Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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August 26, 2016

Elena Cano (Γνωθι τους αλλους)


Good night, good rest.  Ah! neither be my share:
She bade good night that kept my rest away;
And daff'd me to a cabin hang'd with care,
To descant on the doubts of my decay.
 Farewell, quoth she, and come again tomorrow:
 Fare well I could not, for I supp'd with sorrow;

Yet at my parting sweetly did she smile,
In scorn or friendship, nill I construe whether:
'T may be, she joy'd to jest at my exile,
'T may be, again to make me wander thither:
  'Wander,' a word for shadows like myself,
  As take the pain, but cannot pluck the pelf.

The passionate pilgrim XIII, Shakespeare apocriphal poem

Buenas noches, buen descanso.¡Ay!, Ni una ni otra cosa son para mí:
la que buena noche deseó es la que alejó de mí el descanso
llevándome a un  dormitorio bien dispuesto
para discurrir sobre la angustia de mi caída.
"Que sigas bien", me dice,"vuelve mañana".
Seguir bien no podré, pues he cenado dolor,
sin embargo, al irme yo, dulcemente me sonrió
con desdén o amistad , no sabría decir con qué;
Tal vez le agradara jugar con mi exilio;
tal vez le agradara hacerme vagar por allí.
"Vagar", palabra para las sombras como yo
que penan pero no pueden recoger el botín.

El peregrino apasionado XIII, poema apócrifo de Shakespeare
                                                 (traducción de Fátima Auad y Pablo Mañé)

Mary Harrsch (Roman Times)

Dona Militaria: Rome's Lost Valor

One of nine Silvered bronze phalerae depicting a mythological figure (Zeus Ammon)
awarded to Titus Flavius Festus Roman 1st century CE.  Photographed at the
Neuses Museum in Berlin, Germany by Mary Harrsch © 2016

A history resource article by Mary Harrsch © 2016

A few months ago I visited the Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany.  I was with an ancient Egypt study group so, of course, the bust of Nefertiti along with the large collection of artifacts from the Amarna region was our main purpose for going there.  However, being an ancient Roman history enthusiast, I gravitated towards the museum's Roman collection and was excited to find a set of Roman phalerae belonging to Titus Flavius Festus found near Lauresfort, Germany a few miles south of the site of the large Roman fortress of Castra Vetera.

Castra Vetera was founded by the Roman commander Drusus, a stepson of emperor Augustus and brother to the future emperor Tiberius, on the hill now known as Fürstenberg, about sixty Roman miles below the capital of Germania Inferior, Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium (modern Cologne). Vetera controlled the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Lippe. Drusus used Castra Vetera as one of his bases when he invaded the east bank of the Rhine.

Archaeologists aren't sure which legions were stationed there but a cenotaph of Marcus Caelius found there mentions the Eighteenth Legion that was annihilated in the battle of the Teutoburg Forest in September of 9 CE. After the battle, Tiberius ordered fortifications made of wood to accommodate two legions, V Alaudae and XXI Rapax. Both units took part in the Germanic campaigns of Germanicus in the first years of the reign of Tiberius (14-16 CE) and the unsuccessful campaign against the Frisians of 28 CE.  After 43 CE, XXI Rapax was replaced by XV Primigenia.  In 69-70 CE (Yes, that fateful year of the four emperors!) Castra Vetera was razed to the ground during the Batavian revolt and all of the soldiers who defended the fort were murdered after they surrendered.

A silver pendant depicting a double sphinx awarded to Titus Flavius Festus Roman 1st century CE found near the site of the
Roman fort Castra Vetera near modern-day Xanten, Germany.  Photographed at the Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany by
Mary Harrsch © 2016.
Whether these phalerae were awarded for any of these activities, we simply don't know.  The set of nine dona militaria, carefully buried in a silver-lined copper box, were uncovered during the construction of a drainage ditch in 1858.  However, at that time archaeology was in its infancy.  Antiquarians had not yet developed methods for stratification so all contextual information was lost.

The depictions of mythological figures and a lion's head, though, do look very similar to the depictions of phalerae shown on the cenotaph of Marcus Caelius, who appears to have served in the 18th Legion.  If so, perhaps Titus Flavius Festus served in the 18th as well and buried his precious dona before leaving on that fateful march through the Teutoburg Forest.

Cenotaph of Marcus Caelius, centurion of the 18th Legion.  Image courtesy of Jona Lendering
I had read about phalerae and seen them depicted on sculptures but had never seen real ones before in any of the museums I have visited.  As I began to research more about them, I soon learned why.  Apparently, the phalerae exhibited at the Neuses are the only ones crafted of precious metal thought to have been worn by an individual soldier ever found, although I did find a reference to about 30 chalcedony sculpted discs thought to be military decorations recovered in eastern Europe, including one recovered from a Sarmatian warrior's grave (he had reused it for a sword pommel) in the Ural mountains  (See "The Roman military phalera from the Perm Urals  by Alexander Kolobov, Andrej Melnitchuk and Nadeshda Kulyabina)

Chalcedony phalera from the Perm Urals.  Image courtesy
of Alexander Kolobov, Andrej Melnitchuk and Nadeshda Kulyabina
This surprised me since thousands of Roman soldiers served across Europe, north Africa and around the Mediterranean for almost a thousand years.  So I began digging into the research to find out when the Roman army began awarding military decorations, who were eligible for such decorations, what percentage of men received such decorations and what may have happened to all of them.

The best reference I found was "The Military Decorations of the Roman Army" by Valerie A. Maxfield of the University of Exeter published in 1981.  Fortunately for me, although the hard copy can still be purchased up on Amazon it is rather expensive, I found the volume in its entirety up on Google Books.

In it, Maxfield explains, "The first recorded example of Roman military decoration dates to the very early years of the Republic, to the middle of the fifth century BC [although we'll see that she doubts the accuracy of this reference].  At the other end of the scale, award-giving on a regular basis came to an end in the early third century AD, though sporadic examples do occur to the very end of the Roman Empire in the West and into the Byzantine era." - Valerie A. Maxfield, The Military Decorations of the Roman Army

In his review of Maxfield's book, Professor Lawrence Keppie explains further, "The award of dona militaria can be traced back to the very beginnings of the Roman state.  Evidence from the Republic is slight, in the absence of a substantial epigraphic record, but we should not necessarily be led to suppose that no hierarchy of award had yet been devised.  Certainly, by the late first century A.D., a system as complex as that used by any modern army was in being.  Awards were related to military rank rather than degree of heroism.  Ordinary soldiers were given sets of torques (necklets), armillae (bracelets) and phalerae (medallions);  evocati and centurions might receive the same, plus a corona aurea (golden crown); equestrian and senatorial officers were given sets of coronae, hastae purae (spears, perhaps silver-tipped), and vexilla (standards), according to their rank.  Much less is known about the corniculum (little horn?) and phiale (dish), which do not seem to have continued in use into the Empire."

One of the nine phalerae from Lauersfort depicts a young Bacchus or satyr.
Bacchic imagery was a popular motif on military decorations because the melee
of combat was said to resemble  Bacchic revelry.  Photographed at the Neues Museum
by Mary Harrsch  © 2016
Maxfield attributes the development of a reward system to the introduction of a professional army and the expansion of Roman territory beyond the Italian peninsula.

"Such a professional standing army required a career structure with incentives to the potential recruit, the prospects of advancement in rank and status, and the security which came from adequate regular pay, good conditions of service and a gratuity on discharge sufficient to ease the transition back into civilian life.  Likewise, the expansion of Rome's military commitments led to a steady proliferation of permanent regular units requiring to be officered.  This, together with the acquisition of overseas territories to be governed, necessitated changes in the structure and organization of command at its higher levels." - Valerie A. Maxfield, The Military Decorations of the Roman Army

Maxfield bemoans the paucity of evidence relating to the award of decorations.  She divides most of the evidence available into three categories: literary sources, inscriptions on stone (and occasionally on metal) and sculpture, acknowledging that archaeological evidence of the decorations themselves is patchy at best.

Surprisingly, most literary evidence is found in Republican Period sources.

"Doubtless there existed in the Roman period a written code of practice relating to the presentation of awards for gallantry; such a code would be necessary for the efficient and equitable running of the system, but none such has survived, nor any of the rolls of honour which must have been maintained at Rome, nor the soldiers' individual files which would have recorded all details of their military career including any distinctions gained in the field...Many of the conclusions which will be put forward about the development and functioning of the system of military reward are based on negative rather than on positive evidence and must therefore be regarded as far from definitive - no more than one way of interpreting the [extremely limited] material available." - Valerie A. Maxfield, The Military Decorations of the Roman Army

The Gorgon, Medusa, was popular imagery because of the legionaries' beliefs
in its protective properties.  Photographed at the Neues Museum
by Mary Harrsch  © 2016
Since I am particularly interested in phalerae, I took note that Maxfield discusses a speech given by Dionysius of Halicarnassus reciting the awards of the famous 5th century BCE legendary warrior named Lucius Siccius Dentatus (known as the Roman Achilles) who is said to have won 1 corona obsidionalis (the famous Grass Crown), 14 coronae civicae (for saving the lives of Roman citizens), 3 coronae murales (for being the first over the wall of an enemy city), 8 coronae aureae, 83 torques, 160 armillae, 18 hastae and 25 phalerae.  Since I had seen references to Celtic phalerae in the research literature, I had wondered if the Romans had adopted this form of decoration from that culture like it did the torques and armillae. But this would probably not have been the case back in the 5th century BCE.  However, Maxfield views this 1st century BCE source with "deep suspicion," although a further seven writers refer to the case of Dentatus as well.

"All the sources are in broad agreement over the detail of his military awards and yet the list is out of place in a fifth-century context.  It is, for example, highly doubtful whether specific crowns for saving the lives of Roman citizens and for being the first to scale an enemy wall had developed as early as this.  The whole thing is suspiciously anachronistic..." - Valerie A. Maxfield, The Military Decorations of the Roman Army

If Maxfield is correct, perhaps the inclusion of phalerae in the list of awards is also anachronistic and the award form may have been adopted after intensive contact with the Celts during Hannibal's invasion and/or Caesar's later Gallic Wars after all.

Although this phalera may depict Juno or Minerva, it may be a portrait of
Agrippina, wife of the popular Roman commander Germanicus.
Photographed at the Neues Museum by Mary Harrsch  © 2016
Maxfield is much more comfortable with information on military decorations provided by Polybius in Book VI of his history.  She says Pliny the Elder and Aulus Gellius provide excellent information on the origins of the various military crowns while Varro, Verrius Flaccus and Isidor of Seville provide fragmentary evidence on the origin of decorations other than crowns.

Then she addresses the problem of  epigraphic evidence concentrating on centurions and officers. Of the inscriptions found, she points out that most come from the first and second centuries CE.

"Although the practice of setting up inscriptions to honour the dead or the living was one which spread over almost the whole social scale, the quality and quantity of information given are heavily weighted towards the top end of the economic and social ladder.  The reason for this is readily apparent.  The cutting of monumental inscriptions was a skilled job and the stonemason would have charged accordingly; the more competent the mason the higher the fee he could command, the longer and more verbose the text the greater the cost.  A legionary centurion of the Principate earned more than sixteen times as much as did a common soldier, a camp prefect two-and-a-half times as much again.  An equestrian officer at the height of his military career had a salary comparable to that of the camp prefect but only half that which a decenarian procurator could command." - Valerie A. Maxfield, The Military Decorations of the Roman Army

Like Maxfield, I launched into a search for references to decorations on Roman military tombstones. The easiest to find were often stones with images of decorations and military equipment, sometimes without any inscription at all.  Maxfield says sometimes a reference could be as subtle as just the letters "d.d." for "donis donatus" meaning "having been decorated."  Another problem she points out is the wealthy, who may have had multiple monuments erected to them, may not have mentioned the details of military service but include only a general summary like two of three monuments honoring P. Cominius Clemens found in the cities of Concordia and Aquileia.  His illustrious equestrian career in which he commanded three auxiliary units and was decorated during the second of these commands is merely summarized as "omnibus equestribus militiis functo" ("having served at all the equestrian military levels.")

"While the relatively poor might not be able to afford to record the career in full, the richer and more powerful who have attained positions of honour and influence might not deem it worthwhile to specify the lower posts held.." - Valerie A. Maxfield, The Military Decorations of the Roman Army

Sculptural evidence is similarly concentrated with most dated to the Augustan period.  She attributes this to the generous donatives given by the emperor to his troops after the upheavals of the Civil War.
So, how many were actually awarded?

In a study of 70 Roman military funerary monuments, Professor Lawrence Keppie found only one depicting dona militaria.

Maxfield explains, "The surviving evidence for the officers and men of the Roman army is so partial that it will never be possible to work out a reliable figure for the proportion of serving soldiers who received military decorations.  One thing which is certain, however, is that dona militaria never became campaign medals simply designed to acknowledge the active participation of a soldier in a given campaign: the individual who wished to receive a decoration of any sort had to fight harder, better and more successfully than those around him." - Valerie A. Maxfield, The Military Decorations of the Roman Army

Maxfield does include an analysis of a couple of lists of soldiers from particular units, though.  The first list was comprised of names of men recruited to the praetorian guard between 153 and 156 CE then discharged between 169 and 172 CE.  They may have accompanied Verus on his Parthian campaign (162-166 CE) and Marcus Aurelius and Verus on the early part of the German war of 166-175 CE.  Although the list is incomplete, of sixty-nine men, nine (13% had the d.d. designation).  She points out that this percentage is considerably higher than indicated on records of Legio VII Claudia stationed near Viminacium in Moesia Superior at about the same time.  In a list of 195 of their names, Maxfield found only ten (less than 7%) were designated d.d.

This may not be as atypical as Maxfield thinks, however.  Men who distinguished themselves in the legions were often recruited for the praetorian guard so the caliber of individual soldier in the praetorian guard was already a step above field recruits.  We also don't know if the d.d. designation represented awards given after their induction into the praetorian guard or at some other point in their career.  There would also be the "exposure to the illustrious" factor.  As the emperor's chosen corps, they would be under more scrutiny by the emperor in the field, so valorous actions would probably be more quickly observed and documented by the emperor's staff than similar actions in other units.

One of the Lauersfort phalerae depicting a lion head.
Photographed at the Neues Museum by Mary Harrsch  © 2016
But, of these men, how many even survived their military careers?  Centurions constituted the largest percentage of the decorated so let's examine them.

Polybius described the qualities required of a centurion: 'they do not desire them so much to be men who will initiate attacks and open the battle, but men who will hold their ground when worsted and hard-pressed and be ready to die at their posts.'

Roman reenactor dressed as a centurion.  Photo by Luc Viator courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Julius Caesar noted that in a battle against the Nervii in 57 BCE, 'all the centurions of the fourth cohort had been slain and a standard-bearer likewise...almost all the centurions of the other cohorts were wounded or killed, among them the chief centurion, P. Sextius Aculus, bravest of men, who was overcome by many grievous wounds so that he could no longer hold himself upright.'

So what happened to the dona militaria of those killed in action? Were their decorations sent to their families?  Maxfield thinks not.

"On the death of the soldier who won them, they may well have been returned or sold back to his unit (this was a common practice with standard military equipment) and later re-used..." - Valerie A. Maxfield, The Military Decorations of the Roman Army

What other activities could have also resulted in the loss of dona militaria?

"A passage from the Histories of Tacitus points to what may well have been the ultimate fate of large numbers of decorations in times of financial crisis.  Tacitus tells us how some of the supporters of Vitellius at Cologne in AD 69, not having money to give to help finance the war, were urged to part with their valuables including their phalerae...Another allusion to the melting down of military decorations appears in the pages of the Elder Pliny: 'if only Fabricius who forbade gallant generals to possess more than a dish and a salt-cellar of silver would see how nowadays the rewards of valour are made from the utensils of luxury or else are broken up to make them.'" - Valerie A. Maxfield, The Military Decorations of the Roman Army

Roman portrait once thought to be Vitellius.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The ancient sources also describe the offering of military decorations at the funerals of famous commanders.

"...soldiers of Sulla and Caesar, who, wearing their decorations at the funerals of their one-time commanders, cast the dona on to the funeral pyres as a final tribute (App., BC I. 105; Suet., Caesa. 84.4.,  App., BC II.148)"

Maxfield points out that not one military crown of any type has ever been identified.  She also says  not a single vexillum nor a hasta pura has ever been found either, although scholar M. Rostovtzeff, in his paper "Vexillum and Victory", published in 1942 in the Journal of Roman Studies, purports to have identified at least one vexillum.

Although the most coveted crowns like the corona obsidionalis were made of perishable vegetation from the scene of the action, it seems hardly possible that not a single corona aurea has been found.  I've seen so many 5th - 3rd century BCE gold Greek wreaths in museums and traveling exhibits I have lost count.  But, apparently, such Roman crowns are nonexistent.

Fragment of a gold wreath Greek 320-300 BCE from a tomb at
Zaneskaya Gora in the region of the Crimea on the northern shore of the Black Sea.
Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York by
Mary Harrsch © 2007
Another problem contributing to the loss of dona was grave robbers.  Decorated veterans were sometimes buried with their dona in isolated graves on their land plots.

In his paper, "Having Been a Soldier:  The Commemoration of Military Service on Funerary Monuments of the Early Roman Empire", Lawrence Keppie explains:

"The great majority of memorials at Este, and at least half of those from Antiochia, were not erected in cemeteries at the towns themselves, but often in what appear isolated contexts in the territorium, that is most obviously on the land plots which the colonists had obtained at the close of the military service...In many cases, the memorial would be seen principally, not by fellow colonists or any serving military men (like those erected outside a legionary fortress such as Mainz), but by family and neighbours."

Such isolated burials would be prime pickings for passing grave robbers and thieves.

In his paper, "Vexillum and Victory" published in Vol. 32 of The Journal of Roman Studies, Rostovtzeff says, "The representation on a monument of specific allusions, e.g. military standards or dona militaria, is really quite rare, and presumably restricted to those entitled to be so depicted.  [However,] The dona themselves are often shown very prominently, and when painted would have been easily distinguished from afar."

I was particularly intrigued by Keppie's reference to a case in Cremona where a soldier, serving under Augustus had his dona militaria interred with his ashes.  I wish Keppie had been more specific.  He only footnoted a 1971 publication by Pontiroli which is pretty hard to track down without a title or the name of the journal in which it appeared.  I thought, perhaps, the dona militaria may have ended up in the local archaeological museum which in the case of Cremona would be The Museo Archeologico di San Lorenzo.  So,  I eagerly viewed as many images of that museum's collections as I could find, including images taken by visitors uploaded to TripAdvisor, but saw no funerary monuments from the Augustan period or dona militaria, although the museum's website mentions ceramic/glass/bronze grave goods and dona militaria were often silvered bronze.  I later found a reference that mentioned bronze torques being found but no mention of anything else.  Based on Maxfield's discussion of how decorations were usually awarded in sets, there should have been more decorations found than just a couple of torques.

Professor Keppie also pointed out that a number of soldiers' graves were plundered by later Christians for stone to build their churches.

"...a panel showing phalerae is built into the thirteenth-century bell-tower of the Cathedral at Benevento...There are certainly numerous fragments of sculptural decoration of what must have been large monuments, most probably to primipilares, equestrian officers and even senatorial commanders." - Lawrence Keppie, 'Having been a soldier': The Commemoration of Military Service on Funerary Monuments of the early Roman Empire

Keppie says that a number of sculptured panels are also built into the church of San Domenico at Sora (Lazio), which include an eagle and military standard.  I would assume that any dona militaria found containing precious metals would have been similarly confiscated and melted down.

Maxfield says one of the underlying problems is the difficulty in identifying military decorations in first place.  She explains that some of the minor awards were derived from personal ornaments and there appears to be no standard design used for the dona. Bronze torques found during the excavation of the Roman fort of Benwell on Hadrian's Wall could have just as well been local native ornaments traded for Roman goods as military decorations.

"The commonest type of decoration to be found is the phalera.  The problem of interpretation here arises from the fact that phalerae were used for purposes other than military award; they served for example as horse-trappings and these trappings are not always readily distinguishable from military decorations - both are ornate metal discs design to be attached to leather straps.  Only in cases such as that of the Lauersfort phalerae where a complete set [of nine] was found in close proximity to a legionary fortress (Vetera bei Xanten in Lower Germany) can we be confident that we are dealing with genuine dona militaria." - Valerie A. Maxfield, The Military Decorations of the Roman Army

At least I had the opportunity to view one set!  Judging from their rarity, they should be worth more than the Hope Diamond!

August 25, 2016

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Is It Neander-TAL or Neander-THAL?

Here’s the deal: you can write or say Neanderthal or Neandertal, but you should only write Homo...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Ficheiro Epigráfico [Suplemento de Conimbriga]

[First posted in AWOL 2 February 2014, updated 25 August 2016]

Ficheiro Epigráfico [Suplemento de Conimbriga]
ISSN: 0870-2004
Ficheiro Epigráfico é um suplemento da revista Conimbriga, destinado a divulgar inscrições romanas inéditas de toda a Península Ibérica, que começou a publicar-se em 1982. Dos fascículos 1 a 66, inclusive, se fez um CD-ROM, no âmbito do Projecto de Culture 2000 intitulado VBI ERAT LVPA, com a colaboração da Universidade de Alcalá de Henares.

Publica-se em fascículos de 16 páginas, cuja periodicidade depende da frequência com que forem recebidos os textos. As inscrições são numeradas de forma contínua, de modo a facilitar a preparação de índices, que são publicados no termo de cada série de dez fascículos.

