Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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

December 20, 2014

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Blurred Lines

Legendary TV journalist Richard C. Hottelet has passed away.

In his last lecture to journalism students, he emphasized the need to be objective:  "Play it straight, do not tell them what you think.  Do not tell them what you feel.  Just tell them what you know."

Unfortunately, all this seems to be lost on a peculiar brand of archaeo-blogger/activist/researcher/journalist who has sought fame (if not fortune) based on a hyped claim that the terrorists of ISIS made $36 million from looted antiquities in one area of Syria alone.

And when that claim fell apart?  Was it time issue a retraction and an apology to those who were attacked for questioning the claim?  Of course not.

Blogging is one thing, but we should all expect more from anyone who also purports to be a "researcher" and a "journalist' and the "news outlets" that publicized this false claim.

BiblePlaces Blog

Weekend Roundup

Michael Eisenberg tells the story of trying to discover the synagogue of Sussita (Hippos).

An Egyptian cemetery may contain more than a million mummies, say BYU archaeologists. No, it doesn’t, and you’re not working here again, says Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities.

The colossi of Amenhotep III have been re-erected at the site of his funerary temple in Luxor.

The Harvard Semitic Museum is honoring its founder with a special exhibition.

A new discovery in Galilee suggests that olive use was already in use in the Early Chalcolithic period.

The Book and the Spade features Mike Molnar explaining the star of Bethlehem mystery.

Leen Ritmeyer: Where on the Temple Mount was Jesus during Hanukkah?

How close is the new movie Exodus to the Bible? Ellen White answers: “Their story was so different that if they didn’t use the Biblical names and released the same movie with a different title, I might not have even recognized it.”

Don McNeeley reports on the 2014 NEAS Conference in San Diego.

Our Rabbi Jesus notes a couple of free books on Greek and Hebraic thought.

Heritage Daily lists its Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2014.

This will be the final roundup of 2014. We’ll try to note major stories as they break. Thanks for joining us this year!

HT: Charles Savelle, Ted Weis

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Ranking Religious Studies Journals

Several years ago, I shared a blog post which sought to rank the top three tiers of journals in New Testament studies. That list by Peter Head was as follows:

PhD students often ask for advice on the top journals in the field. So here is the list, in three separate tiers, of the top eight journals in New Testament studies. This list uses three published ranking lists (the only three that I am aware of) and my own personal ranking:

The three published ranking lists are:

  1. European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH) (published in 2007) (A, B, or C)
  2. Excellence in Research for Australia Initiative (ERA) (published in 2010) (A*, A, B, or C)
  3. J.A. Fitzmyer, An Introductory Bibliography for the Study of Scripture (Rome: PIB, 1990), 12-21 (which marks the top journals with a double asterisk).

The personal ranking is simply a PMH top five. Personal opinion based on experience, discussion, rejection rates (when known), editors.

The top tier is simply those journals ranked at the top of all four lists:

NTS (**) [ERIH: A] [ERA A*] [PMH5]
ZNW (**) [ERIH: A] [ERA A*] [PMH5]

The second tier are those journals lacking a single top rank:

JBL (**) [ERIH: B] [ERA A*] [PMH5]
Rev. Bib. (**) [ERIH: A] [ERA A]
Biblica (**) [ERIH: A] [ERA A*]
CBQ (**) [ERIH: A] [ERA A*]

The third tier is the one other journal lacking two separate top rankings:

Nov. Test. [ERIH: A] [ERA A] [PMH5]

When I was recently asked about this subject once again, I happened across the SCImago Journal Rankings on Religious Studies, and took this screenshot of the 2013 ranking, thinking it might be useful:

Religion Journal Rankings

There are different ways of assessing which journals are the best, and think Peter Head’s approach, of combining different forms of assessment and noticing which journals rank the highest across those different perspectives, is to be recommended.

Of related interest, see too David Lincicum’s post about the latest ranking of UK religious studies and theology programs.

Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews)

Mesolithic encampment unearthed near Stonehenge

Archaeologists working on a site near Stonehenge say they have found an untouched 6,000-year-old encampment. David Jacques, from the University of Buckingham, made the discovery at Blick Mead in October,...

