas in process and sharing academic problems as they arise in scholarship. As S.W. Kansa and F. Deblauwe have recently noted in their survey of web tools for research in Zooarchaeology , scholarly use of blogs to circulate research remains inconsistent (Kansa and Deblauwe 2011). The practice of exposing ideas to critique is part of the academic process, but we have yet to completely exploit the potential of blogging for communicating ongoing research.

The recent responses to the prompt posted on Doug’s Archaeology Blog likewise demonstrate the importance of the public nature of blogging which has allowed it to become a venue to communicate scholarly work to a broader audience. The popular appeal of archaeology has provided a ready-made audience for efforts to bridge the gap between academic research and the public fascination with the past. At the same time, there is an important aspect of outreach in archaeological blogging. Because archaeologists rely on an informed public both to identify and to protect archaeological sites and objects. In a broader sense blogging to a public audience allows archaeologists to communicate disciplinary boundaries and expertise to a wider group of stakeholders.

The process of blogging research as it occurs also increases the pace of archaeological knowledge production by disseminating and acknowledging the significance of provisional conclusions. Archaeologists make tentative observations regularly over the course of their research and analysis. By making these public on a blog, we demonstrate that the production of archaeological knowledge is not always a plodding, incremental, ponderous slog through reams of data, but often jumps and dances across a landscape of ingenious false starts, brilliant failed hypotheses, and provocative dead ends. Making the intellectual leaps and bounds public hints at both the importance of process and the potential utility of failure for both the academic community and the general public. While it may seem like archaeological publication takes years because of inactivity on the part of archaeologist (and surely some of that is true), in most cases, archaeological analysis is rarely stalled by long delays and is regularly punctuated with exciting, if incremental accomplishments. Archaeology done quickly makes these little victories (and failures) visible.

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

"I destroyed them because they belong to the Government and I'm mad at the Government."

So a young man reportedly said to SAFE award winner Monica Hanna to explain his participation in the looting and destruction of the Minya Museum with other locals angry that the military had  deposed their Muslim Brotherhood president.

CPO will report more on other revealing admissions Ms. Hanna made at an event organized by the so-called Antiquities Coalition soon, but this statement in particular gets to the heart of what's wrong with Egypt's cultural establishment and why US Collectors should not be made to pay the price for a mess entirely of Egypt's own making.

The Military Government that has run Egypt for decades,  like its much more bloodthirsty cousins in Syria and the former Baathist state of Iraq, has declared ownership of all antiquities as part of nationalist campaign to associate the regime with the glories of the ancient past.  This may sit well with collector-hating foreign and domestic archaeologists, but it also means that common people associate antiquities with their government oppressors.  The results have been sadly predictable in all three countries, what with wanton destruction of archaeological artifacts during times of strife.

And yet, rather than facing this basic truth, the media and government decision-makers uncritically accept the received wisdom from archaeologists with an axe to grind against collectors and self-interested foreign cultural bureaucrats that the real culprits are foreign collectors and shadowy antiquities dealers.  No, the real problem is the state ownership model they support, particularly when this approach awards absolute control to violent and venal governments at war with their own people.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Tempted In Every Way As We Are

Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was “tempted in every way as we are – yet without sin.” I had someone mention to me a book which suggested that this must have included same-sex attraction, since otherwise Jesus was not tempted in every way the author was.

This seems to take things too far – in what is itself at any rate a theological statement rather than something that can be considered historical fact. Could one really make the case that Jesus faced every temptation that any person does? Would we not have to envisage him in the wilderness with work to do and a computer with Facebook calling him to allow himself to be distracted? Would we not have to envisage Jesus tempted by Oreo cookies and every single other specific sort of food that isn’t healthy? Can anyone really take that idea to such an extreme?

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

Impressive LiveTweeting of the Classical Association Conference

There’s some excellent livetweeting going on right now of the Classical Association shindig in Nottingham. It’s pretty much a model of how to do it (although I’d still like to see abstracts posted before a talk) and is possibly the next best thing to being there. The official hashtag is #CA14, although #CA2014 is also getting traffic. Both have some ‘contamination’ from other ‘CA’ events (especially the 2014 version) but the ClassCon is definitely whelming (assuming ‘whelming’ would be positive where ‘overwhelming’ is negative).

He has a wife you know

According to my Panini World Cup sticker album Greece have...

According to my Panini World Cup sticker album Greece have Socrates in defence, here he is in action…

Compitum - événements (tous types)

Rendre visible l'invisible : les trésors d'églises du Moyen Âge

Titre: Rendre visible l'invisible : les trésors d'églises du Moyen Âge
Lieu: Musée du Louvre / Paris
Catégorie: Colloques, journées d'études
Date: 30.04.2014
Heure: 18.00 h - 20.00 h

Information signalée par Audrey Boulery

Rendre visible l'invisible : les trésors d'églises du Moyen Âge

Journée d'actualité de la recherche et de la restauration


Présentation de l'actualité de la recherche sur les trésors médiévaux au moment où plusieurs cathédrales et abbayes repensent leur présentation au public de ces objets cultuels de grande valeur.

Questions de muséographie : présentations récentes et réouvertures prochaines
sous la présidence d'Élisabeth Antoine-König, musée du Louvre
10h / Le redéploiement du trésor abbatial de Saint-Maurice d'Agaune : un dispositif entre sacré et musée par Michel Etter, muséologue et scénographe, et Pierre Alain Mariaux, Université de Neuchâtel
10h40 / Entre Moyen Âge et modernité : la réouverture du trésor de la cathédrale d'Hildesheim par Michael Brandt, Dom-Museum, Hildesheim
11h20 / Trésors des églises de France, actualités de la connaissance, actualités de la présentation par Judith Kagan, Direction générale des patrimoines, Paris

Nouvelles recherches sur des trésors médiévaux sous la présidence de Jannic Durand, musée du Louvre
14h30/ La châsse des Rois mages de Nicolas de Verdun à la lecture des analyses scientifiques : bilan pour les 850 ans de l'arrivée des reliques à Cologne par Dorothee Kemper, Dom-Museum, Hildesheim
15h10 /Le trésor du chapitre de sainte Aldegonde de Maubeuge par Nicole Cartier, chercheur indépendant
15h50 / Le trésor de la cathédrale de Verceil: reliquaires gothiques et analyses interdisciplinaires par Sara Minelli, Fondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare, Verceil
16h30/ Le trésor de la cathédrale de Narbonne : spatialité, fonctionnalités et esthétique (XIIIe-XVe siècles) par Hélène Coulaud, École nationale des chartes
17h10 / Le trésor de la cathédrale de Tortose ressuscité par les archives photographiques et les inventaires par Jacobo Vidal Franquet, Université de Barcelone

En lien avec l'exposition « Le trésor de l'abbaye de Saint-Maurice d'Agaune » (aile Richelieu, 14 mars-16 juin 2014)

Lieu de la manifestation : Paris, Auditorium du musée du Louvre
Organisation : Auditorium du musée du Louvre
Contact :

Les études classiques à l'ère numérique

Titre: Les études classiques à l'ère numérique
Lieu: ENS Ulm / Paris
Catégorie: Séminaires, conférences
Date: 30.04.2014
Heure: 18.00 h - 20.00 h

Information signalée par Anne-Catherine Baudoin

Traduire Transposer Transmettre 2

Les études classiques à l'ère numérique



14h30 Ouverture et présentation des participants

Daniel Béguin
École normale supérieure
« Les sciences de l'Antiquité au cœur de la révolution informatique »

Aurélien Berra
U. Paris Ouest Nanterre
« Y a-t-il des Digital Classics ? »

Bernard Bortolussi
U. Paris Ouest Nanterre
« Qu'apportent les corpus numérisés à notre connaissance de la langue latine ? »

16h-16h30 Pause

16h30-18h Table ronde : « De la théorie à la pratique : quelques projets en cours »

Anne-Catherine Baudoin
École normale supérieure
« Variantes graphiques vs lisibilité : satisfaire classicistes et médiévistes par l'édition numérique »

David-Artur Daix
École normale supérieure
« Conversion de polices grecques obsolètes au format Unicode : rendre le grec polytonique lisible quels que soient les ordinateurs utilisés »

Charles Delattre
U. Paris Ouest Nanterre
« Le corpus mythographique grec. De l'édition numérique à la lecture antique »

Georgia Kolovou & Antoine Courtin
U. Paris Ouest Nanterre
« Les scholies à l'Iliade d'Homère : du texte à l'hypertexte »

18h Apéritif et discussions

Contacts : ;

Lieu de la manifestation : salle F, ENS, 45 rue d'Ulm, Paris Ve
Organisation : Anne-Catherine Baudoin, Bernard Bortolussi, Charles Delattre
Contact :,

Reborn in Translation: The Gospel of Nicodemus in Medieval Vernaculars

Titre: Reborn in Translation: The Gospel of Nicodemus in Medieval Vernaculars
Lieu: ENS Ulm / Paris
Catégorie: Séminaires, conférences
Date: 07.05.2014
Heure: 08.30 h - 14.00 h

Information signalée par Anne-Catherine Baudoin

A Medieval Bestseller: the Gospel of Nicodemus

à la découverte du continent apocryphe


Zbigniew Izydorczyk, professeur d'anglais médiéval à l'Université de Winnipeg, MB, Canada, est invité par le LabEx "TransferS" et donnera quatre conférences sur le texte dont il prépare l'édition avec une équipe internationale, l'Evangile de Nicodème. Cet apocryphe grec a connu en latin une diffusion particulièrement importante qui lui vaut d'être désigné comme un "bestseller" médiéval.

