Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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February 11, 2016

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Europe's other Migrant Problem: UK History Snatchers

Oh, I think there are quite a few people Mr Howard who'll be interested in what you plan to do. There are not very many of those frontier shifts in the former "Friedensgrenze" and you'll be easy to spot.

"Mein Fuhrer", looking for Swassstykasssss are you?  What is the matter with you British detectorists that you cannot pass up any opportunity to dig up and pocket NAZI relics (Finding The Swastika In The Berlin Forest: "That is why we come to Germany")? That's what got your "Nazi War" digging pals Kris, Craig, Adrian and Steve into the limelight, now you apparently want to get in on the act.

UPDATE 11th Feb 2016
And there's more, Tom Stewart wants in:

 How many other British archaeologists want to join an artefact hunt?

HE Heritage Crime Confuse the Issue

HE feelgood heritage tweet of today:
help us identify the minority using equipment to steal from our past
If it is a "minority", when are we going to deal with the incomparably larger number of moral midget knowledge thieves who use metaldetecting equipment to steal knowledge about the past from the sites they trash in their unmitigated search for collectables for personal entertainment and profit? "Grey detectorists" cause greater damage than the so-called "black sheep". Why isn't HE spelling out that message?

Dutch Art Theft Myth-making Still Hammering Away at Ukraine

Provincial museum and
its tinfoil helmet
Dutch art investigator Arthur Brand cites and triumphantly announces:
As our investigation already proved: secret service and politicians Ukrain involved in stolen paintings scandal 
It must be said that in the Dutch "art investigation world", the notion of "proof" apparently has a totally different dimension than the rest of the world. The investigations of Mr Brand ('Stolen Paintings and Ukrainian Paramilitaries' PACHI Monday, 7 December 2015) used unverified gossip and ignored facts (the Russian email account) to come up with some wild and damaging accusations, but no proof of any of them.  (See 'Stolen Paintings: Dutch Silent Embarrassed Foot Shuffling' for later developments and links to previous posts on the topic.) Not surprisingly, the Russian language press is having a field day with these accusations, but in this case I would not consider that anything Mr Brand or  Mr Geerdink should feel proud of.  

UPDATE 11th February 2016
Geerrdink and Brand accuse the Ukrainian government and Security services of being behind the fencing of the stolen paintings because gossip places them in the hands of a bent anti-corruption officer who somehow got his hands on them in a raid. Meanwhile a sensation-laden story from a Ukrainian news station (ЛЕТЮЧІ «ГОЛЛАНДЦІ»  links their presence there instead with a bent Dutch police officer with a Polish-sounding name. If we take the Dutch argument to its logical conclusion, he too "must have been working with the full knowledge of his superiors". So, using the Dutch argument, the Dutch authorities are mixed up in the whole affair. That, no doubt is why they can do no more than "supply a list of names" to the Ukrainian authorities - hardly the basis for any serious investigation. The recent news item gives short shrift to Geerdink and art investigator Brand's accusation, based on loose gossip it now appears, that Svoboda's Oleh Tyahnybok and Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, are involved.The story is now shifting to moaning that although the Dutch gave the Ukrainians a "list of names" and some conspiracy theories, the latter are unable to do anything. Hardly surprising, is it? 

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Dumplings served 1,700 years ago in Xinjiang

URUMQI, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) – Dumplings, indispensable at lunar new year dinners in north China...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Picturing Gravitational Waves

NASA must have a significant announcement to make in the press conference they will be holding later this morning. As a Facebook friend pointed out, this is probably the first time that they have ever taken the step of replacing the Astronomy Picture of the Day with a text placeholder. I am including that placeholder image in this post below. The name of the image file is also significant – they called it “DrumRoll.jpg”!

It is expected that the announcement will confirm the observation of gravitational waves. An exciting development!

What do you think the Astronomy Picture of the Day will be that will appear on the APOD website after the press conference?


Corinthian Matters

Ancient Corinth in 1947: Triumph over Time

Thanasis Dimakis, resident of Vrachati on the Corinthian Gulf, kindly sent me a link to his YouTube playlist of Corinthian-related videos that include videos of nature, overviews of the region, aerial imagery of the landscape, and a couple of historical overviews. I’ll go through these in the next few weeks and post those that seem broadly relevant for this blog.

Canal1947A still shot from Triumph Over Time showing the destruction of WWII on the Canal.

This 12 minute video segment showing the village of Ancient Corinth in 1947 and the work of the American School Excavations at Corinth, comes from the final third of the documentary Triumph Over Time (available in full video form here on YouTube), a film directed by Oscar Broneer, produced by Margaret Thompson, and created — as Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan has shown — to publicize and raise funds in North America for the work of the American School of Classical Studies. The section on Corinth is worth viewing for the moving images of the post-war excavations, archaeologists at work, the archaeological process, and the quaint and “timeless” idyllic footage of the village and its surrounding countryside.


Plateia1947The plateia of ancient Corinth in 1947





Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeologists find lamb bone and limpet offerings in coffin of Bronze Age woman

Bronze Age mourners left lamb bones and limpet offerings in the coffin of a crippled prehistoric...

Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

February Pieces Of My Mind #1

"That's lovely sweetie, but can't we just go to bed now and have a good fuck?" (Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm)

“That’s lovely sweetie, but can’t we just go to bed now and have a good fuck?” (Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm)

  • I wonder what kind of event lead to entire 20-metre dinosaurs becoming fossilised as articulated skeletons.
  • There’s been a lot of psychological research into the mental differences between conservatives and lefties. Chris Mooney’s The Republican Brain summarises it well up to 2012. And the refugee situation has really brought this out to me. I follow some conservatives here on Fb, and I happened to read an article in the Daily Torygraph yesterday. Many Conservatives truly believe that the arrival of large numbers of refugees in north-western Europe is an apocalyptic event. They really think it’s going to be Mad Max soon. The Torygraph speaks ominously of “the Great Migration”. These people are seriously, seriously scared.
  • Jeanette Winterson believes in psychic mediums and is in contact with the ghost of Ruth Rendell.
  • Having visited central Stockholm today, I’m pleased to be able to tell everyone that I saw no racist mobs, no sexual harassment and no police presence. Sweden’s societal structure shows no signs of failing.
  • Talking to a Fb buddy about the problematic Swedish national identification with Vikings, I just coined a phrase. “What happens in Lindisfarne stays in Lindisfarne.” *smug*
  • Anybody got access to advance articles in the European Journal of Archaeology? I’m really keen to read more than the first page of three in the third review of my latest book. The libraries I have logins for carry the journal but not advance articles.
  • Second reviewer of my recent book ignores the results, mainly complains that I haven’t used his favourite method. I just wrote him and said “You’re right, it would be great to see what someone using your method might come up with about my sites. I’ll be happy to provide you and your students with data.”
  • Bought fancy cocoa powder for the first time at the 100-y-o coffee & tea shop. It’s 7 times as expensive as standard grocery store stuff. But tastes way better!
  • Spate of teen boy on teen boy rapes among Afghan asylum seekers in Sweden. It’s like they’ve grown up in, I don’t know, fucking Afghanistan or something. /-:
  • I’m having tea and sandwiches for breakfast. It’s an act of Men’s Rights Activism. Tastes so good!
  • A fossil is not a bone any more. Fossilisation is a slow geological process. There are no Homo sapiens fossils yet. There are no stegosaur bones any more. I wonder which hominin species is the oldest non-fossil one. It’s important for DNA purposes.
  • Soap is made by treating fat with lye. The process also produces the alcohol glycerol, which softens the soap. During the use time of a large piece of soap, the glycerol gradually escapes and the soap goes hard. This is why the core of a once large soap is way less soapy than a new hotel soap of the same size. If you cut the core out of a new large piece of soap, it is just as soapy as a new hotel soap.
  • Conflicting emotions on posh Strandvägen yesterday. Met a young man in an extreme upper class outfit, quilted green jacket, greased comb-back hairdo and all. I felt intertribal enmity and distrust. But he was pushing his baby buggy. So I also felt brotherly love.
  • A reason to hate Google Docs: when you start it, it doesn’t pay attention to the keyboard queue. So when you hit CTRL-F to find something, you end up typing in your document instead of in a search box.
  • Movie: The Hateful Eight. Grotesquely violent stage play where a stellar cast of major older film stars end up dead. Grade: Pass.
  • It’s sooo painful when, in the middle of your usual stream of snark and obscure puns, some peripheral Fb contact posts a clichéd feelgood affirmation. And you can’t tell them they’re ridiculous because you don’t want to be mean.
Pueblo figurines, early 20th c. (Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm)

Pueblo figurines, early 20th c. (Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm)

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Mysterious Ancient ‘Padlock’ Found

A mysterious ancient artifact which resembles a padlock but nonetheless continues to perplex the...

Antiquity Now

Don’t Miss Our Latest Recipes With a Past E-Cookbook!

Are you having a difficult time deciding what to cook for the historian in your life? Do you have a dinner party coming up and you don’t know how to wow your guests? Do you want to spice up meal … Continue reading

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Jordanian Authorities Disclose Coin Thefts 15 Years After the Fact

Jordan's Prime Minister has disclosed that fakes were switched for genuine ancient coins at museums around the country back in 2001-2002.  This revelation follows another embarrassing discovery that more fakes were switched for real coins at the Citadel Museum in Amman.  Any relationship between the thefts is unclear as is the failure to take additional security precautions at other museums after the 2001-2002 thefts were discovered and referred to judicial authorities.

Grandstanding is easy, but taking real care of one's cultural heritage is hard.  Hopefully, although it's very late in the day, Jordanian authorities will investigate what must be an inside jobs, publish pictures of  what was stolen so that the legitimate trade can possibly help recover the stolen coins, and, of course, put security measures into place to help keep the same thing from happening again.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Golden Age of Midas exhibit in US

An exhibition titled “The Golden Age of King Midas,” featuring ancient artifacts from the era of...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Photographs taken by Pierre Loti in Iran

Photographs taken by Pierre Loti in Iran (Collection Maison Pierre Loti, Ville de Rochefort) are now online at Achemenet
Edmond Gueffier devant les ruines de Persépolis (titre factice)

© Ville de Rochefort. Collection Maison Pierre Loti.
Edmond Gueffier devant les ruines de Persépolis. Photo Pierre Loti.

They join Achemenet's collection of images produced in the narratives of other travelers, including:

The Stoa Consortium

Harpokration Online

Posted for Joshua Sosin:

About eight months ago we announced a lightweight tool to support collaborative translation of Harpokration—we called it ‘Harpokration On Line.’ See: Well, we took our time (Mack finished a dissertation, John made serious progress on his, Josh did his first 24+ hour bike ride), and as of this afternoon there is at least one rough translation (in some cases more than one) for every entry.
We had help from others; I mention especially Chris de Lisle, whom we have never met, but who invested considerable effort, for which all should be grateful! And many special thanks to Matthew Farmer (U Missouri) who signed on at the moment when our to-do pile contained mainly entries that we had back-burnered, while we chewed through the easier ones!
So, we are done, but far from done. Now begins the process of correcting errors and infelicities, of which there will be many; adding new features to the tool (e.g. commentary, easy linking out to related digital resources such as Jacoby Online or Pleiades, enhanced encoding in the Greek and features built atop that, perhaps eventual reconciliation of text with Keaney as warranted). This is just a start really.
For next year we (Sosin & Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing) plan a course at Duke in which the students will (1) start translating their way through Photios’ Lexicon in similar fashion and (2) working with Ryan Baumann and Hugh Cayless of the DC3 to help design and implement expanded features for the translation tool. We will welcome collaborators on that effort as well!
So, here again, please feel free log in, fix, add, correct, disagree and so on. Please note that we do handle login via google; so, if that is a deal-breaker for you, we apologize. We have a rough workaround for that and would be happy to test it out with a few folks, if any should wish.
Matthew C. Farmer (
John P. Aldrup-MacDonald (
Mackenzie Zalin (

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Christian Diversity and Love of Enemies

Christianity has always been diverse

“Christianity has always been diverse, and has long been plagued by a tendency toward reciprocal condemnation and exclusion of others who have different opinions than our own, as we have proved time and again to be unable to apply the demand of Jesus that we love our enemies to those who are ‘enemies’ only of our idea, but not necessarily of ourselves”

The quote comes from p.xi of the forward of The Son of God: Three Views of the Identity of Jesus. A friend shared the quote on Facebook, and so I thought I would turn it into a meme.


Jim Davila (

Jost on the THEOT Project at SBL 2015

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Damage to Aleppo synagogue

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Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Scopri la stampa 3D professionale

Selltek – Stampanti 3D organizza per giovedì 18 Febbraio 2016 un Workshop sulla stampa 3D al Parco scientifico tecnologico Kilometro Rosso di Bergamo. Durante l'evento verranno illustrate tutte le tecnologie di stampa 3D del gruppo 3D Systems, i materiali e le applicazioni possibili della stampa 3D in generale.

Jim Davila (

Video on buried treasures of the Temple Mount

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Jefferson and Judaism

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

Nicholas of Myra – the story of the generals, and of the three innocents – now online

David Miller has kindly made us a translation of another of the legends of St Nicholas, a.k.a. Santa Claus.  This one is the Praxis de stratelatis, which recounts how Nicholas dealt with three generals and also how the governor tried to execute three innocent men.  The narrative displays considerable knowledge of events of people of the reign of Constantine, so must be late antique.

Here’s the translation:

As ever this is public domain – do whatever you like with it!

Jim Davila (

Rubenstein on Talmudic stories

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Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2016.02.14: Textile Trade and Distribution in Antiquity. Textilhandel und -distribution in der Antike. Philippika 73

Review of Kerstin Droß-Krüpe, Textile Trade and Distribution in Antiquity. Textilhandel und -distribution in der Antike. Philippika 73. Wiesbaden: 2014. Pp. 228. €48,00. ISBN 9783447102209.

2016.02.13: L’écriture de soi à Rome. Autour de la correspondence de Cicéron. Collection Latomus 347

Review of Jean Pierre De Giorgio, L’écriture de soi à Rome. Autour de la correspondence de Cicéron. Collection Latomus 347. Bruxelles: 2015. Pp. 305. €51.00 (pb). ISBN 9789042932388.

2016.02.12: Aristotle's Categories in the Early Roman Empire. Oxford classical monographs

Review of Michael J. Griffin, Aristotle's Categories in the Early Roman Empire. Oxford classical monographs. Oxford; New York: 2015. Pp. xii, 283. $90.00. ISBN 9780198724735.

2016.02.11: Performing Citizenship in Plato’s Laws. Cambridge Classical Studies

Review of Lucia Prauscello, Performing Citizenship in Plato’s Laws. Cambridge Classical Studies. Cambridge: 2014. Pp. ix, 272. $95.00. ISBN 9781107072886.

Katherine McDonald

So where is Narnia?

I’m still working away at my maps of the languages of ancient Italy. Going through all the examples of Greek inscriptions from Italy in the SEG, I found one from Narnia. I’d come across the ancient city of Narnia (modern-day Narni) when I was writing my book, and then kind of forgotten about it until this jogged my memory, but I always enjoy reminding people about it.

As I said to Carly, it is real, and it gets better. Because Narnia turns up quite a few times in ancient sources, and so gives us the opportunity for some very funny sentences. For example, I always enjoy the fact that Narnia refuses to help Rome fund the war against Hannibal (Livy 27 9). And the emperor Nerva was born in Narnia in 30 AD.

I can’t confirm whether CS Lewis got the name from ancient Italy or not, although people have speculated and the town does well on the tourist trade. In any case, Sophie Hay (@pompei79) tells me that there’s a great restaurant in Narnia called Gattamelata, if you ever happen to find yourself there.


Tom Matrullo (Classics in Sarasota)

The happy man: Charles Martel

A reasonable question to ask of Paradiso 8 is why Charles Martel is the focus of the first encounter after hearing Beatrice's account of the upraising of man through the sacrifice of god + man in Paradiso 7. 

A second related question would be why at its outset, and then later in canto 8, does the poem perform an act of rational correction -- first noting the ancient world's error about the goddess Venus (1-10), later by translating Typhoeus into mere sulfur (70)?

Working through the remarkable web woven in Paradiso 8 calls for more than even a lengthy blog post. I hope to be brief, but not cryptic.

Giovanni Villani
In the Nuova Cronica, Giovanni Villani depicts Martel coming to Florence to meet his father, King Charles II, who was returning from France after a complex diplomatic mission:
Book 8.13: . . . come to meet him was Charles Martel . . . king of Hungary, with his company of 200 knights with golden spurs, French and Provençal and from the Kingdom, all young men, invested by the king with habits of scarlet and dark green, and all with saddles of one device, with their palfreys adorned with silver and gold, with arms quarterly, bearing golden lilies and surrounded by a bordure of red and silver, which are the arms of Hungary. And they appeared the noblest and richest company a young king had ever had with him. And in Florence he abode more than twenty days, awaiting his father, King Charles, and his brothers; and the Florentines did him great honour, and he showed great love to the Florentines, wherefore he was in high favour with them all. (Italian edition)
It is this Martel, now one of the lumi divini -- moving faster than lightning in a dance begun by the alti Serafini -- who welcomes the pilgrim with joyous hospitality, as if he were the grand seigneur of the mansion of Venus.

Martel warmly greets Dante with the first line of the poet's canzone:
Voi che 'ntendendo il terzo ciel movete
Curiously the line concerns the very sphere to which Dante has just arrived. The poet realizes that he has been recognized, but Martel is concealed, nested in the happiness that shines about him. He then discloses his identity, using the rivers that carve out the lands to which his royal bloodlines made him heir.

Interestingly, Martel's name in Italian, Martello, means "hammer," and throughout the canto Charles speaks of moving forces that shape things. As the rivers shape the lands he seemed destined to rule, the streaming intelligences of the spheres shape the human natures that are found in abundance on earth, not grouped by bloodline. Once again, as has been the case consistently in the Paradiso, natural forces -- whether purely natural like rivers, or "super" natural like angelic intelligence, are depicted at work. Nature is a vast system and order, but not always genetic.

This sense of powerful intelligences embodied in vast bodies is manifest when Martel says:
Lo ben che tutto il regno che tu scandi
volge e contenta, fa esser virtute
sua provedenza in questi corpi grandi.
The Good which all the realm thou art ascending
Turns and contents, maketh its providence
To be a power within these bodies vast;
Martel is about to explain how it is that bitter fruit can come from sweet seed. That is, how natural filiation cannot explain large differences in nature between parent and child.

The Good puts its providential power into this giant machine of heavenly forces, but strangely its provision -- literally, fore-seeing --  is not looking at specific individuals, nor is it guided by some preconceived plan.
Revolving Nature, which a signet is
To mortal wax, doth practise well her art,
But not one inn distinguish from another; (8.127-29)
It rays down dispositions, gifts, talents and abilities not according to DNA, nor due to some destiny, but abundantly so that those who are formed with such gifts are left entirely free to make what they will of them.

Yet it's all foreseen:
And not alone the natures are foreseen
Within the mind that in itself is perfect,
But they together with their preservation. 
For whatsoever thing this bow shoots forth
Falls foreordained unto an end foreseen,
Even as a shaft directed to its mark.
What we have here borders on antinomy - a strong description of provedenza aiming at and hitting a foreseen goal, yet coupled with a strong affirmation of free will on the part of the one who is nonetheless shaped by the rays of heavenly gifts. There is high tension between these two realms. The providenza that fore-sees somehow doesn't see the particular beneficiary. (It's as if a gear in the machine had slipped - can Providence be blind?)

