Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

http://planet.atlantides.org/maia

Tom Elliott (tom.elliott@nyu.edu)

This feed aggregator is part of the Planet Atlantides constellation. Its current content is available in multiple webfeed formats, including Atom, RSS/RDF and RSS 1.0. The subscription list is also available in OPML and as a FOAF Roll. All content is assumed to be the intellectual property of the originators unless they indicate otherwise.

November 21, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

L'hittitologie aujourd'hui : études sur l'Anatolie hittite et néo-hittite à l'occasion du centenaire de la naissance d'Emmanuel Laroche

Organisé par Alice Mouton et Jean-François Pérouse

Ces rencontres se tiendront à l'occasion du centenaire de la naissance d'Emmanuel Laroche

- Consulter le programme

October 16, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

L'argent des dieux. Religions et richesses en Méditerranée dans l'Antiquité et au Moyen Âge

Organisé par Julie Masquelier-Loorius, Jonathan Cornillon et Jean-Marie Salamito

Les rapports entre les religions et l'argent sont loin de se limiter aux discours que développent souvent les premières en matière de régulation éthique des activités lucratives et d'usage des richesses. Toute vie religieuse implique – à des échelles diverses, mais inévitablement – une dimension économique. Il faut des biens matériels pour les gestes du culte, l'offrande de sacrifices, la fabrication d'objets ou d'images, la construction et l'entretien de sanctuaires, la rétribution d'un clergé ou encore l'organisation de la solidarité communautaire. Quelles sont donc les pratiques des religions en matière d'économie ? Comment les communautés religieuses s'y prennent-elles pour créer, rassembler, gérer, utiliser et distribuer des richesses ? En quoi consiste l'impact concret de la vie religieuse sur la vie économique ? Comment les usages « religieux » de l'argent sont-ils justifiés ou critiqués à l'intérieur des différentes traditions ?

C'est à de telles questions que ce colloque répondra, en étudiant les religions qui ont marqué le monde méditerranéen depuis la plus haute Antiquité jusqu'à la fin du Moyen Âge : les divers polythéismes, le judaïsme, le christianisme, l'islam. La prise en compte d'une aire géographique cohérente permettra d'établir des comparaisons probantes entre des époques différentes et des confessions variées.

Consulter le programme du colloque

avec le soutien du Labex RESMED

October 15, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

Les religions et l'argent

En parallèle du Colloque "L'argent des dieux " qui se tiendra du 16 au 18 octobre, un Café des sciences dont le thème sera : "les religions et l'argent" est organisé le 15 octobre à 18h30 à l'Espace Pierre Gilles de Gennes, 10 rue Vauquelin Paris 5e.

Les invités débattront dans un premier temps des relations établies entre les religions et l'argent de l'Antiquité jusqu'au Moyen-Âge.
Dans un deuxième temps sera abordé la place de l'économie religieuse dans les sociétés contemporaines.

Participeront à ce débat :
Julie Masquelier Loorius, épigraphiste à Orient et Méditerranée
Jean-Marie Salamito, historien à Orient et Méditerranée
Jonathan Cornillon, historien
Lionel Obadia, anthropologue à l'université Lumière Lyon2

Le débat sera filmé et diffusé en ligne ensuite sur ce site.

Avec le soutien de la Délégation CNRS Paris A

October 09, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

Corps, âmes et normes : approches cliniques, légales et religieuses du handicap

Organisé par :
Hedwige Rouillard-Bonraisin (EPHE - UMR 8167)
Maria Grazia Masetti-Rouault (EPHE - UMR 8167)
Jean-Michel Verdier (EPHE)
Christophe Lemardelé (EPHE)

- Consulter le programme

October 04, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

La guerre et la Grèce

Sous la présidence de Michel ZINK, Secrétaire perpétuel de l'AIBL, Professeur au Collège de France, Président de la Fondation Théodore Reinach, Jacques JOUANNA et Philippe CONTAMINE, membres de l'AIBL.

Messieurs Jacques Jouanna, Jean-Claude Cheynet, Olivier Picard, membres du laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée interviendront lors de ce colloque

- Télécharger le programme

- Télécharger le bulletin d'inscription

- Pour en savoir plus

September 17, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

Les moines autour de la Méditerranée. Mobilités et contacts à l'échelle locale et régionale

Le programme de recherche Les moines autour de la Méditerranée. Contacts, échanges, influences entre Orient et Occident, de l'Antiquité tardive au Moyen Âge (IFAO, EFR, EFA, Labex RESMED, UMR 8584 et 8167) se propose d'analyser la paradoxale mobilité du monde monastique, notamment méditerranéen, que des normes diverses paraissent contraindre à la stabilitas, mais qui connaît pourtant d'intenses et continus mouvements de circulation, d'échanges et d'influences, sur un long Moyen-Âge (du IVe au XVe siècle)

- Consulter le programme

Colloque organisé avec le soutien de :
L'École française de Rome
L'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale
Le Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée (UMR 8167)
Le Centre Européen de Recherchesur les Congrégations et les Ordres Religieux - Laboratoire d'Études sur les Monothéismes (CERCOR-LEM UMR 8584)
Le Labex RESMED

September 02, 2014

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Spain returns Colombian treasure seized from drug gangs

Spain has returned to Colombia 691 indigenous artefacts seized in a police operation 11 years ago.

Most of the ceramic items are of huge cultural and archaeological value, and date back to 1400 BC.

They had been smuggled out of South America by a man linked to the drug gangs, the embassy in Madrid said.

Following a court order in Spain in June, the items have now been handed over to the Colombian authorities and taken back to Bogota.

They were placed in the Museum of America in Madrid while the long legal battle proceeded.

Some of the items, including ceramic sculptures, funeral urns and musical instruments, went on display at the museum in June. Read more.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Twelve million historical images posted to Flickr

An American academic is creating a searchable database of 12 million historical copyright-free images, according to BBC.

The post Twelve million historical images posted to Flickr appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Red Sea port studied by Polish archaeologists

Archaeologists studied two-thousand-year-old port infrastructure and a large animal cemetery in Berenice on the Red Sea in Egypt.

The post Red Sea port studied by Polish archaeologists appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Tom Matrullo (Classics in Sarasota)

Helen to Paris: Appraising the goods

The oldest known surviving carpet in the world belonged to a Scythian prince, and dates back to the 5th century BC.

Pazyryk carpet 
Hundreds of years earlier, another weaver was at work:

125

[Iris] found Helen in the hall, where she was weaving a great purple double-folded warp, sprinkling thereon many contests of the horse-taming Trojans and the bronze-clad Achaeans which they suffered for her sake under the hands of Ares. (Iliad 3.125-29)
The Helen painted by Homer is a mature, regal presence who remains mostly distant and unknowable. In Heroides 17 Ovid gives us a younger Helen, already a queen, at the moment she confronts the ardor of the most dashing prince in the world with remarkable clarity and shrewd appraisal.

Helen's letter to Paris offers yet another example of how much fun Ovid could have responding to the imaginative possibilities of a luminous cast of Greek men and women. Her unabashed riposte (H. 16) gamely serves up a rich stew of protest-too-much indignation, acute moral reasoning, and wily sophistication. If we wished to find the roots of the vital, dignified and witty women of Shakespeare, the characters of Ovid's Heroides provide a good a place to begin.

To be continued

Colleen Morgan (Middle Savagery)

Origins of Doha Re-Photography Featured on CNN

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 10.14.34 AM

I was happy to see that a mash-up that did a while ago for the Origins of Doha project was featured on the special Qatar Foundation section of CNN. The photo is near the Souq Waqif, and we located and re-shot the photograph using one of the few landmarks left in that area, a small minaret visible above and to the left of the men walking toward the camera. The black and white photograph comes from the Bibby and Glob expedition to Doha.

I posted some of my initial attempts here:

http://middlesavagery.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/rephotography-in-doha/
http://middlesavagery.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/take-two-rephotography-in-doha/

You can see the full feature about the Origins of Doha Project, as linked from the project webpage HERE, and includes the print versions of the article in Arabic and English.


Jim Davila (Paleojudaica.com)

JSP 23.3-4

THE JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF THE PSEUDEPIGRAPHA has published a couple issues in 2014. The TOC of 23.3 is as follows:
Ralph Lee
The Ethiopic ‘Andəmta’ Commentary on Ethiopic Enoch 2 (1 Enoch 6–9)
Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha March 2014 23: 179-200, doi:10.1177/0951820714528628

Ariel Feldman
Moses’ Farewell Address according to 1QWords of Moses (1Q22)
Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha March 2014 23: 201-214, doi:10.1177/0951820714528629

Arye Edrei and
Doron Mendels
Preliminary Thoughts on Structures of ‘Sovereignty’ and the Deepening Gap between Judaism and Christianity in the First Centuries CE
Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha March 2014 23: 215-238, doi:10.1177/0951820714528630

Shifra Sznol
Traces of the Targum Sources in Greek Bible Translations in the Hebrew Alphabet
Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha March 2014 23: 239-256, doi:10.1177/0951820714528632
The TOC of 23.4 is as follows:
Ilaria L.E. Ramelli
A Pseudepigraphon Inside a Pseudepigraphon? The Seneca–Paul Correspondence and the Letters Added Afterwards
Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha June 2014 23: 259-289, doi:10.1177/0951820714536495

Christfried Böttrich
Apocalyptic Tradition and Mystical Prayer in the Ladder of Jacob
Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha June 2014 23: 290-306, doi:10.1177/0951820714536497

Chris H. Knights
The Rechabites Revisited: The History of the Rechabites Twenty-Five Years On
Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha June 2014 23: 307-320, doi:10.1177/0951820714536499
The abstract for the last, by Knights, reads:
In this article the author revisits the ‘History of the Rechabites’, chs. 8–10 of the Story of Zosimus, a text he first studied in the 1980s, in the light of the work done on the text more recently by Nikolsky and Davila. He looks more closely at the reasons why the text may or may not be Jewish and concludes that, despite his earlier published views, it is more likely to be a Christian composition than a Jewish one.
Dr Knights kindly sent me an offprint of this one. My work on the Story of Zosimus from 2003 is online here and here.

Antiquity Now

Kids’ Blog! Chinese Kites Soar Throughout History

Did you know that kites were invented 2,300 years ago?  A Chinese philosopher, Mo Di, who lived from 468-376 BCE, designed the very first kite in the shape of an eagle.[1]  It was not made out of paper, because paper … Continue reading

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Teaching women’s history

A website developed by postgraduate students from the University of York aims to encourage the integrated teaching of women’s history in UK's school curriculum.

The post Teaching women’s history appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Jim Davila (Paleojudaica.com)

Carlisle Floyd on Susannah

APOCRYPHA WATCH: Carlisle Floyd discusses the narrative dimension of opera
(Stephen Smoliar, The Examiner).
Yesterday evening San Francisco Opera (SFO) presented the first Insight Panel of the its 2014–15 season. The Panel was hosted by Jon Finck, Director of Communications and Public Affairs; and the topic was the company premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s 1955 opera Susannah. What made this a particularly special occasion was that Floyd himself, who turned 88 last June, was on hand to participate, along with SFO General Director David Gockley, soprano Patricia Racette (who will be singing the title role), stage director Michael Cavanagh, and conductor Karen Kamensek.
[...]

As I have previously observed, Floyd wrote his own libretto for Susannah and did the same for all of his later operas. While the story is loosely based on an episode in the Biblical apocrypha originally associated with the Book of Daniel, Floyd was actually inspired by a Renaissance painting of that portion of the story in which the elders are spying on Susannah while she was bathing. Floyd’s libretto “Americanized” the tale, setting it in the mountain town of New Hope Valley, Tennessee.

[...]
Susannah will be playing in San Francisco starting Saturday. Past performances are noted here and links.

Biblical Studies Carnival

THE BIBLICAL STUDIES CARNIVAL FOR AUGUST 2014 has been posted at the Biblical Studies Blog.

Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews)

Neolithic site discovered in central China

Archaeologists in central China's Henan province have excavated a large neolithic settlement complete with moats and a cemetery. The Shanggangyang Site covers an area of 120,000 square metres, beside a...

Genetic prehistory of the New World Arctic peoples

Many studies and discoveries focus on searching for the first Americans. Less popular but equally important has been research into how and when the Arctic was settled - the last...

Finds from Avebury's West Kennet Avenue

Archaeology students mostly from Southampton and Leicester universities have re-opened one trench from last year's dig, plus another major area of investigation, moving tons of turf and soil to reach...

Liz Gloyn (Classically Inclined)

Classics on television: Plebs

I wrote this post last year and then forgot to post it… as the second season has been announced, I thought now was as good a time as any to post it. Enjoy!

I’m sure most of you picked up on the ITV2 show Plebs that finished its first season recently. I’m not planning to say a great deal about individual episodes – Juliette Harrison has done that much more eloquently and systematically already – but I did want to make a few observations, not least because this is the first Roman-based television series to be done for a while in UK television. It’s playing with a couple of traditions of British comedy – when the series was first announced, parallels were drawn with Chelmsford 123, while in execution it definitely acknowledges its debt to a particular form of British awkward comedy serials like Gavin and Stacey and The IT Crowd. So, how successful was it?

plebs-itvTime to invoke the first rule of classical reception – this is not about accuracy and whether the slum hovel that the boys rent is an accurate representation of slum hovels in ancient Rome. Plebs made no secret of the fact that it saw itself as primarily being about what would happen if you took modern people and stuck them in Rome – it’s not interested in doing the sort of thing that even Spartacus: Blood and Sand does in exploring the life of a gladiator, sex, brutality and all (and also far fewer intentional laughs, but I digress). It’s not particularly interested in getting historical accuracy – but it does capture some very Roman attitudes, and once the series gets going it starts to engage with some elements of historical fact in interesting ways.

That ‘once the series gets going’ is quite important, to me at least – I found that I enjoyed the series a lot more once the pace had settled down and the writers had got the bodily function stuff out of the way. Humour is one of those very personal things, I know, and I don’t mean to seem prudish, but scatological jokes have always been a negative for me, and I did get perilously close to not finishing the series after That Scene With The Togas. However, it seems as if the writers were having a bit of an insecurity moment, and once they’d got past that phase, the jokes started to feel funnier.

One of the benefits of the ‘sod it, we’re never going to win the authenticity battle so let’s not even bother trying’ approach was that the series does tell us an awful lot about what people think Rome looks like now and what it stands for. For instance, despite the fact the series is set very explicitly in 27 B.C.,  Rome is apparently governed by an emperor. An unnamed mad emperor who imports a shedload of cats to get rid of the rodent infestation, followed by a shedload of dogs to get rid of the shedload of cats. Also, Rome is mainly the forum, quite a lot of columns, some parchment, and tunics. Oh, and orgies. That the first episode decides to engage with this well-worn trope of Roman life is somewhat of a territory-staking move – here we are, look how Very Roman and Decadent we’re being – but in such a way that takes those tropes and does something a bit new with them. Because the protagonists seeking to go to an orgy have no idea what one actually involves, so all the audience shares their total ignorance of what actually happens as well as their feverish imaginations about what might happen.

This builds on the choice to make none of the protagonists are insiders. Marcus, his slave Grumio and his mate Stylax have only been in the city six weeks when they meet Cynthia and her slave Metella, fresh from Britain. So we get to see a group of lads terribly keen on getting the most out of urban life in an exciting capital city where they don’t quite know the rules, working in menial office jobs, thinking they know it all and actually just not, and trying to get together with girls just as clueless as them. Well, a girl as clueless as them. Metella is a pretty tough cookie. That the lads aren’t as suave as they’re trying to be is a constant trope – Stylax gets Cynthia’s gladiator boyfriend killed by shouting at the wrong time, Marcus tries to give Cynthia and Metella a tour around the city but has no idea what anything is, the plot of the final episode is drive by the lads not wanting to miss the big Saturnalia Gong for their first Roman new year. That writing choice means that the characters are always a bit wrong-footed by life in Rome, in a way that’s very similar to the audience themselves.

I do think that the final two episodes were the best and funniest, not to mention the most thematically coherent. The fifth episode dealt with the boys’ landlord subletting the apartment to a couple of Thracians, leading to the pun ‘what, are you being Thracist?’, and may well lead to exam answers that claim that the Romans imported bananas and pineapples from Thrace (here’s a clue – they didn’t). The whole episode thought a bit about what it would be like to live in a city where the conquering of new bits of territory meant a steady stream of people from strange and interesting countries, and how being part of an empire would affect the day to day lives of regular citizens, in an interesting and fun way that worked really well. Similarly, the sixth episode basically went ‘so, Roman religion, then’, and pulled in the Saturnalia, what happens to animal sacrifices, and the cult of Cybele. I never thought I would find myself typing ‘wow, that cult of Cybele joke was hilarious’, but yes, it was.

PlebsSo, where does all this leave us? Plebs clearly isn’t aiming for accuracy, and in part can jettison the sort of accuracy of things like Rome and Gladiator: Blood and Sand because it’s trying to do comedy, not high ‘quality’ drama. It’s settled down into its rhythm, and has characters who allow the unfamiliarity of the city (however unauthentic) to become the foil for the laughs. But most importantly – it has Flavia. The settled-in, competent office manager who makes the lives of Marcus and Stylax – well, not a living hell, but certainly rather more interesting than they would otherwise be. She is probably my favourite character of the lot, and is everything that the boys wish they were – worldly-wise, imbued with the decadence of Rome, wealthy, successful, a real Roman insider. It’s the fact that she is as exaggerated as she is that makes her so much fun, almost as if she’s wandered off the set of Quo Vadis as an guest at Nero’s banquet to get back to the day job. Of course, in strict Roman class terms, she probably isn’t as elevated as she’s coming across – no mention has been made of senatorial background yet, and we all know that to operate in trade was utterly infra dig. But she might well be somebody’s somebody for doing business without getting their hands dirty, and thence the connection and the status. I know it’s rather rich for me to end a review I started with a warning about historical accuracy with a bit of a possible reconstruction of a character’s place in the actual Roman class structure, but humour me. She’s an absolute gem of a character, and now that the writers have settled down into their stride, I hope we get to see more of her and the rest of the gang in a second series.

 


Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

4th Symposium Arch_RNT

This symposium focuses on the use of New Technologies (Archaeometry, Computing Technology, Conservation and Restoration) in the Archaeological Research.

The post 4th Symposium Arch_RNT appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Roberta Mazza (Faces & Voices)

Unravelling the John Rylands papyrus collection

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 15.10.01This week the John Rylands Library hosts an international conference on the Rylands papyri: From Egypt to Manchester: unravelling the John Rylands papyrus collection. I am happy to have a number of colleagues and friends coming to a (so far!) sunny Manchester. You can download the program from here: Conference.

I will be tweeting from my account, so follow @papyrologyatman for live updating from Thursday afternoon through Saturday.


Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

MuseumNext conference 2015

The MuseumNext conference will take place between April 19-21 2015.

The post MuseumNext conference 2015 appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

All Mesopotamia

adokal: Female head with diadem, Neo-Assyrian, ca 8th c. BCE,...



adokal:

Female head with diadem, Neo-Assyrian, ca 8th c. BCE, Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), Iraq. The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York, USA.

source

Beautiful.

massarrah: Old Babylonian “Spreadsheets” Tabular book-keeping...





massarrah:

Old Babylonian “Spreadsheets”

Tabular book-keeping made its debut early in Mesopotamian history during the third millennium BCE. The earliest known table that displays headings and a horizontal axis of calculations comes from the Early Dynastic Period (Robson: p. 117). Tables were used to organise and store both quantitative and qualitative information, and provided an important tool for book-keeping. Both of the examples pictured above are Old Babylonian administrative tablets from Larsa that show tabular accounts (Sources 1, 2).

Source: E. Robson, “Accounting For Change: The Development of Tabular Book-keeping in Early Mesopotamia”

Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University. Both photos from CDLI.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Pointing out Propagandist Fallacy 'Negativity', or the Only Realistic Basis for Discussing an Issue?


Time is Running Out
There are two types of material about artefact hunting and antiquities collecting on the Internet:
1)  There is a large number of websites and blogs presenting the hobbies and commerce in the best light possible. Dealers deny that anything they are doing is in any way damaging at all, indeed beneficial, any restrictions which anyone my ever think of placing on the free no-questions-asked trade is ill-advised, likely to be ineffective and downright unconstitutional. In the UK metal detectorists are the same on their forums there are names not-to-be-mentioned, things not-to-be-discussed, topics which must-be-presented-in-a-certain way and so on. They may deny it goes on, but we all see it. We see the evidence of the whitewash.
2) So, there are other websites and blogs which aim to fill in the gaps left by the whitewash and spin and furthermore alert people to it. This blog is just one of a number of resources which aims to do precisely that. This second type of blog is an expression of concern that the 'spin' is not enough to get the full picture, and like anything else only a wider view of the problem than that presented by the spin-doctors can be a basis for discussion and decision-making.

One of the spin-doctors, intent on promoting a certain image of artefact hunting in the UK is John Winter. For detectorists in general it seems that the concept of intellectual honesty is a foreign notion. Detectorist John Winter does not want to discuss certain issues (see here too, and here), does not want people to learn about the existence of other opinions about what he and his mates are doing, thinks metal detectorists superior to professional archaeologists, says he's less 'gullible' than those who respect professionals, he suggests all archaeologists are stupid to boot, does not believe artefact hunters [taking thousands of non-Treasure archaeological items for their personal collections] owe the rest of us any kind of explanation, believes in blocking free access to information for all about metal detecting, and topped it all off by writing of preservationist concerns in a text entitled "the Amazing Talking A**hole" full of insult and four-letter words. Mr Winter has the gall to accuse others of 'negativity'.

After presenting a biogram of a Framlingham, Suffolk, metal detectorist ('John Brassey : Author and Metal Detectorist', 1 September 2014) and mentioning that he'd just published a novel (available here on Amazon, check out the information on the author and his blog) John Winter, a propos of nothing,  has this to say to his readers:
In some circles [...] all metal detectorists are viewed as ignorant, rough and bad-mannered louts. Like many others of our ilk, John disproves that erroneous perception. I wonder if the most vociferous amongst them can put a negative spin on this blog post?
What I presume he means by that is, place the information he presents in some sort of a context. The existence of one, a dozen, John Brasseys in a community of maybe 16000 "disproves" nothing about the majority.

Look for yourselves. All along, I have been urging my readers to join a few UK metal detecting forums and read some blogs to see what UK metal detectorists think and say. Let's list a random few of them (the figures for 'a=' 'activity' refer to the 'most users online at the same time' statistic):
UK and European MD Forum [open access] (6412 members, a=1844)
Detecting Scotland [open access] (1305 members, a=385)
Central Searchers Metal Detecting Forum [restricted access] (939 members a=234)
UK Detecting Network Forum [restricted access] ( 6958 members, a=171)
Detecting Wales [open access] (2688 members, a=146)
Detectorist.co.uk [restricted access] (3487 members, a=125)
UKDFD Forum [restricted access] (3099 members, a=102)
Toddy's Detecting forum [open access] (1122 members, a=58)
British Metal Detecting [restricted access] (1997 members, a=50)
NCMD Forum [restricted access] (429 members, a=42)
Tony Robinson's Pants, (UK metal detectorist's blog)
Malamute Saloon (UK detectorist's blog)
Andy's Metal Detecting blog (UK detectorist's blog)
Janner's Metal Detecting blog (UK detectorist's blog)
Antiquities and Heritage Issues (UK metal detectorist's blog)
Detecting England [open access] (135 members, a=17)
Rally UK Forum (vanished, archived posts in Google).
Minelab Owners Forum
[open access] (not exclusively UK), (11049 [12,763?] members, activity ??)
If you have not done so, pick a few at random, and browse through them. Almost every UK code of practice tells artefact hunters that they are "ambassadors to the hobby". That's what you see them doing on their forums and blogs. That is the way reader can judge what they see on the forums. Most of them have moderators who remove stuff which they don't want outsiders to see or discuss (note how many have restricted access anyway).

Assuming that the majority of UK metal detectorists are well-read, articulate, ex-grammar school ex-banker types, living in the stockbroker belt is to miss the point entirely. To judge from the forums (and I urge the reader to do so and then consider the consequences) we cannot expect a "one size fits all"approach to apply to all engaged in artefact hunting. It was David Lammy (he of the "unsung heroes of Heritage" claim) who pointed out that most of the users of the PAS came from social groups C2 and D and were "challenged by formal education". Those were his words.

The problem is that we are asked to believe that the PAS is recording information which can be used as "data" for increasing knowledge about the past, for archaeological research and management of the historical resource. That is the whole justification of spending millions of pounds on the PAS (which today enters its eighteenth year of operation). Yet the quality of any archaeological data depends on how it is observed in the contexts of deposition and discovery. That's why archaeologists spend years training themselves/getting trained to make such observations and record them. 

It is easy to show that in UK metal detecting there are poster-boy detectorists capable of doing things 'by the book', the PAS shows them off regularly. Dave Crisp was one, another (an ex-pastor) has done an archaeology degree at Bristol, Steve Broom was another. The problem is there are a large number of detectorists ill-equipped to do anything by the book for the simple reason that they do not really understand what the words mean, why they are there, and why they should even have to bother about what they say. Yeas as somebody pointed out in the Guardian yesterday:
yes there is a Portable Antiquities Scheme that records finds on private and public property, but how is this helpful to archaeologists if whatever is extracted from the ground is not properly documented in its precise context?
Who is going to do that precise documentation, why and how if the aim is just to hoik goodies out for collection or turning into cash? The intellectual level of the majority of the people doing the artefact hunting, the extraction of archaeological data from the ground is an important factor (PACHI, 13 June 2014, 'The Intellect of Detector Users and its Implications for "Partnership"...'). It has a direct relevance to assessing the value of that information. It is rather disturbing that only now, more than a decade and a half into the PAS are we beginning to see some proper studies of the reliability, meaning, and limitations of the PAS 'data' (Walton, Brindle, Robbins).  Simply presenting a view that all metal detector users are the intellectual equals of the PAS poster-boys is missing the point, and avoiding discussion of a very serious issue in UK policies of "outreach" and data collection.

Now, I am sure that those whose interest is in avoiding any kind of discussion of the realia of artefact hunting and collecting in the UK will regard that as "negativism". That really is of no concern of mine., My concern is that we get people to see these phenomena for what they are, not how a destructive and erosive hobby's propagandists would like them to be. Take a look at the metal detecting forums listed above - and any other you may care to find and make your own minds up.


Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: September 2

Here is a round-up of today's proverbs and fables - and for previous posts, check out the Bestiaria Latina Blog archives. You can keep up with the latest posts by using the RSS feed, or you might prefer to subscribe by email.

HODIE (Roman Calendar): ante diem quartum Nonas Septembres.

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


TODAY'S MOTTOES and PROVERBS:

TINY MOTTOES: Today's tiny motto is: Amico Hercule (English: With Hercules as my friend).

3-WORD PROVERBS: Today's 3-word verb-less proverb is Sapientia gubernator navis (English: Wisdom is the pilot of the ship)

AUDIO PROVERBS: Today's audio Latin proverb is Caesar non supra grammaticos (English: Caesar is not superior to the grammarians). To read a brief essay about this proverb and to listen to the audio, visit the Latin Via Proverbs blog.

PUBLILIUS SYRUS: Today's proverb from Publilius Syrus is: Satis est superare inimicum, nimium est perdere (English: It's enough to conquer your enemy; to destroy him is too much).

ERASMUS' ANIMALS: Today's animal proverb from Erasmus is Furemque fur cognoscit, et lupum lupus (English: Thief knows thief, wolf knows wolf; from Adagia 2.3.63).

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


And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:



TODAY'S FABLES:

MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Simius et Speculum, a fable about self-awareness.

FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Ursus, Leo, et Vulpes, a fable in which the spoils go to the sly fox, of course (this fable has a vocabulary list).

