Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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February 01, 2015

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Whom Does US Mummy-Mask-Trashing Serve?

If anyone is in any doubt about why some people in the US see mummy-mask trashing as a good thing, take a look at this video, the pace is slow but there are some real verbal gems towards the end. Best approached I think with a good bottle of red:
Since the unbelieving lost have been mind controlled into not believing the Gospel
and subsequently not abiding in it. Edifying Others helps reveal the layers of mind
control that keeps lost sinners in their stony heart condition of Mystery Babylon 

mind control (Posted on You Tube by Edifying Others)
And watch out for that masked masonic mind control.

. .

Peter Konieczny and Sandra Sadowski (History of the Ancient World)

Sacrifice and Martyrdom in the Roman Empire

Sacrifice and Martyrdom in the Roman Empire

By Guy Stroumsa

Archivio di filosofia / Archives of Philosophy, Vol.76:1-2 (2008)

Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna

Introduction: In religions of the ancient world, sacrifice, and in particular blood sacrifice, stood at the very center of cultic activity. This is true in all religions around the Mediterranean as well as in the Near East. Indeed, Greek sacrifices, for instance, show some striking parallels with West Semitic practices. According to Walter Burkert’s assessment, this might be explained through influences via Cyprus. Following Karl Meuli, Burkert claims that sacrifice stems from a feeling of guilt on the part of the hunters for having killed their game. It is not necessary to follow him here to recognize that blood sacrifices represented much more than ritual slaughter. To a great extent, sacrifice was constitutive of the community, as it “stood at the center of a complex set of cultural, social and political institutions.” In ancient religions, indeed, sacrifice was the most obvious way of crossing the boundary between the human and the super-natural world. It is the offering of blood, or life, to the gods, that gave sacrifice its efficacy.

In the ancient world, however, animal sacrifices were not the only blood sacrifices. Human sacrifices, although they were rarely practiced, remained present in people’s consciousness until a rather late date in the Roman Empire. To be sure, for both pagans and Christians, human sacrifice remained as a kind of spiritual limes, delimiting the border between civilization and barbarism. For a philosopher such as Porphyry, animal sacrifice was considered to be a kind of historic compromise between human sacrifice and a vegetarian ideal in which sacrifice would be unnecessary. As long as Christianity remained religio illicita, the Christians constituted an alternative community of sorts, functioning in quasi-secrecy, and whose values and behavior were strikingly different from those of society at large. In such conditions, it comes as no surprise that various accusations circulated against allegedly repulsive Christian rituals, including human sacrifices or even cannibalism. Enemies of the Jews had already accused them of similar behavior. In the case of Christians, however, accusations could be much more direct and violent. The Christians, on their side, viewed pagan blood sacrifices as a cult offered to demons, polluting those who took part in it. In expressing his horror of sacrifices (as well as of gladiator fights), Constantine showed a Christian sensitivity – which does not mean, of course, that sacrifices would immediately be discontinued.

Click here to read this article from

The post Sacrifice and Martyrdom in the Roman Empire appeared first on History of the Ancient World.

The Invention of Infertility in the Classical Greek World: Medicine, Divinity, and Gender

The Invention of Infertility in the Classical Greek World: Medicine, Divinity, and Gender

By Rebecca Flemming

Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Vol. 87, No. 4 (2013)

Birth of Athena. Attic exaleiptron (black-figured tripod), ca. 570–560 BC. Found in Thebes

Introduction: The article examines the understandings of, and responses to, reproductive failure in the classical Greek world. It discusses explanations and treatments for non-procreation in a range of ancient Greek medical texts, focusing on the writings of the Hippocratic Corpus, which devote considerable energy to matters of fertility and generation, and places them alongside the availability of a divine approach to dealing with reproductive disruption, the possibility of asking various deities, including the specialist healing god Asclepius, for assistance in having children. Though the relations between these options are complex, they combine to produce a rich remedial array for those struggling with childlessness, the possibility that any impediment to procreation can be removed. Classical Greece, rather than the nineteenth century, or even 1978, is thus the time when “infertility,” understood as an essentially reversible somatic state, was invented.

Introduction: Infertility has had a rapidly rising scholarly profile, across a host of fields and disciplines, since the 1980s. The explosion in assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) may be the main force behind this rise, but the debates have moved well beyond the technologies, just as the technologies have moved well beyond infertility. Historically, however, the topic remains underdeveloped, if not actually stunted and misshapen. Indeed, there are those who would deny that infertility has much of a past at all. Thus, in their contribution to an excellent recent collection of essays aiming, precisely, to broaden and deepen, discussion of reproductive failure around the world, Margarete Sandelowski and Sheryl de Lacey claim that “infertility was ‘invented’ with the in vitro conception and birth in 1978 of Baby Louise.” The argument is not, of course, that there had been no procreative problems, or involuntary childlessness, before 1978, but that the new technological developments that came to fruition that year were, and are, a real game changer. “In-fertility” thus has a prehistory: it was, they say, preceded by barrenness and sterility, “used to connote a divine curse of biblical proportions” and “an absolutely irreversible physical condition,” respectively. Whereas “infertility” itself signifies a “medically and socially liminal state in which affected persons hover between reproductive incapacity and capacity,” which emerged when “both infertile couples and their physicians began to expect that virtually any kind of biological or physical impediment to reproduction could eventually be bypassed, even if not removed or cured.”

Click here to read this article from John Hopkins University

The post The Invention of Infertility in the Classical Greek World: Medicine, Divinity, and Gender appeared first on History of the Ancient World.

Robert Consoli (Squinches)

Cyclopean Walls. Defensive or Decorative?

“Before I built a wall I'd ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,..”

Mending Wall
Robert Frost

The Cyclopean walls of Mycenae and Tiryns.

Defensive, Decorative, or something else?

What was the justification for building the walls which surround the great Bronze Age Mycenaean citadels?

Superficially this is a non-problem. Walls are obviously built for defense and these should be no different. One complicating factor is that the great citadel walls of Mycenae, Tiryns, and Midea seem to have been erected during a time of relative stability. Why build walls when there is no anticipated use for them? And these particular cyclopean walls were no insignificant constructions; they were executed over a long time span and would have required a very great outlay in rations and man-power. The only source for such resources is the land-owning aristocracy which would have to be convinced and/or coerced into supporting such a project.

Opening to the underground spring in the 
north-eastern extension of Mycenae (ca. 1250)
Courtesy of SquinchPix.

Scholars have scratched their heads over this conundrum and have tentatively suggested that the walls were not merely for defensive purposes but functioned as showcases for power and status. So we read things like the following:

Schofield: “..were perhaps built to impress and confer great status on the rulers of the sites. They certainly are, even today, awe-inspiring.”[1]

Hitchcock stresses the military and defensive aspect of the walls but also repeats the justification of power display:

“Although recent interpretations (Maran 2006) argue that Mycenaean fortification walls were more about display, they certainly were also intended to help the city function as a place of refuge during times of stress.”[2]

and this:

“The sheer monumentality of Mycenaean fortifications, tombs, and public works symbolized the power of the ruling elite.”[3]

and this:

“Without denying the practical defensive significance of such Cyclopean fortifications, which has been emphasized in the literature, it is likely that this building technique also conveyed to the observer symbolic messages like hardness, inapproachability and unlimited power. This impression was increased by the rather uniform appearance of the Cyclopean walls, which, unlike medieval castles, did not have a façade broken up by protruding towers, windows and architectural ornaments.”[4]

Dickinson mentions the motive of power display when he discusses the cyclopean walls of Tiryns and Mycenae.

“Their erection may be linked with the establishment of major palatial complexes and may reflect a consolidation of control and expression of power more than any perceived need for defence; certainly they encircle only the uppermost parts of the acropolises.”[5]

In order for us to accept the argument that the cyclopean walls were more about display, projection of power and status we would have to believe that at some time in the Late Bronze the following conversation took place in the halls of Mycenae or Tiryns:

Advisor: Your highness I know that you’ve been concerned about people not respecting your power and status. I’ve thought about this and I think I have an answer.

Wanax: Well, get on with it.

Advisor: I’ve been travelling in the East and I noticed that a lot of the cities have gigantic walls around them. These are really impressive and I think that we should do the same thing here. Nobody else in the Argolid has one. It would knock those rubes in Argos on their butts! What do you think?

Wanax: This is good! I like it! It would really project my power and authority! To say nothing of my status!

Advisor: Now, I know that it wouldn’t be cheap and would take a long time.

Wanax: But it’s my image we’re talking about! Let’s do it!

As Tolstoy says ‘it would be a mistake to think that this is mere irony’.[6] This is the explanation offered by a number of sober and respectable scholars because it seems the only other choice if we decide that the citadel walls of mostly Cyclopean construction were not built for immediate defence.


Why do people build walls? 

What specific practical advantage do they confer?

The specific advantage of a wall, if we were to formalize the notion, is this: to greatly reduce the number of men required to hold a position. Wall-building is a method for leveraging man-power. The men freed in this way may be used for any purpose but, once a wall secures your base, you’re free to go on the offensive.  In other words, wall-building is (or can be) not just a defensive but an offensive maneuver.

This was clearly the case with the Athenian Long Walls.

When Themistocles recommended the building of the Athenian Long Walls in the early fifth century BC it wasn’t merely to protect Athens from the Spartans but to serve as the foundation stone (as it were) of the nascent Athenian Empire.  We sometimes look at the wall-building through the lens of the Peloponnesian War which came after and project the need to protect from Spartan invasion onto Themistocles intentions.  This is not the entire truth.  We would do well to rethink what Plutarch means when he has Themistocles say with respect to the fleet he was urging the Athenians to build, “they could not only repel the Barbarians but also take the lead in Hellas” (τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἄρχειν δυναμένους,..) [7] 

 I do not mean to over-simplify a very complex set of events; my point is merely that Themistocles’ idea is that the walls serve to secure the city and the base and leaving a large force (in this case a fleet) available to dominate their allies.[8]   Later in that century things are different.   Pericles urges the completion of the walls in the face of an obvious and growing danger to the city.  During that century, the fifth, the mental emphasis seems to shift from offense to defense with respect to the walls.   And it’s possible that we see something like that in the fourteenth century BC in the Argolid. At first (ca. 1350?) the walls of Mycenae and Tiryns only defend the citadel with no particular emphasis placed on specific needs that might occur in battle such as the famous sally ports or secured water supplies.   Only later (ca. 1250), approaching the final disaster, does there suddenly seem an emphasis on incorporating actual useful defense features into the walls.[9]

I have emphasized the potential offensive role of walls. In order to be successful every state or polity with offensive designs needs some advantage which is denied to its opponents. Without such an advantage no polity can really hope to prevail in the long run. In the ethnography of ranked chiefdoms those without some advantage over their prospective opponents accomplish little but extending the struggle, sometimes for centuries.  The story of the struggle to unite the Hawaiian islands begins about the year 1500 and continues in a desultory manner until, at the end of the 18th century, Kamehameha manages to acquire such an advantage – cannon from visiting European ships[10]

Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus sum up the ethnographic situation very well:

“All these cases[11] began with societies that already possessed a degree of hereditary inequality. The engine that drove kingdom formation was competitive interaction among multiple elite actors. The balance was tipped when one of the actors achieved a competitive advantage. Whether set in the temperate highlands, the coastal desert, or the tropical forest, the process was similar. It was independent of environment or ethnic group.”[12]

In previous posts I have suggested that the Mycenaean Cultural Sphere was the scene of a war for consolidation of the type that ethnographic records would lead us to expect. I have suggested that this was a long lasting war and ended in the ‘Catastrophe’ of the 13th C. The 14th C walls of Mycenae and Tiryns were, on this showing, neither status decorations nor defensive works. They were offensive works and as long as they were unique they constituted the competitive advantage that would be needed for successful offensive operations in the Argolid and probably beyond.


[1] Schofield (2007) 78-9.

[2] Hitchcock (2010) 206.

[3] Hitchcock (2010) 208.

[4] ‘hardness’(!) Maran (2006) 79.

[5] Dickinson (1994) 160. And see the discussion in Bintliff (2012) 189. Bintliff suggests that one of the primary purposes of the walls was ‘.. to intimidate ’.

[6] War and Peace, Second Epilogue, i.

[7] Emphasis is mine, of course. In Themistocles, iv. Perrin (1914) 13.

[8] Thucydides, i.90-1. The physical details and the history of the Athenian Long Walls are in Conwell (1992). Of course the fortification at Gla (~ 3 km. in circumference) turns my argument inside out, at least for Gla itself; I should think it would take a very large force to defend a 3 km. enceinte. Placing a man every ten feet (3 m.) at Gla would require nearly a thousand men. I do not know how many men Orchomenos (presumably) could muster but such an investment of manpower cannot have been easy.

[9] This shift in emphasis has been often noticed. Bintliff (2012) 13. Hitchcock (2010) 206. Schofield (2007) 171-2. For the shaft to the hidden water source on the Acropolis of Athens see Broneer (1938).

[10] The story of the Fair American and the kidnapping of Isaac Davis in Daws (1968) 34. The campaigns of Kamehameha on Maui and Oahu, pp 36-7. For another connected account see Flannery and Marcus (2012) 343 ff. The possession of cannon is instanced by most historians. Another factor was food. Kamehameha had the Anahulu Valley on Oahu terraced and cultivated in order to feed his army in preparation for the invasion of Kauai (which never came off); in Sahlins and Kirch (1994).

[11] e.g. The Zapotec, Moche, Maya, Hawaiians, Zulu, Hunza, and the Merina of Madagascar.

[12] Flannery and Marcus (2012) 392.


Broneer (1938): Broneer, O. "A Mycenaean Fountain on the Athenian Acropolis", Hesperia, viii.4 (January 1, 1938). pp. 317-433 Online here.

Cline (2010): Cline, Eric H., The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean. Oxford University Press. 2010.

Conwell (1992): Conwell, David H. The Athenian Long Walls: Chronology, Topography and Remains. Brill. 1992.

Daws (1968): Daws, Gavan. Shoal of Time. Macmillan. 1968.

Dickinson (1994): Dickinson, Oliver. The Aegean Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press. 1994.

Flannery and Marcus (2012): Flannery, Kent and Joyce Marcus. The Creation of Inequality: How our Prehistoric Ancestors set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire. Harvard University Press. 2012.

Maran (2006): Maran, Joseph. "Mycenaean Citadels as Performative Space". In Constructing Power: Architecture, Ideology, and Social Practice, edd. Joseph C. Maran, Carsten Juwig, Hermann Schwengel, and Ulrich Thaler, 75-91. Hamburg: LIT. 2006.

Perrin (1914): Perrin, Bernadotte, trans., Plutarch. Lives, Volume II: Themistocles and Camillus. Aristides and Cato Major. Cimon and Lucullus. Loeb Classical Library 47. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1914.

Sahlins and Kirch (1994): Sahlins, Marshall and Patrick V. Kirch. Anahulu: The Anthropology of History in the Kingdom of Hawaii, 2 vols., University of Chicago Press. 1994.

Schofield (2007): Schofield, Louise. The Mycenaeans. Getty Publications, Los Angeles, California. USA. 2007

AIA Fieldnotes

Oscar Broneer Traveling Fellowship 2015-16

Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
American School of Classical Studies at Athens
March 15, 2015

The American Academy in Rome and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens award the Oscar Broneer Traveling Fellowship to encourage the study of the Greco-Roman world.

Purpose: The Fellowship will be awarded for research in Greece and Italy in alternate years.  It is expected that the Fellow will use either the American Academy in Rome (AAR) or the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) as a base from which to pursue work through trips to sites, museums, or repositories of materials of interest to the Fellow's studies. Read more »

Brief Summary: 
Contact Name: 

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Operation Aureus-Hieratica: Egyptian-Spanish antiquities trafficking may have funded Islamic State

The details of Operation Aureus (within Spain, Operation Hieratica) – a massive and remarkable Europol-coordinated, Interpol-assisted, UNESCO-supported investigation – are beginning to emerge. (Paul Barford has been keeping track of the news.) Now, a new report claims that the Egyptian-Spanish antiquities supply line was run to fund the Islamic State. Lasting more than five months […]

January 31, 2015

DigiPal Blog

Call for Papers: "On the Same Page: Digital Approaches to Hebrew Manuscripts"

As those following the progress of DigiPal will be aware, an increasing number of projects are opting to study their corpora with the DigiPal framework (essentially, the database and a series of web-based tools for computer-assisted palaeography). SephardiPal is one of these "Daughters of DigiPal", and is now so grown up that she is organising her own conference. How exciting is that? It's a two-day conference, with the promise of plenty of palaeography on offer from the invited speakers who include:

  • Malachi Beit-Arié (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  • Edna Engel (Hebrew Palaeography Project)
  • Judith Olszowy-Schlanger (École Pratique des Hautes Études, Sorbonne)
  • Colette Sirat (Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes)

See below for the Call for Papers and further details.

Conference: "On the Same Page: Digital Approaches to Hebrew Manuscripts"

Date: Monday 18th-Tuesday 19th May 2015

Venue: King's College London, Strand

Organised by: Departments of Digital Humanities and Theology & Religious Studies
Co-sponsor: Centre for Late Antique & Medieval studies, King's College London

We are delighted to announce the Call for Papers for "On the Same Page: Digital Approaches to Hebrew Manuscripts". This two-day conference will explore the potential for the computer-assisted study of Hebrew manuscripts; present developments in the field; and share methodologies. Of course, for any of that to happen, we need some papers, so please see below for details of how to submit a proposal.

How to propose a paper

Papers of 20 minutes in length are invited on any aspect of digital approaches to the study of (medieval) Hebrew manuscripts.

Below are some possible topics, but please don't feel limited to these:

* the practical and theoretical consequences of the use of digital images
* visualisation of manuscript evidence and data
* examples of research into Hebrew manuscripts that would benefit from a Digital Humanities approach
* computer-assisted study of iconography
* is our increasing reliance upon digital surrogates changing our research methodologies and practices?
* reports from projects that make use of digitised images

To propose a paper, please email a brief abstract (250 words max.) to

The deadline for the receipt of submissions is close of play on Friday 27th February 2015. Notice of acceptance will be sent as soon after that date as possible.

Very much looking forward to hearing from you,

Stewart Brookes and Debora Matos

Ancient Art

Frederick Catherwood was an English artist who...

Frederick Catherwood was an English artist who explored Mesoamerica in the mid 19th century with writer John Lloyd Stephens, climbing the crumbling steps of the pyramids of Copán. By this stage, these buildings had fallen into decline, and were overgrown with jungle. Catherwood is best remembered for his extraordinarily detailed drawings of ruins of the Maya civilization. Some lithographs of these artworks are shown here.

The first is titled Colossal Head, at Izamal. Idol at Copán and Back of an Idol at Copán follow, the fourth is Gateway of the Great Teocallis, Uxmal, and the final work is titled Teocallis, at Chichén-Itzá

These lithographs are courtesy of & and be viewed at Casa Frederick Catherwood in Merida, Mexico: ”Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan” is on permanent exhibition there. Images via the Maya Portrait Project.

Brice C. Jones

Herakleia Buys a Female Slave (P.Col. 10.254)

PictureP.Col. 10.254
In P.Col. 10.254, an interesting 2nd century papyrus from Egypt, we meet Herakleia who purchases a female slave named Berenike. Since Herakleia is herself a woman, this raises questions about women's property in Egypt. How much property could women possess? Was it normal for women to buy slaves? Did women purchase slaves for themselves or on behalf of men? In her article "Women as Property Owners in Roman Egypt" (TAPA 113, 1983: 311-321), Deborah Hobson demonstrated, from her analysis of documentary papyri, that women often owned a good deal of property. Usually, property was kept in the family and women and men were recipients of family property, even though men were the usual recipients of real estate (there are several exceptions). P.Col. 10.254 (text reproduced below) is not unique; there are indeed other papyri that mention women as purchasers of slaves (e.g., BGU 11.2111, P.Col. 8.219, P.Oxy. 1.73). So, we know that women could purchase slaves. 

But what P.Col. 10.254 and other similar papyri reveal is that women had access to full participation in the economy of Roman Egypt. Herakleia visited the appropriate financial office in person and the transaction was made in her name without any objection. In other words, there seems to have been no social stigma attached to Herakleia's purchase of  her own property. The text indicates that Herakleia could "dispose" (i.e., sell, transfer) of Berenike "in whatever way she chooses," underscoring her rights to her property. As the editor maintains, "this is clearly a case of a woman acting independently of men in her own financial interests" (P.Col. 10.254, p. 25). Documentary papyri thus reflect social realities and deepen our knowledge of all sorts of human activity in Egypt, from transportation, business, death, marriage, divorce, and so on. 

Notice in the image at the bottom, in a second hand, the subscription of Petechon, from whom Herakleia purchased Berenike. This is an example of a "slow writer," someone who could write his name and a few practiced lines but nothing more. The contract itself was probably written by a private clerk.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
1  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣[  ̣]  ̣[  ̣]  ̣[  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣]  ̣[  ̣]  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣[- ca. 9 -]
[κυριεύειν] τὴν Ἡράκλειαν τοῦ κατʼ ἑ-
[αυτὸν ἡμίσ]ο̣υς μέρους τῆς προγεγραμ-
[μένης καὶ π]ε̣π̣ραμένης δούλης σὺν
5 [ἐκγόνοις καὶ τοῖς π]α̣ρ̣ʼ α̣ὐ̣τῆς μετα-
[λημψομένοις καὶ] οἰκονομεῖν πε-
[ρὶ αὐτῆς ᾧ ἐὰν αἱρῆ]τ̣αι τρόπῳ. καὶ βε-
[βαιουμένης δημο]σ̣ιώσει ὁπηνίκα
[ἐὰν αἱρῆται κατὰ] δ̣ημ̣οσίου χρημα-
10 [τισμοῦ καὶ βεβα]ι̣ῶ σοι τὸ προκεί-
[μενον ἥ]μισυ \μέ/ ρος τῆς προγεγραμμέ-
[νης δούλ]η̣ς Βερενεί̣κης, τῶν γραμμα-
[τικῶν] \[καὶ τ]ελῶν/ [ὄν]τ̣ων πρὸς σὲ τ̣ὴν Ἡράκλειαν.
[κυρία ἡ π]ρ̣ᾶσις. ἔτους τεσ̣σαρεσκαιδεκάτου
15 [Αὐτοκράτορ]ος Καίσαρος Τρα̣ιανοῦ Ἁδριανοῦ
[Σεβαστοῦ] Τ̣ῦβι δ (hand 2) Πετεχ̣ῶ̣ν Πετεχῶντο(ς)
[ὁ προγεγ]ρ̣αμμένος πέπ̣[ρα]κα τῇ Ἡρα-
[κλ(ε)ίᾳ τὸ κα]τʼ ἐμὲ ἥμισυ μέρος τῆς δού-
[λης Βερενείκης κ]α̣ὶ̣ ἀ̣π̣έ̣[σχον τὰ τ]ῆ̣ς̣ [τιμῆς]
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

"[Petechon acknowledges that from now on] . . . Herakleia is to own and be master of her half share of the aforesaid sold female slave, with her descendants and her successors, and to dispose of her [the slave] in whatever way she chooses. The title of the slave being guaranteed, she shall publish it whenever she chooses in accordance with a public document, and I guarantee to you the indicated half share of the aforesaid female slave Berenike, the scribal fees and taxes being at the charge of you, Herakleia. The sale is normative. In the fourteenth year of Imperator Caesar Trajanus Hadrianus Augustus, Tybi 4 [= 30 December 129]. (second hand) I, Petechon son of Petechon, have sold to Herakleia my half share of the female slave Berenike and I have received the . . ."

Ancient Peoples

160,000 followers!!…!!Thank you all so much for your...


Thank you all so much for your support.

You like us…You really like us!

Robert Consoli (Squinches)

Herman Melville's Career Choices

“ the last I grapple with thee; 
from hell's heart I stab at thee; 
for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.” 

Decisions, decisions

So I've been watching Lena Dunham's show Girls even though I suspect that I'm not the right demographic.  Anyway her main character, Hannah, (Hanna?) is attending the Iowa Writer's Workshop and, while watching her in a student critique session, I had this reverie.

(Herman Melville's uncle finds him a job opportunity)

Uncle: So, Hermie, I have a friend who's the captain of a whaling vessel and he's offered you a spot on his next voyage if you want it.  They're going to the South Seas, somewhere.  I think you should go, Hermie, it could be fun!

Herman M.: But uncle I don't want to be a whaler!  I want to be a professional writer.  I want you all to be proud of me; be a success, you know?  Do you have any contacts at the Iowa Writers Workshop?

(No matter what you do, do NOT google 'whale tail')

Next Post: Dostoevsky gives up drinking and gambling!  Goes to IWW.  Last year he finished writing and directing his successful rom-com, 'Those Karamazov Rascals!' Now working on prequel 'Dad Knows Worst!'; plan in works to produce a TV sitcom: 'The Idiots!'.  Raking in huge bucks!

Ancient Peoples

Glass Bowl with Painted DecorationGreek, Hellenistic3rd century...

Glass Bowl with Painted Decoration

Greek, Hellenistic

3rd century B.C.

Painted and gilded decoration on interior: a pointed monument, clearly identifiable as a betyl (a type of cult object common in the Near East), flanked by a wall and trees.

Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #680

Excellent Open Access (free to read) articles:

Nesactium – New Fragments of Objects of Situla Art with Figural Decoration

Il contesto delle navi antiche di Pisa. Un breve punto della situazione.

California’s Coastal Prehistory: A Circum-Pacific Perspective

Early Medieval Thatching Needles from the Site of Torčec - Prečno pole: a Contribution to the Knowledge of the Slavic Settlement of the Drava River Basin

GIS applications in Italian archaeology

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Bizarre and Disgracefully Arrogant Response over New Mark Fragment

Dr Danny Zacharias and Dr Craig Evans of Acadia Divinity College have just made a video in reply to the criticisms of mummy mask trashing. It is called 'Craig Evans Leads Scientists to New Discoveries at ADC', and  video features on the blog of Dr Zacharias under the title: "The Truth Behind What Dr. Craig Evans Has Been Doing at Acadia Divinity College". To describe the video as bizarre (as did Roberta Mazza) is an understatement. It has a tagline "brought to you by the scientists at ADC". I suggest Acadia Divinity College press officer might like to have a word with these two. 

At the beginning, tooth-baring Dr Danny Zacharias looking snazzy in his little woollen hat and smiling announces that he's "just got back" from a covert operation in Egypt where "I go there quietly, and basically I just, well, I, I raid tombs, I loot, ah pillage and find some good stuff there". Just under one and a half thousand people have seen this video. How many understand what its context is?  Acadia Divinity College Wolfville, Nova Scotia folks, remember the name. 

The film then shifts to Dr Craig Evans' office. Note on the right the framed papyri by the window in full daylight - next to the framed photo of a Pope.  Then the professor starts fooling around, takes the 'mummy mask' from Dr Z, makes a big show of  putting on the gloves [Remember Josh McDowell saying they do not wear them?] As he does so he chants "do the rule [sic] everything right, just the way you're supposed to do it" - in a mocking singsong voice. Then takes a batten of wood and repeatedly bashes the 'mask' ("you have to saften these things up") and then takes out a bit of paper which is he says is Secret Mark dated to the "forties" (the in joke is that Craig Evans is one of the main proponents of the  thesis that Secret Mark was a forgery). Then the two make fun of the archaeologists: "what do we do with that now? ... it's an antiquity, I could just shred it", "save the postage, run it through the shredder" the Professor suggests carelessly (note the slip "we can send it back to the museum"). How droll, eh? Canadian academic humour, a winner every time. 

This is just sheer arrogance. Instead of responding in a normal fashion to criticism of the apparent involvement in wanton destruction of Egyptian antiquities, these two have gone the other way, mocking the critics raising issues which worry them. What they are clearly doing is making out that they are fulfilling a strategy of provocation - in which case they then dismiss all and any criticism pretending that the critics have fallen into their trap - because they meant all along to provoke. That is a childish tactic. Far better would be to make a video explaining the origin of the Mark papyrus Dr Evans is and was involved with.


Meanwhile, You Tube is a very public medium and Evans and Zacharias should consider that not everybody watching it will know what it is about and the good name of Acadia Divinity College Wolfville, Nova Scotia folks is dragged through the mud by a member of staff being involved in a video in which looting and pillaging of Egyptian tombs and then mistreatment of antiquities are confessed. This kind of thing can only get North American biblical scholarship a bad name. Just answer the questions properly about the collecting history of the object under discussion - how difficult can that be if everything is kosher? 

Archaeological News on Tumblr

First Major Exhibition of Hellenistic Bronzes to Tour Internationally

Beginning in March 2015, the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and...

BiblePlaces Blog

Weekend Roundup

The Big Picture has 13 great photos of the declining level of the Dead Sea.

Why visit the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem? Bible History Daily points out 10 great biblical artifacts.

That same museum is hosting a new exhibit “By the Rivers of Babylon” that is profiled in Haaretz.

The Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem is using iPads and phones to improve the visitor’s experience (NYTimes).

The Melbourne Museum has produced a recreation of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii.

Illegal excavations in Alexandria have revealed a Graeco-Roman necropolis.

An update on the Nineveh destruction from Agade: “Reliable reports from the Mosul that for good reason cannot be attributed are that the fortifications of Nineveh have not been damaged in any way. Unfortunately, Nabi Younis, however, is now completely destroyed.”

HT: Agade

Ancient Peoples

Terracotta Askos in the Form of a DuckGreek, AtticLate 5th...

Terracotta Askos in the Form of a Duck

Greek, Attic

Late 5th century B.C.

Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Zenobia: Empress of the East (Judith Weingarten)


Is this the face of a real, once-alive Amazon?  

This woman, whose face can be seen by us for the very first time today, was about 25-28 years old when she died.  Her body was discovered inside a Siberian burial mound (kurgan) a little more than 20 years ago.  She had been placed in a hollowed-out log dug deep within the mound, where she froze into a solid block of permafrost ice.  And that's why she -- and the six chestnut-coloured horses buried with her -- were so amazingly well-preserved.

They had all been alive around 500 BCE -- just about the time when Herodotus [9.27] was writing about the Amazons.  He recorded a speech in which Athenians boasted of the glorious deeds done by their ancestors -- even as the citadel of Athens was burning and the Greek army prepared for battle against the Persians at Plataea in 479 BCE:
It is our belief that we are gathered for battle with the barbarian, and not for speeches; but ... we must prove to you how we ... have by virtue of our valor a hereditary right to the place of honor.

[We have] on record our great victory against the Amazons, who once came from the river Thermodon and broke into Attica, and in the hard days of Troy we were second to none.
Thus, among the examples of Athenian bravery taken from the mythical history of the city, the battle against female warriors, the Amazons, is right up there with the epic of the war against Troy.  In fact, Homer knew of Amazons, too.  In the Iliad (6, 168-95; 2, 811-15), they already appear as a mighty band of warrior women who fight against men, and with whom conflict is dangerous even to the bravest of male heroes.   'Fearless in battle', and the 'equals of men', the Amazons were said to live somewhere to the north and east of the Black Sea, across the Caucasus Mountains and eastwards throughout the vast plains and steppes of central and northern Asia.  This was a world inhabited, in fact, by countless nomadic tribes of many different histories and languages but all sharing a horse-centred nomadic warrior lifestyle with similar weapons, artistic motifs, and burial practices.  To the Greeks, those people were known collectively as 'Scythians' -- and ancient Greek historians, including Herodotus, identified Amazons as one of these real tribes of Scythia. 

Lured on by pastures, [they] live in camps and carry all their possesions and wealth with them.  Archery, horseback riding, and hunting are a girl's pursuits.