Perhaps the key to the puzzle is that these are gifts. If one is "gifted," one is usually happy to use one's gift. They are freely given, and carry no contractual commitment on the part of the recipient to reciprocate with service or work of equal value. The heavens are always sending these gifts with no specific end user, no price tag, no fine print. It is a vision of loving generosity so vast as to make anyone happy.

Charles is certainly happy, as we've noted. Which is why it is singularly crucial to note that this Charles Martel lived but 24 years, and never sat on any throne to which he was legitimately entitled. His very name echoes the "real" Charles Martel, the multi-gifted 8th century ruler and administrator who laid the groundwork of the Carolingian empire, as Dante's infelicitous Charles Martel of Anjou did not.

Charles's claim to the Hungarian throne was rejected by the land's nobles, and he died too soon -- in 1295 from plague -- to come into his own in Naples.  As we learn at the beginning of Paradiso 9, the succession of his own child to the kingdom of Naples, was pushed aside by his brother Robert. In USian parlance, Charles would be termed a "loser."

He was gifted with the best qualities of a ruler, coupled with the legitimate expectation of earthly power, yet his life (vita) on earth was too brief for any of this giant promise -- clearly seen by Dante during Charles' splendid visit to Florence in 1294 -- to be realized. Martel is barely a footnote in the annals of the kings of Hungary, Provence, or Naples, (regardless of what sort of contenda he coulda been).

In essence, Martel replicates in his own life the sharp antinomy he just described: the contradiction between the rational order of providence and the hit-or-miss errancy of Earth. With his hopes dashed and all promise of political creation and royal primogeniture lost, Charles certainly had all reason to stew in his bile beans. Dante no doubt saw an alternate version of his own vita in the young king's fate.

But we find no eulogy, no elegy, no Virgilian threnody. Charles is the happiest man we've met so far, which might come as a shock -- in fact, it should. This is the strange tension of canto 8.

Henry VII of Luxembourg
Martel speaks of the shaping of lands and souls, and incarnates the utter dissolution of human and divine potential. He could be angry at his brother, he could curse God and die, he could "whinge," as our group surely expected him to be doing the other day. We can be fairly sure that Dante, learning of the death of his young friend, and, then in 1313, receiving news that Henry VII -- in whom he'd placed all his hopes for a renewed Empire -- had also perished, was sorely tempted to emit a few expletives.

The spectacle of hopes dashed is powerfully seductive. Who can continue to place faith in Providence when so many good people fall?

Let's remember how we first saw Charles -- he was compared to a spark in a flame, then to a note moving away from and back to a cantus firmus, then to a dancer moving at the speed of light, in a dance begun by the highest beings of creation -- then, when he speaks, he turns into a warm, friendly, luminous human being.

Combine that with the canto's emphasis upon the power of Reason to strip myths that can rule our souls, which otherwise might worship mad eros, or fear angry Typhoeus. Reason opposes the mythic notion that we are driven by irrational powers. For Dante and Martel, Reason is built into the fabric of things, but earthly things are subject to all manner of contingency, freedom, and derangement.

Martel sits -- one could say he is broken -- at the point at which the rational intelligences of the Good that turns and contents all things encounter the random, senseless, fallen sub-lunar world. The creature raised up by the Word of God as described in canto 7 has no easy time of it. Our best efforts often go to naught, despite the generosity and good will of the Good. It's enough to drive a good man to distraction.

Charles Martel - Dore

Many would say Charles Martel never really lived. How is it that he's swathed in happiness like a creature in its own silk?

Charles offers us a clue, when he says (quoted in English above):
La circular natura, ch'è suggello
a la cera mortal, fa ben sua arte,
ma non distingue l'un da l'altro ostello. (8.127-29)
Nature is the seal, we are mortal wax -- cera mortal. At the end, the wax is no longer there -- we are literally sine-cera. To be sincere is to stand free from all mortal traces. The intelligences shaping the world through the gifts of the Good do not distinguish one transient hostel from another (ostello rhymes with martello). Charles is the gracious host wherever he resides.

Martel is at a place where he might regret that his brother Robert isn't right for the role he's playing in Naples. But Charles lives at another ostello, one where nothing of his stunted earthly life can touch the contentment provided by the Good that turns the Kingdom. His words speak of joy; his alacrity, his voice, and his royal friendship embody the intelligent love of the third sphere -- love on a scale that could provide for nations and empires.

Charles not only lived, but lives. That's affirmed by Dante in Paradiso 9, when Charles, as he turns toward the sun, is not ombra (shade), nor lume (light), nor anima (soul), but life -- vita:
E già la vita di quel lume santo
rivolta s'era al Sol che la rïempie,
come quel ben ch'a ogne cosa è tanto. (9.7-9)
And of that holy light the life already
Had to the Sun which fills it turned again,
As to that good which for each thing sufficeth.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: International Journal of the Platonic Tradition

[First posted in AWOL 7 April 2012. Updated 10 February 2016]

The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition
ISSN 1872-5082
Online ISSN: 1872-5473

From 2012 this is a full Open Access journal, which means that all articles are freely available, ensuring maximum, worldwide dissemination of content, in exchange for an article processing fee. For more information, see our Open Access Policy page.  
This journal is published under the auspices of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. The international editorial board is headed by Professor John Finamore of the University of Iowa. This exciting journal covers all facets of the Platonic tradition (from Thales through Thomas Taylor, and beyond) from all perspectives (including philosophical, historical, religious, etc.) and all corners of the world (Pagan, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, etc.).
The journal is published in 2 issues per year.
Open Access icon

Volumes & issues:

February 10, 2016

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Classics in Arabic

Classics in Arabic
The blog aggregates news about publications, activities, etc. related to Arabic scholarship in the field of classics and thus seeks to provide greater access to non-Arabic scholars. The news comes mainly from Egypt without excluding other Arabic countries. It aims also at directing the attention of my Egyptian/Arabic colleagues to relevant classics materials from an Arabic context, whether this is Graeco-Arabicum or Arabico-Latinum.

Coptic Scriptorium

 [First posted in AWOL 6 December 2014, updated 10 February 2016]

Coptic Scriptorium
Coptic SCRIPTORIUM is a platform for interdisciplinary and computational research in texts in the Coptic language, particularly the Sahidic dialect.  As an open-source, open-access initiative, our technologies and corpus facilitate a collaborative environment for digital research for all scholars working in Coptic. We provide:
  • tools to process Coptic texts
  • a searchable, richly-annotated corpus of texts using the ANNIS search and visualization architecture
  • visualizations of Coptic texts
  • a collaborative platform for scholars to use and contribute to the project
  • research results generated from the tools and corpus
Coptic SCRIPTORIUM is a collaborative, digital project created by Caroline T. Schroeder (University of the Pacific) and Amir Zeldes (Georgetown University). Our team is constantly growing.
We hope Coptic SCRIPTORIUM will serve as a model for future digital humanities projects utilizing historical corpora or corpora in languages outside of the Indo-European and Semitic language families. Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information on the project, methodologies, and terminology.
Latest news: [more]

Mary Beard (A Don's Life)

Women and history writing (and history selling)


I put my pennyworth last week into a discussion in the Guardian about women and history writing, which was itself a follow up to an article a few weeks ago on a similar theme. The prompt was some recent statistics from the US and the UK on authorship of, and sales figures for, popular history writing, which showed not only how far the output was gender divided, but generally how many fewer books women historians sold than men. You can find some of the stats if you click on the earlier article. But an extra gloomy one was produced by the Bookseller, which tabulated the 50 top earning 'history and military' UK books since Nielsen Bookscan records began (about 20 years ago). 49 out of the top 50 were by men. The top 10 go like this:

Schama, History of Britain vol 1; Beevor, Stalingrad; Ackroyd, London; MacGregor, 100 objects; Beevor, Berlin the downfall 1945; Ambrose, Band of Brothers, E company, 506th regiment; Beevor, D Day; Schama, History of Britain, 2, British Wars; Hastings, All Hell let loose, The world at War 1939-45.

Excellent books, but you see what I mean.

Now quite a number of commentators on the article, above and below the line, wanted to insist that there really were great women historians, popular and academic. But that seemed to me to miss the point rather. Of course it's true, there are some wonderful and eloquent female historians; but however wondeful and eloquent they are, their books are simply not selling as much. And it's worth asking why that might be.

One answer worth considering is that women are writing history on less best-selling subjects. That is certainly one conclusion that you could draw from the US figures. Based on a sample from last year, in the sub-category of biography the majority of life stories were by men about men (with only 6% of the biographies of women being written by men). And the Bookseller chart, as its top ten titles suggest, is heavily weighted to political and military history, where fewer women make a name. Again, there are some excellent women writers dealing with military themes -- Margaret MacMillan and Joanna Bourke both come to mind -- but they are not selling in the massive quantities that rival the Beevors and the Hastings (the "big books by blokres about battles" as I rather unfairly called them).

I am not convinced that subject matter is the only answer here, even though it must play a part. As I said in my contribution to the debate, when you get to this level of sales, you have to be selling to spec, rather than planned, purchasers -- people who go into a bookshop (real or online) wanting a present, but as yet unsure what, or simply having something catch their eye. This is where, my hunch is, that quite a lot of the gendering comes in: partly because, as with speech, there remains a sense that "authority" still lies with the male writer than the female, and partly because of a sense of the risk-free in present buying (how many people would buy their uncle a brilliant book on housemaids in the late nineteenth century... you might well think that uncle ought to read it and that it is a brilliant book, but I suspect most people play safe with "London" or "A History of Britain" vel sim).

 And publicity must have something to do with it too. A few people in the Guardian comments talked about the publisher and editor's support for the female writer. And of course that must be important. But I found myself wondering about the marketing and publicity department. I have been incredibly fortunate both with Profile and Liveright . Because, with very very few exceptions, even excellent books don't sell themselves (we shouldn't be so naive as to imagine that those books on the table at the front of the bookshop-chain are always there because the local branch staff happen to like them!). Maybe we need the stats on publicity spending to see what the correlation is.

Predictably enough, someone below the line foresaw gloomily that we would be wanting 'quotas' for women historians soon. Not a bit of it. But I do think a touch of consciousness raising might be in order. And maybe we could all get into the spirit of that by being rather less stereotyped, rather less risk averse when we next buy a book as a present for a bloke.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Vandals strike ancient archeological site near Tucson

TUCSON, AZ - Investigators are seeking help from the public to find the vandals who have done what...

AIA Fieldnotes

Embodying the Goddess: Revealing the practice of tattooing in the ancient Egypt

Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Friday, May 20, 2016 - 8:00pm

Raubitschek Memorial Lecture

Lecturer: Dr. Anne Austin, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Egyptology, Stanford University.

Reception to follow.

AIA Society: 


Patrick Hunt
Call for Papers: 
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Kristina Killgrove (Powered By Osteons)

Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 36)

This time on "Who needs an osteologist?" we find that our own umbrella organization, the American Anthropological Association, needs to learn what physicalbiological anthropologists do.

In case you can't see the image, "Physical Anthropology + Studies animal origins and the biologically determined nature of humankind."

The AAA has -- let's say -- a history of not really understanding where we bio folks fit in. So let's take this word by word...

Physical -- Yes, this word is still preserved in our early-20th-century origins, such as the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.  But very few people in the field still use the term "physical" because of its racial and racist origins.  Just... look up the history, AAA.  We favor biological now to show our focus is on more than just the physical.

Animal origins -- Yes, some biological anthropologists study the origins of non-human primates.  But people who study animal origins broadly are... zoologists? Biologists? Come on, really?

Biologically-determined nature -- I said I wasn't going to swear in this post, but FFS.  We're anthropologists.  It's nature *and* nurture.  We don't ignore culture.  That would be insane and very late-19th-century of us. This one phrase reflects decades of incorrect value-judgments placed on our work.

And a bonus -- You know that forensic anthropology is part of biological anthropology, right AAA?  Or, if you want to call it an applied field, that's fine too.  But then lumping bioarchaeology in with... well, it's not covered under your definitions of archaeo, bio anth, or forensics, so I guess we don't exist.

So, AAA, let me fix that for you:

"Biological Anthropology + Studies the origin, form, and differences in human and non-human bodies to answer questions about evolution and past societies."

You're welcome.

Update (2:19pm CST) - I got an email from Jeff Martin, the Communications and Public Affairs Director for the AAA.  The text follows:
Hi Kristina, 
Our most sincere apologies, and duly noted. We will use the following definition to correct other versions, including those on our website under World Anthropology Day, and promote from the present forward. 
“Biological anthropologists study contemporary and past peoples; they look at how culture shapes our biology and vice versa, and also how different biological systems impact our health and well-being.” 
Thanks so much for letting us know. 
It sounds like others who expressed disappointment in the AAA got a similar email.  Of course, with the AAA's doing a complete 180 on the animal subjects, the primatologists (who are biological anthropologists) are out in the cold, along with geneticists and others.

So, close but no cigar, AAA.

AIA Fieldnotes

The Expert Staff Archaeologist: How Volunteers Make Vital Contributions (at Binchester, in the Alps, at Etruscan Caere)

Event Type (you may select more than one): 
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Friday, March 11, 2016 - 8:00pm

Lecturer: Laura Rich, Stanford AIA Vice President & Stanford Alumna

Reception to follow.

AIA Society: 


Patrick Hunt
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Genetics, History and Prehistory: What our Biological Selves Can Tell us about the Past

Event Type (you may select more than one): 
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Friday, February 12, 2016 - 8:00pm

Lecturer: Prof. Matthew Jobin of Santa Clara University.

Reception to follow.

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Patrick Hunt
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Archaeological News on Tumblr

Clues about human migration to Imperial Rome uncovered in 2,000-year-old cemetery

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Archaeology Magazine

Colchester Roman ArcadeCOLCHESTER, ENGLAND—Archaeologists have known about the arcade that had been built at the Temple of Claudius in Colchester for some 60 years, but the demolition of a modern office block has uncovered evidence that the covered walkway was the largest in Roman Britain. The arcade was built in the first or second century A.D., following the destruction of Colchester during Boudicca’s rebellion. “Its closest rival in terms of size stands in what was Gaul, in northern France, and shares some of the architecture we can see in Colchester today,” Philip Crummy, director of the Colchester Archaeological Trust, told The Telegraph. “The original arcade and its grand columns are similar to those you see in Bath, at the Roman Baths. It really is an extraordinary find and confirms the grandeur and richness of its Roman culture,” he said. For more on the Roman period in England, go to "What’s in a Name?"

Denmark medieval coinsFOULUM, DENMARK—Three members of the Central Jutland Detector Society discovered a cache of 700-year-old coins in a field near the excavation of an Iron Age building. The poor quality and low silver content of the coins are thought to reflect the civil war in Denmark at the time. “The treasure comes from an unstable period, and it is conceivable that the owner wanted to hide them away until better and more stable times. For some unknown reason, he never returned to collect his coins,” Viborg Museum curator Mikkel Kjeldsen told The Local, Denmark. The coins will be cleaned and displayed at Viborg Museum. For more on archaeology in Jutland, go to "Bronze Age Bride."

Roman marble BaiaMADRID, SPAIN—Mónica Alvarez de Buergo of Madrid’s Geosciences Institute and scientists from the University of Calabria collected 50 samples of white marble from the now-submerged luxury villas in the Underwater Archaeological Park of Baia, located near Naples. The Roman emperors Augustus and Nero owned villas in the city, which thrived between the first century B.C. and the third century A.D. “First, thin layers of the collected marble were observed using a petrographic microscope. Then, the mineral composition of the marble was studied using X-ray diffraction and the manganese content was determined with Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Scanning Electron Microscopy was then carried out and various isotopes were analyzed,” Alvarez de Buergo said in a press release. The team compared the test results with the chemical signatures of eight of the best marble quarries of the ancient world, and found matches for all but five of the samples. “The variety and quality of the marble identified highlight the importance held by this area in the past seeing as it yielded the best ornamental marble of that time period, and this helps to determine the trade routes that were used at that point in time during the Roman Empire,” she said. For more on marble in Ancient Rome, go to "A Spin through Augustan Rome."

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700-year-old Danish 'Civil War' coins uncovered

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Robert Consoli (Squinches)


180 ‘..Et trovai un chemin a destre
Parmi une forest espesse.’

180 ‘..And I found a path to the right
Into a thick forest.’

Chrétien de Troyes, 12C


The Yvainof Chrétien de Troyes was the subject of a justly famous essay by Erich Auerbach.[1]   Of these lines in particular he had this to say:

“Calogrenant tells King Arthur’s Round Table that, seven years earlier, he had ridden away alone in quest of adventure, armed as befits a knight, and he had come upon a road leading to the right, straight through a dense forest.  Here we stop and wonder.  To the right?  That is a strange indication of locality when, as in this case, it is used absolutely.  In terms of terrestrial geography it makes sense only when used relatively.  Hence it must have an ethical significance.  Apparently it is ‘the right way’ which Calogrenant discovered.  And that is confirmed immediately, for the road is arduous, as right ways are wont to be…”[2]

And I am reminded of these words whenever I encounter directions, such as these, which Mycenologists routinely supply:

Directions: from the main square of (Kato) Psari, take the road on the right leading into the hills.  At  a junction with a signpost, take the middle route and follow the road until you reach the church of Ayia Anna. Hence follow a dirt track roughly south until you reach the tholos.”[3]

Emphasis is mine.  

Truly this is Auerbach's 'right way'.  'Take the road on the right'.  Go 'into the hills',  Find a mysterious sign but take the via media.  Proceed an unspecified distance until, through a revelation, you find a church named for the mother of the Virgin.  These could be directions to the Holy Grail. 

These directions are actually intended to lead us to two well-known tholos tombs that sit on a high and airy ridge above Kato Psari, a pretty little town which nestles under the foothills that range along the northern border of the Soulima Valley in Messenia in Greece.  Its position is here:  37.328005 N, 21.886706 E.   Because of its location all of its roads lead into the hills and we are sorely tried to select the correct road that is ‘on the right’.  

After much puzzled searching I located the junction with a signpost and which has ‘a middle route’.  I show it in the following illustration.  Its lat/lon pair is 37.327493, 21.888423.   We are told to take the middle route but it actually doesn't matter which one you take; they all converge on the church of Ayia Anna.

The three-fold way at the edge of Psari, Messenia, Greece.

Even so I found it impossible to locate the church or the tholoi until I literally stumbled across them by scanning, one at a time, all the ridges above Psari.  The tholoi turn out to be located here:  37.333092, 21.892140.   In a previous blog entry I posted a picture of what they look like in Google Earth.  In the next picture I show the church of Ayia Anna as I was able to locate it in Google Street View.

The church of Ayia Anna above the town of Kato Psari.

Why do Mycenologists give anecdotal directions instead of simple and unambiguous lat/lon pairs?  Anecdotal directions become useless almost as soon as they are set down.  Roads are re-routed.  Hills are bull-dozed for olives.  Signs fall down.  ‘Large trees’ are cut down or struck by lightning.  Towns expand, contract or simply pick up sticks and move.[4]  Even compass bearing lines tend to wander aimlessly across the landscape and are no more likely to come togetherthan so many members of the Anarchists Club.

Why does it have to be this way?