1. The Making of a Medieval Bestseller: A Textual History of the Evangelium Nicodemi (30 avril)
2. Reborn in Translation: The Gospel of Nicodemus in Medieval Vernaculars (7 mai)
3. Under the Press: The Post-Medieval Gospel of Nicodemus (14 mai)
4. Scattering Apocryphal Seeds: The Cultural Legacy of the Gospel of Nicodemus (21 mai)

Les conférences (en anglais) auront lieu dans le cadre du séminaire de recherches d'Anne-Catherine Baudoin, en salle de séminaire du Centre d'études anciennes (le 14 mai en salle F) de 9h30 à 11h30.

Il est conseillé d'avoir lu l'Evangile de Nicodème (Pléiade Ecrits apocryphes chrétiens II, tr. du texte grec par C. Furrer ; édition de poche de la collection de l'AELAC, tr. R. Gounelle et Z. Izydorczyk, 1997)

Plus d'infos :

Lieu de la manifestation : ENS, 45 rue d'Ulm, Paris
Organisation : Anne-Catherine Baudoin
Contact :

The Making of a Medieval Bestseller: A Textual History of the Evangelium Nicodemi

Titre: The Making of a Medieval Bestseller: A Textual History of the Evangelium Nicodemi
Lieu: ENS Ulm / Paris
Catégorie: Séminaires, conférences
Date: 30.04.2014
Heure: 18.00 h - 20.00 h

Information signalée par Anne-Catherine Baudoin

A Medieval Bestseller: the Gospel of Nicodemus

à la découverte du continent apocryphe


Zbigniew Izydorczyk, professeur d'anglais médiéval à l'Université de Winnipeg, MB, Canada, est invité par le LabEx "TransferS" et donnera quatre conférences sur le texte dont il prépare l'édition avec une équipe internationale, l'Evangile de Nicodème. Cet apocryphe grec a connu en latin une diffusion particulièrement importante qui lui vaut d'être désigné comme un "bestseller" médiéval.

1. The Making of a Medieval Bestseller: A Textual History of the Evangelium Nicodemi (30 avril)
2. Reborn in Translation: The Gospel of Nicodemus in Medieval Vernaculars (7 mai)
3. Under the Press: The Post-Medieval Gospel of Nicodemus (14 mai)
4. Scattering Apocryphal Seeds: The Cultural Legacy of the Gospel of Nicodemus (21 mai)

Les conférences (en anglais) auront lieu dans le cadre du séminaire de recherches d'Anne-Catherine Baudoin, en salle de séminaire du Centre d'études anciennes (le 14 mai en salle F) de 9h30 à 11h30.

Il est conseillé d'avoir lu l'Evangile de Nicodème (Pléiade Ecrits apocryphes chrétiens II, tr. du texte grec par C. Furrer ; édition de poche de la collection de l'AELAC, tr. R. Gounelle et Z. Izydorczyk, 1997)

Plus d'infos :

Lieu de la manifestation : ENS, 45 rue d'Ulm, Paris
Organisation : Anne-Catherine Baudoin
Contact :

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Are Russian ultranationalists attacking Ukrainian cultural property abroad?

On the 5th of April, St. Elias the Prophet Ukrainian Catholic Church in Brampton, Canada, burned down. ‘When asked if anyone in the congregation may be worried the blaze was related to the conflict in Ukraine, [Pastor Roman] Galadza said, “Absolutely not. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.“‘(1) Unfortunately, a set of incidents in […]

ArcheoNet BE

18de Dag van het Romeinse Aardewerk

Op vrijdag 6 juni wordt in Nijmegen voor de 18de keer de Dag van het Romeinse Aardewerk georganiseerd, het jaarlijkse congres over aardewerk en andere vondstcategorieën uit de Romeinse tijd. Het volledige programma vind je nu op Aanmelden kan door te mailen naar Deelname aan deze dag is gratis. De 18de Dag van het Romeinse Aardewerk vindt plaats in het Gymnasion, Heyendaalseweg 141, Nijmegen.

Jim Davila (

Blood moon tetrad, the Talmud, Passover, and Thallus

COSMIC SYNCHRONICITY WATCH: Watch the lunar eclipse ‘blood moon’ tonight, and witness the beginning of the end of the world (maybe) (Sebastian Anthony, Extreme Tech).
If you’re into skygazing, you really should stay up late tonight (April 14, April 15) and watch the first of a series of four “blood” moons — a sequence of lunar eclipses called a tetrad that will occur over the next two years, and which some religious types believe signifies the beginning of the apocalypse. Mars is also incredibly close to Earth at the moment, making it one of the brightest objects in the sky. This alignment between the Sun, Earth, Mars, and the Moon has only occurred a handful of times in the last two thousand years, each time coinciding with a “hugely significant” religious event. For non-religious types, though, it’s just a great opportunity to see an amazing astronomical event that probably won’t happen again in your lifetime.

And don't forget that Jupiter is very visible up there too, whatever that means. Besides this lunar and planetary alignment, a number of cosmic synchronicities suggest themselves. Various people (notably here) are pointing out that the Talmud (Sukkah 29a) says that a lunar eclipse is a bad omen for Israel and a blood moon is a sign of war. The relevant passage reads:
Our Rabbis taught, When the sun is in eclipse it is a bad omen for idolaters; when the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel,23 since Israel reckons by the moon25 and idolaters by the sun.26 If it27 is in eclipse in the east, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the east; if in the west, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the west; if in the midst of heaven it is bad omen for the whole world. If its face is red as blood, [it is a sign that] the sword is coming to the world; (Soncino Talmud)
Let's hope those omens don't work out this time.

Another synchronicity is the eclipse of the moon during Passover. Granted, the synchronicity is mostly in my own head, in that the connection made me think of the famous citation of an ancient historian called Thallus by the fourth-century writer Sextus Julius Africanus as quoted by the ninth-century chronographer George Syncellus. Syncellus quotes Africanus, with reference to the darkness over the land at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus as reported in the Gospels, as follows: "Thallus calls this darkness an eclipse of the Sun in the third book of his Histories." Africanus adds that he thinks this is wrong and explains that a solar eclipse is impossible during Passover because the moon is full and on the opposite side of the earth from the sun.

But, of course, eclipses of the moon are okay, and here we just had one last night to remind us of that!

Quite a bit has been made of this reference to Thallus as potentially being the earliest external reference to the crucifixion of Jesus and the attendant darkness, but the relevant work of Africanus is lost apart from quotations and the work of Thallus is also lost, again apart from quotations, so whatever Thallus said (which is not quoted verbatim) is nested in two levels of missing context. It is quite unclear whether he said anything about Jesus or the crucifixion in his comment about an eclipse. In addition, we don't even know exactly when he lived, and the argument that he is a Samaritan Thallus who lived a generation after Jesus and was mentioned by Josephus is dodgy. First, Thallus was not an uncommon name and, second, Josephus doesn't actually mention a Samaritan Thallus. This is a debatable modern emendation of Josephus' text. So, alas, the notion of Thallus as a non-Jewish historian writing in the 50s C.E. who mentions Jesus and his crucifixion pretty much evaporates when one looks closely at the evidence.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Medieval Materiality: A Conference on the Life and Afterlife of Things

Medieval Materiality: A Conference on the Life and Afterlife of Things will take place on 23-25 October 2014 at the University of Colorado at Boulder (USA).

The post Medieval Materiality: A Conference on the Life and Afterlife of Things appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents

Newsletter 17

The Spring 2014 CSAD Newsletter (issue number 17) has now been published. The newsletter features articles on: the completion of Richard Grasby's series of Studies Processes in the Making of Roman Inscriptions, and the installation at the CSAD of his marble replica of RIB 330, a dedicatory inscription from Caerleon, Wales; reports on the two major new projects, a Corpus of Ptolemaic Inscriptions (CPI) and Facilitating Access to Latin inscriptions in Britain's Oldest Museum (AshLI); and and international workshop on Graffiti, held recently at Ertegun House in Oxford. Paper copies of this latest CSAD Newsletter are available from Maggy Sasanow at the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents (, or a pdf can be downloaded here:
Download file "Newsletter17.pdf".