Leo, Ursus et Vulpes

GreekLOLz - and Latin and English, too. Below is one of my GreekLOLz; for the individual Greek, Latin and English versions of the graphic, see the blog post: Ἁ δὲ χεὶρ την χεῖρα νίζει. Manus manum lavat. One hand washes the other.

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Gunungmegang Statue; Man and Elephant

Harry Octavianus Sofian

Harry Octavianus Sofian
Balai Arkeologi Palembang – Departemen Pendidikan Dan Kebudayaan Republik Indonesia
Gunungmegang statue is one of the site from Pasemah Megalithic Culture, located at the foot of the Mountain Dempo, Lahat Distric, South Sumatera Province – Indonesia. Pasemah megalithic culture is very unic, because the representation from the statue not stiff, but show dynamic activity,like Gunungmegang statue, show man holding the trunk of the elephant. This statue show us how the ancient people do domestication of wild elephants?

Mary Harrsch (Passionate About History)

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

A history resource article by Mary Harrsch © 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


When I further researched this statement, I found it to be absolutely true.  Apparently the Pinkertons by the 1890s had more agents than there were soldiers in the U.S. Army and were often hired by late 19th and early 20th century businessmen to infiltrate unions, block strikers, keep unionists out of factories and even recruit "goon" squads to intimidate workers.  It sounds more like the mob than a reputable security agency!
Anyway, 300 Pinkerton agents armed with Winchester rifles fired on the striking workers at Carnegie's Homestead Steel Works, killing  nine of the men and wounding 23 others.  Seven Pinkerton agents were also killed.

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

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

Ancient Art

Etruscan strainers at the MET. All the shown examples date to...













Etruscan strainers at the MET.

All the shown examples date to the 6th-5th centuries BCE and are made of bronze. Strainers were were used at symposiums (drinking parties) to strain the wine or additives mixed into it.

The strainer shown in the first image is one of the most elaborate, and best-preserved, Etruscan strainer handles found to date. The MET provides the following description of this artefact:

The artist has skillfully presented a complex subject on a very small scale in the openwork square just below the handle’s attachment point. Two nude boxers appear to have just finished a bout in which one man has been knocked to his knees. Their trainer or referee holds his arms up to indicate the end of the round. On the underside of the attachment point is a delicately modeled doe lying on a wave-crest border. The handle’s base depicts a bearded male figure with fish-like legs that terminate in bearded snake heads. The strange legs form a perfect circular opening that allowed the patera to be hung when not in use. The sea monster, almost like a merman, may have been intended to ward off evil.

Courtesy of & currently located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, via their online collections12.160.834.11.814.105.365.11.122.139.1711.212.2.

September 01, 2014

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Islamic State massacre and urbicide of Yezidis

The precise nature of the horrors suffered by the Yezidis of Jidalê is unclear, but there is photographic evidence of killings of civilians and destruction of civilian property, which reaffirms the evidence that the Islamic State is an urbicidal, genocidal state. The elimination of Jidale On the 24th of August, the Islamic State advanced on […]

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

‘Pompeii of the North’ threatened by land sale

A major Roman archaeological site in northern England could be threatened by development, as the Church of England plans to sell off the land it sits on.

Pompeii of the North

The Binchester Roman Fort in County Durham has been billed the ‘Pompeii of the North’ after a five-year archaeological dig uncovered some of the most well preserved remnants of the Roman Empire dating back some 1800 years ago, including one of the earliest pieces of evidence for Christianity in Roman Britain in the shape of a silver ring.

The archaeologists also discovered a bath house with seven-foot high walls, which were once covered with brightly covered painted designs, as well as an altar dedicated to the Roman Goddess of Fortune.

However the land where the 1800-year old Roman settlement is located being sold off as part of 10 plots around Bishop Auckland. The sale is being carried out by the Church Commissioners, which manages properties for the Church of England.

The announcement has prompted fears that the potential new owners could restrict public access to the site, limit archaeological digs, or even build close a house or hotel close to the site.

The Auckland Castle Trust has made a £2 million bid for the two plots of land that the Binchester Roman Fort sits on, and is leading the calls for the site to be protected. Trust Chairman Jonathan Ruffer told media that “Binchester must be secured by someone who has a heart for Bishop Auckland and a deep understanding of the site’s importance in a national and international context.”

The Trust has even launched an online petition that has already garnered over 630 supporters. Click here to see the online petition.

Silver ring with Christian symbols discovered at the Binchester Roman Fort. Photo courtesy Durham University

Silver ring with Christian symbols discovered at the Binchester Roman Fort. Photo courtesy Durham University

The Church Commissioners are disputing the concerns raised by the Auckland Castle Trust. Their spokesman told the Northern Echo: “We are disappointed that such an excellent body as the Auckland Castle Trust do not recognise the statutory protections in operation for Binchester Roman Fort. The statement issued by the trust seems to be creating a scare story in order to further its own objectives to become a preferential purchaser in the sale of land. The process for the sale is transparent and leaves no room for undue influence by any interested party. All offers will be considered without prejudice or preference.”

“Throughout the marketing of this estate the commissioners have been consistent in their dealings with all parties not least existing tenants. We have informed parties that offers should be submitted by September 18 and that no offers prior to that date would be considered. It is disappointing that through their actions Auckland Castle Trust seem to be seeking to manipulate an open and transparent process through the launch of campaign which would result in them being the only potential purchasers of the site.”

Dr David Petts, lecturer in archaeology at Durham University and the leader of the archaeological project at the Binchester Roman Fort, has said that “the most unique feature of these remains is the sheer scale of their preservation. It is possible to walk through a series of Roman rooms with walls all above head height; this is pretty exceptional for Roman Britain.”

You can read his report of the 2012 excavation here.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LEGO Social Mobility

Click here to view the embedded video.

Inequality and social mobility (or lack thereof) in the United States, illustrated with LEGO. HT IO9.

ArcheoNet BE

Leuvense egyptologen ontmaskeren prof

Als ze niet bezig zijn met het ontcijferen van hiërogliefen, steken egyptologen vaak ook praktisch de handen uit de mouwen. Dat moet toch blijken uit het nieuwe filmpje ‘Leuvense egyptologen ontmaskeren prof’, waarin getoond wordt hoe de egyptologen van de KU Leuven een onderzoeksvraag op experimentele wijze beantwoorden. Niemand minder dan professor Harco Willems diende zich aan als vrijwilliger om een experiment rond Egyptische dodenmaskers tot een goed einde te brengen. In het belang van de wetenschap was hij zelfs bereid om zijn baard af te scheren…

Meer weten over Egyptologie aan de KU Leuven? Surf dan naar arts.kuleuven.be/ono/egypte.

Samuel Fee (Arranged Delerium)

Design Salaries

A new academic year starts today at W&J. In addition to just learning for the sake of becoming a better human being, so folks are more pragmatic in their thinking and considering what kinds of jobs they might get with their degrees from CIS. Of… Continue reading

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #528

A nice batch of Open Access (free to read) Archaeology articles:

Notice of the death of Robert Blackader, Archbishop of Glasgow, during a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, in the year 1508.
http://bit.ly/10BrvhR

RECONSTRUCTING MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGICAL ORGANISATION AT THE QIJIA JUE EARRING WORKSHOP IN WESTERN ZHOU (1046-771 BC) CHINA
http://bit.ly/17J6ztP

Excavations at the Catstane, Midlothian 1977
http://bit.ly/1aMvMIy

Archaeological Research of the Medieval Settlement on the Position of Rudičevo in Torčec near Koprivnica
http://bit.ly/1bI2mZs

Archaeological Excavations at the Old Town (Stari grad) Site in Ivanec
http://bit.ly/Y5pjUB

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at: http://bit.ly/YHuyFK

Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

$7100 for a Archaeology Book! The Economics of Archaeology Publishing

In the last few months I have fielded some questions from Tracy at Archaeology in Tennessee and Maria at Sprache der Dinge about publishing in archaeology. Unfortunately, I don’t think I did their questions justice with my short emails. So I am going to spend this week’s blog posts on publishing in archaeology, including DIY publishing digital books. First up the $7200 book.

How Book Publishing Works

While I would love to include journals in this series that is just going to be too much to cover and will have to wait for another series. I am going to discuss monographs a.k.a books. So how do we get the $7200 book. Well for one it is an Encyclopedia with 8015 pages, 2619 illustrations (1828 illus. in color) is 11 volumes and the print version is “only” $5700, $7100 comes with digital access (still high but not as title catching, sorry about the slight deception). Still that is $1-.70 a page. Imagine if you paid $1 per page for the last book you read. How much would that have cost? $150? $220?

Print Costs Pennies

It seems outrageous and then you find out that  the printing costs for books is only a tiny percentage of the total costs. Depending on the quality of the paper and size the cost of printing it is probably only a $1 or $2. Even a single print on demand book, 200 pages long, can be had for about $4-5. (Though if you use quality paper, leather bound, etc. the price can quickly climb) Even when you take into account things like shipping, people to stock shelves, and the overhead of a physical location of a bookstore those costs only account for 30% or less of the total costs. A minimum wage worker only adds pennies to the price of a book in a bookstore.

I took a look at print on demand for the $7100 book- about $200-300 to print a book that size (well, that many volumes and split into smaller 350 page books) depending the quality of paper and cover, 5% of the cost. Making it nicer (glossy paper, hardback, etc.) could push the price much higher, around $1000 but that is still only 18% of the price.

Other things that add pennies not dollars to the price:

  • Hardback vs. softback. Hardbacks cost only marginally more expensive than softback books. It costs on average about $3.50 to print most hardbacks. It is 100% a marketing ploy to charge 20-50% more for a hardback and then releasing a “cheaper” softback a few years later.
  • Color vs. black and white. It is amazing how much the big publishers Springer, Evilsevier (Elsevier), etc. will  charge to print figures in color in an Open Access publication. Color images can drive up prices in that they require higher quality paper but overall it is pennies the difference in costs for color printing. When I say pennies even if color costs 100% more, B&W is only $.01 per page so it would be $.02 per page. The cost of 100 page book goes from $1 to $2 if it was 100% color images. It will still retail for $20-30.

Now you might really be questioning how come archaeology books cost so much when it costs $3.50 (about £2.20 in the UK) to print a 150-200 page hardback?

Pitchforks or Dollar Signs

I have run into only two reactions from archaeologists when they find this information out- ‘those greedy bastards’ or ‘my god, I need to publish a book to make money’ (Actually, a third reaction is ‘meh’). The problem is that the picture is much more complicated. For one, most of the costs come from paying the people involved in making the book and the second is that the economic models of publishing are brutal:

The Economics of Mass Media Publishing

The economics of each are very different for each type of publication. There are mass media publications. These are your Jared Diamond type books but I also include fiction works as well. There are quite a few archaeologists who write fiction work.

The most common misconception is that all of publishing works like mass media publishing, it doesn’t. Mass media publishing tends to pay an author an upfront fee and a small percentage of the profits. There are so many different publishers out there that give so many different deals that I can’t possibly list them all (upfront payment-no percentage, percentage after the publisher makes so much, the deals are endless) . However, the standard is fee upfront and percentage (small) of the profits.

The most important fact to remember is that most mass media books lose money. It is hard to get stats on this and it would vary from publisher to publisher but roughly 1 out 20 books makes money (some claim it is 1 out 100). It is a long tail model. Essentially, about 17-18 books will lose money (very little but still not really make money). 1-2 will break even/make a little, but one will pay for all the rest. That one is the Harry Potters of the world but also the Of Mice and Mens too. Think about how many “classics” of literature you have read in school throughout your lifetime. Those classics can sell thousands of copies a year for decades.

However, publishers are always chasing those breakouts and having to take a hit on all the other books they published and didn’t make money from. Moreover, those classics and blockbusters are probably 1 in 5000 or 10,000 books published, if not more. A success is a book that can sell in the low 10s of thousands. 100s of thousands are your blockbusters. This model is built on the idea of selling tens of thousands of copies to individuals for relatively cheap prices 10-20 $/£.

The Economics of Scholarly Publishing

Scholarly publishing makes up the vast majority of archaeology publishing and works on a very different model. These are you PhD thesis turned into a book, lifes work on pottery of small-area-vill, large excavations, and edited books. Edited books being a bunch of different authors contribute a chapter each, usually they come out of a conference or session in a conference. They are very narrow in their subject and focus.

Authors almost never get paid upfront or at all. Contributing to an edited volume means you get paid nothing. Usually, putting together an edited volume pays nothing. Though sometimes you might get a small percentage of the profits (5%, 10% or 15%) or a stipend. These stipends are usually very small and as you will see does not make up for the time spent. Another key difference is that instead of individual people buying these books the vast majority of them are bought by libraries.

The most important fact to remember about scholarly publishing is that the average print run is now around 200-300 books (Gardiner & Musto 2004; Greco &. Wharton 2008; Thompson 2005). Yes, it is very unlikely that more than a few hundred of these books will ever be printed, let alone sold. This has of course changed in the last few decades. In the 1970s print runs use to be into the several thousands but because journals have squeezed library budgets they can no longer afford to buy these books. It is also way you see prices like $7200 for a book. They are banking on probably only selling a few dozen of them (if that) and may not make money on it.  That is a bit extreme but explains how now all new archaeology books are in the 50-100 £/$ range. They are not aimed at individuals, they are aimed at a handful of libraries.  It is the exact reversal of the ‘Mass Media’ publishing which aims for lots of books at a low price.

The second most important fact to remember is that even with those prices some publishers can’t make money off of scholarly books. Many of these books are published by Scholarly societies and small University Presses, not ones like Oxford Press. Most of them just break even or lose money. Most Universities and Scholarly Societies have presses because of the scholarly duty to disseminate knowledge, not to make money.

Economics of Textbooks and How-to Guides

These sort of books fall in between these two extremes. A good textbook that is bought by hundreds if not thousands of students each year for decades is like a mass media publication. However, a how-to guide aimed at a few thousand archaeologists will be closer to scholarly publishing. There is no one model that fits these in between type books.

Why Authors and Publishers Lose Money

The real cost of books is not in their physical or digital production but in people’s time. You can do the math yourself. Let’s say you can write 500 good words an hour. For a six thousand word book that is 120 hours of work. How let’s say you got a stipend to write the book of a $1000 because you are writing a scholarly book. Not counting editing, time spent marketing your book (most author’s end up doing that themselves) , and a whole host of other work accounted for it you are making a whopping $8.30 and hour. When you take into account all the other work involved you might be down to $2 an hour. Now imagine the cost of an editor getting paid a real wage. A book might cost $3.50 to print but $20 to edit.

Percentages are not better. With a miraculously $25 profit on a $100 book but only selling 250 of them you end up with  $125 at 2% profit share and at 20% you make $1,250. Less than minimum wage if you send 120 hours working on it.

DIY Won’t Help

I have heard a lot of people say they will cut out the middle man and publish the book themselves. Well Amazon gives you 70% of the royalties for digital kindle books, minus some downloading costs. The catch is that it is for books between $2.99 and $9.99. Any more or less and you only get 30% royalties. So to get make minimum wage for 200 hours of work (120 writing first draft, 70 hours self editing, 10 hours marketing) you would have to sell 290 digital only books, actually around 300-325 because there are hidden fees. Also, that does not take into account all the other work you do for the book.

There is No Mass Market for Scholarly Archaeology

300 doesn’t seems like a lot and if you are aiming for mass media it is achievable. However, for scholarly work it is probably not obtainable. Think of everyone who has published on the topic of your book. Now cut that in half and cut that number in half again. That is probably the number of individuals that will buy your book. Is it more than 300?

You won’t have access to the libraries. Publishers may not do a lot for you in some cases (edited volumes tend to be put together and edited by others) but they have invested in marketing and access infrastructure. Many librarians won’t entertain self-published work as an option to buy. Also, publishers can make some money by selling books are parts of bundles, you can’t.  The 200-300 sales publishers i.e. university presses and societies, rely on are not available to you. It is a completely different economic model.

Edit- Matt, who works in publishing made this interesting comment-

“A couple of points you have to remember are that, in scholarly publishing, libraries now make up a smaller and smaller share of the sales – meaning that print runs are either being reduced, or the publishers are trying to sell more copies via the traditional retail outlets. These outlets are increasingly using centralised buying systems, getting their stock direct from wholesale warehouses rather than direct from the publisher. It makes a great deal of sense for them to do so, as the wholesaler can supply items in 48 hours (as opposed to the publishers 14 days). These wholesale warehouses ‘demand’ a very high discount from publishers – anywhere up to %60-%70 of cover price – which means that any publishers profit has to be found in the other %30-%40. When you take in to account print costs (actually usually a ‘bit’ higher than those examples you cite – but not much), the editorial costs, layout, design and marketing – then there really isn’t much of that %30-%40 left over. Given that the average print run for a scholarly work is now far less than the 300 you mention (that was a decade ago) things in academic publishing are, to be blunt, a bit tight. In recent years I have seen hardback print runs of 90 and 120.”

I should add when I quote lower print costs but if you want quality paper, a good binding etc. That $1 or 2$ extra can eat away at that 30-40% that publishers have to work in.

Beer Money

I have talked to several archaeologists who have self-published or get a percentage of the profits from their books with publishers. Basically, they end up with beer money. There are a few notable exceptions for some academics who have written textbooks that get bought by hundreds of undergrads each year. Even then when you take into account the time they spent on the book almost none of them have made close to minimum wage, some lose money.

That even counts for people who already did most of the writing for other projects e.g. PhD, CRM project. Yes, you did a lot of the work but you will still put in 40? 80? 100? more hours of work to sell only 100 books.

It not about the money, money

There are a million reasons to publish that is not about the money. People like to share what they know. If you are looking for a career in academia then you need to publish. You could be doing it to get your name out there. People love to hire the person who ‘wrote the book’ on (insert topic).

In no way do I want to discourage people from publishing by talking about the economics but I did want to clear up some misconceptions. I have had way too many conversations with people saying they want to become a professor, publish books, and live off of the royalties of the books….

Consider Open Access

A final thought to leave you with. People won’t read a book that costs $9.99 but will read a free one. Our book, on Blogging and Archaeology, has had at least 1000 downloads in 5 months between just Chris and I’s websites. It was published all over the place and we don’t have the full stats. One of my wife’s coworkers read it after someone in Australia sent it to her. It might have been read by 2-3k so far, but at least 1000 times. If you goal is to disseminate knowledge, get your name known, or make money through other means then consider Open Access. If you are DIY publishing it makes very little sense to charge $9.99 for a book so you can make $2 an hour for your work. If you got a single CRM contract or academic grant because you wrote a book someone read (because it was open access) it will pay 100X the little beer money you would get from 100 people buying your book. Just a thought.

Refs

Gardiner Eileen & Ronald G. Musto. 2004. Electronic Publication: The State of the Question, A paper presented at the 2004 American Philological Association Meeting.

Greco, A.N. and Wharton, R.M. 2008. Should university presses adopt an open access (electronic publishing) business model for all of their scholarly books?. In ELPUB. Open Scholarship: Authority, Community, and Sustainability in the Age of Web 2.0 ñ Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Electronic Publishing. L. Chan and S. Mornati, eds, Toronto.

Gardiner Eileen & Ronald G. Musto. 2004. Electronic Publication: The State of the Question, A paper presented at the 2004 American Philological Association Meeting.

Greco, A.N. and Wharton, R.M. 2008. Should university presses adopt an open access (electronic publishing) business model for all of their scholarly books?. In ELPUB. Open Scholarship: Authority, Community, and Sustainability in the Age of Web 2.0 ñ Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Electronic Publishing. L. Chan and S. Mornati, eds, Toronto.


Ancient Peoples

Harness Ornament with Raptors and Carnivores 5th-4th Century...



Harness Ornament with Raptors and Carnivores

5th-4th Century BC

Thracian

(Source: The Metropolitan Museum)

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Myth of the Gaps

Mythicism doesn’t account for gaps in what Paul writes better than mainstream scholarship does.

It just fills those gaps with something different, something which is at odds with what Paul does explicitly say in places.

People who did not previously know about a historical Jesus would be left with  questions after reading one of Paul’s letters. And people who did not previously know about a celestial Jesus would be left with the same kinds of questions after reading one of Paul’s letters.

People want information about other people. And when they believe in gods and celestial beings, they want information about those too.

And so the claim that somehow mythicism makes better sense of the gaps in Paul’s letters is not just bogus, but completely bogus.

And that anyone finds the claim persuasive, suggests to me that they have not given sufficient thought to the matter.

A good biography cannot include every detail, but it must provide enough. And a good myth may not include every detail, but it must provide enough.

And so surely the best explanation for the lack of historical and/or mythicial details in Paul’s letters must be the genre, and not the fact that he thought of Jesus in historical terms, mythical terms, or both.

And while one can certainly read mythicism into the gaps in Paul’s letters, there is nothing in those letters that requires one to do that, and some things Paul says make it much harder to do that. It is most straightforward to fill in missing information that fits with Jesus having been a Jewish person believed to be the messiah who was crucified, as Paul explicitly states, not to mention that this fits with the slightly later Gospels and all other relevant sources as well.

360px-Jesus_in_the_Sky

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Le Fluff et Le Puff ... Bikinis

I've blogged several times about ancient 'bikinis' - the tag is here for posts - so we're not going to be going over that old ground.

But I've been wishing I was lounging in the sunshine in Morocco, not in rainy England, and ... one of the things women seem to complain about is the incompatibility of boobs and beachwear, so this is my little attempt at help.

I can't turn you in a Greek goddess, but I can suggest some good brands of bikinis. The only breasts that look good in those tiny little string triangles are silicone ones, otherwise it's a case of buying from a companies that make bra-sized swimwear.


Hoola is a British company that makes pretty, simple designs that start at a 28 band and go up to a GG cup. They are also having an end of summer sale at the moment - here.

I love their Honey Frill Poppy Red Top, although I prefer the other bottoms they did. It offers good support without looking as if it's the Forth Bridge (which so many cupped bikinis do ... eek).
 
I also have their Shimmer Twilight Blue Bandeau Halter in navy and in white ...
The bottoms shown in the photo are fabulously flattering - that's the difference between a high street and a designer bikini: the good brands will make your arse look better from behind.

I wish I'd bought the retro style ruched shorts / pants that go with them ...

Anyway, this is a fabulous brand, and I can't recommend their bikinis enough.

Hoola is also available at ASOS.


Miss Mandalay is another fabulous bikini brand. I have lots of their bikinis but none of the ones currently on their web site here. I have those designs and can vouch for them, but in different patterns or colours, and again they are stocked at ASOS (where they are currently on sale). They go from a 30 band and to a G cup, but the bands tend to be tighter than high street 30s.

Hoola bikinis offer better support than most Miss Mandalay bikinis, except this one - the Sail A Way Bikini Top is a miracle of engineering. It's available with retro or regular bottoms.

I bought this bikini from Fusspot Lingerie which is a simply amazing little shop on the internet that I've purchased from regularly and cannot recommend enough - she posts immediately, and is super lovely.


Pour Moi is a high street brand I've had good luck with some bikinis with ... others were a mixed bag (ie navy that looked black in the flesh ... eek ... my 'pet peeve' is black swimwear which is not slimming and makes white flesh look whiter ... incidentally, 'string' or tie-side bottoms are much more slimming than the big ones women too often try to hide behind). Pour Moi bikinis are available at ASOS and Figleaves.

N.B. - For Americans who say "what?!?! a G cup?!?" ... that's because we measure and size bras differently in the UK from the US. We measure first under the breasts to give the band size - so 29 inches would be rounded up to a 30 band - and then around the breasts for the cup (it's roughly an inch a cup size). In bikinis I tend to go up a band size so that it doesn't dig in, but not down in the cup (bikini cups tend to be smaller than bras, and I'm not a stripper).

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Study claims cave art made by Neanderthals

A series of lines scratched into rock in a cave near the southwestern tip of Europe could be proof that Neanderthals were more intelligent and creative than previously thought.

The cross-hatched engravings inside Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar are the first known examples of Neanderthal rock art, according to a team of scientists who studied the site. The find is significant because it indicates that modern humans and their extinct cousins shared the capacity for abstract expression.

The study, released Monday by the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined grooves in a rock that had been covered with sediment. Archaeologists had previously found artifacts associated with Neanderthal culture in the overlying layer, suggesting that the engravings must be older, said Clive Finlayson, one of the study’s authors. Read more.

ArcheoNet BE

Provinciale landschapsdag: Zennegat-Battenbroek

Op dinsdag 30 september organiseert de provincie Antwerpen haar vijfde provinciale landschapsdag. De landschapsdag vindt dit jaar plaats in Heffen (Mechelen), en zet het waterlandschap rond Zennegat-Battenbroek in de kijker. Hoe gaat de mens om met de rivieren en de getijden? Wat doet dit met het landschap en de natuur? De link tussen de geschiedenis en het landschap dat tot stand is gekomen, wordt toegelicht op de landschapsdag.

Verschillende sprekers zullen in de voormiddag de geschiedenis en het bijhorende landschap bespreken vanuit hun specialiteit. De evolutie van het Zennegat-Battenbroek wordt uitgebreid toegelicht vanaf de prehistorie tot het Sigmaplan. Je krijgt ook zicht op het gebruik en het beheer vn het landschap. Tijdens de namiddag wordt in verschillende excursies dieper ingegaan op onderwerpen uit de presentaties.

Praktisch: de provinciale landschapsdag vindt plaats op dinsdag 30 september in zal De Kettinghe in Heffen. De studiedag is gratis. Het volledige programma, alle praktische informatie en een inschrijvingsformulier vind je op www.provincieantwerpen.be. Inschrijven is mogelijk tot 20 september.

Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 33 (A scribal note by Iovane Zosime)

For students of the languages, literature, and history of Christianity, the horde of manuscripts written or preserved at Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai is among the most valuable collections. Manuscripts there were microfilmed several decades ago, and we can be very grateful that scans of those microfilms have been made accessible through E-corpus. While the images are bitonal, and thus not everything is as readable as we might like, in general the writing is clear (at least in black ink, others less so).

Below is an image from Sin. Geo. 62 (Garitte, Catalogue, pp. 197-209), a hagiographic manuscript of the late tenth century written by Iovane Zosime, from whose pen several manuscripts survive. Here is a note at the end a text where he requests prayer.

Sin. Geo. 62, f. 138vb

Sin. Geo. 62, f. 138vb

With abbreviations resolved, it reads in nusxuri (and an asomtavruli initial):

Ⴜ(ⴋⴈⴃⴀ)ⴌⴍ ⴋⴍⴜⴀⴋⴄⴌⴍ ⴋⴍⴋⴈⴤⴑⴄⴌⴄⴇ ⴜ(ⴈⴌⴀⴘ)ⴄ ⴖ(ⴋⴐ)ⴇⴈⴑⴀ ⴋⴄⴍⴞⴄⴁⴈ

ⴇⴀ ⴇⴕ(ⴍⴣⴄ)ⴌⴈⴇⴀ ⴈⴍⴅⴀⴌⴄ ⴔ(ⴐⴈⴀ)ⴃ ⴚⴍ<ⴃ>ⴅⴈⴊⴈ : ⴊ(ⴍ)ⴚⴅⴀⴗ(ⴀⴅ)ⴊ

In mxedruli:

წ(მიდა)ნო მოწამენო მომიჴსენეთ წ(ინაშ)ე ღ(მრ)თისა მეოხებითა თქ(უე)ნითა იოვანე ფ(რია)დ ცო<დ>ვილი ლ(ო)ც(ვა)-ყ(ავ)თ

The missing ⴃ in ⴚⴍ<ⴃ>ⴅⴈⴊⴈ may be due to an abbreviation, but there is no abbreviation-mark, so I have considered it an accidental omission. (It be must be stated, though, that every single abbreviation is not always so marked.)

Vocabulary and grammatical remarks:

  • მოწამეჲ martyr
  • მო-მ-ი-ჴსენ-ეთ aor impv 2pl O1 მოჴსენება to remember
  • მეოხებაჲ intercession, help
  • ცოდვილი sinner
  • ლოცვა-ყავ-თ aor impv 2pl ლოცვის-ყოფა to pray (< to make a prayer)

Garitte’s LT (209):

Sancti martyres mementote mei coram Deo intercessione vestra, Iohannis valde peccatoris; orate.