Pausanias.  Although not, probably, a good likeness.
In the second century of our era the renowned traveler Pausanias journeyed to most parts of Greece and left us descriptions of all the things that he was interested in: remarkable buildings and temples, sculptures, etc.  His directions are given anecdotally; we are constantly being told how far things are from each other in stadia and how long it takes to travel from point A to point B.  By mule, presumably.[5]

In the middle of the fifteenth century Cyriac of Ancona, a prosperous businessman who seems to have known everyone, lived out his professional life in the form of business and political travel all over Greece and the Near East.  He has left us invaluable descriptions of ruins from the classical period and, above all, he recorded many inscriptions (which he seems to have loved) including a number that are now lost.  He travelled by boat, on foot, on horseback and, again, left us anecdotal descriptions about how far one place was from another using estimated distances and several different modes of antique transportation.[6]

James G. Frazer

James G. Frazer, perhaps the greatest English-language Classicist, did the same in the early years of the twentieth century.  In his monumental commentary on Pausanias he had occasion to revisit much of Greece and he left copious anecdotal accounts of his travels, in which he recorded the times to traverse from one town to the next  - apparently on horseback.[7]

Pausanias had no way of determining latitude and longitude and it wouldn't have occurred to him to try.  Cyriac of Ancona lived in a time when latitude could have been determined more or less accurately but not longitude and, again, it probably wouldn't have occurred to him to try.  Frazer has less excuse; he lived in a time when both could be determined accurately and he would have had access to good maps but he could not, apparently, imagine a world in which latitude and longitude could replace simple directions on land.  Our modern scholars have no excuse at all for omitting this vital information.

So.  It’s simple.  Archaeologists leave anecdotal accounts featuring ‘bends in the road’, ‘large trees’, and ‘young olive groves’ along with very dodgy travel times and travel distances because they’ve always supplied static land directions to sites.[8]   They do not suppose themselves to be scientists but inheritors of the great traditions of travel and adventure upon which archaeology was founded.  This – even though they are constantly complaining that they cannot find burial mounds or tholoi which were perfectly well-known and even excavated thirty or forty years ago but which have now disappeared as is testified to by Boyd and every other researcher in this area.[9]

In what other area of endeavor do we find such mismanagement of the inventory?  As Oscar Wilde might have said: 'To lose one tholos is unfortunate; to lose two begins to look like carelessness.'

Boyd identifies 'modern farming' as the real problem.  It's not so much tomb robbers who are, I admit, a continuing concern but the wholesale destruction of the environment consequent to industrial olive farming which I described in my last post.[10]  Unless we nail down specifically where these old tholoi and mound tombs and habitation sites are located we're not going to know when they're threatened by bulldozers and we won't be able to take any preventative action.  

Recently, on the island of Hawaii, a consortium led by the University of Hawaii wanted to build a new telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea.  Local groups, activated by a kind of native conciousness and the stated goal of preserving ancient habitats, organized and successfully thwarted the University in its plans.  I don't agree with this particular result but we have to admit that these native groups were, at least, effective.  Organized effort of this kind with respect to Mycenaean  remains (and in more than just Messenia) is at least conceivable.  But it is inconceivable that you can preserve ancient sites if even specialists in the matter don't know exactly where they are.

I cannot tell whether organized action to preserve Mycenaean sites is possible.  However it is time that Mycenology figured out exactly where its objects of study are actually located.  The time for anecdotal directions has passed.  I notice that even Michaela Zavadil, when describing the many mounds and tholoi around Koukounara (a very important investigative area for Mycenaean funeral practice), simply throws up her hands and repeats all the instructions for getting to various places from all the archaeologists she has consulted.[11]  In so doing she exposed, probably without intending it, a series of hilarious contradictions.  But even she does not do the simple and unambiguous thing.  She does not provide us with simple lat/lon pairs for the sites in question even though her dissertation was concluded in 2012.   

Bear in mind that Google Earth can, at 37 degrees N latitude, distinguish between two positions which are as little as four inches apart.  And GPS receivers are ubiquitous.[12]  A sufficiently accurate device can probably be found in your camera.

Armed with a lat/lon pair the student who wishes to visit these sites will know precisely where the goal is.  He or she is perfectly capable of planning what route to take in getting there no matter how many old-fashioned archaeologists – like grizzled old timers at some country store – want to load him or her down with capricious, contradictory, and out-dated route instructions.

When equipped only with anecdotes the student quickly learns the truth of the old punchline which says: ‘You cain’t get there from here.’

Next time I'm going to describe the beginnings of a solution.

I have just received (12/30/15) a copy of Simpson [2014]. In it I find these words:

"From now onward, it should be possible to record the coordinates of all (or almost all) of the sites by means of the Global Positioning System (GPS) by satellite."[13]  

So far I have only been able to scan this work by Simpson; it is the definitive statement of a lifetime's work by, perhaps, our greatest living scholar of Mycenaean Messenia.  It is to be regretted that he was unable to include lat/lon pairs in his new gazetteer[14] and, by not doing so, he leaves us with the usual cloudy idea of exactly where many of these sites really are. (That phrase 'or almost all' speaks volumes.)  

Dr. Simpson has taken much care with the beautiful  maps that grace this volume.  

If only they were useful!   Of these maps he himself says:

"The maps show only the approximate locations of the sites, and are themselves not entirely accurate.  Before Loy had completed a set of contour maps in 1966, it had not been possible to plot the positions of the sites definitively."[15]

What does one say to this remarkable statement?  'It had not been possible' ??  Nonsense!  What could that possibly mean?  It sounds very much like Dr. Simpson is content to let the best be the enemy of the good.  Far better to have no knowledge at all rather than knowledge which is merely state of the art!

And this:

 "Whenever possible, the locations of sites visited by UMME were indicated on the backs of the set of air photographs (taken by the Royal Hellenic Air Force in the 1950s), now located in the archives of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens."[16]

 Perhaps I would have an easier time locating some of these sites if I were to knock politely on the door of the ASCSA and ask to see the old air photos?  That's one way, I suppose, to find out what their Security is like.

Mycenologists have to ask themselves a simple question.  'Is Mycenology a Science or is it an Arcanum?'

I appreciate that Dr. Simpson's contributions to the field of Mycenology are of an extraordinary, almost superhuman, magnitude; one hopes however that his grad students are a little more technologically current.  Frankly no area of study can survive without being able to say precisely where its objects of study are located.

In the meantime there is much that the determined scholar can do and I will begin to outline a new approach in the next post.  


[1] Auerbach [2013], ‘The Knight Sets Forth’, 123 ff.

[2] Ibid., 128-9.

[3] The author, a good and learned Mycenologist, shall be nameless.

[4] E.g., Soulinari is translated into Nea Soulinari, 2 1/2 km. distant.

[5] For example, in his 'Corinth', xi.3: "The road to Titane is sixty stades long, and too narrow to be used by carriages drawn by a yoke. At a distance along it, in my opinion, of twenty stades, to the left on the other side of the Asopus, is a grove of holm oaks and a temple of the goddesses named by the Athenians 'The August'.."  I put 'The August' in single quotes, otherwise the translation is Jones [1918] 305.  Should we still be looking for that grove of holm oaks?   And note the distance 'twenty stades' which is simply guessed at; does that sound familiar?

[6] As here, taken entirely at random, from Diary V (as arranged in Bodnar in Cyriac of Ancona [2003] pg. 321, par. 41), in which Cyriac visits the famous cave at the tip of the promontory of Tainaron: "And at the nearer hill of the same harbor, in a grove thick with slender holm oak saplings, at a remove of five stades from the shore, we found that huge cave from which, they say, the divine Hercules dragged Cerberus out of the lower world .."  There are those holm oaks again.

[7] Here's a sample: In Frazer[1898] 301 he describes an itinerary from Heraea (Agios Ioannis) to Megalopolis.  Here is his account of the stretch between the modern Agios Ioannis (or Heraea/Irias, at 37.613395° N,21.864346° E) to Kakoureika (at 37.583979° N, 21.923355° E): 

"We cross the beds of several streams that take their rise in the neighboring mountains, traverse a plateau planted with olives, and reach (in 38 minutes from Heraea) the village of Anaziri.  From this village the direct route to Karytaena runs south-eastward to the village of Kakouraika, distant about 1 1/4 hours from Anaziri."  

It is six km. in a straight line from Agios Ioannis to Kakoureika.  I cannot find the towns of Anaziri or Karytaena.   At a minimum they have been renamed but, more likely, they no longer exist.  Given the travel times (about 19 minutes per straight-line kilometer over mostly smooth ground) as well as the date of publication (1898) I can only suppose that Frazer is either walking or on horseback.  So the times given are walking or riding-times but it's pointless to speculate.

[8] McDonald and Simpson [1961] 235 in '32. Karatsadhes (Loutro)': "The site is .. in an olive grove with stony reddish alluvial soil."  Same directions simply repeated by Boyd in [1999] 311.  Simpson [1981] 129 in 'F118 Eva: Nekrotapheion': 'This site is on a very low spur, covered in olive trees, ..'
Simpson [1981] in 'Platanos: Lambropoulou Piyi' on 117: 'On a slope about 800 m. east-southeast of Platanos is a very low mound.' Indeed.  

Electrical wires and pylons often mark the spot.  In Boyd [1999] 405 we read that the famous tholos of Koryfasion is located 'at an intersection of three telegraph lines..'  In Simpson [1966] 123 we learn that an important EH settlement near classical Thouria is 'shown to have been the field marked by the electricity pylon which lies immediately to the south-west of the southern end of the Ellinika ridge..' There are a dozen pylons on this ridge; selecting the right one (assuming that they are in the same positions that they were fifty years ago) is a nice art.

Directions can include bus-stops.  McDonald and Simpson [1961] 225, '3. Sodhiotissa (Ayios Ioannis)'.  'On the ridge ca. 150 m. north of the tiny monastery (one nun) of Panayia Sodhiotissa, which is built into a cliff immediately north of the Pyrgos-Katakolo highway at a point 800 m. west of the bus stop for Ayios Ioannis village.'  Nice detail about the nun.  I could (I think) find the nunnery but not the bus stop.

And this in McDonald and Simpson [1961] 245, '69. Tourkokivouro (Mesopotamos)'.: 'A mound ca. 250 m. north of the Kalamata-Pylos highway .. 200 m. east of the bus-stop called Ekklisoula.'

'Ekklisoula' is the name of the bus stop at 36.981246 N, 21.820816 E and I picture it below:

The Bus Stop at Ekklisoula

[9] A few examples among very many:  Boyd [1999] 808 "Moreover, the inability of later workers (myself included) to  relocate mounds on the basis of McDonald & Hope Simpson's sketch maps or other instructions has made their many identifications seem doubtful.  The action of modern farming has undoubtedly contributed to the loss of these sites."  This would be a disturbing criticism of the UMME enterprise, if true.  But it's unlikely to be true.  McDonald and Hope Simpson simply failed to leave adequate descriptions of where exactly these mounds were located.  When Dr. Boyd says 'myself included' he is alluding to the fact that he was one of the participants in PRAP's ground surveys.  Also Boyd [1999] 313, "The small tholos tomb Polla Dhendhra is not on Mr Koukis' land. From the large tree, walking approximately in a line perpendicular to the Potami, it is about 100m-200m, located in the ground at a field edge, unmarked and difficult to locate".  Emphasis is mine. This repeats an unfortunate and all too common pattern of referring to actual landowners who are now, in most cases, long dead and forgotten.

  With reference to the destroyed(?) tholos of Kopanaki (approximately here: 37.290518, 21.826234):  '(Valmin) reports a much destroyed tholos on the south slope but we could see no sign of it.' [McDonald and Simpson [1961] 233, '24. Stylari (Kopanaki)'].  Also: "N. Valmin fand 1927 südöstlich von Ano Kopanaki eine zerstörte Tholos am Südhang eines Hügels, auf dessen Kuppe sich das Dorf Stylari befindet. Das Grab konnte später nicht mehr nachgewiesen werden." from Zavadil [2012] 264, 'Ano Kopanaki/Stylari (Ep. Triphylias)'.

And this: 'Note: In BullLund (1925/26) 89 Valmin mentions a probable tholos mound in an area called Feretze.  This periphereia is ca. 4 km. east of Kopanaki and 1 km. west of Dorion village on both sides of the highway.  We could not locate the mound and local inhabitants do not know it.' from McDonald and Simpson [1961] 233, '24. Stylari (Kopanaki)'.  These directions: 'four km. east of Kopanaki and 1 km west of Dorion village' are themselves absurd.  The two villages are only three km. distant from each other.

[10] McDonald and Simpson have this to say with respect to the six funeral mounds at Kaldamou (Levki)  "All are being rapidly eroded by cultivation."  McDonald and Simpson [1961] 239, '43. Kaldamou (Levki)'.  And here: "Der NNW-Teil des Geländes wurde im Jahr 2000 für die Anlage eines Olivenhaines eingeebnet."  "The NNW part of the site was levelled in the year 2000 for an olive grove."  In Zavadil [2012] 485 referring to Marinatos' important Myceanean building discoveries at Katarrachaki, near Koukounara.

Destruction through cultivation is not always inadvertent.  As Zangger, et al [1997] 571 say "After their first encounter with archaeologists, some landowners, possible fearing future restrictions and perhaps expropriation, appear to have intentionally damaged sites on their fields by extensively plowing the soft marl.  Such deliberate destruction by landowners, who balance the rise in land value with the increased cost caused by excavation on private property, has been observed elsewhere in Greece."

[11] Zavadil [2013] 454-5.  Dr. Zavadil goes on to quote McDonald and Simpson [1969] 150, '65. Katarachi (Koukounara)' on this very topic:

"The general area discussed by Professor Marinatos under Koukounara is so large and was so heavily occupied in prehistoric times that a brief and clear exposition  of  the  topography  is  very  difficult.  A  carefully  prepared  topographic map of the area with all archaeological discoveries clearly marked is  now  needed.“  

She continues (454):

"Diese  Sätze,  vor  etwa  dreißig  Jahren  von  W.  A.  McDonald und R. Hope Simpson in bezug auf einen der interessantesten Fundorte Messeniens formuliert,  haben bis zum heutigen Datum leider nichts von ihrer Berechtigung verloren. Es ist noch immer kein Plan der auf dem Hochplateau zwischen Pylos und dem messenischen Golf in der Umgebung des Dorfes Koukounara gelegenen bronzezeitlichen Relikte erschienen, obwohl die hier erforschten Grabanlagen mit Recht zu den wichtigsten Bauten dieser Gattung in Messenien, wenn nicht sogar der gesamten Peloponnes gezählt werden dürfen."

[12] For a survey see this.

[13] Simpson [2014] 19.

[14] Ibid., '2.  Mycenaean Sites in Messenia', 15-43.

[15] Simpson [2014] 19.

[16] Idem.


Auerbach [2013]: Auerbach, Erich.  Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature.  Translated by Willard Trask and with an introduction by Edward W. Said.  Princeton University Press, 2013.  Mimesiswas first published in Berne, Switzerland in 1946.

Boyd [1999]: Boyd, Michael.  Middle Helladic and early Mycenaean Mortuary customs in the southern and western Peloponnese. Ph.D. Dissertation for The University of Edinburgh in 2 volumes.  Online here.

Cyriac of Ancona [2003]: Cyriac of Ancona: Later Travels.  Edited and translated by Edward D. Bodnar with Clive Foss. I Tatti Library, x.  Harvard University Press.  2003

Frazer [1898]: Frazer, James G., editor and translator, Pausanias's Description of Greece.  Volume IV.  MacMillan and Co., Ltd., New York. 1898.  Online here.

Jones [1918]: PausaniasDescription of Greece, Volume I: Books 1-2 (Attica and Corinth). Translated by W. H. S. JonesLoeb Classical Library 93. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1918.

McDonald and Simpson [1961]:  McDonald, William A. and Richard Hope Simpson,  “Prehistoric Habitation in Southwestern Peloponnese”,  American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 65, No. 3  (Jul., 1961), pp. 221-260.  Online here.

McDonald and Simpson [1969]: McDonald, William A. and Richard Hope Simpson, "Further Explorations in Southwestern Peloponnese: 1964-1968",  American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 73, No. 2 (Apr., 1969), pp. 123-177.  Online here.

Simpson [1966]: Simpson, Richard Hope.  "The Seven Cities Offered by Agamemnon to Achilles", The Annual of the British School at Athens. Vol. 61 (1966), pp. 113-131

Simpson [2014]: Simpson, Richard Hope.  Mycenaean Messenia and the Kingdom of Pylos, INSTAP.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  USA. 2014.  978-1931534758

Zangger et al. [1997]:  Zangger, Eberhard, Michael E. Timpson, Sergei B. Yazvenko, Falko Kuhnke, and Jost Knauss.  “The Pylos Regional Archaeological Project: Part II: Landscape Evolution and Site Preservation”. Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 66 (4). 549–641. Online here.

Zavadil [2012]: Zavadil, Michaela, Monumenta: Studien zu mittel- und späthelladischen Gräbern in Messenien.  Osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.   Denkschriften, 450. Band.  Mykenische Studien, Band 33.  Wien, 2012.  Online here.

Archaeology Magazine

Greece silver miningGHENT, BELGIUM—A team of mining archaeologists has investigated a 5,000-year-old silver mine in Thorikos, Greece. The cramped mines were likely to have been worked by slaves, who endured the lack of light, fresh air, and temperatures that hovered around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. “The progress of the underground survey required a constant vigilance in this stuffy space where the rate of oxygen must be permanently watched,” Denis Morin of the University of Lorraine said in a press release. The team members have found tool marks on the walls of the subterranean galleries, graffiti, pottery, oil lamps, stone hammers, and crushing areas. By the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., silver was extracted on a large scale with a sophisticated system from shafts cut through the rock. For more on ancient silver mining, go to "The Environmental Cost of Empire."

From Stone to Screen

The Art of Replication: Fighting to Save Syria’s Heritage

The Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan currently houses over seventy-nine thousand Syrian refugees who have fled their homeland. Over the past year, it has also become home to a few small-scale models of Syrian heritage sites and monuments that have been demolished by ISIS. Community leader Ahmad Hariri, from the…

Continue reading

The post The Art of Replication: Fighting to Save Syria’s Heritage appeared first on From Stone to Screen.

Per Lineam Valli

Driving Hadrian’s Wall: the Minor Car Parks XII (Rudchester)

Rudchester layby (NCC)

Location: 55.002342, -1.825248 Facilities: none

This small (unsurfaced) layby is situated on the south side of the B6318 Military Road immediately next to Rudchester fort and has room for about three cars.


As ever, be aware that there are car thieves operating, as there are at all of the car parks along the Wall. Stout footwear is advisable.

Rudchester minor car park mapZone 1 (100m)

Strictly speaking, you do not need to walk anywhere to see the humps and bumps of Rudchester fort – you are parked on it and can just look over the fence. Walking south down the side road (carefully as it is used as a rat-run) gives access to the Trail stile leading to the fort site itself. There is an information board next to the south-west corner of the fort.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

"Archaeologists are modern day grave robbers and our enemy"

UK artefact hunter the late Alan Hassel managed to get quite a few revealing comments from the metal detecting fraternity in this thread which starts off with a few libellous comments on me (and a huge chunk copied and pasted from another blog - no link), but once they get going, not a few other detector users from both sides of the Atlantic drop the hobby right in it... enjoy the spectacle.

ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

Yigael Yadin’s Last Night in America: ASOR and the Biblical Archaeology Movement

By Eric M. Meyers In light of the sharp decline in enrollments in the humanities in colleges and universities in the United States and abroad, I thought it might be helpful to share a story about Yigael Yadin’s last day in America, the day before he died. Yadin in the eyes of most people who […]

The post Yigael Yadin’s Last Night in America: ASOR and the Biblical Archaeology Movement appeared first on The ASOR Blog.