David Gill (Looting Matters)

"Near North Cove Hoard": valuation

The finder of the the "Near North Cove Hoard" in Suffolk has been interviewed on the BBC website ("Suffolk Bronze Age axe and ring hoard 'undervalued'", April 12, 2014). The Bronze Age finds were discovered near Lowestoft in 2011 and their value has now been set at £550 (instead of the £6200 that the finder was expecting). The finder, Steven Walker, is quoted:
"I've been metal-detecting for 15 years and this was my best ever find and my experience does not inspire confidence in the official valuation process. 
Unless changes are made, people aren't going to donate their treasure finds to the nation."

Further details are available from PAS.

SF-BDA986SF-BDA986PAS record number: SF-BDA986
Object type: Hoard
Broadperiod: Bronze Age
County of discovery: Suffolk
Stable url:

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Antiquity Now

May Is AntiquityNOW Month! Join the Celebration!

When we considered a commemoration in 2013, we asked ourselves a question:  Why have an AntiquityNOW month?   The answer was in our mission: to show how antiquity’s legacy influences us today and for generations to come.  So for the month of … Continue reading

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

How might Ukrainian archaeologists protect cultural heritage in annexed Crimea?

This is a simple English summary of Excavation under Annexation: Archaeological Work in Crimea. I want to help archaeologists to think about how to protect cultural property in annexed Ukraine. If I can help anyone, please contact me. What has happened in Ukraine? To anyone who has denied, downplayed or defended Russia’s actions – particularly […]

Jim Davila (

Vidas, Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud

Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud
Moulie Vidas

Hardcover | May 2014 | $35.00 / £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691154862
256 pp. | 6 x 9 | 5 tables. |

eBook | ISBN: 9781400850471 |

Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud offers a new perspective on perhaps the most important religious text of the Jewish tradition. It is widely recognized that the creators of the Talmud innovatively interpreted and changed the older traditions on which they drew. Nevertheless, it has been assumed that the ancient rabbis were committed to maintaining continuity with the past. Moulie Vidas argues on the contrary that structural features of the Talmud were designed to produce a discontinuity with tradition, and that this discontinuity was part and parcel of the rabbis' self-conception. Both this self-conception and these structural features were part of a debate within and beyond the Jewish community about the transmission of tradition.

Focusing on the Babylonian Talmud, produced in the rabbinic academies of late ancient Mesopotamia, Vidas analyzes key passages to show how the Talmud's creators contrasted their own voice with that of their predecessors. He also examines Zoroastrian, Christian, and mystical Jewish sources to reconstruct the debates and wide-ranging conversations that shaped the Talmud's literary and intellectual character.

Moulie Vidas is an assistant professor in the Department of Religion and the Program in Judaic Studies at Princeton University.
Follow the link for TOC, excerpt, ordering info, and endorsements.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2014.04.23: Dreams and Dreaming in the Roman Empire: Cultural Memory and Imagination

Review of Juliette Harrisson, Dreams and Dreaming in the Roman Empire: Cultural Memory and Imagination. London; New York: 2013. Pp. ix, 309. £65.00. ISBN 9781441176332.

2014.04.22: Images and Monuments of Near Eastern Dynasts: 100 BC-AD 100. Oxford studies in ancient culture and representation

Review of Andreas J. M. Kropp, Images and Monuments of Near Eastern Dynasts: 100 BC-AD 100. Oxford studies in ancient culture and representation. Oxford; New York: 2013. Pp. xx, 497. $185.00. ISBN 9780199670727.

2014.04.21: Late Antiquity on the Eve of Islam. The formation of the classical Islamic world, 1

Review of Averil Cameron, Late Antiquity on the Eve of Islam. The formation of the classical Islamic world, 1. Farnham; London; Burlington, VT: 2013. Pp. 520. $225.00. ISBN 9781409400707.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

The Secret Life Of A Gobi Desert Shaman

A glimpse into the life of Indo European nomads of the ancient Central Asia.

The post The Secret Life Of A Gobi Desert Shaman appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Jesus’ Wife Papyrus Not A Forgery

King suggests it is not a proof that Jesus was married but a reference to issues of family and marriage faced by Christians of the time.

The post Jesus’ Wife Papyrus Not A Forgery appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Compitum - publications

J. Alison, Change Me. Stories of Sexual Transformation from Ovid


Jane Alison, Change Me. Stories of Sexual Transformation from Ovid. Foreword by Elaine Fantham, and Introduction by Alison Keith, Oxford, 2014.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
208 pages
ISBN : 978-0-19-994165-0
£ 12.99


Ovid's stories melt moral conventions, explore ambiguities, and dissolve boundaries between men, women, animals, gods, plants, and the mineral world; in doing so they contrive to seduce readers. Ovid's dark pleasure in telling such stories with a full register of tones is palpable. But the stories of sexual encounter in the Metamorphoses are also infused with deep questions. What does it mean to have thoughts and passions trapped inside a changeable body? What is a self, and where are its edges? If someone can pierce you in sex and in love, how do you survive? And if your outer form changes, what lasts?
In Change Me, Jane Alison, critically acclaimed author of The Love-Artist, renders substantial portions of Ovid's great epic into elegant and remarkably faithful English. Her focus is on episodes that involve desire, sexuality, and the transformations brought about by powerful emotion; because these themes are so central to the Metamorphoses, Alison introduces them with a selection of elegies from Ovid's Amores, the collection with which the poet launched his career. When these selections are taken together, Alison's Ovid comes alive; the Roman poet's great ability to perform contemporary themes through mythical subject matter, and vice versa, is Alison's guiding principle and Muse. Change Me will transform forever readers' experience of this most ingenious of poets.

Lire la suite...

W. Allan, Classical Literature: A Very Short Introduction


William Allan, Classical Literature: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, 2014.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
Collection : Very Short Introductions
160 pages
ISBN : 978-0-19-966545-7
£ 7.99

From popular histories through to reworkings of classical subject matter by contemporary poets, dramatists, and novelists, the classical world and the masterpieces of its literature continue to fascinate readers and audiences in a huge variety of media. In this Very Short Introduction, William Allan explores what the 'classics' are and why they continue to shape our Western concepts of literature. Presenting a range of material from both Greek and Latin literature, he illustrates the variety and sophistication of these works, and considers examples from all the major genres.
Ideal for the general reader interested in works of classic literature, as well as students at A-Level and University, this is a lively and lucid guide to the major authors and literary forms of the ancient period.

Lire la suite...

He has a wife you know

Question for all my followers (and anyone else)

I’m considering vlogging, perhaps using old pieces on my blog or new points of interest.

No point doing it if no-one is interested. So - the question is what would you want from a Youtube channel devoted to Ancient History?

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Collecting the Orient

Work - in - Progress Seminar at the Gennadius Library.

The post Collecting the Orient appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Ancient Art

Marble funerary altar of Cominia Tyche. Roman, Flavian or...

Marble funerary altar of Cominia Tyche. Roman, Flavian or Trajanic, ca. A.D. 90–100.

The woman whose portrait bust dominates the front of this funerary altar is identified by the Latin inscription below her. It reads:

“To the spirits of the dead. Lucius Annius Festus [set this up] for the most saintly Cominia Tyche, his most chaste and loving wife, who lived 27 years, 11 months, and 28 days, and also for himself and for his descendants.”

Cominia wears an elaborate hairstyle that reflects the high fashion adopted by ladies of the imperial court in the late Flavian period (A.D. 69–96). The inscription, on the other hand, emphasizes her piety and chastity, virtues that Roman matrons were traditionally expected to possess. The jug and patera (shallow bowl with handle) on the monument’s sides allude to the common practice of pouring offerings to the dead. The altar is known to have been in a house near the Forum in Rome in the sixteenth century and to have entered the collection of Cardinal Francesco Barberini during the seventeenth century. (met)

Courtesy of & currently located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, via their online collections. Accession Number: 38.27.

Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

Bones - Season 9, Episode 21 (Review)

The Cold in the Case
Episode Summary
A body is found in a swampy area in a new subdivision.  Brennan concludes based on the vertical frontal bone and mental eminence of the mandible that the body belonged to a female in her mid-30s. The prominent maxilla apparently means to Brennan that she was Caucasian. Animals seem to have eaten the hands and feet but curiously not the meatier parts. Brennan notes extensive fracturing to the bones but does not think it relates to blunt force trauma. Time of death, though, is all over the place: Piophilidae suggest 72-96 hours, but Calliphoridae larvae suggest the last 3 hours, while the crystomamarufifithes (seriously, Hodgins, please enunciate so that I can look stuff up properly) puts it in the last 14 days.

"Maybe somewhere in here there's a bone that
will tell me age so that I can stop guessing randomly."
Back at the Jeffersonian, Brennan finds something lodged between the left maxillary second incisor and canine. Saroyan finds tissue unrelated to the victim. Vaziri and Brennan see on xray a remodelling injury to the right posterior superior iliac crest (sic) from a large-bore needle.  Brennan thinks the victim may have donated bone marrow approximately a year ago.  Apparently the bone marrow registry is magical, and Madeline Papadelis is the only Caucasian female in her 30s who donated bone marrow in the last year.  Madeline was divorced and her daughter, Corine, succumbed to cystic fibrosis 18 months prior. She also had a restraining order against her ex-husband.  Booth brings him in to question him; the ex admits to waving around a gun while cleaning it, but denies ever wanting to hurt Madeline.