My ET:

Holy martyrs, remember me before God, John, the great sinner, through your intercession! Pray!


Archaeological News on Tumblr

Supermarket built over ancient city of Myrleia in Bursa despite court cases

A supermarket has been built on top of the ancient city of Myrleia, dating back to 700 BC, in the western province of Bursa, despite ongoing court cases related to the protection of the area.

Bursa Municipality had granted tourism and trading construction permits for a 60,000-square meter area above the ancient city, after which a branch of the supermarket chain store Kipa was built. Parts of the ancient site are now being held in the basement of the supermarket.

Uludağ University’s Archaeology Department discovered pieces of ancient ceramics on the surface near the area in 2010, after which they requested the Bursa Culture and Natural Heritage Preservation Board to declare the area a 1st degree conservation site. After assessing the land, the Preservation Board declared the area to be a 3rd degree archaeological site, meaning fewer restrictions in the use of land than initially requested. Read more.

Ancient Peoples

Silver Gilt Cup (One of a pair) 4th-3rd Century BC Late...



Silver Gilt Cup (One of a pair)

4th-3rd Century BC

Late Classical or Hellenistic

(Source: The Metropolitan Museum)

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Iron Age CSI finds gold thieves died in the act

IN 1958, archaeologist Robert Dyson was excavating the long-buried citadel of Hasanlu in Iran when he came across this beautiful gold bowl (pictured). But after a moment in the international headlines, the bowl and citadel were largely forgotten.

And so the unique circumstances under which the precious vessel fell to the bottom of a refuse shaft 2,800 years ago are only now coming to light, as Dyson’s former student Michael Danti of Boston University revisits the excavation notes.

Today, Hasanlu looks like a large dirt mound that rises 25 metres out of the Solduz valley in north-west Iran, but beneath the earth are the remains of a settlement that was occupied nearly continuously for millennia, from 6000 BC. Read more.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: I know, Let's...


In a comment on Dave Crisp's The joy of metal detecting – it’s not just about the treasure (29 August 2014, Guardian Opinion is Free), the editor of Culture Crime News comments:
Thoughts from a metal detectorist in the UK. Worth reading in that it is clear that this person has either not considered or not been given the opportunity to explore his interest in the past via real archaeology. How can we get these people to make a contribution, not just cause destruction?
I know, let us set up a government-funded Scheme to outreach to "these people" (and anyone else)  and give them a chance to explore their interest in the past through real archaeology! I mean, it could do things like, umm, "advance knowledge of the history and archaeology of England and Wales by the systematic recording of archaeological objects found by the public". It could "raise awareness amongst the public of the educational value of archaeological finds and facilitate research in them". Wouldn't it be wonderful if it could actually "increase opportunities for active public engagement in archaeology and strengthen links between metal detector users and archaeologists"? And it should "encourage all those who find archaeological objects to make them available for recording and to promote archaeological best practice by finders".  I mean it could, couldn'tit?  It could be called something like the "Moveable Artefacts Project" (MAP). Trouble is, where could we find such a Scheme?


BiblePlaces Blog

Conference on Khirbet Qeiyafa

The Swiss Society for Near Eastern Studies (Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Orientalische Altertumswissenschaft) is holding its autumn conference this Saturday in Bern, Switzerland. The conference is devoted to a single site in Israel and is organized by the Institute of Biblical Studies.

KHIRBET QEIYAFA IN THE SHEPHELA

Venue: University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 6, 2nd Floor, Room 205

09.30–09.45: Prof. Dr. Silvia Schroer, University of Bern: Welcome and Introduction

09.45–11.00: Prof. Dr. Yosef Garfinkel, Hebrew University, Jerusalem: Khirbet Qeiyafa and the Kingdom of Judah

11.00–11.45: Prof. Dr. Aren Maeir, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan: Khirbet Qeiyafa in Its Regional Context: A View from Philistine Gath

11.45–12.45: Response 1 & 2: Archaeological and Historical Aspects - Prof. Dr. Thomas Römer, University of Lausanne / Collège de France & Dr. Stefan Münger, University of Bern

14.00–14.30: Plenary Discussion - Discussion Moderator: Prof. Dr. Thomas Römer

14.30–15.15: Prof. Dr. Silvia Schroer, University of Bern: Iconographic Finds from Khirbet Qeiyafa

15.15–16.00: Prof. Dr. Benjamin Sass, Tel Aviv University: The Epigraphic Finds from Khirbet Qeiyafa in Context

16.00–16.30: Response 3: Prof. Dr. Axel Knauf, University of Bern

16.30–17.15: Panel Discussion

The conference flyer has all of the details including abstracts of the presentations.

HT: Agade

Khirbet Qeiyafa west gate, tb010412815

West gate of Khirbet Qeiyafa, looking towards Azekah 
Photo from Judah and the Dead Sea

Geoff Carter (Theoretical Structural Archaeology)

Roundhouse Psychosis

In the previous post I explained why the large Wessex style “roundhouse” as illustrated and rebuilt is a fiction which is not supported by the evidence.  To be fair to all concerned, it never was a “peer reviewed” idea, but like the artists reconstruction that decorate the front of some archaeological texts, it has a far greater impact on our collective perception of the past than any sterile rendition of the evidence. 
The problem is that Roundhouses are more than just infotainment, a bit of harmless hokum for Joe Public, they are taken seriously, not only by those who commission and build them, but also by academics, and even fellow archaeologists who are obliged to shape their reports around this simplistic construct.  While dumbing down the academic system lightens everybody’s load, it is not good for the long term mental health of the profession, who have responsibility with ‘doing’ the day to day archaeology.  We like to think what we do is meaningful, making a contribution, and that we are collectively getting somewhere, it is about the only reward you will get.
As a field archaeologist, writing up sites, I had realised that the simplistic roundhouse only made sense if ignored a lot of the actual evidence from these structures, and, the majority of the structural features from elsewhere on the site.  Furthermore, those aspects of the evidence that reflected the archaeology of other published sites [roundhouses] were deemed particularly significant, reinforcing the cycle of belief.  Thus, apart from square four post granaries, circles are generally the only acceptable shape for a prehistoric buildings; both excavation and post-excavation were approached with same expectation, and to some extent purpose, of finding roundhouses.
Roundhouses; a coping strategy
In general, the actual work of excavation and report writing is done by people like me, judged too stupid to teach archaeology, while those who stay on at university to instruct the next generation, can avoid any practical involvement in the process.  Since the merit is reading reports, not in writing them, there is a danger that what universities teach is what they know - how to teach and read archaeology. 
How to do archaeology – write a report about the unique piece of cultural heritage that you have just destroyed – is something you’ll probably pick up along the way, or so you hope as you hack your way through the topsoil with a JCB....  
In the end, roundhouses are just one of those stories we tell ourselves, a myth to ward off the chaos, and tame complexity that confronts us; it is an article of faith on which we have become dependent, a candle lit against the darkness of the past.
 How real and imagined roundhouses simplify interpretation; Springfield Lyon's Essex  [Bronze Age] A: All period features. B: Roundhouses and rampart. C: Reconstruction [1]
Nb. Nice picture, but it's a mirror image of the actual archaeology, and only one building is a real roundhouse.  There is considerably more soil in the rampart than could have come from the ditch, and it is piled at an unstable angle. The artist did not understand how a box rampart works, and has created a composite structure incorporating features of various styles of defence. 
  
Guilty secrets; Mea Culpa
For all practical purposes, identifying the roundhouses is job done for the structural evidence, and while this might leave the majority of the postholes un-interpreted, since they are not roundhouses, they can add nothing to the collective narrative.
Given the time and expense invested in excavation, the process is under pressure to produce, and since “roundhouses” are the only relevant transferable currency, many reports contain join the dot roundhouses, in which a selection of disparate features, or perhaps those forming an arc, are converted by a dotted line into a circle and significantly enhancing roundhouse yield.
It is always difficult to draw attention to shortcomings in archaeological reports, while it is the only way to make progress, it’s not the way the friends or influence people; I tend to pick sites I have some vague connection with, and luckily, my own work at Orsett exhibited most of the main symptoms of roundhouse mania  [2].
Drip Gullies;  Magical thinking
The “drip gully“ more than any other concept, illustrates the psychosis of roundhouse, it is usually self-contained curving or even penannular feature in the subsoil, often up 2’ / 60 cm deep, apparently formed by either;
  • Water dripping off the roof of a roundhouse – magically dissolving the soil away to form a feature, or
  • Builders deliberately digging a trench to fill with water from the roof – an anti-drain.
The idea of encouraging water to soak into the ground next to the building instead of taking it away using gravity [a drain] is a truly senseless, especially on impermeable soils, where it only serves to collect water.
However, by far the most important thing about “drip gullies” is that they often represent the only evidence for a building; we have now reached the point where roundhouses themselves are invisible, and only the impression – deep into the subsoil - left by water dripping off the roof has survived.
A "roundhouse" I saw excavated at Blyth Northumberland was defined by a "drip gully", polygonal feature cut into impermeable boulder clay, with traces of the timber footing clearly visible in the section. This was understood  a "drip gully" caused by water dripping off the roof of building supported on an invisible wall.  [3]

Naturally, this is not really supported by the evidence, however, it is a point of connection with other reports, and importantly, any relatively short curving feature can be extrapolated create yet another roundhouse.

Inappropriate relationships; exotic fantasies
Realistically, postholes are only really perceived as significant if they form in a circle, but since the majority don't,  from this point onwards archaeology is effectively broken as a serious study . The identification of structures with no real geometric or structural integrity, simply on the basis of apparent circularity, only compounds the error.
Circularity, real or imagined may be the lowest common denominator, imparting both meaning and significance to otherwise uniform features, distinguishing them from others in data set. At a global level it provides connectivity with circularity in other data sets, allowing for cross-cultural comparisons; while igloos are round, they are made from different materialsfor a different environment by a different culture, which is why equatorial African huts are used as a basis for reconstructions [!]; although tents and yurts of nomadic pastoralists deserve a dishonourable mention. 
While, because of the termites, there is no tradition of timber framed building in Africa,  they do have round huts and  apparently that’s more than enough evidence to assume their buildings were the same as ours.

Meanwhile, back in the reality of the predominantly temperate heavily wooded, mountainous and marshy environment of post glacial north-west Europe, agriculture required a lot of fixed plant and is predicated on a complex built environment.  Many activities that might be accomplished in the open further south like threshing, milking, over wintering stock for example may have to done indoors as agriculture moved north.  
It is just how it works here, what people do in Africa or New Guinea is not relevant, and remember - it's a long way to come by canoe .

Ink Blot Test; Joining the dots.
Archaeology has developed my making connections between things, principally by looking for similarities, in things such as pottery.  Most of the structures identified as a “roundhouse” tend to be unique, with a rough approximation of circularity being the only common factor; however, due to some impaired reasoning this opens the way to make simplistic and inappropriate connections between unrelated phenomena on the basis of this superficial similarity.
Above/ left[4]
  • Can you see the pattern? 
  • Does it look familiar?
  • What do you think it is?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • Are you sure?
Let’s look again at some of the important the symptoms of roundhouse psychosis:
  • Looking for exclusively for this phenomena
  • Imposing this pattern of expectation on the evidence
  • Ignoring evidence that does not conform with expectation
  • Seeing this pattern in unrelated or inappropriate data
  • Inferring their presence from the absence of evidence
Architectural “thinking” in British Prehistory is dominated by this unhealthy concentration on a dysfunctional and delusory construct, which has led to an imaginary world devoid of functional buildings, cleaned of all irrelevant structures, leaving a pristine landscape of no practical value to anyone with the misfortune to have to live there.  Quite how any sort of complex agricultural society could have been run from these rustic gazebos has never been fully explained; the problem is that people actually lived and worked in the Iron Age, they weren’t just camping.

The Acrophobic Roundhouse; Fear of Heights
Truth has become an abstract concept in archaeology, especially if it conflicts with the images in people’s minds; you may have a mental picture of roundhouse, you may also have one of Jesus; neither is real, but both can influence the way you think.  
If I tell you that most of the substantial surviving Iron Age buildings were multi-storey, you may find the statement troubling, but it happens to be true; think about it.  ?
For many people the idea of multi-storey roundhouses cannot be true because of the fumes from the fire would choke everyone upstairs; the belief in the model is so absolute that the central hearth can be presumed without the need for evidence. This central hearth may be a fiction, but it is sustained by belief which makes evidence unnecessary, such is the nature of this psychosis.
   
Health warning 
While the assertions I have made about roundhouses may be evidentially true; there was no big open space with central hearth in the buildings I have discussed; archaeology is a faith based study, and what people believe is what matters.  Articles of faith, rituals, and superstitions, may be irrational or unfounded, but they are important coping strategies. So, regardless of  their debilitating effect on other more rational cognitive processes, these dependencies are unlikely to be given up voluntarily.  Bizarrely, roundhouses seem to be one of the few things most people seem comfortable with, and apart from stones and mounds, it is about the only substantive thing British Prehistory has to sell to people. 
Obviously, there are no poor universities, courses or lecturers, only poor students, so if you are a student, it would be most unwise to draw anyone’s attention to the evidence. While this is how we got here in the first place, the best way to personal progress in a subject like archaeology is by confirming and reinforcing existing prejudice.   My advice is to read and repeat.  If you can think, best keep it to yourself, it disturbs and unsettles those who can't, but it may come in useful if you do badly in your exams – you might end up being an archaeologist and having to write reports. 
I doubt any student has deep enough pockets or a long enough tongue to successfully dislodge a faith based concept like roundhouses.  It might be disappointing to discover that this bit is all just make believe, after all you paid a real money for it, but trust me, what is important in archaeology is having a job.
Meanwhile, here on the internet, this is the only place to find a mature post-university level narrative about timber engineering; but be warned, Prehistoric buildings were built by adults, so this is for grownups, it is quite complicated, because you can only dumb a subject so down far before it is really only credible to its proponents and children.

Note: If you are effected by any of the issues raised in this post then please feel free to comment.  

More detail on this topic here...


Sources and further reading
[1] D. G. Buckley and J. D. Hedges (1987), The Bronze Age and Saxon settlements at Springfield Lyons, Essex. Essex County Council, Occasional Paper No.5.
[2] G. A. Carter, 1998: Excavations at the Orsett ‘Cock’ enclosure, Essex, 1976. East Anglian Archaeology Report No 86.
[3] TWM Archaeology. Unpublished [?] Grey Literature.
[4] Woodhenge Post Ring F;
Cunnington, M. E. (1929) Woodhenge. Devizes
Also, 
G. Bersu: 1940: Excavations at Little Woodbury, Wiltshire. Part 1, the settlement revealed by excavation. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 6, 30 -111


Stephen Chrisomalis (Glossographia)

Anthro X: An anti-seminar in culture and cognition

As mentioned in my previous post, this term I’m running a special course on the topic of culture and cognition, for six of the students in my Culture, Language and Cognition course from last term, all of whom were highly successful and, because I’m advising them in one way or another, are highly motivated to do some more work in this field.    I’m running this as a joint directed study – it looks like a seminar, and acts like a seminar, but keeping it ‘directed’ allows me to schedule it and manage enrollment more effectively.   I’m calling it ‘Anthro X’ as a conscious homage to the late physicist Richard Feynman, and his ‘Physics X’ informal seminars at Caltech. 

Last term’s course was skewed a little towards ‘cognitive anthropology’ construed narrowly, within the American tradition outlined by Roy D’Andrade in his The development of cognitive anthropology (1995).  This sort of work is obviously important, but hardly scratches the surface of the broader subject of ‘culture and cognition’ (across anthropological subfields and related disciplines).  It’s that broader field where I position my own work on number and numeracy, and thus, where I decided to go in this new course.  I chose recent book-length works, all from the past ten years, and a heavy skew towards the past two years. Partly that’s because these particular students already have a broad reading background in the older material, so are more than ready for contemporary stuff.  Partly it’s because they’ll be writing book reviews, which they’ll be posting here in the weeks to come.  Partly it’s because I haven’t read half this stuff myself, and assigning it to students provides me a good incentive to do so. 

Anyway, here’s the planned reading list – comments and questions are welcome!

Bloch, Maurice. 2012. Anthropology and the cognitive challenge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cerulo, Karen A. 2006. Never saw it coming: cultural challenges to envisioning the worst. University of Chicago Press.

Cohen, Emma. 2007. The mind possessed: the cognition of spirit possession in an Afro-Brazilian religious tradition. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ingold, Tim. 2007. Lines: a brief history. New York: Routledge.

Kockelman, Paul. 2010. Language, culture, and mind: natural constructions and social kinds. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Lende, Daniel H., and Downey, Greg, eds. 2012. The encultured brain: an introduction to neuroanthropology. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Lloyd, G. E. R. 2007. Cognitive variations: reflections on the unity and diversity of the human mind. Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.

Malafouris, Lambros. 2013. How things shape the mind: a theory of material engagement. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Saxe, Geoffrey. 2012. Cultural development of mathematical ideas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Suchman, Lucille Alice. 2007. Human-machine reconfigurations: plans and situated actions (2nd edition). Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Tomasello, Michael. 2014. A natural history of human thinking. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wengrow, David. 2013. The Origins of Monsters: Image and Cognition in the First Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Wierzbicka, Anna. 2013. Imprisoned in English: The Hazards of English as a Default Language. New York: Oxford University Press.

Wynn, Thomas, and Frederick Coolidge. 2012. How to think like a Neandertal. New York: Oxford University Press.


Filed under: Anthropology

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Something else Yezidi has been destroyed. It may have been the shrine of Sheikh Sin.

The Êzidî Press (@EzidiPress) has released another video of a ruined religious site. ‘Yezidi holy place/sacred site Quba Sheikhsin destroyed by IS terrorists. [Von IS-Terroristen zerstörte êzîdîsche Heiligenstätte Quba Sheikhsin.]‘ Caution As for the shrine of Sheikh Mikhfiya, so for the shrine of Sheikh Sin: I can’t find it on ArchNet, Flickr, Google Maps, Panoramio, […]

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient footprints discovered in Bursa

Footprints dating back to the Neolithic period (6,400 B.C.) have been discovered during excavations in Barçın tumulus in the northwestern province of Bursa’s Yenişehir district.

Koç University academic, Rana Özbal, said works had been continuing in Barçın tumulus since 2007 under the coordination of the Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Dutch Research Institute.

She said the oldest settlement in the region dated back to 8,600 B.C., adding, “The houses in tumulus are semidetached. In one of the houses, we have found a pair of footprints and now we are searching for how they appeared.” Read more.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Doubt and Conspiracy

A couple of posts struck me as insightful and quotable, and related to the same theme, so I will share links to and quotes from them together. First, Carson T. Clark wrote about doubt as a Christian virtue:

Many Christians see doubt as the opposite of faith. This I find rather bizarre because I see doubt as the opposite of certainty. With that understanding, I would suggest that doubt is a reality of life. Experience tells me that all people have doubt. It’s only a matter of whether you’re intellectually honest and emotionally secure enough to acknowledge it. The question, then, is not whether you have doubt, but what you do with it. That is, how do you channel your doubt? Do you push it down deep, doing everything in your power to pretend it’s not there? Do you militarize it, advocating that anyone who believes anything is an idiot? Do you simply ignore it, embracing a lifestyle of cognitive dissonance in which doubt is a constant irritant? Do you wallow in it, passively accepting a kind of default skepticism? Or do you acknowledge its presence and assertively address it, utilizing doubt’s life-altering and life-giving potential? To my mind it’s a natural, cyclical progression. Curiosity leads to doubt. Doubt leads to questioning. Questioning leads to truth. Truth leads to maturation. Maturation leads to healing. Healing leads to worship. And worship leads back to curiosity. Unless you’re willing to turn off that basic human trait of curiosity, doubt is an inevitability. Too often we presume doubt is a vice, failing to understand its potential as a virtue when it’s synthesized with honesty, security, humility, and grace.

Then Fred Clark had a lot to say about conspiracy theory thinking, and why belief in Biblical inerrancy is an example of it. Here is a short but insightful sample:

Conspiracy theories don’t arise from facts. They arise, rather, from an epistemologicalchoice that prescribes which facts will be accepted and how those facts will be interpreted.

Next, Jim Spinti shared a quote from Zoltan Schwab’s book, Toward an Interpretation of the Book of Proverbs:

The opposite of trust in God in Proverbs is not so much ‘doubt’ in God (which is seldom mentioned if at all, at least not explicitly) but trust in oneself (cf. 3:5 vs 3:7; 28:25-26.) No wonder the reader of Proverbs is so often reminded about the dangers of pride.

So often, those who insist that doubt is a sin have precisely the sort of self-confidence in their own understanding and interpretation that Proverbs and the rest of the Bible warns about. Rarely do they see the irony.

Carlos Bovell writes about inerrancy in a guest post on Pete Enns’ blog:

Post-inerrantists are not trying to sever the relationship between God and scripture but rather to establish it by critically investigating scripture and conceptually clarifying it. It is not “perverse” or “unproductive” when a believer suspends judgment on inerrancy, takes a searchingly fresh look at the Bible, and concludes that inerrancy simply does not do justice to what the Bible is and how the Bible behaves.

See also Brandon Withrow on finding GOD in an eggplant, and believing and seeing. And let me recommend a book that seems never to have gotten the attention it deserves, Robert Davidson’s The Courage to Doubt: Exploring an Old Testament Theme.

The opposite of faith is not doubt

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Polish archaeologists in on the Red Sea port

Archaeologists studied two thousand years old port infrastructure and a large animal cemetery in Berenice on the Red Sea in Egypt.

"This time during excavations we got lucky. Undoubtedly, this year’s most interesting find is a frame - wooden part of a ship hull from the early Roman period" - told PAP Iwona Zych from the Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, who leads the research project in cooperation with Prof. Steven E. Sidebotham of the University of Delaware in the United States.

This is the first fully preserved and documented frame from the hull of the ship from this period in Egypt. The find and the place of its discovery leads researchers to believe that the ship was dismantled and its parts stored in the warehouse in the port bay. Read more.

Wax Tablets Reveal Secrets of Ancient Illyria

A new study of five wax tablets from the Second Century, found in the Albanian city of Durres, offers fascinating insights into the role of women in ancient Illyrian culture.

When Albanian archeologist Fatos Tartari excavated the ancient necropolis of Durres in 1979, he came across a staggering find.

In the Roman concrete basement of the monumental tomb lay buried a glass urn filled with a black liquid resembling wine, containing two styluses, an ebony comb and five wax tablets used for writing, which were in good condition.

“The monumental complex was a rare find, starting from the fact that the wine had not evaporated for nearly two millennia,” explained Eduard Shehi, an archeologist at Albania’s Institute of Archeology, in the city of Durres. Read more.

Elginism

Can a museum be too big?

An interesting perspective her, advocates breaking up the largest museums, to allow visitors to enjoy a better experience there, without such high levels of crowding. Institutions such as the British Museum regularly crow about the number of people who visit (with the implication of the statements being that they all see the Parthenon Marbles), but the reality is that this tells nothing about the quality of the experience.

The idea of splitting museums into more manageable chunks is nothing new – London’s Natural History Museum, the British Library & the now sadly defunct Museum of Mankind, once all fell under the auspices of the British Museum.

Some in the industry talk in horror about any event that might lead to a reduction in the collections of the encyclopaedic museums, but the reality is that if current trends continue, such breaking up of collections might become a necessity. As such, once this happens, surely restitution requests would not be seen in quite the same light as they are now, as breaking apart the integrity of a collection that had been amassed over the centuries.

Crowds at the Metropolitan Museum in New York

Crowds at the Metropolitan Museum in New York

From:
Al Jazeera

Break up the major museums to save them
August institutions should build more outposts rather than cloister themselves in big cities
August 31, 2014 6:00AM ET

The Louvre in Paris recently told The Art Newspaper that it expects its visitor numbers to rise by a third over the next decade, putting the world’s busiest art museum on track to welcome 12 million visitors annually by 2025. It’s a staggering figure that points to a growing reality facing art lovers and museumgoers: How can you expect to see and enjoy art through the chaotic crowds that are increasingly defining major museums?

In the last few years, many of the largest and most popular museums, including the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, have been experiencing significant issues with crowding. The head of visitor services at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg recently admitted to The New York Times, “Such a colossal number of simultaneous viewers isn’t good for the art, and it can be uncomfortable and overwhelming for those who come to see the art.” In the same article, an art historian disparaged the situation at the Uffizi Gallery, home to some of the most famous masterpieces of the Renaissance, saying, “It seems like a tropical greenhouse. You can’t breathe.”

Lest you think museum professionals are the only ones concerned, the voices of visitors are starting to echo on social media and websites such as TripAdvisor, where one review of the Vatican Museums encapsulates the anxiety perfectly: “Seriously, it would only take one person to trip or to cause some kind of mild panic or corridor rage … it doesn’t bear thinking of.” Another visitor, this one to the Louvre, wrote, “There was absolutely no way that myself and my family members could enjoy the museum. There are so many people that all you have time to do is make sure you aren’t trampled by the mass coming at you from every direction.”

The tension has been building, and not only among tourists and museum professionals. In 2011 one London critic coined the term “gallery rage” to describe the anger he felt when visiting the Tate Modern’s very popular Paul Gauguin show. It’s a feeling most of us can relate to. If museums in our imaginations are places of contemplation, in real life many are no longer the tranquil havens we wish them to be.

Some museums are responding to gallery rage. In 2011 the National Gallery in London limited the number of visitors to its Leonardo da Vinci exhibition even though it meant the museum would lose $14,850 a day. But few institutions can afford to turn away that kind of money. There must be another solution.

There is. We need to break up the major museums. That may sound radical to some, but it’s an idea whose time has come. I’m suggesting not that museums sell off their collections but that more museums consider aggressively building outposts or prioritizing longer-term partnerships with smaller or newer institutions that could benefit from such relationships.

Decentralization

It’s not as radical a proposition as you might think. The National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Museums in Washington are perfect examples of national institutions with encyclopedic collections that are well suited for this idea. While the National Gallery of Art regularly lends works to regional museums across the country, maintains an extensive free online archive of 45,000 images and offers free admission to visitors, there’s no reason all of its collection should be in D.C., particularly when the majority of it never leaves the storeroom. The same is true of the British Museum in London and the Uffizi in Florence, which both have large, historic collections of art. Though it should be mentioned that the Smithsonian has two outposts in New York: the Cooper-Hewitt design museum and the National Museum of the American Indian, both of which specialize in one field. The Cooper Hewitt does a particularly good job of curating historic and contemporary design in a city that is a global hub for the field.

Roughly 10 years ago, Greece embarked on an ambitious plan to disperse the treasures that were traditionally housed in one museum in Athens to locations across the country. This decentralization — a term they used for the process — of art helped place artifacts in their geographic context while spreading tourist dollars to remote areas. The same process has been undertaken in Cyprus. Even in countries where overcrowding is not a problem, such as Mali, decentralizing the national museum has had benefits, improving local accessibility and encouraging public participation (PDF) in defining the programs and exhibits.

Decentralizing the Smithsonian could allow works to live closer to their native settings, whether that means putting American Indian artifacts closer to their geographic origins or presenting Chicano art in communities with large Mexican-American populations such as San Diego and Chicago. New contexts would help animate objects and art while instilling pride in local communities. It could also expose parts of the country that don’t have the benefit of strong history or art museums to a global heritage and offer them a window to a world they would otherwise have to plan a trip to see.

France has already started to decentralize its museums, realizing the potential benefits of tourists venturing beyond the capital. When the French government opened the Louvre-Lens in 2012, the vision was not to create a branch or an annex of the main museum — even though many of the objects on display are long-term loans from the more famous institution — but to create something new. “It’s a new Louvre with the same collection seen differently,” said its director last year in The New York Times. “With all the encyclopedic museums, you have a tectonic way of looking at art. We insist on what’s common and similar instead of what’s different.”