Ancient settlement discovered in Georgia

The satellite images from space have allowed Georgian archaeologists to discover an ancient settlement in Shiraki (Kakheti region, Eastern Georgia). The first phase of archaeological research will be completed in...

Ancient Peoples

Pottery: black-figured hydria. Designs in black on red panels,...

Pottery: black-figured hydria. Designs in black on red panels, with borders as last; accessories of white and purple.

In the centre a building with a centre pillar and two Doric columns with white caps and architrave; above is a pediment ending in volutes, with a white disc in the centre. On the entablature a zigzag pattern is incised, on the centre pillar a chequer pattern, and on each side of it is a lion’s head with water issuing therefrom, and falling into a square cistern painted white. On each side of the building a maiden approaches, with long hair, fillet, long chiton and himation, both embroidered; the one on the right holds a branch in left hand, the other a flower, both carry hydriae horizontally on their heads, and at their sides are hinds; another pair, similar to the last, with pads on their heads, stand by the fountains, turned towards the former ones; each holds a branch in left hand.



Source: British Museum

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

$36 Million Figure-- Archaeo-blogger was against it before he was for it

It's getting harder to take Dr. Sam Hardy, an archaeo-blogger with a book in the works about "conflict antiquities" seriously.   He started off with some healthy skepticism of the claim ISIS made $36 million from the sale of illicit antiquities in one province alone.  There was no change in the underlying evidence, but Dr. Hardy then went onto hype that figure when "fame" came calling in the form of a Reuters blog.   As CPO explained at the time, major problems remained with the $36 million figure despite Hardy's effort to latch onto it.   And now he's at it again, claiming that German media has verified the figure in response to a critical report in a German numismatic publication.  But is that true?  It would seem not based on the information he provides.  Rather, the most that can be said is that ISIS probably derives some income from looting-- which is what Hardy originally concluded before he jumped on the $36 million bandwagon.

Addendum (12/14/14):  This $36 million looting claim has been further debunked in a report in Artnet.  Further addendum (12/18/14):  In response to this news, Hyperallergic's only accommodation  to the truth was to change the title of the article from "German Media Corroborate $36M Islamic State Antiquities Trafficking" to "German Media May Corroborate $36M Islamic State Antiquities Trafficking" without acknowledging the change.   Of course, as set forth above, Arnet reported German Media in the end did no such thing.

Compitum - événements (tous types)

Obesity, Corpulence, and Emaciation in Roman Art

Titre: Obesity, Corpulence, and Emaciation in Roman Art
Lieu: Harvard University / Cambridge (MA)
Catégorie: Séminaires, conférences
Date: 26.01.2015
Heure: 17.00 h - 19.00 h

Information signalée par Jacques Elfassi


Mahindra Humanities Center Seminar
Monday, January 26, 2015 - 5:00pm
Mark Bradley, University of Nottingham

Obesity, Corpulence, and Emaciation in Roman Art

Room 133, Barker Center

Elena Cano (Γνωθι τους αλλους)

Básicos de la democracia: Ley y orden

Busto de Esquines (imagen de Wikimedia Commons)
Εὖ δ’ ἴστε, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, ὅτι τὰ μὲν τῶν δημοκρατουμένων  σώματα καὶ τὴν πολιτείαν οἱ νόμοι σῴζουσι, τὰ δὲ τῶν τυράννων καὶ ὀλιγαρχικῶν ἀπιστία καὶ ἡ μετὰ τῶν ὅπλων φρουρά. φυλακτέον δὴ τοῖς μὲν ὀλιγαρχικοῖς καὶ τοῖς τὴν ἄνισον πολιτείαν πολιτευομένοις τοὺς ἐν χειρῶν νόμῳ τὰς πολιτείας καταλύοντας, ὑμῖν δὲ τοῖς τὴν ἴσην καὶ ἔννομον πολιτείαν ἔχουσι τοὺς παρὰ τοὺς νόμους ἢ λέγοντας ἢ βεβιωκότας· ἐντεῦθεν γὰρ ἰσχύσετε, ὅταν εὐνομῆσθε καὶ μὴ καταλύησθε ὑπὸ τῶν παρανομούντων. 