Cada «ficha» deverá conter indicação, o mais pormenorizada possível, das condições do achado e do actual paradeiro da peça. Far-se-á uma descrição completa do monumento, a leitura interpretada da inscrição e o respectivo comentário paleográfico. Será bem-vindo um comentário de integração histórico-onomástica, ainda que breve.
574-577 - Novas inscrições funerárias da Torre Velha de Castro de Avelãs, Bragança (Civitas Zoelarum, Conventus Asturum, Hispania Citerior)
Armando Redentor, Clara André, Miguel Cipriano Costa, Pedro C. Carvalho, Sofia Tereso
571 -  Ara a Hércules en Madroñera, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega
572 -  Estela de Gemelus de Trujillo, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega, José Antonio Redondo Rodríguez
573 -  Árula cerámica del ILC, León (Conventus Asturum)
           David Serrano Lozano
569 -  Un ladrillo emeritense con grafito relativo al trabajo de una figlina ( Augusta Emerita, Conventus Emeritensis)
           Luis-Ángel Hidalgo Martín
570 -  Fragmento de epígrafe, Trujillo-Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Joaquín L. Gómez-Pantoja, Francisco Perez Solis
565 -  Una lucerna africana epigrafiada en el Museo Histórico de Salobreña, Granada
           Manuel Márquez Cruz, Federico Martínez Rodríguez
566-567 -  Una pareja de inscripciones burguillanas
           Joaquín L. Gómez-Pantoja, Pablo Paniego
568 -  Uma possível cupa em Neves, Beja (Conventus Pacensis)
562 -  Uma ara votiva em Alpalhão (Conventus Pacencis)
           Jorge Oliveira, José d'Encarnação
563 -  La estela de la iglesia de Santa María La Maior, Trujillo - Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega, Joaquín L. Gómez-Pantoja, Francisco Pérez Solís
564 -  Nova inscrição funerária de Castro de Avelãs (Civitas Zoelarum, Conventus Asturum, Hispania Citerior)
           Armando Redentor, Ricardo Teixeira, Helena Marçal
559 -  Estela funerária de Atellius Clemes, Ourique (Conventus Pacensis)
           José d'Encarnação, Manuel Maia
560-61 -  Duas inscrições funerárias paleocristãs (Nossa Senhora das Neves, Beja)
           José d'Encarnação, Jorge Feio
557 -  Ara votiva en Ibahernando, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega, José Antonio Redondo Rodríguez
558 -  Una cupa burgalesa
           Joaquín L. Gómez-Pantoja
552 -  554 - Dos inscripciones funerarias y una estela oikomorfa en Oña (Burgos)
           Marta Fernández Corral
555 - 556  - Dos nuevas inscripciones procedentes de Uxama (Soria)
           Javier Del Hoyo, Mariano Rodríguez Ceballos
548 -  550 - Inscrições de Olisipo identificadas na "Cerca Velha"
           José d'Encarnação, Manuela Leitão, Vasco Leitão
551 - Un nuevo miliario de Plasencia, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega
          Adenda et Corrigenda  |  Índice dos fascículos 120 a 129
547 -  Miliário de Constantino, Tejeda de Tiétar, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega
544 - Placa decorada cristiana
          Salvador Ordóñez Agulla, José Ildefonso Ruiz Cecilia
545 - Epígrafe funerária da Azinheira, Pedrógão, Penamacor (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Maria João Ângelo, Ana Lourenço, Nuno Gonçalves Pedrosa, Carla Alegria Ribeiro
546Nueva estela de Valverde del Fresno, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Julio Esteban Ortega
541 - Uma consagração aos Deuses Bons proveniente de Lisboa, Olisipo (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          Amílcar Guerra
542 - Nueva inscripción funeraria gaditana
          Antonio Ruiz Castellanos
543 -  Inscripciones funerarias romanas de Cádiz
          Antonio Ruiz Castellanos, Marcos A. Martelo Fernández
538 - Ara a Mercurio en Escurial, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Julio Esteban Ortega
539 - Epígrafe votiva do Olival Queimado (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Maria João Ângelo, Ana Lourenço, Nuno Gonçalves Pedrosa, Carla Alegria Ribeiro
540 - Un tonsor en Calderuela, Soria
          Joaquín L. Gómez-Pantoja, David Martino García
534 - Estela de Valverde del Fresno, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Julio Esteban Ortega
535 - Capitel con inscripción en Villamiel (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Julio Esteban Ortega
536 - Dos inscripciones de Tvrgalivm (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Julio Esteban Ortega
537 - Ara anepígrafa da Quinta de Antão Alves, Fundão (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Maria João Ângelo
531 - Epitafio de Duatia Y L. Goutina, Cuacos de Yuste-Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Julio Esteban Ortega
532 - Ara romana da Quinta da Feijoeira, Torre dos Namorados (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Maria João Ângelo, Ana Lourenço, Nuno Gonçalves Pedrosa, Carla Alegria Ribeiro
533 - Dos inscripciones inéditas de Villamiel, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Julio Esteban Ortega
527 - Placa funerária romana da Herdade da Comenda Grande (Conventus Pacensis)
         Ruben Barbosa, José d'Encarnação
528 - Estela funerária da Herdade da Moita (Conventus Pacensis)
          José d'Encarnação, João Pedro Joaquim
529 - Estela de Jaraicejo, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Julio Esteban Ortega, José António Pajuelo Jiménez
530 - Cupa funerária anepígrafa em Veiros (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Francisco Bilou, José d'Encarnação
523 - Fragmento de estela en Abertura (Conventus Emeritensis)
         Julio Esteban Ortega
524 - Placa funeraria de Cilleros, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
         Julio Esteban Ortega
525 - Nueva inscripción funeraria en Peñalba de Castro, Burgos
          David Sevillano López, Mariano Rodríguez Ceballos
526 - Pendente com crísmon e inscrição
          António Sá Coixão, José d'Encarnação
517 -  522 - Nuevas inscripciones funerarias astigitanas
           Sergio García-Dils de la Vega, Salvador Ordóñez Agulla
513 -  Epitafio de M. Egnatius Maximus en Puerto de Santa Cruz, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega
514 -  515 - Nuevos datos para la epigrafia de Complutum en una obra de Capistrano de Moya
           Helena Gimeno Pascual, Silvia Tantimonaco
516Imbrex com inscrição paleocristã de Rio Maior (Conventus Scallabitanus)
           José d' Encarnação, José Beleza Moreira, Carlos Pereira
          Adenda et Corrigenda  |  Índice dos fascículos 110 a 119
512 -  Estela de Lancivs en  Cavrivm, Coria, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega, Juan Pedro Moreno Carrasco
509 -  Fragmento de placa funerária romana de Óbidos (Conventus Scallabitanus)
           José d' Encarnação, Carlos Pereira
510 -  A estela funerária de Capela, Penafiel (Conventus Bracaraugustanus)
           Maria João Correia Santos, Hugo Armando Miranda Pires
511 -  Ara a los dioses en Pozuelo de Zarzón (Caurium - Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega
504 -  Epitafio de Caeno Doqvri F., Guijo de Granadilla, Cáceres
           Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón
505 -  507 - Epigrafia votiva de Serradilla (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega
508 -  Peso de tear romano com inscrição de Arruda dos Vinhos (Conventus Scallabitanus)
           Guilherme Cardoso, José d'Encarnação
501 - 502 -  Duas epígrafes romanas do sítio fortificado do Castelinho (Cilhades, Felgar, Torre de Moncorvo)
           Filipe J. C. Santos, Fábio Rocha, Eulália Pinheiro
503 -  Grafito em imbrex de Freiria (Conventus Scallabitanus)
           Guilherme Cardoso, José d'Encarnação
496 - 500 -  Cinco estelas funerárias do Chão da Capela (Junqueira, Adeganha, Torre de Moncorvo)
           António José Marques da Silva
492 -  Marco de Teodósio em Coja, Arganil (Conventus Scallabitanus)
           José d'Encarnação, Maria Conceição Lopes
493 -  Grafito em tijolo, de Tróia (Conventus Pacensis)
           José d' Encarnação
494 -  Fragmento de placa com grafitos, de Tróia (Conventus Pacensis)
           José d' Encarnação
495 -  Ara a Júpiter en Cáparra, Oliva de Plasencia, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega
489 -  Inscrição votiva de Longroiva, (Conventus Scallabitanus)
           António N. Sá Coixão, José d'Encarnação
490 -  Fragmento cerâmico com duplo grafito
           José d' Encarnação, Nuno Miguel C. Mourinha
491 - Estela de Maganvs, Berzocana, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Julio Esteban Ortega
486 -  Epígrafe de Jaraíz de La Vera, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           David Serrano Lozano
487 -  Una nueva inscripción de Villamiel, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Cristina Jimenez Cano, Elisa Gómez-Pantoja Guemes
488 - Fragmento de epígrafe romana de Miroiço, Alcabideche, Cascais (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          José d' Encarnação
483 -  Inscrição funerária romana nas muralhas de Beja (Conventus Pacensis)
           José d' Encarnação, Miguel Serra
484 -  Estela funerária romana de Cabeça Boa (Torre de Moncorvo)
           Susana Bailarim
485 -  Fragmento de ara (re)construída procedente de Clunia (Burgos)
           Mariano Rodríguez Ceballos, Javier Salido Domínguez
          Addenda et corrigenda Ad N. 460
482 -  Nuevo epígrafe romano en Madrigalejo, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           José Vidal Madruga
          Addenda et corrigenda  |  Índice dos fascículos 100 a 109
481 -  Estela de L. Goutius, Deleitosa - Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
           Julio Esteban Ortega
479 -  Nueva estela vadiniense hallada en Riaño, León (Conventus Cluniensis)
          Mª Cruz González Rodríguez,  Joaquín Gorrochategui
480 - Inscrições na villa romana de Rio Maior (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          José d' Encarnação, José Beleza Moreira, Carlos Pereira
476 -  Inscripción de Zarza de Granadilla, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Julio Esteban Ortega
477 - Cupa funerária romana de Mértola (Conventus Pacensis)
          José d' Encarnação, Virgílio Lopes
478 - Nuevo fragmento de ara funeraria de Peñalba de Castro (Burgos) y un possible taller epigráfico en Clunia
          Paloma Balbín Chamorro, David Sevillano López, Mariano Rodríguez Ceballos
471 - 474 - Estelas funerarias de Plasenzuela (Cáceres)
          Julio Esteban Ortega, José Antonio Ramos Rubio
475 - Estela funeraria hallada en Baños de La  Encina (Jaen)
          Luis Arboledas Martínez, Miguel Ángel Novillo López, Juan Jesús Padilla Fernández, Linda Chapón
468 - Ara a Jupiter (Conventus Bracaraugustanus)
          Armando Redentor, Henrique Regalo
469 - Miliário da Cabida, Monte das Flores, Évora (Conventus Pacensis)
          Fernando Bilou, José d' Encarnação
470 - Ara Laribus Ceceaicis em Castelo de Paiva (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          Martinho da Costa Moreira da Rocha, Mário Gonçalves Pereira, Pedro Mendes, José d' Encarnação 
464 - Cupa de Eutiches, Beja (Conventus Pacensis)
          Manuela Alves Dias, Catarina Gaspar
465 - 466 - Nuevas inscripciones latinas de Madrigalejo, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
          José-Vidal Madruga Flores
467 - Miliário da Quinta da Manizola, Évora (Conventus Pacensis)
          Francisco Bilou, José d' Encarnação
460 - Ara funerária romana de Moura (Conventus Pacensis)
          José d' Encarnação, José Gonçalo Valente, Vanessa Gaspar, Maria da Conceição Lopes,
Santiago Macias
461 - Estela funerária de Guijo de Granadilla, (Cáceres)
          Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón, Mª Gabriela Iglesias Domínguez
462 - Fragmento de Estela de Oliva de Plasencia (Cáceres)
          Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón, Mª Gabriela Iglesias Domínguez
463 - Placa funerária da Civitas Igaeditanorum (Conventus Emeritensis)
          José d' Encarnação, Raul Losada
456 - Ara a Júpiter de Açores, Celorico da Beira (Conventus Emeritensis)
          António Carlos Marques, João Carlos Lobão, Pedro C. Carvalho
457 - Placa funerária romana de Moura (Conventus Pacensis)
          José d' Encarnação, José Gonçalo Valente, Vanessa Gaspar, Maria da Conceição Lopes, Santiago Macias
458 - 459 - Epígrafes romanos de Ahigal - Cáceres
          Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón, Mª Gabriela Iglesias Domínguez
451 - Estela funerária de Gouveia - Alfândega da Fé, Bragança (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Fernando Vaz, Sérgio Pereira, Armando Redentor
452 - Fragmento de inscrição funerária romana do Paço da Ega
         (Conimbriga - Conventus Scallabitanus)
         Ana Lima Revez, José d' Encarnação
453 - 455 - Inscripciones en el Monte de Ahigal (Cáceres)
         Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón, Mª Gabriela Iglesias Domínguez
448 - Estela funerária de Tinhela, Valpaços, Vila Real (Conventus Bracaraugustanus)
          Armando Redentor
449 - Fragmento de inscrição funerária de Arruda dos Vinhos (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          José d' Encarnação
450 - Ara de São Pedro da Capinha, Fundão (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Elisa Albuquerque, Constança Guimarães dos Santos
          Addenda et corrigenda  |  Índice dos fascículos 90 a 99
446 - Ara votiva a Tutela (Cilhades, Felgar, Torre de Moncorvo)
         Ségio Pereira, Jorge Feio, Filipe Santos, Jorge Pinho, Fábio Rocha, Eulália Pinheiro
447 - Árula funerária de Tróia (Conventus Pacensis)
         José d' Encarnação, Inês Vaz Pinto, Ana Patrícia Magalhães, Patrícia Brum
442 - 444 - Inscrições romanas no Paço da Ega (Condeixa-a-Nova),
          (Conimbriga - Conventus   Scallabitanus)
          José d' Encarnação, Virgílio Hipólito Correia
445 - Árula anepígrafa
         José d' Encarnação
434 - 441 - Estelas funerarias de Turgalium
          Julio Esteban Ortega, José Antonio Redondo Rodríguez
428 - 433 - Estelas funerarias de Ibahernando  (Cáceres)
          José Antonio Redondo Rodríguez, Julio Esteban Ortega
424 - Estela hallada en el término de La Pesga (Cáceres)
          Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón
425 - Inscripción funeraria romana de Saúca (Guadalajara)
          Emilio Gamo Pazos
426 - Estela funeraria de Puerto de Santa Cruz (Cáceres)
          José Antonio Redondo Rodriguez, Julio esteban Ortega
427 - Nueva lectura del CIL II 843 (Oliva de Plasencia, Capera)
          Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón
420 - Placa votiva a Bellona en Villamesías (Cáceres)
          Julio Esteban Ortega, José Antonio Redondo Rodríguez
421 - Um dollium epigrafado do Monte Aljão (Gouveia, Guarda)
          Catarina Tente, Adriaan de Man
422 - 423 - Estelas funerarias de Villamesías (Cáceres)
          Julio Esteban Ortega, José Antonio Redondo Rodríguez
416 - Placa votiva de Salacia (Conventus Pacensis)
          José d' Encarnação, Marisol Ferreira
417 - Fragmento de lápide funerária de Conimbriga (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          Virgílio Correia, José d' Encarnação
418 - Peso de tear com inscrição indecifrada (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          António J. Nunes Monteiro, José d' Encarnação
419 - Fragmento epigrafado de Alcácer do Sal (Salacia-Conventus Pacensis)
         José d' Encarnação, Marisol Ferreira
412 - Marca grafitada Firmus do Ervedal (Conventus Emeritensis)
          João Mendes Rosa, Joana Bizarro
413 - Ara funerária achada em Cantanhede (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          José d' Encarnação, João Reigota
414 - Epitáfio de Lucretia Doqira em Alenquer (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          Cristina Vale, José d' Encarnação
415 - Fragmento de estela de Oliva de Plasencia (Cáceres)
          Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón
409 - Ara a Iuppiter Capitolinus en Talaván (Cáceres)
          Julio Esteban Ortega
410 - Estela funerária do Largo do Contador-Mor em Lisboa (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          Ana Caessa, Nuno Mota
411 - Marca em peso de tear, em Aeminium (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          Raquel Santos
407 - Stèle funéraire d'Adeganha, Moncorvo (Conventus Bracaraugustanus)
          Patrick Le Roux
408 - Epitáfio de Caecilius Glaucus (Mértola) (Conventus Pacencis)
          Virgílio Lopes, Maria Manuela Alves Dias, Catarina Gaspar
403 - Ara funerária de Melres (Gondomar, Porto) (Conventus Bracaraugustanus)
          Armando Redentor
404 - Marca de oleiro do Castelo dos Prados (Pinhel)
          Filipe Pina
405 - Inscripción funeraria de Acedera, Badajoz (Conventus Emeritensis)
          María del Rosario Hernando Sobrino
406 - Inscripción funeraria romana encontrada en Azuqueca de Henares, Guadalajara
          Elena Martin Bas, Joaquín Gómez-Pantoja.
400 - Epígrafe monumental ou funerária da Torre dos Namorados (Quintas da Torre,
         Vale Prazeres, Fundão) (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Maria João Ângelo, Carla Alegria Ribeiro
401 - Árula votiva de Alter do Chão
          Jorge António, José d' Encarnação
402 - Lápide funerária da Herdade da Torre do Lobo, Torre de Coelheiros, Évora
          (Conventus Pacensis)
          Francisco Bilou, José d' Encarnação
396 - 397- Duas aras da Aldeia Nova (Ramela, Guarda)
          Marcos Osório, António Sá Rodrigues
398 - Uma nova ara votiva do Sabugal
          Marcos Osório, Dário Neves
399 - Ara votiva de São Pedro da Capinha (Fundão), (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Elisa Albuquerque, Constança Guimarães dos Santos.
391 - Ara votiva de San Martin del Trevejo (Cáceres) dedicada a la diosa ILURBEDA
         Juan Carlos Olivares Pedreño
392 - Inscripción votiva en Montánchez (Conventus Emeritensis)
         José-Vidal Madruga Flores
393 - Ara votiva da Civitas Cobelcorum (Conventus Emeritensis)
         Elisa Albuquerque, Helena Frade
394 - 395 - Miliarios de la calzada de “La Plata” (Casas del Monte, Cáceres)
         Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón, M.ª G.ª Iglésias Domínguez
382 - Ara votiva dedicada a Vordiaecio
         Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón, M.ª G.ª Iglésias Domínguez
383 - Lápida funerária procedente de Cáparra (Cáceres)
         Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón, M.ª G.ª Iglésias Domínguez
384 - 386 - Epigrafes funerárias de Zarza de Granadilla (Cáceres)
         Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón, M.ª G.ª Iglésias Domínguez
387 - 390 - Epigrafes funerárias romanas de Albalá (Cáceres)
         Júlio Esteban Ortega
377 - Ara votiva de La Alberca (Salamanca) dedicada a ILURBEDA
         Juan Carlos Olivares Pedreño
378 - Nova inscrição de Salir de Matos (Caldas da Rainha)
         Maria Manuela Alves Dias, Catarina I. Sousa Gaspar, Carlos Marques Querido
379 - Estela funerária de Arroyomolinos de Montáchez (Cáceres)
         Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón, M.ª G.ª Iglésias Domínguez
380 - 381 - Grafitos inéditos procedentes de la província de Palencia
         Libório Hernandez Guerra
368 - 369 - Duas epígrafes de Montalegre ( Conventus Bracaraugustanus)
         Carla Carvalho, José d’Encarnação
370 - 373 - Epigrafia funerária de Valdefuentes, Cáceres (Conventus Emeritensis)
         Júlio Esteban
374 - Miliário de Constâncio Cloro em Alter do Chão (Conventus Pacensis)
         José d’ Encarnação, João Rafael Nisa
375 - 376 - Dois miliarios de Narrillos del Álamo, Ávila (Conventus Emeritensis)
         Maria del Rosário Hernando Sobrino, José Luís Gamallo Barranco
364 - Ara Longroivense
         Susana Falhas
365 - Placa funerária de Aldeia de Santa Madalena (Guarda)
         Marcos Osório
366 - Estela funerária dos Mosteiros, S. Bartolomeu do Outeiro, Portel (Conventus Pacensis)
         Maria João Ângelo
367 - Placa dos Mosteiros, S. Bartolomeu do Outeiro, Portel (Conventus Pacensis)
         Maria João Ângelo
361 - Ara a Júpiter, de Idanha-a-Velha (Conventus Emeritensis)
         João Carlos Lobão, José Cristóvão
362 - Epitáfio de SENTIA LAVRILLA, de Alter do Chão (Conventus Pacensis)
         Jorge António, José d’Encarnação
363 - Mais um miliário de Constantino Magno na área limítrofe de Abrantes
         Joaquim Candeias da Silva
359 - Inscrição rupestre da Laje do Adufe, Ferro, Covilhã (Conventus Emeritensis)
         Armando Redentor, Marcos Osório, Pedro C. Carvalho
360 - Cipo funerário da Qtª das Lameiras, Aguiar da Beira
         Maria Alexandrina F. Tavares Frias
356 - Grafitos oficinais sobre talhas, de Conimbriga
          Virgílio Hipólito Correia
357 - Um fragmento de abecedário de Conimbriga
         Virgílio Hipólito Correia
358 - Cupa anepígrafa de Trevões
         Carla Sequeira, Natália Fauvrelle
351 - Marca grafitada de Arcea, sobre um peso de tear de Conimbriga
         José da Silva Ruivo
352 - Marca grafitada I A, sobre um peso de tear de Conimbriga
         José da Silva Ruivo
353 - Marca grafitada de Casa, sobre um peso de tear de Conimbriga
         Maria Pilar Reis
354 - Marca grafitada de Ivlia, sobre um peso de tear de Conimbriga
         José da Silva Ruivo
355 - Marca de L. Allivs Avitvs, impressa num tijolo de Conimbriga
         José da Silva Ruivo
347 - Ara votiva a Amma de Vale de Azares
         Maria do Céu Crespo Ferreira, Marcos Osório, Manuel Sabino G. Perestrelo
348 - Árula votiva de Quintela de Azurara, Mangualde
         Pedro Pina Nóbrega
349 - Bloco epigrafado de Tondela
          António J. Nunes Monteiro
350 - Ara votiva del templo romano de collado de “Piedras Labradas”, Jarilla, Cáceres
         Jaime Rio-Miranda Alcón, Maria Gabriela Iglesias Domínguez
  • FICHEIRO EPIGRÁFICO 76 - 2004  [ver/abrir]
336 - 346 - Un santuário romano en Narros del Puerto, Ávila (Conventus Emeritensis)
         Maria del Rosário Hernando Sobrino, José Luís Gamallo Barranco
330 - Stèle funéraire d’Eiras Velhas, Horta da Vilariça (Conventus Bracaraugustanus)
         P. Le Roux e A. Tranoy
331 - Ara da Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Mércoles, Castelo Branco
         F. Patrício Curado
332 -Placa funerária de S. Vicente da Beira, Castelo Branco
         Manuel Leitão, Sílvia Moreira
333 - Placa funerária de Castelo Branco
         F. Patrício Curado, Pedro Salvado, Sílvia Moreira
334 - Marco de propriedade (?), Castelo Branco
         F. Patrício Curado
335 - Ara votiva de Antas, Penalva do Castelo
         Pedro Pina Nóbrega
324 - Placa funerária de Duas Igrejas, Vila Verde
         Tarcísio Maciel
325 - 326 - Estelas de Malpartida de Cáceres, Cáceres
         José Salas Martín, Júlio Esteban Ortega
327 - Dedicación a Júpiter Óptimo Máximo en Cepeda, Salamanca
C. Mercado e E. Sánchez-Medina
328 - Estela funerária do Rosmaninhal
         Maria Cassilda Domingues Santos
329 -Ara votiva de São Vicente da Beira, Castelo Branco
         F. Patrício Curado, Manuel Leitão, Pedro Salvado, Sílvia Moreira
  • FICHEIRO EPIGRÁFICO 72-73 - 2003 [ver/abrir]
318 - Ara a uma divindade indígena na freguesia de S. Facundo, Abrantes
         J. Candeias da Silva
319 - Miliário de Constantino Magno do Vale da Lama, Bemposta, Abrantes
         J. Candeias da Silva, Álvaro Batista, Filomena Gaspar
320 - Epitáfio de C. Norbanus G. F. Rusticus
         José-Vidal Madruga Flores
321 - Lápida de C. Sempronius Niger
         José-Vidal Madruga Flores
322 - Lápida de Firmila, M. Grani serva
         José-Vidal Madruga Flores
323 - 1 a 7 - Pesos de tear com marca da villa de Cardais, Tomar ( Conventus Scallabitanus)
         Luís da Silva Fernandes
315 - Ara a Bando Vordeaico, da Meda
         Manuel Sabino G. Perestrelo
316 - Ara aos Lares proveniente da Meda
         Manuel Sabino G. Perestrelo
317 - Mercurius Supernus en un epígrafe inédito de la província de Badajoz
         Maria del Rosário Hernando Sobrino
313 - 314 - Aras a Júpiter procedentes del Museo de Cáceres
         Júlio Esteban Ortega
309 - Ara votiva encontrada no Sabugal
         Marcos Osório
310 - Duas aras da Quinta de São Domingos, Pousafoles do Bispo, Sabugal
         (Conventus Emeritensis)
         Marcos Osório
311 - Placa funerária de Capinha, Fundão
         Sara Oliveira Almeida, Pedro C. Carvalho, Carla Alegria Ribeiro, Ricardo Costeira da Silva
312 - Estela funerária da Quinta da Erva, Santana da Azinha, Guarda (Conventus Emeritensis)
          Marcos Osório
305 - Estela funerária de Santiago dos Velhos (Conventus Scallabitanus)
         Guilherme Cardoso, José d’ Encarnação
306 - Inscrição funerária da Serra de S. Julião (Conventus Scallabitanus)
         Guilherme Cardoso, José d’ Encarnação, Isabel Luna
307 - Estela das Ferrarias, Torres Vedras (Conventus Scallabitanus)
         Guilherme Cardoso, José d’ Encarnação, Isabel Luna
308 - Ara anepígrafa de Monsanto (Civitas Igaeditanorum)
         Rogério P. Carvalho, José d' Encarnação
300 - Dedicatória a Júpiter, de Torre de Moncorvo
         Susana Bailarim
301 - Árula votiva encontrada em Abrantes (Conventus Scallabitanus)
         Joaquim Candeias Silva, José d’ Encarnação
302 - Inscrição funerária romana de Covelo, Valadares, S. Pedro do Sul
         António J. Nunes Monteiro
303 - Uma estela funerária de Ammaia
          José d’Encarnação e José Rafael Correia da Silva
304 - Cupa anepígrafa da Ermida de São Bartolomeu, Cuba (Conventus Pacensis)
          A. M. Dias Diogo, Laura Trindade, Jorge Feio
296 - Árula votiva de Escalos de Cima
         Rogério Carvalho, José d?Encarnação
297 - Árula votiva de Miranda (Conventus Bracaraugustanus)
         José d’Encarnação, T. Daniel Maciel, M. Justino Maciel
298 - Paca funerária de Santa Maria, Beja (Conventus Pacensis)
         José d’ Encarnação, M. Conceição Lopes
299 -Inscrição rupestre de Cinfães (Conventus Scallabitanus)
         José d’ Encarnação, L. M. da Silva Pinho
293 - Cipo funerário romano do Cadaval (Conventus Scallabitanus)
          Gulherme Cardoso, José d’Encarnação
294 - Un nuevo epitafio de San Esteban de Gormaz, Soria, España
          J. Gomez-Pantoja, F. García Palomar
295 - Cupa de Ferreira do Alentejo (Conventus Pacensis)
         José d’ Encarnação, M. J. Pina

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

Did the Catholic church oppose street lights? Some notes on the Papal States in the 1830s

A couple of days ago, I happened to see a brand new anti-Catholic slur online on Instagram. Here’s the item:

It’s not spread that far as yet, but claims to be from – a US humour site.

The poster makes three claims:

The Catholic Church opposed street lights.

In 1831, Pope Gregory XVI even banned gas lighting in papal states.

The church argued that God very clearly established the delineation between night and day, and putting lights up after sundown flew in the face of God’s law.

Well that’s pretty plain.  The Catholic Church under Gregory XVI made it offical teaching that street lights were evil, and that even (note the emphasis) gas lighting was banned in “papal states” (by which most people will understand “Catholic countries”).

It’s obvious that this poster is intended to defame, to injure and to bring contempt on the Roman Catholic Church.  But it is interesting to find that the words in the poster are very recent indeed.  In fact I can only find a single near-match anywhere.  This is in a 2015 publication by Bruce H. Joffe, “My Name Is Heretic: Reforming the Church, from Guts to Glory”.[1]  The author appears in fact to be a homosexual activist.[2] The poster is clearly derived (with a couple of word changes) from this.

The claim that “The church argued that God very clearly established the delineation between night and day, and putting lights up after sundown flew in the face of God’s law” does not appear elsewhere, and in the absence of evidence and reference we may hypothesise that Joffe simply invented it.

The poster also gives a reference, to Desmond Bowen.[3]  But when we search for street lighting, we find only a single result:

Papal ceremonies assumed unprecedented magnificence, and audiences were conducted with more than royal protocol. The building programme of Leo XII was continued, more ancient churches and monuments were restored, new palaces were built, and the Vatican was further enriched with valuable collections of art. At the same time the people of Rome were denied street lighting, and the pope refused to allow the coming of the railway to the city. Gregory XVI was a thoroughgoing reactionary, but his policies were implemented only because of the presence of French and Austrian as well as papal troops.

The Google books preview indicates no other reference to street lighting in the book.

With every historical claim, our first step must be to discover whether the claim is in fact true, as stated.  If it is true, we must next discover whether it is a fair representation of the facts, or a distortion.

Our first source of information is none other than the great Charles Dickens, in Bentley’s Miscellany, vol. 24, 1848, p.305, where he is reviewing a book about Italy by a certain James Whiteside, of whom more in a minute.

The effete but jealous despotism of the ancient system [of Papal government before Pope Pius IX] is well illustrated by the following anecdote.

“I became acquainted with a young, handsome, fashionable Count, who mixed largely in English society in Rome. During an evening’s conversation he remarked, he had never beheld the sea, and had a great desire to do so. I observed that was very easy, the sea was but a few miles distant, and if he preferred a sea-port, Civita Vecchia was not very far off. The Count  laughed. ‘I made an effort to accomplish it, but failed,’ he then said. ‘ You English who travel over the world do not know our system. I applied lately for a passport to visit the coast; they inquired in the office my age, and with whom I lived; I said with my mother. A certificate from my mother was demanded, verifying the truth of my statement. I brought it; the passport was still refused. I was asked who was my parish priest; having answered, a certificate from him was required, as to the propriety of my being allowed to leave Rome. I got the priest’s certificate ; they then told me in the office I was very persevering, that really they saw no necessity nor reason for my roaming about the country just then, and that it was better for me to remain at home with my mother.’ He then muttered. ‘The priests, the priests, what a government is theirs !’”

This passage sufficiently explains Pope Gregory’s hostility to railroads, but the cause of his hostility to gas-lights is less generally known, and must not be suppressed. When the chairman of a company formed for lighting Rome with gas, waited on the Pope to obtain the required permission, Gregory indignantly asked how he presumed to desire a thing so utterly subversive of religion! The astonished speculator humbly stated that he could not see the most remote connection between religion and carburetted hydrogen. “Yes, but there is, sir,” shouted the Pope, “my pious subjects are in the habit of vowing candles to be burned before the shrines of saints, the glimmering candles would soon be rendered ridiculous by the contrast of the glaring gas-lights, and thus a custom so essential to everlasting salvation would fall into general contempt, if not total disuse.” No reply could be made to this edifying argument. Silenced, if not convinced, the speculator withdrew; the votive candles still flicker, though not so numerously as heretofore, and they just render visible the dirt and darkness to which Rome is consigned at night.

We need not spend too long on this anecdote, which Dickens – no friend of the church – tells us that he heard from a failed salesman.  The aged and suspicious Pope doubtless had seen a series of such salesmen, and might well have said something sarcastic and irrefutable to get rid of a particularly irksome commercial gentleman.  But sadly the veracity of salesmen cannot always be relied on, even when the sale succeeds.

Much more interesting is Whiteside’s anecdote about the Roman prince denied a passport.  This gives an interesting picture of the Papal administration in the period – positively third-world.  It’s the sort of story that might come out of Egypt today, or some African slum state, where ordinary people are knotted up in pointless and destructive bureaucracy.

This gives us our first clues about this story.  We are not, in fact, dealing with “the Catholic Church”.  We are dealing with a now long-vanished petty Italian princedom, the Papal States, and its wretched and backward administration.

This is promptly confirmed when we consult Whiteside’s volume.[4]  Unlike Dickens, who knew without saying why the Papal government had banned railways, Whiteside actually does know:

Political fears deterred the government from sanctioning railways. When Gregory understood his loving subjects of Bologna might visit him in Rome en masse, he would not hear of the innovation. I remember the remark of a man of business on the subject: “Il Papa non ama le strode ferrate.” No reasons were given for the refusal to adopt the improvement, except that his Holiness hated railways.  Gregory reasoned as did an inveterate Tory of my acquaintance, who condemned railways because they were a vile Whig invention. Any improvements in agriculture which could be effected by agricultural societies were interdicted, all such noxious institutions repressed.