Hodgins somehow deduces from the fabric in Madeline's teeth that she was given chloroform. The fibers on her back were rayon and silk, a blend popular in sleeping bags. The DNA from the extra tissue comes back as being fox tongue. Saroyan thinks that the damage to Madeline's organs was caused by fracturing.  Brennan starts a histological study, and she and Vaziri conclude that Madeline wasn't frozen normally, which would cause ice crystals to form in the body and damage cells. Rather, she was likely cryogenically frozen.   Booth checks Madeline's credit cards and finds that she mostly used them to buy bus passes.  She was regularly travelling to Vienna, Virginia, where Cryonova was located. 

Booth and Brennan head to Cryonova and meet Dr. Noah Summers and his wife Michelle. They confirm that Madeline's daughter Corine was one of their patients. She used to come every Saturday to visit her daughter, and she and Noah worked closely on grant proposals to help fund the facility. Originally, Madeline was going to use a competing cryonicist, Trip Warshaw, but backed out.  He admits that his equipment was recently repossessed, as he was going out of business, but has a solid alibi for the time of Madeline's death and disappearance. The Summerses claim that Warshaw shot up the facility as an attempt at sabotage, but he denies this.The shots were actually from a gun similar to one Madeline's ex-husband Ethan had. He admits to shooting open the door to the facility, but he simply wanted to get Corine's body to bury her.  He couldn't figure out how to get her out of the storage dewar, though. Although Ethan did study pre-med in school, Booth finally concludes that he didn't do it.

Angela goes through the emails and security footage from Cryonova.  She finds video evidence that Dr. Summers was chopping up a frozen body and selling organs.  Summers admits to this; the man in question was frozen but his wife ran out of money.  He preserved the man's brain and sold off his organs. He claims Madeline knew this, so that's not what they were arguing about on the video footage.  Brennan and Vaziri find some more interesting things on the skeleton.  First, some flaking of the cortical bone on the tibia, metatarsals, and tarsals of one leg suggest whoever froze Madeline was either in a rush or had faulty equipment. Second, they find evidence of multifilament thread, the kind used for stitches. There is also a hole in the side of the head with curved, smooth edges. Brennan thinks that this is where the crack-phone was placed, to listen for cracking when freezing the brain. Angela finds the audio file, on which Michelle Summers can be heard calling Madeline a bitch and saying that Noah was hers. Booth questions Michelle, but she lawyers up. Finally, Brennan pieces it all together.  The bevelling on the hole in the temporal bone suggests a left-handed person made the cut. The style of stitches that Noah Summers made is also quite distinctive: interrupted vertical mattress sutures tied left-handed with a surgical knot.  These stitches are found on bodies Noah processed... and I guess on the thread they found on the body?  At any rate, they confirm he is left-handed.  Noah Summers confesses to having drugged then frozen Madeline; he was in love with her, but she did not reciprocate.  When Michelle found Madeline's body during her search to find space for several new bodies, she decided to dispose of her.

  • Forensic
    • Oh, are you kidding me with the demographic ID?  Brennan just guesses mid-30s based on... nothing?  Lazy.  Vertical frontal bone is not really a sexually dimorphic trait.  Mental eminence, sure, that's fine.  And I don't know what they mean by prominent maxilla, because really prominent would mean prognathic, which would be African-American, not Caucasian.  Yeesh.
    • Kinda handy that the victim was the only female in her mid-30s to have a bone marrow aspiration a year ago.  I mean, it's not like there are millions of other people in the U.S. in the bone marrow donation database who would fit that profile.  And I'm not a medical doctor, so I don't know... can bone marrow donations help or cure cystic fibrosis?
    • Hodgins mentions that the fiber in the victim's teeth is from chloroform.... which is not a fabric. (I actually rewound it to make sure that's what he said.)
    • It's the posterior superior iliac spine, not crest.
  • Plot
    • I did kinda like the image of the small animals getting their tongues stuck to the victim's remains.  I don't think that would happen, though.  I mean, if she's so frozen their tongues get stuck, she's probably too frozen to smell like food.
    • Vaziri and Saroyan had some issues with his parents.
    • Booth may be asked to head up a field office in Germany.  Brennan thinks this is awesome, but Booth doesn't seem to want the job.
  • Dialogue
    • I got nothing... except a whole bunch of shouting in Persian.  Anyone?  Real Persian or Google translate Persian?

Forensic Mystery - C+.  Having the husband do it was a bit of a twist. And creepy.

Forensic Solution - D.  Age-at-death was glossed over.  Sex and ancestry were both iffy.

Drama - F. Yaaaaaaawn. Holy pete, this was the most boring episode I can recall.  I mean, look at those bullet points up there.  Nothing to comment on at all. Maybe Ghost Face Killah will be good next week?

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Red Moon Rapture

This came to my attention on Facebook:

If you have never seen one, or even if you have, it is worth getting up to see the lunar eclipse in the early hours of tomorrow morning. But if you are prone to end-times thinking, you would do yourself and those around you a favor to stay in bed.

Or, if you live in the Midwest, you can stay in bed and not bother getting up because they are predicting snow tonight. The relevance of the parody song I wrote continues, right into Holy Week!


Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East

Workshop: Introduction to Aerial Archaeology March 2014

At the beginning of March this year you may remember that our Bob Bewley was about to hold an Aerial Archaeology Workshop with Dr Fawzi Abudanah at the Department of Archaeology, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Petra, Jordan. 

Initially it was intended the workshop would accommodate ten students drawn from the campus’ Archaeology and Tourism courses. Increased interest in the course saw numbers rise at times to twenty students, so the workshop adapted to be delivered in a lecture/seminar style over three days (March 2nd – March 4th).

Students experiencing aerial photography in 3D - thanks to some old-school glasses.
Talks and presentations gave way to seminar and group discussions on air photo interpretation. This included time devoted to ‘photo reading’ where students were given the opportunity to develop their practical skills in interpretation and observation and produce plans in a final mapping exercise. Due to variability in the understanding and speaking of English, Dr Abudanah translated to and from Arabic for the benefit of students and Dr Bewley. This had the added advantage that students had more time to consider what was being said and/or shown to them. The in-depth discussions that followed demonstrated the interest of the students and their developing understanding on the nature and use of aerial survey for archaeology.

Students work on a photo reading and mapping exercise.
It is hoped a small number from this course will now be able to join the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan Project for a day or so in the planned aerial reconnaissance season in October 2014 to continue their training.

Thanks must be given to Dr Fawzi Abudanah for facilitating and helping organise the Workshop, the Department of Archaeology at Al-Hussein Bin Talal University for hosting, the Palestine Exploration Fund’s grant for Dr Bob Bewley’s participation, and the support of the Packhard Humanitites Institute for the continuing Aerial Archaeology in Jordan project.
Workshop participants with Dr Bob Bewley, Dr. Saad Twaissi (Dean of the Petra College for Tourism and Archaeology) and Dr Fawzi Abudanah in the front row (from the right).

April 14, 2014

Compitum - publications

G. Grobéty, Guerre de Troie, guerres des cultures et guerres du Golfe


Gaël Grobéty, Guerre de Troie, guerres des cultures et guerres du Golfe, Berne, 2014.

Éditeur : Peter Lang
Collection : ECHO 11
349 pages
ISBN : 978-3-0343-1511-1 br.
98 CHF

A la fin de la Guerre froide, les Etats-Unis d'Amérique deviennent la première puissance mondiale, animée par l'idéal de défendre les valeurs occidentales et de répandre la démocratie dans le monde. Or, cette « mission » de l'Amérique suscite critiques et interrogations, car ni ses racines identitaires gréco-romaines empruntées à l'Europe, ni les guerres qu'elle mène au Moyen-Orient ne semblent aller de soi. Dans ce contexte, le conflit est autant culturel que militaire. L'Iliade d'Homère, au contenu guerrier, érigée par la tradition littéraire en œuvre fondatrice de l'Occident, offre aux penseurs américains un outil de réflexion susceptible d'éclairer un présent jugé trop inconfortable.
A travers l'étude d'un corpus tripartite inédit – ouvrages scientifiques et de vulgarisation, articles journalistiques, romans de science-fiction –, ce travail se propose de questionner le rôle d'une oeuvre symbolique de l'Antiquité grecque dans le monde d'aujourd'hui, et débouche sur une réflexion plus large touchant au sens contemporain des études classiques et à la transmission du savoir au sein de la culture populaire.

Source : Peter Lang

G. Nocchi Macedo, L’Alceste de Barcelone


Gabriel Nocchi Macedo, L'Alceste de Barcelone (P. Monts. Roca inv. 158-161). Edition, traduction et analyse contextuelle d'un poème latin conservé sur papyrus, Liège, 2014.