One of Herodotus' earliest informants (whose work is almost entirely lost to us) was the poet and miracle-worker Aristeas.  Aristeas had travelled to those distant regions some time in the late-7th century BCE and he was the first to link the Amazons to the Scythian nomads who actually inhabited those lands ... and so began the colourful, intricate, tangled threads of fact and fiction about Amazons and Scythian women, "bow-legged from riding since childhood and scarred by battle, buried with their weapons and horses in the vast landscape" of the steppes.

Princess Ukok's shoulder, with tattoo of a fantastic animal, and a drawing of it.
So, who is this woman who now stares at us from the top of this page,* whose burial was adorned by six sacrificed horses with trappings including bridles made of gold?  She is called 'Princess Ukok', named after the high altitude plateau in the Siberian steppes where she was discovered.  A tall woman (about 5'6"; 168 cm), her left shoulder was decorated with a brilliant blue tattoo showing a twisting deer with extravagant antlers and a falcon's beakMore tattoos ran down the remains of her arm, with images of a mountain sheep and a panther or leopard.  

Princess Ukok's burial is one of more than a thousand ancient 'Scythian' tombs excavated across the Eurasian steppes from Thrace to Mongolia.  In recent years, our understanding of these people has radically changed.  New ways of studying skeletal remains have turned their 'male' and 'female' burials quite upside down.  It used to be simple: burials with weapons and tools belonged to men; spindles, jewellery and mirrors meant that the body was female.  But, really, all we were doing was reinforcing our own gender biases.  Now, thanks to osteological science, we know that, in some cemeteries on the steppes, as many as 37% of tombs with weapons, tools, and armour contain female skeletons. 
The armed women were buried exactly as the armed males were, with similarly constructed graves, sacrificed horses, funeral feasts, food offerings, weaponry, and valuable local and imported grave goods.
Not only that, but their bones and skulls sometimes bear battle scars identical to those of male warriors, with injuries inflicted by battle-axes, swords, and daggers -- bringing to mind scenes of violent battle and hand-to-hand combat.   

Such discoveries are the starting point for Adrienne Mayor's wonderful new book, The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across The Ancient World.    Mayor takes us on an exhilerating gallop through the archaeological evidence for female 'Scythian' burials with weapons and the scars of war, and of the evidence for the more egalitarian way of life for these horse-nomads in antiquity.

Were the Amazons real?

What do we actually know about this world of warrior horse-women across ancient Eurasia?  Was the Greek story of Amazons inspired by reports of -- and perhaps direct contacts with -- real warrior women among the steppe nomads in 'Scythia'?  

The early Greeks certainly believed that Amazons were real, even if the tribe no longer existed in their own day.  The Athenians portrayed Amazons on the Parthenon metopes when, after they won the battle of Plataea, they rebuilt the temple of Athena.  Little did they imagine that this might have been a most distant echo of the lifestyle of Princess Ukok.

Part II of this post will continue with The Amazons.

The Amazons:
Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World
Adrienne Mayor

Princeton University Press
Hardcover | 2014 | $29.95 / £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691147208
536 pp. | 6 x 9 | 10 maps. |
eBook | ISBN: 9781400865130 |

* The reconstruction was made by Swiss taxidermist Marcel Nyffenegger (below), and published in The Siberian Times, 26 January 2015. Next to hear body was a funerary meal of sheep and horse meat and ornaments made from felt, wood, bronze and gold, as well as a small container of cannabis, along with a stone plate on which were the burned seeds of coriander.

Face of tattooed mummified princess finally revealed after 2,500 years


The book under review.  See also my review of an earlier book by Adrienne Mayor,  The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy  (Times Higher Education).


Top left: Reconstruction of face of 'Princess Ukok' by Marcel Nyffenegger.  Photo credit: The Siberian Times 26 January 2015

Second left: Amazonomachy (battle between Greeks and Amazons). Attic red-figure terracotta bowl for mixing wine and water, attributed to the Painter of the Berlin Hydria.  460-450 BCE.  Photo credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1907. Accession Number: 07.286.86

Third left: An Amazon warrior delivering a Parthian shot. An Etruscan figure from the lid of a bronze dinos or cauldron from S. Maria di Capua Vetere, Capua, 6th century BCE.  Photo credits

Centre:  Close-up of Princess Ukok's shoulder, with tattoo of a fantastic animal, and a drawing of it.  Photo credit: The Siberian Times, 14 August 2012

Below left: Red and white sardonyx cameo. First century BCE/CE.  Marlborough Gems, Beazley no. 507.  Photo credit: Classical Art Research Centre

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LOST Rewatch: Enter 77

As the party heads north looking for Jack, they find a cow with a bell around its neck, and then a building with a satellite dish on top and other animals around it, and the man with the eye patch they had seen on the screen in the Pearl station. Danielle has never been there before. She has no interest in the man, and waits for as may of them survive. Sayid is shot in the arm as he approaches the house, but Kate and Locke disarm him. The man says he is Mikhail Bakhunin, and that he is the last surviving member of the Dharma Initiative. They bring Sayid inside and treat his wound. Mikhail says that after the cold war, he left the Russian military and replied to a newspaper advertisement, asking, “Do you want to save the world?” He describes the Initiative as very smart and very rich. He says the ourpose of the Flame station is to communicate with the outside world. He says the Dharma Initiative foolishly initiated a purge to kill the “hostiles,” and he says that afterwards they made a peace. Mikhail says the hostiles were there for a very long time before the Dharma Initiative was. His cat is named Nadia after Nadia Comaneci, the greatest athlete the world has ever known. He says the satellite has not worked in years.

Sayid is sure Mikhail is not Dharma but “one of them,” and that he is not alone. They fight, and tie up Mikhail. Exploring the station, they find it is wired with explosives. They also find Dharma Initiative manuals, such as for food drops and operations.

When Locke beats the computer at chess, he gets a recording with Pierre Chang, with a menu of options, Satellite and sonar communications are inoperable. He says, if there is an incursion by hostiles, enter 77. They find Bea Klugh, while Mikhail captures Locke. Klugh talks to Mikhail in Russian and gets him to shoot her. They apprehend Mikhail, and he says that he was never Dharma, but the rest of what he said was true. Sayid shows that he found a map showing power cables running to a place called the barracks.

In a flashback, we see Sayid working as a chef under the name Najif. A fellow Iraqi spnamed Sami compliments his cooking, asks him to come work for him. But when he goes there, Sami’s wife identifies him and they knock him out and lock him up. Sami accuses Sayid of having tortured his wife while he was part of the Republican Guard. Sayid insist he did not torture her. She tells a story about a cat she rescued from children who tortured it, which sometimes scratches or bites her, because it forgets and never feels safe, she forgives it, because she knows how that feels. Sayid confesses, saying her face has haunted her ever since, and he is so sorry for what he did. He weeps. She says she forgives him. When he asks why she is letting him go, she says that we are capable of doing what those children did to the cat, but she never wants to become that.

Locke enters 77 before they leave the station. The station explodes.

The flashback storyline offers a powerful message about forgiveness, about the breaking of cycles of violence and retribution, but also of forgiving those who harm us because we understand that, in many instances, far from being evil, their action towards us is the result of trauma experienced in the past and the inability to live as though in safety. Perhaps we are also meant to ask whether the Others react with distrust and hostility towards outsiders because of their own experience of people who came to the island.


Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Oriental Institute Demotic Ostraca Online (O.I.D.O.O.)

[First posted in AWOL 12 August 2010, updated 31 January 2015]

Oriental Institute Demotic Ostraca Online (O.I.D.O.O.)
OIM 19023

The Oriental Institute Museum houses a large collection of nearly 900 Demotic ostraca, pottery sherds upon which ancient scribes recorded a wide variety of text types. The vast majority of the corpus concerns economic matters and consists of receipts, contracts, memos, and lists, but there is a small selection of other genres such as votive and astrological texts. With few exceptions, the material derives from the environs of Thebes and over half of the collection derives from the Oriental Institute excavations at Medinet Habu. Attested dates in the documents range from the early Ptolemaic Period (circa 285 B.C.E.) to the early Roman Period (circa 80 C.E.). Less than one third of the corpus has been published:
The O.I.D.O.O database was developed as both a scholarly research tool and a means for the publication of the unpublished Oriental Institute Demotic ostraca. It is our aim to make available all of the Demotic ostraca in this collection, both published and unpublished, to scholars worldwide in a format that will allow for complex searching and sorting criteria as well as quick and easy updating. This will be accomplished through periodic updates as additional texts are edited and entered into the database.


Download the O.I.D.O.O Database Instructions in Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf)

O.I.D.O.O Database


    For an up to date list of all Oriental Institute publications available online see:

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Mall construction unearths American Indian mound

    CHILLICOTHE – Further excavation of a small American Indian mound continued at the Guernsey Crossing...

    Constantina Katsari (Love of History Blog)

    Greek pride and national sovereignty

    This is the first time in many years that I am proud to be Greek. Last week, my people voted for an anti-austerity party that promised to restructure the welfare state in Greece. Syriza seemingly belongs to the radical left wing. In fact it is conglomeration of left and centre political parties that have one common denominator: they despise the Troika and its economic measures that impoverished the people. Yesterday, the minister of finance, Varoufakis, made it clear that the new government will no longer continue on the same destructive path. The path that led its middle class homeless in the streets, and its children starving. There is a new hope for Greece but the predominant feeling is that of national pride. I have been following these expressions of pride in numerous social media, newspapers, blogs etc. Most Greek citizens treat Varoufakis as a modern hero! They ask for autographs, while I am sure he has his own groupies! It is the first time a minister of finance receives the unadulterated adoration of the public! The people are proud for his stance, as if they were the ones who stood in front of the camera and shouted F_CK THE TROIKA. Pride has always been the determinant feeling in the construction of a national identity. Patriotism inspired the soldiers, citizens and other forces that fought for the creation of new nations. It was assisted by flags and other symbols that represented freedom, equality or other similar ideals. For the Greeks, pride is directly connected with its past. Let us not forget the manufactured ideological connection of the modern Greek State with its ancient past. After the revolution of 1821, the Greeks, their ruling Bavarians and many other nations started spreading the myth of ancient Greece. The ancient Greek city states suddenly were treated as a united country that faced off the barbaric Persians, in a common fight for freedom, democracy and equality! The most powerful symbol that encompasses ‘what Greece is all about’ is none other than the Acropolis. It is situated on the Holy Rock (as it is referred to), in the centre of its most famous (not to say notorious) democratic ancient city-state, Athens. It represents also the modern Greek psyche. It is featured in tourist literature, exhibitions, postcards, souvenirs, logos and anywhere else you can think of. During the lethal economic crisis, the Acropolis resumed two conflicting symbolic roles. The roles of resistance and desperation. You probably heard of the story of Manolis Glezos, one of the two teenagers who removed the German Nazi flag from the acropolis during the Nazi occupation (Second World War). Back then, the symbolic gesture caused the hope and pride of the local population to rise. Today Manolis Glezos is revered more than ever. Despite his advanced age, he is one of the key members of the radical left (Syriza) and a member of the European parliament. The party that was voted to bring hope back to Greece. During the recession, in some cases, both hope and pride disappeared. The Acropolis became once more the ‘normal’ place for suicides and other acts of desperation. The Holy Rock became tainted! The ‘miasma’ spread to the rest of the country. The people went around with hunched backs, bowing in front of the inevitable loss of sovereignty. Until these elections! My people finally voted for hope. The hope for true democracy has returned. The hope for true national sovereignty is becoming stronger. The hope to create our own destiny is becoming vital for our very existence. The prime minister tied together all of the above through one symbolic move. A move that, for a change, did not involve the Acropolis directly. After he was sworn into government, he visited Kaisariani to leave a few flowers in remembrance of the victims of German Occupation (Second World War). The Nazi forces shot several Greeks in this area. Syriza is a supporter of a political movement that demands Germany to pay back all of the Second World Debt to Greece, including the money it ‘borrowed’. This debt was abolished after the War, in order to suppress further enmity between European nations. Paying homage to the victims of German nazism at Kaisariani and asking for war reparations is pivotal in the 21st century fight against neoliberalism. Germany has become an anti-national symbol that garners all of the Greek forces under one flag. Varoufakis suddenly became the person/ symbol who said NO to the destructive forces. National pride surged and the people are celebrating their newfound freedom, and hope. Everyone is aware that the road will be long, bumpy, and full of obstacles. I am sure, though, that pride will sustain those who are directly involved into the fight for national sovereignty. It is not the first time that the Greeks become the people who defend ideals such as independence, equality, social welfare. The sense of patriotism and pride helped in the past, as it will help now.

    Andrew West (Babelstone)

    Two Tangut Families Part 2 : Xiaoli Qianbu

    This is the second of two posts about the lives of Tangut officials who defected to the Mongols during the Mongol conquest of China (1206–1271), and the careers of their descendants during the succeeding Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), as recorded on two steles discovered in Hebei province fifty years apart. Last week I discussed a stele erected in 1350 to commemorate a Tangut official called Laosuo 老

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Fugitive Shipwreck Hunter Captured After 2 Years on the Lam

    Tommy Thompson — a famous shipwreck hunter who located a Gold Rush-era wreck, and then became...

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    MP Jenrick Quoted as Source in ISIL Funding

    A recent article in the Tribune is a very good example of how some newspapers go about creating a 'news' story ('Stolen artefacts funding ISIS military operations' The Express Tribune, January 30, 2015). According to the article, Mr Jenrick, a former Christie's director, "commended the positive attitude of markets for not accepting looted material". But then the sentence below quotes him as the source for the information that the objects ARE appearing on the market. The Art Newspaper text which I have discussed here (and David Gill here) seems largely to be compiled from second-hand sources and there are things here which I think most likely derive from dubious sources (which Jenrick asked on Twitter to reveal has been unable to do). But it is just scissors-and-pasted by the Express Tribune journalist and a stock photo added and 'presto' - an article. The net result is Jenrick is in this derivative text being cited as an authoritative source for all the information presented as  'fact' established by a British parliamentarian.

    PAS to staff: “Don’t mention the crooks”!

    The Heritage Journal has a thought-provoking text called 'PAS to staff: “Don’t mention the crooks”!' which refers to not mentioning problems with finders on the secret PAS forum which replaced their public one. As they point out, laundering of finds stolen from one land owner by find spot description "is probably the easiest, most profitable and hardest to prove fib in the whole country and even when PAS suspect it they’re forbidden to say".
    Dr Bland is snooty about amateurs who criticise his organisation but actually it is they who are entitled to be snooty about him. His database must contain large numbers of lies to a degree he can’t know and which he doesn’t acknowledge. Lucky for him that Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has just confessed to Parliament: “I have made no formal assessment of the effectiveness of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.” If he had done so he’d have put a couple of his permanent officials on it and trust me (I know some) they’re super-smart people and would look a lot further than PAS’s own self-adoring Annual Reports. I guarantee they’d work out the implications of the fact that the contributors to the database are mostly not High Court Judges and can make lots of money simply by saying Corby not Kirkby. Whitehall officials can see when Emperors have no clothes just as well as amateurs can and they can’t be dismissed as know-nowts for saying so.

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Choosing a wardrobe like an Ottoman

    From the earliest days of Islam, a distinction was made between what clothing a Muslim could wear...

    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    Handling Ancient Artifacts

    The handling of mummy masks by Josh McDowell, allegedly in the interest of getting his hands (literally) on a first-century copy of Mark and perhaps other New Testament texts, has been getting a lot of attention. Some – including me at one point – have missed exactly what he said as a result of not watching the video the entire way through. Thankfully, Beau Quilter has made a transcript of the relevant part of the video:

    “Now, what you do, you take this mask … oh … [giggle] Scholars die when they hear, but we own ‘em so you can do it. You take these manuscripts, we soak them in water. There is a process we use with huge microwaves to do it, but it’s not quite as good … we take … show it … we put it down into water … can you put it up here too? We put it down into water at a certain temperature, and you can only use Palm Olive soap, the rest will start to destroy the manuscripts … Palm Olive soap won’t. And you start massagin’ it for about 30, 40 minutes. You’ll pull it up, wring it out — literally wring it out! These are worth millions! And then you put it back in for about 30, 40 minutes. And then you pull it out, and this is what it’ll look like, just like a gob … next one … a gob … it looks like a cattle … uh … a cow’s head. But that’s all papyrus manuscripts, folks. Over 2000 years old.”

    “And you start pulling it apart. Say what?! Yep. They’re layered on top of each other. You start pulling ‘em apart … keep going .. see there? You put ‘em right …”

    “See most scholars have never touched a manuscript, you have to have gloves on and everything … [giggle] … We just wash ‘em and hold ‘em in our hands. We don’t even make you wash your hands before. See? This is a manuscript right there. See? A manuscript, by definition, is not an entire book; it’s a portion of the book. It could just be a little piece to … to … we have one now that’s 38 pages on Corinthians, probably greater discovery than the dead sea scrolls. And … uh … keep going here. This is all … now … see my hand up in the right hand, that’s a pair of tweezers … and you take those tweezers, and you start pulling the layers of manuscripts off.”

    “I was so scared the first time I did it. It was last January … I mean I was … er, no, it was … little bit before then … I was so scared bec- … what if you tear it? And they say, well, you tear it. Since we own it, it’s OK.”

    Here’s the video itself:

    Click here to view the embedded video.

    And here are Danny Zacharias and Craig Evans trying, I think, to be funny:

    Click here to view the embedded video.

    Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)


    Jan Assmann: Exodus. Die Revolution der Alten Welt. München, Beck

    Jean-Claude Margueron: Mari: Capital of Northern Mesopotamia in the Third Millennium. The archaeology of Tell Hariri on the Euphrates. Oxford

    Tasha Vorderstrasse - Tanya Treptow (eds.): A Cosmopolitan City: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Old Cairo. Oriental Institute Museum Publications 38. Chicago, The Oriental Institute (szabadon letölthető)

    C. Lebrun: Présence et pouvoir hittites à Ougarit. Les cas des DUMU.LUGAL. Louvain, Peeters

    Thomas E. Levy, Mohammad Najjar, Erez Ben-Yosef: New Insights into the Iron Age Archaeology of Edom, Southern Jordan. University of New Mexico Press

    Christopher B. Hays: Hidden Riches: A Sourcebook for the Comparative Study of the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East. Westminster

    Angelika Lohwasser (ed.): Skarabäen des 1. Jahrtausends. Ein Workshop in Münster am 27. Oktober 2012. OBO 269. Fribourg

    Marjo Korpel, Johannes de Moor: Adam, Eve, and the Devil. A New Beginning. Sheffield

    Jim Davila (

    Interview with the archangel

    ARCHANGEL METATRON WATCH: Curtis Armstrong nostalgic about past movie career (Calla Camero, Golden Gate Express).
    Along with three seasons of “King of the Nerds”, Armstrong continues to act in other television roles, like Principal Foster in “New Girl” and Metatron in “Supernatural.” Since his first film “Risky Business” in 1983, Armstrong has had acting roles every year.
    There's been a lot in the media about Armstrong's Metatron character in Supernatural. It would have been monotonous to follow the story consistently, but I do have posts mentioning it here, here, and here.

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    Quiet About Aureus

    Operation Aureus began in the second week of November 2014 and some of the results are now being announced in the international media. This was an international operation supported by Europol to prevent the theft and trafficking of European cultural property. So it is rather odd that on the blogs and websites associated with the dugup antiquities dealers, there is not even a peep to inform collectors that these raids took place, some people handling the sort of antiquities they buy have been arrested, let alone commenting on the involvement of state security forces instead of the police or other interesting features. For example on the blog of the IAPN and PNG paid lobbyist, coin dealers and metal detectorists (suddenly experts in conservation when it is brown-skinned folk presuming to do the work) are still making a meal of the Tutankhamun glue job. This has every appearance of being an attempt to deflect attention from what is happening on the European antiquities market and the scale of the problems revealed by these early raids. There are, it is reported, more to come. Who will be next? Mr Tompa, any "observations"?

    "RESCUE: Questions to the political parties": Where is Article 10?

    Rescue have written to MPs and politicians across the spectrum on behalf of their members to gauge where each party stands on issues key to the future of heritage protection in Britain ("RESCUE: Questions to the political parties"). Key issues highlighted include the protection of local heritage planning advisory services and Historic Environment Records, local and regional museums, the correct solution for Stonehenge and the future of English Heritage.

    What is from the point of view of the subject matter of this blog very interesting is the lack of any mention of the Portable Antiquities Scheme and artefact hunting and collecting per se (but see Tim Loughton's question 14 July 2014 and the answer, allocated funding goes only up to 2015-16 but "future funding arrangements will be considered as part of the next spending review"). What I do see as a potentially significant point is the question:
    Are you aware that Britain stands in breach of several significant articles of the Valetta Convention (specifically all or part of Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9)? If so, how do you propose to address the issue and to ensure that we comply with our international obligations under the Convention?
    Articles 2 and 3 directly affect (among other things) antiquity collecting and the issuing of permits. Go, RESCUE, go.

    I was saddened to see that they omitted mention of Valetta Article 10. Why is this omitted from the list of 'significant articles' of which Britain is in breach? Britain is one of the biggest global consumers of decontextualised archaeological artefacts for private collection (see this case involving Rescue just last week), and here we see that this is not something the parties are being asked about. Policies on illicit antiquities and the antiquities trade are apparently considered not 'significant'. Why is this issue continually being marginalised by British archaeologists? In many other countries in Europe and North America, the archaeological bodies take their responsibilities more seriously than in the UK. Why? Are they really all too worried about what the metal detectorists and dealer pals will say? Does this issue not concern Rescue in any way? Look at the six elements of Article 10:
    10 (i) not done yet -despite being mooted in the Nighthawking report,
    10 (ii) hardly ever done, and then, largely as a private initiative,
    10 (iii) not done. No such body.
    10 (iv) who knows?
    10 (v) see iii
    10 (vi) "to restrict, as far as possible, by education, information, vigilance and co-operation, the transfer of elements of the archaeological heritage obtained from uncontrolled finds or illicit excavations or unlawfully from official excavations"
    Britain-total-fail, just look at! The Portable Antiquities Scheme does none of these things, and if it does not, what body have we that should? 
     And I personally would say Article 10 is a very minimalistic approach to the issues.

    Bulgaria busts international antiquities trafficking ring

    As a further result of Operation Aureus, an international operation supported by Europol to prevent the theft and trafficking of European cultural property, the Bulgarian State Agency for National Security (SANS) announced two apparently related recent operations in Bulgaria part of ('Bulgaria busts international antiquities trafficking ring', The Sofia Globe January 30, 2015). These two operations by SANS took place in the period from November 26 2014 to January 26 2015.
    It said that the operations were against an international organised crime group involving Bulgarian and foreign citizens that sought out and acquired various archeological objects and other objects of cultural value that were sent abroad illegally. SANS said that search-and-seizure operations had been carried out in 11 cities in Bulgaria at 36 addresses. Investigators seized more than 2000 ancient and medieval objects and coins from various eras and various objects, all meant to be protected by the Cultural Heritage Act. These included rare Thracian weapons, Thracian horse-riding decorations, antique pottery, bronze and precious metal, ceramics and glass, various types of jewellery – bracelets and earrings, rings with precious and semi-precious stones, brooches, bronze appliques, bronze and pottery figurines of people and animals, ancient and medieval seals, sets of antique surgical instruments, pieces of marble, Roman votive sticks, antique metal containers with ornate decorations in gold and silver, Christian crosses and icons.[...] Also seized were numerous metal detectors, including specific geo-radar systems for the precise study of layers of earth, devices for cleaning artifacts, scales, auction house catalogues, specialist literature, invoices related to trade and trafficking in items of cultural value. The agency said that it had found and documented production facilities and facilities for the production of specialist equipment for the needs of the organised crime group. Numerous computers and electronic communication devices used by the group were seized, SANS said. SANS said that it had inspected one of the largest private museums, owned by a business person identified only by his initials in the agency’s media statement. 
     It is interesting to see the state security agency involved in this one, rather than the police.

    Operation Aureus: European crackdown on Illicit Antiquities Trade

    According to a Europol press release, 'European police arrest 35 and recover thousands of stolen cultural artefacts', 28 January 2015. I expect we'll be hearing more about this soon. Europe has a significant historical, artistic and culture heritage, which organised criminals groups are keen to exploit. Recently, thirty-five individuals have been arrested and 2289 cultural artefacts seized, in an international police operation supported by Europol to prevent the theft and trafficking of European cultural property.
    European law enforcement authorities in 14 countries* launched Operation Aureus, which culminated in a week-long coordinated action to prevent the further looting, theft and illicit trafficking of cultural artefacts. As part of the action week, law enforcement authorities carried out checks on 6244 individuals, 8222 vehicles, 27 vessels, as well as 2352 inspections at antique and art dealers, auction houses and second-hand outlets. Checks were also stepped up at airports, land borders and ports, while information campaigns warned travellers about purchasing such objects. Specialised law enforcement units also performed checks on websites and online outlets suspected of selling cultural artefacts. Speaking at a press conference earlier today, the Director-General of Guardia Civil and the General Director of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs confirmed that Spanish authorities had arrested five individuals, searched four properties and seized 36 Egyptian archaeological artefacts with a total value of between EUR 200 000 and 300 000. In addition mobile phones and various cash currency was confiscated, including EUR 10 000, during the action week which took place from 17-23 November 2014. The operation was named 'Hieratica' in Spain and was initiated by the Spanish Guardia Civil and the police of Chipre [Cyprus PMB]. Christian Jechoutek, Assistant Director at Europol, explained that Europol had supported Operation Aureus, which was part of the EU operational action plan against organised property crime, by conducting preparatory coordination meetings for the action, facilitating information exchange and providing intelligence to the participating countries. To support investigators on the spot, an experienced analyst, connected to Europol databases, was sent to the Guardia Civil command centre in Madrid. The operation initiated 38 new investigations, with more expected. The operation's development was also supported by Interpol, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the cultural authorities of the participating countries.
    * Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, United Kingdom.

    Thoughts on a UK Metal Detectorist's "History is for all of us"

    "There's a story to tell. I feel like
    I'm adding to a huge picture that is history".
    Kris Rogers

    On a metal detecting blog w-a-a-y down the Alexa ratings, an artefact hunter has a go at me, deliberately makes some false allegations, threatens he's sending his "legal team" after me for some imagined slight, and then a day later complains I do not come running to his invitation to have "a friendly chat, legal wrangling aside" on Skype with him. Lunatic. Anyway, I suspect he wanted to make the same points there as they always do, and a portion of which we have in an earlier post on his blog ('History is for all of us', Friday, 16 January 2015).  Let's have a look at it.

    He of course starts off by playing the victim. There is a "negative opinion of Metal detecting from certain elitist groups within other communities". He argues that artefact hunting deserves support "[due] to its contribution to the historical record" (PAS database, finds in museums, tekkie show-and-tell talks to groups). He goes on playing the victim:
    Now, we are hounded by the aforementioned elitist groups quite often, because they feel they have the monopoly on historical preservation. In most instances, this is purely down to the subject of education. [...]  The elitist among them are closed to discussion. Rude, and feel a sense of entitlement because they formally studied for many years so they could involve themselves in historical preservation. They feel the layman should have no right to do this, as their way is the only way. In some cases it is pure bitterness.
    Well, is it, and who is "hounding" whom? I suspect Mr Rogers, too busy feeling victimised, really has no inkling of what the issues are. The metal detectorist searching for sympathy argues that "elitists" (archaeologists and others) want to control what he calls "historical preservation" as though old houses, postboxes and churchyards were the problem. But then it is the preservationists, including this blogger, who also say they are concerned with historical preservation, but of the information in the sites from which the collectors' collectables re extracted. So do both sides want the same thing?

    We may surmise that Mr Rogers is here conceptualising "historical preservation" in an object-centred manner. He 'preserves' in his personal collection the nice collectable objects that are "lost" in the soil. He takes them out of the ground so he and perhaps sometimes others can touch, see, talk about them. But then the object of preserving ecosystems and rhinos is not to put them all in zoos, or stuff them to put in a museum case. And whether anybody actually "sees" Rhino 26456 ever in its lifetime is not the point of wildlife and environmental preservation.

    The medieval Murano Gradial, [pininterest] cut up by collectors and
    bits scattered. Many of the cuttings can be traced to the sale of
    William Young Ottley (Sotheby's, 11 May 1838)
    I would say Mr Rogers' object-centred approach is the equivalent in another field of collecting to the people who collect the pictures from old illustrated books or cut the illuminated initials out of manuscripts. They are scattered ('preserved from loss') decorating the walls of a number of people, giving a man-cave an 'erudite' or 'period' feel (and perhaps evoking the antiquarian spirit). Yet they originally formed an integral part of something else, they went with the text and cannot be understood fully without that text, and the text cannot be understood with the missing bits now on the back of a cut-out fragment (reconstructed in the figure above). That in these dumbdown days not everybody is interested in laboriously reading through the liturgy written in bookhand, but can immediately and effortlessly appreciated the 'art' of the nice colourful and decorative pictures is no excuse. I imagine those "preserving a little piece of the past" in the form of framed bits of book page on their wall did not think twice about the fact that there had once been a text accompanying them which has something to tell us about the times in which that collectable 'art' had been created. Or that by encouraging the dismemberment of that text by buying the products of cultural vandalism, they are contributing to the destruction of information, knowledge, about the past.
    Now, I think most people would recognize that taking scissors to an otherwise intact book to sell the cutout pictures individually is vandalism for profit. Trashing the book is the result of greed, pandering to the desire to accumulate. This is not "preservation".

    In the same way we may see an archaeological site as a 'text'. A trite metaphor, but in fact one appropriate in several senses. It is sheer vandalism to go around hoiking out individual collectable items from an archaeological pattern or assemblage in a way irreversibly decontextualising them and divorcing them from the information provided by other pieces of evidence not collected (Mr Rogers can hardly deny this is what happens even in his own case, see the piece of lead in one of his recent videos - an artefact which is archaeological evidence, but not felt collectable by Mr Rogers). Mr Rogers does not understand how or why this is important, but goodness knows it has been explained time and time again. We have a seventeen million pound PAS set up to do that job, are metal detectorists capable of learning the lessons it should be teaching them?

    None of the techniques required to make proper observations of what a (surface) site is composed of, where the material is within it and with what densities and associations are at all difficult to understand, apply and master. That's why we say "archaeology for all", archaeology, good field archaeology, CAN be done by amateurs. Of course it can. But the issue is that to "be" archaeology - and not just a treasure hunt, an archaeological methodology has to be applied to creating and then analysing the data. Amateurs can do it (Shakenoak showed they can even do and then publish good quality excavations, Little Oakley was another example).* The question is then, why we get situations like the Holt Hoard Hoik which I discussed earlier, the bloke concerned had a few weeks earlier been out with archaeologists, watched them in action, and then calmly went and trashed a site with a digger, a metal detector and two mates - and proudly filmed it.    

    Mr Rogers may object to me pointing out that a large number of metal detectorists one 'meets' online on the forums, contributing to discussion lists, sending comments to newspapers and even this blog are clearly not the sharpest knives in the drawer. They demonstrate it with everything they say and the way they say it and react to the reply. There are of course other metal detectorists with A-level GCEs, one I know is doing a doctorate at Bristol. They are not so much a problem as the ones ("challenged by formal education" as a PAS annual report put it not so long ago) who are quite simply capable of none of these things. These are the people whose effect on the archaeological record through ignorance and carelessness (and, yes, lack of responsibility) is tragic in its consequences.  PAS attempts to brush this problem off by insisting that since most metal detectorists are "history enthusiasts" (we even had "citizen archaeologists"), that they are "doing the same as archaeologists, they are the same as us". Well, no, most definitely they are not and in a number of areas. They are collectors and collecting does not actually have the same aims or approach to the evidence as archaeological research. There is no escaping that, which is why the PAS refuse to discuss it with us. 