[      Οὐκ ἀγνοῶ δέ, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, ἃ μέλλω ἐν πρώτοις λέγειν, ὅτι φανεῖσθε καὶ ἑτέρων πρότερον ἀκηκοότες· ἀλλά μοι δοκεῖ καιρὸς εἶναι καὶ ἐμὲ νῦν πρὸς ὑμᾶς τῷ αὐτῷ λόγῳ χρήσασθαι. ὁμολογοῦνται γὰρ τρεῖς εἶναι πολιτεῖαι παρὰ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις, τυραννὶς καὶ ὀλιγαρχία καὶ δημοκρατία· διοικοῦνται δ’ αἱ μὲν τυραννίδες καὶ ὀλιγαρχίαι τοῖς τρόποις τῶν ἐφεστηκότων, αἱ δὲ πόλεις αἱ δημοκρατούμεναι τοῖς νόμοις τοῖς κειμένοις. 

    Προσήκειν δὲ ἔγωγε νομίζω, ὅταν μὲν νομοθετῶμεν, τοῦθ’ ἡμᾶς σκοπεῖν, ὅπως καλῶς ἔχοντας καὶ συμφέροντας νόμους τῇ πολιτείᾳ θησόμεθα, ἐπειδὰν δὲ νομοθετήσωμεν, τοῖς νόμοις τοῖς κειμένοις πείθεσθαι, τοὺς δὲ μὴ πειθομένους κολάζειν, εἰ δεῖ τὰ τῆς πόλεως καλῶς ἔχειν.

      Σκέψασθε γάρ, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, ὅσην πρόνοιαν περὶ σωφροσύνης ἐποιήσατο ὁ Σόλων ἐκεῖνος, ὁ παλαιὸς νομοθέτης, καὶ ὁ Δράκων καὶ οἱ κατὰ τοὺς χρόνους ἐκείνους νομοθέται. [7] Πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ περὶ τῆς σωφροσύνης τῶν παίδων τῶν ἡμετέρων ἐνομοθέτησαν, καὶ διαρρήδην ἀπέδειξαν, ἃ χρὴ τὸν παῖδα τὸν ἐλεύθερον ἐπιτηδεύειν, καὶ ὡς δεῖ αὐτὸν τραφῆναι, ἔπειτα δεύτερον περὶ τῶν μειρακίων, τρίτον δ’ ἐφεξῆς περὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἡλικιῶν, οὐ μόνον περὶ τῶν ἰδιωτῶν, ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τῶν ῥητόρων. Καὶ τούτους τοὺς νόμους ἀναγράψαντες ὑμῖν παρακατέθεντο, καὶ ὑμᾶς αὐτῶν ἐπέστησαν φύλακας.
                                                            Αἰσχίνης, Κατὰ Τιμάρχου

Tribuna de la Pnyx, William C.Morey  1903

    No desconozco, varones atenienses, que lo que voy a decir en primer lugar os parecerá haberlo oído antes de otros, pero me parece que la ocasión es buena para que yo utilice ante vosotros el mismo argumento. Pues se admite generalmente que hay tres formas de gobierno entre los hombres:  tiranía, oligarquía y democracia. Las tiranías y oligarquías se administran según el talante de los que las presiden, mientras que los estados gobernados democráticamente lo hacen según las leyes establecidas.

    Sabéis bien, varones atenienses, que en las democracias la persona de los ciudadanos y el estado los conservan las leyes, mientras que la salud de los tiranos y los oligarcas la protegen la desconfianza y los cuerpos armados. Los oligarcas y los que gobiernan mediante leyes basadas en la desigualdad deben guardarse de los que destruyen los estados por la ley de la fuerza, pero vosotros, que tenéis una constitución igualitaria y basada en la ley, habéis de hacerlo de los que se saltan la ley con sus palabras o su modo de vida. Pues entonces seréis fuertes, cuando os deis buenas leyes y no seáis corrompidos por los que se saltan la ley.