Compitum - événements (tous types)

Commentaires de la Genèse chez Eckhart et Nicolas de Cues

Titre: Commentaires de la Genèse chez Eckhart et Nicolas de Cues
Lieu: Université de Metz / Metz
Catégorie: Colloques, journées d'études
Date: 09.03.2016 - 10.03.2016
Heure: 09.00 h - 17.00 h

Information signalée par Jacques Elfassi

Les commentaires de la Genèse chez Eckhart et Nicolas de Cues

Paradoxalement, les commentaires de la Genèse d’Eckhart et de Nicolas de Cues, qui constituent une partie importante de leur oeuvre, ont été peu travaillés jusqu’ici, ce qui tient partiellement à ce qu’ils n’étaient pas traduits. Ils viennent de l’être, mais aucune étude d’ensemble n’a encore été faite.

Ce colloque fera donc avancer la recherche sur ces deux auteurs, d’autant qu’il est adossé à une traduction inédite, aux Belles Lettres, de cet ouvrage majeur d’Eckhart que sont les Paraboles de la Genèse, son second commentaire de la Genèse. Ce colloque international, réalisé en lien avec la Kueser Akademie de Bernkastel Kues, permettra de préciser le rapport entre les deux commentaires de la Genèse d’Eckhart et leur place dans l’oeuvre tripartite, ce qui n’a pas été fait jusqu’ici.

Mercredi 9 mars

Président de séance : Freimut LÖSER
(Université d’Augsbourg. Président de la Meister Eckhart Gesellschaft)
9h Accueil
9h30 Marie-Anne VANNIER
(Université de Lorraine, ERMR, IUF)
Pourquoi Eckhart a-t-il écrit deux commentaires de la Genèse?
10h Harald SCHWAETZER (Cusanus Hoschschule, Bernkastel-Kues)
Le commentaire de la Genèse de Nicolas de Cues (Première partie : Identificare)
10h30 Pause
11h Jean-Claude LAGARRIGUE (ERMR)
Le jardin intérieur. L’interprétation allégorique du jardin d’Eden dans les commentaires eckhartiens de la Genèse
11h30 Géraldine ROUX (Institut Rachi, Troyes)
L’influence de Maïmonide sur les commentaires eckhartiens de la Genèse

Président de séance : Jean-Claude LAGARRIGUE
14h30 Maxime MAURIEGE (Thomas Institut, Cologne, ERMR)
Manifeste apparet scripturam sacram parabolice exponendam. Justification(s) eckhartienne(s) d’une exégèse allégorique de l’Ecriture dans le Prologue du Liber parabolarum Genesis
15h Elisabeth BONCOUR (Université catholique de Lyon)
L’usage particulier de la parabole par Eckhart
15h30 Pause
16h Johanna HUECK (Cusanus Hochschule)
Sur la Genèse (Deuxième partie du De Genesi de Nicolas de Cues)
16h30 Wolfang Christian SCHEINDER (Université de Hildesheim)
L’esprit et le souffle (Troisième partie du De Genesi de Nicolas de Cues)

Concert d’orgue donné par Henri Perrin avec une lecture de texte d’Eckhart à l’église Notre Dame (18h ou 18h 30 à préciser)

Jeudi 10 mars

Président de séance : Freimut LÖSER
Les commentaires de la Genèse et le procès d’Eckhart
9h30 Tilman BORSCHE (Universität Hildesheim)
Le langage de la création (Quatrième partie du De Genesi de Nicolas de Cues)
11h Matthias VOLLET (Cusanus Hoschschule)
Tri-unité et similarité dans la Cinquième partie du De Genesi de Nicolas de Cues
11h30 Chris WOJTULEWICZ (Queen’s College, Londres)
L’influence d’Eckhart sur les commentaires cuséen de la Genèse
Président de séance : Harald SCHWAETZER
14h30 Isabelle RAVIOLO (ERMR)
L’âme créée, ou incréée d’après les commentaires eckhartiens de la Genèse?
15h Monique GRUBER (ERMR)
L’horloge de la Sagesse, expression de la création nouvelle chez Henri Suso
15h30 Andrea FIAMMA (UL - Chieti)
La place de l’intellect dans le De Genesi de Nicolas de Cues
16h Riwanon GELEOC (Université de Lorraine)
La métaphore du désert chez Mechtilde de Magbebourg, Hadewijch d’Anvers et Eckhart
16h30 Inigo BOCKEN (Université de Nimègue)
L’iconographie des commentaires de la Genèse

Colloque organisé par
EA 3943 Centre Écritures
Université de Lorraine
Île du Saulcy, Metz

Responsable scientifique
Marie-Anne Vannier, Université de Lorraine - Metz


Source : Centre Écritures.

Turkish Archaeological News


Off the beaten track, in Taurus mountains, lie picturesque ruins of ancient Lyrbe. Only a few years ago, the ruins of this ancient city were not easily accessible to the public. What is more, even the identification of this city and its name raised serious doubts among researchers. Recently the road leading to the gate of Lyrbe has been tarmacked and the ruins have attracted more and more tourists, mostly brought there by the pompously called "jeep safari" tours. However, if you are lucky and plan the timing of your arrival carefully, you will be able to have this entire ancient city entirely at your disposal. Lyrbe is located far away from the Mediterranean coast, but the well-preserved agora and the picturesque location in the middle of the forest make this trip a spectacular experience.

The ruins of Lyrbe

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

X-Files 10.4: Home Again

The episode focuses in an effort to relocate the homeless in downtown Philadelphia to an abandoned hospital in Bucks County. Mulder accuses the two conflicting sides, saying they really speak for themselves. He asks who speaks for the homeless.

While investigating, Dana gets a call that her mother is in ICU. Dana goes to the hospital and talks to her, asks her not to go home yet, recalling her own experience when she was in a coma. Later she mentions not caring about the “big questions” right now, but just wanting to be able to talk to her mom one more time.

They find the artist who was trying to give voice to the people who are treated like trash, through art. But one of his sculptures, he said, became alive because he invested so much of his own energy in it. There is an appeal to a mistranslated Buddhist term and concept, a “tulpa,” something akin to a golem. And so there is an interesting exploration on a symbolic level of the power of art. If we think about the prophets in the Bible, they were essentially poets and performance artists, who used words and symbolic actions to challenge people and in an effort to transform their society.

The overall theme of the episode is thus one that many religions also explore. Who speaks for the people who have been so marginalized that we don’t even see them, and when we do, we avoid them? Who speaks for the people who are treated like trash?

When no human will do it, is it any wonder that they hope for a supernatural savior?

What did you think of “Home Again”?

God don't make no trash


Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Homo Naledi: uno scanner portatile per documentare lo scavo

In collaborazione con l'Associazione Americana di Antropologia Fisica la società Artec 3D ha recentemente annunciato un interessante caso applicativo dello scanner palmare Artec Eva utilizzato per la documentazione dello scavo dell'antico Homo Naledi, nuova specie umana scoperta nel 2015 in Sudafrica, vicino a Johannesburg, in un totale di 1500 frammenti nella Grotta chiamata Rising Star.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Harvard researchers recreated a 4,500 year old Egyptian throne

On Thursday, the Harvard Semitic Museum will unveil a throne fit for an Egyptian queen—because it’s...

Antiquity Now

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Ancient Thai Rose Salad

In preparation for Valentine’s Day, today we are celebrating the rose. You may not think of the rose as a food, but we assure you it is an ancient culinary treat. In fact, the rose has been cultivated since ancient … Continue reading

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient Roman Brooch Contains 'Lovely' Palindrome

A person with a metal detector has discovered a 1,800-year-old copper brooch, engraved with the...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Same Scripture Different Response

same scripture

David Hayward shared the above cartoon, which makes the point that people with the same sacred texts apply them in very different ways. And so it can be argued that what people do with a sacred text is much more interest and telling than what the text itself says. A text which teaches love will not prevent people from carrying out atrocities, and a text which depicts people committing genocide will not prevent people from acting kindly towards others.

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

Voice and violence in the early work of Dionysios Solomos

March 03, 2016 - 4:23 PM - Σεμινάριο ‘Έρευνα σε Εξέλιξη στη Γεννάδειο’ Σίμος Ζένιου,

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Progress on HR 1493

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed a much modified version of HR 1493, a bill designed to protect cultural property in times of war and civil strife.  The Senate's version of the bill is not yet available on-line, but CPO has had an opportunity to review its provisions.  Most importantly, the Senate substitute legislation replaces a controversial State Department "Cultural Property Czar" found in the House version with a sense of Congress that the President should establish an inter-agency task force to coordinate a US Government response to protecting international cultural property in times of war or civil strife.  The bill authorizes import restrictions on Syrian cultural artifacts-- consistent with the provisions of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act, but also strengthens provisions for "safe harbor" for Syrian artifacts compared to the House version of the bill.

HR 1493's sponsor, Ranking Minority House Foreign Relations Committee Member Congressman Elliot Engel,  has welcomed the Senate's actions.  So, CPO suspects the Senate's changes were likely worked out in advance with Engel and his staff. If true, that should help expedite passage of the measure and any House-Senate conference.

The major remaining concern deals with how such restrictions will be implemented.  Will the State Department and US Customs revert to standard operating procedure and restrict items solely based on them being of a type manufactured in Syria hundreds or thousands of years ago? Or will the governing UN Resolution and statutory intent be honored so that restrictions only apply to artifacts illegally removed from Syria after the start of its civil war?

2/10/16 Update:  The text of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee version of the bill is now available here.

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

Voice and violence in the early work of Dionysios Solomos

March 03, 2016 - 4:15 PM - Work-in-Progress Seminar Simos Zeniou, PhD Candidate, Comparative Literature, Harvard University, M. Alison Franz Fellow 2015-2016

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

An Outrage Summit

This past week, I probably made a mistake in agreeing to help coordinate the North Dakota University System’s Arts and Humanities Summit here on the beautiful campus of the University of North Dakota. Of course, the funds might suddenly evaporate as the state and the NDUS braces for budget cuts, but that’s not something I can worry about now.

In any event, I am not one to let reality interfere with a bad plan. 

As I started to think about how organize or coordinate the work of arts and humanities faculty across the state, I tried to steer my thinking away from some of the more fruitful recent conversations: The Bakken Oil Boom, Entrepreneurial Humanities, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) and THEMAS (Technology, Humanities, Engineering, Math, Arts, and Science), or whatever. Instead, I drifted increasingly toward looming budget cut, the role of the administration in shared governance, and the upcoming national, state, and local elections. One thing connected these phenomena in my head: outrage.

Screenshot 2 10 16 7 52 AM

What if we hosted an Arts and Humanities Summit and made it forum for outrage. That’s right: the entire event would constitute an airing of grievances. From studies of campus space, to rampant agism, sexism, administrative incompetence, bureaucratic overreaches, paper work, assessment, compliance, and the erosion of shared governance, faculty in the Arts and Humanities across the state have plenty of reasons to be aggrieved. 

What is more interesting is the use of outrage (and outright rage) to express their frustrations with the system. I’d like to use the summit to explore outrage itself as a form of academic, political, and public discourse. I expect that a focus on (out)rage would attract the usual smattering of thoughtful and critical essays that consider the role of outrage as a challenge to prevailing hyper-rational neoliberal discourse, or as a sincere expression of exasperation or even the shifting definition of outrage as a way to marginalize the inconvenient, incompatible, or otherwise unyielding voices. Outrage provides a way to push back against the stifling conformity of professional life and culture. Social media, The Donald, and the “town hall meeting” all provide public venues (yeah, I consider The Donald a venue) for projecting outrage into the crystalline fractures of the public sphere. Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include some critical engagement with the Jeremiad as a genre that lends often lends itself to outrage in the public sphere. (It also happens that one of the authors of the best recent treatment of Jeremiads in American politics can bring outrage as well as anyone I’ve ever met!).  

The great thing about this summit is that we could arrange not just for calm, detached academic talk about outrage, but also to offer a forum for outrage. I’m sure every campus in the system has its own expert practitioners of the art of outrage. What if we got some of the most deeply outraged faculty in the system to come to UND and to BE OUTRAGED. Like the famous dozens of early rap music, we could arrange a series of lecterns and invite each of the arts and humanities faculty to drop some genuine, earnest, sincere, outrage on us.

Maybe it’s delusional, but I can even imaging recruiting a couple outrage artists from the community. Terry Bjerke, a local candidate for mayor, brings a particular brand of outrage to the fore. Al Carlson, an outspoken and outraged legislature, can drop outrage like few others in the state. Again, it’s not so much what they say, it’s how the say it. A summit dedicated to outrage would probe the tender intersection of sincerity, conviction, and public display to critique key aspects of contemporary political and professional theatre. Plus, it would be amazing to bring together the most deeply aggrieved and outraged members of the community and celebrate their intensity, conviction, and art.  

File this one in the idea box.

Corinthian Matters

The Long Lent

The liturgical season of Lent begins today in the western Christian churches. If you don’t know what this is, Lent is a penitential season of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving that culminates in the celebration of Easter / Pascha. As far as liturgical seasons go, it’s a pretty old one that had emerged clearly by the council of Nicaea in AD 325, and perhaps earlier in some form. Today it is universally celebrated by different Christian denominations (even the anabaptist and brethren in Christ college where I teach usually serves up an Ash Wednesday service to students). Sometimes eastern and western calendars are closely aligned so that Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christians are celebrating the season (nearly) simultaneously. This year, these traditions have conspired against each other to produce about the greatest timespan possible between the celebration of western Easter (March 27) and Orthodox Pascha (May 1). This means that between eastern and western calendars, Christians will be in a lenten penitential season for nearly three months this year. And that’s a whole lot of Lent.

This liturgical season intersects in a number of ways with Corinthian studies.  The New Testament letters of 1 and WinterSkyCentralPA2 Corinthians, with all their discussion of repentance, salvation, the memorial of the last supper, and resurrection, among others, have made good material for for the lenten cycle of scripture readings (even this morning, at an Ash Wednesday mass, I heard 2 Corinthians 5.20-6.2). And the Corinthian saint Leonidas and his companions were martyred and are celebrated during Pascha/Easter (Sneak peak for next year: Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants will be celebrating Easter / Pascha the same day and on April 16, the feast day of Leonidas and companions. I’m working now with some Latin students at Messiah to prepare a little translation of the relevant passages about those saints from the Acta Sanctorum)

So it only seems appropriate that I re-launch my weekly series on resources and books for reading and understanding 1 and 2 Corinthians, early Christian communities, and religion in Roman Corinth. Yes, I planned to do this two years ago but wasn’t on my game. In fact, I’m pretty bad at delivering any series consistently. But I have a little more time this semester, and will aim to deliver a Wednesday series.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

See New Discoveries at the Mysterious City of the Jaguar

Over the past month, the excavation of an ancient city in Honduras has yielded a trove of remarkable...

Discovering the source of marble used in Roman buildings

The Roman Emperors used to spend their summers in the city of Baia, near Naples. With the passage of...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

"Sussex Detectorist" Hides

Alex G. Bliss a PAS partner from Sussex boasts about his self-recording on Twitter. I guess he's looking for a pat on the head. I expect he gets loads from FLOs and archaeologists who don't give a tinkers about or a moment's thought to artefact hunting.

This morning I made a comment on one of his latest tweets, taking a different approach to what he wrote. I stand on my conviction that there is something here about private collecting of archaeological artefacts that needs open public discussion, and I see no reason why somebody genuinely "interested in the past" and collaborating with archaeologists in the preservation and sustainable use of the archaeological record should not share those concerns and should be in any way opposed to such a discussion.

Mr Bliss however seems not to be of such a persuasion, he has blocked my access to his twitter account apparently to prevent me from seeing what he writes,.

That is the tekkie devotion to transparency and openness. Mr Bliss is perfectly willing to show us (the stakeholders) some of the bits of his collection when he feels that doing so makes (with the help of the PAS) artefact hunting look like "a good thing". THis is simply exploiting the PAS to legitimate the hobby. In other words this is the facadism I spoke of earlier. The moment however it is pointed out that beneath the facade is another series of issues which need to be addressed and which the declarative presentation is supposed to hide, he clams up.

Metal detectorists (and Mr Bliss), if an edifice is crumbling because the foundations are faulty, those foundations need to be examined and rebuilt. Papering over the cracks in the walls as they appear is no solution, and catastrophic collapse is inevitable.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  

Katy Meyers (Bones Don't Lie)

New Morbid Terminology: Phossy Jaw, The Occupational Disease of Matchstick Makers

There are a range of diseases, traumas and skeletal markers that can occur regularly with certain types of occupations. One historic example is called Tailor’s Notches. These are small indentations […]

Adrian Murdoch (Bread and Circuses)

Améthyste du Vésuve

Que la campagne de Naples est étrange et merveilleuse! Nulle contrée n'éveille dans l'âme plus d' inspiration, ne donne plus de repos à resprit. C'est la terre des églogues, la terre des géorgiques, ou les montagnes se souviennent des doux...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

What the Bible Says

What the Bible Says

One of my first posts on this blog, after it moved from its original self-hosted location to Blogger back in 2007, was on this topic. Here is what I wrote:

This is just a short entry, just to share a further illustration of how the Bible is mythologized, personalized and in some cases deified by well-meaning but misguided Christians. I received a message from someone who disagreed with an answer of mine on Yahoo! Answers, and this individual said he isn’t interested in what I think but “what the Bible thinks”.

The Bible isn’t a person, and even treating it as though it is a single work is misleading. One of the biggest difficulties a “Bible only” approach to Christianity must face is that the Bible was put together, by Jews and Christians, and unless one regards the decisions of those who put the canon(s) together as infallible, then claims to have an infallible Bible become problematic. Add to this the fallible copying process, and the situation becomes all the more complex.

Those who focus such attention on the Bible mean well, and think they are glorifying God. To some of us, however, it seems that they are leaving the mystery of God completely to one side for the supposed certainty the more accessible Bible can give. It is the same sort of thing the Israelites are said to have done at Mt. Sinai – the inaccessible and mysterious God and Moses who had not been heard from were left to one side, and the golden calf substituted in their place. The Bible has become the golden calf of many Christians in our time. How ironic!


Jim Davila (

St Maron's day and the Maronites

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Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

L’établissement du ravin de Barabanov (IIe-IVe s. de n. è.) ( Crimée)

Khrapunov, I. N. (2016) :  Поселение в Барабановской балке (II – IV вв. н.э.) / Poselenie v Barabanovskoj balke (II – IV vv., Simferopol [L’établissement du ravin de Barabanov (IIe-IVe s. de n. è.)] C’est la publication en russe … Lire la suite

Jim Davila (

The Lod Mosaic is in Miami

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Aleppo Codex registered by UNESCO

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More archaeologists object to Western Wall compromise

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David Gill (Looting Matters)

The Challenges for Archaeology

The set of responses reflecting on the main challenges to archaeology today has appeared. They make a great read. Several address the issue of looting.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Jim Davila (

Postdoc on pre-modern Eurasian manuscripts

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Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Lampes antiques de la collection du musée de Braila « Carol »

Topoleanu, Fl. et C. Croitoriu (2015) : Lampile antice din colectia muzeului Brailei  » Carol I » / Lampes antiques de la collection du musée de Braila « Carol« , Braila. Cet ouvrage est le premier d’une série qui a pour but de publier … Lire la suite

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

From my diary

I’ve got a translation of another legend of St Nicholas of Myra ready for release as soon as I can find some time.  This is a translation of De Stratelatis.  I’ve also commissioned a translation of the Encomium of Methodius ad Theodorum – it will be interesting to see if we have more luck this time.