In fact if we read Whiteside’s pages, we see the familiar picture of a weak government, of the kind found everywhere in Africa today, suspicious of everything and willing to ban anything unless they see pecuniary advantage in it.

Around the same time, an Irishman named Mahoney published, under the pen-name of Don Jeremy Savonarola (!), a series of letters that he wrote from Italy.[5] These throw considerable light on attitudes in Rome at the time, not only among the government.

On p.24 Mahony describes the fate of an English sculptor who sought to warm his studio in Rome with a coal-fired stove:

But concerning the development of steam-power in this capital, and the prospect for its utterly idle people of the varied branches of industry to be created through that magic medium, I can hold out none but the faintest hopes. A straw thrown up may serve for an anemometer. One of our sculptors took a fancy to import from Liverpool an Arnott stove to warm his spacious studio this winter, and laid in his stock of Sabine coal with comfortable forethought; great was his glee at the genial glow it diffused through his workshop: but short are the moments of perfect enjoyment: in a few days a general outcry arose among the neighbours: the nasal organ at Rome, guide-books describe as peculiarly sensitive : a mob of women clamoured at the gate: they were all “suffocated by the horrid carbon fossile.” Phthisis is fearfully dreaded here: with uproarious lungs they denounced him as a promoter of pulmonary disease. Police came, remonstrance was useless. The artist’s lares were ruthlessly invaded, and his “household gods shivered around him.” The Arnott Altar of Vesta now lies prostrate in his lumber yard, quenched for ever!

On p.55 the subject of gas lighting appears:

There is much of quiet amusement not untinged with a dash of melancholy supplied perpetually to strangers here by the efforts of government to arrest the progress of those modem improvements which must obviously ultimately be adopted even in Rome. The mirth which borders on sadness is stated by metaphysicians to have peculiar fascinations… Some such feelings were apt to creep o’er the mind, in reading last week the newest edict of the local authorities affixed on the walls for the guidance of all shopkeepers and others; this hatti-sheriff, which it is impossible not duly to respect, denounces the modern innovation of gas light, made of our old acquaintance, the previously denounced “carbon fossile” and all private gasworks of this nature are suppressed. Hereby many an industrious and enterprising establishment has its pipe put out all of a sudden, while those which are suffered to remain are subjected to a thousand vexatory restrictions and domiciliary visits from officials, who, as usual, must be bribed to report favourably. They are further told that their private gas generators will be all confiscated at some indetermined period when it shall please the wisdom of authority to establish government gas works: a period far remote, to be sure, but sufficiently indefinite effectively to discourage the outlay of private capitalists on their private comforts or accommodation. Milan, Florence, Leghorn, Venice, Turin, and Naples are gas-lit long since.

This really makes things clear.  There is no Papal opposition to gas as such, because government gasworks are proposed.  The concerns are about air-quality, and the proliferation of smog in the city from all these private burners and get-rich-quick companies.  These are not illegitimate concerns, as anyone who has experienced the aroma from a neighbour’s barbeque on a swelteringly hot day can testify.

Later, on p.171, we learn that the new Pope, Pius IX, dismissed the city prefect, Marini, “an implacable foe” of “every amelioration”.

The letters, in fact, are well worth the reading, for the picture which they give of a  minor Italian state, on the cusp of modern improvements in the early 19th century.  Clearly the government – the Pope, if you like – did ban gas lighting, and railways, and all sorts of other modern improvements, from the papal state.  This policy was reversed by Pius IX, this successor.  But there is no theological question here – only politics.

It would be really interesting to see the text of the Edicts in question, actually.  But I could only find one online, which was for setting up a Chamber of Commerce, here.

Papal Rome is a country which is now far away in time and space.  We forget it ever existed – but it did.  It was a country which had its own laws, its own army, and its own political factions.  Like every Italian statelet it was perpetually concerned about foreign nations, and the threat of the Austrian army, or the French army.  It is, therefore, quite a mistake to treat the political initiatives of the government of that state as if they were theological directives by a modern Pope.

Let’s return to where we started.  The poster is very misleading indeed, therefore.

The first claim is mainly false.  The Catholic Church did NOT oppose street lighting.  The elderly ruler of the papal states in 1830s opposed gas lighting as projected by a foreign company, probably reflecting the ignorance and squalid suspicions of his people and worries about air quality.  His successor ruled differently.

The second claim is mainly true, but it is entirely misleading because the reader will think of Pope Gregory as like Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XV.  That Pope was not a modern Pope, issuing statements of faith and morals, but the autocratic ruler of a third-world state with a low-grade and corrupt administration, obstructing progress out of fear and obscurantism.

The third claim appears to be utterly unevidenced before 2015.

Thus are legends started; and, with luck, that one ends here.

All the same, I hope that you have enjoyed our visit to Papal Rome.  There are indeed guidebooks online in English for visitors, which might well repay the curious reader.  It may have been a backward place, but it had the charm that Rome has always had, whatever the faults of its rulers.

UPDATE: Please see the comments for further information from Italian on all this matter, and even an order by the prefect Marini, from March 1846, in the last months of the pontificate of Gregory XVI, laying down safety regulations for gas lighting.

  1. [1] ISBN 978-1-5144-2756-9.  Preview here: “[Jesus] healed (worked) on the Sabbath and ate food consecrated to God, demonstrating the importance and power of the Spirit over the letter of the law. Back in 1831, Pope Gregory XVI opposed street lamps and banned gas lighting in Papal States. The church argued that God very clearly had established the delineation between night and day, and putting lights up after sundown flew in the face of God’s law. Still, we search the scriptures for words that would cause God to curse instead of bless us. And vice-versa. But, when did we decide to forget about God’s grace? The Church has lost much of the idealism and faith upon which it was formed and is based, replacing them instead with creeds and beliefs.” The argument is a standard among campaigners for vice.  It is to be observed that such campaigners act without mercy to those who dare express any disagreement, once they have obtained power themselves.
  2. [2] So I learn from the Google search result from  Bruce H. Joffe, A Hint of Homosexuality?: ‘Gay’ and Homoerotic Imagery In American Print Advertising, 2007: “Author royalties from this book will benefit the Commercial Closet Association, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization working to influence the world of advertising to understand, respect and include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender…”
  3. [3] Desmond Bowen, Paul Cardinal Cullen and the Shaping of Modern Irish Catholicism, Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 1983.  Preview here.
  4. [4] James Whiteside, “Italy in the nineteenth century”, (1848) vol 2, p.288.
  5. [5] I owe my knowledge of this to Katarina Gephardt, The Idea of Europe in British Travel Narratives, 1789-1914, Routledge, 2016, p.112.

Archaeology Magazine

Neolithic Arctic labretKRASNOYARSK, RUSSIA—The Siberian Times reports that archaeologists from Krasnoyarsk Geoarkheologia discovered two pieces of jewelry that were worn inserted in the lower lip some 370 miles north of the Arctic Circle. “We found these labrets at the Neolithic site Bolshaya II, which is located on the bank of the Novaya River, a tributary of the Katanga River,” said Danil Lysenko. The labrets and several arrowheads, all of which are thought to date to the third or fourth millennium B.C., had been exposed by the wind and were lying on the surface of the ground. Labrets were made of shell, bone, or stone and are thought to have been worn by both men and women during this period. For more, go to "Letter from Siberia: Fortress of Solitude."

Luxor granite sarcophagusLUXOR, EGYPT—Ahram Online reports that a burial chamber and sarcophagus were discovered on Luxor’s west bank by archaeologists of the Egyptian American South Asasif Conservation Project. They have been excavating the tomb of Karabasken, a government official in Thebes. The sarcophagus, carved from red granite, dates to the 25th Dynasty (728–657 B.C.), and was not painted nor engraved. Mahmoud Affifi of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities explained that it is a unique example of a Kushite sarcophagus in an elite tomb. Damage to the sarcophagus suggests that there had been attempts to break into it in antiquity. “The interior of the sarcophagus was flooded after the first attempt, but further cleaning work will show if any fragments of the wooden coffin or other burial equipment are still preserved inside,” said Elena Pischikova, director of the archaeological mission. For more on archaeology in Egypt, go to "The Great Parallelogram."

Durham Dunbar soldiersDURHAM, ENGLAND—The remains of 1,700 soldiers who were captured by Oliver Cromwell’s forces in 1650 at the Battle of Dunbar will be reinterred in a cemetery in Durham, near the mass grave where the bones were unearthed in 2013. According to a report in Culture 24, after the battle some 3,000 captive soldiers were marched from southeastern Scotland to Durham, where they were imprisoned and many died of starvation and disease. But why won’t the bones be sent to Scotland for reburial? “Our research is clear that not all of the individuals were from the United Kingdom, and several more may be from either Scotland or northern England. Home was perhaps not Scotland for all these men,” Chris Gerrard of the University of Durham explained. The excavation team also thinks that additional remains are probably located under Durham University structures on Palace Green, so reburial in Durham will keep the remains together. It also accords with British law, Gerrard noted. The university will retain several of the soldiers’ teeth for future study. For more, go to "English Civil War Mass Grave Identified."

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Burial chamber discovered in Asasif on Luxor's west bank

During excavation and cleaning work carried out in the tomb of the 25th Dynasty Thebes Mayor...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Beall’s List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers

Anyone wishing to publisher with an open access publisher should choose a publisher carefully. One way to do this is to review Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory publishers:

Beall’s List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers
This is a list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. We recommend that scholars read the available reviews, assessments and descriptions provided here, and then decide for themselves whether they want to submit articles, serve as editors or on editorial boards.  In a few cases, non-open access publishers whose practices match those of predatory publishers have been added to the list as well. The criteria for determining predatory publishers are here.

We hope that tenure and promotion committees can also decide for themselves how importantly or not to rate articles published in these journals in the context of their own institutional standards and/or geocultural locus.  We emphasize that journal publishers and journals change in their business and editorial practices over time. This list is kept up-to-date to the best extent possible but may not reflect sudden, unreported, or unknown enhancements.
Click through for the current list.

University of Iowa Libraries DIY History Early Manuscripts

University of Iowa Libraries DIY History
DIY History lets you do it yourself to help make historic artifacts easier to use. Our digital library holds hundreds of thousands of items -- much more than library staff could ever catalog alone, so we're appealing to the public to help out by attaching text in the form of transcriptions, tags, and comments. Through "crowdsourcing," or engaging volunteers to contribute effort toward large-scale goals, these mass quantities of digitized artifacts become searchable, allowing researchers to quickly seek out specific information, and general users to browse and enjoy the materials more easily. Please join us in preserving our past by keeping the historic record accessible -- one page or picture at a time.

Early Manuscripts

160 of 374 pages have been transcribed!

Mary Harrsch (Roman Times)

Visiting the Via Appia Antica and Catacombs of San Sebastiano

A history resource article by Mary Harrsch © 2015

Remains of the Via Appia in Rome, near Quarto Miglio
Remains of the Via Appia in Rome, near Quarto Miglio
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Back in 2007 I saw this nice travel piece about the Via Appia. I had hoped to see the sights listed when I visited Rome in October 2007. I planned to take the relatively new hop-on-hop-off Archaeobus to the park and spend the day exploring the catacombs, the baths of Caracalla, the tomb of Cecilia Metella, and a couple of the churches and museums (if my feet didn't give out!). I also wanted to try the spit-roasted goat they mentioned was a local specialty!

The original travel article:

"A modern-day tour of the Via Appia Antica might start at the end of the Forum, just beyond the Circus Maxentius where charioteers raced seven times around an obelisk cheered by spectators in 10 tiers of stone bleachers. Near here, weary travelers beheld Rome's golden milepost - where all roads led. Soon the pleasant road, shaded with cypresses and umbrella pines, passes scattered piles of eroded bricks that once were grand mausoleums.

A short distance brings the traveler to the dome-shaped ruins of the ornate tomb of the noblewoman Cecilia Metella. She was the daughter-in-law of Marcus Crassus, who shared the triumvirate with Pompey and Julius Caesar. In Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Lord Byron muses whether she died young and fair or old and wise:

The remains of the tomb of Cecilia Metella along the Appian Way near Rome, Italy.
The remains of the tomb of Cecilia Metella along the Appian Way near Rome, Italy.  Image courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons.
"This much alone we know: Metella died, the richest Roman's wife. Behold his love or pride."

Pope Urban VIII ripped up the marble floor of her tomb to build the Trevi Fountain.

At Porta San Sebastiano is the landmark Church of Domine Quo Vadis. Here legend says St. Peter, fleeing Nero's persecutions after the great fire, saw a vision of Christ heading toward the city. "Lord, where goest Thou?" he asked, and the vision replied, "To Rome to be crucified again."

Also at Porta San Sebastiano stands the largest and best preserved of the fortified gates in the Aurelian Wall that embraced the seven hills of Rome for more than a thousand years. The twin gate towers house a small museum of wall artifacts. Here you can walk along the top of the wall for postcard views of the Appian Way and the distant Alban Hills. All about are vineyards producing Rome's refreshing Frascati wine.

The Porta San Sebastiano, the best preserved of the fortified gates iin the Aurelian Wall that encompassed ancient Rome.
The Porta San Sebastiano, the best preserved of the fortified gates iin the Aurelian Wall that encompassed ancient Rome.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Beyond the narrow ancient gate, the road dips slightly into a valley covering a maze of catacombs where thousands of bodies were buried along five levels of tunnels. Rome has more than 60 catacombs, some not yet fully explored.

The two most important catacombs open to the public along the Appian Way are St. Sebastian and St. Callixtus, where most of the early popes and many martyrs were buried. Walls and ceilings have paintings and frescoes of early Christian symbols like the fish, the dove and the anchor, and scenes from Scripture such as Jonah swallowed by the whale, Daniel in the lions' den, the raising of Lazarus and, most often, the Good Shepherd.

Basilica alle catacombe di San Sebastiano.
 Basilica alle catacombe di San Sebastiano.  Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
APPIAN WAY REGIONAL PARK: Web site offers information on tours of the Appian Way; how to get there by public transportation, bike or on foot; opening times for monuments and museums, and other information. Visitor center is located at Via Appia Antica 42 (open Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., 2:30 p.m.-5 p.m.).

Update 3/9/2015: As it turns out, I was injured in Naples in 2007 and had to fly home for surgery rather than travel on to Rome on that trip.  However, I did manage to visit the Via Appia on another trip to Rome in March 2009.  My companion and I chose to try the hop-on hop-off Archaeobus with audio tour as I had originally planned.  However, I'm afraid, after experiencing that jarring, noisy ride, I do not recommend that mode of transportation.  The bus driver drove so fast you couldn't possibly get any good pictures of any of the sites along the way and there was so much noise that you couldn't hear what was being said using the earphones either. After lurching past the Aurelian Walls and flying past the tomb of Cecilia Metella, we decided to get off at the Basilica alle catacombe di San Sebastiano.

My companion had seen catacombs before so she decided to enjoy the spring sunshine and parked herself on a bench to wait for me to go on the tour.  These catacombs were once an area of pazzolan mines.  Pozzolan is a mixture of minerals used in the production of concrete.  Then, in the 2nd century CE, the mines were abandoned and the caverns converted into a pagan burial ground.  By the late 3rd century CE, Christians began burying their dead in these chambers as well and continued to do so until the mid-4th century CE.

The 7th-century catalogue, Notula oleorum listed three martyrs buried in the San Sebastian catacombs including SebastianQuirinus and Eutychius. 

A fifth century source states Sebastian was a soldier from Narbonne, in Gaul (modern-day France), born of a family from Milan who died in Rome under the persecutions of the emperor Diocletian. His relics were kept in the catacombs until the 9th century when they were moved within the town walls. They are now back in the Basilica standing above the catacombs.

Quirinus was a bishop of Sescia, in Pannonia, whose relics were moved to Rome by pilgrims from that region between 4th and 5th century CE.

Nothing is known about Eutychius but his grave was discovered during excavations carried out in the 20th century in a deteriorated area of the catacombs.   A poem dedicated to him, by Pope Damasus I, is now displayed at the entry of the basilica.

In 258 CE, during the Valerian persecutions, the catacombs were temporarily used as a burial site for the apostles Peter and Paul and the basilica was dubbed the Basilica Apostolorum.  But their remains were later removed to their own respective basilicas in Rome.

I was really disappointed that they would not permit even non-flash photography within the catacombs. But I found the tour very interesting, nonetheless. (The photography ban may have been lifted as I found the image below of the interior of the San Sebastiano catacombs up on Wikimedia Commons).

Floral stucco reliefs on the ceilings of the catacombs of San Sebastiano outside  of Rome, Italy.
Floral stucco reliefs on the ceilings of the catacombs of San Sebastiano outside
 of Rome, Italy.  Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
I saw the symbolic fish etched into the walls as we wound our way down through stuccoed and frescoed chambers until we were three levels below the entrance.  (Originally there were four levels but one level was destroyed during subsequent rebuilding efforts). We finally came upon some of the earliest Roman tombs clustered together in a round chamber known as the piazzola (initially pagan these tombs were later reused by the Christians).  These mausolea had architectural elements on their facades that, together, made them look like a small ancient city to me.

2nd century CE Mausolea in the heart of the catacombs of San Sebastiano.
2nd century CE Mausolea in the heart of the catacombs of
San Sebastiano.  Image courtesy of then
digitally enhanced by Mary Harrsch.
"The first one on the right is externally decorated with paintings (funeral banquets and the exorcism of the Gerasene demoniac) and still bears an inscription with the name of the owner, Marcus Clodius Hermes; the interior houses graves and pictures and shows a vault decorated with the head of a gorgon. 
The second one, called Mausoleum of Innocentiores referring to the funeral college to which it belonged, has a vault decorated with refined stuccoes; some recesses show inscriptions with Greek characters but written in Latin, as well as a graffito with the initials of the Greek words meaning "Jesus Christ Son of God Savior" (Ichtys). 
On the left there is the Mausoleum of the Adze, from the tool depicted on the exterior, whose decoration consists of shoots of vine sprouting from kantharoi placed on false pillars." - Wikipedia
We continued our tour and emerged into a feasting chamber called the "Triclia" where funerary feasts were celebrated, not only immediately after an interment but periodically thereafter by family members.  Here, the plastered walls were covered with over 600 pieces of graffito left by visitors across the centuries and we were left to examine them before heading to the passageway that connected the catacombs to the basilica above.

etching of a Christ figure, Chi-Roh symbol and dove that was recovered from the catacombs
Even though I couldn't take pictures inside the catacombs at San Sebastiano, I photographed this etching of a Christ figure, Chi-Roh symbol and dove that was recovered from the catacombs that I found at the Baths of Diocletian venue of the Museo Nazionale Romano in Rome.  Photo by Mary Harrsch © 2009.
The Basilica of San Sebastiano fuori le mura (San Sebastiano outside the walls) was originally built by Constantine in the 4th century.  Many of the catacomb passageways and even the piazzola were filled into to form a base for this structure. (These areas were re-excavated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) In 826 CE, the remains of Saint Sebastian were moved to St. Peter's for safekeeping when the Saracens threatened Rome.  The basilica was subsequently destroyed by the Saracens but rebuilt by Pope Nicholas I (858-867).  Then the martyr's altar was reconsecrated by Pope Honorius III (1216-1227) in the 13th century.  The current edifice was commissioned in 1609 by Cardinal Scipione Borghese who selected first Flaminio Ponzio to reconstruct it and, after Ponzio's death in 1613, entrusted its completion to Giovanni Vasanzio.  

I found some marvelous sculptures in the Basilica including this wonderful putto that looks very much like the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini who sculpted similar figures I have seen at the Basilica of Saint Peter's in Vatican City:

Putto in the Basilica alle catacombe di San Sebastiano
Putto in the Basilica alle catacombe di San Sebastiano
Photo by Mary Harrsch 
© 2009

sculpture of Saint Sebastian
Somehow I missed this moving sculpture of Saint Sebastian also said to be in one of the naves of the basilica.

I found this video on YouTube about the catacombs of San Sebastiano.  It doesn't have many images of the catacombs either but does have some marvelous views of the basilica and its ornate ceiling.

A Kindle preview of a 2015 book on the catacombs:

Other suggested reading:

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeologists Discover 3,300-Year-Old Mycenaean Vessel

A partly preserved alabastron, a vessel for perfumes, from Ancient Mycenae has been discovered by...

The Heroic Age

Register now for the 40th Annual Meeting of the Mid-America Medieval Association
SATURDAY, 17 September 2016

Plenary speaker: Richard Firth Green, Humanities Distinguished Professor,
The Ohio State University

Professor Green’s plenary address will be draw from his recent work on the world of faerie and his forthcoming book, The Bonny Road: Traffic with the Otherworld in the Middle Ages.
“Other Worlds” will encompass many other worlds indeed, spiritual, supernatural, imaginary or fanciful, social, physical, metaphysical, psychological, gendered, ethnic, geographical—with Paradise, Purgatory, Hell, the past, the future, the cloister, the college, the East, Islam, Judaism, social classes other than one’s own, lands other than one’s own, Camelot, Avalon, and faerie, itself, representing only a few of the possibilities.

Mel Storm
Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism
Emporia State University
1 Kellogg Circle
Emporia, KS 66801
This is an invitation for participants in a round-table discussion on the topic of “Teaching a Diverse and Inclusive Middle Ages,” at the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 11-14, 2017. I am looking for anyone with experienceteaching to and about diversity and inclusivity in courses on premodern topics. This panel discussion will address questions about how we can best serve all of our students in the classroom by responsibly including topics of study related to diverse populations in the premodern world. We will also ask how best to attract students from diverse backgrounds into courses on medieval topics, which have much to say on contemporary debates about marginalized groups and images of "the other." 

If you are interested in participating, please submit a short (200-word) proposal to me at, detailing in brief how you could contribute to this panel discussion.

Sarah Davis-Secord, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of History
MSC06 3760
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Postmedieval is now accepting submissions for the Michael Camille Essay
Prize. The biennial prize is awarded for the best short essay (4,000-6,000
words) on the year's chosen topic submitted by an early career researcher,
including both graduate students and scholars who have received their PhD
in the past five years (as of August 31, 2016). The author of the winning
essay will receive: publication in postmedieval in early 2017, 250 US
dollars, and one year's free print and online subscription to the journal.
Runners-up, if selected, may receive one year's free print and online
subscription to the journal and may be considered for publication in the

Please see the link below:

Centre for the Study of Christian Origins

Professor Foster’s Commentary On Colossians Is Out Today


Join us in celebrating Professor Paul Foster’s newest commentary on Colossians. His commentary is part of the Black’s New Testament Commentaries series and a wonderful achievement. At the end of September, CSCO will be releasing a four-part video interviewing Professor Foster as he discusses the nuances of his commentary. Until then, you can purchase a copy at . Well done, Paul!


“This is an admirable addition to a widely respected series. Paul Foster’s commentary is highly readable and fully informed by the most recent scholarship on Colossians, and on early Christianity and Greco-Roman society in Asia Minor. Foster’s substantial introduction to the letter is a model of clarity and is full of rich historical and theological insight. In the commentary, the engagement with the text is lucid and insightful, carefully weighing alternative views, and always shedding much light on the text. Foster’s careful scholarship greatly enhances the reader’s understanding of this theologically rich letter to the Colossians. Highly recommended!”

– Paul Trebilco, University of Otago, New Zealand

The Egyptiana Emporium

NEWS: Burial chamber discovered in Asasif on Luxor’s west bank

The burial chamber and sarcophagus of a 25th Dynasty Thebes Mayor has been discovered (Source: Ahram Online).

“During excavation and cleaning work carried out in the tomb of the 25th Dynasty Thebes Mayor Karabasken in south Asasif, on Luxor’s west bank, the Egyptian American South Asasif Conservation Project discovered his burial chamber and sarcophagus.

“The sarcophagus is a unique example of Kushite sarcophagi in an elite tomb,” Mahmoud Affifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities told Ahram Online, adding that the sarcophagus is carved in plain red granite and does not bear any engravings or paintings.

Elena Pischikova, director of the archaeological mission, explained that the burial chamber was found accidently during excavation work carried out in a room of the tomb. As an was found in its centre and it led to the burial chamber.
Pischikova said that the base and lid of the sarcophagus bore deliberate damage — evidence of two attempts to break into the sarcophagus at some time in antiquity.
“The interior of the sarcophagus was flooded after the first attempt, but further cleaning work will show if any fragments of the wooden coffin or other burial equipment are still preserved inside,” Pischikova said” – via Ahram Online.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Teaching Thursday: Technology, Narrative, and Practice

My first classes were this week, and as per usual, I left with a head full of ideas and challenges. I want to get back to doing a little blogging about teaching so I’ve put up a few of my thoughts after my first week back in the classroom.

1. Technology. I teach History 101 in a slightly thread-worn Scale-Up classroom here at University of North Dakota. The technological potential of this class is really impressive. For example, three-laptops at each of the 9-student tables can be routed to flat screen TVs at each table or larger projection screens in the corner of the room. This has the potential to facilitate collaborative work at each table and across the entire room, but with the complications associated with this technology come some real challenges. Unfortunately this did not work for about a quarter of the tables making it difficult for the entire group to share the work of the person on the lap top. This is not a deal breaker of course, but it put me in the awkward situation of navigating technology rather than teaching history or helping the students think through a complex problem.  

I recognize in a professional sense, taming the technology is not my responsibility, but once the class starts, some of this has to be navigated on the fly. I need to get better at problem solving classroom technology.

2. Narrative. The most compelling idea probably didn’t come from class, but from a quick chat with one of our D.A. students after class. We were discussing his History 103: US History until 1860 class and got to talking about whether one could design a compelling textbook using Wikipedia pages complemented by one of the numerous open access primary source readers for U.S. History. We got to talking about the role of narrative in teaching introductory level history courses. My History 101 course lacks basic narrative structure (although parts of the class do proceed chronologically) and focuses instead on the construction of historical arguments. The downside of this is that students sometimes feel unmoored from big picture patterns of historical causality and the systematic production of what we today call Western Civilization. Of course, these are the kinds of patters and processes that are often the most challenging for history students to understand. (In the past, I’ve blogged about the ironic situation where we teach the incredibly complex diachronic narratives to survey students and then present much more simple, focused historical problems!) Breaking the introductory level history survey course down into more manageable historical problems and giving up on the sweeping narrative and drive for coverage actually offers a better route to helping students understand the basic skills of historical analysis. 

3. Big Ideas and Little Learning. One of the most stimulating conversations that I’ve had in a graduate seminar happened yesterday evening. As per usual, I started my graduate methods course with the rather open-ended question “what is history?” I got a good range of responses from the highly analytical (making arguments from primary sources) to the expansive (storytelling). The conversation turned to the practical question of what do we need to learn as professional historians to become good stewards of the practice of writing history?

It was really cool to work between the big idea of History (as a way of thinking about the past) and as a professional discipline and to understand more clearly the “little learning” that informs how we confront big ideas. What was challenging was coming up with an assemblage of particular skills necessary to write our version of history. We certainly got the idea that writing and reading were important, but beyond that things were a bit hazy. Since the next 15 weeks will be concerned with historical methods (both in terms practical professional skills and the larger context of disciplinary practice as part of the 20th and 21st century university).

BiblePlaces Blog

Favorite Ancient Inscription Results

Readers of this blog are big fans of the Tel Dan Inscription, taking first place with twice the number of votes for the runner-up, the Siloam Inscription. It dropped off steeply from there with only four votes for the Pilate Inscription, two for the Ketef Hinnom silver amulets, and one each for a number of others. Some respondents explained their choice, so let’s take a look at a few of those.