Éditeur : Presses Universitaires de Liège
Collection : Papyrologica Leodiensia, 3
218 pages + 7 pl. couleurs
ISBN : 978-2-87562-041-5
30,00 €

D'Euripide à T.S. Eliot, en passant par Gluck et Rilke, la figure d'Alceste, épouse aimante qui accepte de mourir à la place de son mari, a inspiré maint artiste. A la fin de l'Antiquité, un poète latin, dont l'identité nous est inconnue, composa des vers sur le mythe de la reine de Thessalie. Son poème aurait été à jamais perdu, si les sables d'Egypte ne nous en avaient pas livré une copie sur un papyrus du IVe siècle. Connu comme l' « Alceste de Barcelone », il représente un des apports majeurs de la papyrologie à notre connaissance de la littérature latine et, depuis sa première édition, en 1982, il n'a cessé d'attirer l'attention des spécialistes et des amateurs de culture classique.
Le présent ouvrage propose une nouvelle édition du poème latin, accompagnée d'une traduction française, ainsi que d'un commentaire critique et linguistique. Exceptionnel à plusieurs égards, le manuscrit qui le contient fait l'objet d'une analyse codicologique et paléographique détaillée. On examine également son contexte de production et d'utilisation et, par extension, celui dans lequel l' « Alceste de Barcelone » a pu, de par sa langue, son style et son sujet, susciter l'intérêt dans l'Antiquité tardive. En filigrane aux discussions autour du texte et de son manuscrit, on aborde les questions de la transmission et la réception de la culture classique à la fin de l'Antiquité, notamment en Egypte, terre de riches entrecroisements culturels.

Gabriel Nocchi Macedo est titulaire d'une Maîtrise en Langues et Littératures Classiques de l'Université de Liège et aspirant du Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique. Il prépare actuellement une thèse de doctorat sur les plus anciens livres latins de poésie. Poursuivant des recherches dans les domaines de la papyrologie, de la codicologie et de la paléographie, avec un intérêt particulier pour les papyrus et manuscrits latins, il est membre du Centre de Documentation de Papyrologie Littéraire (CEDOPAL) de l'Université de Liège, où il collabore à plusieurs projets.

Source : Presses Universitaires de Liège (PULg)

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Backfiles: The Classical Journal

The Classical Journal  
ISSN: 0009-8353 

[Early (out of copyright) content in JSTOR is free of paywall restrictions and open access]
The Classical Association of the Middle West and South, Inc. was founded in 1905 "for the advancement of classical scholarship, teaching, and appreciation" and was incorporated in 1948. Its 1500 members include teachers of Latin, Greek, and classical civilization at all levels. The CAMWS region covers 31 states and three Canadian provinces. In addition to holding an annual meeting and awarding scholarships, grants, and prizes, CAMWS publishes a newsletter and a quarterly, The Classical Journal.
  • 1929 (Vol. 25)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1929, pp. 177-256
    • No. 2, Nov., 1929, pp. 81-176
    • No. 1, Oct., 1929, pp. 1-80
    1929 (Vol. 24)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1929, pp. 641-720
    • No. 8, May, 1929, pp. 561-640
    • No. 7, Apr., 1929, pp. 481-560
    • No. 6, Mar., 1929, pp. 401-480
    • No. 5, Feb., 1929, pp. 321-400
    • No. 4, Jan., 1929, pp. 241-320
    1928 (Vol. 24)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1928, pp. 161-240
    • No. 2, Nov., 1928, pp. 81-160
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    1928 (Vol. 23)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1928, pp. 641-720
    • No. 8, May, 1928, pp. 561-640
    • No. 7, Apr., 1928, pp. 481-560
    • No. 6, Mar., 1928, pp. 401-480
    • No. 5, Feb., 1928, pp. 321-400
    • No. 4, Jan., 1928, pp. 241-320
    1927 (Vol. 23)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1927, pp. 161-240
    • No. 2, Nov., 1927, pp. 81-160
    • No. 1, Oct., 1927, pp. 1-80
    1927 (Vol. 22)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1927, pp. 641-720
    • No. 8, May, 1927, pp. 561-640
    • No. 7, Apr., 1927, pp. 481-560
    • No. 6, Mar., 1927, pp. 401-480
    • No. 5, Feb., 1927, pp. 321-400
    • No. 4, Jan., 1927, pp. 241-320
    1926 (Vol. 22)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1926, pp. 161-240
    • No. 2, Nov., 1926, pp. 81-160
    • No. 1, Oct., 1926, pp. 1-80
    1926 (Vol. 21)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1926, pp. 641-720
    • No. 8, May, 1926, pp. 561-640
    • No. 7, Apr., 1926, pp. 481-560
    • No. 6, Mar., 1926, pp. 401-480
    • No. 5, Feb., 1926, pp. 321-400
    • No. 4, Jan., 1926, pp. 241-320
    1925 (Vol. 21)
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    • No. 2, Nov., 1925, pp. 81-160
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    1923 (Vol. 19)
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    1922 (Vol. 18)
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    1922 (Vol. 17)
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    • No. 8, May, 1922, pp. 417-480 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1922, pp. 353-416 Free Content
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    1921 (Vol. 17)
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    1921 (Vol. 16)
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    1920 (Vol. 16)
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    • No. 1, Oct., 1920, pp. 1-64 Free Content
    1920 (Vol. 15)
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    • No. 7, Apr., 1920, pp. 385-448 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1920, pp. 321-384 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1920, pp. 257-320 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1920, pp. 193-256 Free Content
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    1919 (Vol. 15)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1919, pp. 129-192 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1919, pp. 65-128 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1919, pp. 1-64 Free Content
    1919 (Vol. 14)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1919, pp. 529-592 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1919, pp. 465-528 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1919, pp. 401-464 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1919, pp. 337-400 Free Content
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    1918 (Vol. 14)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1918, pp. 145-208 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1918, pp. 81-144 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1918, pp. 1-80 Free Content
    1918 (Vol. 13)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1918, pp. 625-702+1-35 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1918, pp. 545-624 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1918, pp. 465-544 Free Content
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    1917 (Vol. 13)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1917, pp. 145-224 Free Content
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    1917 (Vol. 12)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1917, pp. 561-654 Free Content
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    1916 (Vol. 12)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1916, pp. 161-224 Free Content
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    • No. 1, Oct., 1916, pp. 1-80 Free Content
    1916 (Vol. 11)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1916, pp. 513-572 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1916, pp. 449-512 Free Content
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    1915 (Vol. 11)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1915, pp. 129-192 Free Content
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    1915 (Vol. 10)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1915, pp. 385-438 Free Content
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    1914 (Vol. 9)
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  • Expand or Collapse Year Group 1900s 1900s

    1909 (Vol. 5)
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    • No. 1, Nov., 1909, pp. 1-48 Free Content
    1909 (Vol. 4)
    • No. 8, Jun., 1909, pp. 337-382 Free Content
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    • No. 3, Jan., 1909, pp. 97-144 Free Content
    1908 (Vol. 4)
    • No. 2, Dec., 1908, pp. 49-96 Free Content
    • No. 1, Nov., 1908, pp. 1-48 Free Content
    1908 (Vol. 3)
    • No. 8, Jun., 1908, pp. 297-342 Free Content
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    • No. 3, Jan., 1908, pp. 89-128 Free Content
    1907 (Vol. 3)
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    • No. 2, Jan., 1906, pp. 33-64 Free Content
    1905 (Vol. 1)

    • No. 1, Dec., 1905, pp. 1-32 Free Content

And see also:
AWOL's full list of journals in JSTOR with substantial representation of the Ancient World

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #388

Get some Open Access (free to read) Archaeology articles here:

Late Saxon textiles from the City of London [wool, goat hair, silk, flax: production processes; 11th century new technology]

Tell el-Balamun

What do we teach? What do we know? A methodology for describing archaeological skills and knowledge

Notice of the Roman Altars, &c., presented by the Right Hon Sir George Clerk of Penicuik, Bart.

The San Diego wreck site off Fortune Island, Philippines

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

Archaeology Magazine

Wall Suggests Rome Is 200 Years Older Than Previously Thought

ROME, ITALY—Excavations in the Lapis Niger, a black stone shrine in the Roman Forum, have uncovered ceramics, grains, and a wall made of a type of limestone known as tufa. “Examination of the recovered ceramic material has enabled us to chronologically date the wall structure to between the ninth century B.C. and the beginning of the eighth century B.C. So it precedes what is traditionally considered the foundation of Rome,” archaeologist Patrizia Fortuni of Rome’s cultural superintendency told The Telegraph.  

Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

Chronology of the earliest Upper Paleolithic in northern Iberia (Wood et al. 2014)

From a press release:
The main conclusion -"the scene of the meeting between a Neanderthal and a Cro-magnon does not seem to have taken place on the Iberian Peninsula"- is the same as the one that has been gradually reached over the last three years by different research groups when studying key settlements in Great Britain, Italy, Germany and France. "For 25 years we had been saying that Neanderthals and early humans lived together for 8,000-10,000 years. Today, we think that in Europe there was a gap between one species and the other and, therefore, there was no hybridation, which did in fact take place in areas of the Middle East," explained Arrizabalaga. The UPV/EHU professor is also the co-author of a piece of research published in 2012 that puts back the datings of the Neanderthals. "We did the dating again in accordance with the ultrafiltration treatment that eliminates rejuvenating contamination, remains of the Mousterian, the material culture belonging to the Neanderthals from sites in the south of the Peninsula. Very recent dates had been obtained in them -up to 29,000 years- but the new datings go back to 44,000 years older than the first dates that can be attributed to the Cro-Magnons," explained the UPV/EHU professor.