I’ve also been looking at the Latin material about St Nicholas, ascribed to John the Deacon.  It looks quite doubtful that there is any decent text available of this.  I’ve also ordered a volume of material about the St Nicholas legends, which should arrive in a couple of weeks, and, I hope, will give me some more orientation on the material.

I’m pretty busy in my offline life at the moment, so I haven’t had the time to do anything on any of my projects.  The flak should stop flying in a couple of weeks, tho.  An old friend has invited me to an Italy trip in late April, but it probably won’t be convenient to do more than fly out for a weekend.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

The Alex Bliss Collection in February 2016

Alex G. Bliss is a metal detector using artefact collector from Sussex, and has been seldf-recording some of the artefacts in his collection onto the PAS database under the name ("obfuscated for security"): PAS4E2FEF1C001969. There are 117 records here. Of these 63 are verified and published, while 54 are still unverified. It is unclear whether those that are "verified" have been checked against the object by a member of the PAS professional staff. There are many questions about the karaoke recording of the LAVA PAS still unanswered.

Mr Bliss's finds come from all over the country. Here is a map of the ones recorded by him:

Most of those recorded come from Hertfordshire (28), Oxfordshire (23), West Sussex (20), and Norfolk (15), while his collection includes items from West Berkshire (11), East Sussex (8), Surrey (5), Suffolk (3), Bedford (2) and Essex (1). So one can hardly talk of this artefact hunter being a searcher for the history of his own region, exploring the familiar landscapes of his 'small homeland' which is a meme which is commonly used by the supporters of artefact hunting in Britain. Many of these finds are listed as coming from commercial metal detecting rallies. Interestingly, because they have been self-recorded they do not seem to appear in the "rallies" listings on the PAS "database" website.

The earliest date for the creation of a record of Mr Bliss's finds seems to be  Wednesday 27th July 2011  in the "Statistics" breaksdown of the database, in that period 13909 records were made by self-recorders and of these it reveals that 229 of them (containing 320 artefacts) were contributed by "650b57e2606d64572f917d1e0bba2849 abliss PUBLIC". In which case, one might ask where the other 112 records have gone.  So, in the 1658 days since that first record, Mr Bliss has recorded (in other words found and pocketed at least) a recordable item every five days, seventy a year (critics of the Heritage Action Artefact Erosion Counter please note).

To what degree do the artefacts recovered and reported reflect the composition of the assemblages from which they were taken? The materials of the objects in the recorded part of Mr Bliss's collection are revealing: Most are non-ferrous metal: Copper alloy (67), Silver (20), Gold (1), Tin or tin alloy (1), Lead Alloy (8)*. There are no iron objects at all in this group. There are just two pieces of Ceramic (2) selected for their aesthetic qualities and eighteen flint objects. So this is obviously not a bit representative of the finds assemblage of any of the sites exploited to build this collection.

In terms of the representativeness of the objects concerned, we note that - as is the case with most metal detectorists- the attention of this collector was grabbed by the coins  (68% of sample). The bulk of the other objects were decorated or recognizable objects of non-ferrous metal:

Metal objects represented
Non-metallic objects represented
The flints mostly come from two sites near Bognor Regis. 

It is clear that none of this material is a methodically-collected sample of material from a specific site, intended to reveal its nature or history.

Detectorists like Mr Bliss may consider that what they are doing to the archaeological record is in some way justified by this type of voluntary reporting. The PAS may try to convince us that their "database" contains material usable in serious archaeological research, and thus "metal detecting" should be accepted and even perhaps encouraged. There are those who consider that archaeology is more that compilation of kossinnist broad-brush dot-distribution maps, or the selection of intriguing apparently out-of-place artefacts to write cutesy stories about.  I am one of the latter and it seems pretty obvious to me that when you take (instead of glib head patting) actual cases, like this one, and examine them carefully, there really are a lot of questions about to what degree the damage done to sites by artefact hunters like Mr Bliss and his fellows is in any way being mitigated by PAS-recording. How is it?  Because it seems to me quite clear that it is not. This is what we should be discussing, and this is what greedy collectors busy pocketing stuff from these sites do not want anyone to talk about.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  

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

Legends of St Nicholas of Myra: the miracle of the tax (Praxis de tributo, recension 1) now online in English

Considering how important Santa Claus is to our culture, it has always seemed remarkable to me that the medieval sources for whatever stories we tell about him – or rather St Nicholas of Myra, his prototype – remained untranslated.  I’ve had a few translations made, and here is another.  This is a short medieval story about how St Nicholas got an unfair tax remitted.  David J. D. Miller kindly did the translation for us all.  This exists in four manuscripts, in two different versions.  This is the shorter first recension.

  • Nicholas_of_Myra_Praxis_De_Tributo_rec1_2015 (PDF)
  • Nicholas_of_Myra_Praxis_De_Tributo_rec1_2015 (Word .doc file)

As usual this translation is public domain – do whatever you like with it.

I have commissions out for two other short texts at the moment, so there will be more of these.

UPDATE (10 Feb 2016): updated version with numbering.

He has a wife you know

archatlas: Necropolis of Cerveteri A major centre of...


Necropolis of Cerveteri

A major centre of Etruscan civilisation that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, the Necropolis stretches for more than two kilometres. This certainly makes it the most imposing in all Etruria and one of the most magnificent monuments of its kind anywhere in the Mediterranean basin. These monumental tombs are located inside tumuli, partly cut into the tufa rock and partly built over it. The purpose of these edifices was to illustrate the desire of a handful of aristocratic families to make a statement about their wealth and to perpetuate a lifestyle of the highest quality also after death. 

Images and text via, additional images via + via

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

"once again the hobbyist bails out the government"

Generous to a fault, those heritage-takers, on a British metal detecting forum near you:
"once again the hobbyist bails out the government"
Everybody should be registering with these forums to see what artefact hunters themselves say about their activities. It is quite an eye-opener, and very revealing of their utterly facadist attitudes. In fact, how can one be a supporter of artefact collectors without doing this? I suspect that many jobsworth UK archaeologists do precisely that, which is simply superficial and negligent. Don't be like them, take a look at what artefact hunters are actually saying as they dismember the archaeological record and pocket archaeological evidence. 

Reserve Collections to Go?

US dealers, their lobbyists and collectors insist that before asking for restrictions aiming to curb the sales of smuggled portable antiquities ("retentionists") source countries like Italy and Greece should sell the "duplicate" items in storage to collectors. The latter, as is their wont, will immediately lose all and any documentation pertaining to their origins. Here is one of those accumulations of duplicates (from the Museums Week twitter feed)

These items are in the basement and other stores of the British Museum. They are there as research and study material, for display in temporary exhibitions, for loans to other museums and other purposes. Selling them off would weaken the ability of the Museum to fulfil its functions. Why idiot collectors persist in repeating this mantra without thinking about it is anybodys guess.

Tautology and Missing the Point

The Sussex Detectorist Twitter feed redundantly announces "The ordinary artefacts I record are just as important as the special ones. Here's a sword-belt mount from E Sussex". A sword belt mount is hardly an ordinary artefact like a roof-tile nail or piece of cooking pot - but the latter are not regarded as collectables, and it is by that category which the item is being assessed.

The tautology of that short message obscures the main issue. Britain is one of the few countries in the world which treats the management of the archaeological resource in this way. Here an archaeological assemblage is being used merely as a quarry for collectables to feed any number of scattered, ephemeral and undocumented private collections. The "recording" is only half the story, the other is selective hoiking and taking. From what sort of site was this sword-belt mount pocketed? What does it mean? What else was there? Were the nails not found and recorded from roofing tiles or coffins?

All this warbling and bragging about what artefact hunters voluntarily record obscures the issue of the nature of the activity from which the recording is just a side issue. It is private collecting of archaeological artefacts in general we should be discussing. Just what artefacts does "Sussex Detectorist" collect, how many and from where, and what has happened to the information connected with the sites and rejected artefacts which were not added to this individual's personal accumulation?  To what extent is what this one does typical of what the other 15000 do, week after week?

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Monuments of Mosul in Danger

Monuments of Mosul in Danger
The project Monuments of Mosul in Danger (Ohrožená architektura města Mosulu) aims to document and research Mosul monuments that have been destroyed by ISIS since June 2014 (see About the Project). As the first output of the project, we are releasing a list and interactive map of destroyed monuments created through analysis of satellite imagery. The list and map are interconnected with profile lists of individual monuments showing satellite images documenting the scope of the destruction. The map documents the situation as of the end of August 2015. We have failed to identify six of 38 destroyed structures (labeled as unknown structure). We would be grateful for any additional information that would help us to identify them. 

Do not hesitate to contact us should we have made any mistakes in our identifications. Also, any supportive documentation related to the endangered Mosul architecture would be appreciated.

February 09, 2016

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

High resolution plates fron "La Porte d’Horemheb au Xe pylône de Karnak"

High resolution plates fron "La Porte d’Horemheb au Xe pylône de Karnak"

Michel JORDAN (dessins), Susanne BICKEL & Jean-Luc CHAPPAZ, avec des contributions de Faried ADROM et Éric RICHARD, La Porte d’Horemheb au Xe pylône de Karnak (CSÉG 13), Genève 2015.
Entrepris sous le règne d’Amenhotep III et entièrement décoré sous celui d’Horemheb, le Xepylône de Karnak signalait l’entrée méridionale du grand temple d’Amon, tout en magnifiant l’accès au dromos conduisant vers les sanctuaires de Mout, Khonsou ou Kamoutef. La qualité et la finesse d’exécution des décors – non exempts d’irrégularités graphiques – en rehaussent la majesté et rendent toujours actuel le jugement de Champollion.
Cet ouvrage, fruit de plusieurs missions des équipes du Fonds pour l’Égyptologie de Genève, situe le monument, resté inédit à ce jour, dans son contexte historique et topographique, puis analyse les principes architecturaux de son élévation. L’attention est ensuite portée sur la porte de granite, dont les scènes sont reproduites, reconstituées et commentées de différents points de vue (notamment religion ou histoire de l’art). L’avant-porte en grès et le socle du colosse sud-ouest, également restés inédits, constituent les deux derniers chapitres de l’étude.

Planches épigraphiques:
56 a
56 b
112 a
112 b

ArcheoNet BE

Volg vandaag de lichting van de middeleeuwse IJsselkogge op de voet!

Woensdag 10 februari wordt een hoogdag voor de Nederlandse archeologie. Om 10u gaan onderwatercheologen in Kampen (prov. Overijssel) van start met de lichting van de ‘IJsselkogge’. Het gaat om een omvangrijk en goed bewaard gebleven koggeschip uit de 15de eeuw. Liefhebbers kunnen het gebeuren op de voet volgen via de livestream die wordt aangeboden op en

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Online Guide to Evagrius Ponticus

[First posted in AWOL 17 January 2012, updated 9 February 2016]

Guide to Evagrius Ponticus
edited by Joel Kalvesmaki

Evagrius Ponticus (b. 345 in Ibora; d. 399 in Egypt), a monastic theologian, was one of the most talented intellects of the fourth century. Circulating in elite ecclesiastical circles of Cappadocia and Asia Minor, he began his career under Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nazianzus, serving with the latter in Constantinople through a stormy tenure that culminated in the Second Ecumenical Council (381). Known then as a brilliant heresiologist, Evagrius seemed destined for a successful ecclesiastical career. He chose a different course, and fled to Jerusalem, where he took vows in the monastic communities of Rufinus and Melania. From there he traveled to Egypt and lived in monasteries in Nitria and Kellia. In Egypt he wrote extensively in a variety of genres—letters, proverbs, brief sayings (chapters), and treatises—nearly all geared toward explaining and analyzing vice and virtue, demons and angels, psychological and psychosomatic phenomena—in sum, the life of the ascetic. His accounts are set, sometimes explicitly, oftentimes pensively, within a well-developed metaphysical system that responded to both classical philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Stoicism) and the theology of some of the most accomplished Christian intellectuals (Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Gregory of Nazianzus).
Although well connected in his own time, Evagrius fell into disrepute in the sixth century, when his writings, along with those of Origen and Didymus the Blind, were associated with a theological strain of Origenism condemned at the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). The more speculative of Evagrius's writings fell out of circulation in the Byzantine Greek manuscript tradition. Those works survive in a number of other languages, principally Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, and Arabic—linguistic traditions whose reception of Origen and Evagrius were not as controversial. His writings deeply influenced many theologians and monastic writers, including Sts. John Cassian, "Dionysius the Areopagite," Maximus Confessor, John Climacus, Isaac of Nineveh, and Simeon the New Theologian. The Armenian Orthodox Church commemorates him, as did some Syriac-speaking Orthodox churches, but his condemnation is maintained by the Eastern Orthodox Church and, with important caveats (e.g., his recent inclusion in Butler's Lives of the Saints), the Roman Catholic Church.
This Guide provides definitive lists of Evagrius's works, of editions and translations of those works, and of studies related to his life and thought. It includes an inventory of key ancient sources that refer to Evagrius and a display of imagery from the ancient world. Updated quarterly, the Guide will gradually introduce a manuscript checklist, images of manuscripts, transcriptions of those manuscripts, and open source critical editions of Evagrius's writings.

Compitum - publications

P. Sicard, Iter victorinum


Patrice Sicard, Iter victorinum. La tradition manuscrite des œuvres de Hugues et de Richard de Saint-Victor. Répertoire complémentaire et études, Turnhout, 2015.

Éditeur : Brepols
Collection : Bibliotheca Victorina, 24
904 pages
ISBN : 978-2-503-55492-1
150 €


En 1976, Rudolf Goy recensait quelque 1350 manuscrits comportant une ou plusieurs œuvres de Hugues de Saint-Victor; en 2005 son répertoire des manuscrits de Richard de Saint-Victor (Bibliotheca Victorina, 18) repérait 900 témoins. Depuis 1975 ont vu le jour quelque 250 catalogues de manuscrits et des descriptions de fonds de bibliothèques sont désormais « en ligne »: un travail de « filtrage » s'imposait. Des catalogues, restés inaccessibles, ont pu être atteints. L'examen direct de très nombreux témoins pour l'édition en cours de Hugues au Corpus christianorum a repéré maints textes victorins encore passés inaperçus. Enfin, d'autres sources de renseignements devaient être interrogées : descriptions de manuscrits accompagnant des entreprises d'édition de corpus entiers, répertoires thématiques, introductions des grandes collections.

Lire la suite...

Archaeology Magazine

SOFIA, BULGARIA—Pieces of a bronze statue of Emperor Trajan, discovered in the 1980s, could be restored by conservators at Bulgaria’s National Museum of History. Archaeology in Bulgaria reports that the second-century statue, decorated with images of gods and heroes from ancient mythology, has been stored in the conservation laboratory at the museum, but has never been shown to the public. It was unearthed at the site of Candidiana, a Roman road station and fortress located on the Danube River. The fort was eventually destroyed during the invasions of the Byzantine period. The museum’s conservators just need funding to restore the statue and space to display it when they are finished. For more on Emperor Trajan, go to "Rome's Lost Aqueduct."

badger archery burialWILTSHIRE, ENGLAND—A Bronze Age burial was discovered near Stonehenge after a badger dug up a cremation urn and other pieces of pottery and left them on the surface of the ground. Senior archaeologist Richard Osgood of the Ministry of Defense told BBC News that the burial, which included a bronze saw, an archer’s wrist guard, a copper chisel, shaft straighteners, and cremated human remains, may have belonged to an archer or a person who made archery equipment. The badger’s claw marks can be seen on some of the pottery fragments. “There are badger setts in quite a few scheduled monuments—the actions of burrowing animals is one of the biggest risks to archaeology in Britain—but to bring out items of this quality from one hole is unusual,” he said. For more on animals as excavators, go to "Critter Diggers."

ArcheoNet BE

1000 jaar Graafschap Loon

graafschaploonOp zaterdag 5 maart vindt op de Landcommanderij Alden Biesen in Bilzen een colloquium plaats over ‘1000 jaar Graafschap Loon’. Het colloquium wil het oude graafschap Loon in al zijn aspecten weer leesbaar maken voor een breed publiek. Een nieuwe en frisse aanpak moet heemkundige kringen en geschiedkundigen enthousiast op het pad zetten van verder lokaal historisch onderzoek.

Meer info op

Michael E. Smith (Publishing Archaeology)

I write a blog post. Students reply with a Facebook post. What is going on?

I guess I just don't understand the new world of social media. My previous blog post was a critique of Rosemary Joyce's lecture at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Then I see on Twitter that some anthropology graduate students have responded to my post, not by commenting directly on this blog, but in a Facebook post from the CUB Anthropology Department's Facebook page. Their post is mildly critical. I posted a brief comment on Facebook inviting them to reply directly on the blog (as a comment) to continue discussion. I say that I try to avoid using Facebook for professional purposes, and I am not anxious to start posting there about abstruse issues of social theory. But I haven't heard any more from the group of students.

(( SLIGHT UPDATE, same day, 9:30 am: Here is a link to the facebook post:  And the likes are up to 34! ))

((Now, at noon, the likes are up to 39! I am really taking a killing here in Facebookland))

Perhaps in the world of social media and academia, all venues are equivalent. A response on Facebook might be no different than a reply to a blog, or some other kind of internet posting. So maybe I should just go ahead and reply to their comments here in my blog. Maybe I should switch to my other blog, Wide Urban World, to spread things around even further.

Or maybe I should just shut up. As a long-time blogger and senior scholar, I have a number of advantages over graduate students in terms of experience, power, and access. I am not anxious to play the heavy here. But then perhaps the students have an advantage over me. They are obviously more comfortable with Facebook, and they probably have other social media skills and experiences that I lack. So maybe I should shut up and admit defeat. After all, as of 8:00 AM today, there are NO comments on the blog post in question. The initial tweet from UCBoulder-Anthropology has 2 likes and 2 forwards, and my reply tweet has none. And the original Facebook post has 32 likes, including some prominent archaeologists and anthropologists. Wow, everyone is lining up against me.

In the court of Facebook opinion, I seem to be the clear loser in this affair. Obviously the "new materialism theory" (which is NOT materialist!) is popular and I am just a cranky positivist who can't see the light. But is this a productive direction for scholarship? I have complained in this blog about the "facebookization of online scholarship." You can "like" something buy you can't "dislike" anything. Popularity and superficiality are what count. What are the quality control mechanisms in the court of social media opinion? Are there any?

Well, this post is long enough. It doesn't really say anything about the substantive issues, mainly because I can't decide whether it is appropriate or useful to try to engage my critics in a dialogue, given the situation as described above. I guess I am still trying to figure out social media and its role in scholarship.

Ancient Peoples

Stucco relief of a nude youthRoman, 2nd half of 1st century A.D....

Stucco relief of a nude youth

Roman, 2nd half of 1st century A.D. (Early Imperial period)

The powerfully-built nude youth stepping to the right may be a follower of Dionysos, for he wears an animal skin over his left shoulder. He carries a pedum (shepherd’s crook) in his right hand and a hare is suspended from his left.