#1: Tel Dan Inscription

First recognized mention of David, the kings of Israel and Judah seen as closely related polities, its early date, royal rhetorical devices, claims of divine intervention for the same event which Kings and Chron claim for another deity (still history on both counts!). Plus its early discussion revealed the disparity we call min & maximalism more clearly than ever before.

Can't beat this one. Any extrabiblical reference has some weighty significance, but to have one connected to King David is beyond remarkable. Truly an amazing discovery.

The irony that proof of David's house was preserved in the very place Jeroboam tried to compete with it (1 Ki. 12).

My two cents: While many rightly recognize this stele as important because of its mention of the “House of David,” I think that its significance as witness to the Aramean oppression of Israel has too often been overlooked. I addressed this matter in my dissertation.

Tel Dan Inscription, tb032014241

The Tel Dan Inscription, on display in the Israel Museum

#2 Siloam Inscription (in Hezekiah’s Tunnel)

You can actually see the thing described in the inscription. Furthermore, the activity of excavating the tunnel was in preparation for an event (Sennacherib's 3rd campaign of 701 BC) which is documented in archaeological artifacts, destruction layers, Sennacherib's inscriptions, Sennacherib's reliefs, the Bible, and more!

The construction of the tunnel in the 8th century BC was an amazing feat--starting from opposite ends and meeting. Whatever may be said about how it was done, I think it was engineered by our great God!

Too few inscriptions are found in situ, and this one is so remarkable in part because there can be no doubt what it is describing, and the fact that this tunnel is mentioned in the Bible (twice!) makes this one of the greatest discoveries in “biblical archaeology.”

Siloam Tunnel inscription panorama with background, adr1006059998b

The Siloam Inscription, on display in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum

#3 Pontius Pilate Inscription

Offers historical proof of Pontius Pilate’s tenure of office

Because of Pontius Pilate’s relationship to Jesus

This discovery in 1961 provided the first inscriptional evidence for this Roman prefect (and confirmed that he was a prefect and not a procurator).

Pilate inscription, closeup, tb032014601

The Pilate inscription, on display in the Israel Museum

Though they didn’t receive as many votes, some others received good support:

The “Shasu of Yahweh” inscription

It is surprising to find that the earliest naming of the Israelite God occurs in an Egyptian inscription from Soleb from the 14th-15th century BC.  As Donald Redford notes, it is “a most precious indication of the whereabouts during the late fifteenth century B.C. of an enclave revering this god.”

The Balaam inscription from Tell Deir 'Alla

How often do we get a new story about a famous biblical character?

Isaiah 66:14 near Robinson’s Arch

Hopeful Jews from the time of Emperor Julian, (4th century AD) allowed back into Aelia Capitolina were hoping to rebuild the Temple.

There were a number of other good suggestions, including:

  • The Baal Cycle Tablets
  • The Merneptah Stela
  • The Black Obelisk
  • The seal of Baruch the scribe
  • The (complete) Soreg inscription
  • The Miriam ossuary

The one that may be my favorite was not chosen by anyone: the Mesha Stele. Someday I need to make my case for why this is such an outstanding inscription. But for now I’ll note only this: it provides a remarkable witness to the Aramean oppression of Israel!

Thanks for participating and/or reading! This has been enjoyable and we’ll plan to do another survey next Tuesday.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: British Institute for the Study of Iraq Newsletter

[First posted in AWOL 25 October 2009. Updated 25 August 2016]

British Institute for the Study of Iraq Newsletter
BISI currently produces an annual newsletter, presenting the highlights of the year and reports on funded research and outreach projects. Below you can read PDFs of BISI Newsletters from 2003 to the present.

Jim Davila (

On crossing the Jordan

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Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Battlefield Recovery: Rise of the Nazi-Grave Robbers

The legacy of the televised TV exploits of three British metal detectorists continues to damage: Thomas Rogers, 'Rise of the Nazi-Grave Robbers' Bloomberg Business Week August 23, 2016
Inspired by shows like Battlefield Recovery, profiteers are digging up World War II grave sites in search of memorabilia. Preservationists want to stop them.

Jim Davila (

Introducing 4 Ezra (2 Esdras)

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James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Perfect Battle for Bigots

The quote comes from George Zebrowski’s introduction to the volume Strange Gods edited by Roger Elwood. I was fortunate enough to happen across a copy in a second-hand bookstore recently, and snatched it up. Zebrowski’s statement published in 1974 seems no less true today. My first encounter with Zebrowski’s writing was when I was young [Read More...]

Jim Davila (


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Cue the Holy Hand Grenade jokes

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The Bogomils of Bosnia

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Compitum - publications

R. Turcan, Recherches mithriaques. Quarante ans de questions et d'investigations


Robert Turcan, Recherches mithriaques. Quarante ans de questions et d'investigations, Paris, 2016.

Éditeur : Les Belles Lettres
Collection : L'Âne d'or
522 pages
ISBN : 978-2-251-42063-9
65 €

Qu'est-ce que les mystères de Mithra ? Comment un dieu d'origine iranienne a-t-il pu prospérer dans le monde romain ? À quoi croyaient les mithriastes ? Quelle notion avaient-ils du salut et de l'au-delà ? Quelle était leur liturgie dans les fausses grottes aménagées en salle-à-manger où ils se rassemblaient sous l'image du dieu égorgeant un taureau ? Quels étaient les rituels de leurs initiations ? Quelle iconographie servait de support visuel à leur culte ? L'auteur a répondu à ces questions dans un livre paru aux Belles Lettres : Mithra et le mithracisme (1993). Mais plusieurs articles et communications publiés dans différents périodiques ou recueils diversement, sinon difficilement accessibles, ont précisé les cheminements de son enquête depuis une quarantaine d'années. Le présent volume les réunit en les assortissant de deux contributions inédites sur l'échelle mithriaque et sur le dieu au serpent des stèles danubiennes.

Source : Les Belles Lettres

Lire la suite...

The Archaeology News Network

Planet found in habitable zone around nearest star

Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. This rocky world is a little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet to us -- and it may also be the closest...

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

Archaeology Magazine

Israel metal artifactsHADERA, ISRAEL—Relatives who inherited a collection of ancient metal artifacts have turned them over to the Israel Antiquities Authority, according to a report in Live Science. The objects were gathered over a period of many years from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, near the power plant in northern Israel where the collector worked. Among the objects are a toggle pin and the head of a knife thought to be more than 3,500 years old. Other items, such as mortars and pestles and candlestick fragments, were probably manufactured in Syria and imported to Israel during the eleventh century. The collection also includes also a hand grenade thought to date to the Crusader, Ayyubid, or Mamluk periods. Archaeologists suggest that the artifacts may have been part of a metal merchant’s cargo lost in the early Islamic period. To read about another recent find from the waters off Israel, go to "Sun and Moon."

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Well, Somebody takes my point. A Pity the British Museum Can't Understand

With regard to the British Museum conference which poses the question "Can Detectorists Be Archaeologist [sic]?", I repeat the question in the context of my own twitter feed on antiquities collecting and the commerce in artefacts:
Paul Barford @PortantIssues 25.08
"Can artefact hunters be archaeologists"?… PAS, Tell us all about it
vj @ poetryinstone @poetryinstone 25.08 @PortantIssues
destroying context and reducing sacred art to showcase curios !! disgrace not only to the profession but to humanity
The issue is between those who in the past see only loose "things" to display and admire and those whose concern it is to preserve things in their contexts. The British Museum used to do real archaeology (Sutton Hoo for example), now it seems from official communiques that it does not even really know what the word means. The British Museum becomes a brutish museum.

Vignette: Artefact hunters in their natural environment; can they be archaeologists?

More on "Citizen Archaeologists"

3 godz.3 godziny temu
Book now for the 2016 conference - 'Can Detectorists Be Archaeologists?': 
Answer: It depends what you mean when you use that singularly vague term "detectorists" (and what you mean by the phrase "can be"). I've already explored the rather simplistic British Museum exegesis of the term "archaeology" here. Mostly, if the question is can artefact hunters be archaeologists in the real sense of the word at the same time as being artefact hunters and collectors, from what we have seen of what they do and say, the answer would be "no".

Interesting isn't it that neither Heritage Action's Nigel Swift nor myself, the two most vociferous commentators on the BM's nonsensical "citizen archaeologists" have been invited to talk. So - who has? Obviously those who think they have the answer to the PAS's pathetic little straw man argument:
 though there remain concerns about the (seemingly) haphazard searching techniques employed by most finders.
Duh, no, no that is not at all what the actual concerns are, but tell that to the ivory tower idjits trotting out their glib, childish and meaningless "common ground" mantra. The question is in itself a supremely silly one, as one might expect from these days from the British Museum.

Can bus drivers be archaeologists? Yes, but how many are? Probably fewer than become ornithologists.

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: August 24

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 a Pinterest user, you might enjoy following the Bestiaria Latina at Pinterest, and there is also a LatinLOLCat Board. I've recently started a Board for the Distich Poems too.

HODIE (Roman Calendar): ante diem nonum Kalendas Septembres.

MYTHS and LEGENDS: The art image for today's legend shows Dionysus and the Dolphins, and there are more images here.


TINY PROVERBS: Today's tiny proverb is: Errando discitur (English: Learning comes from making mistakes).

3-WORD MOTTOES: Today's 3-word verb-less motto is Ex unitate incrementum (English: From unity, increase).

ANIMAL PROVERBS: Today's animal proverb is Ex frixis ovis pullus numquam venit ullus (English: From fried eggs no chick ever comes).

POLYDORUS: Today's proverb from Polydorus is: Medice, cura teipsum (English: Physician, heal yourself).

PROPER NAME PROVERBS: Today's proper name proverb from Erasmus is Dente Theonino rodi (English: To be gnawed by Theon's tooth; from Adagia 2.2.55 ... Theon was a grammarian at Rome who was notoriously mean-spirited and critical).

GREEK PROVERBS: Today's proverb is Ἁμαρτεῖν οὐκ ἔνεστι δὶς ἐν πολέμῳ (English: You cannot err twice in war).

BREVISSIMA: The distich poster for today is Lingua Docet Quid Lateat. Click here for a full-sized view. I'm sharing these with English translations at Google+ now too.

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:

Qualis mater, talis et filia.
Like mother, like daughter also.

Beatus ille homo qui vivit sua domo.
Blessed is he who lives in his own home.


FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Satyrus et Viator: is the satyr wise or foolish...? You decide! (This fable has a vocabulary list).

MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Astrologus Stellas Contemplans, a fable about perspective.


Greek Bible Art - and Latin and English, too. Below is one of my Greek Bible Art graphics; for the individual Greek, Latin and English versions of the graphic, see the blog post: ἀπὸ τῶν παιδίων τῶν Εβραίων τοῦτο. De infantibus Hebraeorum est hic. This is one of the Hebrews' children.

Ben Blackwell (Dunelm Road)

How the Bible Came into Being. HBU Spring Theology Conference

On March 2-4, 2017 the Department of Theology at HBU, in conjunction with Lanier Theological Library, is hosting the conference How the Bible Came into Being. The conference will consider the formation of the biblical canon, the literature included and excluded, and its theological significance. Our keynote speakers are James Charlesworth (Princeton Theological Seminary) and Lee McDonald (formerly of Acadia Divinity College). The plenary talks are free and open to the public.

We also invite proposals for short papers from scholars and graduate students from a wide array of topics related to how the Bible came into being, for example:

  • The formation of the canon (including its establishment and later discussions)
  • The canonical process of individual texts
  • Comparisons of canonical traditions
  • The theology of the canon
  • Canonical criticism

Anyone who is interested should submit a 300 word abstract on any relevant topic by December 8, 2016. Papers should be 25 minutes long with 5 minutes for questions. Decisions will be announced in late December. Send proposals to Daniel Streett.

We will be publishing some of the conference papers. If you would like your paper considered for inclusion, please indicate this on your proposal. You must also provide a full version of the paper at the time of the conference.

You can find out more details and register for the conference at the Theology Conference webpage.

This year’s conference is partially sponsored by Faithlife, the makers of Logos Bible software. At the conference they will give a demonstration of the Logos software and offer significant discounts on purchases.

Mary Harrsch (Roman Times)

Ben Hur 2016: Definitely Not A Blast From The Past!

A history resource article by Mary Harrsch © 2016

Last week I went to see the new Ben-Hur remake on opening day.  I realize the producers had a very narrow religious agenda but I had to see for myself since historical films about the ancient world have been in such short supply lately.  I had read a review in the Huffington Post saying the CG chariot race alone was worth the price of admission and they were definitely right about that!

The classic Ben-Hur starring Charlton Heston has been the gold standard since 1959 even though it is based on an inspirational but broadly historically-flawed novel by Civil War Major General Lew Wallace.

Major General Lew Wallace, 11th governor of the
New Mexico Territory.  Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I saw it as a girl and have watched it many times since - even more often than Heston's other blockbuster, "The Ten Commandments."  I was pretty much prepared for a retelling of a very familiar tale with different actors and CG effects thrown in.  But, what I saw was a significantly altered story with a lot of Roman bashing!  If you are totally unfamiliar with the story of Ben-Hur and want to see the new remake with no idea what to expect, you should probably stop reading at this point.  Last warning....

The new film begins with the famous chariot race, although it shows just a brief clip before fading to a horse race between a very young Messala and Ben-Hur.  When Ben-Hur's horse stumbles and falls, he is thrown violently to the ground and is severely injured.  Messala runs over to him, scoops him up and staggers back to the Hur residence with his now badly bleeding friend.  There we see Ben-Hur's mother, a very unsympathetic character, shout at Messala, blaming him for her son's condition.  Ben-Hur's sister, though, who is obviously in love with Messala, tells him it's not his fault and together they begin the bedside vigil waiting for Ben-Hur to regain consciousness.

So far, the producers actually had me interested.  In the 1959 film, an allusion is made to Messala's relationship with Ben-Hur's sister Tirza but that's about it.  I actually liked this little anecdote from Ben-Hur's past.

Ben-Hur finally wakes up and he seems to recover fairly swiftly.  It becomes apparent that Messala feels out of place in Ben-Hur's royal family home.  Messala finally confesses to Ben-Hur that he wants to become his own man among his own people and plans to enlist in the legions.  Messala alludes to an apparently disreputable grandfather and how Messala hopes to regain the family honor. So far, so good.

Then we see a series of clips of Messala fighting bravely in brutal combat across the empire.  The filmmakers still have me on board!

Messala is finally deployed back to Jerusalem where zealots have been clashing violently with the legions. Jerusalem appears to be the headquarters of a legion - first major historical error.

Scholar Tim O'Neill tells us, "The Prefects and, later, Procurators, who governed Judea were lower level officials of the equestrian class, subordinate to the higher ranking governors of the province of Syria, who were of Senatorial rank.  Only a senatorial official could command legions.  The Prefects/Procurators of Judea commanded several cohorts of auxiliary troops, not legionaries.  These would have been Greek speaking Syrians or locally recruited Samaritans rather than Romans, though commanded by Roman officers."

"Later in the first century AD, in the wake of the failed Jewish Revolt of 66-70 AD, one of the legions that took part in the suppression of the uprising and the destruction of Jerusalem - Legio X Fretensis - stayed behind to occupy Judea  and was based in Jerusalem.  It remained based in Judea for the next 150 years."

Pontius Pilate makes his entrance and is portrayed as thoroughly nasty.  The filmmakers have attempted to demonstrate his elevated rank by including in his costume a fur capelet and fur-lined boots - much more suited to Germania than the blazing desert sun of Jerusalem.  At no point in the film does he demonstrate any compassion to anyone even though Christian scriptures say he tried to dissuade the chief priests and the mob from seeking the execution of Jesus. Pilate is also dressed in military uniform throughout the film even though he served as an administrative magistrate and would have worn a toga as was portrayed in the 1959 film.  He is also barely older than Messala even though he holds such an elevated position and, in history, dies a "mature" man just ten years later.  Obviously, at this point, from a Roman history perspective, things start turning noticeably south.

Messala has apparently made his way up the ranks to become a tribune. However, tribunes were typically posts reserved for young men of the equestrian class with aspirations for a senatorial career.  There are a number of types of tribunes but Messala appears to be a tribunus laticlavius, second in command to the legionary legate.  A legionary ranker may rise to the position of a centurion, a non-commissioned officer post, or even a primipilares (first spear), a senior centurion, but not a tribune. To make matters worse, for those of us who have studied military decorations, Messala arrives at the house of Hur for dinner dressed in a full set of phalerae - awards bestowed upon centurions.  By the first century CE, tribunes and other staff officers could earn coronae (crowns of various types and designs), hasta purae (special spears - some scholars think they were silver-tipped) and vexilla (symbolic standards) - but not phalerae, the sculpted bronze discs worn on a leather harness strapped over the chest of a centurion on formal occasions.  I realize Hollywood frequently uses anachronistic pieces of Roman equipment that the general public associates with Roman soldiers, but I think they should be held accountable for poor research!

One of nine silvered bronze phalerae depicting a mythological figure
(Bacchus or a young satyr?) awarded to Titus Flavius Festus Roman 1st century CE.
Bacchic imagery was popular in the legions because the melee of combat was
said to resemble the frenzy of Bacchic revelry.  Photographed at the Neues Museum
in Berlin, Germany by Mary Harrsch © 2016
We also see Roman soldiers wearing the classic segmented armor known as lorica segmentata which, although the time period is correct, would have probably been too hot in the desert.  At least there were a few scenes with soldiers in mail shirts (lorica hamata) which would have been more reasonable.

A Roman reenactor wearing lorica segmentata at an event
at St. Alban's.  I was practicing my compositing skills and
time traveled him to medieval Yorkminster!
Photo by Mary Harrsch  © 2006
More sinister, though, from a psychological perspective, was a scene where Roman soldiers are seen plundering the Jewish necropolis for stones to build the hippodrome.  There is no evidence this type of activity ever occurred there. Romans typically did not interfere with local religious or funerary customs.  In fact, although Rome expected conquered peoples to worship Roman gods along with their native pantheon, Jews were declared exempt from this requirement after they were conquered in 63 BCE. Judaism was declared a legal religion and the Jews were allowed to worship freely.

The reason I found this scene particularly pernicious, though, was that this past week I have been researching why so few Roman military decorations have ever been found and came across pictures of Christian churches with the tombstones of Roman soldiers incorporated into their walls. These images were produced by Professor Lawrence Keppie to illustrate his paper "Having Been A Soldier: The Commemoration of Military Service On Funerary Monuments of the Early Roman Empire," published in the Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies.

Roman veterans who were decorated for their valor were sometimes buried with their military decorations crafted from precious metals.  We can only assume the dona militaria were also plundered and probably melted down by church workmen or officials. So this scene depicting the Romans in the act of desecrating graves was not only historically inaccurate but indicted the Romans for unsavory acts the later Christians actually practiced. I also heard the local inhabitants in the film referring to the Romans under their breath as killers.

Then I was surprised that instead of Tirza knocking a loosened tile from the roof to rain down on the prefect's entourage as depicted in the 1959 film, we see a young zealot, who has been recuperating in the Hur household, fire an arrow that misses the prefect and kills a nearby Roman signifer.  The boy runs away and Ben-Hur takes the blame to try to protect his mother and sister.  But, all are dragged away and Ben-Hur is sentenced to the galleys.  Of course, this is where the novel itself is totally inaccurate. Rome did not use slaves on its military galleys.  They were manned by trained sailors and marines. The Romans did not want a battle's outcome dependent upon the performance of slaves. But, to be fair, this information may not have been known to Lew Wallace in 1880 when he published Ben-Hur.

Fresco of a Roman war galley from Pompeii 1st century CE.  Photograph by
Mary Harrsch © 2007
In reality, prisoners like Ben-Hur that somehow escaped execution would have been sentenced to the mines or the quarries.  However, it would have been difficult for Ben-Hur to rescue a Roman naval commander there like he did in Lew Wallace's novel.

I actually liked the updated sea battle sequence.  The CG was pretty good and heightened the tension. However, the Roman commander was portrayed as totally despicable and went overboard during the battle, apparently dying.  Ben-Hur did not rescue him or go to Rome and eventually be adopted by him as in the 1959 film. Instead, Ben-Hur is washed ashore and found by the kindly African, played by Morgan Freeman in dreadlocks, who wants to race horses in the hippodrome of Jerusalem.

That brings us back to the chariot race.  This part of the novel serves as the exciting climax both for it and the film adaptations. However, although thrilling, it is based on historical inaccuracy as well. Charioteers, although wildly popular, were, like gladiators and other Roman entertainers, members of the lowest social class in ancient Rome.  At this point in time, a Roman military tribune would have never competed as a chariot driver.  As I said, though, it was absolutely thrilling.  I even had to look away a couple of times because of the realistic violence.  I watched the following trailer on YouTube that included a "Behind the Scenes" look at the filming of the chariot race.  Although I'm sure some CGI was used, the actors actually did drive the chariots.  The filmmakers mounted cameras on the chariots themselves along with other moving camera vehicles to give us some really unique camera angles. I do hope none of the horses were injured during the filming!  Jack Huston looks like he's having the time of his life!

Of course, probably the most misleading scene of all depicted the Romans arresting Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Even the Christian scriptures say Jesus was arrested by armed men sent by the Jewish high priests! That scene was inexcusable!! Talk about vilifying an entire culture to promote your own religious agenda!

But, the new film offers a totally alternative ending which I actually liked.  I will leave that for you to discover for yourself, though.

For those of you with a nostalgia for earlier productions of Ben-Hur, I will leave you with a link to a .pdf I created of a souvenir booklet for a 1900 live production of Ben-Hur that I found at a local flea market a couple of years ago: 

Scene from a 1900 live production of Ben-Hur.  Photo (now in the public domain) by Joseph Byron.

This play ran for 21 years in the United States, Britain and Australia, ending in 1920.  It is estimated over 20 million people saw it during that time.

August 24, 2016

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: The Denver Journal: An Online Review of Current Biblical and Theological Studies

[First posted in AWOL 22 February 2011. Updated 24 August 2016]

The Denver Journal: An Online Review of Current Biblical and Theological Studies

Welcome to Denver Journal. The purpose of the Denver Journal is to establish an online Evangelical review journal of biblical and theological studies edited and produced by the faculty of Denver Seminary for use by alumni and all who are interested in biblical and theological ministry and research.
Denver Journal is a review journal. It aims to include reviews of all recent and significant books and published media relating to the major fields of biblical and theological studies: Old Testament, New Testament, Church History, Systematic Theology, World Christianity, Pastoral Ministry and Evangelism, Counseling, Philosophy of Religion, Education Ministries and Administration, Homiletics and Speech, and Youth and Family Ministries.
Denver Journal will include reviews as well as review articles that might include essays on the present state of studies in a field or specific area of that field, annotated bibliographies, extensive reviews of a work of particular significance, and other longer items. The reviews themselves, divided according to the major fields of biblical and theological studies, will normally be 500-800 words in length. An additional section of book notes will include 100-200 word summaries and evaluations of books that are worthy of note but not necessarily deserving a full review in the journal.
Denver Journal is an Evangelical journal. Its choice of books and reviewers reflects the Evangelical commitment and interests of the seminary.
The journal is online. All contributions are written and edited electronically.
Old Testament
New Testament
Apologetics and Ethics
Practical Theology
Volume 18 - 2015
Volume 17 - 2014

Volume 16 - 2013

Volume 15 - 2012
Volume 14 - 2011
Volume 13 - 2010
Volume 12 - 2009
Volume 11 - 2008
Volume 10 - 2007
Volume 9 - 2006
Volume 8 - 2005
Volume 7 - 2004
Volume 6 - 2003
Volume 5 - 2002
Volume 4 - 2001
Volume 3 - 2000
Volume 2 - 1999
Volume 1 - 1998

Linking Denver Journal Bibliographies
The following bibliographies are available on the Denver Journal. If you would like to create a link from your web page to one of these bibliographies, follow the instructions below.

Linking to the Annotated Old Testament Bibliography

Each year, the Denver Journal's Annotated Old Testament Bibliography, compiled by Dr. M. Daniel Carroll R., Dr. Hélène Dallaire, and Dr. Rick Hess, is updated with the top resources available for Old Testament Study. If you would like to create a link on your web page to the most recent version of this bibliography, copy the text link below and paste it into the HTML on your web page. This link will always be redirected to the most recent version of the Annotated Old Testament bibliography.
<a href="">Denver Seminary's Denver Journal Annotated Old Testament Bibliography</a>

Linking to the New Testament Exegesis Bibliography

Each year, the Denver Journal's New Testament Exegesis Bibliography, compiled by Dr. William Klein, Dr. Craig L. Blomberg, and Dr. David Mathewson is updated with the top resources available for New Testament Study. If you would like to create a link on your web page to the most recent version of this bibliography, copy the text link below and paste it into the HTML on your web page. This link will always redirect visitors to the most recent version of the New Testament Exegesis bibliography.
<a href="">Denver Seminary's Denver Journal New Testament Exegesis Bibliography</a>

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Choose Your Own Adventure Bible

The Babylon Bee is sort of the Christian equivalent of The Onion, with spoof news and similar offerings. Today, they announced that Zondervan had published a Choose Your Own Adventure Bible: While the folks at Babylon Bee were using this idea to poke fun at the ways in which people read not only their own views, [Read More...]