Journal of Human EvolutionVolume 69, April 2014, Pages 91–109

The chronology of the earliest Upper Palaeolithic in northern Iberia: New insights from L'Arbreda, Labeko Koba and La Viña

R.E. Wood et al.

Since the late 1980s, northern Iberia has yielded some of the earliest radiocarbon dated Aurignacian assemblages in Western Europe, probably produced by anatomically modern humans (AMHs). This is at odds with its location furthest from the likely eastern entry point of AMHs, and has also suggested to some that the Châtelperronian resulted from cultural transfer from AMHs to Neanderthals. However, the accuracy of the early chronology has been extensively disputed, primarily because of the poor association between the dated samples and human activity. Here, we test the chronology of three sites in northern Iberia, L'Arbreda, Labeko Koba and La Viña, by radiocarbon dating ultrafiltered collagen from anthropogenically modified bones. The published dates from Labeko Koba are shown to be significant underestimates due to the insufficient removal of young contaminants. The early (c.44 ka cal BP [thousands of calibrated years before present]) Aurignacian chronology at L'Arbreda cannot be reproduced, but the reason for this is difficult to ascertain. The existing chronology of La Viña is found to be approximately correct. Together, the evidence suggests that major changes in technocomplexes occurred contemporaneously between the Mediterranean and Atlantic regions of northern Iberia, with the Aurignacian appearing around 42 ka cal BP, a date broadly consistent with the appearance of this industry elsewhere in Western Europe.


Ancient Peoples

Nenfro statue of winged lion  Nenfro is a vulcanic stone mostly...

Nenfro statue of winged lion 

Nenfro is a vulcanic stone mostly used in the area of Italy. 97.3cm high (37.5 inch.) 

Etruscan, Archaic Period, 550 BC. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

Ancient Art

Maxime Du Camp (1822-1894); ‘Nubie, Ibsamboul, Colosse...

Maxime Du Camp (1822-1894); ‘Nubie, Ibsamboul, Colosse Médial du Spéos de Phré’, (Nubia, Abu Simbel, middle colossus from the temple of Rameses II), 1850; Salt print; 21.3 x 16.7

Courtesy of the National Media Museum, West Yorkshire, England. Via their Flickr.

Archaeology Magazine

An Update on the Iraq Museum

BAGHDAD, IRAQ—Work continues on the exhibition halls and the main gate at The Iraq Museum, but it may soon open to all Iraqis. “We have coordinated with Baghdad security officials to secure the museum in a better manner than before, and we hope that we will succeed in opening the museum in the first half of 2014. We are determined to reopen to the public—to families and everybody. Not like last time, when it was open only for officials and for a limited time,” museum director Qais Hussein Rashid told The Christian Science Monitor. Archaeologist Lamia al-Gailani is cataloging the museum’s collections, and examining its archives. “People probably thought these archives don’t exist. These are treasures that no one knows about,” she said. 

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Cloak Sunday

The service at my church yesterday focused on “Cloak Sunday.” Although it is “Palm Sunday,” the reading was from Luke’s Gospel, which has people strewing clothing before Jesus rather than palm branches. It is interesting to ask whether Luke was aware that the use of palms in the manner depicted would more naturally suggest a different feast than Passover, namely Sukkot – and whether in the transmission of the story, we have an event from another time and context being relocated so as to occur on the one occasion during which it would fit in the Synoptics, namely Jesus’ one narrated visit to Jerusalem on Passover, when he was arrested and crucified. But if so, then the question of why the event is connected with Passover in John, where it need not have been, arises. Perhaps this is evidence that John knew Mark?

To my disappointment, we didn’t integrate into the service my reworking of Toto’s “Rosanna” with new lyrics appropriate to the occasion, and now entitled “Hosanna.” OK, I’m not really disappointed, as I’m still not sure how well it would have worked. But the keyboard solo would have been fun!

We also watched the Salt Project video “Resurrection.” Here is the trailer:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Archaeology Magazine

New Tests Planned for Bronze Age “Racton Man”

CHICHESTER, ENGLAND—A Bronze-Age dagger and jaw bone discovered in 1989 by a metal detectorist led to the excavation of a skeleton known as Racton Man. Staining on the bones suggests that the supposed man, who had been buried in a crouched position, was holding the dagger. Rivets were also found in the grave. Recently, scientists have begun to clean the bones and further investigate the remains. Osteological analysis, isoptopic analysis, and carbon dating are planned. “We’re calling him the Mystery Man because we’re waiting for all this analysis to try and find out more about him,” Amy Roberts, collections officer at The Novium, told Culture 24.

Police Recover 5,000-Year-Old Treasure in Bulgaria

Bulgaria-Recovered-ArtifactsSOFIA, BULGARIA—The Sophia News Agency reports that a marble relief dating to the second or third century, two guns, 100 coins, and three necklaces made up of some 15,000 gold beads have been recovered from suspected artifact smugglers by Bulgaria’s Agency for National Security. The necklaces are estimated to be 5,000 years old. “Such things don’t have a price tag, because this is not a supermarket. Those golden artifacts are 1,500 years old than the Trojan War and 2,500 years older than all Thracian treasures that we know of,” said Bozhidar Dimitrov, director of Sofia’s National History Museum.

Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

Copyright and critical editions – a French court says the text is not copyright

Today I learned via  of a fascinating court case in France, here, (in French).  The question is whether editing a critical text of an ancient author creates a copyright.

The dispute is between two companies, Droz and Garnier.  Garnier placed online the text (without apparatus or commentary) of certain medieval texts, using the text published by Droz.  Droz sued.

The court ruled:

Therefore it appears that the company Libraire Droz has not provided proof that the raw texts used by the society Classiques GN are protected by copyright.  Thus its cases, which are solely based on infringement, must be rejected.

It is worth reading the page, even as translated into English in the Google Translate version, because the points made are interesting and generally relevant.  A work is protected if it is fixed in form (i.e. an idea is not protected) and it is original in character, reflecting the personality of its author.  But the court stated:

However, it should be noted that the law of intellectual property is not meant to include all intellectual or scientific work, but only that based on a creative contribution which arise

This indicates the direction of the court’s thinking.  They are plainly familiar with the fact that one critical edition may differ only slightly from another, and argue that the process of textual criticism, since Lachmann, is largely mechanical.  Specifically copyright does not apply to someone doing a lot of tedious work; only to creative work.

This demonstrates enormous common sense on the part of the court.  Nobody, nobody, when the copyright laws were invented, imagined that stuff like a critical edition of an ancient text was involved.  They were thinking of novels, belles-lettres, poetry, composed by modern figures and sold for money.  They were quite right.

The practical effect, if we say that the raw text of an ancient author, as given in a critical edition, is the copyright of the editor, is to make the text of that ancient author into the property of this or that modern publishing house.   That, frankly, is ridiculous.

Of course the plaintiffs are appealing.  The case has considerable importance.  But I hope that we will get a clear ruling on this.

The commentary in a critical edition may reasonably be copyright.  The apparatus, largely compiled by mechanical methods, seems doubtful to me.  But the raw text … surely the whole point of the edition is NOT to create an original work, but rather to give us Homer, or Origen, or Martial, or Juvenal?

Let’s think of a modern example.  I do not believe that someone should acquire a copyright over my work, enough to allow him to bar access to others, simply because they did some work on my spelling, or fixed some errors from a corrupted hard disk file!  That would be the modern equivalent.  It’s palpably fraudulent.  So why should it be different, simply because the author lived long ago?

Let us raise a glass to the common sense of the French court, and hope that the higher courts are not pressured or bribed by publishing interests.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeologists Explore Ancient Roman Forum of Philippopolis

Located in south central Bulgaria, the city of Plovdiv, known to many as the “Eternal City of Bulgaria”, is among the oldest cities in Europe, with evidence of human settlement going back 6,000 years. Established first as the Thracian settlement of Eumolpia, today its ancient remains near the city center are most often identified with the name Philippopolis by archaeologists. That was the name given to the city after it was Hellenized within the Macedonian Empire under Philip II during the 4th century, B.C.E.

But its most visible ancient remains took shape when the city was absorbed into the orbit of ancient Rome during the 1st century B.C.E. - 1st century C.E., the time period of Augustus. It was during this time when the great monumental structures, such as the Theater, Stadium, Treasury, Thermae, Odeon, and other associated structures of its central Forum, were built. Read more.