    Mr Rogers apparently begrudges professional archaeologists all that 'training' they have to do their job. A group of people have spent some time training, getting experience in a series of techniques and the application of a methodology. It stands to reason they are going to be better at it than a group of C2s and Ds who not only have not, but have no intention of trying to learn. Mr Rogers seems to think (along with most detectorists it seems) that to watch "Time Team", or whatever, replaces all the training in diagnosis, technique, observation and analysis an archaeologist can have, that "digging up stuff ("historical preservation") is easy" ("You don't need a good exam grade to use a spade"). But there is more, much more, to archaeology than hoiking artefacts out of the ground and putting them on display somewhere.

    If my kid or dog is sick, I take it to a specialist to look at it and advise me. Somebody who has training and experience in diagnosis and treatment. I do not think taking her to the butcher's wife who's watched all the episodes of "Dr House", "Emergency" and "Nurse Jackie" is in any way helpful, and the butcher's wife would hopefully recognize a situation where it would be irresponsible to even try to apply any irreversible and potentially damaging karaoke  treatment to either. Again we come back to that definition of what it means to do artefact hunting "responsibly", responsible for what and to whom?

    As for the "history belongs to everyone", the Kris Rogers apparently wants to interpret that to mean, "if it belongs to everyone, it belongs to me, so I can help myself to it". What however it also means is that the historical record belongs to the other sixty-four million people in the country who are not Kris Rogers and that Kris Rogers (with his one-sixty-fourth-millionth ownership states) has a duty of care to what belongs equally to others too. Rather like the flower beds in a public park. A duty of care of the archaeological record is not to just trash it for the few collectable bits that take somebody's fancy. and which they can add to a growing personal collection which accumulates in worth as they do and deprives the rest of us of not only the appropriated object, but the associated knowledge that derived from its context in the ground and in relation to other information at the findspot. In the same way as it is not exercising a duty of care to pick the wild orchids, shoot the rhinos or cut illuminated initials out of a fifteenth century manuscript. If the collector wants to demolish part of the finite and fragile archaeological resource, let it be done in such a way that creates and preserves knowledge, and that means doing it by a learnt methodology that allows that. Otherwise artefact hunting becomes knowledge theft and knowledge destruction, even though the pretty decontextualised geegaws are kept in somebody's collection.

    * The PAS record suggests this site and its environs are now being looted for collectables by artefact hunters (I imagine using my report as a guide to where to target). What archaeological information are they generating compared to what the amateur archaeologist recovered and to what degree is the damage caused being mitigated?

    Insula: Le blog de la Bibliothèque des Sciences de l'Antiquité (Lille 3)

    Ovide et les métamorphoses de l’art moderne

    Compte rendu de l’ouvrage de Paul Barolsky, Ovid and the Metamorphoses of modern art from Botticelli to Picasso, édité par Yale university press, 2014.

    L’historien de l’art Paul Barolsky propose un ouvrage très illustré consacré au traitement des Métamorphoses d’Ovide dans l’art. Ce livre, réalisé pour des esprits curieux plutôt qu’à des spécialistes, est une invitation à (re)lire les Métamorphoses et à (re)visiter les musées pour s’enquérir d’autres tableaux inspirés du poème d’Ovide. Un livre agréable à feuilleter, offrant un corpus riche et varié, dont le propos stimulant est parfois difficile à suivre.

    Compte rendu par Océane Puche, qui prépare un doctorat en littérature latine et littérature comparée dont le sujet est : « Les épîtres héroïques de Marie-Jeanne L’Héritier : traduction et réception d’Ovide au XVIIe siècle » sous la direction de Jacqueline Fabre-Serris (Université Lille 3) et Ute Heidmann (Université de Lausanne).

    Un « beau livre » qui se veut accessible aux non spécialistes

    Ovid and the Metamorphoses of modern art from Botticelli to Picasso
    Paul Barolsky, professeur d’Histoire de l’art et de la Renaissance italienne à l’Université de Virginie, publie aux Presses Universitaires de Yale Ovid and the Metamorphoses of modern art from Botticelli to Picasso. La maison d’édition a assurément voulu donner aux lecteurs ce que l’on appelle un « beau livre » et ses attraits sont nombreux : il est édité en un format agréable qui permet de le manipuler aisément, le papier glacé fait honneur aux œuvres d’arts qui occupent une grande place. Sur plus de deux cent cinquante pages, on compte pas moins de cent-quinze œuvres, très bien référencées tant dans le corps du texte que dans l’index. La plupart des tableaux et sculptures, reproduits en couleurs sur demi-page et parfois même sur page entière, ravissent les yeux et se dévoilent dans les moindres détails. Ce choix éditorial permet en outre une lecture « participative » qui pousse le lecteur à se prendre au jeu et à chercher avec l’auteur les indices qui guident l’analyse. On peut regretter que l’oeuvre ne soit pas toujours face au texte qui lui correspond mais les indications précises et les renvois à la numérotation permettent de s’y retrouver aisément.

    Barolsky se propose de montrer que pour Ovide l’art est un type de transformation / métamorphose mais également que de nombreux artistes ont considéré leur art comme des métamorphoses du texte d’Ovide en image. Il pose alors à de nombreuses reprises la question de la capacité des images – et en réalité – des artistes à représenter des textes et celle des textes à faire voir une image. L’auteur écrit incontestablement en un historien de l’art, et non, malgré ses connaissances étendues des Métamorphoses d’Ovide, en littéraire spécialiste du poète.
    Le livre s’adresse d’ailleurs, de son propre aveu, non pas aux spécialistes et érudits mais plutôt aux historiens de l’art, aux étudiants en littérature, en études comparées des arts et surtout aux amoureux des Métamorphoses. Barolsky ne prétend pas faire œuvre de savant mais plutôt stimuler ses lecteurs et leur présenter des objets artistiques plaisants ou amusants qui témoignent de l’importance du poète dans l’art et de la façon dont les artistes ont cherché l’émulation avec ce dernier. L’ouvrage se veut démocratique donc dans le sens où il n’est pas réservé à une petite élite d’universitaires. L’auteur donne une telle vocation démocratique à son ouvrage qu’il adopte une forme qu’il faut qualifier de non « conventionnelle », c’est-à-dire qui ne respecte pas les conventions de tout travail universitaire, et donne dès la table des matières une impression d’approximation. Il parvient néanmoins à faire sentir toute sa passion pour le poète de Sulmone et surtout pour son « carmen perpetuum » qu’il connaît sans aucun doute sur le bout des doigts.

    Un cours sur Les Métamorphoses d’Ovide et l’art

    Il s’agit moins d’une démonstration claire et percutante d’une thèse que d’un cours sur Les Métamorphoses d’Ovide et l’art, tissé de digressions et d’excursus qu’il justifie assez légèrement par la construction même de l’œuvre. La table des matières présente sept parties : I. The adventure of reading Ovid ; II. The pleasure of Ovidian Art ; III. Love, Lust and artifice ; IV. Variations on the theme of Pygmalion ; V. From Stoicism to Seduction, VI. Weaving together erotic fictions, VII. Elegy and play.

    Il est difficile de dégager là une articulation logique et cela l’est d’autant plus pour les « sous-parties » (environ une trentaine par partie) qui se présentent plutôt comme une série de paragraphes – parfois autobiographiques – sans hiérarchie apparente (ou sous-entendue). Certaines remarques, plutôt secondaires voire hors de propos, prennent la place d’un paragraphe entier, au même titre que les brillantes analyses qu’il donne des tableaux. La construction du livre est en somme assez peu soignée et ne suit pas les règles canoniques d’un exposé, ce qui peut décontenancer certains : l’introduction se confond avec le premier chapitre et l’ouvrage s’achève sur un paragraphe d’à peine dix lignes, servi en guise de conclusion sous le titre « Envoi ». En outre, le lecteur est conduit à procéder à des va-et-vient à l’intérieur du livre pour obtenir l’analyse complète du mythe et de ses représentations. À titre d’exemple, prenons le deuxième chapitre, « The pleasure of ovidian art » qui suit la construction du premier livre des Métamorphoses. Barolsky y développe de longues analyses (pp. 35-45) sur la métamorphose de Daphné en laurier que l’on croit closes avant de découvrir à la fin du chapitre suivant au titre quelque peu racoleur, « Love, lust and artifice », huit pages qui traitent spécifiquement du même objet. Les chapitres nous sont donnés dans un ordre qui ne semble pas avoir de réelle justification si ce n’est le flux de pensées de Barolsky. Certains thèmes transversaux, par exemple la pratique du non-finito qui revient à de multiples reprises, auraient pu cependant constituer des parties distinctes, ce qui aurait produit peut-être un livre plus efficace et dynamique.

    Le choix de ne pas donner de notes de bas de page ni de bibliographie consistante (si ce n’est la sienne) participe de l’impression que laissent çà et là les propos de l’auteur : il ne cite aucune source, survole des thèmes centraux dans l’art – littéraire certes – d’Ovide et fait allusion à des écoles de pensées, concepts et genres littéraires qui ne trouvent jamais de définitions claires, ce qui entre tout de même en contradiction avec sa volonté de produire un livre pour un public de non-érudits. On regrettera notamment le manque d’approfondissement du thème du tissage qu’il aborde çà et là et qui fait l’objet d’une partie entière « Weaving together erotic fictions ». Barolsky ne pose jamais clairement la question de la métaphore du tissage et du texte dans toute la littérature ancienne et chez Ovide en particulier. Il semble parfois s’étonner de la dimension métapoétique (« art about art », p. 151) des Métamorphoses et notamment dans son analyse des tableaux représentant Arachné défiant Athéna.

    Le stoïcisme et l’élégie, bien qu’ils paraissent dans les titres des parties VI et VII ne sont ni définis ni expliqués : Barolsky omet des éléments fondamentaux et notamment dans Elegy and play qu’Ovide est un poète passé maître dans le genre. On éprouve d’ailleurs de réelles difficultés, dans ce dernier chapitre, à comprendre comment l’auteur passe d’une idée à une autre, à moins d’accepter de suivre cette pensée qui va « à sauts et à gambades ».

    Figures mythologiques


    Pygmalion (Daumier)Pygmalion (Daumier)

    Pour bien comprendre ce que veut démontrer Barolsky, il faut s’en tenir, semble-t-il, à ses merveilleuses et enthousiasmantes analyses de l’historien de l’art qu’il est. Il parvient avec brio à faire avec les œuvres d’art (et peut être faudrait-il ici trouver un nom ?) ce qui dans les études littéraires s’appelle de l’intertextualité, – c’est-à-dire la mise en évidence des textes produits les uns avec / par rapport / en réponse aux autres par des systèmes de reprises de motifs, de clins d’œil ou de citations. Il montre de façon captivante dans son quatrième chapitre (qui est le plus clair sur le plan de l’argumentation) comment à partir d’un mythe rapporté par Ovide dans les Métamorphoses, celui du plus célèbre sculpteur de tous les temps, Pygmalion, les artistes ont représenté mais également revisité le mythe par des jeux d’échos entre les tableaux ou de déplacements par rapport à l’objet même. Daumier propose en 1842 une lithographie parodique, « Pygmalion », qui selon les remarques de Barolsky, fait suite à la sculpture, très sérieuse quant à elle, d’Honoré Falconet, célèbre dès la deuxième moitié du XVIIIe siècle. À noter que Sophie Schvalberg a récemment proposé que Daumier réagissait ici à une œuvre picturale de Girodet présentée au Salon de 1819 et exposée aujourd’hui au Louvre1. Magritte, dans son Tenter l’impossible, métamorphose pour sa part le mythe en faisant de Pygmalion un peintre et non plus un sculpteur, dont le sujet n’est pas reproduit par un effet de mise en abyme sur un tableau mais sur la toile que l’on regarde et à l’échelle de l’artiste lui-même. Le sujet féminin identifiable à Galatée est alors représentée comme un humain « en cours de fabrication », prête à prendre la parole et à se mouvoir une fois que son bras sera achevé.

    Chloris et Flora, Daphné

    « Le Printemps » de Botticelli sous la loupe de Barolsky, bénéficie également et dans un autre genre, d’une fabuleuse analyse faisant appel à des connaissances en littérature ovidienne : il montre comment l’artiste prend dans les Fastes d’Ovide un mythe qui n’est pas traité comme une « transformation », celui de Chloris devenue Flora, et la façon dont il le traite sur le tableau comme une métamorphose en tant que telle. Botticelli a cherché à représenter la métamorphose de la jeune femme en faisant apparaître sur la toile deux personnages féminins, Chloris (avant) et Flora (après) auxquelles il confère un mouvement qui donne l’impression que l’une est le résultat de l’autre. Cette impression est soutenue par le procédé qui vient tout droit d’une autre métamorphose traitée en tant que telle chez Ovide, celle de Daphné poursuivie par Apollon : en jouant de façon très subtile avec les éléments floraux, l’artiste fait apparaître çà et là des détails sur la parure et le visage de la future déesse Flora (de même que Daphné se couvre peu à peu de feuilles de laurier), mimant alors la métamorphose dont le résultat est visible immédiatement à gauche. P. Barolsky met en lumière dans son analyse éblouissante le véritable tour de force de Botticelli qui a transformé un épisode des Fastes, par l’intermédiaire du mythe de Daphné, en une métamorphose. Cette interprétation du tableau fait une place reine à l’interdisciplinarité et met en avant ce que l’historien de l’art promeut au fil de ses pages, la nécessité d’un décloisonnement des savoirs.

    "Le Printemps" de Botticelli« Le Printemps » de Botticelli

    Les amours de Jupiter

    Junon et Argus (Rubens)Junon et Argus (Rubens)

    Dans ce même troisième chapitre, Barolsky fait une place importante aux amours de Jupiter et notamment à l’épisode de la nymphe Io. Transformée en vache pour échapper à Junon, elle est offerte à cette dernière pour dissiper tout soupçon d’adultère et confiée à Argus, le veilleur aux cent yeux. Barolsky se livre alors à une étude très riche du tableau de Rubens, « Junon et Argus », qui représente la déesse collectant les yeux de ce dernier qui vient d’être tué par Mercure. La tableau comporterait de l’avis de l’auteur une dimension réflexive qu’il explique à nouveau en confrontant littérature et peinture. Cette analyse repose en effet sur un va-et-vient entre le tableau de Rubens et le texte d’Ovide (Métamorphoses, II) : l’auteur remarque la présence d’un arc-en-ciel au-dessus des sujets, arc-en-ciel qui chez Ovide est considéré comme la représentation de multiples couleurs et qui devient peut-être chez l’artiste les possibilités qu’offre sa palette. À cela s’ajoute que le verbe employé par le poète de Sulmone pour décrire les yeux qui parent désormais les plumes du paon relève du champ lexical de la peinture, ce qui, mis en relation avec les yeux du gardien, suggère assurément l’art le plus optique qui soit à savoir la peinture. Barolsky achève son analyse par une réflexion autour de la robe rouge rubis de Junon. La déesse collectant les yeux d’Argus pour en décorer les plumes des paons doit être interprétée comme une auto-représentation de l’artiste, Rubens, dont le nom est si proche du terme qui désigne la couleur rouge en latin, rubeus. L’activité à laquelle la déesse se prête étant liée chez Ovide à la peinture, Barolsky en conclut de manière assez convaincante qu’il s’agit là non seulement d’une représentation de l’activité artistique mais encore d’une figuration de l’artiste « réel », Rubens lui-même, à l’intérieur même du tableau. Les analyses qui mêlent à fois littérature et histoire de l’art sont nombreuses et font incontestablement la force de l’ouvrage.

    Des œuvres d’art connues, d’autres moins

    Narcisse (Caravage)Narcisse (Caravage)

    Le livre de Barolsky s’adresse pour tout dire aux curieux. Au fil des pages, le lecteur a le plaisir de trouver des tableaux et autres œuvres d’art « attendus », accompagnés d’une analyse fine (Apollon et Daphné du Bernin, La chute d’Icare de Bruegel, Narcisse du Caravage etc.) mais il a également la surprise de découvrir des œuvres moins connues mais présentant un réel intérêt dans le parcours proposé. À ce titre, évoquons les lithographies parodiques de Daumier, le surprenant Mars de Velázquez, l’originale Daphné de la sculptrice Kiki Smith, l’effroyable Andromède de Rembrandt. Barolsky propose deux tableaux, Junon recevant de Mercure les yeux d’Argus, et Vertumne et Pomone de Hendrick Goltzius, auteur d’une série de cinquante et une gravures dont le sujet se trouve être les Métamorphoses elles-mêmes. Barolsky est assez sévère avec le graveur néerlandais et sans raison apparente il qualifie le premier tableau de pompeux et prétentieux et le deuxième trouve grâce à ses yeux qu’en ce qu’il traite son sujet à la manière de Rubens. Nous renvoyons, pour réhabiliter l’artiste quelque peu décrié ici à un billet, paru en février 2014 sur Insula, un peu plus enthousiaste au sujet de ce recueil.

    Ovid and the metamorphoses of Modern Art from Botticelli to Picasso est un beau livre, il faut le souligner encore, qui remplit l’objectif que l’auteur s’est fixé en tête de l’ouvrage : donner envie de (re)lire les Métamorphoses et d’aller au musée s’enquérir d’autres tableaux inspirés du poème d’Ovide. Malgré les problèmes évidents de construction et d’organisation interne qui heurtent parfois la lecture, c’est un livre agréable à feuilleter. C’est un ouvrage qui ne laisse pas indifférent et laisse un double sentiment d’enthousiasme et d’insatisfaction : Barolsky est virtuose dans les analyses qu’il propose et passionne avec les parcours qu’il dessine dans le monde artistique mais il est aussi défaillant sur des points essentiels (l’art littéraire d’Ovide, les concepts, genres littéraires et les courants de pensée qui ne relèvent pas de l’histoire de l’art). C’est par conséquent un ouvrage à offrir volontiers à un novice passionné de mythologie et/ou qui souhaite se lancer dans des études d’histoire de l’art. Il constitue également un très bon outil pédagogique pour élaborer un cours sur la mythologie. Il peut non seulement servir de point de départ pour des étudiants non-avertis mais encore donner de belles idées d’études comparées entre littérature et histoire de l’art pour d’autres, peut-être plus familiers avec le poète. Pour conclure, c’est un bel ouvrage, riche d’analyses mais à manipuler, dans un cadre universitaire, avec grande précaution.

    À propos de ce livre

    Paul Barolsky, Ovid and the metamorphoses of modern art from Botticelli to Picasso, Yale University Press, 2014, XVIII-250 pages, ISBN 978-0-300-19669-6

    Notes du texte

    1. Sophie Schvalberg, Le modèle grec de l’art français : 1815-1914, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2014, p. 94. Voir le compte rendu de cet ouvrage paru sur Insula : Christophe Hugot, « Le modèle grec de l’art français : 1815-1914 », Insula [En ligne], mis en ligne le 6 octobre 2014. URL : Consulté le 30 janvier 2015.

    Mapping Ötzi’s Tattoos

    A closer look at some of Iceman’s tattoos. (Credit: Marco Samadelli)

    A closer look at some of Iceman’s tattoos. (Credit: Marco Samadelli)

    All 62 of Ötzi’s tattoos have been mapped. They are mostly located over joint spaces and are thought to play a therapeutic role given he suffered from degenerative joint disease. We will never know if these were tattoos served as markers for therapy, like acupuncture, or they were treatment themselves. The full text publication can be found in the Journal of Cultural Heritage.

    Filed under: Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology Tagged: Ötzi, Cultural Anthropology, culture, iceman, medical anthropology, tattoo, tattoos

    Penghu 1 – A New East Asian Fossil Hominid

    The recovered jawbone of Penghu 1 reveals it belonged to a new species with large teeth.  Y. KAIFU

    The recovered jawbone of Penghu 1 reveals it belonged to a new species with large teeth. Y. KAIFU

    Penghu 1 is a mandible with an interesting discovery; Taiwanese fishermen dredged up the jawbone off the coast of Penghu Channel. The fishermen sold it to a local antique shop, where collector Kun-Yu Tsai purchased and donated it to his collection to the National Museum of Natural Science in Taiwan.

    Location of Penghu-1

    Location of Penghu-1

    Tentative dates on this specimen are about 200,000 years old and the mandible is unlike other hominids. The jaw is short and wide with large dentition, unlike sapiens, erectus, floresiensis and Neandertal. Of course this could be either a form of Homo erectus or Archaic Homo sapiens but it does raise a question — Does it mean there is a fourth hominid roaming around prehistoric Asia? Unfortunately given the context this fossil was found, I feel like power behind this finding is lost.

    The full text article is published in Nature.

    Filed under: Physical Anthropology Tagged: asia, fossil, hominid, paleoanthropology, penghu-1, Physical Anthropology, taiwan

    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)



    From Inherit the Mirth we get the untold story of the Exodus. HT Allan Bevere.

    Robert Consoli (Squinches)

    Mycenae - the Indefensible

    'Sergeants all over the world, what?'
    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    John Le Carre

    Mycenae the Indefensible

    The position of the citadel of Mycenae, along with its walls, has always had a good press. The following typifies what scholars have to say about Mycenae:

    “Even without fortifications the hill is highly defensible. To the north the land drops away precipitously, and while the south slope is gentler, it is by no means easy. To the southeast is the Chavos Ravine, a sheer drop of sixty meters, and beyond the ravine there are only the final cliffs and spurs of Mount Zara, allowing no room for hostile formations. Only from the southwest can the citadel be approached with ease, but this opening provided by nature has been effectively closed by Mycenae’s military engineers.”[1]

    It's curious, then, that every time Mycenae and Tiryns are challenged militarily they fold like a cheap suit. How is this to be explained?

    The reason is that, contra our scholars, neither site is really defensible. Tiryns is basically a sitting duck. It sits on a very small and low (~20 ft?) stone platform in the middle of a plain. To be sure the upper part of the citadel was surrounded by a cyclopean wall in the fourteenth century. At that time Tiryns was much closer to the shore of the Gulf of Argos and these walls were, perhaps, intended to protect it from pirates.[2] To think that its walls would protect it from a Bronze Age army is, basically, wishful thinking. In fact, the walls are simply irrelevant. Any army could get as close to the citadel walls as desired and, after that, it would only be a matter of time before the citadel was reduced. In illustration 1 I reproduce a photograph of the area around Tiryns to the east; here we are on the lower part of the citadel, just barely above the orange groves. I took this photograph in 2009 from a position at 37.599507° N, 22.800410° E. I urge my readers to look at this in Google Earth.

    Illus. 1. Looking east from the lower citadel of Tiryns. Just barely above the orange trees in the mid-ground.

    The military position of Mycenae is, if anything, worse than that of Tiryns. At least at Tiryns the enemy can’t get above the city; at Mycenae they can. If we draw a 300 yard line from the Mycenaean megaron to the east it touches Zara at about the 1000 foot level, well above the citadel. That means that if the hill of Zara falls into enemy hands (there’s no effective way to prevent it) that the entire eastern half of the citadel (at least) falls under enemy bow shot. Here’s an illustration that shows what I mean.

    Illus. 2. Yellow chords are 200 (188 m) yard lines. The polygonal line joining them is 200 yards from the megaron.  The red chords are 300 yard (274 m) lines. The polygonal line joining them is 300 yards from the megaron.

    In illustrations 2 and 3 I show views of Mycenae and Zara, the hill to the east. The red lines indicate a distance of 300 yards (274 m) from the megaron; I show both chords and an arc joining their ends. The yellow lines indicate a distance of 200 yards (188 m) from the megaron. Standing at the 300 yard limit you overlook all of Mycenae and it’s an easy bow shot into the entire eastern half of the city.[3] At the 200 yard limit archers are lower in elevation because at this range you’ve descended the slope of Zara to be just above the tops of the walls (not shown). This would still be a very effective range; an arrow travels in a parabola. You can get a good idea of the relative elevations from Illustration 3.

    Illus. 3. Looking north. At right is Zara, the dominant hill just left of center is Profitis Elias.

    Notice that the 200 yard line (yellow) and the 300 yard line (red) are well above the citadel.

    Illus 4. Looking south. Zara is at left. Mycenae at right. The plain of the Argolid in the distance.

    Illus. 5. Looking north-west towards the megaron (where the chords come together) from the 300 yard line (red horizontal line in foreground). Northern part of the Argolid at upper left and center. Base of Profitis Elias is at right.

    I do not know why Conant and Thomas think that it’s necessary to put ‘formations’ on the slopes of Zara. The job only requires denying access to Zara to the defenders and placing well armed bowmen on its slopes. I have stood myself in eastern Mycenae and looked up at Zara and there’s nothing difficult about placing troops on its slopes. Any army sergeant who's ever lived has the force of personality to make that happen. Nor should anyone have doubts about the ability of ground troops to take the western slopes of Mycenae. Mycenae is very approachable from the west. Here’s a shot from Google Earth that shows that western slope. Nice gently inclined olive groves.

    Illus. 6. Looking roughly east towards Zara. The west slope leading up to Mycenae is in the foreground.

    In Illus. 7 I put these ideas together. I projected the eastern half of Mycenae (green polygon), with the north-eastern extension of 1250 BC(?) some 200 yards onto the slopes of Zara (blue polygon). Any bowman within that blue polygon is less than 200 yards from some part of eastern Mycenae. The polygon can, of course, be rotated around the base of Zara between the yellow and red lines. On the left of Illus. 7 is a yellow line that was drawn 200 yards from the Lion Gate.

    Illus. 7. The eastern half of Mycenae (green polygon) projected 200 yards to the north east (blue polygon) directly onto the slopes of Zara. On the left the yellow line marks distances 200 yards from the Lion Gate.

    Once you’ve invested Mycenae from the east (Zara) and the west slopes the rest is just a matter of time. The soldiers of Argos had no trouble taking it in the fifth century. Depending on how the story is read the Argives surrounded Mycenae and starved the defenders out (Pausanias) or they took the city by force (Diodorus).[4]

    Why is it such an article of faith, then, that the walls of Mycenae were ‘formidable’ and that they were intended to ‘project power’ and ‘status’?

    (If anyone wants a .kml of these chords and polygonal lines I'll be happy to put them up on Google Drive. Let me know.)


    [1] Thomas and Conant (1999) 2-3.

    [2] An hypothesis on my part but not an unreasonable one. Dickinson (1994) 81 says of this period: "While raiding and piracy may have been practised in some parts of the Mycenaean world, just as they still were in parts of classical Greece (Thucydides I.5) .."

    [3] With a Bronze-Age composite bow.

    [4] After the Spartan earthquake of 465 BC. Diodorus 11.65. "Therefore the Argives, gathering a strong army from both Argos and the cities of their allies, marched against the Mycenaeans, and after defeating them in battle and shutting them within their walls, they laid siege to the city. The Mycenaeans for a time resisted the besiegers with vigour, but afterwards, since they were being worsted in the fighting and the Lacedaemonians could bring them no aid because of their own wars and the disaster that had overtaken them in the earthquakes, and since there were no other allies, they were taken by storm (κατὰ κράτος ἥλωσαν) through lack of support from outside. The Argives sold the Mycenaeans into slavery, dedicated a tenth part of them to the god, and razed Mycenae."   From Oldfather (1946) 294-95.  Pausanias describes this a bit differently: "Though the Argives could not take the walls of Mycenae by storm (κατὰ τὸ ἰσχυρὸν), built as it was like the wall of Tiryns by the Cyclopes, as they are called, yet the Mycenaeans were forced to leave their city through lack of provisions." “Μυκηναίοις γὰρ τὸ μὲν τεῖχος ἁλῶναι κατὰ τὸ ἰσχυρὸν οὐκ ἐδύνατο ὑπὸ Ἀργείων, ἐτετείχιστο γὰρ κατὰ ταὐτὰ τῷ ἐν Τίρυνθι ὑπὸ τῶν Κυκλώπων καλουμένων, κατὰ ἀνάγκην δὲ ἐκλείπουσι Μυκηναῖοι τὴν πόλιν ἐπιλειπόντων σφᾶς τῶν σιτίων…”  Jones (1933) 322-3. Achaia xxv, 6. Levi (1971) 297 and fn. 139.


    Dickinson (1994): Dickinson, Oliver. The Aegean Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press. 1994.

    Jones (1933): Jones, W.H.S., trans. Pausanias. Description of Greece, Volume III: Books 6-8.21 (Elis 2, Achaia, Arcadia). Loeb Classical Library 272. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1933.

    Levi (1971): Levi, Peter, trans., Pausanias: Guide to Greece 1: Central Greece. Penguin Books. London, England. 1971.

    Oldfather (1946): Oldfather, C.H., Diodorus Siculus. Library of History, Volume IV: Books 9-12.40. Translated by C. H. Oldfather. Loeb Classical Library 375. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1946.

    Thomas and Conant (1999). Thomas, Carol G., Craig Conant. Citadel to City-State: The Transformation of Greece, 1200-700 B.C.E. Indiana University Press. Bloomington and Indianapolis, Illinois. USA. 1999.

    Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

    Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: January 30

    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 free PDF copies of my books, you can find links to all of them here: #PDF Tribute to Aaron Swartz

    HODIE (Roman Calendar): ante diem tertium Kalendas Februarias.

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


    3-WORD MOTTOES: Today's 3-word motto is Supra spem spero (English: I hope beyond hope).

    3-WORD PROVERBS: Today's 3-word proverb is Omnia fato fiunt (English: All things happen by fate).

    RHYMING PROVERBS: Today's proverb with rhyme is: Dulcior est fructus post multa pericula ductus (English: The fruit is sweeter when it has been obtained by many perils).

    VULGATE VERSES: Today's verse is Tu quis es, qui iudicas proximum? (James 4:12). 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: Figulus figulo invidet, faber fabro: The potter envieth the potter, the smith the smith. The Englishe man pronounceth this Proverbe in this sort: One begger biddeth wo that an other by the dore should go. Assurely where men exercise one science, there commonlie the likenes of the science both rather gender hartbrenninge then it doth love or benevolence.

    BREVISSIMA: The distich poster for today is Res In Se Recurrentes. Click here for a full-sized view.

    And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:

    Qui legit, intellegat.
    Let him who reads understand.

    Qui amat periculum, in illo peribit.
    He who loves danger will perish in it.


    MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Herinacei et Viperae, which explains why hedgehogs make bad houseguests.

    FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Testudo et Iuppiter, the story of how the turtle got her shell (this fable has a vocabulary list).

    Iuppiter et Testudo

    Latin Fables Read by Justin Slocum Bailey. Here is today's audio fable: Vulpes et Vota Eius, with links to the audio and to the blog post.

    Vulpes et Vota Eius

    Mary Harrsch (Passionate About History)

    Sheer ruthlessness: a hallmark of American capitalism and "The Men Who Built America" (DVD Review)

    A history resource article by Mary Harrsch © 2014

    I watched an absolutely fascinating series on the History Channel (now available on DVD) entitled "The Men Who Built America".  It traces the careers of some of the most powerful men in American history including Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J. P. Morgan and Henry Ford.  It is one of the first series I have ever seen that does not white wash the rise to power of these so-called 20th century "titans" of industry.

    Probably the thing I found most disturbing in the series was the apparent viewpoint of these men that they were somehow above the subhuman worker populations they employed. They were willing to acquire wealth through any means possible and their net worth, regardless of how it was acquired, represented to them their superior worth as a human being.

    Each of these men had personal ambition that knew no bounds and a ruthlessness that drove them to exploit every opportunity in an industrial landscape that had little regulation to prevent insider trading, overt market manipulation and outright intimidation.