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

The Big Business Of Looted Antiquities

The trade in looted antiquities is big business – and some fear it’s growing due to instability in the Middle East and North Africa. While the U.S. has passed laws restricting imports from Syria and Iraq, many argue little will change until the market for these stolen antiquities is eliminated. New efforts to curb the plunder of the world’s cultural heritage.
The fight to preserve the world's cultural heritage sites. But Sarah, please, let us not link it with ancient Egyptian tomb looting. That's a lame argument unworthy of you.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: The Sudan Archaeological Research Society Newsletter

The Sudan Archaeological Research Society Newsletter
SARS newsletters 1991-1996

Between 1991 and 1996, the Society published eleven issues of a biannual newsletter, reporting on surveys and excavations, plus general information on Society activities. The newsletter has been replaced by the Society’s annual bulletin, Sudan & Nubia … see Bulletin: Sudan & Nubia
Each newsletter can be read (free) through the online reading service ISSUU by following the links below. If a download is preferred, sign up to ISSUU, which will then provide download links (free).
Newsletter : No. 1
Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London, November 1991
4 pages … no archaeological reportsREAD NEWSLETTER >
Newsletter : No. 2
Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London, June 1992
Allason-Jones, L. Roman Objects in the National Museum, Khartoum
Edwards, D.N. The Mahas Survey 1991
French, P. Recent Finds from Qasr Ibrim
Horton, M. Excavations at Qasr Ibrim
Jakobielski, S. Excavations in the Capital City of the Kingdom of Makouria
Smith, L.M.V. An Exploratory Provenance Study of a Meroitic Fineware
Welsby, D.A. Excavations in the Capital City of the Kingdom of Alwa

Newsletter : No. 3
Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London, November 1992
Edwards, D.N. South from Wadi Halfa: Archaeology in Nubia in the 1990s
Kirwan, Sir L. Comments on the ‘End of Meroe’
Lenoble, P. The “End” of the Meroitic Empire: The Evidence from Central Sudan
Shinnie, P. Reminiscences of an Archaeologist in the Sudan

Newsletter : No. 4
Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London, June 1993
Allason-Jones, L. Roman Objects from Sudan in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Filer, J. Preliminary Remarks on the Human Remains from Soba East
Taylor, J. Two Pieces of Nubian Metalwork in The British Museum
Welsby, D.A. Kawa Survey Project
Welsby Sjöström, I. Soba Excavation Project: The Final Season
Wenig, S. Recent Archaeological Work at Meroe and Musawwarat es Sufra

Newsletter : No. 5
Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London, November 1993
Castiglioni, A. and A. The Ancient Gold Route from Buhen to Berenice Panchrysos
Mallinson, M. SARS Survey from Bagrawiya to Atbara, 1993: The Survey
Reinold, J. Section Française de la Direction des Antiquités du Soudan: Preliminary Report on the 1991/92 and 1992/93 Seasons in the Northern Provinces
Smith, L. SARS Survey from Bagrawiya to Atbara, 1993: Lithics and Pottery: Preliminary Dating
Taylor, J. Examples of Nubian Metalwork in The British Museum

Morkot, R.G. Fritz Hintze, 15 April 1915 – 30 March 1993

Newsletter : No. 6
Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London, June 1994
Edwards, D.N. Some recent work on the post-Meroitic (‘X-Group’) in Lower Nubia
Filer, J. The SARS Survey from Bagrawiya to Atbara: The contents of five tombs from cemetery 159.2, Wadi Gabati
Mallinson, M. The SARS Survey from Bagrawiya to Atbara: The Excavations
Quirke, S. The Scarabs and Plaques
Smith, H.S. The Nubian Archaeological Rescue campaign and the early cultural history of Nubia
Smith, L. The SARS Survey from Bagrawiya to Atbara: The complete vessels from cemetery 159.2, Wadi Gabati
Tobert, N. Transient Settlements in Darfur, Sudan
Török, L. Garstang’s excavations at Meroe, 1909-14
Welsby, D.A. The SARS Northern Dongola Reach Survey: The Survey
Welsby Sjöström, I. The SARS Northern Dongola Reach Survey: The Pottery and Stone Objects

Newsletter : No. 7
Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London, November 1994
Alexander, J. Islamic Archaeology: The Ottoman Frontier on the Middle Nile
Fatih A. Salih. The excavation of tumulus (KE5) at Kawa, Sudan
Reed, G. Archaeological remains in the Kebkebiya area of northern Darfur

Kirwan, L.P. Negm el Din Mohammed Sherif

Newsletter : No. 8
Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London, June 1995
Cowell, M. Preliminary report on the examination of the metalwork from the temples of Kawa, Sudan
Edwards, D.N. The SARS excavations at Gabati, Central Sudan, 1994/5: The Excavations
Filer, J. The SARS excavations at Gabati, Central Sudan, 1994/5: The Skeletal Remains
Geus, F. Archaeology and History of Sai Island
Morkot, R. Rivers of Ivory. Reflections on the origin of the Napatan State
Quirke, S. The Northern Dongola Reach Survey, the 1994/5 season: The Scarabs and Scaraboids
Rose, P.J. The SARS excavations at Gabati, Central Sudan, 1994/5: The Meroitic and post-Meroitic Pottery
Welsby, D.A. The Northern Dongola Reach Survey, the 1994/5 season: The Survey

Alexander, J. Margaret Shinnie
James, H. Peter Shore

Newsletter : No. 9
Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London, November 1995
Manzo, A. Remarks on the Jebel Moya ceramics in the British Museum and their cultural significance
Phillips, J. Egyptian and Nubian material from Ethiopia and Eritrea
Smith, H.S. and MacDonald, K.C. The Archaeology of Africa: Food, metals and towns

Shinnie, P. Margaret Shinnie; an additional note

Newsletter : No. 10
Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London, June 1996
Judd, M. The Northern Dongola Reach Survey: Surface skeletal remains from cemetery 016
Kroeper, K. The Rediscovery of the Kushite site at Naqa, 1822 to 1996
Krzyzaniak, L. The Kadero Project
Macklin, M. and Woodward, J. The Northern Dongola Reach Survey: Holocene river behaviour in the Nile
Smith, L.M.V. Investigation of the provenance of Meroitic Fine Wares
Usick, P. Excavating the Bankes Drawings and Manuscripts
Welsby, D.A. The Northern Dongola Reach Survey: The 1995/6 season

Newsletter : No. 11
Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London, November 1996
Adams, W.Y. Sudanology — The Noble Salvage
Alexander, J. The 8th International Conference for Meroitic Studies, London, September 1996
Edwards, D.N. Aerial Photographs of Archaeological Sites in Northern Sudan

Newsletters : Nos. 1-11 : table of contents
Newletters (1991-1996) of the Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London


Compitum - événements (tous types)

Latin et latinité chez André Gide

Titre: Latin et latinité chez André Gide
Lieu: Università di Bologna / Bologne
Catégorie: Colloques, journées d'études
Date: 27.10.2016
Heure: 14.00 h - 18.00 h

Information signalée par Jacques Elfassi


Latin et latinité chez André Gide


Gide possède une culture latine vaste et plurielle, qui ne saurait se résumer à la connaissance scolaire des grands auteurs de la littérature latine, ni à la pratique, certes patiente et récurrente, de la version et du thème. Ce rapport personnel aux auteurs latins et à la langue latine, cultivé toute sa vie durant (certains poètes comme Virgile l’accompagneront jusqu’à son lit de mort), se manifeste dans son oeuvre de plusieurs manières : citations, allusions, reprises de motifs ou de personnages (Ménalque, Tityre, Corydon, etc.) témoignent du statut multiple de la culture latine, entre « principe créateur » de l’oeuvre et instrument de pensée, à fonction ludique, satirique ou éthique.
Si les modalités et les enjeux de cette intertextualité latine, déjà bien défrichés par Patrick Pollard notamment, pourront être (ré)interrogés (en particulier dans leur écart avec les usages naturalistes et décadents), la journée d’études se propose de questionner plus précisément deux aspects de la « latinité » gidienne : celle de sa langue et celle de sa pensée.

9h Accueil des participants
9h15 Ouverture (Anna Soncini, Università di Bologna)
9h30 Introduction (Stéphanie Bertrand, Enrico Guerini)

9h45 – 11h : Gide et la latinité
Présidence de séance : Maria Chiara Gnocchi (Università di Bologna)
9h45 – 10h15 Pierre Masson (Université de Nantes)
Gide ou l’antiquité sans les idoles
10h15 – 10h45 Jean-Michel Wittmann (Université de Lorraine)
De l’utilité des « cousins germains » : Gide, les Latins et les Barbares
10h45 – 11h Discussion
11h – 11h15 : Pause

11h15 – 12h30 : Gide face à la langue et à l’esthétique latines
Présidence de séance : Jean-Michel Wittmann (Université de Lorraine)
11h15 – 11h45 Enrico Guerini (Università di Bologna)
Gide et le modèle latin : pour une esthétique de la litote
11h45 – 12h15 Stéphanie Bertrand (Université de Lorraine)
Gide et la langue latine : modèle de style, modèle culturel ?
12h15 – 12h30 Discussion
12h30 – 14h30 : Déjeuner

14h30 – 16h30 : Gide et la culture latine Présidence de séance : Pierre Masson (Université de Nantes)
14h30-15h Paola Codazzi (Università di Bologna, Université de Haute-Alsace)
« Il n’y a culture que dans une continuation », André Gide et l’héritage latin
15h-15h30 Martina Della Casa (Université de Haute-Alsace)
Gide et la saveur de la culture latine
15h30-16h Carmen Saggiomo (Secunda Università di Napoli)
La présence de Virgile dans l’oeuvre de Gide
16h-16h30 Discussion et conclusion

Lieu: sala Convegni, via Cartoleria 5, Bologna
Contacts : stephanie.bertrand[at] ; enrico.guerini2[at]

Source : Ecritures.

Archaeology Magazine

OTTAWA, ONTARIO—CBC News reports that a 145-year-old wheelhouse, or railway turntable, and three spur lines have been unearthed at a construction site in Canada’s capital city, near the path of a new light-rail line. The turntable’s limestone wall was discolored by a fire in 1883. “The stonework itself was pretty rushed. So it looks like they were in a hurry to get their spur line completed,” said Jeff Earl of Past Recovery Archaeological Services. A wooden pivot line in the center of the wheelhouse has also survived. The wheelhouse was operated by the Ottawa St. Lawrence Railways, whose trains transported logs from sawmills at Chaudière Falls to the St. Lawrence River, where they were placed on ships headed to Europe. For more on archaeology in Canada, go to "Franklin’s Last Voyage." 

Turkey Metropolis vaultİZMIR, TURKEY—The Daily Sabah reports that a well-preserved brick vault has been unearthed in the ancient city of Metropolis. Serdar Aybek of Manisa Celal Bayar University said that the 1,900-year-old vault is located in a public bath. Excavations at the site, which began in 1990, have also uncovered a Hellenistic-era theater, Roman-era shops and streets, a gallery with columns, a hall with mosaics, and a temple dedicated to Krezimos, or Zeus. More than 10,000 artifacts, including ceramics, glassware, and sculptures have also been recovered. To read about another discovery in Turkey, go to "In Search of a Philosopher’s Stone."

Myanmar Bagan earthquakeBAGAN, MYANMAR—At least one person has died in a 6.8-magnitude earthquake that shook central Myanmar, home to the Bagan Archaeological Zone, the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan from the ninth through the thirteenth centuries. BBC News reports that at least 66 of the more than 2,000 surviving temples, stupas, and pagodas have been damaged. Earthquakes have destroyed most of the city’s original 10,000 structures. For more, go to "The Ancient Burmese City of Bagan."

Compitum - événements (tous types)

L'Un dans l'autre. De l'unité des spiritualités

Titre: L'Un dans l'autre. De l'unité des spiritualités
Lieu: Institut de France / Paris
Catégorie: Colloques, journées d'études
Date: 24.09.2016
Heure: 14.00 h - 18.00 h

Information signalée par la Fondation Ostad Elahi

Journée de la solidarité humaine : 15e édition

L'Un dans l'autre. De l'unité des spiritualités



Marc Ballanfat, Directeur de programme au Collège international de philosophie (Paris), Chargé de cours à l'Université Paris-IV Sorbonne - Le message universel de la Bhagavadgita

Géraldine Roux, docteur et enseignante en philosophie, chercheure associée au Laboratoire d'Etudes sur les Monothéismes et directrice de l'Institut universitaire Européen Rachi à Troyes - La perplexité, productrice de sens chez Moïse Maïmonide

Pierre Gisel, professeur honoraire de la Faculté de théologie et de sciences des religions de l'Université de Lausanne - Repenser le rapport des traditions religieuses aux autres religions et à l'espace commun

Geneviève Gobillot, professeur émérite de Civilisation arabo musulmane et d'Histoire des idées à l'université de Lyon - Les modalités et les étapes de la Résurrection des humains dans le Coran à travers une approche renouvelée de quelques passages bibliques

Synthèse, par Bernard Bourgeois, membre de l'Institut

Modératrice : Virginie Larousse, Rédactrice en chef du magazine le Monde des Religions

Lieu de la manifestation : Institut de France 10, rue Alfred de Vigny 75008 Paris
Organisation : Fondation Ostad Elahi – éthique et solidarité humaine
Contact : info[at]

Archaeological News on Tumblr

One of the most significant Etruscan discoveries in decades names female goddess Uni

Archaeologists translating a very rare inscription on an ancient Etruscan temple stone have...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Conflict Fake Antiquities Now?

I've been saying this for almost all the time the US Department of State started stirring up the fuss about Syria's Conflict antiquities (so has Dorothy King and a few others): Tim Cornwell, 'Almost 70% of smuggled objects seized in Syria and Lebanon are fakes, antiquities chief says', The Art Newspaper 24 August 2016. Now it's official:
Close to three-quarters of the artefacts seized in anti-smuggling operations in Syria and neighbouring Lebanon this year have proved to be fakes, Syria’s antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim tells The Art Newspaper. [...] There have been growing questions over the extent of illicit digging and antiquities trafficking in Syria by militant groups including ISIS. Abdulkarim says that while 7,000 objects have been seized by authorities in Syria since 2013, the proportion of fakes has risen from 30% to closer to 70%, both inside the country and in neighbouring Lebanon. Objects seized by police in Damascus include 30 fake ancient Bibles, as well as Korans. Another haul was 450 gold Medieval coins, all discovered to be fake, along with scores of fake mosaic tableaus and statues. Some items were poorly made fakes that were quickly weeded out, but sometimes it was difficult to distinguish between the real artefacts and the copies. “I hope the originals are stopped and the fakes go to the market place,” Abdulkarim says. 
So do we all. Well, all except those collectors who pay out their money for artefacts of unknown provenance without demanding to see papers proving they are licit and kosher. But who cares about them getting 'stung'? Much of the article is about Palmyra:
Three Polish archaeologists have joined conservation and training efforts in Palmyra, while two broken pieces are to travel to Rome for an exhibition in October, to be repaired and returned by Italian experts as a symbol of solidarity. While Russian teams were among the first into Palmyra, Abdulkarim stressed that the historic ties in the field were widely with the West and appealed for archaeologists to rally to Syria. “I appeal at all times for French archaeologists, British archaeologists, German archaeologists to come,” he says. “All the damage [that has been done] to cultural heritage will be for generation after generation. Just come to Damascus.” [...]  Abdulkarim’s goal of working to set politics aside and preserve a shared heritage has been well received by the international community. “I refuse to use our cultural interest for political agendas. It’s our common heritage, it’s our common identity,” Abdulkarim tells us. “The politics will change, but the heritage won’t change.”

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Lost WWII Ships Explored in Underwater Expedition

An exploration of a World War II battleground right off U.S. shores is now underway.The National...

The Archaeology News Network

Myanmar quake damages 60 pagodas

A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Myanmar Wednesday, killing at least three people and damaging some 60 pagodas in the famous ancient city of Bagan, officials said. A handout photo provided by Myanmar's Ministry of Information on Wednesday shows a temple collapsing  during the earthquake in Bagan [Credit: EPA]The quake, which the US Geological Survey said hit at a depth of 84 kilometres (52 miles), was also felt...

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Archaeological News on Tumblr

1,000 year old Persian cup unearthed in remote region of Arctic Russia

The find of the fragment of the medieval bronze cup - from modern-day Iran - was made by scientists...

The Archaeology News Network

Recently discovered Etruscan stele names female goddess

Archaeologists translating a very rare inscription on an ancient Etruscan temple stone have discovered the name Uni -- an important female goddess. Inscribed surfaces of the stele already have revealed mention of the goddess Uni as well as a reference to the god Tina,  the name of the supreme deity of the Etruscans [Credit: Mugello Valley Project]The discovery indicates that Uni -- a divinity of fertility and possibly a mother...

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ArcheoNet BE

Archeodienst dreigt met verkoop vondsten onbetaalde projecten

Het Nederlandse archeologische kantoor Archeodienst heeft eergisteren een persbericht de wereld ingestuurd dat al heel wat commotie heeft veroorzaakt. Als reactie tegen de wanbetaling van veel opdrachtgevers stelt het bureau voor om vondsten van die opgravingen te verkopen. Op die manier hoopt ze de verantwoordelijke instanties wakker te schudden en te dwingen om tot een oplossing te komen.  Een knuppel in het hoenderhok of een reëel dreigement?

Uittreksels uit het persbericht van Archeodienst:

“Het is een steeds groter wordend probleem dat al meer dan tien jaar speelt en waarvoor niemand zich verantwoordelijk voelt: Wat moet er gebeuren met de vondsten en de verzamelde informatie van archeologisch onderzoek wanneer de opdrachtgever niet betaalt? In de wandelgangen van de archeologische sector spreekt men al jaren over dit probleem, maar er gebeurt niets. Nu is het de hoogste tijd voor actie! Archeodienst, één van de opgravingsbedrijven die geconfronteerd worden met dit probleem, gaat in september de stoute schoenen aantrekken: Er komt een openbare verkoop van archeologische vondsten om daarmee alle betrokken partijen te dwingen tot een discussie en een oplossing.”

“Sinds de invoering van de commerciële archeologie aan het begin van de eeuw geldt het principe van de verstoorder betaalt. Als in het kader van een bouwproject archeologische resten weggegraven worden, is de initiatiefnemer van het bouwproject verplicht de kosten voor een archeologisch onderzoek te betalen, zodat de archeologische vondsten en informatie in ieder geval bewaard blijven. Dat betekent dat sindsdien het meeste archeologische onderzoek uitgevoerd wordt door opgravingsbedrijven in opdracht van de initiatiefnemer. Deze kan met de bouw beginnen zodra het archeologische veldwerk afgerond is. Het onderzoek is daarmee echter nog niet klaar. De uitwerking vormt de tweede helft van het onderzoek. Zonder uitwerking is het veldwerk voor niets geweest. Omdat de opdrachtgever lang niet altijd geïnteresseerd is in het eindproduct zelf, neemt hij het soms niet zo nauw met het betalen van het onderzoek. Het is de taak van de gemeente om in zulke gevallen tot handhaving over te gaan, dit gebeurt echter helaas maar zelden. Daar bovenop komt nog dat een opgravingsbedrijf volgens de Erfgoedwet zijn projecten volledig uitgewerkt binnen twee jaar aan de overheid moet overdragen. Daarbij speelt het geen rol of het bedrijf voor de geleverde diensten betaald krijgt of niet, de provincie eist altijd haar eigendommen op. Hierdoor lijden de archeologische bedrijven miljoenen Euro’s schade. In de praktijk betekent dit meestal dat archeologisch onderzoek niet afgerond wordt, waardoor er veel cultureel erfgoed verloren gaat. Er heerst al jarenlang een impasse waarin niemand de verantwoordelijkheid wil nemen voor ons erfgoed, terwijl de vondsten weg liggen te rotten in de magazijnen van de opgravingsbedrijven.[…] Uiteraard worden er incassoprocedures door de bedrijven gestart, maar deze duren lang, zijn kostbaar en leiden lang niet altijd tot betaling. Er is ook regelmatig sprake van faillissementen waardoor projecten niet betaald worden.”

“Archeodienst vindt dat het nu lang genoeg geduurd heeft en gaat in september een precedent scheppen door de onbetaalde vondsten te verkopen. De overheden worden hierdoor gedwongen om constructief mee te denken zodat er eindelijk een structurele oplossing komt. […] Wij zijn ons ervan bewust dat dit wellicht geen charmante aanpak is, maar het verzaken van financiële én cultuurhistorische verplichtingen verdient volgens ons ook geen schoonheidsprijs. Wij willen ter bescherming van ons culturele erfgoed een goede oplossing voor dit probleem bereiken en dat lukt alleen als je iedereen wakker geschud krijgt. Daarom is het nu de hoogste tijd voor actie.”

“Als reactie op de bekendmaking van het initiatief hebben enkele gemeenten en een provincie een klacht ingediend bij de Erfgoedinspectie, welke ondertussen heeft laten weten dat vergaande maatregelen verwacht kunnen worden als het inderdaad tot een verkoop komt. Eén gemeente heeft al nadrukkelijk gesteld dat zij niet verantwoordelijk is. Verschillende provincies hebben gedreigd met juridische middelen hoewel zij inmiddels wél een constructieve dialoog met Archeodienst geopend hebben. Kortom, de actie brengt zeker iets teweeg. Toch lijkt het er op dat sommige overheden de wanbetalers en falende handhavers een beschermende hand boven het hoofd willen houden.”

Lees hier het volledige persbericht.

Contactpersoon voor meer informatie: Willem-Simon van de Graaf (directeur Archeodienst)

Archaeology Briefs


Recently discovered multiple assemblages of Homo erectus footprints in northern Kenya provide unique opportunities to understand our ancient ancestors. Using novel analytical techniques, researchers have demonstrated that the footprints preserve evidence of a modern human style of walking and a group structure consistent with human-like social behaviors.

Habitual bipedal motion is a defining feature of modern humans compared with other primates, and had profound effects on the biologies of our ancestors and relatives. There has been much debate over when and how a human-like bipedal gait first evolved, largely because of disagreements over how to infer biomechanics from skeletal shapes. Aspects of group structure and social behavior also distinguish humans from other primates, yet there is no consensus on how to detect these in the fossil or archaeological records.

In 2009, a set of 1.5-million-year-old hominin footprints was discovered near the town of Ileret, on the northeast shore of Lake Turkana, in the extreme northwest corner of Kenya - a trace fossil discovery of unprecedented scale for this time period, now extending to five distinct sites preserving a total of 97 tracks created by at least 20 different presumed Homo erectus individuals. Researchers found the shapes of these footprints indistinguishable from those of modern habitually barefoot people, most likely reflecting similar foot anatomies and mechanics.

Kevin Hatala, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and George Washington University, says: "Our analyses of these footprints provide some of the only direct evidence to support the common assumption that at least one of our fossil relatives at 1.5 million years ago walked in much the same way as we do today."

Based on experimentally derived estimates of body mass from the fossil tracks, the researchers have inferred the sexes of the individuals and, for the two most expansive excavated surfaces, developed hypotheses regarding the structure of the groups. For example, at each of these sites there is evidence of several adult males. Cooperation between males underlies many of the social behaviors that distinguish modern humans from other primates.

Edited from PhysOrg, Science Daily (12 July 2016)
[2 images]
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Archaeology Briefs


The traditional understanding of the Neolithic period in Orkney has long been of a game of two halves, represented by completely different cultural packages: the early phase in the 4th millennium BCE, associated with single farmsteads, compartmented burial cairns, and shallow round-bottomed pottery with limited decoration; and the late Neolithic turn of the 3rd millennium BCE, associated with villages, passage-grave tombs, and flat-bottomed pottery with ornate decoration.

With no clear sign of a transition between these two, the arrival of a new group replacing the earlier culture was suggested, however new dating evidence confirms an idea originally suggested by Colin Renfrew, blurring the lines between early and late Neolithic categories.

The Cuween-Wideford Landscape Project was set up in 1994 to further explore this idea, initially focusing on Stonehall Farm, where a mid to late 4th millennium BCE dispersed settlement had graduated to a late Neolithic village in the late 3rd millennium BCE, and soon uncovering traces of similarly early activity at other sites. The program quickly expanded to the whole Bay of Firth, about 7 kilometers east of the Stenness-Brodgar ritual complex.

In 2002 the team realized there were traces of older timber structures beneath several Neolithic stone structures at Wideford Hill, and this pattern was repeated across Orkney - a completely unexpected development, as wooden structures were not previously thought to have been part of the Orcadian Neolithic. These discoveries also undermined the long-held belief that stalled cairns and stone houses came together to Neolithic Orkney - using the same architecture, dividing internal space using pairs of orthostats, mimicking domestic architecture and creating houses for the dead.

Radiocarbon dating places the earliest stalled cairns circa 3600-3500 BCE, but stone houses do not appear until around 300 years later - tomb-builders seem to have lived in the nearby timber houses. Burial cairns were not modeled on dwellings, but the other way around.

Building in wood gives any structure a finite lifespan. Those wooden structures excavated show frequently shifting footprints, and little sign of decayed posts being replaced. Building in stone roots a structure in one location. At several sites the team noted building materials being recycled again and again as the settlements expand.

The excavated stone structures are generally significantly larger than the timber buildings they replaced, and could have accommodated many more people. It seems likely we are seeing the results of cooperation between larger groups, a more collectivist style of living, and bigger social units being brought together.

Edited from (04 August 2016)
[4 images]


A major excavation is underway in rural Dorset (England), near the modern day village of Winter borne Kingston. The team of archaeologists from Bournemouth University are actually uncovering the remains of the original village settlement, which first occupied the site in approximately 100 BCE. They have named it Duropolis, in honour of the Durotriges, the Iron Age tribe that would have comprised its first inhabitants.

The site is quite large, covering approximately 4 hectares, and so far the team has uncovered most of the elements of a typical Iron Age settlement, including roundhouses, storage and animal enclosures. The presence of this unfortified settlement coincides with the decline and abandonment of nearby hill forts, heralding in a more peaceful era.

One of the co-Directors of this year's dig, Dr Miles Russell, is quoted as saying "People think that towns were introduced by the Romans in the 1sdt. Century CE and that's simply not true. What we've here are all the elements of an urban system a good hundred years before the Romans arrived and it seems to be continuing up until the point that they left".

However, the most exciting find in this year's dig is the discovery of the skeletal remains of 8 bodies, the significance of which is explained by the other co-Director, Paul Cheetham: "Understanding of our Iron Age past is significantly improved by this finds, given the advances in scientific investigation, such as DNA and isotope analysis, which provide an insight into population movements and ancestry. Accessing skeletal information from this date in the UK is extremely rare, as most pre Roman tribes either practiced cremation or placed bodies in rivers or bogs, so this data could completely change our understanding of the Iron Age".

Edited from Dorset Echo (7 July 2016)
[1 image]

Trafficking Culture

Donna Yates to appear on Newshour Extra panel, live taping in Edinburgh on 25 August.

Her fellow panalists include Dr Maamoun Abdulkarim, Director General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria and Juliana Forero, external advisor for WHITRAP – World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for the Asia and the Pacific region, under the auspices of UNESCO.

The panel will consider whether preserving cultural heritage is always a good thing. Does an exploration of the past always bring unity, or is there a danger that preserving history can fuel divisions?

Tickets to the live taping of the panel (18:00–20:00 25 August) are available here:

The show will be broadcast on the BBCWorld Service at 9am GMT and will be available for listening here:

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Angel at the APA

This joke shared in a comment seemed worth sharing in a blog post: An angel appears to the American Philosophical Association conference, and announces “God has deigned to answer one question. You have a week to decide; I will return and give you the answer.” Of course, being philosophers, they argue and can’t come to an [Read More...]

Archaeological News on Tumblr

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Artefacts turned over to the Israel Antiquities Authority

Metal artifacts, the earliest of which are 3,500 years old, were recently presented to the Israel Antiquities Authority by a family that inherited them from their father who passed away. Artifacts turned in to IAA by the Mazliah family [CRedit: Diego Barkan,  Israel Antiquities Authority]The Mazliah family of Givatayim contacted a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority and invited him to their home in order to examine...

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Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

L'alimentazione nell'Italia Antica

L'alimentazione nell'Italia Antica

La storia dell'alimentazione italiana dalle origini al periodo classico

L’iniziativa si inserisce nell’ambito della grande rassegna espositiva “Cibi e sapori nell’Italia Antica”, organizzata e coordinata nel 2004 dalla Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici e dalla Direzione Generale per l’Innovazione Tecnologica e la Promozione del Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali, coinvolgendo ben 110 sedi museali distribuite sul territorio nazionale, per dare l’opportunità di ripercorrere a ritroso una Storia e una Tradizione su un tema culturale che fa parte della nostra vita quotidiana e per il quale è difficile non sentire un senso di “appartenenza”. L’evento mira a favorire, inoltre, un momento di riflessione sui simboli e i significati del nostro comportamento alimentare. L’uomo, infatti, si distingue dagli altri esseri viventi per la sua capacità di simbolizzare, e il cibo è “lo strumento simbolico per eccellenza”. Il comportamento alimentare umano, infatti, non si rivolge al mero soddisfacimento fisiologico del senso di fame, ma assolve invece una serie di funzioni sociali e culturali che rimandano proprio alla definizione del senso di identità del gruppo e della persona.

Cibo come Cultura, dunque, per non dimenticare che, se è vero che la cucina è un indicatore culturale e definisce il senso di appartenenza a questa o quella comunità, è vero pure che, essa è il primo spazio umano - privilegiato - dove più velocemente si eliminano le barriere tra i popoli, favorendo l’incontro - attraverso scambi vicendevoli - di conoscenze preziose che divengono parte integrante del patrimonio e della identità culturale di ogni civiltà. 