   Yo al menos creo que conviene que, cuando legislemos,  procuremos instituir leyes que sean buenas y convenientes para el estado y, una vez hayamos legislado,  obedezcamos a las leyes que nos hemos dado y castiguemos a quienes no las obedecen, si queremos que el estado vaya bien.

     Considerad pues, atenienses, cuánta previsión hubo con respecto a la decencia en  Solón, aquel viejo legislador,  y en Dracón y los otros legisladores de aquellos tiempos. En primer lugar legislaron acerca de la decencia de nuestros niños, y prescribieron expresamente cómo  es preciso que se comporte un joven de condición libre y cómo debe ser criado; luego, en segundo lugar legislaron acerca de los niños, y a continuación, en tercer lugar, acerca de los de las otras edades, no sólo respecto a los particulares, sino también a los hombres  públicos. Y habiendo escrito estas leyes, os las confiaron y os hicieron a vosotros sus guardianes.

                        Esquines, Contra Timarco I,4-7

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Derek Flood, Disarming Scripture

I had a chance to interview Derek Flood recently about his new book, Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did. I had seen lots of interviews and blog posts about the book’s challenge for those with conservative views of the Bible, and wanted to find out how he saw its message for progressives and liberals.

Here’s the interview – with my questions in bold, and Derek’s responses beneath. You can purchase the book from – and can still get it in time for Christmas!

What led you to decide to write this book in the first place? Was it primarily your own wrestling with the Biblical texts that had a disturbing character to them? Or was it what people do with the Bible, using it to justify violence? Or some combination of the two, or something else?

It began as a personal struggle of faith. I saw these “texts of terror” and was deeply disturbed by them. If this was part of my Bible how could I say that it was good, let alone the Good Book? However, it developed out of that personal focus into a broader one as I began to see how people in the past, and people now were really being hurt by these texts. In short, I began to see what Jesus was seeing in his time and how people—those he called the least, the poor—were being hurt by how the religious leaders of his time were reading Scripture.

The light-bulb moment that lead to the book was when I discovered that the way I had learned to read the Bible as an Evangelical looked a lot like how the Pharisees were doing it, and that the way Jesus was reading it was completely different. The Pharisees’ reading can be described as unquestioning obedience, and the way Jesus reads can be described as faithful questioning. As I dug deeper I found that Paul was doing the same thing as Jesus, and I found that this way of faithful questioning has deep Jewish roots going back to the Old Testament itself, which is not one single homogenized view, but instead a record of dispute where its canon contains authors presenting opposing arguments. Job argues with Deuteronomy, Ecclesiastes contradicts Proverbs, Ruth questions Ezra/Nehemiah. In each case we have people questioning religious violence. Such questioning, I am convinced, is not a sign of a weak faith, but an absolutely essential part of a healthy faith.

Your book is presented in most of the publicity materials as controversial. From my own progressive/liberal Christian perspective, however, it didn’t sound controversial at all, but exciting. And it turned out that some of the points you make – challenging inerrancy and infallibility, plotting a trajectory through Scripture, and using Jesus’ model of Scriptural interpretation as our own – are ones that I’ve often sought to make. And so let me ask you this: what do you see as the main message of your book for readers who are already sympathetic to your approach? Is it likely to be just encouragement in what we already think, or do you think your book has a challenging and potentially controversial message for Christians moderates, liberals, and progressives?

I’m glad you find it exciting. I do too! Controversial is a term marketing people like to use, so I’m not so sure about that. What I would say though is that the book is equally challenging to people from a variety of perspectives including those coming from mainline, progressive, and anabaptist backgrounds. It’s challenging for two reasons:

First, the book takes a really honest look at the troubling texts of Scripture, which is something a lot of progressives tend to avoid. We want to instead focus on the parts that are about caring for the poor, welcoming the stranger, and so on—and those parts are indeed in there! But there are also some deeply disturbing and awful things in the Bible, and especially the Old Testament, that we need to face.

Progressives and mainliners often give the impression that this is all just a matter of misinterpretation—if we would only understand the genre, cultural context, or this or that word in the original language, then it would all be fine. Again, that is all important. But the fact is, there are some things in the Old Testament—things like genocide, infanticide, rape, slavery, and even cannibalism—that are really just as bad as you think they are. It’s not just a matter of misinterpretation. We need to face that head on.