    Andrew Carnegie was treated a little more gently than the others mainly because he handed off the day to day operations of Carnegie Steel to a totally ruthless chairman named Henry Frick so Carnegie could ostensibly sail off to Scotland to enjoy the fruits of his labors.
    Andrew Carnegie portrait at the National
    Portrait Gallery.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

    Today, we associate Andrew Carnegie with education and the arts because of his philanthropic contributions to Carnegie Hall, Carnegie-Mellon University and thousands of libraries around the world.  But, in truth, Carnegie was the ultimate decision maker in the operation of his steel empire during a tumultuous period of violence and even death. He was certainly aware of the decisions implemented by his chairman and did nothing to intervene in plant operations until nine workers at his flagship Homestead Steel Works were gunned down by the Pinkertons under Frick's orders in 1892.

    The steel workers had been ground down by increasingly longer hours - 12 hours a day six days a week by the time of the massacre - under absolutely hellish conditions, while wages were whittled away by Frick to increase profits.

    When I researched the life of Andrew Carnegie further to write this review I read that Carnegie claimed he was a disciple of Herbert Spencer whose economic theory of evolution is best characterized as economic survival of the fittest.  Spencer declared that any provisions made to assist the weak, unskilled, poor and distressed to be an imprudent disservice to evolution and that "severe fate" was the natural process to single out the weak, debauched and disabled.

    I noticed, however, that even Spencer was appalled when he visited one of Carnegie's steel works and remarked, "Six months' residence here would justify suicide."

    The program pointed out that 1 in 11 steel workers at the time were suffering horrendous injuries or death.  Yet labor unions had only been formed to bargain for wages and working conditions for just the skilled workers, less than 1/4 of the workforce.  Even so, Frick complained about the labor union that represented the skilled workers at the Homestead Steel Works in a letter to Carnegie stating "The mills have never been able to turn out the product they should, owing to being held back by the Amalgamated men."  Although Carnegie had publicly claimed to be in favor of labor unions, privately he agreed with Frick and gave his approval to Frick's efforts to break the union at Homestead.

    Carnegie's carefully cultivated public personae as a responsible industrialist and generous philanthropist was often used as a smoke screen to obscure his less noble activities.  For example, Carnegie publicly advocated less government while aggressively lobbying for protective trade tariffs that resulted in millions of dollars a year in extra revenue for his companies.

    In this documentary, the producers pointed out that the development of Carnegie's benevolent personae was a direct result of the public relations nightmare generated by the Johnstown flood that killed 2,209 people in 1889.

    Henry Frick, sometimes called the worst
    CEO in American history.  Image courtesy
    of Wikipedia.
    Carnegie's chairman, Henry Frick, and a group of speculators, developed  an exclusive club for leading business tycoons of Western Pennsylvania, most connected through business dealings to Carnegie Steel.  The club was located  along the shore of Lake Conemaugh behind the South Fork Dam above the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

    The area had been prone to flooding since its founding by Joseph Johns at the confluence of the Stoney Creek and Little Conemaugh rivers in 1800.  The steep hills of the narrow Conemaugh Valley and the Allegheny Mountains range to the east produced large amounts of runoff from annual rain and snowfall.  This vulnerability was further compounded as the community grew and became the site of Cambria Iron Works who dumped slag from its iron furnaces along the river to create more land for building, but further narrowed the riverbed.

    To make matters worse, Frick and his development speculators then lowered the dam,  so the top of the dam could be used as a roadway for Frick and his fellow wealthy clubmembers' carriages. They also built a fish screen in the spillway, the only remaining water control mechanism. A previous owner had already removed and sold for scrap the three cast iron discharge pipes that had been originally used to control the release of water.

    A Johnstown house skewered by a tree.
    Amazingly, all six people in the house
    survived .  Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
    Then the worst downpour ever recorded in the area, 6 - 10 inches of rain in just 24 hours, struck.  Following a night of unrelenting rain, at 3:10 p.m. on May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam collapsed sending a 60 foot wall of water and debris down upon the residents of Johnstown.  The death toll was the largest loss of civilian life in American history until the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.  Wikipedia states the 1900 Galveston hurricane claimed more lives but the program producers must not have agreed.

    As is usually the case when the uber rich are involved, the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club was never held legally responsible for the disaster.  The court ruled the disaster an "act of God" and denied the survivors any legal compensation.  But the club members, including Carnegie, were vilified in the national press.  (The court ruling was considered so irresponsible a number of states adopted Rylands v. Fletcher, a British common-law precedent establishing the liability of a landowner with a reservoir for flood damage if the reservoir is not properly maintained.)

    Anyway, since then, Carnegie had worked very hard to restore his reputation.

    So back to the Homestead Strike of 1892 - just before the confrontation, the union had requested a wage increase in their collective bargaining agreement that was due to expire on June 30, 1892.  Frick countered with a 22% wage decrease and proposed the elimination of a number of positions and that the steel works would become non-union after the expiration of the current contract.  Pointing out that the union only represented the skilled workers at the plant, Carnegie exclaimed the union was "an elitist discriminatory organization that was not worthy of the Republic!"

    Frick eventually relented a little and offered a slightly better wage agreement. But the union refused the offer so Frick shuttered the mill the night before the contract expired and built a barricade around the mill to keep workers from returning.  The workers took possession of the mill anyway, determined to prevent operation by strikebreakers imported by Frick.  So Frick called in the Pinkertons to route the workers from the mill using any means necessary.

    I had no idea that the Pinkertons at this point in history actually had more firepower than the entire United States military.  When the program explained this and I reacted with incredulity my husband pointed out "Where do you think we got companies like Blackwater?!!"

    The Homestead riot / drawn by W.P. Snyder after a
    photograph by Dabbs, Pittsburg. Image courtesy of

    When I further researched this statement, I found it to be absolutely true.  Apparently the Pinkertons by the 1890s had more agents than there were soldiers in the U.S. Army and were often hired by late 19th and early 20th century businessmen to infiltrate unions, block strikers, keep unionists out of factories and even recruit "goon" squads to intimidate workers.  It sounds more like the mob than a reputable security agency!

    Anyway, 300 Pinkerton agents armed with Winchester rifles fired on the striking workers at Carnegie's Homestead Steel Works, killing  nine of the men and wounding 23 others.  Seven Pinkerton agents were also killed.

    As the program recounted these turbulent events I was totally riveted.  The production was punctuated by short reenactments by professional actors playing the different industrialists in crucial scenes of their careers.  These cut scenes were just enough to draw you into their world and make the program seem more of a drama rather than a documentary.

    I would highly recommend this series as a way to understand not only the history of the individuals portrayed but the evolution of industry in the United States and how it impacts our lives today.  I would especially encourage any American history teachers out there to incorporate this series into their curiculum to provide their students with an unvarnished look at the foundations of American capitalism.

    January 30, 2015

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Open Access Journal: AROURA Reports

    [First posted in AWOL 30 September 2013, updated 30 January 2015]

    AROURA Reports
    Archaeological Reconnaissance of Uninvestigated Remains of Agriculture (AROURA) is an archaeological geophysics and surface survey of the plain around the 13th century BCE fortress of Glas, Boiotia, central mainland Greece, beginning in October 2010 and lasting until November 2012. It aims to detail the Mycenaean hydraulic, drainage, and land-improvement works around the fortress, and to search for traces of the expected extensive agricultural system they served. AROURA is an official collaboration between the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and the 9th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities (IX EPCA) of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, based in Thebes, Dr. M.F. Lane (UMBC) and Dr. A. Charami (IX EPCA) co-directors. 
    AROURA 2012 Report Figures
    Note: The caption for Figure 13 has been revised (Dec. 2012) to indicate both LH IIIA2 and LH IIIC wares represented.
    AROURA 2010 Preliminary Report Note: Upon further analysis, the band of silty soil mentioned on p. 21 is now thought to represent an area of land more often above water than the surrounding territory, after the reflooding of the Mycenaean polder (August 2011).

    News from the Ancient Near East Monograph Series / Monografias sobre el Antiguo Cercano Oriente

    From Alan Lenzi
    The editorial leadership of the Ancient Near East Monograph Series / Monografias sobre el Antiguo Cercano Oriente, an open-access, online (with print on demand) monograph series, is transitioning.

    Ehud ben Zvi (University of Alberta) and Roxana Flammini (Universidad Católica Argentina) are handing over editorial oversight to Alan Lenzi (University of the Pacific) and Juan Manuel Tebes (Universidad Católica Argentina, Universidad de Buenos Aires).

    The focus of the ANEM/MACO series is on the ancient Near East broadly construed from the early Neolithic to the Hellenistic eras. Studies that are heavily philological or archaeological are both suited to this series and can take full advantage of the hypertext capabilities of "born digital" publication. Monographs as well as multiple author and edited volumes are accepted. Proposals and manuscripts may be submitted in either English or Spanish. Manuscript proposals are peer reviewed by at least two scholars in the relevant area before acceptance. Publication of the finished manuscript is contingent on a second round of peer review.

    Monographs that are entirely Assyriological, Hittitological, or Egyptological are as appropriate to this series as are monographs in North West Semitics or Biblical Studies.

    Given the open-access availability of published monographs (in PDF), publishing your work in this series guarantees its availability to scholars around the world, even to those with minimal economic resources.

    Requirements for a proposal are available here.

    For published volumes in the series and the full editorial board, see here.

    I look forward to hearing from interested scholars.

    See AWOL's Alphabetical List of Open Access Monograph Series in Ancient Studies

    Compitum - publications

    K. Lapatin, The Berthouville Silver Treasure and Roman Luxury


    K. Lapatin (éd.), The Berthouville Silver Treasure and Roman Luxury, Los Angeles, 2014.

    Éditeur : J. Paul Getty Museum
    224 pages
    ISBN : 978-1-60606-420-7

    In 1830 a farmer plowing a field near the village of Berthouville in Normandy, France, discovered a trove of ancient Roman silver objects weighing some 55 pounds (25 kilograms). The Berthouville treasure, as the find came to be known, includes two statuettes representing the Gallo-Roman god Mercury and approximately sixty vessels—bowls, cups, pitchers, and plates, many of which bear votive inscriptions—along with dozens of smaller components and fragments. Dedicated to Mercury by various individuals, the treasure, including some of the finest ancient Roman silver to survive, fortunately escaped being melted down. It was acquired by the Cabinet des médailles et antiques of the Bibliothèque Royale (now the Département des Monnaies, médailles et antiques of the Bibliothèque nationale de France), where it was displayed until late 2010, when it was brought in its entirety to the Getty Villa together with four large, late antique silver plates, each with its own colorful history, for comprehensive conservation treatment.

    This sumptuously illustrated volume is published to accompany an exhibition of the same name, opening at the Getty Villa on November 18, 2014. It presents the highlights of the treasure and other Roman luxury arts from the holdings of the Cabinet des médailles—including precious gems, jewelry, gold coins, and colored marbles—and contextualizes them in a series of elucidating essays.


    Source : Getty Museum

    A. M. Kemezis, Greek Narratives of the Roman Empire under the Severans. ...


    A. M. Kemezis, Greek Narratives of the Roman Empire under the Severans. Cassius Dio, Philostratus and Herodian, Cambridge, 2014.

    Éditeur : Cambridge University Press
    Collection : Greek Culture in the Roman World
    351 pages
    ISBN : 9781107062726

    The political instability of the Severan Period (AD 193–235) destroyed the High Imperial consensus about the Roman past and caused both rulers and subjects constantly to re-imagine and re-narrate both recent events and the larger shape of Greco-Roman history and cultural identity. This book examines the narratives put out by the new dynasty, and how the literary elite responded with divergent visions of their own. It focuses on four long Greek narrative texts from the period (by Cassius Dio, Philostratus and Herodian), each of which constructs its own version of the empire, each defined by different Greek and Roman elements and each differently affected by dynastic change, especially that from Antonine to Severan. Innovative theories of narrative are used to produce new readings of these works that bring political, literary and cultural perspectives together in a unified presentation of the Severan era as a distinctive historical moment.

    Source : CUP

    Ancient Art

    Minoan Goddess or Priestess, made of ivory and gold, dating to...

    Minoan Goddess or Priestess, made of ivory and gold, dating to the 16th century BC.

    Despite the delicate nature of the precious gold and ivory materials, the stance of this small figurine conveys power and strength. It closely resembles ceramic statuettes identified as goddesses or priestesses found in the sanctuary space known as the “Pillar Shrine” within the Minoan palace of Cnossus, Crete. The snakes adorning the figure are symbolic of fertility and regenerative powers. (Walters)

    Artefact courtesy of & and can be viewed at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, USA. Via their online collections71.1090.

    Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

    Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival LXVIII

    Some cool new finds, and some interesting new published research this month.  Let's hit it!

    New Finds

    Tomb of a woman from the 3rd c AD.
    Photo by Adriana Romanska.
    • 12 January - Roman link to local cemetery (Luton Today). Seven Roman cremations were found during a dig at a modern cemetery in England (30mi north of London). No more has been reported, though.
    • 28 January - Huge burial site from before 2 thousand years will be analyzed by specialists (Science & Scholarship in Poland). Over 120 burials from the 1st-4th century AD were found in Poland. Burial rituals appear to vary considerably, and there were plenty well-appointed burials. Bioarchaeologists plan to do Sr/C/N isotopes and aDNA analysis.  It would be great to have these data for this part of the Roman Empire!

    Amphipolis Updates

    • Becker, M.J. 2014. Dentistry in ancient Rome: direct evidence for extractions based on the teeth from excavations at the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Roman Forum. International Journal of Anthropology 29(4):209-226. tl;dr - Carious, extracted teeth found in a drain during the excavation of the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Forum suggest use of the space by a Roman dentist.
    • Manzon, V.S. and E. Gualdi-Russo. Early view. Health patterns of the Etruscan population (6th-3rd centuries BC) in Northern Italy: the case of Spina. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. tl;dr - "The analysis of porotic hyperostosis and osteoperiostitis allowed [us] to determine the general health status of this group, and the analysis of osteoarthritis to hypothesize a gender[ed] division of labor. The results suggest a relatively high left expectancy for the time as well as good health and quality of life."

    Archaeology Magazine

    Libyan Heritage at Risk

    ROME, ITALY—Savino di Lernia, director of The Archaeological Mission in the Sahara, Sapienza University, has described the state of archaeology in Libya today in an article in the journal Nature. Violence, vandalism, and trafficking in antiquities have damaged and destroyed archaeological sites and prehistoric rock art since the revolution of 2011. He argues that the study of Libyan heritage should focus on materials in museums and collections; that collections should be digitized and made widely available; and that the next generation of Libyan scientists should be trained in international labs. “Among the hopes sparked by the revolution was the idea of a more modern view of the archaeological and cultural heritage—as a gateway to a shared national identity, a major revenue source and a focus for forging relationships with the rest of the world. Those hopes have been dashed,” di Lernia stated. 

    Historic Skull Fractures Marked Increased Risk of Early Death

    UNIVERSITY PARK, PENNSYLVANIA—An international team of researchers examined 236 skulls of men whose skeletons had been exhumed from medieval cemeteries in Denmark during construction projects. They found that 21 of the men had healed skull fractures that they probably received through violence or work-related accidents. “The vast majority only had one blow,” to the head, George Milner of Pennsylvania State University told Live Science. Two of the skulls had two injuries apiece. The study showed that the men with healed skull fractures were 6.2 times more likely to die an early death than the men without skull fractures. “Their treatment then would have been pretty much go home, lie down and hope for the best,” Milner said. Were the fractures accompanied by traumatic brain injuries that led to early death, or did the men have lifestyle traits that reduced their longevity? “What we want to do is to be able to obtain figures or statistics that are comparable to those of today to give us a long-term perspective of pathological conditions of various sorts,” Milner explained. To read about medical care in early modern Europe, see "Haunt of the Resurrection Men."

    Andrew West (Babelstone)

    Two Tangut Families Part 1 : Laosuo

    One of the most enduring narratives of Tangut history is that after the death of Genghis Khan in 1227 the Western Xia state was annihilated and its people slaughtered in a fury of genocidal revenge for the Western Xia's perceived betrayal of Genghis Khan. Although this may ultimately have led to the extinction of the Tangut people and their language, the Tangut people were not suddenly wiped off

    Archaeology Magazine

    Drought Contributed to Decline of Mesoamerican City


    LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA—An analysis of pollen, stable isotopes, and elemental concentrations in lake sediments by Lawrence Livermore researcher Susan Zimmerman and her colleagues suggests that the drastic decline in population at the site of Cantona, a large, fortified city located in highland Mexico, was due at least in part to climate change. The cores taken from Aljojuca, a nearby crater lake, dated back at least 6,200 years, but the team focused on the last 3,800 years for the study. They found that the region experienced a long-term drying trend between A.D. 500 and 1150, about the time that the site was finally abandoned. “We found that Cantona’s population grew in the initial phases of the drought, but by A.D. 1050 long-term environmental stress (the drought) contributed to the city’s abandonment. Our research highlights the interplay of environmental and political factors in past human responses to climate change,” Zimmerman said. To read about archaeological sites that are being put at risk because of modern climate change, see "Sites in Peril."

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Encyclopaedia Judaica Online

    Encyclopaedia Judaica
    ISBN: 978-0-02-865928-2
    eISBN: 978-0-02-866097-4
    Provides an exhaustive and organized overview of Jewish life and knowledge from the Second Temple period to the contemporary State of Israel, from Rabbinic to modern Yiddish literature, from Kabbalah to "Americana" and from Zionism to the contribution of Jews to world cultures, Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd edition is important to scholars, general readers and students.
    Encyclopedia Judaica is made available to the community through the generosity of the Bureau of Jewish Education and its donors.

    Open Access Journal: Horizon: The Amarna Project and Amarna Trust Newsletter

     [First posted in AWL 1 March 2010. Updated 30 January 2015]

    Horizon: The Amarna Project and Amarna Trust Newsletter
    The ancient Egyptian city of Tell el-Amarna (or simply Amarna) was the short-lived capital built by the ‘heretic’ Pharaoh Akhenaten and abandoned shortly after his death (c. 1332 BCE). It was here that he pursued his vision of a society dedicated to the cult of one god, the power of the sun (the Aten). As well as this historic interest Amarna remains the largest readily accessible living-site from ancient Egypt. It is thus simultaneously the key to a chapter in the history of religious experience and to a fuller understanding of what it was like to be an ancient Egyptian. There is no other site like it.

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 15, Autumn 2014 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 14, Spring 2014 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 13, Summer 2013 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 12, Spring 2013 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 11, Summer 2012 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 10, Winter 2012 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 9, Summer 2011 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 8, Winter 2010 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 7, Spring 2010 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 6, Autumn 2009 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 5, March 2009 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 4, September 2008 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 3, April 2008 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 2, July 2007 PDF

    Download Horizon newsletter Issue 1, October 2006 PDF

    Guide Books

    Guide Book: Central City

    Guide book: North Tombs

    Guide book: South Tombs

    Guide book: Royal Tomb

    Ancient Peoples

    Terracotta Askos in the Form of a DuckGreek, Attic4th century...

    Terracotta Askos in the Form of a Duck

    Greek, Attic

    4th century B.C.

    Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Open Access Archaeology

    Open Access Archaeology Digest #679

    Todays list of Open Access (free to read) Archaeology articles:

    An Iron Age Torc from Spettisbury Rings, Dorset

    Excavation and environmental archaeology of a small cairn associated with cultivation ridges in Aberdeenshire

    Site investigations at Beddlngton Lane, Sutton, Surrey

    Medieval Aisled Halls and their Derivatives

    The Production of Silver in South America

    Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

    Compitum - événements (tous types)

    L'éditeur de textes est-il un auteur ?

    Titre: L'éditeur de textes est-il un auteur ?
    Lieu: IRHT, centre Félix Grat / Paris
    Catégorie: Colloques, journées d'études
    Date: 02.02.2015 - 03.02.2015

    Information signalée par Marie-Karine Lhommé


    L'éditeur de textes est-il un auteur ?

    Questions juridiques et scientifiques à propos de l'édition critique


    Dans le prolongement d'un événement récent, et abordant de front un sujet qui est au cœur de nos activités, l'IRHT organise les 2-3 février 2015 à Paris 16e, 40 avenue d'Iéna, un colloque intitulé:
    "L'éditeur de textes est-il un auteur ? Questions juridiques et scientifiques à propos de l'édition critique"


    Lundi 2 février
    09h30 Présentation du colloque
    Matinée : analyses inscrites dans les champs disciplinaires de l'édition savante
    09h45 Pierre Chiron (université Paris-Est Créteil), « L'édition des textes littéraires et rhétoriques de l'Antiquité, tradition directe, tradition indirecte et tradition “fluide” »
    10h15 Jean-Luc Fournet (École pratique des hautes études), « L'édition papyrologique »
    10h45 Michèle Brunet (université Lyon 2, UMR 5189 HiSoMA), « L'édition scientifique de textes épigraphiques : traditions et changements induits par le numérique »
    11h15 Pause
    11h30 Dominique Poirel (Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes), « Fidélité, méthode et invention dans l'édition des textes littéraires du Moyen Âge »
    12h00 Laurent Morelle (École pratique des hautes études), « Éditer, c'est choisir : observations sur les pratiques éditoriales des diplomatistes »
    12h30 Repas
    Après-midi : analyses juridiques de la propriété intellectuelle
    14h00 Sébastien Raimond (université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense, EA 3457 Centre de droit civil des affaires et du contentieux économique), « Enjeux et difficultés de la qualification de l'édition de texte en œuvre protégeable par le droit d'auteur »
    14h30 Pauline Lebbe (Brepols), « Publication d'éditions critiques. Droit belge et international »
    15h00 Pause
    15h15 Lionel Maurel (juriste et bibliothécaire, auteur du blog S.I.Lex et co-fondateur du collectif SavoirsCom1), « Édition critique, domaine public et copyfraud »
    15h45 Marie-Luce Demonet (avec la collaboration de Denise Pierrot) : « Le Consortium Cahier : réflexions sur la propriété intellectuelle »

    Mardi 3 février
    9h30 Table ronde thématique. Cette table ronde animée par Caroline Macé (KU Leuven) réunira les intervenants de la journée du 2 février et traitera de questions transversales, dont les suivantes :
    – textes à tradition unique et textes à tradition pléthorique ;
    – compilations et autres types de texte ;
    – transcriptions et éditions critiques, notamment dans le cadre de l'utilisation d'outils numériques ;
    – édition et stemmatisation semi-automatique.
    12h30 Repas
    14h00 Atelier : bonnes pratiques juridiques. Cet atelier de formation viendra compléter le colloque, en proposant des méthodes pour rendre juridiquement plus sûr le processus d'édition savante. Il sera animé par Pierre-Yves Buard (Pôle « Document numérique », MRSH de Caen), Rémi Mathis (Bibliothèque nationale de France), Marc Renneville (TGIR Huma-Num) et Anne-Marie Turcan-Verkerk (Equipex Biblissima).

    Le 27 mars 2014, le tribunal de grande instance de Paris rendait dans un différend opposant les maisons d'édition Libraire Droz et Classiques Garnier un jugement très rapidement commenté dans les milieux de la recherche érudite, d'une part, et dans ceux des spécialistes du droit d'auteur et du copyfraud, de l'autre. Éclairée entre autres par les opinions de spécialistes, la cour concluait que l'édition d'un texte dépourvu d'apparat critique ne pouvait fonder un droit d'auteur, tout en reconnaissant par ailleurs la contribution intellectuelle de l'éditeur.
    Au-delà du cas d'espèce, ce jugement est une excellente occasion de s'interroger sur ce qu'est l'édition de textes, notamment celle de textes anciens, et sur ses mutations. Ce secteur des activités historiques et littéraires s'est, du reste, déjà engagé dans cette réflexion, comme le montrait un récent colloque organisé par l'Institut historique allemand et l'École des chartes sur le thème « Pourquoi éditer des textes médiévaux au XXIe siècle ? » De ce point de vue, l'évolution de l'édition critique, tout comme celle des sciences humaines et sociales en général, a bien sûr été fortement affectée par l'irruption des « nouvelles technologies », puis l'apparition des humanités numériques, en pleine structuration.
    Bien avant cet ébranlement numérique, la mise en œuvre de pratiques très différentes sur des points aussi essentiels que la ponctuation, la restitution des éventuelles abréviations, le traitement des variantes, l'intervention sur le découpage des mots et la transcription des phonèmes montre à quel point l'acte d'éditer n'est pas neutre – sans même évoquer les débats que les éditeurs et érudits ont hérités de Lachmann ou Bédier, porteurs de démarches fondamentalement différentes. Cela frappe d'autant plus que ces différences, si elles sont en partie issues d'aires disciplinaires (latin classique contre latin médiéval ou néo-latin, par exemple), ne s'y limitent pas : entrent en jeu également des traditions nationales en matière d'édition, qui ne sont pas seulement affaire de détails. Derrière les multiples décisions prises par l'éditeur, c'est tout un projet scientifique et intellectuel qui se profile : restitution aussi proche que possible d'un « original » confinant au fac-similé textuel, ou au contraire rumination de différents témoins d'un texte pour en extraire une sorte de version idéale, attention plus ou moins forte portée aux éléments matériels de la tradition, etc. Enfin, les manières d'éditer dépendent aussi du nombre de manuscrits conservés, des langues à traiter, des éditions antérieures, des visées culturelles des textes transmis – productions originales, commentaires ou compilations – et des lacunes de nos documents, voire du statut scolaire et culturel des auteurs. C'est sur ce substrat, déjà complexe, que viennent se greffer les débats actuels, qu'ils soient numériques ou juridiques.
    Afin de permettre une réflexion aussi large et profonde que possible, ces deux journées combineront plusieurs questionnements, appliqués à différents secteurs de l'édition de textes selon des combinaisons variables. La base en sera posée par l'exposé des pratiques scientifiques normalement et actuellement admises dans l'édition de textes littéraires ou diplomatiques, par exemple, pour des périodes allant de l'Antiquité à la Renaissance et des supports incluant tant le parchemin ou le papier que la pierre ou le papyrus. C'est à ces exposés que pourront réagir des juristes issus de divers milieux professionnels (édition, institutions scientifiques, enseignement du droit, militants du libre, notamment) avant qu'une table ronde ne reprenne la matière, cette fois-ci envisagée non plus selon ses divisions typologiques traditionnelles, mais selon des axes méthodologiques transversaux : traitement de la tradition manuscrite, stemmatisation plus ou moins automatisée, recours à des traitements critiques de plusieurs niveaux (transcriptions simples ou éditions « lourdes »)… Enfin, un atelier permettra de rassembler les réflexions, de les mettre en acte et d'ébaucher les contours de bonnes pratiques, en confrontant juristes, techniciens de l'édition et chercheurs autour des dossiers mis sur la table.

    Source : Carnet Ecdotique

    Lupercalia : mythes, topographie, littérature

    Titre: Lupercalia : mythes, topographie, littérature
    Lieu: Université Paris IV-Sorbonne / Paris
    Catégorie: Colloques, journées d'études
    Date: 31.01.2015

    Information signalée par Marie-Karine Lhommé


    LUPERCALIA : mythes, topographie, littérature


    Université Paris-Sorbonne / E.A. 1491 EDITTA 

    Samedi 31 janvier 2015

    Sorbonne : Amphithéâtre Quinet 
    (entrée par la rue St. Jacques) 

    14 h. : Présentation par Alexandre GRANDAZZI (Paris)

    14 h. 15 : Dominique BRIQUEL (Paris)
    « L'institution des Lupercales chez Ovide : une histoire de jumeaux » 

    15 h. : Thierry CAMOUS (Nice)
    « Les Lupercales et la pensée sauvage » 

    15 h. 50 : Adam ZIOLKOWSKI (Varsovie / Sorbonne Université)
    « Le tracé du parcours des Luperques » 


    16 h. 45 : Karlis VÉ (Paris)
    « Les liens entre les Lupercales et Romulus dans la tradition romaine »

    17 h. 30 : Élisabeth BUCHET (Paris)
    « Étiologies ovidiennes : la nudité des Luperques (Fastes, II, v. 283-384) »

    18 h. 15 : Conclusions par Alexandre GRANDAZZI (Paris)

    Source : Sophau

    AIA Fieldnotes

    Endgame: The Siege of Masada from the Roman Perspective

    Event Type (you may select more than one): 
    Start Date: 
    Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 7:00pm


    AIA Society: 
    Rudolph F. Pascucci
    Call for Papers: 

    Penn Museum Blog

    Blue lines: multispectral imaging for pigment identification

    Visible-induced infrared (IR) luminescence is the invisible light that some materials produce when they are excited with visible light. We can capture that invisible light with a modified camera and use it to identify those materials and find out where they are. For those of you who follow the Artifact Lab Blog, this technique will sound familiar. Molly Gleeson used it to identify Egyptian blue on a shabti box that she was working on. Guess what? The technique can be used to see other materials too! In examining a 12th-century Islamic manuscript, NEP27, I needed to find a way to distinguish between indigo and ultramarine. Both are blue in visible light. Both are made with elements that are below the detection limits on our pXRF, our usual go-to method for elemental analysis.

    Detail of marginal elements on page 360 of NEP-27. Notice the blue outlines around the gilded designs.

    Detail of marginal elements on page 360 of NEP-27. Notice the blue outlines around the gilded designs.

    It was starting to look as if I’d need to take a sample to examine with our polarized light microscope and possibly send out for x-ray diffraction, when my colleague, Tessa de Alarcon, remembered a single sentence in an article on Egyptian blue and Han blue, the same reference that Molly used for her work. What did it say? “The emission of indigo is reported to be at c. 750 nm while that of lazurite at c. 830 nm.” (Verri, 1012) There it was in black and white. The secret to a non-destructive method for answering the question of indigo or ultramarine. Those numbers are the wavelengths of light that they produce when excited. Both are in the infrared range and invisible to our naked eye, but we can see them with our camera. Lazurite is the color component of ultramarine, so if it has emissions that are different from indigo, maybe we could use filters to separate them.

    To find out if this would work, I found a couple of dry pigment samples, mixed them up with gum Arabic, and painted them out on a swatch of paper. With this set of knowns, I set up the Mini-CrimeScope, our tunable light source, and the modified camera to try different light and filter combinations. It turned out that while both indigo and ultramarine luminesced with exposure to light centered around 455 nm, I could eliminate the indigo with a filter cutting off at 830 nm. Using this set up, I tried it out on the manuscript, and sure enough, the blue decorative elements fluoresced just like the natural ultramarine sample.

    Detail of page 360 illuminated with 455nm light captured in infra-red, grey scale. The blue lines seem to disappear and are hard to distinguish from the paper. They didn’t disappear though; they’re fluorescing!

    Detail of page 360 illuminated with 455nm light captured in infra-red, grey scale. The blue lines seem to disappear and are hard to distinguish from the paper. They didn’t disappear though; they’re fluorescing!

    The false color image helps to visualize which areas are luminescent. In the photo, the information from the IR photo replaces the red channel, so the red lines around the decorations are the luminescent parts . Or in this case, the ultramarine!

    Detail photographs of page 360 illuminated with visible light and with 455nm light captured in infra-red combined into a false color image. The blue lines now appear red, helping to show where the luminescence took place.

    Detail photographs of page 360 illuminated with visible light and with 455nm light captured in infra-red combined into a false color image. The blue lines now appear red, helping to show where the luminescence took place.

    This wasn’t true across the board, but the blue decorations don’t look the same throughout either. I’m not sure if this means that ultramarine was used in some areas, but not others, or if different sources of the pigment have enough variation to produce different results. My samples included different sources for the ultramarine, which were also variable with their luminescence, so I’m thinking that the luminescent component might be variable depending from batch to batch. I’m still working on the details to see if we can use this as a diagnostic technique, but this is a promising development!