Il tema di grande attualità, viene affrontato in questa sede con l’intento di offrire un contributo, scientifico, specifico e significativo, al grande dibattito che si è animato intorno al Cibo e ai suoi linguaggi, perseguendo al contempo l’obiettivo di comunicarlo a un più vasto ed eterogeneo pubblico, nel rispetto, quindi, della legge n. 4 del 9 gennaio del 2004 “Disposizioni per favorire l’accesso dei soggetti disabili agli strumenti informatici”.

Mondo Classico


Cibi e Sapori nel Mondo Antico

Museo Archeologico di Firenze (18 marzo 2005 - 15 gennaio 2006).
Durata: 35:09 minuti.

AIA Fieldnotes

Monastic Kitchens

Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
Sponsored by University of Louisville
Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 6:00pm

A lecture by Darlene Brooks-Hedstrom of Wittenburg University.


AIA Society: 
John E. Fischer
Call for Papers: 

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Pleiades Help: Add a new name resource

Pleiades Help: Add a new name resource
Creators: Tom Elliott Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Aug 24, 2016 08:15 AM

Do you need to add a new modern or historical name or name variant to a place resource in Pleiades? Here's how to do it. 
If you know the name (either historical or modern) of an ancient place in Pleiades, but see that it's not included in our dataset, you can easily add it and submit it for review and eventual publication. You should also add appropriate name resources to any new place resource that you are creating so that you can submit them as a set.

Concepts and Background

Pleiades stores geographical and historical information in four "information resources": places, names, locations, and connections. If you are not familiar with these terms and how they are used in Pleiades, you should first consult the short Conceptual Overview.
The editors have set out their expectations for the content of name resources in a section of the Editorial Guidelines. You should also consult it before starting to add name resources.

Step-by-step: How to add a new name resource

1. Login to Pleiades.

2. Navigate to the place resource to which you wish to add a name.

Add a name: Add

3. Scroll down the page to the bottom of the "Names" listing and select the "Add Name" button.

4. Pleiades creates a new name resource, assigns it to you, and automatically opens a form through which you can edit its contents. This new name resource begins life in "drafting" state, and is invisible to the public and other users (apart from the editorial college and site managers). Other contributors, when logged in, are able to see an entry for the resource (title and your name) in the Names listing on the parent place page, but they cannot see the contents of your draft. This level of visibility is intended to prevent duplication of effort by contributors. You may modify and save the new name resource multiple times until you are ready to submit it for review.

Add a name: Edit 
5. On the "Add Name" form use the component navigation tabs ("Default", etc.) together with the individual data entry fields and the "Save" button at the bottom of the page to record the modifications you wish to make. Please note editorial expectations and standards for names as outlined in the Editorial Guidelines document.
6. After the first time you save the form, you can open it again by selecting the "Edit" tab on the gray tertiary menu bar. It will now be titled "Edit Name" instead of "Add Name", but is otherwise identical.

Add a name: Submit 
7. When you are satisfied with the modifications you have made to the name resource, submit it for review by the editorial college by selected "State: Drafting" from the gray tertiary menu bar and then selecting "Submit for review" from the drop-down menu. 
8. If the editors have any questions or concerns about the content or format of your submitted name resource, they will contact you by email. If not, they will publish it. Upon publication of the name resource, your personal name will appear in the "Creators" section of the new name resource and in the "Contributors" section of the parent place resource. The contribution will also be reflected on the Pleiades Credits page.
Add a name: Retract 
9. If, after submitting the name resource, you realize that you have made a mistake or omitted to save a change, you can retract the submission and return the working copy to "drafting" state by selecting "State: Pending review" from the gray tertiary menu bar and then selecting "Retract" from the drop-down menu. This will permit you to make further changes. Retraction only works when the working copy is still in "Pending" state. If an editor has already published your changes, you will not be able to retract the resource. Instead, send an email to that includes the URI of the affected resource and explains the problem.

AIA Fieldnotes

Recent Excavations of a Roman Shipwreck at Caesarea Maritime, Israel

Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
Sponsored by University of Louisville, Lecture by Dr. John Hale
Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 6:00pm


AIA Society: 
John E. Fischer
Call for Papers: 

The Heroic Age

CFP: Teaching the Edda and Sagas in the Undergraduate Classroom (Roundtable)

by Ilse Schweitzer
Call for presenters for roundtable session at International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI (May 11-14, 2017)
In this roundtable session, participants will share short papers detailing their most innovative strategies, approaches, and experiences incorporating the medieval Icelandic Edda and sagas into university-level curricula and coursework. The Poetic andProse Edda, among the most thorough and valuable textual sources for our understanding of Norse myth, are rich with possible teaching applications, from lessons in cosmogony to poetic structure and language. Likewise, the Old Norse sagas recount, in deceptively spare style, the history of the Scandinavian conquest of Iceland and beyond, the fragile creation of a new society, and the omnipresent threat of violence and feud, set against natural and supernatural dangers. While these texts can spur dynamic and memorable class discussions, medievalists in traditional academic departments may not have regular opportunities to incorporate the Icelandic material into our syllabi. Further, as more medievalists find ourselves teaching further afield from our areas of expertise, we may be responsible for creating and covering courses in rhetoric and composition, or introductory courses in literature, history, and humanities, without much opportunity to offer a specific course in Icelandic literature, history, or culture.
Presenters may address such topics as how they have used the Edda and/or sagas in “conventional” literature courses, special topics classes, and surveys of medieval literature (which texts they have chosen to teach, and why); how these texts can be used to teach rhetoric and composition; which texts might be incorporated into an Old Norse translation course; how much historical, cultural, and legal background may be necessary in order to properly contextualize a saga for an undergraduate audience; how we can help our students to navigate the challenging linguistic and stylistic aspects of these texts; how texts can be taught in a mythology, history, or sociological course to reflect how a society defines and understands itself; how these texts can be presented in various theoretical frameworks (gender and sexuality studies, environmental studies, postcolonial studies, etc.); how teaching the Edda and sagas offer opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and research; how instructors have brought pop culture incarnations of these texts into coursework. Participants are encouraged to share assignments, syllabi, reading lists, resources, and activities with the panel and with our audience. 
To propose a short paper, send an abstract of about 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here) to by September 14, 2016. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions.

Liz Gloyn (Classically Inclined)

What would Cato have made of the Great British Bake Off?

It’s a Wednesday towards the end of August, and that can only mean one thing – the British viewing public are gearing up for the return of the Great British Bake Off to their screens this evening. If you have missed this landmark in British cultural history, it is essentially a baking competition where twelve bakers compete in a marquee over who can bake the best version of whatever fiendish concoction Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood have come up with to vex them, while Mel and Sue (now so well known they no longer require surnames) try to get as much smut into their commentary on proceedings as possible. One evening this week, after I reminded my husband that the annual baking fest was about to revisit our screens, he came up with a great test of true cultural value – what would Cato the Elder have made of it all?

For those unfamiliar with Cato the Elder, who lived during the middle of the Roman Republic, there were two things he was particularly famous for: his unabated hatred of Carthage and his commitment to traditional Roman virtues, exemplified by his personal behaviour and his actions when he held the office of censor. During this period, a pair of censors were appointed every five years to review the membership rolls of senators and knights, and remove those who were deemed unsuitable; the review of Cato and his co-censor Valerius Flaccus was particularly severe. One good source we have for Cato’s life is the Parallel Life that Plutarch wrote about him; while it was written many years after Cato’s death, and in all likelihood a lot of popular stories about Cato less than completely grounded in fact have found their way into the narrative, it’s a good way to think about how the Romans defined quintessentially Roman behaviour. Even though a lot of his behaviour seemed unpopular, taken together they created a figure who was respected for his “wise leadership, sober discipline and sound principles” (Life 19). So what would Cato have made of Bake Off?

Why are these people cooking? Our first instinct might be that he would disapprove of freeborn citizens baking at all – ancient Rome was, after all, a slave-owning culture, and surely that’s what slaves were for. Cato was, however, a bit different in that respect. Despite his own position of authority, he worked alongside the labourers at his farm (Life 3), and bought the fish and meat for his own dinner at the market (Life 4). So perhaps the idea of people wanting to demonstrate their grasp of skills his fellow Romans might have deemed below them would not have shocked Cato.

The ‘new men’: in an odd sort of way, Cato may have found himself having a love-hate relationship with the particular genre of reality television that Bake Off belongs to, where one wins based on actual hard-won talent and skill rather than popularity. As a new man, or novus homo, Cato himself had no prior familial advantage to give him a leg-up into public life, so he may have found the ability of someone to enter the public eye through demonstrating mastery of a particular skill (and so gain glory within the state) weirdly appealing. At the outside edge of possibility, I can almost imagine a scenario where he might argue that given the debased state of our political system, finding alternative ways to demonstrate one’s excellence was the only possible route for a sensible person to take, but I’ll admit that’s pushing it.

Recipes: the BBC would win brownie points for their copious Bake Off recipe archive. Cato had an interest in this sort of material – his book De Agri Cultura, or On Agriculture, contained recipes as well as general advice on how to manage an estate, so sharing this sort of material would have made sense to him. He even had recipes for bread (hat-tip to Jane Draycott for the reference). He also put together a book of recipes for treating members of his household who fell ill (Life 23).

Honouring one’s elders: the need to acknowledge and respect one’s ancestors, both from one’s own family and those one shared as part of a communal Roman identity, was a central part of Roman social life. The deference that is given to Mary Berry’s auctoritas, and to a lesser extent Paul Hollywood’s, would surely have Cato nodding in approval.

Educational value: Cato was deeply committed to his own son’s education; he taught him how to read and understand Roman law, and instructed him in various physical activities like throwing the javelin and riding. He also wrote out his history of Rome in large letters so his son could easily read it (Life 20). The Bake Off’s didactic element, including the to-camera explanations of how to manage the tricky chemistry of baking and the secret life of yeast, would complement his commitment to learning.

Competition: the nature of the show as a competition, a place to compete in terms of skill and ability, feels as if it would strike a chord. It might not be in the spheres of military prowess or public speaking, for which Rome had a number of venues for public competition, but Bake Off values the shared pursuit of excellence and inspires its viewers to aim for similar levels of achievement. The increased sales of baking ingredients supermarkets have annually recorded around this time of year speak to that.

Cameraderie: given the friendly nature of the competition, I suspect Cato would have approved of the general attitude of the competitors. They help each other out, they are honest about when things go wrong, they don’t cheat in the competition – generally they portray positive moral values on the screen. Cato himself tried to live according to the highest moral principles, although one gets the sense that he couldn’t resist winding up Scipio Africanus if given the opportunity.

Where are the soldiers?: for a country where military service and activity was so deeply embedded into aspects of everyday life, one suspects Cato would have been rather confused about why a show held in such high national esteem seemed to have no relationship to the military. Camping out in a tent in the garden is all very well, but there’s no real transferable application to being on campaign unless you’re over a primus stove, never mind the luxurious kitchen that pops up for Bake Off contestants.

Where are the orators?: Cato’s civilian career was marked by an active legal career, so the lack of importance the country places on oratory and public speaking may have felt similarly perplexing. That said, he may have gained some small comfort from the jokes of Mel and Sue, once he’d got over the shock of women speaking in public. Cato was also known for his memorable bon mots, some of which even involved humour. He claimed that he never embraced his wife except when a loud peal of thunder occurred, and joked he was a happy man whenever Jove decided to thunder (Life 17). One dreads to think what he’d have come up with when presented with the possibilities for innuendo presented by baking ingredients.

Luxuria: here, I think, we come to the biggest potential problem Cato would have had with Bake Off. He was a notoriously frugal man – he dined on a meal of three boiled turnips with sufficient content to turn down a bribe of gold (Life 2), and declined an invitation to dinner with an epicure by saying he couldn’t spend time with a man whose palate was more developed than his heart (Life 9). He also instituted an unpopular tax on the value of property people owned in an attempt to cut back on extravagant habits and possessions (Life 18).The amount of indulgence that goes into Bake Off – erecting the marquee, the secret army of washer-up-ers behind the scenes, the exoticness of the ingredients, the sheer frou-frou of some of the recipes – would have shocked and appalled him.

Food politics: the content and choice of the recipes might have concerned him too. When it came to the possibility that food could have political meanings, Cato was way ahead of the game. During one of his attempts to convince the Senate that they should destroy Carthage, he apparently managed to drop a Libyan fig onto the floor of the Senate house from his toga; when the senators admired how large and beautiful it was, he observed that it grew in a country only three days’ voyage from Rome (Life 27). He would have been very sensitive to the symbolism read into, for instance, the recipe choices of last season’s winner, Nadiya Hussein, and the wider political narrative into which they were fitted.

To sum up, I would guess that Cato would have found Bake Off a challenging blend of admirable industry and hardwork alongside deplorable indulgence. But even if he didn’t like it, I hope we can see a key to his behaviour in his great-grandson. When Cato the Younger was attending a performance as part of the festival of Flora, he realised that the audience was getting uncomfortable because he was present – and no wonder, as it was traditional for the mime to involve strip-tease, and the younger Cato had inherited his ancestor’s upright moral reputation. Rather than spoil the show for everybody else, Cato left the theatre (Valerius Maximus II.10.8). Let’s hope Cato the Elder would have reached for the remote control and changed the channel rather than writing angry letters to the BBC and his newspaper of choice.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Dynamic Photographs (with poop)

After reading Y. Hamilakis’s and F. Ifantidis’s Camera Kalaureia (2016), I got to thinking how I could be a bit more vivid and dynamic with the photographs that I use to document, illustrate, and analyze my work. This is particularly significant for our work in the Bakken oil patch where we relied heavily on photographic documentation. As I note in my brief notes on Camera Kalaureia, the photographs in that volume move the viewers eye and invite close inspection. They are remarkably vivid.

While I certainly don’t have the “camera skillz” necessary to take these kinds of photographs consistently and tend to resort to a kind of documentary mode of photography, I began to play with using triptychs to demonstrate ranges of behavior or exempla of a particular phenomenon. The use of three images juxtaposes similar phenomena in a more engaging way and asks the viewer to consider the 

Here are two that I’ve prepared for an article that we’re revising for a Journal of Contemporary Archaeology forum.  

Fig 4

This image shows different types of architectural elaboration at a Bakken RV park ranging from a well manicured lawn and fenced yard to the a construction of a shell surrounding a small RV. 

Fig 5

This images captures various stages of abandonment in workforce housing sites in the Bakken. I think it’s fairly self-explanatory, but the last image to the right shows stuff left behind by squatters.  


BiblePlaces Blog

Book Review: NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Joshua)

by Chris McKinny

The much-anticipated NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible was released yesterday and is now available for purchase in several different print editions ($49.99 and up) and also on Olive Tree ($19.99). The notes and essays were written by John Walton (OT) and Craig Keener (NT). While I have enjoyed using (and learning from) various sections of the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible over the last month (including at Sunday School and church), this review will cover the study Bible portion associated with the Book of Joshua.

Besides the extensive study notes that accompany each chapter, the study Bible portion for Joshua includes 6 essays (Land Grants, Divine Warfare, The Fall of Jericho, Altar on Mount Ebal, The Sun Stands Still and the Moon Stops, and The Northern Campaign), 3 maps, and 7 photos. The maps and photos are helpful in illustrating the study notes and essays. The essays are particularly interesting, as they provide a more in-depth discussion of larger ideas associated with the biblical text in connection with historical or cultural issues. Of special note, is the essay on "Land Grants," which Walton argues is the theoretical framework for the second half of Joshua that includes long lists of towns and boundary descriptions (Josh 13-21). The essay on the "Fall of Jericho" (and the accompanying notes to the various conquest narratives) provides a succinct discussion of the issues and contemporary ancient Near Eastern textual background without taking a side in the Early or Late Date Conquest/Exodus debate. The longest essay, "The Sun Stands Still and the Moon Stops," is also the most controversial, as Walton argues that Joshua 10:12-13 refers to Joshua "praying for the Amorites to see a bad omen," as opposed to the traditional viewpoint, which understands Joshua's prayer as a request for more time to destroy his enemies.  

In general, the notes prioritize reading the biblical text within its ancient Near Eastern literary context. This should come as no surprise to readers who are familiar with Walton's previous work in the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary, Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible, etc. As someone who has studied large portions of Joshua over the course of a PhD dissertation, I was struck by Walton's broad grasp of the contemporary literature, archaeological data, and historical geographical details. Walton's writing is academic, and includes discussions of many ancient Near Eastern cultures and literary works that may be unknown to readers, however, his language is accessible to the student and non-specialist.

I disagreed with a few of his interpretations in the notes (e.g., Josh 9:17 - the "third day" refers to the third day "after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites" not the third day from their journey from Gilgal [which Walton assumes is near Shechem, it is, in my opinion, more likely the Gilgal near Jericho] to Gibeon). Also, I personally would have preferred to see more discussion on the historical geography of some of the more detailed town lists (e.g., Josh 15; 18 - perhaps in the form of a chart), but I understand that this is largely an issue of space concerning which editorial choices have to be made. The more abbreviated historical geographical and archaeological discussions highlight the fact that the ancient Near Eastern cultural customs, ideas, and their parallels with the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (and presumably Keener's notes on the NT) are the distinctive quality of the study Bible. This distinction is particularly noticeable when it is compared to the NIV Archaeological Study Bible (edited by W. Kaiser and D. Garrett). The latter is primarily focused on archaeological illustrations of the biblical text, whereas the NIV Cultural Background Study Bible is primarily concerned with illustrating the biblical text by showing parallels with other contemporary ancient Near Eastern Literature.

This is important for readers to understand. Broadly defined, biblical cultural backgrounds includes the fields of archaeology, geography, language, customs, and ideology (as expressed in literature). All of these are present in the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, but ancient Near Eastern literary parallels, cultural customs, and concepts are the main focus. As far as Study Bibles go, this focus is completely unique, and, in my opinion, should make the NIV Cultural Background Study Bible a "must-have" for serious Bible students who are interested in the larger biblical world.

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James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Authentic Power and Gentleness: A Meeting With Pēteris Vasks

A piece that I wrote for the Latvian national music organization back in 2004 vanished from the internet at some point. I recently discovered that I still had the text of the piece in an e-mail, and so I thought I would share it here.   Authentic Power and Gentleness: A Meeting With Pēteris Vasks Last week I [Read More...]


(-)θηκ- and fēc-

There are places in which τίθημι (better ἔ-θηκ-α) has the sense of its Latin cognate faciō (better fēcῑ). As LSJ s.v. B puts it 'put in a certain state or condition, much the same as ποιεῖν, ποιεῖσθαι, and so often to be rendered by our make:'.

Or, as Geoff Horrocks put it in his discussion of ἤθηκη in SEG XLVI 1313, the verb can mean 'make someone happy', but it cannot mean 'make a crown out of a lump of gold' (as facio can). The latter, as he notes, seems to be required in that inscription.

The point is underlined by a 'quotation' from Isaiah 5:20 in Mark the Deacon's Life of Porphyrius, 90:
Οὐαὶ τοῖς ποιοῦσι τὸ γλυκὺ πικρὸν καὶ τὸ πικρὸν γλυκύ,
τοῖς τιθεῖσι τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος.

Ralhfs' edn. has the nominative masculine plural participle τίθεντες in both places and after οὐαί has οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, κτλ.

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: News

Mapping Antiquity

Scholar and former diplomat Brady Kiesling is on a mission to map the world of Ancient Greece

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Humans have caused climate change for 180 years

An international research project has found human activity has been causing global warming for almost two centuries, proving human-induced climate change is not just a 20th century phenomenon. Cave samples record changes in Earth’s climate [Credit: Christopher Maupin  and Meaghan Gorman]Lead researcher Associate Professor Nerilie Abram from The Australian National University (ANU) said the study found warming began during the...

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Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

Computer tools for depicting shape and detail in 3D archaeological models

On every Wednesday I post videos of a session I have filmed at a conference.

Session Abstract:

Miguel Carrero-Pazos, Alia Vázquez-Martínez, Benito Vilas-Estévez, Miguel Busto-Zapico
Archaeology has been long characterized by the interdisciplinarity and the transversality of their approaches and methodologies. In this context, we strongly believe that a proposal of a session that considers the use of the New Technologies (NNTT) on the fields that deal with computer tools for depict shape and detail in 3D archaeological models, and their application in archaeology is necessary. At the same time, we might see the impact that other sciences could have into Archaeology and how it is seen through them. In the field of archaeological research, the use of the NNTT are widely spread due to their technical profits, as quicker methodologies to obtain archaeological data or carrying out some analysis that will be impossible to conduct manually. We should not forget that the use of these techniques allow us to get greater objectification of the archaeological record. From this perspective, the possibilities of the application of the NNTT to Archaeology are almost unlimited. In this sense, since its beginning, Processual and Post-processual Archaeology has been joining the benefits of the computer science advancements. Therefore, we are able to consider a strong consolidated research field. Since the beginning of Informatics’ Era, different branches of archaeological research have been arisen. One of them has been the representation and study of archaeological elements by their virtual reconstruction (3D). From this view, different approaches have appeared, especially since the turn of the century, which put the attention on the development of visual techniques to implement archaeological 3D models. That is particularly the case regarding the Polynomial Texture Mapping technique, from RTI methodology -Reflection Transformation Imaging- (Malzbender et al., 2001). Or its counterpart, the virtual RTI, which combines reflection transformation techniques with photogrammetry and no intrusive digitalization, in order to create an advanced level of interaction with the 3D model, and to enhance the topographic surface (Earl, Beale, Martinez, Pagi, 2010). Moreover, the Morphological Residual Model (MRM), a recent technique (currently inaccessible) which also enables a better visualization of 3D model details has to be denoted (Pires et al., 2014; Correia Santos et al., 2014; Correia Santos et al., 2015; Pires et al., 2015). On the other hand, with the development of free and open access software like Meshlab, it has been multiplied the contributions to the creation of rendering plugins (or shaders), which analyse some characteristics of the 3D model to enhance them. Perhaps one of the most relevant is the Radiance Scaling (Vergne et al., 2010), an expressive rendering which enhance the 3D model concavities and convexities. The application of these techniques to the study of archaeological objects and structures is not new, but it has been steadily increasing since the last decade. Everything that has been said before show us the framework or context in which our session will take place. Our aim is to show different examples of 3D visual techniques, which have been planned or developed to use with computer tools. In this sense, we will be able to reflect about the advantages and the challenges of the interdisciplinarity and the transversality of our discipline and the use of NNTT in Archaeology. Nowadays the NNTT are a fundamental part of the development of the archaeological research. In many cases, the future of our discipline is to adapt and absorb new methods and models developed in other scientific fields. The purpose of our meeting will be to learn from those so heterogeneous experiences, and show how the use of other techniques can help Archaeology to plan and resolve different archaeological problems. Communications, posters and audio-visual material will be accepted, especially those that deal with new computer techniques, to depict shape and detail in 3D archaeological models.
[References] CORREIA SANTOS, M. J., PIRES, H., SOUSA, O., 2014, “Nuevas lecturas de las inscripciones del santuario de Panóias (Vila Real, Portugal)”, Sylloge Epigraphica
Barcinonensis (SEBarc) XII, Barcelona, pp. 197-224. CORREIA SANTOS, M. J., SOUSA, O., PIRES, H., FONTE, J., GONÇALVES-SECO, L., 2015, “Travelling back in Time to Recapture Old Texts. The use of Morphological Residual Model (M.R.M.) for epigraphic reading: four case studies (CIL 02, 02395a, CIL 02, 02395c, CIL 02, 02476, CIL 02, 05607)”, In Acts of Information Technologies for Epigraphy and Cultural Heritage. Proceedings of the first EAGLE International Conference, Europeana Eagle project. Studi umanistici- Antichistica, Sapienza Universitá Editrice, pp. 437-450. EARL, G., BEALE, G., MARTINEZ, K., PAGI, H., 2010, “Polynomial Texture Mapping and Related Imaging Technologies for the Recording, Analysis and Presentation of Archaeological Materials”. In International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, vol. XXXVIII, Part 5, pp. 218-223. MALZBENDER, T., WILBURN, B., GELB, D., AMBRISCO, B., 2006, “Surface enhancement using real-time photogrammetric stereo and reflectance transformation”. In Eurographics Symposium on Rendering, pp. 245-250. PIRES, H., FONTE, J., GONÇALVES-SECO, L., CORREIA SANTOS, M. J., SOUSA, O., 2014, Morphological Residual Model. A Tool for Enhancing Epigraphic Readings of Highly Erosioned Surfaces, EAGLE- Information Technologies for Epigraphy and Cultural Heritage in the Ancient World. Paris, pp. 133-144. PIRES, H., MARTÍNEZ RUBIO, J., ELORZA ARANA, A., 2015, “Techniques for revealing 3D hidden archaeological features: morphological residual models as a virtual-polynomial texture maps”, The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, volumen XL-5/W4, 2015 3D Virtual Reconstruction and Visualization of Complex Arquitectures, 25-27 February 2015, Avila, Spain, pp. 415-421. VERGNE, R., VANDERHAEGUE, D., CHEN, J., BARLA, P., GRANIER, X., SCHILICK, C., 2011, “Implicit brushes for stylized line-based rendering”, Computer Graphics Forum, 30 (2), pp. 513-522.

S06-01 Automated heritage monitoring software prototype implementing 3D technologies

Rimvydas Laužikas, Albinas Kuncevičius, Tadas Žižiūnas, Egidijus Žilinskas
Preservation of urban heritage is one of the main challenges for contemporary society. It’s closely connected with several dimensions: Global-local rhetoric, cultural tourism, armed conflicts, immigration, cultural changes, investment flows, new transport infrastructures and etc. Nowadays very often organizations responsible for heritage management constantly have to deal with lack of resources, which are crucial for proper heritage preservation, maintaining and protection. Particularly it is problematic for countries with low GDP or unstable political situation. The possible solution of these problems could be automated heritage monitoring software system, based on the 3D technologies. The system prototype was developed and tested by Vilnius University and Terra Modus Ltd. in frame of project “Creation of automated urban heritage monitoring software prototype”. Project financed by Lithuanian Council for Culture. At this paper will present the main results of the project. 3D scanning technology is the most accurate method to capture the situation of an evolving cultural heritage object or complex at a given time. As a cultural heritage object or complex is evolving continuously, two 3D point clouds created at different time allow to reliably trace potential changes. Monitoring of large scale heritage complexes such as urban heritage objects is a resource demanding task and in such cases automatic computer-based 3D visual analysis is appropriate. Comparison of 3D visual data captured in different time advances to next level when utilizing methods of 3D photogrammetry which make it possible (at least partially) to create 3D point clouds from old photos, giving us opportunities to expand research by adding empirical data captured before 3D scanning equipment and also lowering costs to conduct such research.