ArcheoNet BE

Twee archeologische bijdragen in ‘Het Land van Beveren’

In het maartnummer van het tijdschrift ‘Het Land van Beveren’ zijn twee interessante archeologische bijdragen opgenomen. Archeologen Xander Alma en Kirsten Van Campenhout bespreken de resultaten van twee recente opgravingen in Beveren, uitgevoerd het Vlaams Erfgoedcentrum. Het eerste artikel gaat in op het archeologisch onderzoek, voorafgaand aan de bouw van een nieuw penitentiair centrum in Melsele. Het tweede artikel focust op het archeologisch onderzoek in de KMO-zone Doornpark.

Melsele – penitentiair centrum
Dit onderzoek gaf inzicht in de bewoningsgeschiedenis en het landgebruik vanaf de Late Prehistorie tot en met de Nieuwe tijd. In de Prehistorie is het gebied gedurende twee periodes kortstondig bewoond geweest. Drie spiekers en enkele losse kuilen met aardewerk uit de Midden Bronstijd tonen aan dat er akkerbouw werd gepleegd. Eén van de verbouwde gewassen was emmertarwe. In de IJzertijd lijkt het terrein ook kortstondig bewoond te zijn geweest. De eerste grootschalige bewoning dateert uit de Romeinse tijd. Er is een nederzetting aangetroffen van tien boerderijen met bijgebouwen, waterputten, kuilen en perceelgreppels. De nederzetting is in de 1ste eeuw gesticht en aan het eind van de 2de of begin van de 3de eeuw weer verlaten. Pas aan het eind van de 12de of aan het begin van de 13de eeuw wordt het terrein weer bewoond. Aan de zuidzijde wordt een nederzetting gesticht die ook weer kortstondig in gebruik was. Nadien kreeg het gebied een agrarische bestemming.

Beveren – KMO-zone Doornpark
Het archeologisch onderzoek van vondstzone 1 in het zuidelijk deel van het plangebied richtte zich op sporen uit WO I, waarbij zowel Belgische als Duitse linies werden aangetroffen. De Belgische linies dateren van het begin van WO I en zijn aangelegd ter verdediging van Antwerpen. Van de linies zijn een schans, verbindingsloopgraven naar het achterland en een geschutstelling aangetroffen. Na de overname door de Duitsers bleven de linies in gebruik en werden ze uitgebreid en vernieuwd. Zo zijn er onder andere enkele bunkers aangelegd. Een uitgebreid loopgravenstelsel uit de Duitse tijd stamt mogelijk nog uit de Belgische periode. Het onderzoek in de westelijk gelegen vondstzone 2 richtte zich op een nederzetting uit de Midden IJzertijd. De nederzetting bestond uit twee tot drie erven. Op twee erven werd een huisplattegrond met enkele bijgebouwen zoals spiekers aangetroffen. Op het derde erf zijn alleen sporen van bijgebouwen gevonden.

Praktisch: een abonnement op de jaargang 2014 van ‘Het Land van Beveren’ kost 18 euro, en is te verkrijgen door storting op het BE02 4153 0359 3140 van de gelijknamige Hertogelijke Heemkundige Kring met als mededeling ‘abonnement 2014′. Een losse aankoop van het gevarieerde maartnummer 2014 bedraagt 5 euro (exclusief 2,50 euro verzendingskosten, mededeling ‘maartnummer 2014′).

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel

One of the oldest surviving complete Roman mosaics dating from 1,700 years ago, a spectacular discovery made in Lod in Israel, will go on show at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, UK. The exhibition Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel is presented in association with the Israel Antiquities Authority and in collaboration with the British Museum, from 5 June – 2 November 2014.

Measuring eight metres long and four metres wide, and in exceptional condition, the Lod mosaic depicts a paradise of birds, animals, shells and fishes, including one of the earliest images of a rhinoceros and a giraffe, richly decorated with geometric patterns and set in lush landscapes. Read more.

Ancient Roman theatre discovered in Florence

Florence, April 14 - Archaeologists digging up the remains of an ancient Roman theatre discovered under the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence have found a “vomitorium” or corridor used by as many as 15,000 theatre goers in the first and second centuries A.D., city officials say.

The latest find at the site in the centre of the Tuscan capital includes the original painted stone pavements along which spectators used to walk from the outer circle of the theatre to the orchestra pit, which already had been excavated during previous digs. Also discovered were well shafts going as deep as more than 10 metres below the current surface of Florence, providing water and waste disposal for the theatre, as well as remains of the foundations of the walls used to build the Salone dei Cinquecento. Read more.

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)

Áprilisi ÓT

Az áprilisi ÓT programja

az előadás-író pályázatra beérkezett két legjobb versenymű:

Simkó Krisztián
A kövek szimbolikus szerepéről Mezopotámiában


Patay-Horváth András
Miért rendezték négyévente az olympiai játékokat?

című előadásai.

Helye: ELTE BTK Kari Tanácsterme
Budapest, VIII. ker. Múzeum körút 4/A, magasföldszint

Időpontja: április 18., péntek, 17.00

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Overcoming looting and years of war, Iraq Museum moves to reopen

Lamia al-Gailani pulls a folder of crumbling letters from a battered metal cabinet – part of what she considers the secret treasures of the Iraq Museum.

The cabinets hold archives from the beginnings of the venerable institution, established after World War I by Gertrude Bell, the famed British administrator, writer, and explorer. Hundreds of thousands of documents and photographs, neglected until now, hold the untold story of an emerging nation whose borders “Miss Bell” helped to draw.

“Wonderful isn’t it?” says Ms. Gailani, an archaeologist. She pulls out photographs of the Iraq pavilion at the 1938 Paris Expo and a yellowing, typewritten letter from 1921 confirming the appointment of Bell as honorary museum director. “People probably thought these archives don’t exist. These are treasures that no one knows about.” Read more.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Metal Detectorist "Unhappy" with Valuation of OUR Heritage

There is an interesting discussion on The Modern Antiquarian: 'Re: Metal detectorist unhappy with valuation':
"Unless changes are made, people aren't going to donate their treasure finds to the nation" said the ungrateful, annoying little scrote to the press [...] Oh, and they aren't YOUR finds, they're ours. So you don't "donate" them, you're obliged to hand them over. The money is ex gratia not an entitlement. And please call a spade a spade. "People aren't going to donate" actually means "steal".   

Ancient Peoples

Silver strigil (or skinscraper)  This cosmetic tool was used to...

Silver strigil (or skinscraper) 

This cosmetic tool was used to scrape excess oil of the skin after bathing. It is 27.3cm long (10 1/4 inch). 

Italian (Etruscan?), Hellenistic Period, around 300 BC. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Biblical Sodom Unearthed?

An article in World News Daily suggests that archaeologists may have uncovered the Biblical city of Sodom.

Apparently the city was destroyed by fire and brimstone, and archaeological excavations show that all of the family tombs in the city belonged to same-sex couples who were dressed in fabulous clothing with no clashing colors. This would fit well with conservative Christian depictions of ancient Sodom, although those depictions only begin to appear much later and are viewed with suspicion by many archaeologists.

Although no pillar of salt has yet been uncovered, archaeologists have suggested that this can be explained in terms of the use of the remnants of Mrs. Lot as a condiment on food in the years following the city’s destruction.

ArcheoNet BE

Stad Brussel zoekt conservator

De Stad Brussel is momenteel op zoek naar een conservator (m/v). Hij/zij beheert, organiseert, coördineert en superviseert het geheel van de activiteiten binnen de sectie Musea, zowel op wetenschappelijk, technisch, pedagogisch, administratief vlak als wat HR en evenementen betreft. Kandidaten beschikken minstens over een masterdiploma in een relevant domein (geschiedenis, archeologie en kunstgeschiedenis) en een complementaire vorming of beroepservaring in cultuur- en museummanagement. Solliciteren kan tot en met 9 mei 2014. Je vindt de volledige vacature op

Jim Davila (

St. Catherine's Monastery threatened?

BARBARIC: Retired army general wants Egypt's St. Catherine's Monastery demolished. Ahmed Ragai Attiya says that the historic UNESCO site in South Sinai poses a threat to Egypt's national security, after the monks turned it into 'a place for foreigners' (Sherry El-Gergawi, ahramonline).

It is one thing for a crank columnist to call for a lawsuit over the legend of the ten plagues. It is quite another for an (up to now) respected member of the military actually to bring a lawsuit to try to destroy some of Egypt's history. If the story is true (and one hopes it is inaccurate or exaggerated), it is dismaying that the suit is being taken as seriously as it is. It should be laughed out of court.

More problems for St. Catherine's Monastery, as well as much background on it, noted here and links.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access to all Oxford University Press Online products April 13-19th

National Library Week All OUP Online products are free April 13-19th

[n.b.: "The free access starts on April 13th and will run through the end of the day on the 19th, running for the full duration of National Library Week. Access is available in the United States and Canada only" (emphasis added)]
To celebrate National Library Week in the United States (April 13th-19th) and all the hard work librarians do to support their patrons, OUP is freeing up all of our online products* for the week! Libraries are a vital part of many communities, whether it is a school, a town/city, the government, a corporation, or a hospital, and we have freed up this unprecedented amount of content to show our appreciation for these libraries.