Ideally the decentralization would be rooted in a community’s needs and ambitions. This type of responsive planning would augment what we already know about the effects of museums on communities. An Australian study (PDF) published in 2003 found that the public perceived museums as making important contributions to communities by building social networks, attracting tourism and contributing to social awareness about the world — all qualities vital to healthy 21st century societies.
Bigger isn’t always better

Some museums are trying to remedy the overcrowding issue by building larger buildings. But museums are not factories; we cannot keep making them bigger without losing something.

Recently, The New York Times’ architecture critic, Michael Kimmelman, disparaged the Frick Museum’s planned expansion, calling it “the latest front in a larger battle to prevent nonprofit outposts of civilization from falling prey to the bigger-is-better paradigm.”

That is true. We need to fight the idea that museums must keep growing to stay relevant or survive. Museums in D.C., New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles — and say, Kansas City, Missouri, and New Haven, Connecticut — should be able to better share centrally located cultural resources with their far-flung neighborhoods and, in some cases, with the rest of the country. What if, for instance, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which recently announced plans for a vast redesign that would allow more of its collection to be displayed, instead opened an outpost in East L.A.? Los Angeles is a decentralized city and its institutions should reflect its geographic and cultural realities. Maybe museums should fashion themselves after public libraries rather than sports stadiums.

In an era when the wealth gap is growing, museums increasingly reflect that same asymmetry. We must rethink museums so that all can share in their cultural riches, not just an elite few. The rise in attendance and the problems of overcrowding at many museums is a sign that the public is hungry for art. We’re faced with the challenge of how we’re going to respond without sacrificing the qualities that make museums uniquely suited to ignite the public’s imagination and consider the world through a constantly changing lens.

Hrag Vartanian is the editor-in-chief and a co-founder of the arts blog Hyperallergic.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera America’s editorial policy.

The post Can a museum be too big? appeared first on Elginism.

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

Thinking Out Loud About the Amphipolis Tomb ~ The Rogueclassicist Speculates

School starts tomorrow so I don’t know whether I’ll have time to flesh this out today, but I want to put this suggestion out there. It actually builds on assorted things proposed by plenty of folks but adds something original, I think. Here’s my speculation on the tomb based on recent things:

1. It is  not implausible that it was intended for Alexander and would have been started while he was still alive

2. Of course, Alexander ended up getting buried in Alexandria

3. So Amphipolis ends up with this big tomb and no one to put in it; but putting ANYONE other than the intended occupant in that tomb would be making a political statement

4. The latest news from the site suggests there were great efforts made to seal the tomb in an unprecedented way (I’ll be posting on this later today or tomorrow) … so:

5. Rogueclassicist goes out on a limb to suggest the Amphipolis tomb will turn out to be EMPTY (wall decorations might be there); not looted but intentionally not used.

6. The tomb/mound was transformed into a memorial monument of sorts (everyone knew it was there), with the lion put on top as a sort of generic marker of sorts. The ‘sphinxes’ were beheaded when everything was sealed up because they weren’t guarding anything. Perhaps a symbolic ‘deterrent’ for folks who might have been thinking about using the tomb for themselves.

… I’m hoping I’ll be proven wrong in the next few weeks and we’ll have a magnificent, occupied, Macedonian tomb but this is going to be my working hypothesis for the next few days.


Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeologists say "special" longhouse could reveal life during Scottish Middle Ages

Archaeologists carrying out a dig as part of a new electricity substation development in Aberdeenshire say the discovery of a 14th or 15th century rural farmstead is unprecedented in the region and of national significance.

Maureen Kilpatrick, who led the Guard Archaeology team at the site near Kintore, predicted that post-excavation analysis of the finds could reveal “fascinating insights” into the lives of Scottish residents during the Middle Ages.

“This late medieval discovery is something quite special,” she said.

“We have uncovered a large enclosure with floor deposits and pottery. Read more.

Jim Davila (Paleojudaica.com)

Saving Syriac inscriptions

SYRIAC WATCH: While ISIS destroys, Hamilton man battles to preserve historic texts. Team conserving photos of ancient inscriptions, buildings that now no longer exist (Kelly Bennett, CBC News).
A group of librarians led by a Hamilton man is racing against time to preserve inscriptions of centuries-old artifacts and documents currently threatened by ISIS’s destruction across much of Iraq and Syria.

[...]

Some of the photographs and rubbings in the collections the centre is processing could be the last remaining evidence of some of the inscriptions and, in some cases, the buildings that housed them. Some of the inscriptions date back to the 7th century.

[Colin] Clarke, [founder and director of the Canadian Centre for Epigraphic Documents at the University of Toronto,] works with a team of library scientists, language experts and academics, all of who volunteer for the centre's work. The centre started four years ago to catalogue and conserve the largest collection of Ancient Greek inscriptions in Canada.

Last year, the centre began working on a collection of Syriac documents. Syriac is an international language that was once used throughout much of the eastern world, being transported along the Silk Road. The dialect is related to Aramaic, the language Jesus reportedly spoke.

Many inscriptions convey Christian thoughts and poems. One key collection of Syriac documents comes from a University of Toronto professor and Mosul native Amir Harrak, an expert in Iraqi Syriac inscriptions.

[...]
Background on the situation in Iraq is here and links. By the way, Syriac is not "related to" Aramaic, it is a dialect of Aramaic.

Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

August Pieces Of My Mind #2

  • 14 August marked 200 years of unbroken peace for Sweden. Eight generations. Most of us don’t even remember the name of the latest ancestor of ours who survived a war.
  • Other people get moments of déjà vu. I get moments of dissociation, when Martin Rundkvist seems not to be me.
  • Neat serendipitous combination of podcasts. I listened to Norm Sherman’s excellent reading of Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out Of Space” on the Drabblecast. It’s about a family killed slowly and horrifically by emanations from a meteorite that hits the ground near their farm. Then Planetary Radio came on with the words “The search for extraterrestrial polluters?”
  • I flip through a 2010 book and find an entire page devoted to criticising stuff I published in 2003. The guy hasn’t told me. I won’t respond, because I haven’t been active in that particular field of study for the past five years. His critique looks like it’s at least partly quite warranted.
  • Is there a way for EU citizens to take part actively somehow in ESA’s work? Not just watch it? Is there any space science advocacy going on to influence the European Parliament?
  • Since I work for the Linnaeus University, I was unhappy to learn that a lecturer there has been found guilty of gross plagiarism, having copied at least 15% of a paper he published verbatim from a book. The news outlets haven’t disclosed his name, but this seems to be the guy. He’s at the Dept of Social Work, not the Dept of Cultural Sciences where archaeology is taught.
  • Annoyance / OCD rage: finding three opened jars of lingonberry jam in the fridge. Bliss: combining their contents in one jar.
  • Ashtanga yoga, from English, “ass tango”.
  • Oh. Those three lectures I gave last September without really having any script? There are eight of them this year.
  • Greg Bear’s 1987 scifi novel Forge of God is set in 1996. In chapter 7 a journalist spends 22 hours in his hotel room combing “specialist bulletin boards” for news about visiting aliens. He uses his laptop and modem, and it costs him $300, or in 2014 currency, $455.
  • Greg Bear! Quit telling me again and again that every character in the novel is wearing slacks!
  • Pat Boone used to have big hits with Little Richard covers. O_o
  • The proofing errors in this e-book of an 80s novel show that the text has been scanned from a paper copy and OCRed. E.g. hp for lip.
  • E-books are great. Forgot who that minor character is? Search for his name. Wonder what that unfamiliar thing mentioned looks like? Google it on your reader.
  • My dad’s neighbour, with whom he’s been feuding for years over building permits, is taking pictures of the preparations for my daughter’s outdoor birthday party.
  • Yes! For a year now I’ve been running Linux Mint on my laptop, and it’s interacted really poorly with the wifi hardware and the trackpad. I’ve had to stick extremely close to any wifi router in order to get a connection. With three months of teaching and travelling at hand, I finally installed the latest Ubuntu Linux instead, and the glitches are gone!
  • Local paper asks 22-y-o what party they will vote for, then why that particular party. “My parents and everybody I know vote for that party, so it’s an obvious choice”. *facepalm*
  • Portishead, “It could be sweet like a long-forgotten dream” makes no sense. Please re-record the song and sing “It could be sweet like a well-remembered dream which was very sweet”. Or ”non-forgotten dream”.
  • Jrette is mainly familiar with music cassettes as iPhone shells.
  • Been called to my 2nd UK job interview and test lecture ever. This time it’s over Skype. I suppose this is mainly to check whether I speak any English.
  • I’m writing a disco tune about railway gauges. It’s called “Yessir, I Can Bogie”.
  • Hardcore work efficiency: do not leave house, wear only bathrobe.
  • This coconut sherbet tastes like suntan lotion with oatmeal.
  • Wife: Hmm, I wonder where I should put my camellia. Me: I wonder where I should plant my proud massive fir-tree. Wife: *sigh*
  • There’s a place near Växjö called Rudebro. It’s not at all as nice as the nearby village of Dudebro.
  • Whuh!? Gary Gygax was a Jehova’s Witness! No joke!
  • Suddenly remembered Yalu, this 70s wargame that my old buddy bought used at a gaming convention when we were boys. We never played it. Now I find that Boardgamegeek’s users judge that there are about one thousand wargames and four thousand other tabletop games that are better than Yalu. So I guess I didn’t miss much.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Royal bronze chariot found after 3,000 years

A bronze chariot made during the Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-771 BC) has been found in Qishan county, Shaanxi province - and archaeologists believe it may be a ceremonial vehicle used by princes.

"We found the chariot, which was buried 1.2 meters underground, in farmland at the village of Hejia," Zhang Yawei, director of the county’s Zhouyuan Museum, told China Daily on Saturday. "We were surprised that it is large with a high bronze content."

Experts from the School of Archaeology at Peking University, the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology and Zhouyuan Museum found the chariot on Aug 18 after investigating the site for 10 days. Read more.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

A Guide to Industrial Tourism in the Bakken

During my free moments, I continue to work on my tour guide of the Bakken. I have an idea that I’ll publish in Tom Isern’s Center for Heritage Renewal Circular Series at North Dakota State or failing that at the Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. 

Williston Type2

I posted a rough version of the introduction here. Today, I’ll include the first part of the first which runs from Minot, ND to Tioga, ND and introduces the intrepid traveler to the Bakken oil patch. I apologize in advance for the roughness of this draft!

The main point of entry into the Bakken is the city of Minot (pop. approx. 41,000). Minot is the county seat of Ward county and sometimes referred to as the “Gateway to the Bakken” Minot is served by Delta airlines, has an Amtrak station, and sits astride Route 2. Route 2 serves as one of the major arteries for the oil patch. It is the northernmost east-west highway in the U.S. and follows the route of the Great Northern Railroad and it sometimes shares with railroad the term “The Highline.” The route runs from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Everett Washington and the stretch from Minot to Williston, North Dakota is among the most scenic drives in North Dakota.

Proceeding west along this route takes you through heart of both workforce housing and the productive activities of the oil boom. The transformation of this corridor is historically striking. The traffic along Route 2 picks up noticeable west of Minot, and the number of fleet pick-up trucks with corporate names stenciled on their flanks will become more common as will tractor trailers carrying equipment west into the oil patch. The border between Ward and Mountrail Counties is pocked with “prairie potholes” or small lakes amidst rolling hills.

Upon entering Mountrail County, the evidence for both the economic opportunities and social and environmental challenges of natural resource extraction becomes more and more visible among the communities in this region. These communities had only limited experience with the potential and pitfalls of dramatic growth in population as well as day-to-day industrial activity and had generally settled into quiet obscurity. They had generally experienced steady decline in population from their heights in the 1950s brought about by a combination of agricultural prosperity and an earlier oil boom which was felt especially further west in Williams County. A slightly interruption in the region’s population decrease occurred during a short oil boom in the the 1980s, but this did little to interrupt the overall pattern for the region. The first places on this itinerary to show evidence for recent transformation are the small towns of Blaisdell (unincorporated) Palermo (ca. 82 in 2013), Stanley (pop. 1,458 in 2010), and Ross (ca. 109) in Mountrail County (ca. 9,376 in 2013) in Mountrail County and Tioga (ca. 1565 in 2013) in Williams County have received the brunt of the most dramatic changes. The strange contrast between the historical lack of development, investment, or visible change and the recent boom has drawn travelers, journalists, tourists, and scholars, to the area. The bustle of the road east from Minot offers just a preview of the activity of the oil patch, and the traveler might succumb to feeling like they’re heading up the river into a Heart of Darkness.

The first distinct evidence for the economic challenges of the area comes in the area of housing which appears before any oil activity. Within 3 miles of county line modular workforce housing appears. On a low rise to the north of the Route 2 approximately 2.5 miles west of the county line, in a township called Egan (pop. 64), is a group of approximately 15 “stackable” mobile housing units. The units stand 150 m to the north of the main road and are called Egan Crest reminiscent of some affluent suburb. Each unit is based on the dimension of standard “high-cube” shipping containers (40 ft or 12.19 m long and 8 ft or 2.44 m wide) with 9.6 ft (2.86 m) tall roofs. These mobile, modular apartments have been stacked two high and feature housing for 2 workers un each 20 ft crate. In the region, they’re know as “stackables” and are seen as a welcome upgrade from life in RVs or or larger more formal workforce housing deeper in the patch. The “stackables” do not have security around them are and apparently are well-insulated and comfortable. Their isolated and scenic position surrounded by rugged farmland gives them a both serenity and vulnerability.

Some 2 mile further west and immediately to the south of Route 2 is Blaisdell RV Park. This park is the first of the informal and scrappy RV parks that make up so much workforce housing in the Bakken. The leveled area of tan gravel is situated some 100 m south of Route 2 and entered at its northeastern corner. Passing a somewhat forlorn play area, there is parking in front of a administrative building with some common area. The park itself is comprised of nearly 100 small units about half of which are small mobile homes and the other half are RVs. In 2014, two large residences carved out of semi-trailers stood at the south end of the rows introducing some of the innovative architectural approaches to life in the Bakken. The units along the west side of the park are rented like hotel rooms whereas the eastern side of the park offer lots available for rent. To the south of the park is Blaisdell Rodeo which convenes each year in early August. The town of Blaisdell is north of Route 2 and is worth a short visit to see the school house and a wood-framed prairie church.

Continuing west along Route 2, past the turn off to Palermo …


James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

A Bible Misused

A Bible used as a weapon against other people quote 2

A Bible used as a weapon against other human beings, is always a Bible misused.

A recent post by Kristen Rosser ended with a phrase that was so quotable, that I made it into two meme images. Please feel free to circulate either or both!

A Bible used as a weapon against other people quote 1

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Figurines provide clue to Olmec trading links in Mexico

Specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico, have identified eight new sites where figurines, greenstone axes, jadeite, white ceramic bowls and gourds have been found. These sites are located in the Grande and Chica districts of the Guerrero coast (southwestern Mexico), and confirm an Olmec influence in that region.

There is ongoing debate as to whether the earliest peoples in this area were actual Olmec who had migrated, or an indigenous group who were heavily influenced by that culture, especially in the Mexcala River area. Olmec influence can certainly be seen in their cave paintings such as those found in Juxtlahuaca as well as stone tools and jade jewellery. Read more.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Scientists conclude sun-powered boat trip to find Europe’s oldest village

An archeological mission in Greece has found traces of what could be the site where the first European Lives. The mission took place on PlanetSolar, the world’s biggest solar boat.

The post Scientists conclude sun-powered boat trip to find Europe’s oldest village appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Perseus Digital Library Updates

Digital Classicist Seminar New England — Spring 2015: Call for Papers

We are pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the third series of the Digital Classicist New England (Boston?). This initiative, inspired by and connected to London’s Digital Classicist Work in Progress Seminar, is organized in association with the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts University. It will run during the spring term of the academic year 2014/15.

We invite submissions on any kind of research which employs digital methods, resources or technologies in an innovative way in order to enable a better or new understanding of the ancient world. We encourage contributions not only from students of Greco-Roman but also from other areas of the pre-modern world, such as Egypt and the Near East, Ancient China and India.

Themes may include digital editions, natural language processing, image processing and visualisation, linked data and the semantic web, open access, spatial and network analysis, serious gaming and any other digital or quantitative methods. We welcome seminar proposals addressing the application of these methods to individual projects, and particularly contributions which show how the digital component can facilitate the crossing of disciplinary boundaries and answering new research questions. Seminar content should be of interest both to classicists, ancient historians or archaeologists, as well as to information scientists and digital humanists, with an academic research agenda relevant to at least one of these fields.

Anonymised abstracts [1] of 500 words max. (bibliographic references excluded) should be uploaded by midnight (CET) on 01 November 2014 using the special submission form. When submitting the same proposal for consideration to multiple venues, please do let us know via the submission form (to be posted later).

Seminars will run from mid-January through April 2015 and will be hosted at Brandeis, Holy Cross, Northeastern and Tufts. The full programme, including the venue of each seminar, will be finalised and announced in December. In order to facilitate real-time participation from California to Europe, seminars will take place in the early afternoon and will be accessible online as Google Hangouts.

As with the previous series, the video recordings of the presentations will be published online and we endeavour to provide accommodation for the speakers and contribute towards their travel expenses. There are plans to publish papers selected from the first series of the seminar as a special issue in an appropriate open access journal.

[1] The anonymized abstract should have all author names, institutions and references to the authors work removed. This may lead to some references having to be replaced by “Reference to authors’ work”. The abstract title and author names with affiliations are entered into the submission system in separate fields.

Organizing committee

Marie-Claire Beaulieu, Tufts University
Gregory Crane, Tufts and Leipzig
Stella Dee, University of Leipzig
Leonard Muellner, Brandeis University
Maxim Romanov, Tufts University
David A. Smith, Northeastern University
David Neel Smith, College of the Holy Cross

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Quinto Convegno Piccoli Musei: focus su Musei accoglienti

musei-accoglienti-convegnoL’Associazione Nazionale Piccoli Musei organizza il 26 e 27 settembre 2014 a Viterbo il Quinto Convegno dell'Associazione dal titolo "Musei accoglienti: una nuova cultura gestionale per i piccoli musei". L'evento è realizzato in collaborazione con la Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell’Etruria Meridionale e con l’Incubatore Culturale Icult-BIC Lazio con il patrocinio del Comune di Viterbo e della Provincia di Viterbo.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Hellenomania

International colloquium, in Athens, on modern responses to Greek material culture in various cultural practices.

The post Hellenomania appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

Finding Common Ground: Roman- Parthian Embassies in the Julio-Claudian Period

At the 2013 ASOR Annual Meeting, Jason Schlude (Duquesne University) and Benjamin Rubin (Williams College) presented their paper, “Finding Common Ground: Roman- Parthian Embassies in the Julio-Claudian Period.” Abstract from the Program Book Diplomatic embassies between Parthia and Rome were a relatively frequent occurrence during the first centuries B.C.E. and C.E. Scholars have traditionally characterized […]

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Stonehenge: ghostly outlines of missing stones appear

It is a mystery which has intrigued archaeologists for centuries: did the huge Neolithic stones which make up Stonehenge form a complete circle?

Now the puzzle has been answered after the dry summer revealed the faint outline of the missing megaliths.

Usually the ground is watered by stewards, to keep the earth moist and the grass healthy.

But this year, the hose they used was too short to reach the whole site. By chance, the incomplete section of the inner stone circle was left to dry out.

When archaeological features have been buried in the ground for a long time, they affect the rate that grass grows above them, even long after they have disappeared. Read more.

Experts seek to save Haiti's archaeological sites

The canons have been stolen from the 18th-century seaside fort in the city where Haiti declared its independence and the stones imported from France are commonly targeted by thieves.

But Haitian authorities and international experts hope to reverse the loss of such cultural heritage from the ruins of Fort Liberte and elsewhere, which they blame on lax supervision and weak laws to prosecute those pillaging Haiti’s historic sites.

"They are very significant sites. It tells a very deep history not only of Haiti but the entire Caribbean," said Dan Rogers, an archaeology curator with the Smithsonian Institution who spoke Sunday by phone as he traveled to Fort Liberte. Read more.

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Something Yezidi has been destroyed. It may have been the Shrine of Sheikh Mikhfiya and its cemetery.

The Êzidî Press (@EzidiPress) has released a video of a ruined religious site (which others have shared). ‘Yezidi pilgrimage site destroyed by IS terrorists. Even the cemetery found behind it was largely destroyed. At the shrine, which is in Cegara village, is located the holy place/sacred site of Sheikh Mikhfiya. [Von den IS-Terroristen zerstörte êzîdîsche […]

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Ancient Metal Workers Were Not Slaves But Highly Regarded Craftsmen

Iron Age copper smelters were respected leaders with sophisticated skills, say Tel Aviv University archaeologists.

The post Ancient Metal Workers Were Not Slaves But Highly Regarded Craftsmen appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Current Epigraphy

‘Women as Classical Scholars’ Wikipedia editathon

23 September 2014

 This editathon is to create and/or improve the Wikipedia pages of women classical scholars. Training in Wikipedia editing will be provided by Wikimedia.

If you would like to come, but the time or location is inconvenient, why not attend via Skype? There are parallel sessions integrated into the event, and a dedicated trainer for people attending via Skype.

Cost: free (includes lunch)

Location: Room 243 of the Institute of Classical Studies, Senate House, London

Programme:

10.00  - Welcome to those attending at Senate House

10.30  - Wikipedia presentation and training. Welcome to those joining on Skype

11.00  - Editing session for all participants

13.00  - Lunch

14.00  - Afternoon session start. Welcome to those newly joining on Skype

14.10  - Dr Rosie Wyles, Lecturer in Greek History and Literature, University of Kent: ‘Madame Dacier:    17th-century champion for access’

14.40  - Editing session.  Training for those newly arrived on Skype

18.00  - Close

For more information – and to sign up – please visit:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetups/UK/Institute_of_Classical_Studies_Sep_2014

ArcheoNet BE

Aalst en Halle zoeken diensthoofd erfgoed

Zowel de stad Aalst als de stad Halle zijn momenteel op zoek naar een nieuw diensthoofd erfgoed (m/v). Wie in Aalst diensthoofd toerisme en erfgoed wil worden, moet er snel bij zijn: solliciteren voor deze functie kan nog tot en met woensdag 3 september. Wie aan de slag wil als diensthoofd ‘museum, erfgoed, toerisme en archiefwerking’ in Halle, heeft nog tot 25 september de tijd om zich kandidaat te stellen. Het gaat telkens om een voltijdse functie op A-niveau. Kandidaten dienen te beschikken over een masterdiploma (of gelijkwaardig diploma).

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

L’uso dei Sistemi WEB - GIS per una moderna documentazione del Patrimonio Archeologico e Culturale

gis-patrimonio-culturale-ass-minervaL'Associazione Culturale Minerva organizza a settembre un Laboratorio per gli studenti della Scuola di Lettere e Beni Culturali di Ravenna e per ogni persona interessata all’uso delle tecnologie GIS applicate alla documentazione, gestione e fruizione del Patrimonio Archeologico.
I partecipanti al corso lavoreranno attivamente sulla documentazione di scavo acquisita dalla Missione Italiana a Shahr-i Soktha (Iran), elaborando una piattaforma Web GIS della necropoli di questo scavo straordinario.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Kouklia-Palaepaphos: Excavations completed

Archaeologists located an impressive citadel wall of the Classical period on the plateau of Hadjiabdoulla.

The post Kouklia-Palaepaphos: Excavations completed appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

PAS Begins its Eighteenth Year


The histories of the PAS all begin with pilot schemes that commenced "in September 1997", but no firm date is quoted, so 1st September is a conventional one. The online PAS database contains no records of finds at all for those early months and years (the earliest records accessible seem to be from 3rd August 1999).

How much is this all costing the public to get a modicum of information about some of their heritage artefact collectors are taking from them, day by day, week by week, year after year?   Kate Clark's reviw of the Scheme (2010, p. 11) tabulates the expenditure up to 2008/9:


Firm figures after that are hard to come by. The PAS for some reason do not seem to consider it a fact they should be highlighting in their annual reports (the reports which say where that money went). In  2009-10 there was an allocation of £1.3 million, which reportedly rose to over £1.4 million in 2010-11. Funding seems to have been maintained at about £1.3 million each year (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14) making an additional £5,200,000. The manner of funding the Scheme changed after the Review, but the role of 'local partners' remained important. Let's say they contributed the same amount each year, 60 000 p.a. That adds another £240,000 to the pot. That is a total of £15,005,000.

The Welsh PAS following the phased withdrawal of the British Museum funding passes to AC-NMW, Cadw and CyMAL will fund it from 2015-16 when the British Museum funding ends.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Αnavatos on the island of Chios

A survey aiming at the revival of Anavatos, by placing emphasis on the human factor and the natural environment and also by respecting the history of the entire complex of buildings.

The post Αnavatos on the island of Chios appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

Ιστορίες Μαγείας από το Βυζάντιο στην Ευρώπη

January 13, 2015 - 12:22 PM - Διάλεξη Αλέξανδρος Αλεξάκης, Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων

Χαρτογραφία και Ιατρική “στον απόηχο του χρόνου και του χώρου”. Διδάγματα από την Ιστορία

October 14, 2014 - 12:07 PM - Διάλεξη Δρ. Παναγιώτης Ν. Σουκάκος, Καθηγητής Ορθοπαιδικής, Ιατρική Σχολή Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών

Το Τραγούδι της Γης

September 29, 2014 - 11:52 AM - Θεατρική Παράσταση

Jim Davila (Paleojudaica.com)

R. Hillel meets the t-shirt

"IF NOT NOW, WHEN?" H&M sells popular t-shirt with Hillel quote (European Jewish Press).

More from Diesel on Hannibal

PUNIC WATCH: Vin Diesel Shows Off Hannibal Title Treatment During Crazy Helicopter Video. Diesel is reportedly "haunted" by the fact that he has not yet completed the Hannibal movies. As well he should be.

Background here and links.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

One Archaeologist Stands up.


Hollingbury Head (photo by 'Gray')
I assure you that I am not writing comments on the Guardian under a pseudonym. What a pleasant surprise it was to find that, while others avoid the topic, one lady archaeologist wrote the truth about UK policies on metal detecting (ChelseaSweeney, 31 August 2014 10:25pm). Chelsea is vexed by Dave Crisp's article sensationalizing artefact hunting:
Here's my beef: yes there is a Portable Antiquities Scheme that records finds on private and public property, but how is this helpful to archaeologists if whatever is extracted from the ground is not properly documented in its precise context? Or goes unreported and finds its way to Ebay/black market? In my view, metal detecting, should be regulated and all finds reported to the PAS. [...] We need responsible metal detectorists. I would advise those interested in this pasttime to join an archaeological society like the B[rifhton and] H[ove] A[rchaeological] S[ociety] and aid archaeologists rather than take a stab at "treasure hunting."
I'd modify that from "aid archaeologists' to "become an archaeologist" instead of hoiking artefact accumulators. Chelsea is afraid that loose encouragement of "metal detecting" is only going to lead to a new 'surge' of people, ignorant of the law, to engage in scouring protected sites ("like what happened at Hollingbury Hill Fort in June" - this story seems not to have hit the news). She says that we need to reduce knowledge theft through heritage crime.

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

Colloque : Villes en Méditerranée au Moyen-Âge et à l'Époque moderne

Comité d'organisation
Gilbert BUTI (AMU-CNRS TELEMME - UMR 7303)
Brigitte MARIN (AMU-CNRS TELEMME - UMR 7303)
Élisabeth MALAMUT (AMU-CNRS LA3M - UMR 7298)
Paolo ODORICO (EHESS-CNRS CRH-UMR 8558)
Mohamed OUERFELLI (AMU-CNRS LA3M - UMR 7298)

Programme et détails : http://la3m.cnrs.fr/pages/manifesta...