S06-02 A machine learning approach for 3D shape analysis and recognition of archaeological objects
Diego Jiménez-Badillo, Mario Canul Ku, Salvador Ruíz-Correa, Rogelio Hasimoto-Beltrán
Museum professionals all over the world have always shown great interest in acquiring automatic methods to register and analyse the shape of cultural heritage artefacts. Thanks to recent advances in 3D scanning and photogrammetry techniques, it is now possible to model the surface of objects with very little effort and in a relatively short time. The continuous adoption of these techniques in cultural institutions has generated thousands if not millions of 3D digital models. Unfortunately, after these resources are produced, very little effort is spent in making them accessible to researchers or the general public. Part of the problem is a lack of efficient computer mechanisms to search, retrieve and classify 3D data. The conventional way to search and retrieve 3D models consists in composing a query based on text descriptions. However, textual annotations are necessarily constrained by the database application domain, ontology, etc., as well as by language and other factors. Consequently they are inadequate for shape oriented searches. This paper presents results of an on-going project focused on developing a computer platform to automatize the search, retrieval, recognition and analysis of 3D object models. The platform processes queries based on geometric properties instead of text. Simply stated, the computer program takes a 3D surface mesh as input (i.e. the query model). Then, a search engine compares it to hundreds or even thousands of 3D scanned objects stored in a repository identifying those that approximate the shape of the query model. Next, the matching models are retrieved, ranked by degree of similarity and displayed to the final user. Afterwards, additional tools can be deployed to perform some kind of analysis on the objects retrieved. A platform like this is much more powerful than a text search engine because it avoids mismatching situations, such as when a person queries the database looking up for “bowls” and retrieves nothing just because the bowls are labelled as “cuencos” (a Spanish term) or “cajetes” (i.e. a term common in Mesoamerican archaeology to described the same type of vessels). Moreover, the platform is able to exploit mathematical analysis algorithms for automatic classification of shapes. During the presentation, we discuss the specific requirements that a shape recognition platform must satisfy to be useful in museums and cultural heritage research. In archaeological projects, for example, we encounter objects that are not necessarily identical in terms of geometry and yet they are considered to belong to the same class. We also intent to show the first part of this platform, namely the search engine for matching and retrieval of 3D Objects.

S06-04 Application of Computer Vision algorithms for automatic classification of archaeological artefacts
Edgar Francisco Román-Rangel, Diego Jiménez-Badillo
The application of computer vision technologies for the analysis of cultural heritage artefacts has witnessed a rapid growth during the last decade. This is especially true with regard to the creation and use of digital 3D models, which enable capabilities that would not be available using the original artefacts, such as automatic and semi-automatic content analysis, virtual reconstructions, more efficient archiving, sharing documentation online, training of novel scholars, etc. An area of especial interest is the statistical analysis of shape features observed on 3D models of artefacts, especially ceramic vessels and pottery sherds, with the purpose of categorizing and classifying objects in an automatic way. In this paper we present new results of an on-going project focused on applying computer vision techniques for automatic classification of archaeological artefacts. We discuss some useful approaches that involve the extraction of shape descriptors (SIFT, Spin Images, etc.) within a Bag of Visual Words model and propose a novel technique for local description of 3D surfaces called Histogram of Spherical Orientations (HoSO). The HoSO local descriptor consists of the quantization of the local orientations of a point with respect to its nearest neighbours. Such local orientations are computed both in the azimuth and the zenith axes. The frequencies of the local orientations are stored in a histogram, which can then be used for comparison and matching purposes

S06-05 A comparison of methods for creating 3D models of obsidian artifacts
Samantha Thi Porter, Kele Missal
Within the discipline of lithic analysis, digital 3D artifact models are useful both as a means of augmenting traditional two-dimensional representations, and as a form of raw data for morphometric and technological analysis. Unfortunately, some raw materials are inherently more difficult to capture than others. Obsidian, specifically, is highly reflective, tends to have a visually homogenous surface, and is oftentimes transparent. All of these factors restrict a researcher’s ability to capture images of obsidian objects that are of high enough quality for the construction of an accurate 3D model. In some parts of the world the vast majority of lithic artifacts are made of obsidian. Therefore, finding a way to systematically model obsidian artifacts with a high degree of precision would be extremely useful.
We compare the effectiveness of two different methods of capturing object morphology, (structured- light scanning using a DAVID SLS-2 system and close-range photogrammetry using the software Agisoft PhotoScan) in conjunction with several commonly used substances used to coat lithic artifacts for scanning, (brushed-on talc powder, talc-based developer spray, and chalk spray) on a sample of experimentally produced obsidian pieces of different shapes and sizes. Coatings are evaluated on their ease of use, the quality of scans that result from their use, and their impact on artifacts (e.g. difficulty of removal, and effects on artifact labels). The quality of the 3D models are evaluated on the accuracy of gross artifact morphology as well as success in capturing fine features commonly used in lithic analysis such as retouch, platform preparation removals, ripples, and lancets. We also discuss alternative methods of documenting obsidian artifacts that do not necessitate coating, such as Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI).
S06-06 Les gestes retrouves: A 3D visualisation approach to the functional study of Early Upper Palaeolithic grinding stones

Sorin Hermon, Laura Longo, Dante Abate, Giusi Sorrentino, Natalia Skakun
The paper will present an innovative approach to the identification and characterization of use-wear traces on Aurignacian grinding stones used to processed plant in order to get staple food. Such a study is essential in reconstructing ancient dietary habits of humans at a crucial stage of human colonization in Eurasia. The current study focuses on the potential contribution of 3D investigation, at various levels of detail and resolution, to the identification of such traces and residues. The working methodology is still under revision, but it includes the following steps, firstly applied on a grinding stone from the Upper Palaeolithic site of Surein, Crimean Peninsula:
1. An overall documentation of the grinding stone: 3D geometry and rectified macro-photography. 2. Rugosity analysis of the stone’s surface, in order to identify anomalies relatable to human intentional intervention (grinding). This analysis is performed using two approaches: cloud compare and Meshlab filter functions of colorizing curvatures (several tests are currently performed, using different curvature types). 3. 3D documentation of molds taken in selected areas on the active surface of the grinding stone. These were 3D scanned using a shuttered light scanner and photogrammetry. Values had to be inversed along the Z axis, in order to correctly represent the surface micro-topography. 4. Rectified digital images taken with a digital microscope at various magnifications, at logarithmic steps from x25 to x2500. These were assembled together in a CAD system, each magnification being considered one layer, in order to create a mosaicking of the surface. 5. Measurements of the area of trace marks and characterization of their shape. Clustering of these marks along the working surface of the stone and associated starches.
Overall, more than 40 trace marks were observed and characterized. The rugosity analysis of the working surface of the grinding stone correctly identified areas that have been modified by intentional human intervention. The presence of wear-traces and adhering starches, identified under microscope, along with morphological characteristic of use marks, are among the earliest evidences for plant processing at the dawn of modern humans in Eurasia. Currently, other 10 stones related to plant grinding (both grinding stones and pestles) are under analysis, with very promising preliminary results. The integration of 3D documentation, macro-photography and digital microscopy provided an ideal set of 3D and 2D data that has been successfully used for the functional analysis of Aurigancian grinding stones.

S06-10 From survey to 3D modeling to 3D printing: Bramante’s Nymphaeum Colonna at Genazzano

Tommaso Empler, Adriana Caldarone
Today it’s more and more widespread the use of new computer techniques applied to the field of archeology. Techniques are often heterogeneous, but organized in a right pipeline allow a good understanding of the archaeological heritage. In the study of the “Nymphaeum Colonna of Genazzano”, attributed to Bramante, the integrated approach of systems such as photogrammetry, 3D modeling, virtual tour and 3D printing, allows to generate a scale model, with low margins of error, of the shape of the Nymphaeum at the beginning of the sixteenth century (researches until now were very limited). Initial activities are concentrated in the acquisition of data using a total station or TST (total station theodolite) and photographs, taken as multiple frames, recognizable in the coordinate system result from the survey with TST. A special software allows the georeferencing of the raster files with the captured data, allowing the generation of bitmap textures, used in the next step of 3D modeling and rendering. At this stage of 3D visualization it’s possible to spot the differences between the Nymphaeum in the project of Bramante and the current status. The following step goes from the virtual 3D model to prototyping, through the realization of a real object by a 3D printing. The object, printed in two PLA parts, is then cleaned by the support materials and joined together. The methodology described revolutionizes and increases the “empathetic size” with the archaeological site, with its use, giving the opportunity to be better perceived either in its current state either in the historical reconstruction at the time of Bramante.
S06-11 3D Reconstruction of Koch, Russian rowing/sailing boat of the 17th century
Mikhail V. Vavulin, Olga V. Zaytceva, Andrei A. Pushkarev
Koch is a Russian rowing/sailing boat adapted for the heavy Arctic conditions. A virtual 3D reconstruction of a 17th-century koch commenced in 2014. Precise engineering drawings were unknown to Russian boat makers of the 17th century, while the few pictures of koch and inconsistent written sources do not allow for an authentic reconstruction of all details and specific features of the vessel. The original boat parts discovered during archaeological studies in Mangazeya, the first transpolar Russian town in Siberia, served the unique resource for the reconstruction. The area had no forests to provide wood for construction, so houses were built from dismantled boats. Structures built entirely from framings were surveyed in Mangazeya. Boat parts are perfectly preserved in the cultural layer of permafrost. For the purposes of reconstruction, we used the two best preserved koch framings dating back to the 17th century. We needed to perform 3D scanning of 293 boat parts. Those parts represented individual pieces of various forms and sizes (from 0.3 m to 5.6 m). This diversity was the key factor when choosing the equipment and elaborating scanning methods. We used scanners GoScan 3D and GoScan 50 by Creaform with the optimal resolution of 1 mm. Textures were identified using photo camera Nikon D700 and the SfM (structure from motion) 3D model technique. Agisoft Photoscan Pro software was used to create low-poly models with applied textures. We used Geomagic Wrap software to perform the final processing of the scanned model and to copy the textures from low to high poly. 3D Studio max software was used to reproduce the original look of the parts by removing traces of secondary use and natural wood deformation. The same software was used for virtual assembly of the parts and 3D reconstruction of the whole boat.

Jim Davila (

A brief history of ancient Israel

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The Apocalypse of Zephaniah

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Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2016.08.28: The Religious Worlds of the Laity in Late Antique Gaul. Bloomsbury classical studies monographs

Review of Lisa Kaaren Bailey, The Religious Worlds of the Laity in Late Antique Gaul. Bloomsbury classical studies monographs. London; New York: 2016. Pp. viii, 247. $120.00. ISBN 9781472519030.

2016.08.27: Arabs and Empire before Islam

Review of Greg Fisher, Arabs and Empire before Islam. Oxford; New York: 2015. Pp. xxvii, 580. $225.00. ISBN 9780199654529.

Jim Davila (

Your favorite inscription?

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Hurtado on early Jewish opposition to Jesus-devotion

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Bitner, Paul's Political Strategy in 1 Corinthians 1-4

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Adrian Murdoch (Bread and Circuses)

Annex discoveries at Camelon

A new report on the annex at the Roman fort at Camelon on the Antonine Wall from GUARD has turned up numerous discoveries, including a headline-grabbing oven: Archaeologists say Roman socketed bolt-heads, an ox-goad, hobnails and a possible oven, discovered...

Compitum - publications

P. A. Johnston, A. Mastrocinque et S. Papaioannou (éd. ...


Patricia A. Johnston, Attilio Mastrocinque et Sophia Papaioannou (éd.), Animals in Greek and Roman Religion and Myth, Cambridge, 2016.

Éditeur : Cambridge Scholars Publishing
545 pages
ISBN : 978-1-4438-9487-6

This volume brings together a variety of approaches to the different ways in which the role of animals was understood in ancient Greco-Roman myth and religion, across a period of several centuries, from Preclassical Greece to Late Antique Rome. Animals in Greco-Roman antiquity were thought to be intermediaries between men and gods, and they played a pivotal role in sacrificial rituals and divination, the foundations of pagan religion. The studies in the first part of the volume examine the role of the animals in sacrifice and divination. The second part explores the similarities between animals, on the one hand, and men and gods, on the other. Indeed, in antiquity, the behaviour of several animals was perceived to mirror human behaviour, while the selection of the various animals as sacrificial victims to specific deities often was determined on account of some peculiar habit that echoed a special attribute of the particular deity. The last part of this volume is devoted to the study of animal metamorphosis, and to this end a number of myths that associate various animals with transformation are examined from a variety of perspectives.

Lire la suite...

August 23, 2016

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: International Journal of Archaeology

International Journal of Archaeology
ISSN: 2330-7587 (Print)
ISSN: 2330-7595 (Online) 
International Journal of Archaeology (IJA) is established specifically to deal with archaeology on a world-wide multiperiod basis. It provides a international forum for innovative, descriptive and theoretical archaeological research, paying particular attention to the role and development of human intellectual abilities and symbolic beliefs and practices,with contributions from an international cast of academics and field workers.

Open Access Journal: The Bible and Critical Theory

 [First posted in AWOL 28 April 2011, updated 23 August 2016]

The Bible and Critical Theory
ISSN : 1832-3391
The Bible and Critical Theory is an exploratory and innovative online scholarly journal for biblical studies, published by the Bible and Critical Theory Seminar. The journal explores the intersections between critical theory, understood in the broad sense, and biblical studies. It publishes peer-reviewed articles that investigate the contributions from critical theory to biblical studies, and contributions from biblical studies to critical theory. The journal has an active series of book reviews, which are published as they are ready.

BCT content is available freely on an open access basis. It is also aggregated by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and is indexed by the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) Religion Database and Scopus.



Vol 1, No 1 (2004)

AIA Fieldnotes


Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA)
October 31, 2016

One or Two Positions for 2017-2018
Deadline: October 31

Term: Early September to June 1.

Eligibility: A senior scholar with a significant record of publication and teaching in a North American institution who is a faculty or staff member at a Cooperating Institution. Preference will be given to those who have not received recent support from the School. Candidates who have held the Whitehead Professorship may apply if the previous term was at least five years prior.

Contact Name: 
Committee on Personnel

ArcheoNet BE

Harken in Roeselaarse bodem

Vanaf deze week toont een mini-expo in Roeselare een aantal topvondsten van het archeologisch onderzoek op de Gallo-Romeinse site aan de Roeselaarse Haven. Blikvangers zijn een bijna 2000 jaar oude hark, Romeins luxe-aardewerk en talrijke andere goed bewaarde gebruiksvoorwerpen die ons een blik gunnen op het leven van onze Gallo-Romeinse voorouders. Er wordt echter ook aandacht besteed aan de prehistorische en middeleeuwse resten die werden aangetroffen.

In de jaren ’80-’90 van de vorige eeuw werd de Roeselaarse haven uitgebreid in oostelijke richting. Men legde onde rmeer de Zwaaikom en het achterliggende industrieterrein langs de Kachtemsestraat en Zwaaikomstraat aan. Vrijwilligers van V.O.B.o.W. en de Werkgroep Archeologie Roeselare verrichtten er onder leiding van Jozef Goderis en Johan Termote het nodige archeologisch onderzoek om zo een stukje Roeselaarse geschiedenis veilig stellen. Naast een dakpannenoven legden de archeologen ook meerdere waterputten bloot met daarin heel wat fraaie en goed bewaarde voorwerpen zoals een uitzonderlijke hark en twee bronzen ketels.

Recent onderzoek van doctoraatstudent Tim Clerbaut (UGent) bracht de collectie weer onder de aandacht. Het onderzoek leverde ook een rijk geïllustreerd boek op. Hierin komen zowel de resultaten van het oude als het recente onderzoek van deze archeologische site aan bod. In de publicatie wordt onder meer veel aandacht besteed aan de unieke Gallo-Romeinse dakpannenoven.

Praktisch: ‘Harken in Roeselaarse bodem’ loopt tot 22 december bij de intergemeentelijke onroerenderfgoeddienst RADAR (Zuidstraat 3, Roeselare). De mini-expo is gratis te bezichtigen tijdens de kantooruren. De publicatie kost 15 euro en is verkrijgbaar op de tentoonstelling, via of

AIA Fieldnotes

Wickliffe Mounds Commemoration Day

Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
Sponsored by Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site
Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Saturday, October 15, 2016 -
9:00am to 4:00pm

The Wickliffe Mounds archaeological site and museum was established on October  2, 1932, by Fain W.


Carla Hildebrand
Call for Papers: 

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

ACCG Exposed

Collectors, do you really want to have the 'freedom of access' on your market to dirty coins of types at risk of looting? New litigation sponsored by a deceptively-named coin dealer's organization aims to erode customs regulations on import of such objects. Dr. Peter Tompa, "a very highly qualified and distinguished attorney", claimed to be "one of the world's leading legal experts on cultural property law" is behind this. Meanwhile a cultural heritage lawyer who seems to me to know his stuff gives us a breakdown of the sad sorry saga of the way in which these dealers try to capitalise on their Baltimore Illegal Coin Import Stunt which they co-organized with London dealer Spink's ('One Side of the Coin: ACCG Re-Argues Previously Decided Legal Issues in Baltimore Test Case', Cultural Heritage Lawyer Monday, August 22, 2016) .
Soon afterward, the ACCG filed its motion for summary judgment and, on July 29, the court adopted a schedule that allows the parties to fully brief their positions. Once completed in mid-October, CHL expects to review the parties’arguments.
I look forward to seeing that. Meanwhile Mr Tompa is plaintively tweeting to all and sundry on Twitter trying to attract their attention: 
2 godz.2 godziny temu
Rick St. Hilaire on the coin collectors' Quixotic effort to gut regulation on potentially looted ancient coins
54 min.54 minuty temu
To be fair, should link to the Guild's MSJ. Instead of spin, let the reader assess the merit.
and how 'fair' do ACCG dealers think they are being to the citizens (and collectors) of countries from which they want to continue to buy the material willy-nilly without bothering about the paperwork? Actually, if you read Rick St. Hilaire's careful analysis of the junk litigation of the ACCG, 'spin' is one of the last words that should come to mind to describe it. Once again we see that when collectors are called upon to give a substantive answer to serious critique, all they can muster is insults.

ArcheoNet BE

Wetenschapstalent 2016: archeoloog Pieterjan Deckers genomineerd

deckers_newscientistArcheoloog Pieterjan Deckers (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) is genomineerd voor ‘Wetenschapstalent 2016’. Met deze jaarlijkse prijs wil het tijdschrift ‘New Scientist’ het werk van jonge onderzoekers meer in de kijker zetten. Ook het grote publiek kan stemmen op zijn favoriete wetenschapper.

Deckers bekijkt vroegmiddeleeuwse samenlevingen op een geheel nieuwe manier, stelt de jury. Hij richt zich op de bewoners van de Noordzeekust in de 6de tot 11de eeuw. De identiteit en cultuur van deze groepen wordt vaak rechtstreeks verbonden met het volk waartoe ze behoren – mensen uit Friesland hebben een Friese identiteit, Vikingen een Vikingidentiteit. Volgens Deckers is het echter vaak niet het volk, maar het landschap dat de identiteit van een samenleving bepaalt.

Op basis van kleding, huizen en aardewerk vond Deckers aanwijzingen voor het bestaan van een ‘Noordzeecultuur’: een netwerk rond de Noordzee van samenlevingen die culturele gebruiken voortdurend van elkaar overnamen. Deckers betrekt ook het publiek zo veel mogelijk bij zijn onderzoek, en maakt vaak gebruik van vondsten die gedaan werden door metaaldetectoristen.

Bekijk de andere genomineerden en breng je stem uit op

Sarah E. Bond

To BCE Or Not to BCE: That Is a Very Common Question

A short post in order to discuss a topic that comes up a lot when I blog and when I tweet: Why do I use BCE and CE (Before the Common Era and Common Era) instead of BC (Before Christ) and AD (anno domini–“in the year of [our] lord”)?

History of the Debate:  The use of BC and AD only dates back to the 16th century, when Pope Gregory XIII decided to begin to date the years before Christ’s understood birth as BC and after it with AD. So, the great PG-13 (as I lovingly refer to him) reformed the calendar, which is why many of us in the West use his solar-based Gregorian Calendar and dating system. Alternatively, the Islamic or Hijri calendar commemorates the movement of Muhammed from Mecca to Medina. It is a lunar calendar set by the moon that begins on January 16, 622 CE. The ending is often abbreviated to H or AH for ‘anno Hegirae‘ (“in the year of the Hijri”). Moreover, Romans dated years according to the founding date of the city (ab urbe condita) in 753 BCE. As Christians, Muslims, early Romans, and many other civilizations indicate: time (or at least the organization of it) is a construct.

Many academics (and, increasingly, non-academics too) have begun to adopt BCE and CE rather than BC and AD, because it has a more secularized feel to it. However, because the two are essentially identical in terms of the dates they reference, there is a Christian connection inherent in both. Style books are similarly torn. The Chicago Manual of Style doesn’t care what you do, as long as you are consistent, whereas the MLA likes BC and AD.

Addressing the Question: In order to try and remedy some of these misconceptions, I made this flowchart. Feel free to share (with attribution) on digital devices, print onto small business cards for use at conferences, disseminate at Thanksgiving, or ignore as you see fit. The choice is yours, and, well, that is really the whole point of this post.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 2.02.21 PM.png

Some of the B/CE inquiries I get on the blog or on social media are innocuous: People just genuinely want to know the correct way to denote a historical date. However, others ask the question because they believe my choice indicates something about me or about my religious affiliation. If I use CE, it must mean I am not Christian, right? Wrong. The answer is that I simply prefer to use CE and BCE, but if you want to use BC and AD, AUC, AH, or even a Star Trek stardate: That is totally okay with me. Just be consistent! <proverbial mic drop>

Archaeological News on Tumblr

World's oldest needle found in Siberian cave that stitches together human history

The 7 centimetre (2 ¾ inch) needle was made and used by our long extinct Denisovan ancestors,...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: digitAR - Revista Digital de Arqueologia, Arquitectura e Artes

digitAR - Revista Digital de Arqueologia, Arquitectura e Artes
ISSN: 2182-844X
A digitAR - Revista Digital de Arqueologia, Arquitectura e Artes é uma revista de carácter científico que pretende cobrir um leque abrangente de temáticas relacionadas com o património cultural, disponibilizando os seus conteúdos on-line de forma gratuita. A sua edição está a cargo do Centro de Estudos Arqueológicos das Universidades de Coimbra e Porto (CEAUCP).


n. 2 (2015): O Corpo Através da Imagem

"O Corpo Através da Imagem"


n. 1 (2013): Actas do 6º ATP | 9º SIACOT

See AWOL's List of

Archaeology Magazine

EL SOTO, BOLIVIA—Human remains dated to 1,100 years ago have been unearthed at a Tupi-Guarani culture archaeological site in eastern Bolivia, according to a report in Telesur, based upon reporting from the local newspaper, El Deber. The skeleton is thought to have belonged to a young woman who had been buried lying curled on her side. Archaeologist Danilo Drakic explained that the site, discovered by schoolchildren who were planting a garden, was a trade center for people living as far away as the regions that are now Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Pottery, shells, and lapis stones imported from Chile have also been recovered. For more on archaeology in South America, go to "An Overlooked Inca Wonder."

Roman bolt goadFALKIRK, SCOTLAND—Culture 24 reports that excavations at a settlement located outside the walls of Camelon Roman Fort in central Scotland have uncovered Roman socketed bolt heads, a spiraled ox-goad, 12 hobnails, traces of cereal grains, and the possible remains of a bread oven. Many of the artifacts, and industrial waste products from iron smelting, were retrieved from pits dated to between 41 B.C. and A.D. 116. Experts from Guard Archaeology say the bolt heads are blunted, suggesting that they may have been used by the soldiers stationed at the fort for target practice. The ox-goad, when placed on a wooden shaft, may have been used to control oxen pulling a plow. Some of the recovered nails bear traces of mineralized leather, but none of them were found corroded together, so they were probably not all from the same sandal or boot. The excavation also yielded pottery dated from the mid-first century to the third century that had been imported from Northern Gaul. To read about a silver hoard discovered in Scotland, go to "Lost and Found (Again)."

LOWER SAXONY, GERMANY—Deutsche Welle reports that a construction project in the city of Osnabrück has unearthed copper artifacts, including three pieces of jewelry and an ax. The objects are thought to date to the end of the Neolithic period, between 4,500 and 4,000 years ago. Conservators will clean and restore the items, and researchers will try to determine if they could be some of the oldest metal artifacts in Europe. For more, go to "The Neolithic Toolkit."

Denisova Cave needle2NOVOSIBIRSK, RUSSIA—A needle measuring two and three-quarters of an inch long has been unearthed in Denisova Cave, in a layer where Denisovan remains have been found. According to a report in The Siberian Times, the 50,000-year-old needle, complete with an eye for thread, was crafted from a large bird bone. “As of today it is the most ancient needle in the world,” said Mikhail Shunkov of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk. Additional, smaller needles have been found in younger layers of the cave. A Denisovan finger bone was first discovered in the cave, which is located in the Altai Mountains, in 2008. The cave is thought to have been occupied by Denisovans, Neanderthals, and modern humans at one time or another over a period of more than 250,000 years. For more on the Denisovans, go to "Our Tangled Ancestry."

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archeologists in Bolivia Unearth 1,100-Year-Old Bones

Archaeologists have unearthed 1,100-year-old human remains of a woman in Bolivia, close to the...

The Archaeology News Network

Archaeologists in Bolivia unearth 1,100 year old bones

Archaeologists have unearthed 1,100-year-old human remains of a woman in Bolivia, close to the present-day borders with neighboring countries Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, indicating the area was a meeting spot for Indigenous traders. Archaeologists in Bolivia's department of Santa Cruz government present artifacts found  near El Soto, June 28, 2016 [Credit: Gobierno de Santa Cruz]The millennium-old bones of a presumably...

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Ancient Peoples

Two Tree Nymphs Back-to-BackSandstone, 62 cm high (24 in)Sanchi,...

Two Tree Nymphs Back-to-Back

Sandstone, 62 cm high (24 in)

Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India,  50 B.C.-A.D. 25

… The women in their voluptuousness exemplify the traditional Indian ideal of feminine beauty, which is closely linked with natural abundance. Each holds the branch of a fruit-bearing or flowering tree, suggesting a type of tree nymph of Indian poetry–a beautiful woman who can make trees or flowers bloom by a mere touch of her hand or foot. The addorsed dryads originally served as a bracket between two gateway lintels of the Great Stupa at Sanchi, and thus would have been seen by worshippers on both sides of the gateway. Built in the 2nd century B.C. on the site of an even earlier stupa, Sanchi is one of the most important early Buddhist sites in India. Its four gateways - added in the early first century A.D, and 30 feet in height - still stand today. […]  The inclusion of the beautiful tree nymphs and other nature spirits in Buddhist art represents the assimilation of popular village and folk divinities into the higher religion in order to broaden its appeal and attract converts.

Source: LACMA

The Archaeology News Network

Ancient Egyptian woman Meritamun 'brought to life' 2000 years later

Reconstructed from a mummified head dating back at least two millennia, the fine-featured ancient Egyptian face looks out from an artist’s studio in the forested hills of rural Victoria, Australia. Meritamun has been brought back to life using CT scanning, 3D printing, forensic science and art  [Credit: Paul Burston]Ancient Egypt has fascinated everyone from conquerors like Alexander the Great and Napoleon to movie directors...

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Archaeological News on Tumblr

Power Station Worker's Private Collection Yields Bronze Age Treasures

A man who spent many years collecting metal artifacts from the ocean near the power plant where he...

AIA Fieldnotes

Abydos, Egypt: Landscape of Kings, Landscape of Myth

Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Monday, November 14, 2016 - 4:30pm


AIA Society: 
Nathan Arrington
Call for Papers: 

Archaeological Expedition to Sinop, Turkey: Exploring the Origins of Trade at the Nexus of Eurasia

Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Monday, October 17, 2016 - 4:30pm


AIA Society: 
Nathan Arrington
Call for Papers: 

Ettinghausen Memorial Lecture

Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 4:30pm

Presented by Stefan Heidemann


AIA Society: 
Nathan Arrington
Call for Papers: 

The Archaeology News Network

New tiny species of extinct Australian marsupial lion discovered

The fossil remains of a new tiny species of marsupial lion which prowled the lush rainforests of northern Australia about 18 million years ago have been unearthed in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area of remote north-western Queensland. Reconstruction by palaeoartist Peter Schouten of Microleo attenboroughi prowling along the branches  of rainforest trees in search of prey [Credit: Peter Schouten]The UNSW discovery team has...