    Blogging Pompeii

    Do you use The Complete Pompeii as a coursebook?

    I am a bit embarrassed to be asking this, but it would be useful for me to know any of you use my book, The Complete Pompeii, as a coursebook in any of the teaching you do (if you want to know why, email me and I will explain!). If you do use it, please would you take the following survey, which has just three questions:

    Société Internationale des Amis de Cicéron (Tulliana News)

    SIAC Newsletter 75 (3/2015)


    Les noms des membres de la SIAC sont en gras. – I nomi dei membri della SIAC sono in grassetto. – Names of SIAC members are written with bold characters.


    - Aubert-Baillot, Sophie, De la φρόνησις à la prudentia, “Mnemosyne”, 68, 1, 2015, 68-90. LINK

    - Audano, Sergio, rec. di G. F. Gianotti, La cena di Trimalchione. Dal “Satyricon” di Petronio, “Sileno”, 40, 2014. LINK

    - Audano, Sergio, rec. di A. Rondholz, The Versatile Needle. Hosidius Geta’s Cento “Medea” and Its Tradition, “Sileno”, 40, 2014. LINK

    - Calboli Montefusco, Lucia & Celentano, Maria Silvana (eds), Papers on Rhetoric XII, Perugia, Editrice Pliniana, 2014. Maria Silvana Celentano, Performance oratoria e spazio comico: il punto di vista di Cicerone e Quintiliano (19-35); Paola Dalsasso, “That orator is an Actor”: a Rhetorical Strategy for Depreciating the Opponent in Cicero’s Early Speeches (49-62); Marcus Heckenkamp, Cicero in the delivery of the aged orator (99-106); Gabriella Moretti & Alice Bonandini, Magic and Theater in the Oratorical Performance: The Eyes and Eyebrows of Aquilius Regulus (157-192). LINK

    - “Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics”, 16, 2, 2014. Monographica II, Rethinking Cicero as Political Philosopher: Giovanni Giorgini & Elena Irrera, Editor’s & Guest Editor’s Preface (201-216); Francisco Leonardo Lisi, La noción de ley natural en Cicerón (217-232); David Fott, Skepticism about Natural Right in Cicero’s De Republica (233-252); Walter Englert, Epicurean Philosophy in Cicero’s De Republica: Serious Threat or Convenient Foil? (253-266); François Prost, Un dittico esemplare nel primo pensiero politico di Cicerone (267-283); Anna Iacoboni, Il significato politico del mos maiorum in Cicerone (284-306); Lex Paulson, A Painted Republic: the Constitutional Innovations of Cicero’s De legibus (307-340); Franck Colotte, Le De Officiis de Cicéron: un manuel de vertu pratique? (341-359); Arianna Fermani, Tra vita contemplativa e vita attiva: il De Officiis di Cicerone e le sue radici aristoteliche (360-378); Silvia Gastaldi, Vita politica e vita filosofica nei proemi del De republica di Cicerone (379-394); Eckart Schütrumpf, Cicero’s View on the Merits of a Practical Life in De republica 1: What is Missing? A comparison with Plato and Aristotle (395-411); Aleš Havlícek, Philosophie und Politik bei Cicero (412-421); Fausto Pagnotta, Cicerone nell’opera e nel pensiero politico di Machiavelli: alcune considerazioni introduttive (422-439); Ada Neschke-Hentschke, Il contributo di Cicerone alla nascita della dottrina moderna della “sovranità del popolo” (440-454); Fabio Martelli & Eleonora Tossani, La Retorica del tradimento. Pensiero e techne ciceroniano nell’orazione di Saint-Just il 13 Novembre 1792 (455-464); Elena Tosi, Americanus sum nec quidquam Americani a me alienum esse puto: i classici latini e la nuova identità statunitense in John Adams (465-481); Elena Irrera, Cicero on Different Kinds of Respect for Persons. A ‘Darwallian’ Approach (482-505); Giovanni Giorgini, Cicero and Machiavelli: Two Visions of Statesmanship and Two Educational Projects Compared (506-515). LINK

    - Falcone, Maria Jennifer, Due note esegetiche al ‘Dulorestes’ di Pacuvio (frr. 21.143-5 e 18.139 R.3), “Lexis”, 32, 2014, 282-289. LINK

    - Magnaldi, Giuseppina, Antichi marginalia nei Florida di Apuleio, “Rivista di filologia e di istruzione classica”, 142, 2014, 376-407. LINK

    - Magnaldi, Giuseppina, Loci vexati nel De Platone di Apuleio (190, 194, 206, 219, 229, 241, 247, 252), “Exemplaria Classica”, 18, 2014, 55-71. LINK


    - International conference Back to the Future: Varro, the State, and Antiquarianism, 26-27 January 2015, London, organised by Valentina Arena and Fiachra Mac Góráin. LINK

    - Seminario filologico, Torino, 29 gennaio 2015. Gianmario Cattaneo, Per una lettura dei Commentarii di Enea Silvio Piccolomini – papa Pio II: Il caso del cardinal Bessarione. LINK

    - Conferenza di Paolo de Paolis, Il latino dialetto greco. Venezia, 23 febbraio 2015. LINK



    - Pini Fernandes, Mariana, A eleição ciceroniana dos mais ilustres oradores, in Leni Ribeiro Leite & Gilvan Ventura da Silva & Raimundo Nonato Barbosa Carvalho (ed.), Fama e Infâmia no Mundo Antigo, Vitória, PPGL, 2014, 153-160. LINK

    - Platschek, Johannes, Die Freunde des C. Antonius Hybrida. Versuch über Q. Cicero, Commentariolum petitionis 8, in Jan Hallebeek, Martin Schermaier, Roberto Fiori, Ernest Metzger, Jean-Pierre Coriat (eds.), Inter cives necnon peregrinos. Essays in honour of Boudewijn Sirks, Göttingen, V & R unipress, 2014, 597-606. LINK

    - Zarecki, Jonathan, rev. of David Fott (ed.), Marcus Tullius Cicero, On the republic and On the laws, Ithaca (NY), Cornell University Press, 2014, “Polis. The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought”, 31, 2, 2014, 471-473. LINK


    - Call for papers (abstracts due March 2, 2015) for an organizer-refereed panel at the January 2016 Society for Classical Studies meeting in San Francisco: Cicero Across Genres. Organizers: Caroline Bishop, Indiana University and Isabel Köster, Lawrence University. LINK

    - Cambridge Classics Research Seminars, Lent Term 2015, Cambridge, January 19, 2015. Harold Tarrant, Cicero, Socratic Ignorance, and Alcibiades I 117a-118a. LINK

    [Last updated on January 30, 2015.]

    Filed under: Newsletter

    Ancient Peoples

    Terracotta Askos in the Form of a DogGreek2nd–1st century B.C....

    Terracotta Askos in the Form of a Dog


    2nd–1st century B.C.

    Its classification as an example of Magenta Ware pottery, however, is prevented by the lack of any traces of the deep red pigment, which normally characterizes the technique. The name inscribed on the base of the askos is attested in inscriptions from Boeotia in central Greece, and may perhaps point to the place of its manufacture.

    Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

    The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 11 (part 1)

    The memory of the Great Persecution, under Diocletian, persisted.  Unfortunately the details seem to have been entirely forgotten by Eutychius’ time, and been replaced by fiction.

    1. Diocletian began to reign in the eleventh year of the reign of Sabur, son of Hurmuz, king of the Persians.  Together with Diocletian reigned Maximian called Ilkūriyūs (1).  They reigned over the Romans for twenty years.  They inflicted on the Christians great misfortunes and long affliction, painful suffering and great tribulations, too great, in truth, to be described.  They caused the Christians all kinds of evil by killing them and confiscating their property.  Only God knows how many Christians they put to death!  In their days there were thousands and thousands of martyrs (2).  They tortured St George in various ways and put him to death in Palestine.  Saint George (3) was a native of Cappadocia.  They also put to death St. Menna, Sts. Victor, Fikinitiyūs, Abimacus and Mercurius.  In the tenth year of their reign Peter was made Patriarch of Alexandria.  He held the office for ten years.  In the twentieth year of their reign this Peter was beheaded in Alexandria.  In the first year of their reign Eutychianus was made patriarch of Rome (4).  He held the office for eight years and died.  In the ninth year of their reign Gaius was made patriarch of Rome (5).  He held the office for twelve years and died.  In the tenth year of their reign Awriyus [=Tyrannus] was made patriarch of Antioch.  He held the office for eleven years and died.  In the fifth year of their reign Māmūnis was made bishop of Jerusalem  (6).  He held the office for thirteen years and died.  In the eighteenth year of their reign Zabdas was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for ten years and died.

    2. Peter, patriarch of Alexandria, had two disciples: one was called Ashīllà (7) and the other Alexander.  There also lived in Alexandria, a heretic named Arius who said:  “Only the Father is God, and the Son is a created being and made.  The Father has always been, but the Son was not”.  Then the patriarch Peter said to his two disciples: “Christ, [our] the Lord has cursed this Arius.  Beware, therefore, from accepting him or his doctrine.  In truth I have seen in a dream, while I was sleeping, Christ with his clothes torn and asked him: “Who has torn your clothes, my Lord?” And he answered me: ‘Arius’. Beware then of bringing him into the church with you.”  Five years after the murder of Peter, Patriarch of Alexandria, his disciple Asilla was made patriarch of Alexandria.  He held the office for six years and died.  Arius pleaded the cause of his friends before the patriarch Asilla, giving proof that he had repented of his perverse doctrine and his wickedness.  Asilla had then welcomed him and admitted in his church as  a consecrating priest.  Diocletian, meanwhile, was trying the Christians and putting them to death.

    He was busy hunting them down when he came to a place called Dalmatia (8).  Here the vengeance of God fell upon him, and his body began to decompose and he was suffering from a horrible disease and such great wounds that of his flesh was filled with worms which fell to the ground.  Finally even his tongue and palate broke away and he died.  As for Maximian, called Herculeus, he also contracted a disease that burned his body to a crisp, and he died in Tarsus (9).  After them reigned Maxentius (10), son of Maximian.  Joining with him another Maximian called Galerius (11) reigned, for nine years.  This happened in the thirty-second year of the reign of Sabur, son of Hurmuz, Persian.  The two divided the kingdom between them: Maximian, called Galerius, reigned over the east, over Syria and the territory of Rum, while Maxentius ruled over the city of Rome and its territories.  Both acted towards the Christians like beasts and inflicted on them indescribable misfortunes and extermination like no other king before them had ever done.  Reigning with them over Byzantium and its territories was Constantius (12), father of Constantine.  He was a peaceful man, pious, a hater of idols and a lover of the Christians.  Constantius went into Mesopotamia and ar-Ruha (13).  Stopping in a village of the district of ar-Ruha, named Kafr-Fakhkhār, he happened to come across a handsome woman named Helena, who had received baptism at the hands of Barsiqā, bishop of ar-Ruha, and had learned to read the sacred books.  Constantius asked her father for her hand, and he gave her to him as his wife.  The woman became pregnant by him, and Constantius returned to Byzantium.  Helena gave birth to a son, fine-featured, gentle, intelligent, reluctant to do evil, and a lover of wisdom, named Constantine, who was educated in ar-Ruha and learned the wisdom of the Greeks (14).

    3. Maximian, called Galerius, was a coarse, violent man, full of hatred against the Christians and their implacable enemy; a womanizer to the point that he wouldn’t allow any Christian girl to flee without arresting, raping and killing her.  And even as he and his men deflowered the Christian virgins, they took possession of the their property and killed them.  The Christians suffered at their hands enormous tribulations.  It happened that one day someone spoke to Maximian of Constantine and described him as a quiet young man, who kept away from evil and was well educated.  His astrologers even told him that he would become king of a great kingdom.  He therefore thought to kill him, but Constantine heard of it and fled from the city of ar-Ruha, taking refuge in Byzantium, where he came to his father, Constantius, who gave him the kingdom.  A little later Constantius, Constantine’s father, died and God caused the king Maximian serious disease to the point that his decomposing flesh fell into pieces and rolled on the ground so that no-one could stand to be nearby: even his enemies had compassion on him because of the misfortune that had struck him. He came to himself and said: “Maybe this is my punishment because I killed the Christians.”  Letters were sent to all his provinces, ordering the release of the Christians, to honour them, not hurt them, and asked them to raise prayers of intercession for the king.  The Christians prayed for the king and interceded for him.  God gave him healing and then he became more vigorous and healthier than he had been at first.  But being healed and recovered, he resolved to be more evil than usual and sent letters in all his provinces giving the order to put to death the Christians, to exterminate them to the last in his kingdom, not to allow them to live in any city and in any village and annihilate them wherever they were.  Countless Christians, men women and children, were killed.  And many were the dead that were loaded onto wagons and thrown in the sea or in the desert.

    4. In the city of Cappadocia there were killed Sergius and Bacchus (15), both citizens of that city, and Saint Barbara.  In the second year of the reign of Maximian Brtāliyūs was made patriarch of Antioch.  He held the office for six years and died.  In the third year of his reign Marcellus was made patriarch of Rome (16). He held the seat for two years and died.

    Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)


    Megjelent a N.A.B.U. legújabb füzete (2014/4), sok érdekességgel, és persze magyar szerzővel is ;-) Innen lehet letölteni és olvasgatni.

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    The first archaeological studies of the fifteenth-century monastery in Wągrowiec

    The foundations of medieval monastery church and a seventeenth - eighteenth century crypt containing...

    Archaeologist begins dig in the Sudan, Nile River Valley area

    A Purdue University archaeologist is excavating in Tombos, Sudan, to answer questions about the...

    Peter Konieczny and Sandra Sadowski (History of the Ancient World)

    Ancient skull from Galilee cave offers clues to the first modern Europeans

    The discovery of a 55,000-year-old partial skull in Northern Israel provides new insights into the migration of modern humans out of Africa. The rare find is reported in the journal Nature this week by an international team of Israeli, North American and European researchers.

    Inside the Manot Cave in Israel’s Galilee, where a 55,000-year-old skull sheds new light on human migration patterns. (Photo: Amos Frumkin / Hebrew University Cave Research Center)

    A key event in human evolution was the expansion of modern humans of African origin across Eurasia, replacing all other forms of hominin (humans and their predecessors), around 40,000-60,000 years ago. However, due to the scarcity of human fossils from this period, these ancestors of all present-day non-African modern populations have largely remained a mystery.

    Now, researchers describe a partial skull that dates to around 55,000, which was found at Manot Cave in Israel’s Western Galilee. The Manot Cave was discovered in 2008 during construction activities that damaged its roof. Rock falls and active stalagmites had apparently blocked the initial entrance to the cave for at least 15,000 years. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Cave Research Center conducted an initial survey of the cave and reported the findings of archaeological remains.

    Prof. Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University led the anthropological study of the skull, and led the excavation together with archaeologists Dr. Ofer Marder of Ben-Gurion University, and Dr. Omry Barzilai of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

    The skull has a distinctive “bun”-shaped occipital region at the back. In this way its shape resembles modern African and European skulls, but differs from other anatomically modern humans from the Levant. This suggests that the Manot people could be closely related to the first modern humans that later colonized Europe.

    The specimen also provides evidence that both modern humans and Neanderthals inhabited the southern Levant during the late Pleistocene, close in time to the likely interbreeding event between modern humans and Neanderthals.

    Researchers from the Hebrew University played important roles in this discovery. Dating the skull at around 55,000 years is the graduate thesis work of Gal Yasur, a student at the Hebrew University’s Earth Sciences Institute in the Faculty of Sciences. The dating work was done at the Geological Survey of Israel under the supervision of GSI Senior Scientists Dr. Miryam Bar-Matthews and Dr. Avner Ayalon, together with Prof. Alan Matthews, the Raymond F. Kravis Professor of Geology at the Hebrew University’s Earth Sciences Institute. Prof. Amos Frumkin, Director of the Cave Research Center at the Hebrew University’s Geography Department, researched the geological context of the skull in the Manot Cave. Ms. Mae Goder-Goldberger, a doctoral candidate at Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, is part of the archaeological team working in the cave.

    This finding represents the first fossil evidence from the critical period when genetic and archaeological models predict that African modern humans successfully migrated out of Africa and colonized Eurasia. It also represents the first fossil evidence that during the late Middle Paleolithic, the Levant was occupied not only by Neanderthals but also by modern humans.

    Interior of the Manot Cave in Israel’s Galilee, where a 55,000-year-old skull sheds new light on human migration patterns. (Photo: Amos Frumkin / Hebrew University Cave Research Center)

    The researchers suggest that the population from which this skull is derived had recently migrated out of Africa and established itself in the Levantine corridor during a time span that was favorable for human migration, due to warmer and wetter climatic events over the Northern Sahara and the Mediterranean.

    The research appears in the journal Nature under the title “Levantine cranium from Manot Cave (Israel) foreshadows the first European modern humans” Click here to access the article.

    The post Ancient skull from Galilee cave offers clues to the first modern Europeans appeared first on History of the Ancient World.

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Yuan Dynasty tombs unearthed in north China

    Six ancient tombs built during the Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 1271-1368 ) have been unearthed in north...

    eClassics Forum

    Living & Learning: Japanese students overseas / A liberal inquirer in an ancient Scottish city

    Living & Learning: Japanese students overseas / A libera

    Courtesy of Ryoji Shimabukuro
    Ryoji Shimabukuro at the university campus

    11:32 am, January 30, 2015

    By Ryoji Shimabukuro (The University of Edinburgh)/Special to The Japan NewsThis column features reports by Japanese students currently studying overseas on their life on and off campus.

    * * *

    “Nemo Me Impune Lacessit” (No one assaults me with impunity). I was surprised that even beginner’s level Latin allowed me to read the fancy phrase carved on the old castle’s gate in Edinburgh. This Scottish city, with many historic spots, was the right place for me to test my understanding of what I had learned in lectures at the University of Edinburgh. I still remember the day my Latin professor told us to go to Rome on weekends if we ran out of practice questions. This would be interpreted as a joke in Japan, but not necessarily in Edinburgh.

    The most exciting moment at this university is when I feel the dynamics and interconnection between things I have learned. Learning Latin doesn’t only allow me to read ancient texts, but also enables me to remember key terms that appear in international law lectures, such as “aequo et bono” and “ius cogens.”

    SLIDE 1 OF 1

    With strong confidence, I also can say, the knowledge is not impractical trivia, but has a strong meaning in the reality surrounding me. While looking at the demonstrations and “YES” posters for the independence movement from Britain in September last year, I glanced up at the statue of Adam Smith on the Mile. (By the way, he was born in Scotland and lectured at the University of Edinburgh.) At that moment, his ideal image of a laissez-fair economy and the political goal, which recent demonstrators tried to achieve, seemed to overlap in my eye ...

    Interactions with my colleagues are also meaningful events for me in terms of turning a spotlight on weaknesses in my knowledge. I was impressed with my Thai friend who tried to explain the reason for Japan’s successful technological growth from a linguistic approach. According to him, because Japanese were able to import technological terms directly (by using katakana), they could absorb the knowledge efficiently and develop dramatically. This type of perspective might be difficult to notice if I were studying in Japan.

    I believe the significance of studying abroad is an opportunity to deepen my knowledge about the things that interest me, and sometimes practice or revise them in real life. Both the geographical and human conditions of Edinburgh are perfect for one who wishes to develop his or her own philosophy, and that led me to study here.

    = = =

    The University of Edinburgh

    Founded in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is the sixth-oldest university in the English-speaking world. It comprises 21 schools at three colleges, offering more than 350 undergraduate and 160 postgraduate courses.

    In partnership with Ryugaku Fellowship


    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    LOST Rewatch: Tricia Tanaka is Dead

    In a flashback, Hurley’s father tells him that hope is never stupid, and “in this world, you gotta make your own luck.”

    On the island, we see Hurley talking about his experience, and being scared most of his time on the island, except when he was with Libby. He is talking to her, at her grave, which has a cross to mark it. He puts a flower there.

    Charlie tells Hurley that Desmond said he is going to die. Hurley says it might be his fault, that he is cursed and death follows him. Then Vincent comes carrying an arm, which is still holding a key. Hurley follows Vincent, and when he drops the arm, the key is on a rabbit foot keychain, and then Vincent leads him to a vehicle in the jungle. Inside, the corpse of the driver has Dharma overalls, indicating his name is Roger, a Work Man.

    In a flashback, a reporter is interviewing Hurley about buying Mr, Cluck, where he used to work. Reporter Tricia Tanaka goes inside, then a meteor hits the restaurant. When he gets home and says he is cursed, his mother says she can prove that he isn’t cursed. She shows him that his father has returned, after having been away for 17 years. At dinner, there is a solid gold statue in the middle. Hurley’s father says, “That’s a hell of a Jesus.” Hurley says his father came back because of the money. He says he wants to get rid of the money. When Hurley’s mom says “I have needs,” she covers the ears if the Jesus statue. To cheer him up, Hurley’s father takes him to a psychic. She says that there is a curse on him, but it can be exorcized. She tells him to take off his clothes. Hurley offers her $10,000 to tell him the truth, and she says that his dad put her up to it. His father confesses being there for the money. He says Hurley should give the money away, that it is never too late for a fresh start.

    Kate and Sawyer make it back to their camp, and on the way, they talk about a clean slate (and Sawyer mentions Little House in the Prairie). Sawyer gets involved in fixing the car, but Jin says it cannot be fixed. Hurley says they need hope, but Sawyer says that if he wants hope, he is on the wrong island, as there is no hope there. Hurley prays for help. Sawyer makes a snide remark and says, “Here’s help,” and tosses him a can of beer. He sees the beer go past him and roll down a hillside, and it gives Hurley an idea. He gets Charlie to help him. Sawyer and Jin push the car over the edge while Hurley and Charlie sit in it. As he turns the key, Hurley says “There is no curse, We make our own luck.” The car starts. An 8-Track tape plays “Halls of Shangri-La.”

    Kate (followed by Locke and Sayid) goes to find Rousseau, to get help to rescue Jack. Kate tells her that the girl who helped her escape was about 16 years old and named Alex, and she is pretty sure she is Rousseau’s daughter.

    It is cool the way the series later reveals that Roger the Work Man is Ben’s father, and how he ended up dead in the van. And within the framework of the episode, it offers an interesting exploration of luck. Hurley’s attempt to start the van might not have worked, but had he not had hope and courage, he certainly never would have succeeded. And the fact that dead Roger had a rabbit’s foot keychain conveys the message that some ideas about luck are pure nonsense. But while certain views of luck may be stupid, hope never is.

    LOST Hurley van

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Scientists recreate ancient Siberian brain surgery techniques for first time

    Experts undertake pioneering tests on skulls to finally understand how doctors carried out...

    Dorothy King (PhDiva)

    Hotel Fellah, (a world away from) Marrakech

    Need something for the week-end? May I recommend the Fellah

    Feeling a bit blue and in need of R'n'R? Dr Dorothy* recommends the Fellah and feels more relaxed after 12 days here than 12 months of therapy ...

    Want to chill / celebrate / enjoy a little culture? Yup, like champagne the Fellah fits all those needs too!

    I've been coming to Marrakech forever, and yes it has become far too touristy for me, but I make an exception for the amazing Hotel Fellah which is only 20+ minutes' drive from the city, but towards the Atlas Mountains and feels like a world away. Countless places have claimed "X is the New Marrakech" but the Fellah is far better as, well ...
    to me "Fellah is the Old Marrakech".

    You really don't need to pack much - today's outfit is a Nili Lotan caftan and a Hoola bikini with two bottoms (for tan lines ...) - although pack jumpers for the evening as it gets chilly then ... 

    Okay, here's the deal. I stay here often and I really love the Fellah Hotel. It's the only place I know that manages to actually do all that culture and sustainable stuff, by helping the local village both through employment and through education as well as providing an amazing hotel experience for guests and having the Dar al Mamun library and cultural foundation with visiting artists, scholars and musicians.

    Quick disclaimer, the Fellah Hotel did not sponsor this post, although they (as always) very kindly upgraded my room as a bigger one was available - I've seen them do the same for others, BTW too. So this was my suite's bath last time, and this time I have a similar one + the villa I'm in has a private pool.

    At the moment it is sunny and you need sunblock, but even when it was more over-cast in December the place was still fun, with amazing views of the light changing over the Atlas Mountains as the sun set. There are cacti everywhere, and an old taxi and contemporary art which along with the more modern architecture make it feel like Prada Marfa meets a "club Med" for culture vultures ... people can ignore everything and chill or take boxing lessons with the charming Freddy or listen to the Senegalese musician on the Kora by the pool or learn to cook a tagine or chat with the fascinating artists working here or ... oh just doze on your terrace as I've been doing today.

    I'm not going to put 1001 photos in this post as the Fellah's web site actually genuinely does reflect what this place is like:

    I know Small Luxury Hotels and Mr & Mrs Smith both often do deals if you book through them, or contact the hotel directly here ... the place is very quiet at the moment, and the perfect place to escape inclement weather and get a little R'n'R in the gentle sun.

    One reason I'm plugging this place (unusually) before I leave is because the hotel sustains the village and foundation, neither of which can survive without the hotel's income. So if you do come, please do think of bringing books to leave as a gift for the library. If you're feeling generous, please do consider bringing some old clothes, particularly warm ones and particularly childrens' sizes, and donating them as ... well, it gets cold here, and they would be put to very good use.

    NB - obviously Morocco is super-safe or I would not recommend it.


    Alas this man is not at the Fellah .... but the creator of these amazing Shield Bags, Louise Leconte happens to be the artistic director here. And she's worked with Lady Gaga, so ... extra bonus points for cool factors etc and seriously, even I'm on the waiting list for the next batch of shield clutch bags, that's how amazing they are.

    Louise Leconte Shield Bags

    * please not that whilst I can legally call myself a Medical Doctor in the UK, I am not a Registered Medical Practitioner and this is not actual medical advice!

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    Dumb Dumb Djurnalists

    CNN: "More than 100 of Jaźwiecki's portraits are housed in the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum, a memorial and museum at the site of the Polish camps". How many times do you have to quietly explain to some people before they understand the simplest thing?

    UPDATE 26th Jan 2015
    Y-e-s-s... It's not so difficult to get it right is it CNN? "a memorial and museum at the site of the Nazi concentration camps in German-occupied Poland". Thank you.

    What Made Tutankhamun’s Facial Hair into the Most Newsworthy Thing in Egypt?

    William E. Carruthers ('What we are talking about when we talk about Tutankhamun’s beard?' January 29, 2015) puts the discussion of Tut's beard into its post-colonial context and argues that we should fight inequality which will somehow resolve all problems.
    Once again, the scientific stability of the objects was linked to (and became more important than) the political ‘chaos’ occurring outside their institutional home. Once again, protesters outside were dying in their droves.[...] So how can anyone attempt to address this situation in any sort of constructive way? Perhaps one suggestion would be to stop blaming victims. Maintenance workers and conservators working with very low budgets and under very high pressure do not deserve criticism. The root causes behind this situation do, and unpacking them can go some to way to helping understand why.
    And of course all the collectors over on the IAPN/PNG lobbyist's blog who suddenly felt themselves the world's greatest experts on conservation the moment the anti-Egyptian news stories broke are betraying the worst possible kind of neo-colonialist and xenophobic prejudices which simply serve to maintain these inequalities.

    Vignette: Global Civilians for Peace

    Hat tip to Sam Hardy

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Ancient sacrificial architecture unearthed in Shaanxi

    Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient sacrificial architecture at a historical site of Western...

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    St Louis AIA Board Resigns over Antiquities Sales

    St Louis by night (Wikipedia)
    I had a suspicion that this is what was going to happen all along. On Sunday night, January 25, the St. Louis officers and board of directors, having earlier received a vote of support from their members,  decided to resign effective as of January26, 2015, in order to allow AIA-STL to continue its association with the national organization by meeting the requirements set forth by the AIA Council at the 2015 Annual Meetings. Prior to their resignation, the officers and board picked their replacement interim officers and board. 

    Hat tip to Dorothy King

    Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

    In My Earbuds Lately

    Country Funk -- Country Funk (1970)

    Country Funk — Country Funk (1970)

    Here are some good albums that I’ve been listening to lately.

    • Country Funk — Country Funk (1970). Not country and not funk: folk psych.
    • GOAT — Commune (2014). Eclectic psychedelia with screamy female vocals and bongos!
    • Opeth — Pale Communion (2014). When black metal ages into virtuoso prog rock.
    • Pixies — Indie Cindy (2014). Eclectic alt-rock, does not look back.
    • Teenage Fanclub — Shadows (2010). Fannies doing what they do best.
    • Wooden Shjips — West (2011). Drony stony spacey.

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Open Access Monograph Series: Amarna Reports

    Amarna Reports

    The series of six volumes, entitled Amarna Reports, were published by the Egypt Exploration Society between 1984 and 1995 and have been out of print for some time. They are here made available in pdf form, with the agreement of the Egypt Exploration Society. 

    The volumes are available at two standards of compression and page resolution. The smaller and lower version is intended for browsing. The larger and higher offers a better resolution of the illustrations. In the case of the photographs, these are scans made from original photographic prints. The pdf files are also available on the Egypt Exploration Society web site.

    Amarna Reports I

    Introduction and Chapter 1 - Patterns of Activity at the Workmen's Village
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 2 - Report on the 1983 Excavations. Chapel 561/450 (The "Main Chapel")
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 3 - Report on the 1983 Excavations. Chapels 570 and 571
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 4 - Report on the 1983 Excavations. The Animal Pens (Building 400)
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 5 - Report on the 1983 Excavations. Commodity Delivery Area (Zir Area)
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 6 - Report on the 1983 Excavations. The Main Quarry
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 7 - Report on the 1983 Amarna Survey. Survey of the City
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 8 - A Resistivity Survey at El-Amarna
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 9 - Ring Bezels at El-Amarna
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 10 - The Pottery Distribution Analysis
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapters 11 and 12 - Preliminary Report on the Faunal Remains from the Workmen's Village / Pottery Cult Vessels from the Workmen's Village
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 13 - Radiocarbon Date Calibration Using Historically Dated Specimens from Egypt and New Radiocarbon Determinations for El-Amarna
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 14 and 15 - A Sediments Analysis of Mud and Brick and Natural Features at El-Amarna / Geomorphology and Prehistory at El-Amarna
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Amarna Reports II

    Introduction and Chapter 1 - Chapel 561 / 450 (The "Main Chapel")
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 2 - Painted plaster from the Main Chapel
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 3 - Chapels 570 and 571 and adjacent ground
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 4 - Chapel group 528-531
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 5 - The Amarna Survey: the survey of the city
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 6 - The hieratic labels, 1979-82
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 7 - The hieroglyphic wall plaster from Chapel 561
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 8 - Pottery fabrics and ware groups at el-Amarna
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 9 - Preliminary report on the botanical remains
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 10 - Preliminary report on the textiles
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)


    Amarna Reports III

    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 1 - Work inside the Walled Village
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 2 - Building 250 - a set of animal pens
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 3 - Building 300 - a set of animal pens
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 4 - Building 540/541
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 5 - Report on the excavation of floor [873] of the Outer Hall of Chapel 561/450
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 6 - Report on the 1985 Amarna Survey, the survey of the city
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 7 -Pottery from the Main Chapel
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 8 - The Late New Kingdom burial beside the Main Chapel
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 9 - Late Dynastic pottery from the vicinity of the South Tombs
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res)

    Chapter 10 - A Survey at Hatnub
    (Hi-Res | Low-Res

    And see AWOL's Alphabetical List of Open Access Monograph Series in Ancient Studies

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    Jim Davila (

    More on saving Iraqi manuscripts

    SYRIAC WATCH: Iraqi Priests Protect Historic Christian Writings From Islamic State. Dominican Father Najeeb Michaeel rescued 1,300 manuscripts from Mosul last summer, as it was being overrun by the Islamist militants (ANDREA GAGLIARDUCCI/CNA/EWTN NEWS). More on Father Michaeel's daring manuscript rescue. Excerpt:
    Father Michaeel collected some 1,300 manuscripts from the 14th to the 19th centuries and put them in two large trucks in the early morning, transferring them to a secret location in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where they have been kept safe. They include not only Christian works but manuscripts on the Quran, music and grammar.