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Archaeology Magazine

Eurasia summer temperaturesBIRMENSDORF, SWITZERLAND—Tree-ring data collected in the Altai Mountains of Russia have helped scientists reconstruct summer temperatures in central Asia for the past 2,000 years. “The course temperatures we took in the Altai Mountains correspond remarkably well to what we found in the Alps,” Ulf Büntgen of the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape WSL said in a press release. His multidisciplinary research team detected a period of low temperatures in the sixth century A.D. that they call the “Late Antique Little Ice Age,” or LALIA. The low temperatures were likely the result of three volcanic eruptions in the mid-sixth century that ejected particles into the atmosphere and blocked sunlight. The resulting famine was followed by the pandemic of the Justinian plague and political turmoil that may have led to the decline of the Eastern Roman Empire. To the south, the Arabian Peninsula received more rain than usual and grew more vegetation that may have sustained larger herds of camels used by Arab armies. “The LALIA fits in well with the main transformative events that occurred in Eurasia during that time,” Büntgen explained. For more, go to "Letter from Iceland: Surviving the Little Ice Age." 

The Heroic Age

SELIM 28 – University of Vigo, 15-17 September 2016


The Spanish Society for Mediaeval English Language and Literature and
the local organising committee invite members of the Society and all
other scholars interested in the field to participate in the 28th
International SELIM Conference, which will be hosted by the Department
of English, French and German of the University of Vigo from September
15th to 17th 2016.

The organisers welcome papers dealing with any aspect of mediaeval
English language and literature and particularly encourage the
submission of papers that offer new readings or perspectives on
mediaeval English texts, as well as new approaches and analytical

The following keynote speakers have already confirmed their
participation in the conference:

Richard North (University College London)
Stuart D. Lee (University of Oxford)
Ans Van Kemenade (Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen)
Belén Méndez Naya (University of Santiago de Compostela)

Scholars interested in offering 20-minute papers (followed by a
10-minute discussion) must send a 250 word abstract in electronic
format (please use the MSWord template found at via e-mail to before
May 15th 2016. Abstracts should include name(s), institutional
affiliation(s) of the author(s), as well as e-mail address and the
technical support required for the presentation. Acceptance of
proposals will be confirmed as soon as the proposal has been

A selection of contributions will be edited by the organisers and
submitted to a major international press.

For further information please visit the conference webpage,, or contact the organising committee at

We are looking forward to seeing you in Vigo next September.
Dr. Jorge Luis Bueno Alonso
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, French and German
University of Vigo
Lagoas-Marcosende Campus
Praza das Cantigas, s/n
E36310 VIGO (Spain)
Phone: +34986813958
Fax: +34986812380

Embodying life and death: The body in Anglo-Saxon England

Saturday 22nd October 2016, Durham University

Keynote speaker: Prof Catherine Karkov (University of Leeds)

The Anglo-Saxon period is characterised by significant cultural shifts and transformations. Emerging kingdoms, religious conversion, economic intensification, growing cultural contact and mobility result in increasing social complexity. Situated directly at the centre of these multiple transformations are the understudied Anglo-Saxon bodies, enacting, resisting and adapting to the ever changing world around them. The Anglo-Saxons employed the human form on elite gear and paraphernalia, found humour in the human anatomy as evidenced in their riddles and, in death, left behind their bodies often disposing of them with elaborate treatments, rich goods, and theatrical staging. From the Germanic 'pagan' to the Christian periods, the Anglo-Saxons considered and debated the power of the human body in real and metaphysical terms. Despite immensely varied treatment, representation and conceptualisation of the body, a lacunae remains in scholarship on the Anglo-Saxon body. This represents a challenging field of discourse that can facilitate cross-period and cross-disciplinary study on the changing nature of body portrayal and perception across c. AD 400-1100.

This interdisciplinary conference will examine and unfold the multiplicity and vibrancy of the body in the Anglo-Saxon world. Paper proposals are invited on any aspect of embodied living and dying in early medieval England and continental parallels, and from researchers in any discipline. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

Gender, sex, and sexuality
Nakedness, clothing, and the flesh
Physical appearance, hygiene, and bodily aesthetics Sensory perception and experience Religious conversion: the pagan body and the Christian body Dying, death, and the corpse The abnormal, the monstrous, and the Other Health, disease, and medicine Bodily governance and corporal punishment Bodies whole and body parts Envisioning the Anglo-Saxon body in the contemporary world

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Sian Mui ( by 31 March 2016.

For more information:
Sian Mui,
Tristan Lake, Department of Archaeology, Durham University, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE.

This conference is kindly funded by the Department of Archaeology and the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Durham University.

The Stoa Consortium

Messages and Media (Postgraduates in Ancient History, March 19, Newcastle)

Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History
‘Messages and Media’
19th March 2016.
Armstrong Building, Newcastle University.

We are very pleased to announce that Professor Richard Clay, newly appointed Professor of Digital Humanities at Newcastle University, has agreed to present our keynote. As an art historian, Richard has a wealth of experience in digital humanities and research on the history of various media. He has made documentaries for the BBC, including ‘The French Revolution: Tearing up History’ and ‘The Brief History of Graffiti’. We thought his expertise would bring our discussion of ‘Messages and Media’ to full fruition.

Further, registration for delegates is now open. Attendance is free, but we ask that you register your intent to attend so that we can gauge numbers for catering and conference materials. Tea/coffee and lunch will be provided for all delegates.

In order to register, please fill out this form: If you experience any difficulties or problems with the form, or cannot access or use it for whatever reason, simply e-mail us at Thank you.

A programme will be circulated in due course.

We look forward to welcoming you in Newcastle.

Kind regards,

Lauren Emslie and Christopher Mowat

Archaeological News on Tumblr

A badger uncovers 'exciting' Bronze Age cremation site near Stonehenge

An ‘exciting’ Bronze Age cremation site near Stonehenge has been uncovered - by a...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Left Behind and Right Wing Conspiracy Theories

Fred Clark recently posted on the connection between the Left Behind series and Right Wing conspiracy theories. The two overlap extensively, with the non-religious leaving out the Rapture, but overlap in many other particulars, such as that the United Nations is a bad thing, and so too would world peace be.

This while various news outlets were reporting that Michele Bachmann was predicting that Barack Obama will become the Antichrist after his presidency. I wonder whether anyone will remember that these individuals turned out to be false prophets, when they eventually do. And I wonder whether anyone will reconsider the end-times approach to politics, and life more generally, as a result of yet another set of predictions failing to come true, or whether they will just say that the individual false prophets were wrong, but to predict in this way is not itself wrong.

But I am even more interested in the question of which kind of conspiracy theory thinking tends to lead to the others. Does Left Behind simply add religion to conspiracy theories that are more widely subscribed to, or does religion of this particular fundamentalist sort give birth to the conspiracy theories? Do people who deny the moon landings gravitate towards Ken Ham’s lies about science, or do the latter tend to lead people to the former? Why do some just deny evolution, geology, and astronomy but stop short of asserting that the Earth is flat?

I know there is no direct straight line that uniformly runs from one to the other. But it does seem clear that being skeptical towards authorities, without recognizing one’s dependence on authorities, is at the root of a great many dubious viewpoints.

As Paul Braterman reminded us recently, we are all irrational. And so the question must not be merely “why are those others so very irrational?” but “what are my blind spots with regard to my own irrationality?” and “what can be done to minimize the popularity of irrational thinking and the damage caused by it?


conspiracy connect the dots


Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

RESTAURO-MUSEI dal 6 all'8 aprile 2016 a Ferrara

Dal 6 all’8 aprile 2016 a Ferrara si svolgerà la XXIII edizione di Restauro che da quest'anno prenderà il nome di Salone dell’Economia, della Conservazione, delle Tecnologie e della Valorizzazione dei Beni Culturali e Ambientali.

Diverse le novità dell'edizione 2016 che torna a collocarsi nel mese di aprile ed avrà la durata di tre giorni invece di quattro per permettere ai visitatori e agli espositori di ottimizzare i tempi ed i costi, nel consueto periodo ad esso dedicato, dopo lo slittamento a maggio della scorsa edizione, in concomitanza con l’inaugurazione di Expo Milano 2015. Un’edizione dunque ricca di innovazioni, non solo nei contenuti, che porteranno valore aggiunto alla manifestazione.

Corinthian Matters

A Companion to Latin Greece (Tsougarakis and Lock, eds)

A Companion to Latin Greece, recently published by Brill, offers 11 essays that provide “an introduction to the study of Latin Greece and a sampler of the directions in which the field of research is moving.” Edited by Nickiphoros Tsougarakis and Peter Lock, the work surveys society, culture, and economy in Greece from the 12th to 14th century (with occasional forays beyonds). As the abstract / book description notes:

LatinGreece“The conquest of the Byzantine Empire by the armies of the Fourth Crusade resulted in the foundation of several Latin political entities in the lands of Greece. The Companion to Latin Greece offers thematic overviews of the history of the mixed societies that emerged as a result of the conquest. With dedicated chapters on the art, literature, architecture, numismatics, economy, social and religious organisation and the crusading involvement of these Latin states, the volume offers an introduction to the study of Latin Greece and a sampler of the directions in which the field of research is moving.”

Sharon Gerstel’s review of the work in Medieval Review does note the lack of substantial discussion and exploration of archaeological evidence from either excavations or surveys, but concludes positively that

What this volume makes clear is the central importance of Latin Greece to the study of the Mediterranean and, indeed, to the study of late medieval and Early Modern Europe. The region’s enduring ties to both the West and Byzantium, its role in agricultural production and the exportation of vital commodities, its mixed population, and its multiple religious confessions, place Latin Greece at the center of current discourses about identity, networks, and globalism. Providing an impressive range of materials, this volume challenges the reader to think critically about local and regional transformations at a time of political uncertainty.

For further information:

Table of Contents

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Early Christian Cyprus: An Outline

I was pretty pleased to be asked to co-author a chapter on Early Christian Cyprus for the Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Archaeology. Since I’ll be co-authoring it with the incomparable (and the intensely busy) Jody Gordon, I offered to get things rolling by putting together an outline.

The goal of our chapter is both to present a basic guide to Christian archaeology on Cyprus, as well as to put Early Christian archaeology on the island in the context of larger issues both in modern Cypriot political culture and the historiography of Roman, Late Antique, and Early Byzantine Cyprus.

This is just a draft, and nothing is cast in stone, but I thought I would throw it out there to see what people think…

The Archaeology of Early Christian Cyprus

  1. Early Christianity in a Cypriot Context (<1000)

    1. Pre-Archaeology of Cypriot Christianity

      1. Barnabas (late-6th c.)

      2. The Phaneromene

    2. Archaeological Context

      1. Megaw – typology

      2. Cypriot Archaeologists – often salvage and primarily focused on architecture.

      3. Recent Work: Kopetra, Polis, Maroni, Pyla-Koutsopetria.

    3. Contemporary Political Context

  2. Textual Christianity on Cyprus: Short and Sweet (<1000 words.)

    1. Acts of the Apostles

    2. Epiphanios

    3. Council of Ephesus (431)

    4. Hagiography

      1. Jerome, Vita Hilarionis (4th c.)

      2. Auxibios (5th? c.) (I don’t remember; but local).

      3. John the Almsgiver (Sophronios) and Tykhonas (6th c.)

  3. Christian Archaeology on Cyprus (<4000). This would be the nuts and bolts section of the essay. It would lay out the evidence for Christianity on the island and the basic archaeological problems (dating, excavation approaches, publishing, et c.).

    1. Basilicas (1200 words)

    2. Baptistries (800 words)

    3. Epigraphy (600 words)

    4. Objects

      1. Mosaics

      2. Lamps

      3. Fineware

      4. Seals?

  4. Contexts and Consequences (1200)

    1. Christianization

    2. Connectivity – trade, pilgrimage, and travel

    3. Settlement – towns, cities, capitals, and bishops.

  5. The End of Early Christian Cyprus (800)

    1. Plagues

    2. Wars

    3. Transformation

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Unknown statue of Roman Emperor Trajan kept in storage for decades

An unknown statue of Roman Emperor Trajan (r. 98-117 AD) with a rich decoration of motifs from the...

Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

Fornvännen Adds Three New Editors


Fornvännen, the archaeology journal I have co-edited since 1999, has added three new editors to its roster!

  • Herman Bengtsson, Medieval art historian at the Uppsala County Museum, Uppsala
  • Åsa M Larsson, Neolithic scholar, formerly director of a contract archaeology unit, now working at the National Heritage Board developing a more detailed Sites and Monuments Register
  • Mats Roslund, professor of Historical Archaeology at Lund University

I’m really pleased to have them all aboard. It’s going to be fun to see the influence of their interests and contacts on the journal’s contents.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Dating dispute over 'oldest Koran'

A dispute over whether a rare early Koran dates from the Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime is the...

Antiquity Now

Happy Mardi Gras from AntiquityNOW!

It’s Mardi Gras time! Break out the beads and get ready to party. But first, enrich your festival experience by learning about the history of the holiday in our blog post, Music, Color, Costumes and Beads—It’s Mardi Gras Time! And take a … Continue reading

Archaeological News on Tumblr

A surprising find about a possible early human ancestor

Research published in 2012 garnered international attention by suggesting that Australopithecus...

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: News

Dorothy Horrax Sutton: An American Near East Relief Worker in the Service of the Orphans

Dorothy Horrax Sutton: An American Near East Relief Worker in the Service of the Orphans in Turkey and Greece (1920-1926)

ArcheoNet BE

Jubelparkmuseum dreigt sponsorgeld mis te lopen door waterschade

Het Koninklijk Museum voor Kunst en Geschiedenis in Brussel moest de afgelopen jaren door waterschade verschillende zalen voor het publiek sluiten. Behalve schade aan zijn collecties riskeert het Jubelparkmuseum door de aanslepende problemen en de trage procedures bij de Regie voor Gebouwen nu ook 1,5 miljoen euro aan sponsorgeld te verliezen. Dat meldt De Standaard vandaag op zijn voorpagina.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Pondering the Stars We’re Made From

Ramachandran quote

The image and quote come from Oné R. Pagán’s blog BaldScientist. The quote really is a great one. There is no approach to reality that bypasses mystery. Whether one posits that the ultimate first cause is a divine mind that simply exists, or a law of physics that simply exists and which keeps bringing universes into existence, mystery is not eliminated. And the challenge to formulating a coherent worldview is finding the balance between eagerness to push back the boundaries of what we can explain, while also learning to live with the fact that some answers will simply not be found in our lifetime, if ever.

Current Epigraphy

Studentship for Ancient History and Epigraphy (Munich)

Scholarship of the Gerda Henkel Foundation and the Elise and Annemarie Jacobi Foundation for Ancient History and Epigraphy at the DAI Munich

Thanks to funding by the Gerda Henkel Foundation and the Elise and Annemarie Jacobi Foundation the commission is able to support “PhD students of ancient history with outstanding talent and limited financial means,” as Ms. Annemarie Jacobi laid down in her last will and testament. The stipend can be awarded for dissertation projects within the entire scope of ancient history.

The commission awards the stipend for guest fellowships at their exquisitely equipped ancient historical library. Stipend holders are expected to stay in Munich for 2 to 3 months to work on their dissertations. The stipend includes a library carrel as well as free accommodation in a fully furnished apartment on the commission’s premises, travel expenses of up to 350 euros (for students from Europe)/750 euros (for students from overseas), as well as a monthly allowance of 600 euros for living expenses.

The international call for applications addresses students currently working on the preparation and implementation of their dissertation project in ancient history. “Dissertation project” in this context also includes equivalent degree theses in the applicant’s home country, e.g. thèse nouveau règime in France, tesi di Dottorato in Italy, and PhD theses in the UK and US.

Applications may be submitted in German, English, French, Spanish, and Italian and must include the following documents:

  • A presentation of the dissertation project including information on the current state of the project (no more than 5 pages);
  • A study plan for the duration of the stay in Munich;
  • The requested duration and dates for the stay in Munich (including possible alternatives, possibly for the following application period);
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Academic qualifications/degrees, if available;
  • A statement/recommendation of the thesis advisor and one other university professor

Applications may be submitted on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 of each year and addressed to the commission director. Please note that your application should be submitted at least six months prior to the beginning of the fellowship (as requested by you). Please submit your application in digital form as mail attachment or downloadable file (e.g. through WeTransfer) to the following recipients: or We kindly ask the academic referees (i.e. your thesis advisor and other university professor) to send their recommendations/statements directly to these same addresses.

For details see the full advertisements in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish on our homepage:

Jim Davila (

Davies on The Hebrew Canon and Politics

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CFP: Dating Early Christian Papyri

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The Talmud, the fall of Jerusalem, and Kamtza and bar Kamtza

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Second Temple precedents

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Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Bando 2016 del Fondo della creatività per il sostegno e lo sviluppo di imprese nel settore delle attività culturali e creative

Un milione e duecentomila euro per le imprese culturali e creative. Sono i fondi stanziati dalla Regione Lazio a sostegno e come contributo, a fondo perduto per la nascita e lo sviluppo di startup innovative, grazie al cofinanziamento dei costi di avvio e di un primo investimento dei singoli progetti. Il bando 2016 del Fondo della creatività per il sostegno e lo sviluppo di imprese nel settore delle attività culturali e creative è stato presentato l’8 febbraio nella sede dell’Auditorium dell’Ara Pacis dal presidente della Regione Lazio Nicola Zingaretti e dal ministro dei Beni e delle attività culturali Dario Franceschini accanto all’assessore alla Cultura e alle politiche giovanili della Regione Lazio Lidia Ravera.

Da ICOM Italia una nuova offerta formativa per il settore museale

ICOM Italia in collaborazione con Intesa Sanpaolo Formazione promuove un'offerta formativa rivolta al mondo culturale museale. Le attività formative, che si svolgeranno su varie città del territorio italiano, vedranno il coinvolgimento di esperti del settore e saranno caratterizzate da un approccio pratico e innovativo.

Jim Davila (

CFP: The Other Within

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Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2016.02.10: Krieg und Bürgerkrieg bei Lucan und in der griechischen Literatur: Studien zur Rezeption der attischen Tragödie und der hellenistischen Dichtung im Bellum civile. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, Bd 225

Review of Annemarie Ambühl, Krieg und Bürgerkrieg bei Lucan und in der griechischen Literatur: Studien zur Rezeption der attischen Tragödie und der hellenistischen Dichtung im Bellum civile. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, Bd 225. Berlin; München; Boston: 2015. Pp. xii, 484. €119.95. ISBN 9783110222074.

2016.02.09: Greece, Macedon and Persia: Studies in Social, Political and Military History in Honour of Waldemar Heckel

Review of Timothy Howe, E. Edward Garvin, Graham Wrightson, Waldemar Heckel, Greece, Macedon and Persia: Studies in Social, Political and Military History in Honour of Waldemar Heckel. Oxford; Philadelphia: 2015. Pp. xiv, 214. $80.00. ISBN 9781782979234.

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

Voyage chez les Dunkerquois, d’après Lucien

Histoires presque véritables (extraits).

Quelles impressions aurait Lucien de Samosate, auteur du IIe siècle de notre ère, s’il venait à tomber au beau milieu du Carnaval de Dunkerque ?

Le blog Insula poursuit sa nouvelle manière de parler des auteurs anciens : les faire parler sur des sujets contemporains. Les auteurs de ces billets écriront « à la manière de ». L’exercice n’est pas seulement frivole. En pastichant les Anciens sur des sujets actuels, ces textes peuvent révéler une manière d’écrire et de penser à l’aune de notre connaissance de ces mêmes sujets. Ils révèlent aussi notre rapport au texte par la traduction, avec ses imperfections et ses mécanismes qui peuvent eux-mêmes être objets de pastiche.