Colloque : Les Fatimides et la Méditerranée centrale

Trop souvent considérée comme ce qui n'est ni la Méditerranée orientale, ni la Méditerranée occidentale ou bien comme la périphérie de ces deux aires, la Méditerranée centrale (Adriatique, Grèce, Italie, Sardaigne, Sicile, Libye, Maghreb central et Ifriqiya) a joué un rôle certain dans la construction du dar al-islam médiéval et dans l'émergence d'un califat installé au centre du monde islamique (du moins si l'on se situe par rapport aux deux autres capitales califales). Si les Fatimides eux-mêmes sont le plus souvent envisagés avant tout en relation avec l'Égypte, l'Orient et la mer Rouge, dimensions essentielles du califat, bien entendu, mais non exclusives, cela n'a pas toujours été le cas et une série d'études synthétiques parues il y a quelques décennies sont encore considérées comme des références quasi indépassables. Or, dans le domaine textuel comme dans le domaine archéologique et artistique, des sources nouvelles apparaissent sans cesse, dont les apports peinent à être pris en compte, surtout pour ce qui concerne la culture matérielle. Ce colloque de propose donc de jeter une lumière nouvelle sur l'histoire de cet espace entre le Xe et le XIIe siècle.

Comité scientifique
Patrice Cressier (CIHAM-UMR 5648, CNRS, Lyon)
Annliese Nef (Université Paris 1, UMR 8167 / IUF)

Programme

Jeudi 11 septembre
9.30
Catherine Virlouvet (EFR) Accueil
Annliese Nef (Université Paris 1 - IUF) et Patrice Cressier (CIHAM-UMR 5648, CNRS, Lyon)
Introduction

HISTOIRE DE LA DYNASTIE ET CONSTRUCTION POLITIQUE
Yossef Rapoport (Queen Mary–University of London)
Mahdiya and Sicily in the Fatimid Book of Curiosities : textual and visual representation

Annliese Nef (Université Paris 1)
Les Fatimides et la délégation de pouvoir : comparaison entre les Kalbides de Sicile et les Zirides d'Ifriqiya

Pause

Lotfi Abdeljaouad (INP, Kairouan)
L'Ifriqiya fatimide au regard des documents épigraphiques

Discussion

COMMERCE, DIPLOMATIE, POLITIQUE MEDITERRANEENNE
Marina Rustow (John Hopkins University, Baltimore)
Les nouveaux apports de la Geniza

14h30
David Bramoullé (Université de Toulouse) L'ordre fatimide en Méditerranée centrale (Xe-XIIe s.), moyens, acteurs, enjeux

Christophe Picard (Université Paris 1) Les stratégies maritimes des Fatimides d'Ifriqiya : un enjeu jihadiste et impérialiste ?

Dominique Valérian (Université Lumière-Lyon 2) Les ports de Méditerranée centrale et les stratégies maghrébines des califes fatimides

Pause

Allaoua Amara (Université Émir Abdelkader–Constantine)
Les Fatimides et le Maghreb central : littoralisation de la dynastie et modes de contrôle des territoires

Discussion

Vendredi 12 septembre
9.30
ARCHITECTURE ET CULTURE MATERIELLE
Umberto Bongianino (University of Oxford) The Fatimid palace at Ajdabiya (Cyrenaica) : New data and perspectives

Rosi Di Liberto (Sovrintendenza ai Beni Culturali e Musei. Provincia Regionale di Palermo) Il pavimento della Cappella Palatina di Palermo. Decorazione e tradizione fatimida nell'architettura normanna

Soundes Gragueb (INP, Kairouan) La céramique fatimo-ziride de l'Ifriqiya et les bacini des monuments religieux d'Italie : étude comparative

Pause

Lucia Arcifa (Università di Catania), Alessandra Bagnera (Ricercatore indipendente in archeologia e storia dell'arte islamica, Roma)
Produzioni ceramiche e dinamiche culturali nella Sicilia fatimide

Fabiola Ardizzone (Università di Palermo), Elena Pezzini (Museo archeologico Nazionale di Palermo), Viva Sacco (doctorante Université Paris Sorbonne–Università di Messina) Il ruolo di Palermo nel Mediterraneo centrale tra X e XI secolo visto attraverso alcuni contesti inediti della chiesa della Gancia

Discussion

14h30
Silvia Armando (Swarzenski Senior Fellow, The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York)
Ivoires fatimides entre données historiques et mythes historiographiques
Miriam Ali de Unzaga (Institute of Ismaili Studies) Rethinking Fatimid textiles. A Case Study of the Central Mediterranean

Pause

Mariam Rosser-Owen (Victoria and Albert Museum)
Between Córdoba and Cairo : the Andalusiyyin minbar and Fatimid/Umayyad competition

Antonio Vallejo Triano (Museo de Bellas Artes, Cordoue), Patrice Cressier (CIHAM-UMR 5648, CNRS, Lyon)
Madinat al-Zahra' y Sabra al-Mansuriyya, dos capitales califales contemporáneas

Discussion et Table ronde conclusive

PDF - 688.9 ko

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Comment


My comment replying to the sock-puppet "Diggerdoc's" remarks on the Guardian (Re the Crisp text). It could have been phrased more fluidly, but these are not Daily Mail readers:
"Diggerdoc" how is collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record as exhorted here by Mr Crisp "doing a worthwhile job"? They are simply collectors, some people make personal collections of stamps and pottery figurines, these people collect artefacts abstracted from archaeological assemblages. 

Is collection-driven exploitation of archaeological sites not "doing a worthwhile job" in other places, Egypt  (El Hibeh etc.), Syria (Apamea, Dura Europos etc), Cambodia, Guatemala, France, Germany, Nigeria and Utah, only because these countries do not have a fifteen million pound Portable Antiquities Scheme there and looters there don't fill in their holes? 

Would UK bird egg collectors be "doing a worthwhile job" if there was a government scheme set up to "record" their depletion of a finite and fragile resource too?

For "even more" UK artefact hunters to report "even more" of their finds for professional recording (like the estimated eleven million found by metal detectorists since 1975, and the 134700 found just this year  of which there is still absolutely no record) the PAS annually would cost not today's 1.3 million pounds annually. The taxpayer would have to pay annually about 3,06 million pounds annually and in perpetuity. For "archaeology as whole to spend time on working with them" also costs money on top of that. How do you propose raising this money to save all the information from that "worthwhile job" of artefact hunters and collectors simply going missing, as it is today?
The ball-park figures for PAS full operation come from taking the values for number of objects the Heritage Action Artefact Erosion Counter estimates as not recorded this year (1st Jan to 30th August 2014: 134695 items) and the number of objects (93075) recorded by the PAS in the same period and then multiplying the average daily rate by 365.

The costs in fact would be greater as the HAAERC is based on there being 8000 active detectorists in the England and (for the moment) Wales catchment area of the PAS. Although the Counter has not been adjusted for the change in numbers of detectorists brought about by misguided propaganda, including from the fold of the PAS, that figure has now, I think, risen some 60%. I would say if we had the proper figures from an official survey, we'd probably be looking now at a significantly higher rate of depletion which should be measured at 12800 detectorists. That would come out as 4,89 million pounds annually to get coverage of even the basic bare-bones (findspot and what-it-is) information being lost through metal detecting. If these figures are right, a minority and erosive hobby would cost the British public five million pounds a year to support. These are costs no other country has, over most of the rest of the world the ripping up of a finite and fragile resource such as the archaeological record for personal entertainment and profit is regulated by environmental protection laws.

If these figures are right, there is a shortfall of 3.6 million pounds each year on the amount England and Wales are currently willing to spend pretending they are "dealing with the metal detecting issue".  Three million, six hundred thousand pounds worth of knowledge-taking each year remains unmitigated. And PAS-partner Mr Crisp says we need more unmitigateable taking - because he's got a book to promote.

 UPDATE 1st September 2014
"Diggerdoc"  of course never cam back to reply. Another example of happy-slapping nuisance posting from the tekkies.

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Fake Coins Turning up in English Fields



(Museum Reproductions Ltd)
UKDFD 45779 is a coin found by "Hidden" (always hiding, those metal detecto
rists) in a field in Ongar region, Essex (parish also "hidden data"). This looks like a coin of Coenwulf of Mercia, tribrach type, Canterbury mint ('Spink 914; North 342') it is recorded as being of silver. The trouble is, it is a fake based on Museum Reproductions Ltd's No. 587.

With so much collecting activity going on in the UK, it is not surprising that the archaeological record is being contaminated by numerous visibly out-of-place artefacts. This one is visible, other out-of-place items may blend in to the background and not be spotted and find their way into databases like that of the PAS. This coin could have been one of a number of finds dropped in a field to be found by foreign metal detectorists paying as part of a detecting holiday, seeding 'club land' or rally site for the same reason, carried by somebody as a pocket-piece and accidentally dropped, a scattered and unwanted coin or artefact collection. Other possibilities exist, the potential for contamination is increasing.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

III Scuola di Spettroscopia Infrarossa per i Beni Culturali

Il Centro Conservazione e Restauro "La Venaria Reale" organizza la terza edizione della Scuola di Spettroscopia Infrarossa applicata alla diagnostica dei Beni Culturali. Quest'anno la scuola si svolgerà dal 27 al 30 ottobre 2014 mediante lezioni teoriche e dimostrazioni pratiche.

Trafficking Culture

Jessica Dietzler at the 42nd Annual Conference of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control

Trafficking Culture’s PhD student Jessica Dietzler will participate in the 42nd Annual Conference of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, organised in Liverpool from 3rd – 6th September, 2014. The theme of the conference will be: ‘Resisting the Demonisation of ‘the Other’: State, Nationalism and Social Control in a Time of Crisis’.

Jessica’s talk will be on Saturday, 6 September in the ‘Policing Art and Antiquities’ session located in Room G01 (11:45-13:15). The title of Jessica’s talk is: A critical inquiry into multi-stakeholder governance in the transnational criminal antiquities market: contrasting realities and policies of practice (initial findings).

 

The conference programme can be found here.

He has a wife you know

soverylittlehoneybee: An attempt to reconstruct the apperance...





















soverylittlehoneybee:

An attempt to reconstruct the apperance of a high-status mycenaean woman.

It’s possible that mycenaean women of high social status, noblewomen and priestesses, painted their faces for ceremonial occasions, using white lead. Such make-up would give their face mask-like appearance, letting temporarily remove the individual behind said mask and play a certain role instead.

The Ancient Worlds with Bettany Hughes: Helen of Troy

archaicwonder: Roman Legionary Tile with Canine Imprint, Roman...



archaicwonder:

Roman Legionary Tile with Canine Imprint, Roman Province of Pannonia, c.  2nd-4th century AD

A Roman legionary building tile (baked orange clay brick) with the imprint of a dog’s footprint, likely the pet of a legionary soldier or local camp dog who stepped on it while it was drying prior to baking. The tile 6 x 7 x 1.25 inches, the print 2 x 3 inches. The print quite clear with excellent detail including the claw marks. Some ancient calcified deposits in the impressions attesting authenticity. Quite rare.

Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia. Pannonia was located over the territory of the present-day western Hungary, eastern Austria, northern Croatia, north-western Serbia, Slovenia, western Slovakia and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Man Bac, Vietnam

Damien Huffer

Damien Huffer
Smithsonian Institution, Museum Conservation Institute and Dept. of Physical Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History
Man Bac excavation in the landscape, 2007 season, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam

The “Splatt” Theory

Ardeth Anderson

Ardeth Anderson
Institute for Southeast Asian Archaeology
The “Splatt” Theory: an artist’s conception of how the archaeological site of Ban Chiang, Thailand, was formed. Gouache painting by Ardeth Anderson, 1995

The SEAArch Photo Festival begins today!

Thanks everybody for your photo submissions, I am pleased to kick off the first Southeast Asian Archaeology Photo Festival today! The festival will run for two weeks, and a new photo will be up twice a day (in the morning and the afternoon in Singapore time), Monday to Friday. I received 22 submissions, and the variety is just wonderful.

The photos are grouped into four themes: Site photos and People (this week), and next week the photos of artefacts and fieldwork go up. Each photo comes with a name and a caption, and I especially encourage you leaving a comment for photos you particularly enjoy, and also that you reach out to the photographers if you have questions about the sites and research portrayed in them.

Coming up, the site photos!

Ancient Art

Battle scenes shown at the gallery of bas-reliefs, Angkor Wat,...





Battle scenes shown at the gallery of bas-reliefs, Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

Photos taken by Jason Eppink.

August 31, 2014

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

Famous Last Words from Antiquity

Having created a list of Famous Last Words from the Middle Ages, we decided not to leave the ancient world out! Here are fifteen famous last words from the ancient Greek and Roman worlds:

This list is from the book Last Words: A Dictionary of Deathbed Quotations, by C. Bernard Ruffin (1995).

See also:

20 Great Quotes from Ancient Greece

Top 10 Best Insults from Ancient Rome

Top 10 Strangest Deaths of Roman Emperors

Morte di Giulio Cesare ("Death of Julius Caesar", 1798) by Vincenzo Camuccini

Larry Rothfield (The Punching Bag)

Hellenic statues in Iraq National Museum are idols "best to be destroyed", according to Iraq's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities

The "reopening" (and immediate reclosing) of the Hellenic gallery at the Iraq National Museum on August 21, 2014, in the midst of the ISIS onslaught has been covered as a rare bit of good news, in tones promoting it as a show of civilized spirit defying the barbarians at the gate.  Lost in the coverage, or at least what I have seen of it, are the following shocking comments made by Liwa Sumeisim, Iraq's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, on his Facebook page after he viewed the exhibit:
"Have you seen Allat and al-`Uzza and the other one, the third one, Manat" (Qur'an 53: 19).  These are the three idols on exhibit in the Iraqi Museum--the Hatra Exhibit. 
Allat and al-`Uzza are idols that should not be placed in the museum because they represent gods worshiped instead of [or in addition to] Allah.  It is best to be destroyed. True heritage includes that which has endured over time such as pottery and metallic objects . . . but to place on exhibit statues [or statuary-type representation] such as the idols does not in my opinion represent Islam or the Muslim... 
How are we to venerate anything that was worshipped instead of Allah and to place it in the museum [to be viewed by] people come to visit Iraq in order to celebrate its heritage and for knowledge -- when this is not out heritage, but rather that of Saudi Arabia?  I am against its existence.  The Messenger [Muhammad] fought against it before.  Place [on exhibit] anything but idols.  For verification on [the propriety of] what they are doing,  I will send a request for a fatwa to the authoritative religious scholars on the matter, who are in Najaf and include Muqtada al-Sadr.
Al-Sadr, it should be noted, issued a fatwa during the period of rampant looting of archaeological sites in Iraq, permitting such looting if the proceeds of selling artifacts were used to help resist the occupation, but to my knowledge he never promoted iconoclasm. And it is to be hoped that Ayatollah Sistani's fatwa from that same period ruling that there is no difference between Islamic and non-Islamic civilizations, that all are part of Iraq's heritage and all should be respected and protected, still holds. 

But it is troubling, to put it mildly, to hear the head of the ministry charged with protecting one of the great storehouses of Iraq's and the world's cultural heritage citing the Koran in support of idol-smashing.

Calenda: Histoire grecque

De l’entretien quotidien des édifices à la conservation du patrimoine bâti aux époques antique et médiévale

La conservation et la restauration des édifices anciens sont devenues des priorités nationales depuis la création de l’inspection puis de la Commission des monuments historiques dans les années 1830 et ces interventions font aujourd’hui l’objet de normes précises. Tous ces monuments nous sont également parvenus grâce à un entretien plus ou moins régulier au cours des siècles passés, bien antérieur à cet ensemble de législations. Aujourd’hui, entretien et restauration se distinguent clairement par leur périodicité et leur ampleur. L’objectif de cette journée d’études est de discuter la pertinence de cette distinction aux époques antique et médiévale en s’intéressant en particulier à la nature et aux modalités de cet entretien par une approche interdisciplinaire alliant l’archéologie et l’étude du bâti aux sources écrites. Les thématiques abordées pour guider cette réflexion concerneront à la fois les aspects juridiques de cette gestion du patrimoine bâti, les enjeux techniques et pratiques de ces activités ainsi que leur dimension idéologique.

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #527

Get your Open Access (free to read) archaeology fix:

Notes on a Stone Circle in Wigtownshire.
http://bit.ly/12sdZSK

Note on the Proclamation for Disarming of the Highlands in 1746.
http://bit.ly/Z95Zm8

The San Diego Archaeological Center and the Future of Curation
http://bit.ly/1ajqtwd

Further work at Bolingbroke Castle, Lincolnshire
http://bit.ly/15kLVMx

A morphological study of some old and new Pleistocene discoveries from Java
http://bit.ly/1qSI9Fw

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at: http://bit.ly/YHuyFK

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: From Folkstone Beach to Apamea



The reaction of the Portable Antiquities Scheme to Dave Crisp's exhortation to 'take up yer metal detector and loot' (and show the stuff to the PAS) was swift. Based on previous experience of discussing the issues with members of the public, they produced a page showing the benefits to our knowledge and stewardship of knowledge of the past through site preservation instead of greedy, self-centred acquisitive destruction of evidence through collection-driven exploitation (CDE). They put Britain's curio anti-protection laws in their global context of the measures taken all over the world to prevent damage to sites through them being 'mined' for collectables for personal entertainment and profit. They give a link to one of my blog posts about CDE going on at Apamea, Syria, showing the damage caused by collection driven exploitation over a wide area of this important town. They point out that a difference is that the "Code" of UK detectorists enjoins them to fill the holes in after they've finished hoiking.

The information page explaining the issues which was produced by this professional outreach scheme run at taxpayers' expense can be seen here.

Well, actually no it cannot. The PAS would not in a hundred years actually produce any piece of public outreach like that. They'd have another 'recording strike' on their hands the moment they did that, from the people that have the PAS over a barrel, their artefact hunting "partners".  You might well ask why.



Archaeology Matters

Mesolakia (Amphipolis) Tumba Kasta: Photos of the Monument









Entrance with sphinxes











Decoration of second protective wall




Second protective wall (behind entrance)
 
Mosaic floor of entrance













Sources:
Proto Thema, 31.08.2014; here

ArcheoNet BE

Gentse bibliotheek zet stadsarcheologie in de kijker

Van 3 tot 30 september zet de stedelijke openbare bibliotheek in Gent ’40 jaar stadsarcheologie’ in de kijker. Het overzicht in de inkomhal van de bibliotheek verbindt twee benaderingen. De archeologen kozen als uitgangspunt voor enkele bijzondere vondsten die speciale verhalen over het Gentse verleden vertellen. De bibliotheek legt de klemtoon op boeken met archeologische inhoud of hoe het publiek met de bevindingen van archeologen kan kennismaken buiten het volgen van opgravingen in de stad.

Op 23 november 1973 startten de opgravingen in de oostelijke buitentuin van de Sint-Pietersabdij onder leiding van archeoloog Joan Vandenhoute (1951-1981). Dit onderzoek leidde tot de oprichting van een gemeentelijke archeologische dienst die al vier decennia instaat voor coördinatie, onderzoek en kennisopbouw aan de hand van de bronnen die bij opgravingen en andere archeologische interventies worden gedocumenteerd.

Het overzicht van 40 jaar Gentse stadsarcheologie onder de titel ‘Honderdsteboven’ is gratis toegankelijk tijdens de openingsuren van de stedelijke bibliotheek (Graaf van Vlaanderenplein, Gent). Er worden ook enkele bijzondere activiteiten georganiseerd:

Curieuzeneuzen Vraagstaarten Kabinet: De archeoloog
Nieuwsgierige kinderen gaan samen met de stadsarcheoloog op zoek naar antwoorden op al hun vragen.
Wanneer: za 6 sept. van 10.30u tot 12u (gratis, reserveren via bibliotheek@gent.be of 09 266 70 04)
Waar: Bibliotheek Zuid, jeugdafdeling (gelijkvloers)

Gentse archeologische verhalen. De keuze van Marie Christine Laleman (directeur De Zwarte Doos)
‘Uit de kast’, de keuze van een interessante gast uit de grootste gemeenschappelijke boekenkast van Gent.
Wanneer: di 16 sept van 12.30u tot 13.30u (gratis, deuren open om 12u, dicht om 12.30u)
Waar: Bibliotheek Zuid, Achilles Musschezaal (2de verdieping)

Ancient Peoples

Glass amphoriskos (perfume bottle) 1st Century BC Late...



Glass amphoriskos (perfume bottle)

1st Century BC

Late Hellenistic

(Source: The Metropolitan Museum)

Mary Beard (A Don's Life)

St Stephen's College, Delhi

IMG_4039

The place I was hiding out last week was actually New Delhi. I know the Brits get knocked for turning up in foreign places and never stepping outside the hotel compound, but simply sitting by the pool. Well I guess we were the academic equivalent of that. It was the monsoon season (see above) and we spent most of the time in our room, just writing -- and it was heaven, honestly.

But we did venture out, to see St Stephens College, part of the University of Delhi -- designed by one of the husband's imperial architects, W S George.

IMG_4045

It was built in the very late 1930s and early 40s, and the husband was interested in the architectural style, part Indian, part Byzantine, part Arts and Crafts. I was more interested in the social architecture, if you can put it that way.

IMG_4048

First, I started thinking about where George got his model for an Indian university from. It looked to me (not that I know so much about them, to be honest) is that he had in mind not so much Oxbridge (no staircases for exanple), but a "second ranking" English public school. It was full of quads etc, but all very Spartan and a bit well scrubbed. 

But, as we peeked around, I got more entranced by the apparently pristine 1930s state of so much of it. The library lockers were still just as they ever were.

IMG_4052

Wouldn't you die for those? And the wonderful glass covered notice boards still decorated as those in my childhood with such headings as "Games".

IMG_4055

We went away with a slightly old-fashioned, even quaint view of the place (it was a Saturday morning and we watched late comers creeping into lectures and apologising as they did so). 

But, of course, you do always need a bit of local knowledge. Later we met our friend Giles Tillotson (though I say it myself his book on the Taj Mahal is brilliant, and he has recently curated an exhibition at the National Museum in Delhi on a major Indian collector; more details here).He was able to dispel a bit of that quaintness, and explain that things were all a bit edgier (reminiscent, we thought, of Oxbridge back home). Just how elitist was St Stephens? Just how exclusive? And he pointed us to the big local story about the university, namely that a student who was a college gardener's son, and Hindi rather than English speaker, had just been elected president of the students' union. 

The elite institution was becoming more open was the line -- and a good reminder that you need more than a tourist's eye.

 

Archaeological News on Tumblr

18th century brewery remains found at Va. college

College students have always had a taste for beer, and archaeologists have uncovered new evidence at the College of William and Mary to prove it.

The remains of what is likely an 18th century on-campus brewery were discovered just outside of the nation’s oldest college building when campus officials were looking to widen a sidewalk.

School officials say the discovery near the Wren Building will allow them to tell a broader story about campus life in the Colonial era that involved the interaction of slaves, Native Americans, faculty and students.

Major excavation of the site wrapped up on Friday, and archaeologists now plan to perform a detailed lab analysis on some of what they’ve found. That includes searching for pollen in hopes that would’ve been used to make beer. (source)

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Are ‘unheard of numbers’ of cultural goods from Syria and Iraq making their way into auction houses in the UK?

Buzzfeed journalist Sheera Frenkel has extended the continuing analysis of How ISIS Became the Richest Terrorist Group in the World. I’m concerned that some unevidenced claims are becoming received wisdom, and that Frenkel’s informants are contributing to that. ‘Unheard of numbers’ of illicit antiquities and unevidenced claims First, good news for the British archaeological labour […]

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

ASOR Syrian Heritage Initiative

ASOR Syrian Heritage Initiative
http://www.asor-syrianheritage.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/SHI-logo-8.jpg
The Department of State and the American Schools of Oriental Research have established a 12-month, multipronged program — the Syrian Heritage Initiative (SHI) — to plan and implement cultural property protection and preservation projects in Syria in the short- and long-term to address the ongoing crisis and to prepare for the inevitable reconstruction process. SHI consists of three major units: cultural heritage communications, satellite remote sensing and mapping, and preservation planning. SHI remotely monitors and evaluates risks, evaluates damage, and ultimately seeks to increase risk preparedness, mitigate adverse impacts, and preserve vital human resources and infrastructure for the future. SHI develops durative institutional collaborations and broad coalitions of CPP experts and other stakeholders to achieve results. ASOR represents the ideal umbrella organization for SHI given its long record of successful scientific cooperation with Syria, its international outreach capacity, and its impressive institutional infrastructure.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient settlement of South Caucasus discovered in west of Azerbaijan

An ancient settlement of the South Caucasus, referring to the Neolithic period, was discovered in Azerbaijani Tovuz region, Turkel TV regional channel reported Aug. 30.

The settlement, discovered during excavations in the Haji Alemkhanli village, dates from the end of the seventh millennium BC. The excavations are conducted by Azerbaijani and Japanese archaeologists.

The radiocarbon analysis of the found samples of the material culture of the Neolithic period show that the oldest settlement in the region was in this area. Read more.

Jim Davila (Paleojudaica.com)

Lost Armenian monastery

EVERY PHILOLOGIST DREAMS OF THIS HAPPENING: Ani ruins reveal hidden secrets from below. New underground structures have come to light in Ani, one of Turkey’s most breathtaking ancient sites. History researcher Sezai Yazıcı says the ancient city’s structures should be promoted (Hurriyet Daily News).
“In 2011 while working on a United Nations project in order to promote Kars and to reveal its historical and cultural heritage, I came across some pretty interesting information. One of the most important names of the first half of the 20th century, George Ivanovic Gurdjieff, who spent most of his childhood and youth in Kars, had chosen [to stay in] an isolated place in Ani along with his friend Pogosyan where they worked for some time together in the 1880s. One day, while digging at one of the underground tunnels in Ani, Gurdjieff and his friend saw that the soil became different. They continued digging and discovered a narrow tunnel. But the end of the tunnel was closed off with stones. They cleaned the stones and found a room. They saw decayed furniture, broken pots and pans in the room. They also found a scrap of parchment in a niche. Although Gurdjieff spoke Armenian very well, he failed to read Armenian writing in the parchment. Apparently, it was very old Armenian. After a while, they learned that the parchments were letters written by a monk to another monk,” Yazıcı said, speaking about how he became interested in the underground structures.

“Finally, [Gurdjieff and his friend] succeeded in understanding the letters. Gurdjieff discovered that there was a famous Mesopotamian esoteric school in the place where they found the letters. The famous school was active between the sixth and seventh centuries A.D. and there was a monastery there,” he added.
HT Cornelia Horn on Facebook.

Some past posts on ancient Armenian are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. And this story deserves a nod to The Rule of Four.

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

Whose Greek God/Goddess child would you be?

Let’s think for a minute you are either a Demi-God or a Titan, now which Greek God or Goddess would be your father/mother?

Want More Ancient Greece?

Do You Actually Know All About Greek Gods and Goddesses?

Which Greek God Are You?

What Greek Mythology Creature Are You?

greek gods

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Doctor Who: Into The Dalek

I found the Doctor Who episode “Into The Dalek” felt rushed - they could have easily made this a two-parter and taken the time necessary to introduce characters and explore details. But the concept and the themes explored are fascinating, and give viewers much food for thought. Spoilers ahead!

The episode introduces the question of whether there can be a good Dalek. Clara’s comment when the Doctor says there’s no such thing gives an insight into how things will unfold. She says that the Doctor sounds unusually inflexible, indeed prejudiced. The Doctor has experienced damage, and the Doctor makes a quip about “morality as malfunction.”

The plan is for the Doctor to “get inside its head” – and not metaphorically. And so we get to see the classic science fiction scenario of people miniaturized and entering into another – a scenario which I think that Doctor Who never included in all its 50 years, so it was long overdue for this trope to be used!