    “We passed three checkpoints without any problem, and I think the Virgin Mary [had] a hand to protect us,” Father Michaeel said Jan. 26 in an interview with National Public Radio.

    The library of 50,000 modern books was left behind in Bakhdida, and the city was seized by the Islamic State on Aug. 7.

    Father Michaeel has been joined in Erbil by Benedictine Father Columba Stewart, who is executive director of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, which is participating in the preservation of the Syriac manuscripts.
    I inferred in my earlier post that the manuscripts were in Syriac and Arabic. The above implies that I was not far off.

    Dorothy King (PhDiva)

    Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis' Views

    You want to know what they are? Well he's just released this free Kindle book explaining them (you don't need to have an actual Kindle device to read it; download the software to phone or computer and ... etc). Honestly was talking last night with someone about how Kindle can revolutionise the spread of knowledge, and this idea is bloody genius! Wish more politicians followed Yanis Varoufakis' lead in making their views available to all.

    Europe after the Minotaur: Greece and the Future of the Global Economy by Yanis Varoufakis

    On Amazon US Kindle too ...

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

    More online Greek manuscripts at the British Library

    Another batch of Greek manuscripts has gone online at the British Library, which is excellent news.  It’s a fairly miscellaneous batch, but that’s all to the good.  New discoveries are not likely to be made in the “mainstream” manuscripts that are turned over constantly; but rather in those which are never handled or examined.

    Here are some of the highlights (and, drat them, I see that they’ve busted the copy-and-paste again):

    • Add MS 36589, Sermons by Chrysostom, Amphilochius.  Eusebius of Caesarea, Martyrs of Palestine (long recension), plus saint’s lives 12th century.
    • Add MS 39606, Gregory of Nazianzus, Orationes, followed by extracts from Pseudo-Nonnus, Scholia mythologica.
    • Add MS 39618, Athanasius, Quaestiones ad Antiochum ducem [Sp.]. (TLG 2035.077). A longer version of Quaestio 1 than is printed in the Patrologia Graeca.  16th c.  Plus a couple of other items.
    • Burney MS 60, “Apparatus Bellicis” (whatever that may be), 16th c.  Includes extracts from Julius Africanus’ Kestoi, book 7.  Might be mathematical.  There’s a table of contents on fol. 2.
    • Burney MS 75, Letters by or attributed to classical and Byzantine figures, including Libanius, Nicholas Cabasilas, Brutus, Demetrius Cydones, Gregory of Nazianzus, and others. Written in part by the scribe Δημήτριος Ραοὺλ Καβάκης (ff 138r-144v, 177r-178v); formerly erroneously ascribed to Ἰωάσαφ. Greece (Mistra) or Italy, Central (Rome), mid-15th century.  Mostly letters of Gregory Nazianzen, but various interesting bits.  Also a Life of Libanius from Eunapius.
    • Burney MS 84, Proclus of Athens, In Platonis Alcibiadem I (TLG 4036.007), imperfect. Italy, N.? 4th quarter of the 16th century.

    Also some biblical stuff, and various bits of Byzantine stuff that probably would repay opening and looking!

    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    What Could a Fisherman Compose?

    I shared a link to a blog post by Jonathan Bernier a while back, which questioned the relevance of the purported employment of the traditionally-proposed author of the Fourth Gospel.

    Here’s a list which someone put together of occupations of tannaitic rabbis:

    The sages of the Talmud worked at many diverse occupations. For instance, Hillel was a woodchopper before he became the Nasi (President of the Sanhedrin) and Shammai the Elder was a builder. Abba Chilkiyah was a field laborer; Rabbi Yochanan b. Zakkai was a businessman for forty years; Abba Shaul was a gravedigger; Abba Chilkiyah was a field worker; Abba Oshiya was a launderer; Rabbi Shimon P’kuli was a cotton dealer; Rabbi Shmuel b. Shilas was a school teacher, Rabbi Meir and Rabi Chananel were scribes; Rabbi Yosi b. Chalafta was a tanner; Rabbi Yochanan Hasandlar was a shoemaker; Rabbi Yehoshua b. Chananiah was a blacksmith; Rabbi Safra and Rabbi Dimi of Nehardea were merchants; Rabbi Abba b. Zavina was a tailor; Rabbi Yosef b. Chiya and Rabbi Yannai owned vineyards; Rabbi Huna was a farmer and raised cattle; Rabbi Chisda and Rabbi Papa were beer brewers; Karna was a wine smeller (he determined which wine could be stored and which had to be sold immediately); Rabbi Chiya b. Yosef was in the salt business; Abba Bar Abba, (father of Mar Shmuel) was a silk merchant; and (Mar) Shmuel was a doctor. 

    It doesn’t seem to me that a fisherman would have been out of place. So why is it often claimed that a fisherman – which might include someone whose family was involved in the fishing industry, and not just someone who spent his day working for such a person – could not have written certain New Testament texts, such as the Gospel of John?

    The evidence for John son of Zebedee having written that Gospel is unpersuasive. But so too is the attempt to settle the matter in terms of likelihood of a fisherman composing it.

    It is perhaps worth noting that William Shakespeare probably had a very good education – while it lasted, as he was withdrawn from school at age 14. It seems to me a mistake to judge people of bygone eras by modern standards, and it is also a mistake to presume that those in antiquity who lacked scribal training could not have composed words in an eloquent and effective manner.

    Perhaps an even more useful analogy can be made to the realm of music. In that area, we seem to be more able to realize in our era that the skills of reading and writing music are distinct from those of being able to compose and perform. The musical “Amazing Grace” which I went to see a few months ago was written by a former police officer who does not read and write music in the sense of placing or interpreting symbols on a staff in musical notation.

    In the ancient, primarily oral, world of the New Testament, as well as earlier and later, something similar applied to reading and writing. More people could compose and tell stories effectively, than could write them down or read the letters on a page. Indeed, the two skill sets often did not overlap at all.

    Just for the record, I’m inclined to think that, if someone named John wrote the work we know as the Gospel of John, it is more likely to have been John the Elder than John the son of Zebedee. As for who the “beloved disciple” was and whether he was even an actual figure, those are separate issues. My point here is simply to ask whether arguments about an alleged author’s employment actually prove anything regarding whether or not they wrote it.

    John the Fisherman card

    John the Fisherman Pokecard found here.

    Jim Davila (

    More on those Babylonian-Judean cuneiform tablets

    ON DISPLAY AT THE BIBLE LANDS MUSEUM IN JERUSALEM: Ancient tablets disclose Jewish exiles’ life in Babylonia. 2,500-year-old said to be the most important ancient Jewish archive since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Nir Hasson, Haaretz).
    A little known collection of more than 100 clay tablets in Cuneiform script, dating back to the Babylon Exile some 2,500 years ago, was unveiled this week, allowing a glimpse into the everyday life of one of the most ancient exile communities in the world.

    Prof. Wayne Horowitz, one of the archaeologists who studied the tablets, says this is the most important ancient Jewish archive since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    It's rare to see a sentence like the last one in the quote, and rarer still for it to be true, but in this case it sounds like a fair assessment. Some information on the contents of the tablets:
    Until now very little had been known about the life of the Judean community that had been uprooted from Jerusalem and deported to Babylon. The collection also corresponds with the Biblical text in which the prophet Ezekiel writes “as I was among the captives by the river Chebar” (chapter 1, verse 1). The “river Chebar” or “river Chebar village” appear several times on the tablets.

    The tablets reflect trade transactions, leasing houses and fields, addresses, inheritances, etc. Certificate 31, for example, is of a deal between Yirpa Ben Dohah and Ahikam Ben Refa’iyahu, in which the former trades a “trained, five-year-old bull” for “one gray jennet.” In certificate 52 a man called Ikisha sold his female slave for “three pieces of silver.” In another document, Neriayu Ben Ahikam rents a house for “10 silver shekels ... half given at the beginning of the year and the rest in the middle of the year.” The tenant undertook in the agreement to pay for damages, if any, from the foundations to the roof.

    On some tablets, ancient Hebraic letters appear beside the Akkadian details. The researchers assume these were intended for cataloging and tracing. On tablet 10, for example, which deals with a bond for barley, the name Shalemiyahu appears in Hebraic. “These are the most ancient Hebraic letters from the Babylonian exile,” says Horowitz.
    Read it all. Unfortunately the tablets were bought on the antiquities market rather than being scientifically excavated. Background here.

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Collapsing Pyramid at the Hindu Temple of Sukuh to Be Restored by 2016

    Karanganyar, Central Java - The Central Java Heritage Conservation Agency plans to restore the Hindu...

    Jim Davila (

    Review of Hoff, Friedman, Chazan, The Trial of the Talmud: Paris, 1240

    H-JUDAIC REVIEW: Jean Connell Hoff, John Friedman, and Robert Chazan. The Trial of the Talmud: Paris, 1240. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2012. ix + 182 pp. $19.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-88844-303-8.

    Reviewed by
    Piero Capelli
    Published on
    H-Judaic (January, 2015)
    Commissioned by
    Jason Kalman

    Disputation and Desecration: The Talmud Trial of 1240.
    This volume is an excellent and up-to-date tool (esecially convenient for classes) on the Paris Talmud trial and its aftermath and on Jewish-Christian polemics in the Middle Ages in general, for both an academic and a nonacademic readership. In particular, we still have much to learn from research on the events of 1240 and the related Hebrew account.

    Faculty of Classics, Cambridge

    Temporary Lectureship in Classics (Ancient History)

    Temporary Lectureship in Classics (Ancient History)

    Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

    Creativi e tecnici insieme per promuovere il patrimonio culturale digitale

    europeanatech 2015I veloci sviluppi tecnologici hanno rivoluzionato il modo di accedere al nostro passato. Oggi il nostro patrimonio culturale presenta a sviluppatori e modellatori di dati continue sfide, tra cui le richieste di contenuti ad alta risoluzione, diritti cancellati per il riutilizzo creativo e l'accesso immediato ai dati audio e film. La risposta a queste e alle future sfide di memorizzazione e di esposizione del nostro patrimonio culturale digitale in termini di costi effettivi e vie innovative saranno condivise da tecnici esperti, sviluppatori e ricercatori a Parigi nella Seconda Conferenza EuropeanaTech in programma presso la Biblioteca Nazionale di Francia il 12 e 13 Febbraio 2015.

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

    Sayings attributed to Jesus in Muslim sources, translated by Anthony Alcock

    In the Patrologia Orientalis 13 and 19 is a collection of deeds and sayings attributed to Jesus in Muslim sources of the 10th-11th century.  This was edited by Miguel Asin y Palacios in 1919 and 1924.  Asin apparently took the curious view that these went back to the 1st century.  (Anyone familiar at all with Arabic literature will be aware how much story-telling and elaboration features in it, so we need not take that opinion very seriously!)  But it is good to have these things, since they will undoubtedly pop up in odd places.

    Anthony Alcock has started to translate this edition into English, and he has kindly made it available online to us all, with an explanatory introduction.  Here is the first part:


    Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

    Undicimila biblioteche sulle mappe TomTom

    biblioteche tom tomIl Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo ha recentemente annunciato che sono ben 11 mila le biblioteche del database Anagrafe delle Biblioteche Italiane (Abi), gestito dall’Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico delle Biblioteche Italiane e delle Informazioni Bibliografiche (Iccu) del MiBACT, visibili nelle mappe TomTom Places e TomTom Routes, disponibili in versione mobile per gli utenti di Android e Apple.

    Szabó Csaba (About Roman Religion)

    CIMRM Supplementum for Dacia: some notes

    As in many provinces already exist, a revision of Vermaseren’s monumental corpus is a great necessity.

    Here are some new elements, recently (re)discovered which change some pages in the CIMRM.

    CIMRM 1938 – rediscovered last year in the museum of Arad

    CIMRM 2033 – first English publication of the small finds from Sarmizegetusa

    Articles on two other important Mithraic monuments are already in the press.

    fig. 2.

    The recently rediscovered CIMRM 1938. Photos by Victor Sava, Museum of Arad 

    SONY DSC fig. 3.SONY DSC

    Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    2015.01.47: Public Spectacles in Roman and Late Antique Palestine. Revealing antiquity, 21

    Review of Zeev Weiss, Public Spectacles in Roman and Late Antique Palestine. Revealing antiquity, 21. Cambridge, MA; London: 2014. Pp. xii, 361. $49.95. ISBN 9780674048317.

    2015.01.46: Crafting Characters: Heroes and Heroines in the Ancient Greek Novel

    Review of Koen De Temmerman, Crafting Characters: Heroes and Heroines in the Ancient Greek Novel. Oxford; New York: 2014. Pp. xxi, 395. $150.00. ISBN 9780199686148.

    Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

    Un'app in realtà aumentata per il Temporary Museum di Torino

    temporary museum appE' stata presentata in occasione dell'evento pubblico "Reale e Virturale", organizzato in occasione del primo anno di apertura del Temporary Museum Torino lo scorso 29 gennaio, la nuova App per visitare in realtà aumentata gli spazi del Museo torinese.

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    New From Trismegistos

    TOP 8 (Click to download)
    Y. Broux
    Double Names in Roman Egypt: A Prosopography
    Version 1.0 (January 2015), Leuven 2015, ix & 357 pp. (2.3 Mb).
    ISBN: 978-94-9060-408-0 

    TOP SS 1 forthcoming (Click to download)
    K. Geens
    Panopolis, a Nome Capital in Egypt in the Roman and Byzantine Period (ca. AD 200-600)
    Leuven 2014 [= Diss. Leuven 2007], xiii & 578 pp. (28.4 Mb).
    ISBN: 978-94-9060-409-7 

    Trismegistos Online Publications (TOP)
    This series, edited by W. Clarysse (K.U.Leuven), M. Depauw (K.U.Leuven), and formerly also the late H.J. Thissen (Universität zu Köln), aims to provide freely downloadable pdf-documents with scholarly tools based upon or providing links to the Trismegistos database.

    Contributors can send in manuscripts in Word format to The editors will decide whether the manuscript fits in the series and can be accepted for reviewing. An anonymous version of the manuscript will then be sent to two or more peers for evaluation. On the basis of their report the editors will take a decision whether to publish it in the series or not. Authors will be given the anonymous notes of the reviewers and can be asked to implement changes to their manuscript.

    Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

    First discovery of archaic Homo from Taiwan

    A fossil jawbone recovered from the seabed near Taiwan represents the first ancient hominid find from the region; dating is imprecise – anywhere from 10 to 190ka – but the form is more reminiscent of archaic hominids rather than recent ones. If so, it lends weight to the theory that there were multiple groups of ancient hominids that existed outside of Africa.

    Jawbone of Penghu 1. Source: Ancient Origins, 20150128

    Jawbone of Penghu 1. Source: Ancient Origins, 20150128

    The first archaic Homo from Taiwan
    Nature Communications, 27 January 2015

    Ancient Human Fossil Could Be New Primitive Species
    Live Science, 27 January 2015

    Taiwan Jaw Bone Connected to the Origins of Humanity, May Reveal Entirely New Prehistoric Species
    Ancient Origins, 28 January 2015

    Recent studies of an increasing number of hominin fossils highlight regional and chronological diversities of archaic Homo in the Pleistocene of eastern Asia. However, such a realization is still based on limited geographical occurrences mainly from Indonesia, China and Russian Altai. Here we describe a newly discovered archaic Homo mandible from Taiwan (Penghu 1), which further increases the diversity of Pleistocene Asian hominins. Penghu 1 revealed an unexpectedly late survival (younger than 450 but most likely 190–10 thousand years ago) of robust, apparently primitive dentognathic morphology in the periphery of the continent, which is unknown among the penecontemporaneous fossil records from other regions of Asia except for the mid-Middle Pleistocene Homo from Hexian, Eastern China. Such patterns of geographic trait distribution cannot be simply explained by clinal geographic variation of Homo erectus between northern China and Java, and suggests survival of multiple evolutionary lineages among archaic hominins before the arrival of modern humans in the region.

    Read the full paper here.

    Public Lecture: The Khmer Empire and its Road Network

    Cambodian archaeologist Ea Darith will be giving a presentation in Singapore next month. Readers in Singapore may want to check it out.

    The Khmer Empire and its Road Network
    Date: 12 February 2015
    Time: 3.00 – 4.30 pm
    Venue: Seminar Room 2, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

    From the 9th to 15th century, the Khmer Empire ruled over a large area of Mainland Southeast Asia, which was bordered by China to the north; the Malay Peninsula to the south; the Mon state to the west; and Champa and Daiviet to the east. The empire’s capital was located in the Angkor area and consisted of a concentrated series of monumental structures. These included a large capital city complex which encompassed a 3×3 km area (now called Angkor Thom), and the state temple of Angkor Wat—the largest Hindu temple in the world to date. The Angkor complex also consisted of huge eastern and western water reservoirs, canal systems, hundreds of other smaller temples, as well as a road network from the Angkor capital to other provinces within its domain.

    In order to solidify control over this vast area, the rulers of Angkor constructed many roads that connected the Angkor capital to its former capitals as well as new conquered territories. There were two roads to the east and northeast of Angkor which connected to the former capital cities of Sambor Prei Kuk, Kok Ker, and Wat Phu. To the west and northwest, there were two roads that had connections to Phimai, Sdok Kak Thom, and probably Lopburi. The late 12th century Preah Khan temple inscription tells us that there are 121 rest houses and 102 hospitals located along these roads and provincial cities. The inscriptions also clearly mentioned 17 rest houses along the 245-km-road from Angkor to Phimai, which was considered the northwestern region.

    The Living Angkor Road Project (LARP), a Cambodian–Thai joint research project, has been conducting research along the said road since 2005. The team has already identified 32 ancient bridges, 385 water structures, 134 temples, 17 rest houses, 8 hospitals, a number of iron smelting sites, hundreds of stoneware ceramic kilns, and many habitation sites.

    Registration details here.

    January 29, 2015

    Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

    King Tut Gold Mask Botch Job: Calls for Investigation as Head Restorer Demoted

    While the archaeological blogosphere is still claiming the Tut Gold Mask botch job is no big deal or even that such concerns that have been raised stem from "neo-colonialist" attitudes, more serious commentators have demanded an investigation and the head of restoration at the Cairo Museum has been demoted.  At least the offending restoration specialist was not condemned to death.  That has already happened to others in Sisi's Egypt for those charged with destruction of cultural property.

    Mary Beard (A Don's Life)

    Political Book of the Year


    For the last three years, one of my favourite "jobs" has been to be a judge for "the political book of the year", a set of literary prizes masterminded by Iain Dale, who has been a good mate since we bumped into each other, from the opposite ends of the political spectrum, on a radio panel discussion a few years ago.

    Anyway, last night was the presentation of the awards. Amazingly we met in my judging category -- which was the overall "political book of the year" -- over a week ago and there wasn't a leak at all, and the same went for all the other categories (polemic, practical politics, international affairs etc) so far as I could see. When I sat down in the IMAX in London last night, I hadn't a clue who had won what.

    I had a particular interest in two of the many categories of prizes. First, was the one I'd been a judge for. There was a fantastic array of contenders here, including Andrew Roberts's Napoleon, Chris Bryant's History of Parliament, and Alan Johnson's Please Mister Postman. But the winner was (as they say) a great book by Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin, Revolt on the Right.

    This is a book about the rise of UKIP, and it is both unashamedly academic and very nicely written (not as rare a combination as people often assume). And it was written before UKIP's recent successes, and actually predicted those successes pretty accurately. I thought a fascinating and essential read.

    The other category I was concentrating on was the "World War One Book of the Year", as I was actually presenting the award for this one. I can tell you that presenting the award if almost as nerve wracking as waiting for the announcement wondering if you have won it -- not quite I admit.. but I do know quite a lot about turning up to an awards ceremony, knowing I am on the shortlist, and not getting it! (The inside story, I am told, is if the award organisers appear worried about your transport arrangements and offer to send a car, you've probably won.)

    What's nerve wracking? Well the whole issue of whether you will bungle the whole thing, whether you will say the poor winner's name wrong, and frankly look a real damn fool, partly because you already took too much drink at the prequel party.

    Anyway, I think I managed. And the winner was David Olusoga for his book The World’s War. I was really pleased about this, as I have been banging on a bit about how, in WW1 commemorations, we ought to be getting a bit further beyond the western front and British troops. And here was a book that did just that.

    So congratulations all round.

    Compitum - publications

    P. Halstead, Two Oxen Ahead: Pre-Mechanized Farming in the Mediterranean


    P. Halstead, Two Oxen Ahead: Pre-Mechanized Farming in the Mediterranean, Chichester, 2014.

    Éditeur : Wiley-Blackwell
    384 pages
    ISBN : 978-1-4051-9283-5
    72 €

    This revealing study shows how careful analysis of recent farming practices, and related cultural traditions, in communities around the Mediterranean can enhance our understanding of prehistoric and Greco-Roman societies.

    Includes a wealth of original interview material and data from field observation
    Provides original approaches to understanding past farming practices and their social contexts
    Offers a revealing comparative perspective on Mediterranean societies' agronomy
    Identifies a number of previously unrecorded climate-related contrasts in farming practices, which have important socio-economic significance
    Explores annual tasks, such as tillage and harvest; inter-annual land management techniques, such as rotation; and intergenerational issues, including capital accumulation

    Source : Wiley Blackwell

    J. Elsner, M. Meyer, Art and Rhetoric in Roman Culture


    J. Elsner, M. Meyer (éd.), Art and Rhetoric in Roman Culture, Cambridge, 2014.

    Éditeur : Cambridge University Press
    524 pages
    ISBN : 9781107000711

    Rhetoric was fundamental to education and to cultural aspiration in the Greek and Roman worlds. It was one of the key aspects of antiquity that slipped under the line between the ancient world and Christianity erected by the early Church in late antiquity. Ancient rhetorical theory is obsessed with examples and discussions drawn from visual material. This book mines this rich seam of theoretical analysis from within Roman culture to present an internalist model for some aspects of how the Romans understood, made and appreciated their art. The understanding of public monuments like the Arch of Titus or Trajan's Column or of imperial statuary, domestic wall painting, funerary altars and sarcophagi, as well as of intimate items like children's dolls, is greatly enriched by being placed in relevant rhetorical contexts created by the Roman world.

    Source : CUP

    Ancient Art

    The Tomnaverie Stone Circle, near Tarland, Aberdeenshire,...

    The Tomnaverie Stone Circle, near Tarland, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

    It took us about an hour to drive to this remarkable site from Aberdeen, and while still freezing, we fortunately got a beautiful, clear day. The site was completely deserted of other tourists, free to visit, and had unrestricted access to the monument -allowing you to walk around, and observe the stone circle up close.

    The Tomnaverie Stone Circle dates from the Neolithic period, about 2500 BC. Although stone circles are relatively common in the British Isles, Recumbent stone circles, such as Tomnaverie, are unique to north-east Scotland. There are approximately 100 examples of this type of stone circle known, and they are characterised by having a large stone on its side, with two upright stones flanking it (see photo 3).

    It is not entirely known why such recumbent stone circles were built. Tomnaverie was built on the edge of cultivated land, and away from the settlements of the living. It has been suggested that their purpose was to frame sacred landscape features (for example, Tomnaverie provides stunning views of Lochnagar), or might have been associated with the dead. Another line of thought is that they were closely related to agriculture, and used for astronomical observation: enabling the local farmers to track the changing seasons. For example, at Tomnaverie, the Moon would have been framed by the large 3-stone formation at midsummer. 

    Much later, at around 1000 BC, the site was reused for cremation burials. In more recent history, the monument came close to complete destruction: nearly being destroyed by quarrying prior to the 1920s. Thankfully, intervention took place, and from this point the circle was taken into state care, and preserved for us to still view today. It stands as a testament to the Neolithic community who lived on this landscape, and provides us with a physical connection to these people we know so little about. It is a strange thing to be standing on the hill of the monument and looking out to the surrounding mountainous landscape, sharing the view of the prehistoric creators of Tomnaverie, only over 4000 years apart.

    Photos taken by myself. AncientArt in Europe 2014/15.

    Archaeology Magazine

    2,200-Year-Old Moat Discovered in Spain

    Spain-Punic-War-MoatBARCELONA, SPAIN—Students led by Jaume Noguera of the University of Barcelona and Jordi López of the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology were attempting to reconstruct the route traveled by Carthaginian troops through northeastern Spain when they discovered a 2,200-year-old moat with electrical resistivity tomography. The moat may have been built to defend the town of Vilar del Valls, which is thought to have been destroyed during the Second Punic War, when Roman troops defeated Carthaginian troops left in Iberia by Hannibal to protect his supply route to Italy. Carthaginian coins and lead projectiles also point to the presence of the Carthaginians in the region. The project will continue to survey the area to find the rest of the ancient town of Vilar del Valls. To read more about warfare in this period, see "Abandoned Anchors From Punic Wars."

    Ancient Surgery Techniques Tested by Scientists in Siberia

    Siberian-Trepanation-KnivesNOVOSIBIRSK, SIBERIA—Neurosurgeon Aleksei Krivoshapkin and scientists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science examined the holes in the skulls of ancient human remains discovered in the Altai Mountains, and concluded that brain surgery was performed some 2,500 years ago with just one tool. “Honestly, I am amazed. We suspect now that in the time of Hippocrates, Altai people could do a very fine diagnosis and carry out skillful trepanations and fantastic brain surgery,” Krivoshapkin told The Siberian Times. The analysis showed that one of the patients, a man between 40 and 45 years old, had suffered a head trauma and developed a blood clot that probably resulted in headaches, nausea, and movement problems. Healing in the bone showed that the hematoma had been removed and that the man lived for years after the surgery. The second skull belonged to a man who may have suffered from a congenital skull deformity that the surgeon fixed. In both cases, the holes in the skulls were small and placed to minimize damage to the patient. “It is clearly seen that the ancient surgeons were very exact and confident in their moves, with no traces of unintentional chips, which are quite natural when cutting bone,” Krivoshapkin said. Archaeologists suspect that the surgeons used bronze knives for the surgery, which have been found in graves from this era. Krivoshapkin used a replica knife to recreate with some difficulty the ancient surgical techniques on a modern skull. “I think it is important to remember that here in the fifth century B.C. Altai was a big center for bone cutting production. People here were very skillful in making different objects from animal bone.”  To read about trepanation in prehistoric Europe, see "Bodies of the Bogs."

    Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

    Kultorte und Heiligtümer auf dem Gebiet des Bosporanischen Reiches

    Ohlerich, I. (2009) : Kultorte und Heiligtümer auf dem Gebiet des Bosporanischen Reiches : vom Beginn der Kolonisation bis zum Ende des 2. Jh. v. Chr, Rostock, PHD thesis .

    Cette thèse s’intéresse aux lieux de culte dans le royaume du Bosphore de l’époque archaïque à la haute époque hellénistique. Après avoir décrit, les lieux de culte des cités de la partie européenne puis asiatique du Bosphore, l’auteur s’intéresse aux monticules de cendre. Ces monticules de cendre sont replacés dans le contexte historique et culturel local afin de mieux comprendre leur signification.

    On trouve en annexe, les références aux inscriptions sacrées, aux listes de noms, aux inscriptions funéraires. 104 planches illustrent cette thèse.

    Le texte de la thèse


    Archaeology Magazine

    Task Force Searches for Charleston’s 18th-C. Sea Wall

    CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA—Bermuda stone and bricks that may be part of a sea wall dating to 1769 have been seen in test pits in Charleston’s White Point Garden. The first signs of the half-mile-long wall consisted of a dozen Bermuda stones in the first hole. “We don’t see that Bermuda stone elsewhere in the city, even along the waterfront,” archaeologist Martha Zierden, who is part of the Walled City Task Force, told The Post and Courier. The second hole revealed a stone wall that may date to the nineteenth century. The third hole exposed a section of brick wall standing five feet tall, but it does not have imported Bermuda stones at its base, as described in Journal B of the Commissioners of Fortifications, a record of work in the city from 1755 to 1770. The journal states that the wall was built by slaves to protect the city’s southern defenses and reclaim beachfront property. The wall was later expanded, but there are no records to indicate that the original wall was ever dismantled. To read in-depth about historical archaeology in the American South, see "Letter From Virginia: American Refugees."

    AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

    Open Access Book: A Cosmopolitan City: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Old Cairo

    A Cosmopolitan City: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Old Cairo

     Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Old Cairo cover 

    Edited by Tasha Vorderstrasse and Tanya Treptow

    Download Terms of Use
    This companion volume to the exhibit of the same name examines the multicultural city of Fustat, capital of medieval Egypt and predecessor to modern Cairo. It explores the interactions of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities within urban city life. These three communities practiced their own beliefs and enacted communal self-government, but they also intermingled on a daily basis and practiced shared traditions of life. Essays by leading scholars examine the different religions and languages found at Fustat, as well as cultural aspects of daily life such as food, industry, and education. The lavishly illustrated catalog presents a new analysis of the Oriental Institute’s collection of artifacts and textual materials from 7th through 12th-century Egypt. Highlights include documents from the Cairo Genizah (a document repository) of the Ben Ezra Synagogue as well as never-before-published artifacts from archaeological excavations conducted at Fustat by George Scanlon on behalf of the American Research Center in Egypt. The volume encourages discussion on the challenges of understanding religion through objects of daily life.

    Table of Contents

    Introduction: Reconstructing Everyday Life at Fustat. Tasha Vorderstrasse and Tanya Treptow
    1. The Muslim Community of Fustat. Jonathan M. Bloom
    2. The Oriental Institute Genizah Documents: A Glimpse of Jewish Life in Medieval Cairo. Michael G. Wechsler and Tasha Vorderstrasse
    3. Christians of Fustat in the First Three Centuries of Islam: The Making of a New Society. Audrey Dridi
    4. Fustat and Its Governor: Administering the Province. Arietta Papaconstantinou
    5. Industries, Manufacturing, and Labor. Maya Schatzmiller
    6. Linguistic Diversity at Fustat. Tasha Vorderstrasse
    7. Childhood at Fustat: Archaeological and Textual Sources. Tasha Vorderstrasse
    8. From Fustat to Palestine: Identifying Fatimid Jewelry Using the Genizah Documents from the Ben Ezra Synagogue. Ayala Lester
    9. Fustat: The Town, Its Inhabitants, Their Food. Paulina Lewicka
    10. Observations on Antiquities in Later Contexts. Vanessa Davies
    11. Fustat to Cairo: An Essay on “Old Cairo.” Donald Whitcomb
    12. A History of Excavations at Fustat. Tanya Treptow
    Concordance of Museum Registration Numbers
    Checklist of the Exhibit

    • Oriental Institute Museum Publications 38
    • Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 2015
    • ISBN-13: 978-1-61491-026-8
    • Pp. 232; 185 illustrations
    • 9 x 11.5 inches, paperback
    • $29.95

    For an up to date list of all Oriental Institute publications available online see:

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    New Book from the Oriental Institute: A Cosmopolitan City: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Old Cairo

    A Cosmopolitan City: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Old Cairo

     Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Old Cairo cover 

    Edited by Tasha Vorderstrasse and Tanya Treptow

    Download Terms of Use
    This companion volume to the exhibit of the same name examines the multicultural city of Fustat, capital of medieval Egypt and predecessor to modern Cairo. It explores the interactions of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities within urban city life. These three communities practiced their own beliefs and enacted communal self-government, but they also intermingled on a daily basis and practiced shared traditions of life. Essays by leading scholars examine the different religions and languages found at Fustat, as well as cultural aspects of daily life such as food, industry, and education. The lavishly illustrated catalog presents a new analysis of the Oriental Institute’s collection of artifacts and textual materials from 7th through 12th-century Egypt. Highlights include documents from the Cairo Genizah (a document repository) of the Ben Ezra Synagogue as well as never-before-published artifacts from archaeological excavations conducted at Fustat by George Scanlon on behalf of the American Research Center in Egypt. The volume encourages discussion on the challenges of understanding religion through objects of daily life.