National Library Week 

Ancient Peoples

Limestone headrest  Made for Khentika and it is 19.5cm high and...

Limestone headrest 

Made for Khentika and it is 19.5cm high and 16.5cm long. 

Found in Egypt, Memphis area, Saqqara, Teti pyramid cemetery, Tomb of Khentika. 

Egyptian, Old Kingdom, 6th dynasty, 2323 - 2150 BC. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 26

The translation of the Georgian Life of Adam is said to have been made not directly from Greek, but via Armenian, probably before 607 (see Mahé, 229-230, following Kekelidze, but cf. further M.E. Stone, “History of the Forefathers, Adam and his Sons and Grandsons” JSAS 1 (1984): 79-91, here 89, n. 4).

The lines chosen for today’s reading come from p. 113.15-17 in the edition of K’urc’ikiże (= the part Mahé numbers as part of XX in his translation):

აღდგა ადამ და მისდევდა კუალსა მას მისსა, და ვითარცა მოვიდა მისა დასავალით კერძო, სადაცა იყო ევა, და ვითარცა იხილა ადამი ევამან, ტიროდა ტირილთა დიდითა


  • აღ-დგ-ა aor 3s აღდგომა to get up, arise
  • მი-ს-დევ-და impf 3s მიდევნა to follow
  • კუალი mark, trace, track
  • მო-ვიდ-ა aor 3s მოსლვა to come
  • დასავალი west
  • ი-ხილ-ა aor 3s ხილვა to see
  • ტირ-ოდ-ა impf 3s ტირილი to cry, weep


Adam got up and was following her [Eve's] tracks, and when he reached her, toward the west, where Eve was, and when Eve saw Adam, she wept greatly.

Mahé’s tr., p. 236:

Adam se leva et il suivit ses traces; puis quand il fut arrivé près d’elle, du côté du couchant, là où était Ève, quand Ève vit Adam, elle pleurait des pleurs abondants…


K’urc’ikiże, C’iala (ქურციკიძე, ციალა). “ადამის აპოკრიფული ცხოვრების ქართული ვერსია.” ფილილოგიური ძიებანი 1 (1964): 98-136.

Mahé, J.-P. “Le livre d’Adam géorgien.” In R. van den Broek and M.J. Vermaseren, eds. Studies in Gnosticism and Hellenistic Religions. Leiden, 1981: 227-260.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I’s government came up with a series of measures to deter “divers evil persons” from damaging the reputation of English coinage and, with it, the good name of the nation.

The Royal Mint announced last month that in 2017 it will introduce a new £1 coin, said to be the “most secure coin in the world”. The reason behind the decision, which could cost businesses as much as £20 million, is the surge in counterfeiting. It is estimated that around 3% of £1 coins are fakes with an estimated 45 million forgeries in circulation.

Four and a half centuries ago, Elizabeth I made the reform of currency one of her government’s top priorities. Invested as queen in 1558, she inherited a coinage which was fraught with problems. Read more.

James Darlack and Michael Hanel (BibleWorks Blog)

Moving over . . . (Site Maintenance)

I’ll be moving to a different (better / cheaper) hosting service in the near future, so the Unofficial BibleWorks Blog may be down for a short period of time. My goal is to be back up and running by May 1.

Check the BibleWorks forum for more updates as time goes by.

EAGLE News: Europeana Network of Ancient Greek and Latin Epigraphy

EAGLE & Wiki Loves Monuments Event

Best Practices for the Fruition and Promotion of Cultural Heritage:
EAGLE & Wiki Loves Monuments
Award Ceremony  Wiki Loves Monuments Italia
EAGLE Special Prize


May 16,  2014
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
Piazza dei Cinquecento, 67

The opportunities offered by modern technology for the safeguarding and fruition of cultural heritage are virtually boundless, yet their successful implementation requires that all players involved (public institutions, private sector, sector operators) adopt new attitudes.
This event, organised by EAGLE (Europeana network of Ancient Greek and Latin Epigraphy) and Wikimedia Italia with the support of Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, aims to serve as a platform for sharing knowledge and good practices while stimulating reflections on the role of digital technologies in the preservation and promotion of cultural digital heritage.
At the end of the event, the winners of Special EAGLE prize for WikiLovesMonuments Italy will be announced. An award will be given for the best photograph of an ancient inscription within a participating monument of the WikiLovesMonuments contest.
Special EAGLE prize for WikiLovesMonuments Italy seeks to promote the intrinsic testimonial value of inscriptions and to do so in such a way that this patrimony, which exists right under the eyes of the world yet often goes barely noticed, emerges and gains the visibility that it deserves.

Participation in the event is free of charge but places will be limited.

Register here.

BiblePlaces Blog

Bible-Related Works at Oxford University Press Free This Week

Oxford University Press is opening up their online collections for free use to those in the U.S. and Canada during National Library Week. With the username “libraryweek” and the password “libraryweek,” you can peruse hundreds of titles. Some of these may be on your wishlist (in print) and this provides an opportunity to determine if these will meet your needs. Below are some titles more directly related to the subjects of this blog.

The Oxford Companion to the Bible, eds. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. “An authoritative one-volume reference to the people, places, events, books, institutions, religious belief, and secular influence of the Bible.” Published in 1993.

A Dictionary of the Bible, 2nd ed., by W. R. F. Browning. “2,000 authoritative entries it provides clear and concise information about all of the important places, people, themes, and doctrines of the Bible.” Published in 2009.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible, ed. Michael D. Coogan. “Authoritative reference overviews of scholarship on some of the most important topics of study in the field of biblical studies. The Encyclopedia contains almost 120 in-depth entries, ranging in length from 500 to 10,000 words, on each of the canonical books of the Bible, major apocryphal books of the New and Old Testaments, important noncanonical texts, and thematic essays on topics such as canonicity, textual criticism, and translation.” Published in 2011.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology, ed. Daniel M. Master. From Booklist: “The primary focus of the work is on places—each one with some kind of tie-in with scripture (both Old and New Testaments). There are only 70 A–Z places, but each one receives a surprisingly in-depth treatment….Interspersed with the places are ample topical entries, covering art, dress, gender, music, and religion in the Jewish and Roman worlds.” Published in 2013.

The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible, eds. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. “325 articles that describe the people and places that appear in the New Testament and Old Testament of the Bible. From prophets, apostles, and groups (such as Hebrews and Angels) to kingdoms and countries, cities and mountains where Biblical events took place.” Published in 2001.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation, ed. Steven L. McKenzie. Nearly 120 entries providing “detailed, comprehensive treatments of the latest approaches to and methods for interpretation of the Bible written by expert practitioners. It will provide a single source for authoritative reference overviews of scholarship on some of the most important topics of study in the field of biblical studies.” Published in 2013.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, ed. Eric M. Meyers. “With 1,100 entries written by 560 contributors from more than two dozen countries, the scope of the encyclopedia is wide and provides a full range of perspectives and approaches to archaeological endeavors. Articles span from Bahrain to Libraries and Archives to Ziggurats and offer cultural, historical, and religious perspectives to a wide range of topics of interest to both scholars and lay people.” Published in 1997.

Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, eds. Lawrence H. Schiffman and James C. VanderKam. “Featuring 450 articles by an international community of 100 distinguished scholars, the Encyclopedia is the definitive account of what we know about the scrolls—their history, relevance, meaning, and the controversies that surround them. The works are viewed in historical, linguistic, and religious contexts, with archaeological evidence providing a clear basis for dating and preservation of the manuscripts.” Published in 2000.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion, 2nd ed., eds. Adele Berlin and Maxine Grossman. “In 2,400 entries, The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion covers more than three millennia of Jewish religious thought, custom, law, and practice, from traditional approaches to Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and post-denominational Judaism. Brief definitions and longer essays, all supplemented with bibliographies, enlighten readers about the major figures, folklore, and events in the history of Judaism throughout the world.” Published in 2011.

The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: c. 8000-332 BCE, eds. Ann E. Killebrew and Margreet Steiner. Published in 2013.

Personal subscriptions are available to the Oxford Quick Reference collection for about $15 per month. This promotion seems primarily geared to increase library subscriptions.

In addition to the reference works listed above, others from the “Very Short Introduction” series may be of interest:

Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction, by Eric H. Cline.

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Very Short Introduction, by Timothy Lim.

Jesus: A Very Short Introduction, by Richard Bauckham.

Paul: A Very Short Introduction, by E. P. Sanders.

Ancient Egypt: A Very Short Introduction, by Ian Shaw.

Hieroglyphs: A Very Short Introduction, by Penelope Wilson.

The Ancient Near East: A Very Short Introduction, by Amanda H. Podany.

Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction, by Harry Sidebottom.

The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction, by Martin Bunton.

Free access is to be available for National Library Week from April 13 to 19, but as I go to post this, the login is not working. Yesterday it worked at times and not at other times. Hopefully OUP will resolve the problem quickly.