Into the Dalek 2The Doctor asks the Dalek what changed it. The Dalek says it saw beauty. It uses the phrase made famous by the Cybermen and then later the Borg on Star Trek: “resistance is futile.” But in this case, the Dalek had seen a star born, even though Daleks have destroyed millions of stars, and had realized that “life returns; life prevails.”

As an aside, a saying very similar to this – “life is victorious” – is repeated throughout Mandaean literature, most commonly as an ending of chapters in the Book of John and other works.

The Doctor heals the Dalek’s radiation leak, and it quickly returns to its instinct to exterminate. The Doctor says that this proves that there is no such thing as a good Dalek – “no miracle,” just radiation affecting its brain chemistry. Meanwhile, as the Dalek goes on its killing rampage, one of the soldiers says “God save us all.”

But Clara sees something the Doctor doesn’t. What they have learned is that a good Dalek is possible. The Doctor then sets about trying to reawaken the memories that had helped the Dalek learn good in the first place. The Doctor says hopefully that if he can turn one Dalek, he can turn them all, and save the future. The Doctor tells the Dalek (whom he has nicknamed “Rusty”) that he is going to save its soul – to which the Dalek responds that it doesn’t have one. The Doctor performs a sort of “mind meld” and lets the Dalek see inside his own soul, to see the universe as he sees it. And there, the Dalek sees the beauty of the universe – “endless divine perfection” and “divinity” – but also the Doctor’s hatred of the Daleks.

“Rusty” turns on its Dalek comrades and saves the humans on the spaceship (“Aristotle”). The Doctor is unhappy – earlier he had asked Clara whether he was a good man, and she said she didn’t know, to which he replied that neither did he. But a Dalek had looked into his soul and had seen hatred, and for the Doctor, “That’s not victory.”

But Clara has insight to offer once again, at the end of the episode. She said that she didn’t know if he was a good man, but he tries, and maybe that is the point. The Doctor makes an observation about her skills as a teacher.

The Doctor seems a bit callous at times, as well as being punny and sarcastic. But while some may perceive this as a significant change of direction, I would suggest that that perception is wrong, and perhaps due to the new attack eyebrows. If you go back and imagine Matt Smith saying the same lines, I trust that you will see that it is not only possible, but fairly easy to do.

The episode is really about the possibility of redemption – not just for the Dalek, but for the Doctor, and for soldiers present and future. There is an interesting suggestion that, for all the genetic manipulation that makes Daleks evil, there is a need for something more evil still – a computerized supplement to the Dalek’s brain that takes that evil tendency and supplements and enhances it. And so there is some suggestion that even a Dalek may not be beyond redemption. And if so, that has a hopeful message for human beings, and a challenging one for those who view other humans who are their enemies as being pure evil, with no hope of redemption or possibility of change.

When we see darkness rather than beauty, when we see other people as soulless and beyond redemption, we are not fighting the Daleks, we have become them.

What did you make of the episode “Into the Dalek”?

Into the Dalek

Ancient Art

A quick look at: Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec god of death and...







A quick look at: Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec god of death and lord of the underworld.

Mictlantecuhtli was believed to live in Mictlan, the cold, damp and gloomy underworld of the Aztecs, or lower part of the cosmos, where the remains of humans were kept.

This Templo Mayor Museum figure of Mictlantecuhtli, which is perhaps one of the most famous representations of the god, was found in the House of Eagles. Here he wears a loincloth, and stands grinning. Some have suggested that this grin of Mictlantecuhtli, who once harassed Quetzalcoatl on his journey to the underworld, may suggest his desire to torment. His claw-like hands are posed, as though ready to attack someone.

The holes on his scalp would have once been filled with black, wavy hair -which the Aztecs associated with chaos. Parts of his flesh has been teared off, and his liver falls from his chest cavity. This organ was connected to Mictlan, and housed the Ihiyotl soul (see Aguilar-Moreno 2007, chapter 7). Recent residue analysis has found traces of human blood on the statue. 

Artefact courtesy of the Museum of the Templo Mayor, Mexico City. Photos taken by Travis: oosik.

Recommended reading: Handbook to Life in the Aztec World (Oxford University Press, 2007) by Manuel Aguilar-Moreno. This is a very good overview and introduction to the Aztec culture, and expands on many of the points I briefly mentioned here.

August 30, 2014

Archaeology Matters

Opening Hours of Museums and Archaeological Sites in Greece

I will try and update this as often as possible. If you find any information that is erroneous, please let me know. Please verify the information BEFORE visiting the site!

NOTE: Unless otherwise stated:  
Winter: From the 1st of November 2013 until the 31st of March 2014
Summer: From April 1st, 2014

ATTICA
Athens
  • Acropolis of Athens, Theatre of Dionysus (Acropolis South Slope), Ancient Agora of Athens: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
  • National Archaeological Museum, Athens: From Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 Archaeological Site of Olympieion, Athens: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 
  • Benaki Museum, Main Building: Wed., Fr.: 9:00 - 17:00; Thur., Sat.: 9.00 - 24.00; Sun: 9:00 - 15:00
  • Benaki Museum, Pireos St. Annexe: Thur., Sun.: 10:00 - 18:00; Fri., Sat.: 10:00 - 22:00
  • Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 
  • Kerameikos: Monday-Sunday: 08.00-20.00

Rest of Attica
  • Archaeological Site of Sounio: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00

MACEDONIA
  • Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
  • White Tower, Thessaloniki: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 
  • Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
  • Royal Tombs of Aigai (Vergina): Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00

PELOPONNESE

CENTRAL GREECE
  • Archaeological Site of Delphi: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
  • Archaeological Museum of Delphi: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
CYCLADES
  • Archaeological Site of Delos: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
  • Archaeological Site of Akrotiri, Santorini: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
DODEKANESE
  • Sanctuary of Asklepios on Kos: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 
  • Castle of Neratzia, Kos: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
  • Archaeological Site of Lindos, Rhodes: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 
  • Archaeological Site of Kameiros, Rhodes: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 
  • Archaeological Museum of Rhodes: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
  • Palace of the Knights, Rhodes: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 
  • Acropolis of Ialyssos, Rhodes: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
  • Archaeological Site of Ancient Corinth: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
CRETE
  • Archaeological Site of Knossos, Crete: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 
  • Archaeological Site of Phaistos, Crete: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 
  • Psychro Cave, Lassithi, Crete: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
  • Spinalonga Islet: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 
  • Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, Crete: Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00
IONIAN ISLANDS
  • Old Fortress of Corfu:  Summer: 7/7 - 08:00-20:00 
THRACE & ISLANDS OFF THRACE

    Stefan Baums and Andrew Glass (Gandhari.org Blog)

    Manuscript Growth and Episodic Composition

    Last week, at the XVIIth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies in Vienna, I presented the paper “Manuscript Growth and Episodic Composition: Commentaries and Avadānas in Early South Asia” in which I argue that several of the Gāndhārī scrolls containing scholastic texts and narrative sketches show signs of having been compiled and added to over a period of time. Proceedings for the conference panel, containing an extended version of the paper, are in the early planning stages. In a side note of my paper, I also announced a recent discovery that I made when reading the Khotan Dharmapada with my students and that may be of wider interest: The colophon of this scroll does not (as per Brough’s edition) specify the monastery where it was written, but rather that the scribe was a certain Dharmaśrava. I briefly present the evidence in my article “Gandhāran Scrolls: Rediscovering an Ancient Manuscript Type,” and am working on a comprehensive discussion of my new reading of the Khotan Dharmapada colophon and its implications.

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

    Going a-Rome-ing in August

    Readers of twitter will be aware that I went to Rome last Friday, coming back Monday afternoon.  I booked only a couple of weeks earlier, so I had to pay a large sum to the airline.  But the hotel was cheap, relatively.  Even so, the money seemed to vanish!

    Going to Rome in August was a bit different.  The traffic is much reduced.  But the sun was truly brutal.  It was 32C in the shade every day – although on Sunday night there was rain and a thunderstorm – which made it impossible to do much outdoors.

    Sites close, also.  I walked to the Trevi fountain on my first evening there, only to find it drained and empty.  I had hoped to go and see the Mithraeum of Santa Prisca, which is open at 4pm on the 4th Sunday of the month; but it was closed because it is August.

    I stayed at the Hotel Nerva, which is behind the ruins of the temple of Mars Ultor, and right on the imperial forums.  I was shown to my garret – rooms in Rome always seem very small – but fortunately the aircon was on, if not as cool as I would have liked.  I asked for, and  got, a desktop fan as well, which helped quite a bit.

    The staff ordered a number of items for me in advance, and also, at my request, asked for the ticket for Santa Prisca.  This is useful if you don’t speak Italian.  They ordered me a “Roma” pass which gave me free use of the underground (trains also airconditioned; stations not), as well as the train to Ostia.  Interestingly I found that you can buy this pass in the arrivals hall at Ciampino, while waiting for your luggage.  They also got me a ticket for the Vatican museums for 10:30 on Monday, although I could have bought this online and printed it off myself.

    tauroctony_on_tour

    On Saturday I spent most of the morning at the Museo Nazionale in the Baths of Diocletian, opposite Termini railway station.  It was air-conditioned, it had toilets – although not toilet seats, curiously -, a vending machine for bottled water and sweeties, and … practically no visitors.  This made it ideal for photographing some of the exhibits.  It was also very interesting to find that some exhibits which had been absent last year had returned, and vice versa.  I took quite a collection of photos of the Mithras exhibits using the 10mp camera on my mobile phone.  I’ve not yet done more than copy the photos to my hard disk, however.

    Some of the finds from the Mithraeum of S. Stefano Rotondo

    Some of the finds from the Mithraeum of S. Stefano Rotondo

    For lunch I ventured out to one of the tourist bar-restaurants nearby, and was duly scalped for poor quality food.  Avoid “steak” – I have twice been offered some mass of stringy fat with bits of meat interspersed in it. The bread was nice, but the waiter whisked it away before I could eat much of it!

    bread_i_never_ate

    After that, I headed downtown.  For I had discovered that my 11 euro ticket for the museum would also admit me to the museum site at the Crypta Balbi, where I knew that there was a Mithraeum.  This too was largely empty, and I was able to get myself onto an Italian-speaking tour of the basement areas, including the Mithraeum – rather disappointing, the latter.  The staff were very helpful.  But I must say that the printed materials were profoundly confusing, and it took quite some effort to get oriented!  Upstairs there were Mithraic artefacts!

    Remains of a tauroctony in the museum of the Crypta Balbi.

    Remains of a tauroctony in the museum of the Crypta Balbi.

    Then I walked up to the Pantheon, and then back to the hotel to snooze for a very necessary hour.  Then in the evening I went out, bought a panini at a food shop, and then I sat in the shade next to the Colosseum, and watched the people go to and fro, until the sun went down.

    On Sunday I used my Roma pass and took the tube to Pyramide, transferring from there to the train for Ostia Antica (also free).  I have never seen a sign indicating which train is for Ostia Antica; but if you look inside, the tube-train-like panels above the doors indicate the stations to be visited.  The train was airconditioned, which was nice.  On arrival at the station, I walked to the ruins, and became aware how hot it was.  It seemed an interminable walk from the ticket office to the cafeteria, which – and I recommend doing this – I visited first.  It was empty, but I got some food, bought and drank more water, bought a 2 euro site plan in the bookshop, and then I looked to see where the Mithraea were.

    Then I ventured out to see if I could find a particular site.  It was bestially hot, and I quickly became aware that it was no fun at all.  I was unable to locate the Mithraeum, and I realised that all I wanted to do was go back to Rome.   So I did, getting back around noon.  It was very good to get back to my nice cool room!

    Far too hot in Ostia.

    Far too hot in Ostia.

    But the room had not been made up!  So I ventured out, and ended up wandering up the backstreets, eventually emerging at Termini.  There is a large Spar supermarket on the far side of the station, which is worth being aware of.  Then back, and, after lying around a lot, out back to the Colosseum.  It was rather threatening with rain.  I walked down to where the Septizonium used to be, but couldn’t see much sign of it.  Then back.  I bought an umbrella from a street vendor, and sat near the Colosseum.  Then it rained!  Up went my umbrella, while everyone else ran for cover, except for a woman sitting not that far from me who got progressively drenched.  For some reason she didn’t have, or buy, an umbrella.  I felt a little sorry for her; but not enough to forgo my own umbrella!  Eventually I spoke to her, and she turned out to be a sports journalist from Plymouth.

    On the Monday I went to the Vatican museum.  The pre-booked ticket meant that I could go through the entrance immediately without queuing; but the desks inside to exchange it for a ticket were a disaster.  I emerged feeling very stressed.  I went first to the Pio Christiano gallery, and found the statue of Hippolytus there.  Fortunately this gallery was empty, and indeed was closed later.  The bad news was that the statue was just a cast.  Then to the cafeteria!  Then I went in search of the Mithras monuments, which were in the “room of the animals”, but impossible to see from more than a distance.  There were also some monuments in the Chiaramonti gallery.  But on the whole the experience was awful – a great, sweaty crush of people in corridors too small for them, and no way out.  I felt quite claustrophobic at one point, and eventually ducked under a rope and escaped!!

    After that, I went back to the hotel, and got a car to the airport.  I arrived 2 hours before hand, and it took an hour to get through baggage checkin and security.  After sitting on a chair for half an hour, I went through and they were just boarding the priority passengers.  So I had no real time to wait.

    I don’t think that I would go to Rome in August again.  It is just too hot to stand in the sun.  But it was very interesting to see, all the same.

    UPDATE: The Mithras tauroctonies in the Chiaramonti gallery are these.  Unfortunately none of my photos came out well.

    Mithraic monuments in the Chiaramonti gallery in the Vatican museum

    Mithraic monuments in the Chiaramonti gallery in the Vatican museum

    The Homer Multitext

    New content, new contributors


    Eric Raymond popularized the phrase "release early, release often" as a philosophy for software development. It works for digital scholarhip, too.

    We're happy to announce today an early release of a facsimile browser incorporating new material from our photography in the Escorial last summer. The digital facsimile edition requires data about the manuscripts (including what folios appear in what sequence), an index aligning each folio with a canonical citation of lines of the Iliad, and an index identifying which side of which folio each image illustrates. A group of dedicated and talented volunteers (some shown in the photo) has been meeting regularly on Friday afternoons to put this material together for the E3 manuscript, prior to beginning work on a full diplomatic edition of the text (as others are already doing for the Venetus A and Venetus B codices).

    Perhaps even more remarkable than the volunteers' rapid mastery of E3's Byzantine script is the fact that all of the students are in their first year of Greek. If you're not accustomed to learning about the transmission of Homer from first-year Greek students, a Friday afternoon with this group is enlightening.



    You will undoubtedly see postings on this blog in the future announcing further releases of material from "Team E3." In addition to the puzzles they've had to solve to make today's release available, they are compiling careful observations that will lead to a helpful guide to the paleography of E3, and have already noted a number of unpublished or unappreciated discrepancies bewteen E3 and other manuscripts that are forcing all of us working on the Homer Multitext project to reassess entirely the traditional scholarly views on the (b) family of manuscripts of the Iliad.

    The E3 group has currently indexed more than half of the manuscript: we're including folios 1 recto - 109 recto (covering Iliad books 1-8) in today's release.

    Our profound thanks to all members of the group (alphabetically):

    • Matthew Angiolillo
    • Neil Curran
    • Maria Jaroszewicz
    • Alex Krasowski
    • Becky Musgrave
    • Kathleen O'Connor
    • Anne Salloom
    • Megan Whitacre


    Open Access Archaeology

    Open Access Archaeology Digest #526

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

    On the Examination of Two Hut-Circles in the Strath of Kildonan, Sutherlandshire, one of which has an Earth House annexed.
    http://bit.ly/12jAWaM

    Excavation of Rudh’ an Dunain Cave, Skye.
    http://bit.ly/14DyagZ

    On the Monumental Effigies in Coberley Church, Gloucestershire
    http://bit.ly/108NFpF

    An Anglo-Saxon ornamental silver strip from the Cuerdale hoard
    http://bit.ly/13mpeIL

    Medieval Britain in 1966
    http://bit.ly/16l6vQa

    Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at: http://bit.ly/YHuyFK

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Shipwreck of S.S. Central America Yields More Gold

    More than 2,900 gold coins and 45 gold ingots have been recovered from the shipwrecked S.S. Central America since an archaeological excavation began in mid-April, Odyssey Marine Exploration, the company contracted to dive to the site, revealed on a report published Tuesday.

    Other 19th century artifacts recovered include luggage pieces, a pistol, a pocket watch, and several daguerreotypes, an early type of photography. Several samples of coral and sea anemones have also been collected through a science program which is studying deep sea biological diversity.

    Pine and oak specimens placed on the seabed in 1990 and 1991, during the last known dives to the shipwreck site, are being retrieved so that scientists can study the “shipworms” consuming and destroying the ship’s timbers. Read more.

    Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

    Old Georgian phrases and sentences 32 (1Tim 5:23)

    1Tim. 5:23 Μηκέτι ὑδροπότει, ἀλλὰ οἴνῳ ὀλίγῳ χρῶ διὰ τὸν στόμαχον καὶ τὰς πυκνάς σου ἀσθενείας.

    The two Georgian recensions differ little, most importantly in იმსახურე vs. იჴუმიე.

    AB

    ნუ ხოლო წყალსა ჰსუამ, არამედ ღჳნოჲცა მცირედ იმსახურე სტომაქისათჳს და ზედაჲ-ზედა უძლურებისა შენისათჳს.

    CD

    ნუ წყალსა ხოლო ჰსუამ, არამედ ღჳნოჲცა მცირედ იჴუმიე სტომაქისათჳს და ზედაჲზედა უძლურებისა შენისათჳს.

    Vocabulary and gramm. remarks

    • წყალი water
    • ჰ-სუამ pres 2sg O3 სუმა to drink
    • ი-მსახურ-ე aor impv 2sg მსახურება to use (also, to serve; მსახური servant)
    • ზედაჲსზედა one after another, often, frequently (< ზედა on)
    • უძლურებაჲ weakness, sickness (უძლუერი weak, sick)
    • ი-ჴუმი-ე aor imv 2sg ჴუმევა to use [the added -ი- (the second one) marks the verb as a so-called strong aor.]

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    Sex Discrimination in ACCG


    Reconstructed group photograph of the current lineup
    of the ACCG board
    , the one they apparently don't want members to see.
    The ACCG seems to be discriminating against Doris Sayles, one of its officers, representing US ancient coin collectors, by not replacing the retired Dave Welsh on the page presenting the officers with a biogram of his replacement, coin collector Doris Sayles. The page gives the impression that the organization is run by seven white men. What is Director Doris's numismatic specialism? What does she bring to the ACCG?



    Intelligently weighing facts and circumstances


    Wayne Sayles June 24, 2014, 3:30 pm

    Wayne Sayles likes to appear to be seeking dialogue, just not on his blog. I queried the name calling and admonition to go and "get ***ed" used there on Thursday, August 28, 2014 regarding myself, and posted a link to my answer to the point made there about the Syrian sanctions (trying to make out that bolstering the licit trade was an attack on it) and nothing else. It was not posted, but this was his reply:
    By the way, I routinely block posts from certain agitators in my comments section for that very reason. This blog is not a forum for debate.
    Well, we can discuss it here on this blog as part of the ongoing public heritage debate if Mr Sayles would like to say why he thinks stopping stolen, looted and smuggled artefacts coming to the UK from Syria is an attack on legal collectors and dealers. I do not get the point made of his blog, and I am sure I am not the only one eager to hear a more detailed exposition of the dealer's point of view. That's unlikely, but not - you understand - because he has any problems articulating such ideas. Oh no, no it's our fault:
    I went through a phase of indignant rebuttal to archaeo-blogger polemics but realized that it was consuming time, energy and enthusiasm better directed toward more worthy endeavors. It is a futile confrontation. I try to ignore them and reach out to those who are capable of intelligently weighing facts and circumstances.
    Like metal detectorist John Howland he means. He's unlikely to attract them to a little brown blog which allows no debate. What he actually means is he really has no answers to the questions which the archaeo-bloggers urging responsible collecting are raising. Especially as he is trying to make people believe that when we argue for more transparency and accountability in the antiquities trade in order to force out the dodgy dealers, what we are instead doing is characterised as "an effort to clamp down on legitimate collecting". It takes a specific mindset to appreciate how trying to reinforce the legitimacy of the legitimate trade is somehow an attack on that (very same) legitimate trade, rather than being an effort to clamp down on the illicit antiquities trade. These are nothing more than weasel words of a dealer in denial.

    Clamping down on the illicit antiquities trade is surely something one would have thought that the collectors Sayles claims to represent would be all for, though it might make some shady dealers and their shadowy business partners rather unhappy perhaps. So on whose side is Sayles and his weasel worded denials? I think those "who are capable of intelligently weighing facts and circumstances" do not blindly buy dugup antiquities on the no-questions-asked market. They come to sites like SAFE, David Gill, Rick St Hilaire, Donna Yates and mine for the "facts and circumstances", rather than those of the weasel wording ageing shopkeepers moaning that nobody's listening to him any more.

    Intelligently weighing facts and circumstances, it seems to me that the reader can really come to only one conclusion why US dealers are behaving in this manner, and why.

    Another Archaeologist Pussy-footing Around the Issues


    In the comments to  PAS-partner Dave Crisp's awful Guardian opinion piece "", you can see British archaeology at its best (worst). Now bear in mind that Crisp writes: "We are very lucky in this country to have an excellent system where we can record the items we find, so they can be enjoyed by all. It’s called the Portable Antiquities Scheme...[bla bla]..." next to an avatar of a cuddly kitten a Guardian-reading somebody writes (29 August 2014 7:42pm)
    As an archaeologist I have lots of things I'd like to say here but rather than offending anyone, I'd much rather direct any interested parties to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) website, where they can learn about responsible metal detecting! Help us, don't hinder us!
    You just wonder whether ms Fluffykitten had actually read the text. You can see how this kind of mind works "I'm an archaeologist, but I am too busy/important to read what a metal detectorist has written in a national newspaper, I'll just brush the whole thing off with platitudes". You see also the pass-the-buck, "it's the job of the PAS to deal with these people, not mine". I wonder too if Ms Fluffykitten archaeologist has actually been to the PAS website and seen just what is (and is not) available there. I defy her to, and then tell us what she found there about 'best practice'. The PAS website in its current form is the last place you'd want to send anyone for any information on portable antiquity issues in a wider context, or even the narrower context of best practice (apart from "we-are-your-friend-show-us-all-yer-stuff M8s").

    Yes, I am well awere that all over Bonkers Britain there are a whole load of jobsworth archaeologists who'd have a lot of things to say to artefact hunters. They write to me off-line in droves about it ("would if  could, you know...."). Wimps. There are a lot of things Fluffykitten would I hope say if she say three blokes driving a bulldozer through Offa's Dyke (wouldn't she?), if she saw two teenagers digging a hole in a scheduled hillfort, kids vandalising a park bench (no?) or if somebody told her that there is really good evidence that Stonehenge was built 100,000 BC by  anthropomorphic space lizards which is why it is round and points towards the stars. At least I hope she would. So why not here? What is so "offensive" about writing: "This is why I think you are wrong Mr Crisp"?  Somehow, from seeing Mr Crisp in action on TV and You Tube, he does not strike me as being the sort of person with complexes who'd get  defensive and hurt if you disagree with him. He's not a PAS-poster-boy for nothing. He is one of the more articulate of all the PAS partners.

    I wonder just when it is that British archaeologists, individually and as a whole, will stop pussy-footing around this issue. When will they stop using the PAS as a prop: "I don't have to deal with it, it is somebody else's problem". It is quite clear that the PAS is not "dealing with it", never have - and on current showing, never will. How long does British archaeology (including the PAS) intend to keep turning its back on the complex issues surrounding artefact hunting and collecting in the UK?

    This is not intended as a personal attack on the lady who did write. I used her comment to make a point. I imagine there are dozens of archaeologists who read that article and did not even lift a finger to send a comment to register their disapproval (or support). Shame on the lot of them.

    UPDATE  
    I see the PAS and its 'polite green men' now, like Vladimir Putin, have their own social media disinformation computer squad. I suppose we are expected to infer that somebody calling themselves "DiggerDoc" [Male Joined: 30 Aug 2014: one comment]. is a real Guardian-reading archaeologist who writes (30 August 2014 3:37pm):
    Interesting piece, indeed. It's just a shame that more of my colleagues remain tight lipped when the loonier elements - the anti-everything brigade - sound off against people with metal detectors. They are, doing a worthwhile job and to be encouraged even more to report their finds, and for (sic) archaeology as a whole to work with them.
    "Doing a worthwhile job"? That last sentence is a bit dodgy, isn't it? I hope you got your sister to read your thesis if you filled it with phraseology like that, "doc". Transparently a metal detectorist.  Pathetic really, they have to convince people that they have lots of supporters through sock-puppets. The remedy to people "sounding off about [policies on artefact hunting]" is to answer the points made. Just show we are wrong, "Intelligently weighing facts and circumstances" in the wider context they deserve to be seen in. Please, "doc".

    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    Valerie Tarico’s Historical Denialism

    In a recent online article, Valerie Tarico suggests that “a growing number of scholars” are concluding that there was no historical Jesus.

    It isn’t clear to me that Richard Carrier, Robert Price, and Thomas Brodie represent a “growing number” compared to past generations. If one goes back half a century or more, the idea had more credence than it does now, because we had less evidence about ancient Judaism than we do now, not to mention rampant antisemitism that preferred a Jesus borrowed from non-Jewish deities, to a Jesus who was a real Jewish human being.

    Some of her claims are unsurprising – which other messianic claimants in the Judaism of this period are mentioned by non-Jewish historians?

    And some are bogus – she claims that the story gets more and more detailed as time goes on, but what she points to are mythical additions such as the virgin birth, which indicates (against Carrier) that Jesus appears in the relevant sources to be a historical figure being mythologized, rather than the reverse.

    That scholars make very different proposals about aspects of Jesus shows that this is a vibrant field. That’s what scholars do – make different proposals.

    Nothing in the article justifies the overall impression Tarico gives. But by jumping on the fringe bandwagon known as Jesus mythicism, she certainly undermines her claim to be a freethinker, if by that she means someone who can see through bogus claims, rather than the sort of people who “think freely” by denying scientific and historical consensus.

     

    Colleen Morgan (Middle Savagery)

    From the Morning

    I really should be writing something else. I really should be writing at least a half-dozen other things, all looming, lurking, people expecting.

    When I was a little girl, my parents had a record player, which is not unusual. I remember laying on my little round stomach, using a record as something hard beneath my paper to color on. I’d draw and draw, on white paper, on newspaper, on anything. But the records peeked out from behind the paper, and I remember a few vividly:

    summer_beachboys

    The Beach Boys, Endless Summer. It was a gatefold, so it was thick and had mysterious images inside. It also had the song “California Girls” which I liked, because I was told that I was born in California, though I didn’t remember it. I know all of these songs by heart, but I never owned or listened to the album after my childhood.

    surrealistic

    Unlike Endless Summer, I don’t remember any of these song, but I remember trying to spell out the title. For many years I didn’t even know it was a Jefferson Airplane album, I actually thought it was the Surrealistic Pillows.

    Nick_Drake-Pink_Moon

    For some reason, the cover for Nick Drake’s Pink Moon was indelibly embossed on my brain. It captured my imagination more than anything else–was that a clown-tooth? Was that a stamp? What are these adult symbols? I wanted to know what it meant, dammit. But like the Jefferson Airplane album, I didn’t remember any of the music.

    Happily, I re-discovered Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, and listened to it obsessively while I wrote my dissertation. It was a lonely time, a time for obsessions, ritualized routines and the life of the mind. There are streets in Berkeley that I will never be able to walk down again without hearing one of my favorite songs in the world, From the Morning.

    A little girl, coloring. A woman, writing her dissertation. Go play the game that you learned from the morning. 

    I decided to buy it on vinyl again.