Secondly, the book takes these things that many progressives are drawn to—like reading the Bible through a Jesus-lens, reading on a trajectory, and so on—and really works out how to do that practically. So my hope is that a progressive reader would find that the book is saying things that are on the tip of their tongues, but really working out in a deep and practical way how that works out in our lives of faith together.

Take for example the idea of reading Scripture like Jesus. This begs the question “which Jesus?” Is it the Jesus that someone like Shane Claiborne sees, or is it the Jesus of Mark Driscoll? Hyper-conservatives would agree that we should read the Bible with a Jesus-lens, but would arrive at widely different conclusions about what that looks like. So how do we determine what is right?

What I propose in the book is that Jesus did not appeal to authority arguments, but was constantly drawing us away from them and towards evaluating things on their merit. We should “look at the fruits” he says. That is, we should evaluate the effects in people’s lives and determine if it leads to flourishing or to harm. That’s hard work to be sure, but in the end where Jesus is leading us, if we learn to adopt his approach to Scripture, is to being morally emancipated. It’s about learning to be moral adults, about learning to see what Jesus sees, having the mind of Christ, rather than shutting off our minds as we read.

Suppose someone decides to push back and question the notion of a trajectory, suggesting that the Bible is simply diverse, how would you make the case to them that the Bible, taken as a whole, points in a particular direction, even if it doesn’t speak with a single unified voice on the subject of violence?

Well, actually, I would agree that the Old Testament, in particular, is simply diverse. It is a multi-vocal text written by multiple authors expressing multiple, and at times, contradictory views and moral visions. The way to identify the trajectory we should take as Christians is to look at what Jesus embraces and what he rejects from the Old Testament. Jesus embraces a narrative that is focused on compassion, and we can find that narrative running throughout the Old Testament, but it is not in fact the majority narrative. The narrative Jesus identifies with is the minority voice in Scripture, the voice of protest in the name of compassion. That minority voice—the one crying out from the wilderness, from the margins—is the voice of the suffering servant. The majority voice is the voice of power and domination. It’s also important to stress that Jesus would not want us to identify with that minority voice simply because he does, but because we see what he sees, because we get his heart for the least. We follow in his way because we recognize that it is good, because we get why grace is amazing.

So when I talk about trajectory, I’m actually referring to how we read the New Testament. We need to learn to identify where they were headed and take it further, rather than reading the New Testament as the final word. We need to see it as the floor, not the ceiling. A clear example of this is slavery. The New Testament, read in a flat way, says “you can own slaves, just be nice to them.” However, today we regard slavery as utterly wrong. A trajectory reading thus recognizes that the New Testament was taking important steps away from slavery, and continues in that same direction, moving to abolish it.

We can and must apply that same trajectory approach to a host of other issues—gender equality, sexual minorities, race relations, corporal punishment of children, our criminal justice system, how we deal with international conflict, and our country’s addiction to violence. The bottom line here is that the goal of a trajectory reading is to read Scripture in a way that leads us to love, leads us forward, putting us on the cutting edge of moral advance, rather than tethering us to the past. That is what Jesus was doing in his time, and it is our task to continue this in our time. I think that’s exciting, and something our world desperately needs.


Many thanks to Derek for the opportunity to talk in this way about his book, Disarming Scripture. It is available for Kindle, and so there is no need to pay extra for shipping to have it in time for Christmas!

William Gibbers (WM Blathers)

Aoidoi: on Hiatus

It should be obvious from the lack of posts here and updates to itself that I've not been producing work for the site much in the last to years or so. So, I'm declaring officially on hiatus.

I have no plans at all to take the site down, and I hope some day to have time to work on documents for it and Scholiastae again in the future, but right now Life is keeping be occupied with other things.