Ce billet a été écrit « à la manière de… » par Marie-Andrée Colbeaux.
hareng et clet'che au carnaval de Dunkerque - Photographie de Mageonyme (Wikimedia Commons)hareng et clet’che au carnaval de Dunkerque – Photographie de Mageonyme (Wikimedia Commons)

Je vous raconterais bien ce que j’ai vu, transporté par Borée, aux confins des limites de ce territoire, mais de peur que vous ne m’accordiez crédit, je me limiterai à ce que d’autres ont rapporté par ailleurs. Quand Borée me fit tomber, j’atterris, dans une pluie de harengs, de petits poissons à l’odeur forte qui ne sont consommés que dans les régions les plus septentrionales, au milieu de ce qui me sembla une mêlée, remarquable par ses êtres étranges. Sur la droite, une ligne de bataille formée par des soldats non pas vêtus comme on les voit habituellement, mais dont la tenue était, pour ainsi dire, bigarrée ; les visages, en effet, sans doute pour effrayer l’ennemi, étaient couverts d’une épaisse couche de couleur fort voyante ; sur la gauche, des hommes munis de longues tiges, surmontées de larges chapeaux de champignons. Ah non, ils n’étaient pas en ordre, ceux-là, mais allaient en tous sens, au son du tambour. Les uns et les autres accompagnés de musiques tonitruantes et portant à leur bouche une boisson aux relents puissants semblaient s’échanger des chants amébées, dont j’aurais volontiers rapporté les paroles si évocatrices, si une troupe ne m’avait emporté dans son mouvement. Je perdis alors pied jusqu’à retomber plus loin, où les cris des porte-champignons ne cessèrent que pour entonner un chant des plus mélodieux – des musiciens, en effet, qui n’utilisent pas la flûte de nos contrées mais un instrument beaucoup plus fin qu’on appelle fifre s’étaient attroupés là- . J’étais alors au pied d’un géant qui m’engloutit avant que je pusse réagir. Chose étonnante, un beffroi, car c’est ainsi qu’on nomme à cet endroit de hautes tours qui hérissent les campagnes, se dressait à l’intérieur du géant. C’est son carillon qui me ramena à la vie, mais ce séjour à l’intérieur du géant est une autre histoire que je vous conterai plus tard…

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: February 9

Here is a round-up of today's proverbs and fables - and for previous posts, check out the Bestiaria Latina Blog archives. If you are looking for free PDF copies of my books, you can find links to all of them here: #PDF Tribute to Aaron Swartz

HODIE (Roman Calendar): ante diem quintum Idus Februarias.

MYTHS and LEGENDS: The art image for today's legend shows Actaeon Attacked by His Dogs; you can also see the legends for the current week listed together here.


3-WORD MOTTOES: Today's 3-word motto is Misceo iocis seria (English: I mix serious matters with joking ones).

3-WORD PROVERBS: Today's 3-word proverb is Patientia vincit omnia (English: Patience conquers all).

RHYMING PROVERBS: Today's proverb with rhyme is: Tu praesens cura; Domino committe futura (English: Take care of the present; entrust the future to God).

VULGATE VERSES: Today's verse is Dominus dedit; Dominus abstulit (Job 1:21). For a translation, check out the polyglot Bible, in English, Hebrew, Latin and Greek, at the Sacred Texts Archive online.

ELIZABETHAN PROVERBS: Here is today's proverb commentary, this time by Taverner: Nosce teipsum: Knowe thy selfe. Plato ascribeth this divine sentente unto Apollo. But whose sayenge so ever it was, certes it is both true and godley, and worthy of Christen men to be continuallie borne in minde.

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

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:

Beneficiorum meminisse debemus.
We must remember the good deeds done for us.

Cupimus negata.
We desire what is denied to us.


FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Ceres et Rusticus, an ecological fable about being careful what you ask for ... like genetically/divinely modified foods! (this fable has a vocabulary list).

MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Musca et Quadrigae , the story of a boastful fly.

Musca et Quadrigae

Greek Bible Art - and Latin and English, too. Below is one of my Greek Bible Art graphics; for the individual Greek, Latin and English versions of the graphic, see the blog post: ἐποίησεν Μωυσῆς ὄφιν χαλκοῦν. Fecit Moyses serpentem aeneum. Moses made a serpent of brass.

DigiPal Blog

&quot;Codices, Choices, Cameras, and Cataloguing: Digitising Manuscripts&quot;, Thursday 11th February 2016

Date: Thursday 11th February, 6pm

Sponsor: London Graduate Paleography Group

Venue: Room S8.08, Strand Campus, WC2R 2LS[1]

"Codices, Choices, Cameras, and Cataloguing: Digitising Manuscripts"
Dr Alison Hudson (Project Curator, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, British Library)

(Tollemache Orosius, Add MS 47967, f. 62v)

For details of future papers, visit the London Graduate Paleography Group website

[1] To find S8.08, walk past the main reception desk and take the lift up to the seventh floor and then use the stairs to get to the eighth floor.

February 08, 2016

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Coming Soon: VÉgA Vocabulaire de l’Égyptien Ancien - Vocabulary of Ancient Egyptian

VÉgA Vocabulaire de l’Égyptien Ancien - Vocabulary of Ancient Egyptian
Vocabulaire de l’Égyptien Ancien
Le VÉgA, ou Vocabulaire de l’Égyptien Ancien, constitue une innovation dans le domaine de l’égyptologie. Ce dictionnaire numérique en ligne inédit est le fruit d’une collaboration public/privé dans le cadre du LabEx Archimede au sein de l’Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier, ainsi que des recherches des égyptologues et des méthodologies du design et de l’informatique. Il vise à devenir pour l’égyptologie une source incontournable et sans cesse actualisée, ainsi qu’un support de collaborations scientifiques internationales pour les décennies à venir. Grâce au VÉgA et à ses divers niveaux de lecture, chaque utilisateur, qu’il soit amateur ou professionnel, étudiant débutant ou linguiste, pourra étudier les mots du vocabulaire égyptien, en accédant en ligne à l’information académique la plus récente disponible sur le sujet.
VÉgA, Vocabulary of Ancient Egyptian, is an innovation in the field of Egyptology. This new online digital dictionary is the result of private/public collaboration within the LabEx Archimede at the University Paul-Valéry Montpellier. It is also the product of research carried out by Egyptologists as well as design and computer software methodologies. The aim is not only to be an indispensable and regularly updated source of information for Egyptology, but this online dictionary also strives to be a medium for international scientific collaborations for many years to come. Thanks to VÉgA, every user, whether they be an amateur, professional, student or linguist, will be able to study the Egyptian words through online access to the most up-to-date academic information available on the subject.

ArcheoNet BE

Préhistomuseum Ramioul heropend met totaal vernieuwd concept

Na twee jaar verbouwingswerken opende het Préhistomuseum in Ramioul (prov. Luik) dit weekend opnieuw zijn deuren voor het publiek. Het nieuwe, interactieve concept op de vroegere ‘Préhistosite’ biedt – door een investering van bijna 10 miljoen euro – nu aan alle doelgroepen een unieke ervaring: een grot, belevenissen, praktische ateliers, wandelpaden, twee permanente tentoonstellingen, een archeorestaurant, een mammoetenspeelplein… Het museum versterkt ook zijn wetenschappelijke activiteiten binnen het ‘Centrum voor Conservatie, Studie en Documentatie’.

Je vindt alle informatie op de website

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

"All the paperwork had been destroyed"

Shredded evidence
The Mail has a sensationalist piece giving the background to the Geneva freeport find linked with Robin Symes (Harry Mount, 'High society Tomb Raider: Part Bond villain. Part Indiana Jones. The extraordinary story of how a suave British art dealer squirrelled away 17,000 of the world's most valuable relics' Mail 3 February 2016).
Symes's gallery — in Ormond Yard, an exclusive square in St James's — was a magnet for collectors, including the oil billionaire, J. Paul Getty. [...] He clearly knew his stuff. His gallery was the holy grail for collectors — all beige suede, with bronze cabinets and wonderful lights, the first really American-looking gallery.' [...]  By the time liquidators came to sell off the remnants of Symes's collection, at Bonhams in Oxford, in 2009, he was a discredited man. The 250 lots in the sale, including old masters and a Picasso, had to be sold at rock bottom prices because, as Bonhams said, 'the liquidators make no warranty to title' — in other words, the antiquities might have been stolen. It was impossible to know where the treasures came from because all the paperwork had been destroyed — not quite what you expect of a reputable antiquities dealer.
well, actually that is just what you'd expect in the antiquities market. You will have to look high and low for a long time to find a dealer who is offering upfront a full set of paperwork for any of his or her stock. To judge from the lack of such paperwork, one may surmise that getting rid of it has been  frequent practice in order to allow the no-questions-asked market to fudge the difference between objects actually from old collections and those which "surfaced from underground" by less-than-licit means much more recently. Dealers disingenuously claim incidental "carelessness", but the end effects we see today really look like the cynical results of more deliberate and systematic action.

It was discovered before his trial that Symes had a huge stock of antiquities, reportedly he had squirrelled away 17,000 relics, thought to be worth £125 million. Many of these he managed to sell before his conviction. Who has them now, and where will they surface?

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database

 [First posted in AWOL 9 August 2013, updated 8 February 2016]

The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database

Magical gems

The designation magical gem is a category of modern archaeology, which denotes the most sophisticated amulet type of the Roman Imperial Period. Magical gems were carved of precious stones sized 1 to 3 centimeters, chiefly between the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD, and were designed to bring their owners health, prosperity and love. Their typology follows the shapes of Graeco-Roman glyptics complemented with a few Mesopotamian and Egyptian variants. They are distinguished by their characteristic engravings of inscriptions, signs and images, which usually appear on both faces of the gems, sometimes even on the edge. (For a more detailed definition of magical gems, see our Glossary.)

The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database

Magical gems known today number about 4000 pieces and are preserved in different museums and private collections worldwide, often inaccessible for the public. The groundbreaking, and still fundamental, study on magical gems was published in 1950 by American scholar Campbell Bonner, who then described a tenth of the corpus in his Studies on Magical Amulets. In 2004 Simone Michel listed over 2800 pieces in her monograph Die Magischen Gemmen
Named after Bonner, the primary aim of the Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database (CBd) is to bring the entire corpus of magical gems online in order to make them better accessible for both scholars and the public, and to facilitate their study through the potentials offered by a digital database. Since its launch in 2010 the database has grown to be a much used research tool, and has helped recognize the genre of magical gems as an important object group of the classical material tradition. 
A further incentive of CBd is to publish the second, online edition of Bonner’s Studies on Magical Amulets within the framework of the database, revised and enlarged by leading scholars of the field.

AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

Open Access Digital Library Portal - Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation

"Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation recently opened its Digital Library Portal.  It provides free access to a variety of materials.  English and Arabic interfaces are available. The portal allows cross searching between various collections; one of these collection is the “World Collection” which is the digital embodiment of the publication, World Survey of Islamic Manuscripts (4 vols.)This section allows for browsing collections of Islamic manuscripts from all over the the world by language, subject, size and date of establishment of the collections."

World survey of Islamic manuscripts / general editor, Geoffrey Roper.
London : Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation ; Leiden : Distributed by E.J. Brill, 1991-1994.
Description : v. ; 25 cm.
ISBN : 1873992041 (set)

"The Portal gateway to Islamic manuscripts  builds upon the significant work already accomplished by the Foundation through its published catalogues. In this collection, users can currently browse and search more than 50,000 manuscript records from over 100 collections private and non private previously published by the Manuscript Centre.  The new online platform facilitates the discovery of major ‘hidden’ Islamic manuscript collections.  It covers materials from basic hand-lists to comprehensive descriptive catalogues, captured in such detail as incipit and explicit, quality of paper, ink, binding etc."

Jim Davila (

International Septuagint Day 2016

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Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)



[n.b. Today is the tenth anniversary of the founding of ANE-2]

A successor to the Ancient Near East Discussion List originally hosted by the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.

ANE 2 is a moderated academic discussion list that focuses on topics and issues of interest in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, from the Indus to the Nile, and from the beginnings of human habitation to the rise of Islam. It is intended to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on these topics between and among scholars and students actively engaged in research and study of the Ancient Near East.

Active (on-list) participation in ANE 2 assumes an informed knowledge of the ancient Near East and adherence to List Protocols (which are available at
and are sent to each new subscriber upon approval of subscription application).

The act of subscribing to the list signifies the agreement of the subscriber to follow these protocols and to accept the adjudications of the Moderators.

ANE 2 is international in scope. List Members should expect to be able to read postings in English, French and German. Participants are free to post in any of these languages, and, upon occasion, in other languages used in the study of the Ancient Near East.


Trudy S. Kawami, Ph.D.
Columbia University Art History & Archaeology
Director of Research, Arthur M. Sackler Foundation

N. P. Lemche
Professor Dr.Theol.
Department of Biblical Exegesis
The University of Copenhagen

Marc Cooper
Missouri State University
Department of History

Robert Whiting
University of Helsinki

Charles E. Jones
Penn State University Library

Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)

He has a wife you know

archaicwonder: The Oldest Ancient Greek Theater: The Theater of...


The Oldest Ancient Greek Theater: The Theater of Dionysos at Thorikos

Thorikos was an ancient fortified city in the Laurion mining district of Attica and was one of the original 12 Attic deme (burgs or subdivisions of Athens) that were according to legend, unified by Theseus, the mythical founder-king of Athens.

During the later part of the Peloponnesian War, by 412 BC, the town had become fully fortified by a wall and at least 7 gateways to protect the valuable Laurion mining district and the coastal sea lanes.

Mining in Thorikos dates back to around 3000 BC. After the exhaustion of the mines of  Laurion and the destruction of Thorikos by the Roman general Sulla in 86 BC, the area was abandoned temporarily. It was reinhabited during the Roman period until the 6th century AD, when the countryside of Attica was deserted due to the Slavic invasions.

The site of Thorikos had been inhabited since the Neolithic period (c. 4500 BC). Prehistoric and Mycenaean settlements existed on Velatouri Hill where the acropolis is now. Tombs of the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age are found on the lower slopes of the hill, beneath the Classical levels.

The theater was constructed between 525-480 BC and sits below the acropolis, on the south slope of Velatouri Hill. It is unique due to its shape which comprises an elongated layout with an oval orchestra and is the earliest theater ever found in Greece.

Archaeology Magazine

Ecuador artifacts repatriatedQUITO, ECUADOR—Guillaume Long, Ecuador’s Minister of Culture and Heritage, announced that the governments of Spain and Argentina returned a total of more than 500 artifacts between December and January. The objects include artworks from the colonial era, maps, and archaeological artifacts. “The protection of the heritage goods is a pressing need, because they are unique and irreplaceable,” Luis García, Cultural Counselor of the Spanish Embassy in Ecuador, told The Art Newspaper. To read more about archaeology in Ecuador, go to "The Water Temple of Inca-Caranqui." 

Egypt pyramid securityCAIRO, EGYPT—Hussein Bassir, director of the Giza Plateau, responded to world-wide concern about videos that show pieces of the Menkaure Pyramid for sale. “The blocks shown in the video are authentic, but have fallen from the pyramid complex across the span of time and have not been broken off by thieves,” Bassir told Ahram Online. “The criminals seen in the video were arrested and detained for four days on charges of vandalism, trading in antiquities, and fraud,” he added. Salah Al-Hadi, coordinator of the Archaeologists’ Syndicate, says that security should be tightened at all of the country’s archaeological sites, especially at the Giza Plateau and the Saqqara Necropolis. For more, go to "How to Build a Pyramid."

Australopithecus sediba jawST. LOUIS, MISSOURI—An international team of scientists has used biomedical methods and engineering tools to analyze the facial skeleton of Australopithecus sediba. “Most australopiths had amazing adaptations in their jaws, teeth and faces that allowed them to process foods that were difficult to chew or crack open. Among other things, they were able to efficiently bite down on foods at very high forces,” David Strait of Washington University in St. Louis explained in a press release. But the new tests indicate that Australopithecus sediba may have been able to eat some hard foods, but it did not possess a powerful bite. “If it had bitten as hard as possible on its molar teeth using the full force of its chewing muscles, it would have dislocated its jaw,” explained Justin Ledogar of Australia’s University of New England. “Humans also have this limitation on biting forcefully and we suspect that early Homo had it as well,” added Ledogar. So while some australopiths evolved to bite powerfully, others did not. “Diet is likely to have played a key role in the origin of Homo,” Strait said. For more on Australopithecus sediba, go to "The Human Mosaic."

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Amazing Grace Broadway Musical Soundtrack

I’m not sure how many of my blog readers took my advice and went to see the musical Amazing Grace after I blogged about it back in 2014. It subsequently made it to Broadway, and at that point several other Patheos bloggers mentioned it.

Now its run is over, but a CD of the music is now available for pre-order on I’m looking forward to owning a copy. I thought I should spread the word about it here too, for those who may have been looking forward to the release of Amazing Grace (Original Broadway Cast Recording)!

Ancient Peoples

Bactrian camelBactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex, ca. late...

Bactrian camel

Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex, ca. late 3rd–early 2nd millennium B.C. (Bronze Age)

Copper alloy, 3.5 inches high (8.89 cm)

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

(The BMAC, also known as the Oxus civilisation, is a modern term for an ancient Central Asian sedentary farming civilisation located to the east of the Caspian Sea.  Their artifacts have been found as far away as the Indus Valley and the Persian Gulf).

Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

mtDNA from 55 hunter-gatherers across 35,000 years in Europe

The fact that UP Europeans had mtDNA haplogroup M really destroys any lingering justification for a coastal migration that first brought (M, N) to Asia and then a subset (N) into Europe.

Another justification for the "Asia-first" model was the presence of Y-haplogroup C in Australians and Asians. But, that too was found in UP Europeans (K14).

So, I think things are looking good for my theory that Eurasians came out of Arabia northwards, interbred with Neandertals, headed both west and east, populating both Europe and Asia. The inferred date for both M and N (55kya) is on the cusp of the 50kya technological transition.

The authors also propose a major turnover in Europe at 14.5kya that replaced (not necessarily completely) the previous occupants. The authors write:
In European hunter-gatherers, our model best explains this period of upheaval as a replacement of the post-LGM maternal population by one from another source. Although the exact origin for this later population is unknown, the inferred demographic history (Figure 3 and 2b in Figure S2) suggests that it descended from another, separate LGM refugium.
Where was this LGM refugium?
Exactly where this new population came from is still unclear, but it seems likely that they came from warmer areas further south. “The main hypothesis would be glacial refugia in south-eastern Europe,” says Johannes Krause at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, who led the analysis.

Current Biology DOI:

Pleistocene Mitochondrial Genomes Suggest a Single Major Dispersal of Non-Africans and a Late Glacial Population Turnover in Europe

Cosimo Posth et al.

How modern humans dispersed into Eurasia and Australasia, including the number of separate expansions and their timings, is highly debated [ 1, 2 ]. Two categories of models are proposed for the dispersal of non-Africans: (1) single dispersal, i.e., a single major diffusion of modern humans across Eurasia and Australasia [ 3–5 ]; and (2) multiple dispersal, i.e., additional earlier population expansions that may have contributed to the genetic diversity of some present-day humans outside of Africa [ 6–9 ]. Many variants of these models focus largely on Asia and Australasia, neglecting human dispersal into Europe, thus explaining only a subset of the entire colonization process outside of Africa [ 3–5, 8, 9 ]. The genetic diversity of the first modern humans who spread into Europe during the Late Pleistocene and the impact of subsequent climatic events on their demography are largely unknown. Here we analyze 55 complete human mitochondrial genomes (mtDNAs) of hunter-gatherers spanning ∼35,000 years of European prehistory. We unexpectedly find mtDNA lineage M in individuals prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). This lineage is absent in contemporary Europeans, although it is found at high frequency in modern Asians, Australasians, and Native Americans. Dating the most recent common ancestor of each of the modern non-African mtDNA clades reveals their single, late, and rapid dispersal less than 55,000 years ago. Demographic modeling not only indicates an LGM genetic bottleneck, but also provides surprising evidence of a major population turnover in Europe around 14,500 years ago during the Late Glacial, a period of climatic instability at the end of the Pleistocene.