    Table of Contents

    Introduction: Reconstructing Everyday Life at Fustat. Tasha Vorderstrasse and Tanya Treptow
    1. The Muslim Community of Fustat. Jonathan M. Bloom
    2. The Oriental Institute Genizah Documents: A Glimpse of Jewish Life in Medieval Cairo. Michael G. Wechsler and Tasha Vorderstrasse
    3. Christians of Fustat in the First Three Centuries of Islam: The Making of a New Society. Audrey Dridi
    4. Fustat and Its Governor: Administering the Province. Arietta Papaconstantinou
    5. Industries, Manufacturing, and Labor. Maya Schatzmiller
    6. Linguistic Diversity at Fustat. Tasha Vorderstrasse
    7. Childhood at Fustat: Archaeological and Textual Sources. Tasha Vorderstrasse
    8. From Fustat to Palestine: Identifying Fatimid Jewelry Using the Genizah Documents from the Ben Ezra Synagogue. Ayala Lester
    9. Fustat: The Town, Its Inhabitants, Their Food. Paulina Lewicka
    10. Observations on Antiquities in Later Contexts. Vanessa Davies
    11. Fustat to Cairo: An Essay on “Old Cairo.” Donald Whitcomb
    12. A History of Excavations at Fustat. Tanya Treptow
    Concordance of Museum Registration Numbers
    Checklist of the Exhibit

    • Oriental Institute Museum Publications 38
    • Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 2015
    • ISBN-13: 978-1-61491-026-8
    • Pp. 232; 185 illustrations
    • 9 x 11.5 inches, paperback
    • $29.95

    For an up to date list of all Oriental Institute publications available online see:

    Archaeology Magazine

    Human Language Adapted to Climate

    CORAL GABLES, FLORIDA—A group of researchers from the University of Miami, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics have found a relationship between the environment and vocal sounds that they say is consistent throughout the world and present in different languages. Linguist Caleb Everett of the University of Miami and his colleagues examined more than 3,700 languages. They say that 629 of the languages use complex tones, where tone or pitch are used to give meaning to words, and that these languages are more likely to occur in regions of the world that are more humid, such as Africa, Southeast Asia, Amazonia, New Guinea, and humid regions of North America. Languages with simple tones occur more frequently in colder areas or deserts, perhaps because inhaling dry air may decrease the elasticity of vocal folds. “It does not imply that languages are completely determined by climate, but that climate can, over the long haul, be one of the factors that helps shape languages,” he said. To read about how linguists reconstruct ancient languages, see "Telling Tales in Proto-Indo-European."

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Open Access Book: Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies: An Introduction

    Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies: An Introduction
    Edited by: Alessandro Bausi (General editor), Pier Giorgio Borbone, Françoise Briquel-Chatonnet, Paola Buzi, Jost Gippert, Caroline Macé, Marilena Maniaci, Zisis Melissakis, Laura E. Parodi, Witold Witakowski
    Project editor: Eugenia Sokolinski
    Printed by: Tredition, Hamburg
    ISBN: 978-3-7323-1768-4 (Hardcover; €56.29)
    ISBN: 978-3-7323-1770-7 (Paperback; €29.01)
    ISBN: 978-3-7323-1769-1 (Ebook; €2.99)
    xxii+677 pages
    With contributions by:
    Felix Albrecht; Per Ambrosiani; Tara Andrews; Patrick Andrist; Ewa Balicka-Witakowska; Alessandro Bausi; Malachi Beit-Arié; Daniele Bianconi; André Binggeli; Pier Giorgio Borbone; Claire Bosc-Tiessé; Françoise Briquel-Chatonnet; Paola Buzi; Valentina Calzolari; Alberto Cantera; Laurent Capron; Ralph M. Cleminson; Marie Cornu; Marie Cronier; Lorenzo Cuppi; Javier del Barco; Johannes den Heijer; François Déroche; Alain Desreumaux; Arianna D'Ottone; Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst; Stephen Emmel; Edna Engel; Zuzana Gažáková; Antonia Giannouli; Jost Gippert; Alessandro Gori; Oliver Hahn; Paul Hepworth; Stéphane Ipert; Grigory Kessel; Dickran Kouymjian; Paolo La Spisa; Isabelle de Lamberterie; Hugo Lundhaug; Caroline Macé; Marilena Maniaci; Michael Marx; Alessandro Mengozzi; Manfred Mayer; Joseph Moukarzel; Sébastien Moureau; Mauro Nobili; Renate Nöller; Denis Nosnitsin; Maria-Teresa Ortega Monasterio; Bernard Outtier; Laura E. Parodi; Tamara Pataridze; Irmeli Perho; Delio Vania Proverbio; Ira Rabin; Arietta Revithi; Valentina Sagaria Rossi; Nikolas Sarris; Karin Scheper; Andrea Schmidt; Denis Searby; Lara Sels; David Sklare; Wido van Peursen; Annie Vernay-Nouri; François Vinourd; Sever J. Voicu; Witold Witakowski; Jan Just Witkam; Ugo Zanetti.

    The volume is the main achievement of the Research Networking Programme ‘Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies’, funded by the European Science Foundation in the years 2009–2014. It is the first attempt to introduce a wide audience to the entirety of the manuscript cultures of the Mediterranean East. The chapters reflect the state of the art in such fields as codicology, palaeography, textual criticism and text editing, cataloguing, and manuscript conservation as applied to a wide array of language traditions including Arabic, Armenian, Avestan, Caucasian Albanian, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Coptic, Ethiopic, Georgian, Greek, Hebrew, Persian, Slavonic, Syriac, and Turkish. Seventy-seven scholars from twenty-one countries joined their efforts to produce the handbook. The resulting reference work can be recommended both to scholars and students of classical and oriental studies and to all those involved in manuscript research, digital humanities, and preservation of cultural heritage. The volume includes maps, illustrations, indexes, and an extensive bibliography.  

    Book cover
    Table of Contents
    Complete download
    Download the entire volume
    Download chapter by chapter
    Pages i-xxii: Front matter
    Pages 1-68: General introduction
    Pages 69-266: Chapter 1. Codicology
    Pages 267-320: Chapter 2. Palaeography
    Pages 321-466: Chapter 3. Textual criticism and text editing
    Pages 467-538: Chapter 4. Cataloguing
    Pages 539-582: Chapter 5. Conservation and preservation
    Pages 583-654: References
    Pages 655-677: Indexes

    Open Access Archaeology

    Open Access Archaeology Digest #678

    Open Access (free to read) Archaeology articles:

    Forgotten buildings: detached kitchens in Southeast England

    Excavation of a cairn at Cnip, Uig, Isle of Lewis.

    James Robertson’s Tour through some of the Western Islands, &c., of Scotland in 1768.

    Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

    ArcheoNet BE

    Resten uit de Metaaltijden in Sint-Amandsberg

    In Sint-Amandsberg (Gent) vond gisteren een publieksmoment plaats op de opgravingen aan de Kasteelwegel. Volgens opdrachtgever Matexi werden op het terrein, waarop binnenkort 38 nieuwe woningen gebouwd zullen worden, al verschillende interessante archeologische vondsten aangetroffen. Volgens de eerste vaststellingen zou het gaan om minimaal vijf structuren uit de Metaaltijden en een Romeins graf.

    In het najaar van 2014 werd op de site van projectontwikkelaar Matexi en zijn partners een vooronderzoek uitgevoerd in het projectgebied van 2,5 hectare. Daaruit bleek dat een archeologisch vervolgonderzoek noodzakelijk was in een zone van 4.900 m². Monument Vandekerckhove werd door de projectontwikkelaars aangesteld om het onderzoek uit te voeren in samenwerking met Dienst Stadsarcheologie en Stadsarchief Gent en het agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed van de Vlaamse overheid.

    De archeologische sporen, voornamelijk van menselijke origine, werden goed bewaard door de intactheid van de bodemopbouw. Het gaat onder meer om greppels, paalkuilen (al dan niet als onderdeel van een structuur) en kuilen. Er werden minimaal vijf structuren vastgesteld die 2000 tot 3000 jaar oud zouden zijn. Volgens eerste vaststellingen gaat het om twee huisplattegronden uit de Bronstijd en een huis en twee vierpalige spiekers uit de IJzertijd. “Wij hebben ook sporen gevonden uit de Romeinse tijd. We konden al een graf en aardewerk uit die periode identificeren,” zegt Bert Acke, afdelingsverantwoordelijke Archeologie van Monument Vandekerckhove. “Het is opvallend dat er op zo een klein oppervlakte zowel sporen uit de Metaaltijden als uit de Romeinse tijd aanwezig zijn. Kennelijk is het doorheen de geschiedenis een erg aantrekkelijke plek geweest om te wonen,” besluit hij.

    “Het is niet de eerste keer dat we als buurtontwikkelaar met een archeologische vondst geconfronteerd worden,” gaat Alexis De Groote, Business Unit Manager Matexi Oost-Vlaanderen, verder. “We doen dan steeds het nodige om de archeologen hun werk te laten doen en denken samen met hen na over de wijze waarop geïnteresseerden kennis kunnen nemen van de verborgen schatten in hun buurt.”

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Saved Mali manuscripts face damage in new home

    After being spirited away from under the noses of rampaging Islamic extremists, thousands of...

    The Archaeology News Network

    Mummified corpse of 200 year old 'meditating monk' found in Mongolia

    The well-preserved mummifed body of a meditating monk, believed to be several centuries old, was discovered in the Songinokhairkhan province of Mongolia, according to Mongolia's Morning Newspaper. The 'meditating mummy' found in Mongolia  [Credit: Morning Newspaper]"The mummified body sits in a lotus position, as if still meditating. Experts that only had time to carry basic visual test say they believe the body can be about 200...

    [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

    BiblePlaces Blog

    ISIS Destroying Nineveh Remains


    A Kurdish official revealed on Tuesday evening that the ISIS organization had bombed large parts and tracts of the ancient Nineveh wall, indicating that such an act violates the right of human culture and heritage.

    The media official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Mosul, Saed Mimousine said in an interview for, “ISIS militants blew up today large parts and expanses of the archaeological wall of Nineveh in al-Tahrir neighborhood,” explaining that, “The terrorist group used explosives in the process of destroying the archaeological fence.”

    Mimousine added, “The Wall of Nineveh is one of the most distinctive archaeological monuments in Iraq and the Middle East,” adding that, “The fence dates back to the Assyrian civilization.”

    The full article includes a photo of the gate. A related article shows a photo of an explosion.

    Nineveh is best known as one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. In the 8th century BC, Jonah visited the city and Sennacherib began construction on his “Palace Without a Rival.” Fortunately, many of the important artifacts were removed from the site in the 19th century and are now on display in the British Museum.

    HT: Agade

    Nineveh, north palace of Ashurbanipal, after capture of Babylon, tb112004733

    Relief from Ashurbanipal’s palace in Nineveh
    Now on display in the British Museum

    AIA Fieldnotes

    Prehispanic Pueblo Societies: The Big Picture from the Village Ecodyamics Project

    Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
    Sponsored by National Academy of Sciences
    Event Type (you may select more than one): 
    Start Date: 
    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Part of the NAS Distinctive Voices series, this lecture is by Tim Koher, Regents Professor of Anthropology at Washington State University.  In it he will frame recent VEP modeling and empirical research on the central Mesa Verde and northern Rio Grande regions within a much larger picture of population growth reconstructed from osteological remains and movement reconstructed from tree-ring dates for the entire upland Southwest.

    Tickets are free but limited - online reservations are required.

    This lecture is co-sponsored by the AIA Orange County Society. Read more »

    AIA Society: 


    Susan Marty
    Call for Papers: 

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Corpse of 200-Year-Old Monk Found in Lotus Position

    The amazingly intact remains of a meditating monk have been discovered in the Songinokhairkhan...

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    Yes Minister, You Were Set up

    The minister metal detecting
    MP Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham, Conservative) generally is remarkably supportive of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. the background to that is that on the metal detecting forums we hear of metal detectorists actually approaching this or that MP to get them to enquire after PAS funding or whatever. Mr Loughton presumably has metal detectorists in his constituency and presumably seeks their approval. So it's a bit odd in that context that he came out with a rather unusual question, unusual in the context of his earlier ones. He was induced to ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 20 January 2015, cW). If we assume that he's not asking this because he is interested in curtailing the Scheme's funding, we might consider why he asked it in the first place.

    Is it taking things too far to suspect that he was again put up to this by metal detectorists? What answer did they expect to get? Given the increased angst that metal detectorists have been feeling over the past few years that their critics have been pointing out that voluntary recording is not getting more than a fraction of the objects dug up and into artefact collectors' pockets recorded by the Portable Antiquities scheme (among them the Heritage Action Artefact Erosion Counter), were the initiators of this question not eager to have an official statement that these criticisms are invalid? How, after all, could a government minister responsible for it answer otherwise?

    Mr Vaizey was probably not very happy to be placed with his back against the wall like that. How to answer? He was probably aware that, as I pointed out:
    The PAS's own figures published on p. 14 of the 'Guide for Researchers', produced as part of the Leverhulme Trust funded project 'The Portable Antiquities Scheme as a tool for archaeological research', indicate that metal detectorists alone are removing something like 260,000 objects from the archaeological record a year. Given that the PAS has for some time been capable of recording only around 80,000 finds per year from all finders (Ibid.), it is difficult to consider this as in any way an "outstanding" result. The annual 180 000 artefact shortfall indicated by the PAS's own figures means that every six years another million archaeological artefacts dug up by artefact hunters are simply disappearing into private collections or onto the antiquities market without adequate record under current 'heritage' policies. In England and Wales, the government is significantly under-resourcing the Scheme to a degree which prevents it making up the difference or even recording all finds reported to it.
     He could hardly say that, could he? So he smiled his charming little-boy smile and acted like he did not understand the question, and dodged the issue:
    I have made no formal assessment of the effectiveness of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
    He was after all asked, "what assessment he has made" and therefore was not duty-bound to mention the PAS's own assessment. I think one may well be forgiven for thinking that the bulk of his reply had been drafted by some office girl in the PAS regurgitating web-found bits of text to bulk out the obviously cop-out "answer".

    In reply to "Does this answer the above question?" normal people may like to vote "no", he all-too-obviously does not say that the PAS is not effectively mitigating the knowledge losses due to artefact hunting. Metal detectorists will want to vote "no" in disappointment than he did not come straight out and say "The Heritage Action Artefact Erosion Counter is wrong", but deftly avoided the issue. Go on Mr Loughton, try again. Baz and Slasher, Trev and Tony will fank you for it.

    The Archaeology News Network

    Europol seizes hundreds of smuggled Egyptian artefacts

    Hundreds of pillaged ancient Egyptian artifacts have been seized in an operation initiated by the Spanish Guardia Civil and the police of Cyprus, Europol announced Wednesday. Spanish authorities display some of the recovered  Egyptian antiquities [Credit: CSM]“The artifacts were discovered hidden in cheap vases during an inspection of a shipping container from Alexandria, Egypt, at the Port of Valencia on Spain’s Mediterranean...

    [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

    Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews)

    The Giant's Quoit restoration project

    In the heart of Cornwall (UK), at Carwynnen, is a field known locally as the Devil's Frying Pan. Located in that field is the now fully restored 6,000 year old...

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Data archaeology helps builders avoid buried treasure

    IN 2010, when builders were excavating the site of the former World Trade Center in New York, they...

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    "Working with the Dealers"

    Antiquities La-la land
    "International cooperation is key to shrinking the market for looted art from the Middle East" says UK MP Robert Jenrick () former director of Christies. After discussing deliberate destruction of monuments by fundamentalist Islamist militants, the conservative MP for Newark says, " it gets worse",
    "through systematic looting, these works of art are funding the murderous activities of IS. Indeed, these activities are now believed to be their third largest source of revenue, after oil and robbing banks. [ooops PMB] A brave network of informants, today’s “Monuments Men”, give us shocking reports from the ground: IS employing contractors with bulldozers to harvest antiquities on an industrial scale; IS deploying militants to ensure their control sites and “supervise” digging; and licensing looting with a formal “tithe” of around 20%. The sums involved are difficult to gauge, but likely run into tens of millions of dollars of income for IS and other terrorist groups 
    I'm not really convinced he's checked - or understands-  the next information he presents as facts either. I suspect his researchers have only half-read what they found on the blogs (and I think it is clear that's where this comes from). His conclusion is that "our heritage is at risk and is being used to fund terror and it is imperative that we act now". Well, it certainly IS imperative that we act now to deal with the trade in illicit antiquities, and it IS good to hear that a group of members of the British Parliament are urging action and have found support in the UK Culture Secretary Sajid Javid.
    So what can government do? The key to fighting the trade in illicit antiquities lies in co-operation. In the UK and the US we are asking for coordinators to be appointed who can establish forums to bring together law enforcement, museum representatives, government and representatives of the art trade. We do not need new laws in the UK at least, where we have a robust framework tackling the sale of Syrian and Iraqi antiquities since the outbreak of recent conflicts....
    "We do not need new laws in the UK at least?" I would question whether the Right Honourable Gentleman really has thought through how effective the UK's legislation in this regard actually is in practice. Is that what the Portable Antiquities Scheme would tell him if he asked (did he ask)? Is that what the CBA would tell him if he asked (did he ask)? Is that what the CIfA would tell him if he asked (did he ask)? Is that what the Glasgow Trafficking Culture people would say if asked (did he ask)? Is that what anyone in the UK researching illicit antiquities would say if he asked (did he ask)? Of course UK law needs changing. The Palmer Report (remember that?) and the Nighthawking report said the same thing about dealing with illicit antiquities - several years ago and the British government has.... done nothing. As for those "forums", are the police, museums and dealers the only persons needed to discuss these issues with the UK government? MP Jenrick  goes on to state the obvious that we need a change in law enforcement.
     In many countries dedicated art and antiquities law enforcement is under-resourced to deal with domestic crime and certainly inadequate to tackle international criminal and terrorist activity. Cases can go uninvestigated despite evidence, cooperation with the industry can be limited and penalties imposed by the courts are often dispiritingly low. That needs to change and there are positive noises from the UK and US governments. 
    Yeah, and...? How are the police going to apply these "wonderful laws" when they do not work? But of course we get the UK's typically fluffy bunny approach to antiquities collecting beginning from "above all, we need to promote and reward good market behaviour". Hmmm PAS all over again:
    And to the surprise of critics, there is much of it going on amongst major players in the industry. The decision of a number of auction houses to significantly increase their due diligence, principally by requiring evidence of provenance predating the conflicts of the early 21st century (using the year 2000 as an immovable date) is hugely welcome. If only objects with provenance of this kind can be sold, the market for illicit works will shrink. There is early evidence that this is changing the behaviour of buyers and sellers.
    What the Dickens...? Where did this "2000" materialise from? How interesting that dealers and their supporters can declare it and pretend that they're being generous while ignoring the standard arbitrary date of 1970. I note also that the author accepts that objects with firm collecting histories going back fifteen years can be found - most dealers suggest they cannot and they'd all end up in the gutter if we insist on any kind of documentation. What "evidence" does Robert Jenrick have that even the major dealers are keeping out and collectors refraining from buying dodgily-documented items in general? The only thing that will surprise "critics" is Jenrick's statement in defiance of the fact that this is simply not what is happening, as anyone who looks into it can see. (By the way, critics of what?). Writing for the Art Newspaper the Member of Parliament for Newark blunders blithely on:
     If these standards could become common practice they will not only change the market, but ultimately feedback to those on the ground in Iraq, Syria and future conflict zones. Those of us who oppose an outright ban on antiquities—believing it would be counter-productive, creating a black market in which both antiquities of licit and illicit origin were traded—or of further restrictive laws and treaties, welcome the voluntary actions of the industry and hope they quickly become common standards that protect the industry from the heavy hand of some law-makers.
    Well and truly in la-la land. In discussions with the antiquity dealers and collectors, all of whom will tell you they deplore heritage crime, the moment we get to the nitty-gritty "why don't you then....?' find a thousand and one reasons why they can do nothing to change the damaging no-questions-asked (ask no questions get told no lies) status quo. Christie's too guards jealously its right to be secretive about where exactly artefacts they sell have come from and been, and when. Reading the dealers' lobbyists's websites and forums (and there is no shortage of sources of information on this) shows unequivocally that there never will be any "voluntary actions of the industry" as a whole to make it more transparent and accountable. Over there, it is a 'cold dead hands' mentality and I do not see why Robert Jenrick (who surely, given his employment history, cannot be unaware of this) disregards this simple fact. At his conclusion, we almost hear the strains of Rule Britannia rising and swirling around his declamations:
    In times of great turmoil it is easy to feel helpless and to turn a blind eye, but the leadership of the United Kingdom, the United States, our allies and that of the art business itself can make a difference. Our transatlantic campaign seeks to recognise and support those in the art business who take a lead, by urging co-operation, sharing of information in relationships of trust and resourcing and prioritising law enforcement—backing good market behaviour; tackling the unethical and the criminal robustly.

    UPDATE 29.01.15David Gill has a few words on this text too: 'The market and looting: a Parliamentarian's view' Looting Matters Thursday, January 29, 2015.

    ArcheoNet BE

    16de-eeuwse kunst en WO I-erfgoed op Topstukkenlijst

    Vlaams minister van Cultuur Sven Gatz voegt 86 stukken en 9 verzamelingen aan de Vlaamse Topstukkenlijst. Het gaat vooral om kunstwerken uit de 16de eeuw. Onder meer het schilderij ‘De Dulle Griet’ van Pieter Bruegel I en het ‘Marianum’ uit de Sint-Leonarduskerk van Zoutleeuw. Ook enkele stukken gerelateerd aan de Eerste Wereldoorlog, worden toegevoegd. Daarbij gaat het onder meer om de enige bewaarde en geannoteerde overzichtskaart van de Dodendraad ten oosten van de Schelde en het oorlogsdagboek van schrijfster Virginie Loveling. Meer info op

    AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

    Open Access Book: Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies: An Introduction

      Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies: An Introduction

    Edited by: Alessandro Bausi (General editor), Pier Giorgio Borbone, Françoise Briquel-Chatonnet, Paola Buzi, Jost Gippert, Caroline Macé, Marilena Maniaci, Zisis Melissakis, Laura E. Parodi, Witold Witakowski
    Project editor: Eugenia Sokolinski
    Printed by: Tredition, Hamburg
    ISBN: 978-3-7323-1768-4
    ISBN: 978-3-7323-1770-7
    ISBN: 978-3-7323-1769-1

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Europol seizes hundreds of smuggled ancient Egyptian artifacts in Europe

    CAIRO: Hundreds of pillaged ancient Egyptian artifacts have been seized in an operation initiated...

    AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

    New Open Access Journal: Middle East Media and Book Reviews (MEMBR)

    Middle East Media and Book Reviews (MEMBR) online is an open access e-journal designed to publish detailed reviews of recently or soon to be published media and books on the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The reviews are written by experts in their respective fields. MEMBR is edited by Professor M. Aman, PhD, EIC and M. J. Aman, MS, Assoc. Editor. Contact or with questions or comments.

    See the Alphabetical List of Open Access Journals in Middle Eastern Studies

    The Archaeology News Network

    First Americans used spear-throwers to hunt large animals

    Despite a lack of archaeological evidence, the first North Americans have often been depicted hunting with spear-throwers, which are tools that can launch deadly spear points at high speeds. But now, a new analysis of microscopic fractures on Paleo-Indian spear points provides the first empirical evidence that America's first hunters really did use these weapons to tackle mammoths and other big game. A nearly complete Clovis...

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    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Open Access Journal: Hallisches Winckelmannsprogramm

    Hallisches Winckelmannsprogramm
    Band 1: Heydemann, Heinrich: Zeus im Gigantenkampf, Halle, 1876
    Band 2: Heydemann, Heinrich: Die Knöchelspielerin im Palazzo Colonna zu Rom, Halle/Saale, 1877
    Band 3: Heydemann, Heinrich: Mittheilungen aus den Antikensammlungen in Ober- und Mittelitalien, Halle/Saale, 1879
    Band 4: Heydemann, Heinrich: Verhüllte Tänzerin: Bronze im Museum zu Turin, Halle/Saale, 1879
    Band 5: Heydemann, Heinrich: Satyr- und Bakchennamen, Halle/Saale, 1880
    Band 6: Heydemann, Heinrich: Gigantomachie auf einer Vase aus Altamura, Halle, 1881
    Band 7: Heydemann, Heinrich: Terracotten aus dem Museo Nazionale zu Neapel, Halle/Saale, 1882
    Band 8: Heydemann, Heinrich: Alexander der Grosse und Dareios Kodomannos auf unteritalischen Vasenbildern, Halle/Saale, 1883
    Band 9: Heydemann, Heinrich: Vase caputi mit Theaterdarstellungen, Halle/Saale, 1884
    Band 10: Heydemann, Heinrich: Dionysos' Geburt und Kindheit, Halle/Saale, 1885
    Band 11: Heydemann, Heinrich: Jason in Kolchis, Halle a.S., 1886
    Band 12: Heydemann, Heinrich: Pariser Antiken, Halle, 1887
    Band 13: Heydemann, Heinrich: Marmorkopf Riccardi, Halle/Saale, 1888
    Band 14: Robert, Carl: Der Pasiphae-Sarkophag, Halle, 1890
    Band 15: Robert, Carl: Scenen der Ilias und Aithiopis auf einer Vase der Sammlung des Grafen Michael Tyskiewicz: Festschrift zur Eröffnung des Archäologischen Museums der Friedrichs-Universität Halle-Wittenberg am 9. December 1891, Halle, 1891
    Band 16: Robert, Carl: Die Nekyia des Polygnot, Halle a. S., 1892
    Band 17: Robert, Carl: Die Iliupersis des Polygnot, Halle a. S., 1893
    Band 18: Robert, Carl: Die Marathonschlacht in der Poikile: und weiteres über Polygnot, Halle a. S., 1895
    Band 19: Robert, Carl: Votivgemaelde eines Apobaten: nebst einem Excurs über den sog. Ares Borghese, Halle a. S., 1895
    Band 20: Robert, Carl: Roemisches Skizzenbuch aus dem achtzehnten Jahrhundert: im Besitz d. Frau Generalin von Bauer geb. Ruhl zu Kassel, Halle, a. S., 1897
    Band 21: Robert, Carl: Die Knöchelspielerinnen des Alexandros, Halle a. S., 1897
    Band 22: Robert, Carl: Kentaurenkampf und Tragoedienscene: 2 Marmorbilder aus Herculaneum, Halle a. S., 1898
    Band 23: Robert, Carl: Der müde Silen: Marmorbild aus Herculaneum, Halle a.S., 1899
    Band 24: Robert, Carl: Niobe: ein Marmorbild aus Pompeii ; Festgruss des Archäologischen Museums der Universität Halle-Wittenberg an die Archäologische Section der XLVII. Versammlung Deutscher Philologen und Schulmänner, Halle a.S., 1903
    Band 28: Krahmer, Gerhard: Figur und Raum in der ägyptischen und griechisch-archaischen Kunst, Halle, 1931

    Colleen Morgan (Middle Savagery)

    Digging for DNA on

    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.59.53 AM

    I’m very pleased with this long-form, popular article that I wrote: Digging for DNA: Archaeology, Genetics & the Transatlantic Slave Trade. I wasn’t sure where to put it at first, as it’s long for many journals, and a lot of places do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Journalistic writing is surprisingly difficult to break into! It was also one of the more difficult things that I’ve written, as it details very contentious issues in research on ethnicity and genetics.

    While my name is on the byline, it received quite a few edits from the researchers involved–precise language is important in discussions of scientific research, and I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t misrepresenting perspectives of the researchers and fellows involved.

    It was also interesting to write something for, as there does not seem to be much of an archaeological presence there. Additionally, they give you stats on how many people get to the bottom of the article–so far, less than 1/3 of readers muscled their way through the nearly 5,000 words.

    Overall, it has been a revelation working with the EUROTAST network, and has considerably shaped my future research projects. I hope you enjoy this discussion of their research! Here’s the first paragraph of the article:

    Marcela Sandoval gave me a wry grin, then covered her face with a mask. Next, a covering for her hair, goggles, booties over her shoes, and a crisp, white suit that crinkled when she moved. Finally, a pair of turgid purple latex gloves snapped into place. She put her hands on her hips and impatiently motioned for me to get on with it. I awkwardly pulled on my own clean suit and followed her into the laboratory, where a faint glow outlined test tubes and complex machines.

    Here, in this quiet room, was the beginning of a complex, captivating story about genetics, ethnicity, and the archaeological past.