    Ancient Peoples

    Glass Perfume Bottle 1st Century AD Early Imperial...



    Glass Perfume Bottle

    1st Century AD

    Early Imperial Roman

    (Source: The Metropolitan Museum)

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

    Having the right tools

    It is wonderful what a difference it makes to have the right tools.

    Years ago I obtained a thesis from the US, for which I was charged like a wounded bull.  It was printed double-sided, and I had no sheet-feeder able to handle that.  Today I found two very old Finereader projects on disk, neither comprising more than 70 pages, and both clearly scanned by doing a bunch, first one side, then the other.  It must have been very labour-intensive, for I never proceeded further.

    Anyway a correspondent caused me to look for it again.  Thankfully I was able to find the paper copy.  But these days I have a Futijsu Scansnap which is designed to turn bunches of papers into PDFs.  It made short work of the whole document.  Then I numbered the pages in Adobe Acrobat, which revealed one case where two pages had gone through.  I also found that a few pages had acquired a vertical line; these I rescanned.

    At the moment Adobe is OCRing the PDF for me.  When it is done, I shall have a nice, compact, 400 dpi copy of the whole thing.

    I hardly ever consult the thing; but at least, if I so wish, I can do so easily.

    That little document reader was a splendid investment.  When I think of the pain I endure with things which won’t go into it, I am deeply impressed.

    There are other advances also.  At my current workplace they have one of these combined scanner-printer-photocopier.  It has a sheet-feeder for copies, and outputs scans to PDF.  I have used it to scan a load of paper articles early one morning into PDF.  But … if you look closely … it will scan A3 as well, through the same A4-looking sheetfeeder.  Which means that even bulky old A3 copies – and who hasn’t got at least some of these? – can be turned into PDFs and the paper discarded!

    Worth looking out for at your work.  After all, it doesn’t use consumables, and is way faster than any home device.  Just make sure nobody is likely to object.

    G.W. Schwendner (What's New in Papyrology)

    Twelfth International Congress of Demotic Studies 2014


    9.15 Uhr
    Eröffnung: Martin Stadler, Würzburg

    Demotisch entziffern

    Moderation: Friedhelm Hoffmann, München

    9.30 Uhr
    Mark Depauw, Leuven "Demotic and Digital Humanities"
    The world of Digital Humanities is in constant flow, with many new (and exciting!) possibilities for scholarship. Demotic can and should not lag behind. This paper presents some of these new avenues, the challenges involved and some first results achieved. Amongst the keywords are: Social Network Analysis, digital edition, transliteration systems (yes...), RDF and Open Access tools in world with Trismegistos identifiers.

    10 Uhr
    Janet Johnson, Chicago "The CDD is 'done'. Where do we go from here?"
    Of course, no dictionary is ever "done". But our original commitment, to provide a supplement to Erichsen's Glossar incorporating vocabulary from texts published between 1955 and 1979, is (more than) complete. What I shall talk about is where the CDD sees itself going in the next few years, a vision based heavily on the discussions with Demotic and IT people at the "Roundtable" held in Chicago following the 2013 Demotic Summer School. I'll provide information about:
    1) the current status of each of the letter files and appendices (numbers, months, days of the month; bibliography and abbreviations; text information),
    2) some statistics on (current) use of the pdf files
    3) the status of font conversion to Unicode font(s), and
    4) the NEH application which has been submitted requesting funds to convert the pdfs to a searchable database capable of replicating pages from the pdfs but also capable of incorporating new data and facilitating user-generated searches encouraging in-depth study of Demotic vocabulary and, eventually, texts.
    This database will become the basic repository for previously collected material as well as all future data collection. As an on-line project, it will be possible to connect the eCDD with other Demotic, Egyptian, Greek etc., on-line projects and, to the extent and in the manner desirable, interconnect the burgeoning electronic resources. It will also become possible to associate many of the CDD resources (transliterations, translations, photo scans, the entire collection of 1955-79 vocabulary) which are not otherwise available on-line. While providing information about our vision, we also want to open up as wide a discussion as possible with all current and potential users of the CDD in order to understand their desires, visions, and priorities, so it is hoped that a large portion of my presentation will involve discussion among attendees of the Congress.

    10.30 Uhr      
    Kaffepause

    11 Uhr
    Birgit Jordan, Bad Vilbel "Eigentümlichkeiten der Zahlgestaltung von pMattha Verso"
    Der bislang auch als "Codex Hermopolis" oder ähnlich bezeichnete pMattha enthält auf seinem Verso bekanntlich eine Sammlung mathematischer Aufgaben. Die Gestaltung dieser Rückseite weist einige Idiosynkrasien auf, die sich als ungenaue, gar etwas schlampige Schreibungen insbesondere von Zahlen beanstanden lassen (vgl. Lüddeckens/Velte 1976:152). Eine genauere Betrachtung ergibt jedoch, dass sie sparsam gestaltet sind und nur soviel Information liefern, wie zur raschen und eindeutigen Entschlüsselung der Zahlketten nötig ist. die Regel, Zahlen als Brüche zu markieren, sofern sie nicht durch eigene Zeichen geschrieben werden, erscheint eher als Ausnahme: Nur wenn sich aus der Position einer Zahl nicht klar ihre Eigenschaft als "Stammbruch" ergibt, wird sie markiert. Außerdem lässt sich zeigen, dass bei der Schreibung der 5 auch die vertikale Dimension der Schreiblinie zur Vermeidung von Mehrdeutigkeiten eingesetzt wurde. Die bereits vor der Erstedition des mathematischen Textes Aufmerksamkeit erregende Schreibung von "echten Brüchen" in einigen Aufgabentexten wird durch die Unterstreichung des "Zählers" erreicht. Unter diesen Unterstreichungen finden sich manchmal dicke Punkte, für die trotz der Schadhaftigkeit und Seltenheit des Materials eine einheitliche Erklärung möglich ist.

    11.30 Uhr
    John Tait, London "Dating problems and Demotic paleography"
    There are a number of groups of Demotic texts that are currently recognised as posing problems in the study of their palaeography. In particular, difficulties are felt to arise, which hamper attempts to establish their dating on the basis of their hands. Such groups include the various finds of papyri, both documentary and literary, made in the Memphite Necropolis, notably the material that came to light in the course of excavations conducted from 1964, onwards by the Egypt Exploration Society in the North Saqqara area, and particularly within the Sacred Animal Necropolis. The present speaker was for several years able to study a large number of the papyri at first hand. This presentation coniders some of the ways in which attention to details may help in tackling a variety of palaeographical problems, and the relevance of these approaches to other groups of Demotic material.

    12-14 Uhr  
    Mittagspause

    Sprache und Textgestaltung

    Moderation: Janet Johnson, Chicago

    14 Uhr
    Leo Depuydt, Norton "On a Few Selected Problems in Demotic Grammar"
    At the immediate past five Demotic conferences of Demotic Studies, beginning with the one held in 1999 in Copenhagen and including the one held 12 years ago like the present one in Würzburg, I have reported on investigations into Demotic grammar, on occasion noting how comparatively little attention the grammar of Demotic receives. In 1999, I presented a list of 19 studies published in the preceding decade. In 2011 at Oxford, I updated the list with 24 more items. Since then, the written report of my Oxford paper has kept growing with new material into what is now about ready for publication as a monograph. In terms of organizational principles, this investigation makes an attempt to apply a modus operandi described as follows by F.X. Kugler S.J. in the introduction to his researches on the chronology of ancient Israel, entitled Von Moses bis Paulus (1922), at p. XII:"So schritt denn die Untersuchung...nach oben und unten weiter, doch überall nur da einsetzend, wo wichtige Fragen noch immer ihrer Lösung harrten."


    14.30 Uhr
    Luigi Prada, Oxford "Divining Grammar: The Contribution of Demotic Divination Handbooks to the Study of some Points of Egyptian Grammar (and Vice Versa)"
    Over the past three and a half years, I have compiled a corpus of demotic oneirocritica, inclusive of several unpublished texts (ranging from early to Roman demotic papyri). For scholars of the demotic language, the main interest of dream books has traditionally been their value as a source of rare or unknown lexicon. As this paper will argue, these texts can also help shed light on some wider points of grammar and the use of more common lexical items. All demotic dream books show a highly uniform style, strictly abiding by a series of stylistic rules, which make them a perfect laboratory for the observation of grammar at work. Conversely, once these stylistic rules that distinguish oneirocritica from other divination handbooks are individuated, one can work the other way round, and confidently assign to this genre modest papyrus scraps that preserve even just one of such diagnostic features. This paper will focus on two case studies, where the stylistic conformity of demotic dream books helps clarify wider issues in the understanding of Egyptian (and not only demotic) grammar. One concerns the verb snqy 'to nurse', and the other the well-known euphemistic use of the word xft 'enemy'

    15 Uhr
    Kaffeepause

    15.30 Uhr
    Micah Ross, Hsin Chu "A Case Study in Morphology"
    In 1914, Grapow described the potential of word forms with and without an m-prefix to alternate with each other. This interchange appears even in the same text. (In 1960, Fecht extended the phenomena to i-prefixes.) Grapow did not present this interchange of word forms as a diachronic variation. The word mxA.t ("balance-scale") appears in pre-Demotic phases of Egyptian language, from the root xAi ("measure"). In Demotic, the word for balance-scale appears as mxy.t (and its variants), while the forms Ax.t and ixy.t refer to the same word int the restricted usage as a zodiacal sign. In Coptic, the two word forms again coalesce into a single term for balance-scale, mashe (and its variants). These word forms are considered in light of Grapow's assessment of the durability of the m-prefix and Osing's description of Egyptian morphology (1976). The presence of similar phenomena for other roots is considered.

    16 Uhr
    Lawrence Xu, Auckland "Re-evaluation of speeches in the Inaros cycle"
    One of the most impressive aspects of the Inaros cycle is the frequent occurence of speeches or character-texts. These speeches are crucial to the analysis and understanding of the interactions and the developement of relationships between characters, as well as establishing their characterisation in the narratological framework within the texts. Such a narratological approach has been used by Steve Vinson in his analysis of Setne I and mentioned by Friedhelm Hoffmann (Der Kampf um den Panzer des Inaros,1996) in the case of the Inaros cycle. This paper will further develop the narratological significance of speeches in the Inaros cycle by applying Conversation Analysis and Cognitive Linguistics, which will offer a deeper understanding of characterisation within the Inaros corpus. In addition, the analysis will present an insight into the reception and presentation of the key characters. Evidence for the analysis will be drawn predominantly from two stories, Contest for the Breastplate of Inaros and Egyptians and Amazons.

    Abendprogramm
    18 Uhr
    Grußwort des Präsidenten der Julius-Maximilians-Universität Prof. Dr. Alfred Forchel sowie des Prodekans der Philosophischen Fakultät I Prof. Dr. Thomas Baier

    Öffentlicher Festvortrag:

    Prof. Dr. Richard Jasnow
    "Why We Do Demotic! - The Mysterious Attraction of that 'Most Evil of all Evil Egyptian Scripts'"
    anschließend Empfang in der Gemäldegalerie des Martin von Wagner-Museums
    Dienstag, 02.09.2014

    Verwaltung und Ökonomie Ägyptens in ptolemäisch-römischer Zeit

    Moderation: Sandra L. Lippert, Montpellier

    9 Uhr        
    Gert Baetens, Leuven, "Demotic petitions"
    The paper presents the first results of a PhD project on Ptolemaic petitioning practices, funded by the Research Foundation Flanders and supervised by Mark Depauw (K.U. Leuven). In stark contrast to the large number of studies that deal with their Greek counterparts, Demotic petitions have never been the object of thorough examination. This paper wants to remedy this. Starting point will be the evolution of Egyptian petitions to an autonomous genre during the Ptolemaic period. Next its place in the broader social and administrative context of Ptolemaic Egypt will be discussed. Especially important in this respect are possible Egyptian translations of Greek hypomnemata: P. Eleph. Dem. 1 (+ P. Eleph. Gr. 27a), belonging to the archive of the praktor Milon, and col. I-III of the verso of P. BM 10591, recording a petition of the priests of Syene to the strategos Noumenios and advice concerning their request by the legal specialist Totoes.

    9.30 Uhr            
    Willy Clarysse, Leuven/ Dorothy J. Thompson, Cambridge "New Fragments to P.Count 2"
    In a double session Clarysse will present the text of the new columns that he has recently discovered in Paris which extend the Arsinoite tax register already published as P.Count 2 (229 BC). These provide a fuller picture of the range of tax-privileged groups but problems remain with the reading of some of the titles. In a follow-up discussion of the significance of the additional information, Thompson will concentrate on the occupational structure of the population.

    10.10 Uhr
    Brian Muhs, Chicago "The Institutional Models for Ptolemaic Banks and Granaries"
    Bogaert (1982) suggested that the institutional models for Ptolemaic royal banks were Classical Greek public chests or treasuries and private banks. Preisigke (1910), however, observed that Ptolemaic royal banks and granaries employed similar administrative systems. In this paper, I will show that Ptolemaic temple treasuries and granaries also used administrative systems similar to those of royal banks and granaries. Greek accounts and other documents from Ptolemaic royal banks and granaries will be compared with Demotic accounts and documents from an early Ptolemaic temple at Nag' el-Mesheikh, and striking similiarities in operating and documentation procedures will be revealed. It seems unlikely that the Ptolemies remodeled the state and temple granary systems after Classical Greek banks, and therefore I will suggest instead that Ptolemaic royal banks were modeled on traditional Egyptian institutions, such as state and temple treasuries and granaries.

    10.40 Uhr
    Kaffeepause

    Moderation: Maren Schentuleit, Heidelberg

    11 Uhr
    Alexander Schütze, Bonn "Eine ökonomische Analyse demotischer Rechtsurkunden"
    Demotische Rechtsurkunden enthalten als Produkte wirtschaftlicher Transaktionen eine Fülle von Informationen über die Motivationen der beteiligten wirtschaftlichen Akteure sowie die konkreten juristischen, wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Rahmenbedingungen, unter denen diese Transaktionen zustande kamen. Seit einigen Jahren wird in den Altertumswissenschaften die sogenannte Neue Institutionenökonomik (NIÖ) als ein Instrumentarium rezipiert, um antike Wirtschaft(en) besser verstehen zu können. Die NIÖ fragt u.a. nach den formellen (z. B. geltendes Recht, Verteilung von Verfügungsrechten) sowie informellen Rahmenbedingungen (soziale Normen, Mentalitäten usw.), die wirtschaftliches Handeln determinieren. In diesem Beitrag sollen anhand von Fallbeispielen die Möglichkeiten diskutiert werden, die das Instrumentarium der NIÖ für eine ökonomische Analyse demotischer Rechtsurkunden bietet.

    11.30 Uhr                                        
    Lorenzo Uggetti, Paris "P.Tor.Botti 34: some considerations on the administration of the temple of Hathor in Ptolemaic Deir el-Medina"
    The bilingual archive of Totoes and Tatehathyris, from the 2nd century BC, was discovered in Deir el-Medina by E. Schiaparelli in 1905 and then brought to the Egyptian Museum of Turin. The demotic texts were first published in 1967 by G. Botti in "L'archivio demotico da Deir El-Medineh". He considered one of them, namely P.Tor.Botti 34 A, to be a payment of the debts of a man, after his death, by his three sons.
    Many hints point to a new interpretation of this document: the sons, for example, are attorneys of Hathor in Deir el-Medina; allusion is made to some repair works and expenses made by their father for the temple of Hathor; the other party is the group of the presbyteroi of this temple.
    Moreover, a new translation of P.Tor.Botti 34 B-C, i.e. the oath concerning the above-mentioned papyrus, found rolled up with it, may help to better understand P.Tor.Botti 34 A. all these elements.

    12 Uhr
    Andreas Winkler, Berkeley "Crocodile Priests Collecting Cash - Revenues and the Temple in Roman Tebtunis"
    I will discuss two fragmentary Demotic receipts from the first and second centuries AD issued by the priests of Soknebtunis. The older of the two texts is a bilingual receipt for 'Greek' reeds from the reign of Augustus. The other receipt concerns the so-called 'temple-tax' on property transfer, which offers interesting variants on the other texts of this kind published thus far. Despite their incomplete state of preservation, the two texts provide new insights into the organisation of the fiscal regime of  the Tebtunis temple in the two first centuries of Roman rule. In addition to the content of these two texts, I will also examine the identity of the priests who issued these receipts.

    12.30-14.30 Uhr
    Mittagspause
    14.30-ca.22 Uhr
    Ausflugsfahrt ins Fränkische Weinland
    Mittwoch, 03.09.2014

    Texteditionen

    Moderation: Holger Kockelmann, Tübingen

    9.00 Uhr
    Kim Ryholt, Kopenhagen "A collection of unique biographical texts on a papyrus"
    During recent excavations in the dump next to the temple of Soknebtunis, a number of fragments of a papyrus inscribed with a collection of unique biographical texts were found. My talk will give details of the extraordinary personal details that emerge from the extant biographies and discuss the purpose of the collection.

    9.30 Uhr                           
    Maha Akeel, Kairo "Two Demotic Accounts from Nag' El-Mashaykh"
    Two demotic ostraca belong to the collections of the Egyptian museum in Cairo and probably date to the Ptolemaic period. Their provenance is the site of Nag' El-Mashaykh, supposed to be the present location of the administrative capital of the eighth Upper Egyptian Thinite nome (T3-Wr). The first of which, limestone fragment, is an account starts with a title followed by unspecified amounts given in certain days for priestly and religious purposes. The other, potsherd, represents an account introduced by a heading, then occur amounts of different materials (barely, oil seeds) given for certain persons in certain days. The scribal features of the latter suggest certain relations with the site of Kom El-Sultan (Abydos)

    10 Uhr
    Tina Di Cerbo/Richard Jasnow, Chicago "Progress Report on the Documentation of Demotic Graffitti Pertaining to the Ibis and Falcon Cult from Dra Abu Naga'a"
    The Spanish-Egyptian Mission headed by Dr. Jose Galan has been active at Dra Abu Naga'a since 2002. Focusing on the Tombs of Djehuty (TT119 and Hery (TT12), they have revealed numerous Demotic graffiti associated with the Ibis and Falcon Cult based there in the Ptolemaic Period. Some of these graffiti are "new", others had already been published as hand copies in Marquis of Northampton, W. Spiegelberg, and P. Newberry, Report on Some Excavations in the Theban Necropolis During the Winter of 1898-9 (London, 1908), 19-25 ("The Demotic Inscriptions"). Our collaboration with the Spanish-Egyptian Misssion, which naturally has emphasized cleaning, conservation, and documentation, has given to us an excellent opportunity to reevaluate Spiegelberg's editions and to reconsider the significance of the corpus as a whole. In this lecture we present some of the results of our project.

    10.30 Uhr
    Kaffeepause

    10.50 Uhr
    Joachim F. Quack, Heidelberg "Project presentation: A corpus of demotic magical texts"
    Recently, I have launched a project to re-edit all known demotic magical texts, as well as to include as much unpublished material as possible in order to form a corpus which can serve as a counter-part to the well-known collections of Greek-language sources in PGM and SM: however it is planned to pay more attention to the structure of the manuscripts and give more commentary than it was done in PGM. The presentation will discuss some questions related to the project and indicate some first results. This concerns applying the term "magical" as well as the choice of texts to be included or excluded from the corpus. Also, problems of the historical development and the relation to earlier Egyptian as well as Greek and other traditions will be tackled. It will be demonstrated that the writing of magical texts in demotic script started much earlier than it is generally assumed and that some textual traditions span a very long time. Also, "demotic" magic is far from homogenous, and its supposed difference from earlier Egyptian magic is by no means universal to all attested cases.

    11.20 Uhr
    Kirsten Dzwiza, Heidelberg "Neuedierung des großen demotischen Papyrus London-Leiden"
    Im Rahmen eines dreijährigen Forschungsprojekts am Ägyptologischen Institut der Universität Heidelberg werden die beiden zusammengehörenden Papyri P.BM 10070 und P.Leiden I 383 vollständig neu ediert. Bei dieser auch als PGM XIV/pdm xiv bekannten Schriftrolle mit einer Größe von ca. 24x500cm handelt es sich um die derzeit größte bekannte demotische Praxissammlung. Sie umfasst 1254 Zeilen davon 27 in Griechisch und 1227 in Demotisch, mit rund 100 unterschiedlichen Praxisanleitungen, darunter Offenbarungs-, Heil- und Schutzpraxen ebenso wie Schadenspraxen. Die Datierung ist umstritten und wird entweder ins 2., eventuell frühes 3. Jahrhundert, oder ins 4. Jahrhundert verortet, wobei unter Ägyptologen die frühe Datierung präferiert wird. Sprachlich, schriftlich, strukturell und inhaltlich weisen die einzelnen Anleitungen bisweilen große Unterschiede auf. Die einzige vollständige Publikation, inklusive Umzeichnung und Transkription, kurzer Anmerkungen und umfangreiche Indices, ist von Francis LL. Griffith und Herbert Thompson aus den Jahren 1904-05. Eine Detailuntersuchung wie auch eine vergleichende Untersuchung auf der Grundlage hochaufgelöster Photographien und der Originale steht bis heute aus. Diese Lücke will das neue Projekt schließen. Wieviel Potential in dem Papyrus noch verborgen liegt, soll anhand ausgewählter Beispiele veranschaulicht werden. Hierzu werden inhaltliche, grammatikalische und strukturelle Neuerkenntnisse vor- und zur Diskussion gestellt. Finanziert wird das Projekt durch Leibnizpreis-Mittel von Joachim F. Quack, der auch Projektleiter ist.

    11.50 Uhr
    Cary J. Martin, London "Jigsaw Puzzles in the Bibliothèque nationale de France"
    There are more than thirty demotic papyri belonging to the funerary-workers of the Memphite Necropolis, but nearly all of these are from the Archive of the God's Seal-bearers and only four come from that of the Choachytes. The recent identification of further texts in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, however, has nearly doubled the number of texts from the Choachytes' Archive. At first sight these papyri look to be substantial, albeit incomplete, texts, but all is not as it seems. This paper looks at these new papyri, some of the unusual and unexpected information they contain, as well as their contribution to our understanding of the community of funerary-workers at Memphis in the early Ptolemaic Period.

    12.20-14 Uhr        
    Mittagspause

    Moderation: Alexandra von Lieven, Berlin

    14 Uhr
    Rana Sérìda, Kopenhagen "New Inaros Story"
    The paper presents a new Inaros story from the Tebtunis temple library in Fayoum. The manuscript (PSI inv. D66) is mainly housed in Florence, in Istituto Papyrologico 'G. Vitelli', with only a few fragments in Copenhagen, in the Papyrus Carlsberg collection. It is one of the longest extant manuscripts so far identified (over 500 fragments), which concerns the living Inaros. I will present preliminary information about the text, the characters involved in the story, as well of the themes that I have so far been able to distinguish.

    14.30 Uhr                      
    Deborah Vignot-Kott, Paris "Dans ce monde, il n'y a a rien d'assuré que la mort et les impôts"
    Dans ce monde, il n'y a rien d'assuré que la mort et les impôts
    Le corpus des ostraca démotique d'Edfou contient un dossier homogène concernant la taxe de la nécropole. Il est daté du règne de Ptolémée II et composé de recus de taxes délivrés à Nespakhy fils de Pasas (23 ostraca) et à Petepsegne fils de Thotortaios (4 ostraca).
    Michel Malinine a publié 21 de ces ostraca conservés à l'IFAO en 1961 dans les Mélanges Mariette. En 1990 Ola el-Aguizy y a ajouté un document conservé au musée du Caire. En reprenant l'étude des ostraca apollonopolitains de l'IFAO dans le cadre de ma thèse, j'ai identifié 5 nouveaux texts appartenant à cet ensemble.
    La présentation de ces inédits et la reprise de l'ensemble du dossier, ainsi que des comparaisons avec des taxes de provenances différentes, permettront une meilleure compréhension des taxes funéraires à Edfou à l'époque algide.

    15 Uhr        
    Günter Vittmann, Würzburg, "Demotische Ostraka aus Assiut"
    Bei den Arbeiten der joint mission der Universitäten Mainz und Sohag in der Nekropole von Assiut wurden in den letzten Jahren im sog. "Hundegrab" ungefähr 60 demotische Ostraka aus dem 2. Jh. v.Chr. entdeckt. Dabei handelt es sich zum großen Teil um Abrechnungen (Bier, Olivenöl, Wein, Weizen) und Namenlisten. Ein eindeutiger thematischer Zusammenhang mit den Hundebestattungen ist derzeit nicht klar zu erkennen, es gibt aber philologische Indizien, die auf einen Zusammenhang der Ostraka bzw. zumindest eines Teils davon mit den Aktivitäten einer Kultgemeinschaft, zu deren Aufgaben auch die Bestattung heiliger Tiere gehörte, deuten.

    15.30-15.50 Uhr                                                     
    Kaffeepause

    Soknopaiu Nesos

    Moderation: Kim Ryholt, Kopenhagen

    15.50 Uhr
    Carolin Arlt, Würzburg, "Tax Farming and Monopolies in Ptolemaic Soknopaiou Nesos"
    The farming out of taxes and monopolies is a well-known feature of the Greek administration in Ptolemaic Egypt. The rights to these were sold at public auctions, which began with the submission of written bids. Only two actual bids are preserved in the Greek papyri and none in Demotic Egyptian, which is not surprising since the whole procedure was derived from Greek administrative practices. There are, however, fifteen Demotic offers to take over monopolies or dependent sanctuaries from the main temple in Dime/Soknopaiou Nesos that all date roughly to the second half of the 2nd cen. BCE. In this paper, I shall examine these important texts, as they are the only documents that inform us about the procedure in an Egyptian temple, which was similar to that of the royal administration. One of the questions I try to answer is what it means to take over a dependent sanctuary. I will also discuss other texts that document tax farming and the sale of monopolies in Soknopaiou Nesos.

    16.20 Uhr
    Marie-Piere Chaufray, Bordeaux, "Oil expenses in the temple of Soknopaios"

    16.50 Uhr
    Sandra L. Lippert, Montpellier "Le village de Dionysias au Fayoum et ses relations avec Soknopaiou Nésos"
    Le village de Dionysias, en démotique P3-tmy-n-m3y - situé dans la méris de Thémistos-, est mentionné avec une fréquence étonnante dans des textes documentaires provenant du temple de Soknopaiou Nésos qui, pour sa part, relève de la méris d'Hérakleides. Dans cette communication, on cherchera à éclaircir les liens qui existaient entre ces deux villages, essentiellement entre ses temples et leurs clergés, depuis l'époque ptolémaique jusqu'à au moins le 2e siècle de notre ère.

    19.30 Uhr
    Weinprobe am Würzburger Stein
    Donnerstag, 04.09.2014

    Ägypten im internationalen Kontext

    Moderation: Francois Gaudard, Chicago

    9.30 Uhr                                        
    Alejandro Botta "Aramaic and Demotic Legal Terms/Formulae and their Mesopotamian Equivalents"
    Previous studies by Porten (1992) and Botta (2013,2014) have presented forty Demotic/Aramaic parallel legal terms/formulae. Ritner (2002) and Botta (2009), set some of those legal terms/formulae within the legacy of the ancient Egyptian legal tradition. Building upon the previous research of Muffs (1969), Cussini (1993), Gross (2008) and others, and my own ongoing research project, "A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Legal Terms and Formulae," this paper places the Aramaic/Demotic legal terms and formulae in their wider ancient Near Eastern context, adding the relevant Mesopotamian parallels. The resulting data provides evidence of both continuity and innovation within the ancient Near Eastern use of technical legal terminology. At the same time, it offers the material necessary for the comparative study of ancient Near Eastern formulae, and the investigation of interaction and influence amongst the legal traditions of the ancient near East.