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AIA Fieldnotes

Mesa of Sorrows: Archaeology, History, and the Ghosts of Awat’ovi Pueblo

Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
Sponsored by Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology
Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 7:30pm


Dr. James F Brooks
Professor of History & Anthropology, UCSB

AIA Society: 


Mary R. Bachvarova
Call for Papers: 

Death, Burial, and the Egyptian Past at Graeco-Roman Abydos

Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
Sponsored by Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology
Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 7:30pm

by Thomas Landvatter, Reed College

AIA Society: 


Mary R. Bachvarova
Call for Papers: 

Why Aren't the Great Women Artists of Greece and Rome Better Known?

Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
Sponsored by Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology, Willamette University
Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - 7:30pm

by Kristen Seaman, University of Oregon

at Paulus Lecture Hall, Willamette University Law School

AIA Society: 


Mary R. Bachvarova
Call for Papers: 

John Jarvie Festival

Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
Sponsored by Bureau of Land Management - Vernal Field Office
Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Saturday, October 8, 2016

The John Jarvie Fest celebrates the prehistory and history of Brown's Park and the Green River. The event includes tours of the historic ranch, food and entertainment including: old time photos, Fremont clay figure making, leather work, rope making, horse rides, bird seed feeders, candle making, wildlife demonstrations and a possible visit from John Jarvie himself. Come and enjoy a day out at a beautiful location. There are several camping and fishing opportunities nearby.


David Christensen
Call for Papers: 

The Archaeology News Network

Archaeologists find medieval baby alarm in Crimea

Russian archaeologists have discovered a medieval baby alarm while excavating an ancient cemetery in Crimea. Among the finds retrieved from the cemetery was a child's bracelet with a small bell  [Credit: Press TV]The find was kept in a child's grave next to its owner's remains. Excavators say the bracelet with a small bell rang and alarmed the parents where their child was. The cemetery was discovered in 1930 when the first...

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AIA Fieldnotes

The Opulent Mural Decoration from the Phoenician Villa at Tel Anafa (Israel): Final Report

Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
Sponsored by AIA mid-Missouri Society
Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 5:30pm

Speaker: Benton Kidd, Curator of Ancient Art, MU Museum of Art and Archaeology

Abstract: The Tel Anafa excavations in the Upper Galilee revealed a Phoenician merchant villa dating to ca. 100 BCE. This lecture will showcase the fanciest room of the house, which was covered with painted and gilded wall decoration of the most elaborate variety.


AIA Society: 


Carrie Duncan
Call for Papers: 

The Archaeology News Network

The demise of the Maya civilization: Water shortage can destroy cultures

Something really drastic must have happened to end the Classic Maya Period in the 9th Century. Within a short period of time, this advanced civilisation in Central America went from flourishing to collapsing -- the population dwindling rapidly and monumental stone structures, like the ones built at Yucatan, were no longer being constructed. No more temples were built after the classic Maya period  [Credit: Vienna University of...

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Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Ephemeris: The Classical Journal of Denison University
Ephemeris, the Classical Journal of Denison University, is published once a year and seeks to offer an opportunity for those interested in classical studies to publish their work in an undergraduate forum. It promotes the coming together of history, literature, philosophy, religion, art, architecture and creative works inspired by the classics.

Ephemeris was originally published between 2002-2004 and has now been revived in a fully on-line format. We accept submission from any undergraduate institution and look forward to a future of engaging with both traditional scholarly submissions and those made using the increasingly creative technologies provided by the on-line environment.
Ephemeris NS Vol. II. 2012
Ephemeris Vol. IV Fall 2003
Ephemeris Vol. II Fall 2002
Ephemeris Vol. I Spring 2002
Ephemeris Vol. III Spring 2003

Open Access Journal: Studies in Mycenaean Inscriptions and Dialect

Studies in Mycenaean Inscriptions and Dialect
Studies in Mycenaean Inscriptions and Dialects (SMID) contains glossaries of individual Mycenaean terms, tablet and series citations, and subject indices all linked to bibliographical references. As a reference tool, SMID is both complex and comprehensive, with indices of linguistic, archaeological, historical, religious, and cultural topics, as well as individual words and phrases in the tablets.


James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

From Ben Hur to Star Wars

It should come as no surprise to anyone to learn that the chariot race from the original Ben Hur movie inspired the pod race scene in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. IO9 shared this video that intersperses the two for comparison: Is it just the chariot race, or is there more connection between [Read More...]

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

George Starcher and The Future of the University

It’s the first day of classes here at University of North Dakota and the first semester for our new President Hon. Mark Kennedy. It could be an exciting new era here or it might not matter at all. The important thing is the we should all believe that it matters and look ahead to a new day here at UND. To celebrate this, I’m reposting a post for the North Dakota Quarterly page, which is, in turn, a repost of an article published in the 1956 volume of NDQ

62 years ago, the University of North Dakota welcomed George F. Starcher and two years later, North Dakota Quarterly awoke from its 23-year, depression-induced slumber. In the first volume of its return, NDQ featured an article by then President George F. Starcher titled the “Future of the University.” Starcher probably did more for UND as an institution than any president since Webster Merrifield, and while overshadowed by his popular successor, Tom Clifford, Starcher remade the university as a modern institution adaptable to the new responsibility and expectations of higher education in the post-war world. Whatever one thinks of the modern university, at the University of North Dakota, George Starcher set campus on that course. North Dakota Quarterly was part of that vision. For a retrospective on Starcher’s important term as president, check out the 1971 volume of NDQ where Elwyn Robinson tells the story of Starcher’s term in office. We wish UND’s new president Hon. Mark Kennedy the successes of George Starcher as he pilots UND into the heart of the 21st century. 

Spring  71 Cropped

George W. Starcher

It is never easy to look ahead and predict things to come. Yet it is essential that all of us at the University be continuously engaged in planning for the future. An educational institution, by its very nature, cannot stand still. Knowledge is ever growing, and ways of thinking change, too. Since we cannot know what new ideas the future may bring, we do not expect.a perfect blueprint for the University, accurate in every detail. But we can look ahead and see what the pattern will be like. If we are to meet the challenge that lies ahead, every step taken now must fit the larger pattern. Too often large complex institutions build only to meet a clearly evident present need.

We must always keep in mind our past history and the place of the University in the entire system of higher education in the state. The University was established by the territorial legislature in 1883 as the first institution of higher education in North Dakota. With the coming of statehood people felt the need for colleges distributed over the state providing specialized training. The Agricultural College, the School of Science, the School of Forestry and the five State Teachers Colleges all have special functions which we recognize as we plan for the future of the University. The founders of this University were interested in a “good education”, and from the beginning the people have insisted that emphasis be upon quality of education rather than upon size of enrollments or numbers of athletic contests won. The people who support a program of higher education of such variety and extent believe in the importance of all higher education to the state. The University will work with the other institutions in the state in seeking public support to strengthen and improve our total program, for what we all do is so interrelated that we can no longer afford competition for funds for one institution at the expense of another. Nowhere is it more important than in education to recognize that “the rising tide lifts all the boats,” for what helps one strengthens all. I believe the people will continue to support the Governor and the Legislature in any steps to continue the development of their University and Colleges along sound lines.

Good teachers and the excellence of their teaching are far more important than fine buildings in developing a great university. With this in mind, I believe that in the future higher salaries will enable us to meet the growing competition for distinguished professors who stand out as peaks of excellence in any university. The University will go farther toward relieving the faculty of concern for the future by securing added retirement benefits, insurance, and some form of protection against calamity.

The faculty will be spending even more time studying their courses and teaching methods. They will continue to search for better ways to do a better job and to keep· the unit costs of instruction at the lowest possible level consistent with an adequate program and effective teaching. Curricula will change – they need to if they are to be realistic and appropriate for tomorrow’s world. Better and more up-to-date equipment and teaching devices will be available. We shall probably teach fewer courses, always trying to improve the quality of our teaching rather than to multiply courses in a race to keep up with expanding knowledge. There will be more self-education by students Throughout the whole range of curricular and extra-curricular activities there will be more attention to character and responsibility as fundamental to the success, happiness, and usefulness of future University graduates.

Future Enrollments

It is always risky to venture a predic-tion of enrollments because so many factors, known and unknown, determine how young people will decide about their future. However, there are certain clear facts and signals we cannot ignore. We know that we shall have approximately 50 per cent more college- age youth in North Dakota by 1970. The increase in enrollment in all institutions of higher education in North Dakota in the fall of 1955 was nearly 20 per cent, while for the nation it was less than 9 per cent. If this means that a higher percentage of North Dakota youth of college age going to college, and/or that more of them are remaining in the state for their higher education, we can expect the trend to continue. If it does, we could have over 5,000 students at the University by 1970. This would be possible only if we have the housing and the facilities on campus to give them the education they will want and need. We are still a long way from realizing the aim of our founders – to make education possible for every boy or girl who has the ability and is willing to work. If we can see our student financial aids develop to the point where no worthy applicant is denied, then a prediction of 5,000 by 1970 is perhaps too low.

Student financial aid will grow. Many of our most outstanding schools have more than one-third of their students receiving scholarship aid, while state schools often exceed one in four. The people, who are concerned about realizing an equal educational opportunity for all, will see to it that there are more scholarships to be awarded on the basis of need to those able to profit from attending the University.

The physical plant will change. Fortunately, for more than thirty years a careful plan for campus development has been followed. There will be more attention to landscaping and many visitors will acclaim the campus one of the most beautiful in the country. We shall be dreaming of beauty achieved by appropriate placement of buildings and suitable landscape effects rather than by expensive architecture and elaborate horticultural displays not possible in the area.

A completed quadrangle unit of six dormitories can house one thousand men in the Hancock Hall area. A third dormitory for women west of Johnstone and Fulton Halls, with a dining unit, would give accommodations for a total of about five hundred women. Building in that section of the campus would force removal of the temporary service building. By that time we may be able to bring together all maintenance services in one unit.

A new administration building will add more than accommodations for widely scattered offices. It will permit better organization of administrative routines and provide facilities for procedures in accord with the best practices in university administration.

The future University may have a full day radio schedule and television outlet for educational programs produced on the campus. It is possible that North Dakota may undertake the support of a television network covering the state and carrying to schools and adults a systematic program of educational television. This would make it possible for every citizen to have access to the store of knowledge and cultural benefits from each of the state’s institutions of higher education as they share program time on the network.

An essential adjunct to the modern university is a program of convocations and performances that brings to the student body the constant stimulus of musical, dramatic, lecture, and other cultural experiences that require a large auditorium and a theatre.

Student Life

The future will see closer faculty-student relationships, better faculty counseling with students, and more student participation in committees. Custom will build traditions of greater student-faculty cooperation on committees concerned with fraternity and sorority affairs, athletics, social functions, radio and television. Students will participate in planning for their own welfare; and thus, they will know what is going on and have a part in it. They will seek advice of their elders, more than in the past and appreciate and respect even more fully the kind of responsibility that rests with the faculty and administration. The social life of students will be even better organized, with more emphasis on housing places as social units. Students will control themselves and be the means of achieving the basic aims of the University through their own concern for the intellectual and cultural life of the University, as well as for activities which develop social skills and cultivate habits based on sound character and a true sense of responsibility.

Academic Life

The future will see increasing emphasis on education for responsibility as a citizen. The development of personality and personal assets will be stressed both in extra-curricular activities and in the formal curriculum. Students will increasingly demonstrate that they want to prepare themselves to do worthwhile things rather than to pursue purely selfish and economic ends alone. They will want to include courses that emphasize character development and human relations skills.

The faculty will be continuously studying and revising their courses. Accelerating change will mean that lectures will have to be revised more often and be kept up-to-date. We shall get used to the fact that a course with a given title may be quite different from year to year. With a trend toward fewer and better courses, changing with knowledge, there will be modifications of basic degree requirements. Minimum requirements may be reduced in number, but there will be increased emphasis upon faculty advisement, as well as greater student interest in fundamental courses and in planning programs to give the best academic preparation for service in the world of tomorrow.

The University College will stress basic general education and preparation for specialization, but it will find two types of students not satisfied by present curricula. One is the student who is unable to meet the academic standards required for a degree. The other is the student who cannot or who does not wish to plan a four-year program, yet wants something that will permit two years’ preparation for some vocation. A two-year general and vocational edu- cation program in the University College is inevitable if we are to continue to meet the challenge of educational opportunity for all, on an equal basis, and at the same time maintain, high standards for our four-year degree programs. Moreover, a two-year program for some will help solve enrollment problems of the future by enabling certain students to complete their work in two years.

There will be new curricula and new emphasis in some of these we now have. Some programs will be curtailed. There will be a greater use of audio-visual aids and television in teaching. Discussion classes will be more common – perhaps combined – larger lecture groups. The case method of teaching, which was first adopted by the law schools, then taken up by the medical state and now by the business schools, will find its way more and more into the citizens undergraduate classroom as an effective way to teach certain courses. It will require a generation to develop the cases, to obtain the staff, and to secure general enough acceptance of the values derived from such teaching for us to have many of these courses. Curricula in areas now untouched will appear; for example, the appropriate program for the teaching of atomic physics and related phenomena will find an adequate place in our program.

Graduate work will develop. The state will see to it that we more nearly meet the demand for masters and doctors in North Dakota. Even if we are slow to fully recognize that this need is as important as others, we shall see that a program, comparable to what we do in the medical and law school for supplying these graduates is supported.


By the year 1970 the University will not be so large as to have lost any of its present advantages, but rather there will be more systematic attention to counseling and developing close faculty-student relationships both inside and outside the classroom. The physical plant – laboratories, shops, classrooms and lecture halls – will have to expand, with more attention being given to special-purpose classrooms. Funds appropriated for building in 1957 will not produce buildings ready for use before 1960. The first bulge from the increased birth rate, babies born in 1940, will be ready to go to college in 1958. If only half of an additional 1500 students need university housing, we shall have to add three large dormitories to what we have already scheduled.

Since the quality of what we do depends first upon the faculty, we must secure top people fully prepared for their tasks, with adequate personal and academic qualifications, from a market more highly competitive than anything we have ever faced. In addition to normal replacements we might have to add one hundred new staff members by 1970. The cost will represent an investment in the discovery and development of the most important natural resource the state possesses – its youth.

The road ahead must widen as the University grows in usefulness to the citizens of the state through curricula that will reach even more people and through increased research both pure and applied. The University has had a healthy growth; and it can now look to the future fortified in the strength of a sound administrative organization, a Board of Higher Education with vision and imagination dedicated to the ultimate good of the state, a well-prepared faculty, a vitally concerned student body, and loyal alumni. With the continued friendly interest and support of citizens, the respect of its institutional neighbors and the good will of the state’s elected officials the University will do its part to achieve the goal of a good education for more and more students.


The Archaeology News Network

Rigid vegan diet may have led to extinction of ancient cave bears

Senckenberg scientists have studied the feeding habits of the extinct Cave Bear. Based on the isotope composition in the collagen of the bears' bones, they were able to show that the large mammals subsisted on a purely vegan diet. In the study, recently published in the scientific publication Journal of Quaternary Science, the international team proposes that it was this inflexible diet that led to the Cave Bear's extinction...

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New insights into the relationship between erosion and tectonics in the Himalayas

Earth's climate interacts with so called surface processes -- such as landslides or river erosion -- and tectonics to shape the landscape that we see. In some regions, the sheer force of these processes has led scientists to believe that they may even influence the development of tectonics. An international team of researchers headed by the Cologne-based geographer Dr. Georgina King have now disproved this assumption. Namche Barwa in...

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Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeologists Find Byzantine General’s Seal, Medieval Necropolis in Lyutitsa Fortress

A well preserved lead seal of a medieval Byzantine general is just one of the numerous artifacts...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Nyame Akuma: Bulletin of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists

Nyame Akuma: Bulletin of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists
If you are interested in submitting an article: Instructions for Contributors

This is the main page for accessing the online archive of all issues of Nyame Akuma. Click on any of these issues to see the Table of Contents. Numbers 43 and later have downloadable PDF versions of individual articles, which can be accessed by clicking on any article title in blue. Numbers 42 and earlier have fewer illustrations and shorter articles, so the entire issue will download.

The six most recent issues of Nyame Akuma are accessible to digital (online) subscribers only. SAfA members who subscribe to Nyame Akuma in any form can access these issues with their member password. Please go to Membership to see our membership and subscription fees and to subscribe online. Membership plus digital subscription to Nyame Akuma is available at very nominal cost to Northern hemisphere residents. It is free for Africans residing in Africa.

If you have a password, go to digital subscriber login to access the full content of the six latest issues. Without a password, you will only be able to access the Table of Contents of the last six issues, plus the archive of the earlier issues, from the list below.
(Table of contents for recent issues and downloadable articles from archives)
2015     No. 83, June (Table of Contents Only)No. 84, December (Table of Contents Only)
2014No. 81, June (Table of Contents Only)No. 82, December (Table of Contents Only)
2013No. 79, June (Table of Contents Only) No. 80, December (Table of Contents Only)  

2012     No. 77, June No. 78, December
2011No. 75, June No. 76, December  
2010No. 73, JuneNo. 74, December 
2009No. 71, JuneNo. 72, December
2008No. 69, JuneNo. 70, December
2007No. 67, JuneNo. 68, December
2006No. 65, JuneNo. 66, December
2005No. 63, JuneNo. 64, December
2004No. 61, JuneNo. 62, December
2003No. 59, JuneNo. 60, December
2002No. 57, JuneNo. 58, December
2001No. 55, JuneNo. 56, December
2000No. 53, JuneNo. 54, December
1999No. 51, JuneNo. 52, December
1998No. 49, JuneNo. 50, December
1997No. 47, JuneNo. 48, December
1996No. 45, JuneNo. 46, December
1995No. 43, JuneNo. 44, December
1994No. 41, JuneNo. 42, December
1993No. 39, JuneNo. 40, December
1992No. 37, JuneNo. 38, December
1991No. 35, JuneNo. 36, December
1990No. 33, JuneNo. 34, December
1989No. 31, SeptemberNo. 32, December
1988-No. 30, December
1987No. 28, AprilNo. 29, December
1986No. 27, May-
1985No. 26, June-
1984-No. 24/25, December
1983No. 22, JuneNo. 23, December
1982No. 20, JuneNo. 21, December
1981No. 18, MayNo. 19, November
1980No. 16, MayNo. 17, November
1979No. 14, MayNo. 15, November
1978No. 12, MayNo. 13, November
1977No. 10, MayNo. 11, November
1976No. 8, MayNo. 9, October
1975No. 6, MayNo. 7, October
1974No. 4, AprilNo. 5, October
1973No. 2, AprilNo. 3, October
1972-No. 1, October

The Archaeology News Network

'Cyclops' beetles hint at solution to 'chicken-and-egg' problem in novel trait evolution

Beetles with cyclops eyes have given Indiana University scientists insight into how new traits may evolve through the recruitment of existing genes -- even if these genes are already carrying out critical functions. Heads of horned and cyclopic beetles of the genus Onthophagus are shown. After knocking out the gene otd1,  the cyclopic beetle (right) lost the horn but gained a pair of small compound eyes  in the center of the...

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Jim Davila (

Review of Neusner biography

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More on the Galilean stone workshop

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James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Professors are Just Like Students

A McSweeney’s piece offered an alleged WikiLeaks reveal of faculty e-mails. What it depicts sounds like it could have been an exchange among some professors at my own institution. What about yours? It may or may not be an actual e-mail exchange from the author’s former institution of employment, but either way it deserves discussion. On the one [Read More...]

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Handbook of Coins of Northern and Central Anatolia, Pontos, Paphlagonia, Bithynia, Phrygia, Galatia, Lykaonia, and Kappadokia (with Kolchis and the Kimmerian Bosporos)

Hoover, Oliver D. Handbook of Coins of Northern and Central Anatolia, Pontos, Paphlagonia, Bithynia, Phrygia, Galatia, Lykaonia, and Kappadokia (with Kolchis and the Kimmerian Bosporos), Fifth to First Centuries BC [The Handbook of Greek Coinage Series, Volume 7], Manchester-Lancaster, 2012 … Lire la suite

Jim Davila (

On ancient magic

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James Hamrick (The Ancient Bookshelf)

Ge'ez in Munich this Fall

Despite its importance for fields of research ranging from Second Temple Judaism to African Studies, it's a real challenge to find university courses in Ge'ez, the classical language of Ethiopia and Eritrea. There are a handful of universities where it's on the books (University of Chicago, Catholic University of America, and University of Washington, for example), but it's not an annual offering.

So it's exciting that this Autumn an introductory Ge'ez course is being offered once again in Munich at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München by Professor Loren Stuckenbruck.

The Archaeology News Network

Reef castaways: Can coral make it across Darwin's 'impassable' barrier?

An international team of researchers have shown that vulnerable coral populations in the eastern tropical Pacific have been completely isolated from the rest of the Pacific Ocean for at least the past two decades. Coral releasing egg/sperm bundles which will be fertilized in the water to form poppy-seed-sized larvae  [Credit: Jamie Craggs, Project Coral, Horniman Museum and Gardens]Ocean currents can change speed and even...

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Jim Davila (

Ben-Hur bombs

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BiblePlaces Blog

Reader Survey: Favorite Ancient Inscription

We’re heading indoors for this survey, for when an artifact is discovered, particularly one with writing on it, the archaeologist removes it from the site and it usually ends up displayed in a museum.

This survey may be a little more challenging for some of you, because you can’t just open up your Bible and flip around. Instead you need to retrace your steps in the Israel Museum or the British Museum or some other renowned institution. If you can’t do that, you may recall learning about various inscriptions from a tour guide, professor, or pastor. You have many choices, and there are a number of books dedicated almost solely to inscriptions with biblical relevance (including those by McCarter, Fant and Reddish, Hallo and Younger, and Hays).

But you don’t need to have a book handy. Long-time readers perhaps recall the “Artifact of the Month” series by Mike Caba. And if that’s not enough, you can browse Mike’s list of 50 objects in his Bible and Archaeology - Online Museum.

There are some great possibilities and I look forward to seeing what you pick! Just remember to limit your selection to an inscription—perhaps another time we’ll have a survey for favorite artifacts without writing.

(Email readers may need to click through to fill in the survey.)


Jim Davila (

Review of Jobes, Discovering the Septuagint

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He has a wife you know

Dying in Pompeii and Herculaneum


Warning - this article contains an image which may cause distress

As you may have noticed the big exhibition on at the moment at the British Museum is the one on Pompeii. Having recently visited it I’d say it was good, if not a little crowded (particularly when the artifacts are often small things). Expect to queue and to crane your neck.

The exhibition does very well to underscore that this glimpse into daily life was bought at a horrible price. People died, men and women trying to escape, infants in their cots (one such cot is on display with the note that an infant was originally discovered within). Had Vesuvius merely grumbled Pompeii would have changed and perhaps become another Roman town whose ruins point to something in the past. But Vesuvius didn’t just grumble and as a result both the inhabitants and the town became the insect in the amber.

Perhaps the morbid part in me wondered “but how did they die exactly?” – my early knowledge of volcanoes was informed from popular media and as such any eruption plan had ‘outrun the lava’ as the main strategy. In truth you can out-walk lava, lava moving at 6mph would be considered the Usain Bolt of lava. Lava is not a real concern. Vesuvius had far more horrid and speedier things up its sleeve.

Keep reading

Reblog from last year about Pompeii

Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews)

4,500 years old grave discovered in Siberia

The intriguing find of the remains of a 'noblewoman' from the ancient Okunev Culture was made at the Itkol II burial site, in the Shira district of the Republic of...

Ancient camping site unearthed in India

A camping site dating back to 8500 BCE has been unearthed in Ladakh, in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The newly discovered site indicates that humans were as interested...

First Bell Beaker earthwork enclosure found in Spain

Archaeologists from the Tübingen collaborative research center ResourceCultures have discovered an earthwork enclosure in southern Spain dating from the Bell Beaker period of 2,600 to 2,200 BCE. The complex of...

Large Bronze Age mound discovered in northwest China

Archaeologists in Xinjiang (northwest China) discovered a Bronze Age stone mound that is probably the largest and best preserved of its kind. Wu Xinhua, the team's leading archaeologist, said that...

Ancient remains found in Peru

In the hillsides of Lima's northern district of Los Olivos (Peru), a team of researchers, led by archaeologist Luis Angel Flores Blanco, uncovered skeletal remains bundled up in a funerary...

The Archaeology News Network

Why are we now?

Why are we now? We know that the universe is roughly 14 billion years old, and that someday it is likely to end—perhaps because of a Big Freeze, Big Rip or Big Crunch. Long-living, low-mass red dwarf stars may be able to support habitable planets like Earth  [Credit: Shutterstock]But what can we learn by considering our own place in the history of the universe? Why does life on Earth exist now, rather than at some point in the...

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The Archaeology News Network

Fossilized rivers suggest warm, wet ancient Mars

Extensive systems of fossilised riverbeds have been discovered on an ancient region of the Martian surface, supporting the idea that the now cold and dry Red Planet had a warm and wet climate about 4 billion years ago, according to UCL-led research. Perspective view of Aram Dorsum, an inverted channel on Mars and candidate landing site  for the ExoMars rover [Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS]The study, published in Geology and funded by the...

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Test for damp ground at Mars' seasonal streaks finds none

Seasonal dark streaks on Mars that have become one of the hottest topics in interplanetary research don't hold much water, according to the latest findings from a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars. Blue dots on this map indicate sites of recurring slope lineae (RSL) in part of the Valles Marineris canyon network on Mars.  RSL are seasonal dark streaks that may be indicators of liquid water. The area mapped here has the highest...

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Archaeology Magazine

Ness Brodgar stonesORKNEY, SCOTLAND—A structure constructed of stone slabs up to 13 feet long has been found beneath a huge midden at the Ness of Brodgar by a team led by researchers from the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute. According to a report in BBC News, archaeologists think the building, which measures some 33 feet wide, may have been the first structure at the site. Its unusual stones have rounded edges and may have been brought from another site and reused. “Perhaps they may be part of a stone circle that predates the main Ness site. It is a bit of a mystery and we won’t know more until we do more work,” said site director Nick Card. Most of the other structures at the Ness of Brodgar were made of pieces of flagstone and may also have had slate roofs. The site sits between two Neolithic monuments, the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness, and is thought to have served as a gathering place for more than 1,000 years. To read in-depth about this site, go to "Neolithic Europe's Remote Heart."

Ireland Iron AgeCORK, IRELAND—The Irish Times reports that an international team of researchers collected data on animal bones and seeds from archaeological digs across southeast Ireland, and analyzed pollen extracted from a sediment core taken from a lake in Kilkenny, to learn what people ate between 2,700 and 2,000 years ago. “Cattle and pigs provided dairy and meat, barley was a staple, and we also have evidence of a variety of wheats, including spelt, emmer, and naked wheat,” said Katharina Becker of University College Cork. The researchers partnered with baker Declan Ryan to attempt to recreate baked products of Ireland's Iron Age. Since houses from the period do not contain recognizable hearths, Becker suggests that people may have gathered at boiling pits to eat. She speculates that the Iron-Age diet was probably plant-based, with meat and dairy foods served on special occasions. For more, go to "The Vikings in Ireland."