    For more, go to:

    Constantina Katsari (Love of History Blog)

    The boldest reformers in the Roman Empire: Diocletian and Constantine

    By the end of the third century AD the Roman Empire has been through 100 years of civil wars, plagues barbaric attacks and Persian invasions that run down the economy and weakened the State.  Although the inhabitants of the Empire lived for years now in conditions of physical danger and economic instability, they never tried to question the decisions of the emperors and they never tried to rebel against the central authorities.  The need for reforms, though, at least in the administrative section became acute both to the upper and the lower classes.  The opportunity came with the rise to the throne of Diocletian, an Illyrian with Greek origins. As soon Diocletian had the power, he attempted to change the empire he was ruling over.  Until then, a single emperor was responsible for the administration of the vast area around the Mediterranean Sea. The task, though, proved to be daunting.  Especially, when the barbaric tribes invaded the Northern provinces or when the Persian tried to conquer Syria.  Diocletian, therefore, decided to recruit additional help, and for the first time in history he appointed a co-emperor.  At Milan in 285 he adopted as his son one of his Illyrian comrades in arms, Maximian, giving him the rank of Caesar. And the next year he promoted him in Augustus, the highest imperial title.  Next, Diocletian kept for himself the Greek East, while he assigned to Maximian the Latin West.  Although the empire remained one political unity, in fact, there were imposed two administrative systems. In 293 Diocletian went a step ahead and proclaimed another two Caesars, one for each Augustus.  Maximian’s Caesar became Constantius, while Diocletian’s Caesar was Galerius.  These Caesars were subject to the Augusti, even if they could take their own military and political decisions within the area of their jurisdiction.  This system of the four emperors has since been called the Tetrarchy.  In fact, it simply applied the familiar practice of putting two junior emperors to the existing diarchy. The successful operation of the new administration allowed the emperors to relax and enjoy the fruits of their efforts. On the twentieth anniversary of Diocletian’s accession to the throne the emperor became seriously ill.  Although he recovered his health, in 305 he decided to abdicate and he persuaded his co-emperor to follow the same course of action.  Their joined abdication allowed Galerius to become Augustus of the East and Constantius to become Augustus of the West. Subsequently, Severan was selected Caesar for the West and Maximin Caesar of the East (both of which were friends of Galerius). Having two Augusti and two Ceasars was a source of strength for the empire, as long as they could co-operate and respect their respective obligations and privileges. However, in this case, tensions appeared almost at once. And these tensions led to the break out of a civil war. The ultimate winner of the continuous battles was Constantine, the son of Constantius and his divorced wife Helene, an innkeeper’s daughter with a ‘reputation’ (only much later she was proclaimed a saint and equal to the apostles). Soon Constantine managed to become the ruler of Europe, while the provinces of Asia Minor and Syria remained under the governance of his co-emperor Licinius.  The battle against Maxentius that gave him the right to rule over the western provinces took place near Rome in 312.  It was here that he experienced his famous vision, described by Eusebius: “…a most marvelous sign appeared to him from heaven…He said that at about midday, when the sun was beginning to decline, he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription Conquer By This. He himself was struck with amazement and his whole army also.” Constantine interpreted the vision as the favour of the Christian God. And reinforced by his new faith he marched against the opponents and won the battle.  An ancient historian, Lactantius, provides us with another version of the same event: “Constantine was directed in a dream to cause the ‘heavenly sign’ to be delineated on the shields of the soldiers, and so to proceed to battle. He did as he had been commanded, and he marked on their shield the letter X combined with the letter P, thus the cipher of Christ.” In any case, the victory not only made Constantine the absolute ruler of the entire Europe but it also marked his conversion to Christianity.  In January 313 he met with Licinius in Milan and they both agreed to grant Christianity full recognition throughout the Empire. “I, Constantine Augustus, and I, Licinius Augustus, resolved to secure respect and reverence for the Deity, grant to Christians and to all others the right freely to follow whatever form of worship they please, that whatsoever Divinity dwells in heaven may be favourable to us and to all those under our authority”. Constantine, though, seemed to have been a Christian emperor in the wrong part of the Empire, since the Christians were more numerous in the East. When Licinius turned against the Christians of Thrace, Constantine considered it an excellent opportunity to interfere and win for himself the other half of the Roman Empire.  This war ended with the victory of Constantine and the execution of Licinius (although he was promised immunity if he surrendered). In 324 Constantine was the sole ruler of a vast empire. One of his first decisions was the foundation of a new city on the shores of Bosporus, in the place an old Greek city-state called Byzantium.  The new city was named Constantinople, after the emperor’s name, and was destined to become the new capital of the empire.  One of the considerations for such a decision was probably the strategic position of the city.  If someone attacked from the west, then the inhabitants could have retreated in Asia Minor. If he attacked from the east, then they would have retreated to Europe.  It is evident that Constantine gave particular emphasis to the security of the eastern part of the empire.  Until then, the capital, Rome, was placed exactly in the centre of the Empire, since it was equidistant from the Atlantic and from Mesopotamia.  The move of the capital to the East condemned in the long run the western provinces to the continuous barbaric attacks.   A second reason for the foundation of Constantinople was that the emperor needed to distance himself from the old pagan capital.  The new official religion, Christianity, needed to be hosted in a new capital. Constantinople itself became the new symbol of the Christian world.  And Constantine set himself the borders of the city.  The story goes that one fine morning the people saw him walking, tracing out the line of the walls with his spear.  When someone commented that the city is becoming too big, the emperor answered that “I shall continue until he who walks ahead of me bids me to stop”.  Thus the divine foundation of Constantinople was established in the minds and the hearts of its inhabitants.  The capital later was adorned with churches, palaces, a hippodrome and thousands of statues stolen from other Roman cities.  In addition, his mother brought from Jerusalem the True Cross. According to tradition, she distinguished it from the ones used for the two thieves by laying it on a dying woman, who was miraculously restored to health. The reign of Constantine, though, was a problematic one.  Fierce theological debates commenced throughout the empire with regard to the nature of Christ.  On one hand, Arius of Alexandria preached that Jesus Christ was not co-eternal and of the same substance as the Father.  But God had created him as his instrument for the salvation of the world.  Thus, the Son was subordinate to the Father.  On the other hand, the opposition claimed that Christ was of one substance with the Father.  The emperor became actively involved in this debate but without success. He even called for the First Ecumenic synod that took place in the city of Nicaea in 324, in which he presided.  The synod temporarily solved the problem by declaring Arianism a heresy. Christ supposedly was of the same substance and equal to the Father (although this clause could be interpreted in many different ways).  Nevertheless, the emperor did not keep a constant mind, despite his name.  Only four years after the synod, the mother and half-sister of Constantine persuaded him to recall Arius from exile and allow him to settle in Egypt.  The inhabitants of Egypt, though, as well as their archbishop would have none of it. Riots broke out in the region that soon went out of control.  In the meantime, the hermit Great Saint Anthony left the Egytpian desert at the age of 86 and sided with the Orthodox faction.  The upheaval was such that the emperor had no solution but to invite Arius to Constantinople for a further investigation on his beliefs.  During this inquiry  “Arius , made bold by the protection of his followers, engaged in light-hearted and foolish conversation, until he was suddenly compelled by a call of nature retire; and immediately, falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst and gave up the ghost”. Although Constantine was involved in serious theological matters, he has not been officially baptized as a Christian.  And with good reason!  In the course of his life he committed enough murders that would have sent him to hell for an eternity.  Among his victims were his first born son and heir, Crispus, and his second wife.  The later was either stubbed or suffocated by steam in one of the public baths.  That is probably one of the reasons for Constantine to be baptized only a few months before his death.  When the baptism was completed, “he arrayed himself in imperial vestments white and radiant as light, and lay himself down on a couch of the purest white, refusing ever to clothe himself in purple again.”  Finally, after the reign of 31 years he died in 22 May 337.  His was buried in the completed church of the Hole Apostles.  This way he laid claim to the title “Equal to the Apostles’ that he carries until today.

    The Archaeology News Network

    ISIS destroys large parts of Nineveh historical wall

    A Kurdish official revealed on Tuesday evening that the ISIS organization had bombed large parts and tracts of the ancient Nineveh wall, indicating that such an act violates the right of human culture and heritage. The media official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Mosul, Saed Mimousine said in an interview for, “ISIS militants blew up today large parts and expanses of the archaeological wall of Nineveh in...

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    Compitum - publications

    Jean Schneider, La lettre gréco-latine, un genre littéraire ?

    Jean Schneider, La lettre gréco-latine, un genre littéraire ?, Lyon, 2014.

    Éditeur : De Boccard
    Collection : CMO - Série littéraire et philosophique
    336 pages
    ISBN : 978-2-35668-045-7
    35 €

    Le présent volume, qui réunit les contributions de plusieurs collègues du laboratoire HiSoMA et de diverses universités, cherche à appréhender la lettre gréco-latine non comme un document historique mais comme un texte littéraire. Pour illustrer le genre épistolaire, on y évoque négativement des lettres non littéraires, mais surtout positivement des lettres qui appartiennent de plein droit à la littérature, en s'attachant moins à ce dont elles parlent qu'à ce qu'elles nous disent de leur statut, de leur fonction et du travail de leur rédacteur. Les plus caractéristiques d'entre elles sont celles où l'épistolier se borne à dire qu'il écrit, pourquoi et pour quoi il écrit, comment il écrit, toute autre information pouvant être déléguée au porteur chargé de faire parvenir la lettre au destinataire. À la suite de diverses études de collections grecques ou latines, la dernière contribution évoque une collection qui relève d'une autre aire culturelle mais qui montre, elle aussi, la volonté de faire de la lettre un cadeau précieux, avec, outre la rédaction soignée et codifiée, une présentation matérielle luxueuse dont trois illustrations donnent une idée. S'il n'est pas probable que les lettres des épistoliers latins et grecs aient eu un aspect comparable, on y décèle le même souci d'offrir de beaux textes, parés de toutes les grâces dont est capable la prose d'art forgée par la tradition rhétorique.

    Lire la suite...

    The Archaeology News Network

    Mayans offered sacrifices to end drought at edge of sacred pool

    In the middle of the first millennia AD, Mayan civilization was being ravaged by a series of droughts that would ultimately lead to the collapses of major Mayan cities. Many Mayans responded to these droughts by asking their gods for rain and conducting ritual sacrifice. Aerial view of the newly discovered Maya water temple  [Credit: National Geographic]Researchers have recently found evidence of one such “drought cult” at a site...

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    David Gill (Looting Matters)

    The Michael C. Carlos Museum and the Basel Dossier

    Minoan larnax.
    Left, Basel dossier. Right, Michael C. Carlos Museum
    The public display in Rome of the 5000 plus antiquities seized in Basel, Switzerland were a reminder of the scale of archaeological material surfacing on the market. The objects were seized alongside photographs and bundles of receipts. And so there are museums that will need to respond to the identification of material in their collections.

    The Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University was the subject of a report in 2007, followed by a request by the Greek authorities to return three items acquired in 2002 and 2004. Will the museum reveal the full collecting histories of the three pieces? Will they explain why the pieces are linked to the Basel archive?

    Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    LOST Rewatch: Stranger in a Strange Land

    Tom Friendly tells Jack they are moving him. Jack says that if they are going to kill him, they should have the honesty not to call it “moving” him. Tom asks Jack what kind if people he thinks they are. he says the kind of people that would kidnap a pregnant woman, hang Charlie from a tree, and take children. Tom taps on the window in his cell and says, “You see this glass house you’re living in? How about I get you some stones?” As they lead him away, he passes Juliette in handcuffs. Jack is moved to one of the cages. Juliette is in trouble for having killed one of their own people.

    In a flashback, we see Jack in Phuket, Thailand. He is on the beach and a woman named Achara helps him with his kite. He later is in bed with her and asks her about herself, and she says there are things which happen there which he would not understand. Later, Jack follows her to see where she goes. She says it is where she works, and he should not be there. It is a tattoo parlor. But Achara says she is not a tattoo artist, she sees who people are and marks them. It is not art, but definition. She says Jack is a leader, a great man, but this makes him lonely and angry. He demands that she write it on him, even though she says it is against her people and that there will be consequences. The next day, some men beat Jack up, spit on him, and tell him to leave not just the beach but the country.

    When they get back to the main island, and the kids come up in conversation, Karl tells Kate that they took the kids to give them a better life – better than theirs. He tells them that they just work on the smaller island, but live on the main one. Sawyer is surprised that they have backyards there. Later we learn that Karl has never seen The Brady Bunch.

    LOST Others sherriffA woman named Isobel (whom Tom calls the “sheriff”‘) reads Jack’s tattoo, which is in Chinese. She says she finds it ironic. She takes him to ask him a few questions, including whether Juliette asked him to kill Ben. He says that he was lying, trying to turn them against one another. Isobel asks him why he is lying for her, and he requests to go back to his cage.

    Later, Cindy visits Jack, and when he asks why, she says they are there to watch. We also see one of the children, who asks how Ana Lucia is doing. Jack gets angry. Later, Alex breaks the video camera and asks Jack why he fixed up Ben after everything he had done to his people. Jack says he saved Ben because he said he would. Alex talks about the reading of Juliette’s verdict. She says that they have strict rules about killing one of their own – “an eye for an eye.”

    Jack says he would be more impressed with “you people” if they had a decent surgeon. Ben says they had an excellent surgeon – his name was Ethan. Jack gets Ben to prevent Juliette’s execution. Ben commutes her sentence, saying that the rules don’t apply, and has ordered her to be marked instead. The next day, Jack asks to see how they marked her. It is star-shaped. He has her break a branch from an aloe plant and puts some on it. She asks why he helped her, and he says that Ben told them both that he will let them go home, and they are going to help each other to make him keep his word.

    As Sawyer bosses Kate around, she asks whether she should walk beside him or ten paces behind, an interesting reference to a patriarchal cultural practice. And Isobel reads Jack’s tattoo, saying, “He walks among us, but he is not one of us.” Jack says that is what they say, but not what they mean.

    The fictional culture of the Others makes for an interesting way of exploring cultural difference, set alongside the other cross-cultural elements in the episode. The Others are heirs to an ancient culture, and the fact that they have a close tie to a particular land, are willing to take extreme measures to defend it, and have a rigid moral code that deals differently with insiders than outsiders, doesn’t make them particularly mysterious. It makes them human. And in many respects, these cultural values are close to those reflected in the Hebrew Bible.



    Architectural competition to redesign access to the Acropolis site

    An architectural competition is soon to be announced, to redesign the entrance route to the Athenian Acropolis.

    Entrance path to the Acropolis

    Entrance path to the Acropolis


    Greece: architecture contest to redesign Acropolis access
    26 January, 14:34

    Greek culture ministry is set to announce an international architecture contest inviting contestants to present proposals that will make access to the Acropolis more functional and friendlier for disabled visitors and improve the aesthetics of the surrounding area, Greek Travel Pages (Gtp) website reports. Renowned Greek architect Dimitris Pikionis, responsible for the landscaping work of the pedestrian walkways around the Acropolis in the 1950s, envisioned the entrance to the archaeological site as a sort of pilgrimage where visitors, on their way up to the Parthenon, would gain the overall view of the area from all its angles. In efforts to save time, however, tour guides created several side roads leading to the site, which contributed to overcrowding at its main entrance. According to Kathimerini daily, the competition aims to restore Pikionis’ initial vision and plan with the winning architect successfully redesigning the site’s entrance facilities. (ANSAmed).

    The post Architectural competition to redesign access to the Acropolis site appeared first on Elginism.

    Brice C. Jones

    Nikephoros, the Branded Donkey-Driver

    PictureP.Col. 10.253
    In P.Col. 10.253 (2nd century CE), we meet Nikephoros, a donkey-driver (ὀνηλάτης) who is described as being "branded" (σφραγίζειν). Psimouras is writing a letter to his brother Chairemon informing him that he is sending him a basket of grapes through Nikephoros. The second editors (Roger Bagnall and Dirk Obbink) remark that, although the word "branded" must be partially reconstructed, nothing else fits the space and context. 

    If Nikephoros is branded, it probably means that he was a slave. Owners of slaves commonly tattooed their slaves for identification, and runaway slaves were often tattooed or branded on the face until Constantine forbade it in 315/6. Here, Psimouras mentions Nikephoros' branding so that Chairemon will know how to recognize him. This is similar to the various ways in which people are identified in the papyri by their scars. For example, in the abstracts of contracts found at Tebtunis, we find many references to the placement of scars and other bodily markers, such as, "about 28 years old with a scar on the right shin" or "about 55 years old having as a mark a mole by the left ear," or "about 42 years old with a scar on the middle of his nose" (all from P.Mich. 2.121).

    In any case, the use of the term σφραγίζειν to describe a slave is rare in the papyri, which makes this papyrus all the more interesting. Anoubas the camel-driver mentioned further down in the letter is not further described, but perhaps he was also described as being "branded" in a previous letter sent to Chairemon, now lost. For general reading, see C.P Jones, "Stigma: Tattooing and Branding in Graeco-Roman Antiquity," JRS 77 (1987): 139-55. 

    Ψιμουρᾶς Χαιρήμονι τῷ ἀδ[ελφῷ χαί]ρειν.
    κόμισαι διὰ Νικηφόρου ὀνη[λάτου σφρ]αγισ-
    τοῦ κίστην σταφυλῆς ἥν μοι εἰ[ς τὴ]ν χρέαν
    βαστάξαι. δήλωσόν μοι εἰ ἐκομισο ἃ ἔπεμ-
    ψά σοι διὰ τοῦ ὀνηλάτου μου καὶ ἃ διεπεμψά-
    μην σοι διὰ Ἀνουβᾶ καμηλείτου. ἀσπάζου
    Τετε  ̣  ̣ν τὴν ἀγαθωτάτην καὶ τὴν μη-
    τέραν αὐτῆς καὶ τοὺς σοὺς πάντας. περὶ ὧν
    χρῄζεις δήλωσόν μοι. ἀσπάζαιταί σε τὰ παι-
    ἔρρῶσθαί \σ<ε>/ εὔχομ(αι) Μεχ(εὶρ) κθ
    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
    "Psimouras to Chairemon his brother, greetings. Receive through Nikephoros the branded (?) donkey-driver a basket of grapes which was the only one they were able to carry. Let me know if you received what I sent you through my donkey-driver and what I had sent to you through Anoubas the camel-driver. Greet the excellent Tete(. .)s and her mother and all your people. Let me know what you need. The children greet you. 

    I pray for your health. Mecheir 29."

    Corinthian Matters

    2013-2014 Publications in Corinthian Studies: New Testament, Christianity, and Judaism

    This is the fourth and final post in a series of bibliographic releases of new Corinthian scholarship published or digitized in 2013-2014. See this post last last Monday for further information about the sources of this bibliography and instructions for accessing the Zotero database. For earlier releases, see these posts:

    Today’s list presents scholarship published or digitized in 2013 and 2014 related in some way to the subjects of Christianity, Judaism, and early Christianity. This includes some scholarship on the Hellenistic and early Roman “backgrounds” of Christianity and Judaism but most of this material focus directly on questions of religion.

    Screenshot (31)

    I have divided these reports by year to keep them manageable. Download the PDFs by right clicking on these link:

    I generated these reports through Zotero tags and searches, and there are undoubtedly missing entries as well as false positives. For best results, visit the Zotero library or download the RIS file into your bibliographic program.

    If you see references missing from the list, please send to

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Archaeologists move 'Britain's oldest yacht'

    Archaeologists in the Isle of Man have moved “Britain’s oldest yacht” for the...

    Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

    Corso sull'Indagine Georadar nei settori Geologico, Strutturale, Ambientale

    Radargramma novatest

    Dal 17 al 19 febbraio 2015 a Siracusa si svolgerà un Corso di Formazione sull'Indagine Georadar nei settori Geologico, Strutturale, Ambientale organizzato dalla società Novatest S.r.l., in collaborazione con il Centro di Esame RINA di Siracusa. Il corso è valido per l'accesso all'esame di certificazione RINA di II°livello UNI EN ISO9712.
    Il corso si svolgera nel Centro Esame Rina - Siracusa (SR), docente l'Ing. Angelo Navarra (3° livello GR).
    Seguirà un esame il giorno 20 febbraio 2015
    Data chiusura iscrizioni: 10 febbraio 2015

    - Introduzione al Georadar
    - Considerazioni Generali

    - Applicazioni per la localizzazione di sottoservizi
    - Applicazioni stradali
    - Applicazioni per l’Ingegneria Civile
    - Applicazioni Geologiche ed Ambientali
    - Applicazioni per i Beni Culturali ed Archeologici

    - Conduttività elettrica e costante dielettrica
    - Riflessione radar
    - Equazioni radar e costitutive
    - Polarizzazione
    - Interferenze

    - La teoria elettromagnetica
    - Propagazione delle onde elettromagnetiche
    - Proprietà dell’onda EM
    - Lunghezza d’onda
    - Velocità, attenuazione, impedenza

    - Propagazione dell’interfaccia
    - Cono di propagazione dell’onda GPR
    - Schemi di un’antenna monostatica
    - Polarizzazione dell’antenna
    - Cavità e fratture
    - Iperbole
    - Riflessioni di diversa natura
    - Accuratezza e risoluzione orizzontale e longitudinale
    - Relazione tra profondità e risoluzione

    - Schermatura delle antenne
    - Acquisizione dei dati in campo
    - Settaggio iniziale
    - Visualizzazione ed analisi dei risultati
    - Deconvulsione e Migrazione
    - Soluzione ai problemi






    Per informazioni:


    Fonte: Novatest


    Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

    Visions of Substance: The Dead Tree Version

    I’m very pleased to announce that the paper version of Visions of Substance: 3D Imaging in Mediterranean Archaeology is now available on Amazon.

    Visions of Substance CoverALL loosefront

    It is a little more expensive than I would have liked at $24.00, but still within the acceptable range for academic books. It’s in color.

    And, while I’d love for some folks to buy paper copies of the book and get them into their libraries. Everyone can always enjoy the free, digital version.

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    After Years of Conflict, Libyan Archaeology Is Under Threat

    When war erupted in Libya in early 2011, Savino di Lernia and 10 other Italian archaeologists were...

    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    Wonder is the First Step Towards Further Knowledge

    Gospel of Matthias Quote

    “Wonder at the things that are before you, making this the first step to further knowledge”

    – Jesus, in the Gospel according to Matthias.

    Quoted by Clement of Alexandria (Miscellanies 2.9.45)

    The background image is a photograph taken by Chris Murphy.


    Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East

    Flight 20141019 - A new Edomite Stronghold

    On Flight 20141019 from Amman to Aqaba six photographs were taken of the dramatic landscape looking west from Qasr Rajif over Wadi Suweid cutting through the sandstone peaks. Unbeknownst to us at the time, the photographs capture the site of an Edomite Fortress.
    Wadi Suweid; el-Manktaa (Edomite Fortress)
    'el-Manktaa' (Edomite Fortress) - APAAME_20141019_RHB-0287.
    Prof. Chaim Ben David alerted us to the existence of the site, known as 'el-Manktaa' to the Bedouins, after he viewed the photographs on our Flickr. His ready knowledge and identification of the site probably due to the fact he had coincidentally visited it just a few months earlier.
    The bridge to the site as seen from the wadi valley below. Photograph by Boaz Langford, courtesy of Chaim Ben David.
    Following information from fellow hikers Eli Raz and Lior Enmar, who were aware of the phenomenon of Edomite mountain strongholds, in July 2014 Chaim visited two new, apparently as yet undocumented mountain strongholds in the sandstone area below the village of Rajef. The sites are about three kilometers south of Qseir, the southernmost known stronghold until this latest discovery.
    Crossing the bridge to the site. Photograph by Boaz Langford, courtesy of Chaim Ben David.
    The isolation of the site in the landscape is easily discernible on Google Maps (click here to go to the location). The small Bedouin constructed bridge used by Chaim and his companions to cross into the site can just be seen on the satellite imagery across the fissure that marks the western boundary of the stronghold. Structures are not readily visible on the satellite imagery, or on the low level obliques taken by AAJ, but photographs taken by Boaz Langford from the visit with Chaim show collapsed stone built structures.

    Evidence of stone structures at the site. Photograph by Boaz Langford, courtesy of Chaim Ben David.
    Chaim’s information means that we can add the coordinates of these sites to future AAJ flight routes, so that the site may be captured in full instead of in a lucky low level oblique landscape shot. Moreover, our better understanding of this type of site means in future we will be better able to discern these sites from the air. Chaim has offered his knowledge to the identification of many sites taken during the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan project's seasons of flying, and taken us on a couple of his amazing hikes across the landscape to investigate features further. Many thanks!

    Following is an excerpt from Chaim Ben-David’s forthcoming publication in ARAM Periodical:
    “You who live in the clefts of the rocks” (Jer.49:16): 
    Edomite Mountain Strongholds in Southern Jordan

    The discovery of these mountain strongholds indicates that the famous fortified Edomite site of Umm el-Biyara (Bienkowski 2011) – above Petra, and, as noted above, identified with biblical Sela‘ – is not unique, but rather is a regional phenomenon. Characteristic of these sites is their remote location on isolated sandstone peaks to the west of and below the limestone massif of Edom. Water-collection installations, as well as storage facilities for agricultural produce were found at these sites and small, arable pockets of soil are often located nearby. Another characteristic of most of these sites is the glaring absence of the fine Nabatean wares so common to the region; the pottery found at these sites was dated by scholars to the Iron Age II (Zeitler 1992: 167–76; Lindner et al. 1996: 153–61; Bienert et al. 2000: 127–33).

    According to Lindner, these sites were first settled in the seventh century BC by the Edomites, but their history and function have not yet been satisfactorily determined. Did the occupants of the strongholds flee from an external enemy? If so, who was that enemy: the kingdom of Judah, Arab tribes, or the Assyrian or Babylonian empires? And perhaps the strongholds reflect internal strife between the inhabitants of the plateau and the central government on the one hand, and the tribes who lived in the cliffs, on the other? Did they belong to bands of caravan robbers passing through Edom, or, conversely, were they part of a fortification system protecting these roads from Wadi Arabah to the mountains of Edom?

    At least at one Edomite mountain stronghold does seem to have an answer to some of these questions. It is located 5 km from the biblical Edomite capital of Bozra (today the large village of Busayra) and is known as es-Sela‘, just 1.5 km from the village with the selfsame name – Sela‘. The site, one of the candidates for identification as biblical Sela‘ and the “Nabatean Rock of Edom” (Hart 1986; Meshel 2000), was first established as an Edomite mountain stronghold in the seventh century BC. The significance of this site grew with the discovery there of an impressive imperial relief and inscription of Babylonian king Nebonaid )Dalley and Goguel 1997; Crowell 2007).

    It is reasonable to assume that this stronghold served as a refuge for the king and other Edomite leaders of the Edomite capital of Bozra. One can assume that the Edomite leadership fled there and that it was eventually captured by Nebonaid, who marked his victory over Edom with an inscription on the cliff.

    It should be noted that neither Sela‘ nor any other Edomite mountain stronghold is situated near a major route from the Iron Age. Therefore we can reject the notion that these sites were either held by caravan robbers or were part of a fortification system protecting the roads from Wadi Arabah to the mountains of Edom. In my view, like Sela‘ near Busayra, most of the other strongholds were also refuge sites for the inhabitants of the permanent settlements of Edom, as suggested in the past by Lindner and Knauf (1977). Almost all of these permanent settlements are found in the highlands of Edom on the limestone ridge at altitudes of 1200–1600 m above sea level and usually near springs. The arable portion of these highlands is a narrow north–south strip bordered by the Syrian Desert on the east and the deep depression of Wadi Arabah on the west. The steep sandstone cliffs where the inhabitants of the limestone ridge sought refuge are just below that ridge.

    These nine sites shed new light on the biblical descriptions of the rocks (Sela‘) of Edom. Jeremiah (49:16) speaks of “you who live in the clefts of the rocks, who occupy the heights of the hill. Though you build your nest as high as the eagle’s, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord”. Obadiah (1:3), similarly speaks of “you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, who can bring me down to the ground”. Some scholars (Raabe 1996: 125–126; Fanwar 1992) explained these verses in relation to a single site in Edom, called the Rock (Sela‘), mentioned in connection with the description of the conquests of Judah’s King Amaziah: “He was the one who defeated ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt, and captured Sela in battle…” (2 Kgs 14:7). It turns out that the words of Jeremiah and Obadiah3 refer to the phenomenon of rocks characteristic of all Edom, and not to one specific site.

    Apart from Qaryat Mansur all the sites are located on the sandstone cliffs just below the limestone ridge where the permanent settlements are to be found. Two unique sandstone formations are visible in southern Jordan, the Disi and Umm Ishrin formations. These formations have produced the magnificent inselberg scenery in southern Jordan. For example, the hand-carved rock monuments of Petra are entirely cut from the Umm Ishrin and Disi sandstone formations. The white Disi sandstone is to be found above the red Umm Ishrin sandstone formation and therefore it is usually nearer to the limestone ridge rising above the sandstone formations.

    The Disi formation scenery consists mainly of high and rounded white domes, while the Umm Ishrin formation typically features high red cliffs and steep canyons. From the geological point of view these two different settings are the backdrop for two groups of sites: the 'outcrop sites' on the white Disi sandstone formation – Jabal al-Qseir, Khubtha, Baja, Shag Rish and Sela‘ – and the red Umm Ishrin sandstone plateaus above high cliffs where Umm Biyara and Umm Ala are located. As seen in the above table, longhouses – interpreted as storage facilities for agricultural products – were detected only on these two formations and at Qaryat Mansur. The Disi sites are found nearer to the limestone ridge then the others, and in my opinion they were used as refuge sites when the occupants of the strongholds fled from an external enemy, mainly the kingdom of Judah. This proposal fits the date for those sites – mainly the seventh century BC, and the dispute between the kingdoms of Judah and Edom as recorded in the Bible.

    Further Reading:
    Lindner M., and Knauf E. A., 'Between the Plateau and the Rocks, Edomite Economic and Social Structure', Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan VI (1997), 261-264.
    Bienkowski P. Umm al-Biyara: Excavations by Crystal-M Bennett, 1960 – 1965, Oxford (2011): 116-125.

    David Gill (Looting Matters)

    The market and looting: a Parliamentarian's view

    Robert Jenrick, the Conservative MP for Newark, has decided to write a piece on the looting of antiquities in the Middle East for the Art Newspaper ("‘No one group has done more to put our heritage at risk than Islamic State’", 28 January 2015). He writes emotively about the sites that are being destroyed in Syria and Iraq:
    this is a 21st-century crime being conducted purposefully, in full view and on social media.
    Those of who attended the meeting at the British Academy on this topic earlier this month were given an informed position, both by those making presentations and through contributions from the audience. It is not made clear how Jenrick conducted his research or obtained the information to assert:
    Through systematic looting, these works of art are funding the murderous activities of IS. Indeed, these activities are now believed to be their third largest source of revenue, after oil and robbing banks. A brave network of informants, today’s “Monuments Men”, give us shocking reports from the ground: IS employing contractors with bulldozers to harvest antiquities on an industrial scale; IS deploying militants to ensure their control sites and “supervise” digging; and licensing looting with a formal “tithe” of around 20%. The sums involved are difficult to gauge, but likely run into tens of millions of dollars of income for IS and other terrorist groups
    Such statements need to be supported or there is a possibility that they could be misread. Dr Sam Hardy, one of the presenters at the British Academy, addressed many of these concerns last year ("Are ‘unheard of numbers’ of cultural goods from Syria and Iraq making their way into auction houses in the UK?").

    So Jenrick asks what he could do as a parliamentarian:
    So what can government do? The key to fighting the trade in illicit antiquities lies in co-operation. In the UK and the US we are asking for coordinators to be appointed who can establish forums to bring together law enforcement, museum representatives, government and representatives of the art trade.
    He may be unaware that these dialogues are already taking place.

    But in the article he does not state his past  and apparently continuing links with Christies (and see also the information provided through his constituency). He writes:
    But above all, we need to promote and reward good market behaviour. And to the surprise of critics, there is much of it going on amongst major players in the industry. The decision of a number of auction houses to significantly increase their due diligence, principally by requiring evidence of provenance predating the conflicts of the early 21st century (using the year 2000 as an immovable date) is hugely welcome. If only objects with provenance of this kind can be sold, the market for illicit works will shrink. There is early evidence that this is changing the behaviour of buyers and sellers. If these standards could become common practice they will not only change the market, but ultimately feedback to those on the ground in Iraq, Syria and future conflict zones.
    Readers of LM will know that I have touched on "due diligence" many times as a topic, and I am not convinced that all the major auction houses understand the issues when it comes to dealing with archaeological material. Moreover Jenrick's use of the (obsolete) term "provenance" (one held dear by the market) needs to be clarified. Is he wanting to establish the archaeological context from which an object was removed (e.g. a sanctuary area at Dura Europos) or who has handled the piece (i.e. the collecting history)? He then turns to concerns about restrictions on the market:
    Those of us who oppose an outright ban on antiquities—believing it would be counter-productive, creating a black market in which both antiquities of licit and illicit origin were traded—or of further restrictive laws and treaties, welcome the voluntary actions of the industry and hope they quickly become common standards that protect the industry from the heavy hand of some law-makers.
    Can I suggest that auction-houses could address well-founded concerns by presenting the full and authenticated collecting histories of objects when they are listed in the public catalogues? And transparency is what Jenrick wants to see:
    Our transatlantic campaign seeks to recognise and support those in the art business who take a lead, by urging co-operation, sharing of information in relationships of trust and resourcing and prioritising law enforcement—backing good market behaviour; tackling the unethical and the criminal robustly.
    I agree with his desire: to 'tackle' 'unethical' behaviour in the market. And that is why it is so important for auction houses to respond constructively to concerns when objects are identified from seized photographic images.

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