    Chaufray, Marie-Pierre (Bordeaux)
    (no abstract)

    10 Uhr
    Emily Cole, Berkeley "Commentary in Graeco-Roman Texts"
     In 1995, an important conversation concerning the use of commentary in Egyptian sources was begun by Jan Assmann and Ursula Rößler-Köhler in the edited volume Text und Kommentar. In their work, the authors raised questions regarding the nature of exegetical commentary, using Pharaonic materials, including Coffin Text 335 and Book of the Dead 17, to support their claims. It was noted, though not discussed at length, that several Graeco-Roman texts also included commentary. In this paper, I will return to this conversation and extend it to include later sources. In particular, I will outline the essential relationship between translation of different Egyptian language phases and scribal practices for commenting on texts. Several works such as P. BM  10252, the so-called Book of Nut, P. Rhind I and II, and late examples of the Book of the Dead will be referenced. By examining the material appended to source texts, I will attempt to demonstrate how Egyptian scribes used both translation and commentary as compositional tools in their linguistic endeavors.

    10.30 Uhr
    Eugene Cruz-Uribe, Indiana "Demotic Graffitti from Philae"
    This short paper will look at a series of Demotic graffiti found at the temples of Isis on Philae Island. The author has spent a number of visits to the Isis temple where he has examined a large new corpus of Demotic graffiti which numbers almost 500 items. While many oft the graffiti are small, short texts, there are a number of substantive items found in all areas oft the temple. I will also discuss a number of new editions of texts first published by F. Ll. Griffith in his Catalogue of the Demotic Inscriptions from the Dodecaschoenus (1937). The Demotic texts reveal a great deal of information on the interactions of the Nubian groups south of Aswan and the complex interactions between them and the Roman/Byzantine rulers in the area. The paper will address the notion of who were the authors of these graffiti and why they wrote.

    11 Uhr
    Kaffeepause

    Moderation: Willy Clarysse, Leuven

    11.30 Uhr
    Renate Fellinger, Cambridge "The legal role of women in Ptolemaic Thebes: A case study of cross-cultural influence"
    The Ptolemaic dynasty created a 'hybrid state', incorporating Graeco-Macedonian traditions and Egyptian customs, in order to legitimize their rule and to foster relationships with constituencies from both backgrounds. In the legal sphere, this resulted in the co-existence of Greek and Egyptian legal instruments and institutions. Egyptians, Greeks and ethnic minorities, such as Jewish communities, lived alongside each other; cross-cultural interaction and, subsequently, influence was inevitable.
    In his Marriage and Matrimonial Property in Ancient Egypt, P.W. Pestman (1961:184) proposed that the role of women degraded due to the influence of Greek law. This paper questions this hypothesis by examining the participation of women in the legal landscape of Ptolemaic Egypt as reflected in Theban documents for money. Key indicators of the legal role of women (for example, the ability to act independently vs. requiring a male guardian) as identified in pharaonic and Classical/Hellenistic Greek sources will be reviewed. Then the legal role of women as portrayed in the dataset will be analyzed through statistical and comparative means. This study forms part of my doctoral research which aims to determine the extent to which Greek legal traditions may have influenced the role of women as reflected in demotic legal practices.

    12.00 Uhr
    Steve Vinson, Indiana "Moses, Mumbo Jumbo, and the Secret Keys to Universal Power: the "First Tale of Setne Khaemwas" and African-American Egyptomania, 1939-1988"
    Studies of the reception of the Demotic "First Tale of Setne Khaemwas" have typically focused on its resonance with Gothic and horror fiction, or its adaptation by mid-Twentieth-century European novelists like Mika Waltari or Thomas Mann. The place of "First Setne" in the African-American reception of ancient Egypt in the same period has hardly been touched on, but it is extensive. Via the translation that had appeared in Flinders Petrie's anthology of Egyptian tales (1895),  "First Setne" was adapted by Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston in her novel Moses: Man of the Mountain (1939). In this novel, Naneferkaptah is replaced by Moses, who hopes to use the power of the Magic Mook of Thoth to free the Hebrew slaves of Egypt. Moses:Man of the Mountain was itself adapted and parodied by MacArthur Fellowship-winning author Ishmael Reed in his novel Mumbo Jumbo (1971), in which the Magic Book of Thoth is the object of competing searches in 1920s-era Harlem. "First Setne" also figures - albeit indirectly-  in the scholarship of Harvard University theorist of African-American literature Henry Louis Gates. Via his analysis (1988) of Reed's Mumbo Jumbo, Gates suggests resonances between "First Setne" and Plato's "Phaidros" and its myth of the invention of hieroglyphs by Thoth - a connection that had been made even more explicitly in the 1970s by Jacques Derrida, and which brings us back to Egyptological interpretations of "First Setne", particularly its resonances with the historic "Book of Thoth".

    All Mesopotamia

    Glazed clay brick from reign of Tukulti-Ninurta II; shows a...



    Glazed clay brick from reign of Tukulti-Ninurta II; shows a charioteer; border of chevrons top and bottom and inscription.

    • Length: 66.5 centimetres
    • Width: 46.5 centimetres
    • Thickness: 6.5 centimetres

    "Inscription Transliteration:

    (1) É.GAL {1}GISKIM-{d}MAŠ šárru dan-nu šar₄ ⌈KIŠ⌉ [šar₄] {kur}AŠ
    (2) A {1}U-ERÍN.TÁH šárru dan-nu šar₄ KIŠ šar₄ {kur}AŠ
    (3) {1}AŠ-dan{an} šar₄ KIŠ šar₄ {kur}AŠ-ma”

    [British Museum]

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    False Prophets in Washington Antiquities Lobby


    A lobbyist for the no-questions-asked antiquities market was crowing back in December 26, 2012 that "SAFE No More?":
    A reliable source indicates that Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE) is effectively dead. While SAFE's website remains online, it has not really been updated for some time [...] I for one will not mourn the demise of SAFE. From the start, it was highly confrontational, and brought far more heat than light to cultural property issues.
    Personally I would say that is a description perfectly fitting the grotesque blog of the author of those words. Peter Tompa does not produce texts presenting any substantive "observations" on cultural heritage issues, every single one of them is the sort of weasel-worded irritating provocation one might expect of an internet troll, and moreover he represents not one, but two international dealers' associations. The non-profit SAFE meanwhile goes from strength to strength, due to the dedication, commitment and initiative of its staff and volunteers. While strident jackasses in the US antiquities trade with their specious arguments and self-centred attitudes are among those who persist in damaging the image of America in the eyes of the outside world, organizations like SAFE are assets to US cultural diplomacy.  (I know the US Department of State reads this, how about some kind of award for them in a couple of years?). Thank you Cindy Ho for giving us all something of inestimable value.

    And that is the reason why the US lobbyists for the shadowy no-questions-asked market in antiquities would be happy to see the back of them with their reasoned arguments in opposition to their confrontational nonsense.  I have every confidence that SAFE and the enlightened attitudes it represents are here to stay.

    Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

    Saturday Morning Mushrooms

    blandsvampMushroom picking again this morning, this time in the area between Lakelets Skinnmossen and Knipträsket. Found more velvet and birch boletes than we cared to pick.

    • King bolete, Stensopp/Karl Johan, Boletus edulis
    • Orange birch bolete, Tegelsopp, Leccinum versepelle
    • Velvet bolete, Sandsopp, Suillus variegatus
    • Chanterelle, Kantarell, Cantharellus cibarius
    • Gypsy mushroom, Rynkad tofsskivling, Rozites caperata
    • False saffron milkcap, Blodriska, Lactarius deterrimus

    Oh how annoying that the image gallery function is so bug-ridden.

    blandsvamp False saffron milkcap, Blodriska, Lactarius deterrimus King bolete, Stensopp/Karl Johan, Boletus edulis Chanterelle, Kantarell, Cantharellus cibarius Gypsy mushroom, Rynkad tofsskivling, Rozites caperata Velvet bolete, Sandsopp, Suillus variegatus Orange birch bolete, Tegelsopp, Leccinum versepelle

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    Focus on Metal Detecting: Simpletons


    Part of a 2012 metal detectorist's 'haul', showing the variety of objects hoiked.
    The problem of non-reporting is not purely a figment of the imagination
    of "simpletons" (sic). Part of the collection had been sold through
    the English antiquities market by the time this photo was taken (BBC)

    On a metal detecting forum very near you, "Liamnolan" (Re: Percentage of 'Keepers' - Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:04 pm ) is another one who attempts to explain away the doubts some of us have about the relationship between what metal detectorists in the UK are showing the PAS and what is actually being hoiked out of the archaeological record. He's decided to go for the name-calling tactic:
    [...] There is always the chance that a simpleton =)) browsing this topic will not have a clue about metal detecting realities and thus not realise that the 99% of finds that are not coins etc are in fact RUBBISH such as tin foil, blobs of molten lead, shotgun cartridges, fragments of all sorts of domestic appliances, hot rocks ... the list is endless [...]

    Simpletons are the people that write such crap, imagining that it will end the debate. Simpletons are the people who listen to them too. Mr Nolan does not name the "simpleton" whom he is addressing, but perhaps should be aware that in some of our cases (my own for example) we've been looking at metal detecting since the 1970s, when it started, have been to club meetings, out with detectorists on a number of occasions in more than one country, and have made a close study of the problem for a decade and a half. Anyone who's ever been involved in fieldwork of any kind (fieldwalking, earthwork surveying, hedgerow dating, excavation) in the heavily-littered English countryside is well aware of what gets into the fields in dirty Britain. I would say the accusation that people like that still "have not a clue about metal detecting realities" is clutching at straws. Certainly, I know enough about metal detecting argumentation to know that this very same argument has been trotted out regularly over the years.

    This was the case in March 2005 when on another forum, the tekkies decided to put their money where their mouth is. They actually set out to demonstrate it. Thirty of them did, in different parts of the country. a total of 112 detecting hours, they turned off their discrimination and determined to "dig every target", ostensibly for a three hour session and log the results. They were going to show that - as Liamnolan puts it, "99% of finds are in fact rubbish".

    They dug 1521 "hits". Of these only 493 were very modern finds (so to list the categories mentions by Liam Nolan: tin foil 61 pieces, ringpulls and drink can pieces 111, shotgun cartridges 173, fragments of domestic appliances and electrical waste 14). Hot rocks accounted for 14 dug hits.  There were 15 very modern coins (plus '14p in coppers').

    The 'blobs of molten lead' may be "rubbish" to a collector, but could equally be archaeological evidence, deriving from reuse of Roman bath house fittings, roof lead flashings, medieval came manufacture, silver refining waste and so on (dating it would depend on the recording of distribution pattern taken with those of other artefact types). The 2005 survey found 262 pieces of lead 'scrap'.

    Apart from that there were 456 artefacts falling into the group categorised by Nigel Swift and myself as 'Old Timey' (collectable - and saleable - items between c. 300 and c. 90 years old  but not recordable by the PAS). Among these were 71 coins.

    What is significant is that there were 55 PAS-recordable finds found in this exercise (one 'keeper' per two hours' detecting in this case).* Of these 30 were coins.

    Those figures break down to
    Recordable collectables: 4%,
    Old Timey collectables, 30%,
    Very Modern 32%,
    Unattributed and scrap (by the finders) 34% 
     This is a far cry from the "99%" rubbish claim. If we are talking about modern items, the figure shown by this survey is actually 32%.** am sure that had the items not attributed by the finders been examined properly more archaeological items would have been recognized among them.

    These are the sort of "metal detecting realities" we are talking about. The ones that induce detecting forum moderators to delete posts or entire threads when they are pointed out.

    *Actual rates will be higher, these people had discrimination turned off and were deliberately spending time digging signals they knew were duds. 

    **"Oh, what about Green Waste?" you can almost hear them screaming. What's the betting the next such survey will be done only on "Green Waste fields" to boost the "Very modern" category - you know, the ones the detectorists would normally avoid for that very reason

    Why not get involved in Real Archaeology instead?


    Culture not Merchandise
    The Glasgow Trafficking Culture Project folk tend not to get involved with the debate on UK metal detecting, especially now Suzie Thomas has left for other climes. Donna Yates however, despite a recent tangle with one of the 'ambassadors for the hobby' ventures an opinion on reading PAS-partner Dave Crisp's awful opinion piece "". She quite rightly asks:
    Why not get involved in real archaeology instead? 
    A simple question, I wonder whether the PAS would care to give an answer. Why not? Why is this not the PAS argument too? Fifteen million quid to encourage hoiking and collecting instead of archaeology? How would the PAS actually answer that on the basis of seventeen years liaison? I bet though, we will never find out, the PAS pretty consistently run a mile from questions of public interest like that.

    Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews)

    Stonehenge 'complete circle' evidence found

    Evidence that the outer stone circle at Stonehenge was once complete has been found - parch marks in the grass, in an area that had not been watered, have revealed...

    Famous Utah rock art may be much recent than was thought

    Since the original Barrier Canyon rock art panel, known as the Great Gallery, was first discovered by scientists in Utah's Canyonlands National Park (USA), experts have debated how old the...

    Neolithic oven discovered in Croatia

    Prehistoric experts in Croatia have found a 6,500-year-old oven. It was unearthed in a ancient home during an archeological dig at a Neolithic site in Bapska, a village in eastern...

    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    Rest or Rules?

    rest-or-rules

    The above cartoon by David Hayward seems to me to make much the same point as Dostoyevsky’s famous parable of the Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov. Some people find freedom to be a burden, and prefer what rules offer: in particular, the sense that we are passing the responsibility for our views and our decisions to someone else. But of course, that sense is an illusion – the fundamentalist is still deciding what to believe, and is only pretending to merely believe “what the Bible says” or even “what God says.”

    Click through to see David’s list of why law is often felt to be preferable to love, when it comes to our guiding principles.

    ArcheoNet BE

    Het Groot Profielenboek. Fysische geografie voor archeologen

    In de archeologische praktijk wordt veel van de archeoloog in het veld gevraagd. Hij/zij is het welbekende schaap met de vijf poten. Naast de dagelijkse bureaucratische rompslomp blijft helaas vaak te weinig tijd over voor de archeologische inhoudelijke kant van het werk en dan dient de veldarcheoloog zich ook nog eens bezig te houden met ‘het profiel’. Heel wat vragen over die profielen worden nu beantwoord in ‘Het Groot Profielenboek. Fysische geografie voor archeologen’.

    Het ‘Groot Profielenboek’ beoogt de veldarcheoloog enig houvast te bieden bij de documentatie en interpretatie van “het profiel” en probeert een antwoord te geven op vragen die veel in het veld worden gesteld. Waarom is de bepaling van het koolzure kalkgehalte van een sediment zo belangrijk? Wat is het verschil tussen een rivierduin en een donk? Hoe en hoe snel ontstaat een podzol? Is een eerdlaag hetzelfde als een esdek? Bevat het profiel nog voldoende stuifmeelkorrels voor een zinvolle analyse? Wat zegt een EZ23 op de bodemkaart nu eigenlijk? In dit boek vind je het antwoord op bovenstaande en vele andere vragen.

    De schrijvers van het boek zijn beiden werkzaam als fysisch geograaf bij EARTH Integrated Archaeology. Wilko van Zijverden begon zijn carrière in de archeologie in 1993 en verzorgt daarnaast sinds 2007 onderwijs in de aardwetenschappen bij de opleiding Archeologie van SAXION in Deventer. Jos de Moor werkt sinds 2001 als fysisch geograaf in het archeologisch werkveld.

    Het Groot Profielenboek verscheen bij Sidestone Press. Je kunt het online lezen of kopen via sidestone.com.

    BiblePlaces Blog

    Weekend Roundup

    Maritime archaeologists have discovered a Phoenician shipwreck dating to 700 BC off the coast of Malta.

    A new study of the Timna copper mines shows that the workers in the 10th century BC were not slaves but highly skilled craftsmen.

    Corinthian Matters has a review of a field trip app that accompanies the ASCSA’s new Ancient Corinth: A Guide to the Site and Museum.

    Ferrell Jenkins describes his recent visit to the Louvre in Paris.

    Tiberias—There’s More to See than Just Hotels. Yes, indeed.

    Leon Mauldin visits the other Bethlehem. This lesser-known biblical site is in Galilee.

    Clyde Billington is on the Book and the Spade this week discussing the “stone rejected by the builders” along with the use of tokens for counting.

    Accordance has a sale now on a five-resource bundle from Rose Publishing, including their guides to the tabernacle and temple.

    Paul L. Maier’s Pontius Pilate is marked down to $2.99 for the Kindle. I recommend it.

    HT: Charles Savelle

    Timna Chalcolithic copper mine, tb030807061

    Copper mine in Timna Valley
    Photo from Negev and the Wilderness

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    Focus on Metal Detecting: Welcome to Hoik Wiltshire Too


    Dave Crisp and heap of coins
    PAS poster-boy metal detectorist Dave Crisp (photogenic Frome Hoard finder) now writes for the Guardian ('The joy of metal detecting – it’s not just about the treasure', Friday 29 August 2014).
    Yesterday, a treasure hunt began on a Folkestone beach where a German artist, Michael Sailstorfer, has buried £10,000 of bullion – 30 bars of 24-carat gold – as part of an arts festival. People started to descend with metal detectors, spades, forked sticks and anything else they thought might help, and on Thursday night a family found the very first bar. Is this art? It’s not for me to say. I can’t tell a Picasso from a potato, but it’s certainly given my hobby a boost.
    Ah yes, beachcombing, using metal detectors to find coins and jewellery recently lost in the sand by holidaymakers, and the quirky other objects that they take to the beach (model cars seem to be common finds), or the odd thing washed up by the tides. in the meanwhile performing a socially useful function in removing rubbish, sharp can fragments, cutlery and worse. Sadly this PAS-partner did not extol that, he turned a discussion of an art-happening into a plug for collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record, artefact hunting and collecting.
    It’s not all about pots of coins and jewel-encrusted gems, but the items people have lost over the past 2,000 years, the fascinating everyday artefacts – buckles, brooches, rings, weights and buttons. All these lost items are our history, and they shouldn’t just be left in the ground to rot and disappear. These Celtic, Roman, Saxon and Viking items conjure up the history of our shores, the people who made us what we are today, the ancestors whose blood runs in our veins, and their lost objects are ours to enjoy. 
    "These Celtic, Roman, Saxon and Viking items" which artefact hoikers are taking by the thousand and adding to thousands of scattered ephemeral private collections (where it seems that the majority soon lose all contact with their findspot information) are not just capable of "conjuring up the history" (narrativisation -story telling). Through proper analysis of their associations and deposition patterns, they are a resource for the study of the past, one which we are wasting in a wholly unsustainable manner.

    Out comes the self-interest special pleading "they shouldn’t just be left in the ground to rot and disappear". Being left in the ground is called preservation, and these "Celtic, Roman, Saxon and Viking items" have been in the ground one to two thousand years or more without "rotting and disappearing" until now and - in reality - there is no reason to think that the majority of them are any more "threatened" with "rotting and disappearance" (except if taken by hoikers and knowledge thieves) now in 2014 than they were in 1414. In 1414 when they had ploughs, frosts and manure - but no metal detectorists. What is currently the threat to the knowledge in the ground is the number of grey metal detectorists pilfering archaeological sites for collectables and it is irresponsible for Mr Crisp to write so blithely to encourage even more.
    "Go on, take yer spiydes to th' 'eritidge, rissponsble like!"
    PAS-partner Mr Crisp says its OK


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

    Wrongfully Accused: The Political Motivations Behind Socrates’ Execution

    The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David (1787)

    The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David (1787)

    Wrongfully Accused: The Political Motivations Behind Socrates’ Execution

    David Bowles

    Hirundo: The McGill Journal for Classical Studies, Volume 5, 2006/2007

    Abstract

    In 399 B.C.E., Socrates was executed by the Athenian court on charges of impiety and corrupting the youth. The controversial decision lingers atop the great legacy of Athens, a city praised for its intellectual and political liberty. However, the reasons behind Socrates’ execution are themselves questionable. Firstly, the charge of impiety is a vague accusation which would have been unlikely to produce a conviction on its own. Simi- larly, the second charge of corrupting the youth is ambiguous and lacks any substantial evidence in support of it. Instead, a primary cause of the execu- tion is Socrates’ relationship with two violent oligarchic tyrants. Moreover, Socrates’ constant criticism of Athens’ civic structure and the city’s promi- nent citizens leads to growing animosity towards his public presence. Fi- nally, the instability of Athens in the wake of the oligarchic coup of 404 B.C.E. amplifies the desire to eliminate sources of dissent, such as Socrates. Thus, Socrates’ execution by the Athenians is not caused by the explicit charges of impiety and corrupting the youth, but rather by implicit political motivations which come to a head in 399 B.C.E.

    Plato’s Apology is a major source for the trial of Socrates although it comes with its own problems. Historians such as J. Burnet have argued that Platonic sources express Plato’s own fictitious version of the trial and partic- ularly Socrates’ defence, and should thus not be considered as a reliable study of Socrates’ execution.1 Although Plato undoubtedly possesses a bias in favour of his mentor and friend, there are several reasons for asserting that Plato’s Apology is a valid and accurate source. Firstly, Plato is an eye- witness of the trial; his presence being noted by Socrates during the defence speech. Secondly, Plato wrote his account shortly after the trial, perhaps within a few years of 399 B.C.E, when the event was still fresh in both his and Athens’ collective memory. Additionally, Plato’s account would have been read by others present at the trial. As such, any substantial deviation from the trial’s events would have been widely criticized. Therefore, although the Apology is unlikely to be a verbatim account of Socrates’ speech, it possesses the general ideas and arguments presented at the trial.

    Click here to read this article from Hirundo

    Tom Matrullo (Classics in Sarasota)

    Displaced fire: Heroides 16 in light of myth

    "Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop." - H.L. Mencken

    One choice Ovid had to make in Heroides 16 and 17 was how to have Paris's immediate challenge -- the seduction of Helen -- resonate within the overarching story in which the lovers play so key a role.

    The poet weaves the larger mythical structure within fine details of Paris and Helen's letters. When Paris ponders whether he should speak, he speaks of fire:

         Et plus quam vellem iam meus extat amor?

         Urorhabes animi nuntia verba mei

    Shall I then speak out? Or is it unnecessary to point to a flame that betrays itself? Hasn't my love already stood out more than I would wish? I'd prefer it to lie latent till time permits sheer joy unmixed with fear. But I dissemble poorly; for who can conceal a flame betrayed by its own light? If you nonetheless expect that I add voice to acts -- I am burning. You now have the words that herald my heart.
    Paris has no choice. To ask whether he should speak, he must speak. In voicing his question and its implications, he gives away the store. Not surprising that eloquar, the root of "eloquence," can be read here as a rhetorical question.

    This eliding of the confession of love with the act of loving is consonant with the elisions we looked at earlier, involving space, time, giving, and self. Not all articulation works that way. I can say "I am going to the gas station" many times over, but it doesn't get me there. Saying "I love you," however, does what it says. The delicate relation of speech to action here makes it essential that we explore Paris's statement in relation to the larger mythic structure in which it plays an essential part.

    For the author of this letter, passion and love are embodied in flammae. The paradox of fire is that it cannot be concealed, since it produces light, the very thing that enables things to appear. If I burn, you will necessarily see it, he says, even if I wish to keep my love hidden. Paris burning is the thing, the rebus; "I burn" are verba added to the unspoken. To say "I burn" is to "shed light" -- the light of language, of pointing (indice) -- upon light. Saying "I burn" makes patent and explicit what was latent, implicit. Indeed the very word for latent, lateatlies hidden within the word laetitiaethe explicit consummated delight of Paris and Helen. Ovid, like Freud, loved puns.


    Fire is of course a key motif that runs throughout the mythic tapestry behind this tale. Pardon the compression here, but it's necessary:


    • Paris speaks of his love for Helen as flame, inciting love.
    • By the end, Troy will be consumed in flames caused by their love.
    • Paris is in love with Helen because of the apple inscribed "to the fairest," tossed by Eris into the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. Three goddesses claimed the prize and presented their case to Zeus. 
    • Zeus fobbed the job off on Paris, the fairest of mortal men. 
    • Paris, the designated arbiter formae, chose Venus, who promised him the most beautiful (formae) woman in exchange for judging her to be the most beautiful goddess.
    • Even as Zeus avoided this pickle by displacing it upon Paris, let's remember that the wedding of Peleus and Thetis was itself a displacement. Thetis was a sea-nymph of exceeding beauty, unquestionably a future conquest of Zeus, except for one thing: prophetic knowledge that her son would be mightier than his father.
    • The only one who knew that Thetis was the goddess whom Zeus must not love if he is to avoid being overthrown was Prometheus. 
    • Prometheus stole fire from the gods (compromising their power) and gave it to mankind, hidden in a fennel stalk. 
    • Since fire can't hide, the theft was discovered. The Titan was bound to a rock and subjected to the torture of the eagle devouring his liver. 
    • The Titan leveraged his prophetic knowledge about Thetis to free himself from the punishment.
    • Zeus made sure Thetis married Peleus and all the gods were invited to the wedding.
    • Except Eris. 

    Fire feeds the beginning, middle, and end of a tale that stretches from the transgression of the Titan credited with creating mankind through the passion of Paris to the embers of mankind's greatest city, sacred to the gods.

    The tale is one of serial interrelated displacements: 

    Prometheus displaces fire; Zeus displaces the egg of Thetis upon Peleus, whose wedding thanks to Eris becomes the scene of the displacement of Zeus's role as judge. Paris chooses Venus, who sets him on fire for swan-sired Helen, whom he displaces from Sparta in violation of the laws of hospitality and marriage. As she happens to be the daughter of Tyndareus, Helen's displacement sets in motion the ships and armies of the Greek princes who had sworn to protect and defend her from anyone who violated her union with Menelaos. All this because Zeus feared being displaced by his child were he to love Thetis.

    Lying behind or beneath the laetitiae of Paris and Helen is the tale of a god so jealous of his own power, so fearful of adding to the world someone stronger than himself, that he would do anything to avoid what Fate held in store, hidden in dark prophecy. (Cronos ate his children, and Zeus ate Metis, the mother of Athena, but generally avoided emulating Tantalos whenever possible.)

    It took the thief of fire to shed light on that prophecy -- a proleptic light which leapt to Paris and Helen and from them to Troy, brought down in key part by the child of Peleus and Thetis. We often speak of something "coming to light," which sounds rather innocent. But these interlinked prophecies that speak of love, unearthly beauty, displaced rulers and lost kingdoms are tinder awaiting flame.

    The tale brings us back to the relation of things and words which Paris addressed in his opening gambit. In Paris's case, adding words to things meant to say "I burn." In the case of Zeus, Prometheus and Thetis, the revelatory light of prophetic insight helped Zeus avoid his own destruction, but the displacement triggered sufficient incendiary ardor to make Eris smile. As Paris writes near the end (l. 374) of his epistle:


    "Great prizes stir great strife." 

    A poet steeped in myth offers us a Paris who sets all in motion with a simple question: 

    eloquar? 

    The outing of love, like the detection of unconscious desire underneath what Freud called "the dreamwork," may encounter resistance, but it's irrepressible. As the letters of both Paris and Helen show, eros is fully at play in the cryptic signs and dreamlike symbols of Paris's drunken tales, of a finger writing "amo" on a table, in the eyes and tears of a guest who dreams of supplanting the host, ruler and husband of Helen. The verba of love point to the rebus that is love, but more than point, they spread like wildfire.

    When Paris says vocem quoque rebus ut addam, ("I add voice to acts") the addition is more than simple arithmetic. It's an augmentation that proleptically turns the disclosure of love into love. Just as with the imponderable reciprocity of Paris's "salutem," the elocution, the coming-out of love, can only speak if it finds love there already listening.

    Helen is seduced by an eloquence that began long before Paris wondered whether he should use his words. Which is why his letter is not an impassioned effort to conquer her heart. That has already fallen. Troy is next. The task of the letter, which (as some have pointed out) reads in part like a resume, is to bring Helen's mind into alignment with her transfixed heart. Judging from the denouement, it seems to have acquitted itself rather well.