Robert Consoli (Squinches)

A little-known tholos (C429) between Raches and the Peristeria Archaeological Region

Dr. M. Zavadil reports a tholos found in 1989 near the Peristereia archaeological area.  She says:

"Nach Regenfällen brach im Jahr 1989 an der Straße von Raches nach Peristeria, 280 m entfernt von der Einzäunung des archäologischen Gebietes und an der Grenze des Ackers von Ouran. Dim. Anagnostopoulos, der Asphalt ein. Reinigungsarbeiten zeigten, daß der Einsturz durch eine Tholos verursacht worden war, die beim Bau der Straße 1964 bereits teilweise zerstört worden war."[1]

"In 1989 (heavy) rainfall collapsed the asphalt on the road from Raches to Peristeria, 280 meters distant from the fence of the archaeological area and on the edge of the property of  Ouran. Dim. Anagnostopoulos.  Repair works (Reinigungsarbeiten) discovered that the collapse was caused by the collapse of a tholos tomb which during the building of the road in 1964 had already been partially destroyed."[2]

I did not know where to start in locating this tholos but I tried drawing a 280 m. radius circle from the west edge of the archaeological site at Peristeria.  It fell just on the Raches-Peristeria road.

Illus. 1  The Peristeria Archaeological Region

The Peristeria Archaeological Region is approximately here (37.275 N, 217395 E).  Illus. 1 shows what it looks like when my DB is superimposed over it.  The edge of the archaeological area to which Zavadil refers I have reconstructed with the thick blue line in the center.  Using that line as the center I then drew a 280 m. radius circle from that border in Google Earth.  (It appears irregular because the terrain layer is turned on.  When that's turned on Google Earth wraps the figures around the terrain.) This circle nearly touches the Raches-Peristeria Road on the west.  In Illus. 2 I show a close-up.

Illus. 2.  A structure about 280 m. west of the Peristeria Archaeological Region.

Inspecting that in close-up I saw a rectangular structure (7.5 m x 4.81 m or 36 sq. m.) which appears to bear a resemblance to the structure which covers tholos tomb 1 at Malthi (37.268888 N, 21.879023 E) which is a bit larger at 10 x 5.8 m or 58.0 sq. m.[3]  The Malthi cover would shelter a tholos of 5.8 m.. outside diameter or an area of about 26.4 sq m.   Our Raches-Peristeria cover would shelter a tholos of about 18.17 sq. m.

Illus. 2a.  The covering of tholos 1 at the foot of Ramavouni ridge.

Illus. 2b.  Heavily cropped view of the Malthi structure taken from Google Street View.

I was able to catch a glimpse of the Malthi structure in Google Street View.  This is as good as it gets in this tool.  The structure as shown appears to be consistent with the structure from Peristeria.  It shows a blank eastern wall (possibly brick) with a flat roof that may be concrete.  There is a central opening in the eastern side and this is consistent with the structure from Peristeria.  This structure in Malthi may, of course, be anything else but so far I see nothing that would contradict the idea that both of these shelter tholoi and that they were built by the Antiquities Authority or contractors acting in their behalf.


The structure at Peristeria is consistent with Zavadil's description.

Fortunately Google Street View is available for that part of the road.  It produced a view of this structure.

Illus 3.  Can this be the 'protective' cover for a tholos?

This appears to be a hurriedly-built shelter to protect some small site and it appears to be about the right size for our tholos.  It is obviously new.  If it shelters our tholos then it would have been built since 1989 and its appearance is in accord with this.

This structure is in ghastly shape and looks as though it's on the edge of collapse.  I thought that the community would like to know this.  The next picture is annotated with what I consider to be the worst things here:

Illus. 4.  Here are what appear to be the worst features.

In Illus. 4. I have annotated what appear to me to be the worst things about this protective cover.  In the background I labelled Tholos 1 (whose dome has been reconstructed) just to give an idea of where this is in relation to Peristeria.  Tholos 1 is about 300 meters distant from this brick structure.
Those of you who would like to find this structure in Google Street View will find it here: 37.274607 N, 21.736142 E

I'm quite sure about this identification (in my catalog 'C429') but it's possible for me to be wrong and I would very much appreciate hearing from people who know more about this particular tholos or who can update me (with photos?) about the condition of this structure.  Please leave a note in the comments if you have more info about this.  And if you know anyone in Greece then please pass it on.


[1] Zavadil [2012] 516, 'Tholos zwischen Raches und Peristeria'.
[2] My translation.
[3] About the Malthi tholos Boyd says this: "The preserved tholos is conspicuous by its corrugated
covering which, unfortunately, prevents any access."   Boyd[1999] 642.


Boyd [1999], Boyd, Michael John.  Middle Helladic and Early Mycenaean Mortuary Customs in the Southern and Western Peloponnese.  University of Edinborough.  Scotland.  1999.

Zavadil [2012]:  Zavadil, Michaela. Monumenta: Studien zu mittel- und späthelladischen Gräbern in Messenien.  Wien:Osterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch-Historische Klasse Denkschriften. 2012.

Archaeology Magazine

Sweden preserved fishLUND, SWEDEN—The excavation of a settlement in southern Sweden has uncovered evidence of the large-scale preservation of fish more than 9,000 years ago. Osteologist Adam Boethius of Lund University found tens of thousands of fragile fish bones, bark, and an oblong pit surrounded by pole holes and smaller pin holes at the site, which had been located at a lake near the outlet of the Baltic Sea. The fish are thought to have been acidified with pine bark and seal fat, wrapped in seal and wild boar skins, and buried in a pit covered with muddy soil. This complex form of preservation would have worked in the region’s cold climate. “These findings indicate a different time line, with Nordic foragers settling much earlier and starting to take advantage of the lakes and sea to harvest and process fish. From a global perspective, the development in the Nordic region could correspond to that of the Middle East at the time,” Boethius said in a press release. For more about the archaeology of fishing, go to "Off With Their Heads."

ArcheoNet BE

Europese leidraad voor het gebruik van geofysica in de archeologie

Het European Archaeological Consilium (EAC) heeft een tweede deel in de reeks EAC Guidelines gepubliceerd. Deze leidraad focust op het gebruik van geofysica in de archeologie. Je kan het document integraal downloaden op de EAC-website.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Mummy Identification Still Uncertain Science

King Tutankhamun is the only 18th Dynasty pharaoh whose mummy has been identified with certainty,...

ArcheoNet BE

Fenicische kunst: nieuwe vondsten en inzichten

Op woensdag 10 februari organiseert Ex Oriente Lux in Leuven een lezing over de Fenicische kunst. Op basis van de nieuwste vondsten en bevindingen zal prof. Eric Gubel (KMKG/VUB) ingaan op de karakteristieken van enkele kunsttakken van de Fenicische beschaving die in het preklassieke verleden grote faam genoten.

Handelsactiviteiten werkten een intense wisselwerking in de hand tussen de steden op de Fenicische kust met Egypte, de Egeïsche wereld en de Bijbelse buurlanden die tot uitdrukking komt in de kunst. Architectuur en beeldhouwkunst, de productie van artefacten in (edel)metaal, de ivoorbewerking, glas- en zegelkunst van de IJzertijden I en II komen aan bod. Ook wordt aandacht besteed aan producties die zich vooral op een vrouwelijke consumentenniche richtten. De recente identificatie van enkele specifieke vormen uit het repertoire van vaatwerk in steen en aardewerk legt een verrassend Nachleben bloot in de islamitische wereld. Als afsluiting wordt aan hand van meerdere voorbeelden een continuïteit geïllustreerd van voorouderlijke tradities die in de Perzische Periode (IJzertijd III) voortleven, een fase die vaak onterecht als een stijlbreuk met het verleden wordt beschouwd.

Praktisch: de lezing vindt plaats op woensdag 10 februari om 20 u in MSI 01.28 (Erasmusplein 2, Leuven)

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Signs of early settlement in the Nordic region date back to the cradle of civilization

The discovery of the world’s oldest storage of fermented fish in southern Sweden could rewrite...

Penn Museum Blog

Elder Folks as “Living Museums”

We in the Museum Archives were pleased to host the extended George Rawls family, where they were able to catch up on their grandfather/great-grandfather and his role in the feature film Matto Grosso, the Great Brazilian Wilderness (1931).

Our visitor John Nash is the grandson of George Rawls, the Florida cowboy who played the lead character in the film, kind of an everyman character with a distinct Florida southern accent. According to the family, until two months ago they had no idea that their grandfather “starred” in the film, and likely he did not know either.

What made John’s visit so wonderful is that he seems to manifest the cultural qualities of his grandpa, and the “cracker” cowboy culture of Florida, which is rapidly fading. We felt almost as if George himself was visiting, and we learned how exactly he got to go from a small town by the swamps of the Everglades all the way to Mato Grosso, Brazil. In this fragment of oral history there are aspects of this folklife manifested in John, he talks about George Rawls, cracker culture, and the situation of wild Florida today.

Earlier posts on MGtGBW

Rawls 25643

Rawls and friend

Source material:  Matto Grosso the Great Brazilian Wilderness

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

A “Highly Dysfunctional World Where Record Keeping is not a Priority"

In a Manhattan court a trial is ongoing concerning the the Knoedler Gallery’s sale of forgeries (Laura Gilbert, 'Who is really to blame in the Knoedler fakes case?, The Art Newspaper 27 January 2016). Collectors Domenico and Eleanore De Sole bought a painting supposedly by Rothko for $8.3m that turned out to be a fake, and now accuse Knoedler Gallery and its former director Ann Freedman of trickery and lying (for the origin of the work, see here).
The lawyers for Knoedler, Freedman, and the gallery’s owner 8-31 Holdings argued that their clients did nothing wrong. At stake is whether the defendants have to pay the De Soles $25m for knowingly selling them a forgery in 2004. That painting was one of 40 purported Abstract Expressionist works brought to Knoedler by the Long Island art dealer Glafira Rosales, who in 2013 admitted to federal authorities that they were all painted in Queens by a single artist. Knoedler tried to “trick their customers into thinking the paintings were real” and Freedman was “lying” about the works, said the plaintiffs’ attorney Emily Reisbaum.
The De Soles insisted that Freedman put in writing what she told them about the work. The document they received asserted that the work was by Rothko (acquired directly from the artist’s studio) and ownership had passed to "someone living in Switzerland", and that the painting had been authenticated by eleven experts. Reisbaum said in court that everything Freedman had put in that letter is false.
Proving that Freedman knew that the story behind the work was not true will be the plaintiffs’ biggest hurdle. Reisbaum laid out the red flags that she said prove Freedman knew, or should have known, the work was fake. First, the source of the paintings was unknown and “Knoedler never found any proof of where the artworks came from”. Second, Reisbaum said, Rosales sent an “endless stream of unknown artworks” to Knoedler over a 14-year period; no one had ever seen them before, they were undocumented, and they kept coming. [...] The last leg of provenance was also missing: there were no shipping records of works coming from Switzerland to the US.
The lawyers for the defendants are defiant, arguing that they plaintiffs cannot prove their fraud case by the necessary “clear and convincing evidence” (The 'They-can't-touch-you-for-it' defence). Luke Nikas, representing Freedman, explained to the court that Knoedler and Freedman believed in the picture because Rosales was a “brilliant con”, the works seemed to be authentic and the dealers did not note the missing evidence verifying the stated collection history because:
they lived in a “highly dysfunctional world”, where record keeping wasn’t a priority. 
It is at this point that a case about purported 1950s paintings becomes of relevance to the antiquities trade. To what extent is the excuse "this market is a highly dysfunctional one where record keeping was (and is) not a priority" going to shield the dealer for responsibility for the items they handle? In New Yrk shops cannot sell meat or apples of unknown provenance, TVs without the paperwork showing they are of legal provenance. Why should this not apply to other commodities just because dealers see a way of making profits from items they have obtained from source3s which cannot supply that documentation? Rosales presented the Gallery with an oral story (in fact stories if you read the article), but the dealer took them on 'trust' and did no due diligence to verify that - which would have revealed the total lack of supportive documentation. In that case, a responsible dealer should say to the supplier,
"while the price IS tempting, no thanks, I'm a responsible dealer and I cannot take responsibility for such items when I cannot see the paperwork".
The case therefore hinges on proving this was a case of "I'll ask no questions so you'll not tell me lies" or not. I think responsible collectors and dealers should be watching the verdict of this case, as it may well throw a shadow over the “highly dysfunctional world, where record keeping isn’t a priority" which is the no-questions-asked portable antiquities market.

UPDATE 8th Feb 2016
Perhaps some other dealers have been having a quiet word with the gallery, at any rate, there has been a settlement:


Robert Consoli (Squinches)

Hunting the wily Mycenaean tomb (C424)

Dr. Michaela Zavadil, in her immaculate dissertation on Mycenaean funeral architecture[1] reports the existence of a small circular tomb (C424 in my database catalog) somewhere north of the town of Manesi  (which is in Messenia, here: 37.085525 N, 21.897537 E).  

It turns out that there’s almost nothing left of this structure, merely a circle of stones level with the ground.  We’re not talking about the pyramids here.  

She provides the absolute minimum of directions.  It is, according to her, one kilometer north of Manesi and seven meters east of the main road that connects Manesi with the town of Trikorpho.  ‘Great’, I thought, ‘Another fruitless search for something that’s going to be invisible.’  And the error term is huge because the town of Manesi has a radius of about 210 m. which is 20% of the entire distance from the town to the tomb (Illus. 1).  That is, do we measure from the center or the northern edge of the town?  How am I ever going to find this thing?

Illus. 1.  Manesis in Messenia.  Radius of this circle is 210 m.

Without taking too much care I centered a circle on the middle of Manesis (37.085611 N, 21.897918 E) and drew it out to one km. in radius.  It looks like this:

Illus. 2. One km. circle centered in Manesis.  Tomb should be at intersection of circle
and the road to Trikorpho on the north.  As if.
Trikorpho is five and a half km. to the north of Manesis so the tomb or structure should be on the side of the road that leaves Manesis for the north.  And it should be about 7 meters from the roadside.  Good luck.  I zoomed into the map to take a close look at where the road intersects the circle.  Illus. 3 shows what I found.

Illus. 3.  Close-up of the intersection of the 1 km. circle and the road to Trikorpho

In Illus. 3 I show the intersection of the one km. circle with the road to Trikorpho.  My eye was first drawn to the bare patch in the upper center.  I believe that this is what remains of a former vineyard but – what the heck is that stone circle at the lower center??!!  It seems that this must be the feature for which I’ve been searching.  In preparing my DB of 300+ Mycenaean sites in Messenia I had never before drawn the construction line right through the center of the sought-for feature.  Let’s look at it in close-up.

Illus. 4.  The stone(?) circle in close-up.
The position of the center of this stone circle is: 37.094561 N, 21.896680 E.  In Illus. 4 I show what it looks like when you zoom in.  This picture is clear enough so that we can check the measurements against what Zavadil reports.

Illus. 5.  Zoomed in and cropped.  We can take relatively accurate measurements.
Dr. Zavadil reports that the circle is 7 m. from the road and has a diameter of 3.6 m.  She does not report the outer diameter.  My measurements from the Google Earth are:

Outer Diam: 4.74 m.
Inner Diam: 3.57 m.
Distance From Road: 5.55

In my opinion these measurements are too close to allow of any doubt.  This is the stone circle of Manesi/Mavrolongos that she reports.

By a miracle Google Street View is available for this stretch of road.  What will that show us?  Before I do that let's take a look at what's directly across the road.

Illus. 6.  Directly across the street from the stone structure. 

When we look directly across the street from the stone circle we see a vineyard.  And a bit further to the west there are much larger vineyards.  The stone structure in which we're interested is reported to have been used as a place to dry grapes.  For that reason the landowner seems to have removed some stones in order to create a level space.    

In Google Earth I drew a thick circle around the stone structure and drew a 'handle' from that circle to the road.  That way I could be relatively sure that I was looking directly at the stone circle in Google Street View.  In GE it looks like this:

Illus. 7.  Outlining stone circle and drawing line orthogonal to the road.

I drew these blue lines because they will be visible in Google Street View and they will indicate when we're lined up with the stone circle.  From Street View it looks like this:

Illus. 8.  Rough view of the location of the Stone Circle

This is what the scene looks like.   The Street View camera takes discrete pictures and in this case it took one to the south of the structure and one to the north as my 'handle' shows.  The blue lines don't line up directly with what I take to be the stone circle.   I think that that is because Google Earth is not quite in register with Google Street View.  But close enough, I think, Here we see it slightly from the south and it looks as though that place is being used to put rubbish - tree trimmings and the like. Our structure appears to be, at least when this was taken, inside a grove of fig trees. I hope that it's not being used as a place to burn rubbish.  I show this again from just to the north:

Illus 9.  The stone circle (filled with fig branches) shown from just a few meters to the north.

Here is what Dr. Zavadil has to say about this feature (Chatzi-Spiliopoulou was the investigating archaeologist):

"About 1 km north of Manesis and about 7 m east of the route that connects Manesi and Trikorpho, the northern part of a circular stone setting consisting of two rows of stone slabs was discovered in the fields around Mavrolongos. Several stones had been removed by landowner Pan. N. Nikolopoulos, who used the stone setting as a place to dry grapes. Other things of interest were found in the area around the find spot; in 1992 some shards that could be dated to the post Mycenaean period, and a large number of bricks. Shards that were found by the landowner in Mavrolongos years ago could be identified for the most part as Bronze Age.

After a first visit G. Chatzi-Spiliopoulou expressed the belief that it could be the ruins of a small domed tomb similar to the graves in Karpophora.  In 1995 an excavation provided the following results: The stone setting was interrupted in its SSE part, which can possibly be attributed to the activities of the landowner. In its center was an accumulation of stones, mixed with clay, in which also a few sherds were encountered. In considering the interior of the stone setting three layers could be distinguished. On the ground, bones were found in the center and at a point near the wall. Although the structure, according to their excavation, still resembles a small tholos without stomion and dromos, G. Chatzi-Spiliopoulou pointed out that neither its function nor its age can be determined due to the lack of finds."[2]

Karpophora is in the Nichoria area.

So.  Not the most important Mycenaean construction in Messenia but it was fun hunting for it.  This is another proof of the utility of that transforming tool, Google Earth.

If you like these posts then please follow me on Twitter (Squinchpix) or on Google+   (Robert Consoli)

[1] Zavadil [2012] 494
[2]  My translation.


Zavadil [2012], Zavadil, Michaela. Monumenta: Studien zu mittel- und späthelladischen Gräbern in Messenien.  Wien:Osterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch-Historische Klasse Denkschriften. 2012.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Santa Chiara Lab, il laboratorio di innovazione dell’Università di Siena

L’Università di Siena ha inaugurato il nuovo laboratorio di innovazione nel cuore della città. Il Santa Chiara Lab nasce come uno spazio laboratoriale, espositivo e di dialogo multidisciplinare al servizio della progettualità, finalizzato a promuovere la socializzazione fra studenti e l’acquisizione di competenze trasversali, l’occupabilità dei giovani e l’innovazione in tutti i campi.