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)

JAEI 6/4

A tartalomból:

A. David, Wandering Rosettes: Qatna's Key to a Misunderstood Motif

A. Hunt Gordon, A Preliminary Look at Theban Tomb 119 and its Scene of "Foreign Tribute"

A. Iacoviello, Some Remarks on the Tjemhu Libyans

H. Bassir, Self Presentation in Ancient Egypt, Nubia, and the Near East

L. Bestock - Ch- KnoblauchRevisiting Middle Kingdom Interactions in Nubia: The Uronarti Regional Archaeological Project 

V.  BoschloosThe Middle Bronze Age "Green Jasper Seal Workshop": New Evidence from the Levant and Egypt

M. Carmela Gatto, A. Curci and A. Urcia Nubia Evidence in the Egyptian First Nome: Results of the 2013-2014 Field Seasons of the Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project (AKAP)
G. I. Kontopoulos, The Egyptian Diplomatic System in the Late Bronze Age Beyond the Terms of "Brotherhood" and "Equality": The Egyptian "Abandonment" of Power and Aspects of Pharaonic Identity and Kingship

A. Legendart, Le motif en « trèfle »: Un exemple de transfert iconographique en Mediterranee orientale a l'age du bronze (with English summary)

I. Bald Romano,  A Ptolemaic Royal Portrait in the Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona

K. Sowada, Report on a Project to Synchronize Egyptian and Levantine Chronologies of the Third Millennium BCE

K. Szpakowska, The Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LOST Rewatch: Everybody Hates Hugo

The episode starts with a dream Hurley had in which he eats lots of food from the storeroom in the hatch, and Jin speaks to him in English while Hurley answers in Korean.

Lost_jin_chickenRight after Hugo faints when the lottery numbers are announced, his mother talks about him needing to change his life. She says that maybe if he prays, Jesus will come down from heaven, take 200 pounds off his weight and give him a decent woman and a new car.

Rose is given attention again after not having been the focus for a while. It prepares the way for the further exploration of the tailies’ stories and her reunion with Bernard, who is introduced at the end of the episode.

Rose is the only one who hasn’t asked Hurley about the hatch, and so when Hurley sees her doing laundry, he takes her there. They inventory the supplies. He knows that everyone is going to hate him when he has to ration out the supplies.

Claire finds the messages in the bottle. She gives it to Sun, who buries it.

Jack and Sayid explore underneath the hatch, and Sayid mentions that the last time he heard of someone pouring concrete over everything was Chernobyl. It would have been useful to remember this when I watched “The Incident,” the finale of the penultimate season. Indeed, we probably should have realized that the plan to set off an atomic bomb was more likely to be the cause of the incident than to successfully prevent it.

Libby is introduced. She tells Michael that 23 of them survived – but then we learn that now there are far fewer. They have been staying in a Dharma hatch.

Near the end of the episode, Hurley shares all the food with everyone, rather than rationing it.

Bernard learns at the end of the episode that Rose is fine.

For a show that could at times be profoundly creepy and deeply serious, this episode is one that helped us to see that LOST could also be profoundly comedic as well.

hurley inventory

Compitum - événements (tous types)

Antike Bilderbücher?

Titre: Antike Bilderbücher?
Lieu: Bergische Universität Wuppertal / Wuppertal
Catégorie: Séminaires, conférences
Date: 04.02.2015
Heure: 16.00 h

Information signalée par Jacques Elfassi

Forschungskolloquium Klassische Philologie im Wintersemester 2014/2015


Meike Rühl

Antike Bilderbücher? Zum Verhältnis von Text und Bild in spätantiken Handschriften

Um 16 Uhr s.t. in O.09.11

Es ergeht herzliche Einladung an alle Interessierten!

Source : Université de Wuppertal.

Kinder im Krieg

Titre: Kinder im Krieg
Lieu: Bergische Universität Wuppertal / Wuppertal
Catégorie: Séminaires, conférences
Date: 28.01.2015
Heure: 16.00 h

Information signalée par Jacques Elfassi

Forschungskolloquium Klassische Philologie im Wintersemester 2014/2015


Christoph Schubert

Kinder im Krieg

Um 16 Uhr s.t. in O.09.11

Es ergeht herzliche Einladung an alle Interessierten!

Source : Université de Wuppertal.

Letzte Fragen zu Ovids Epistulae ex Ponto

Titre: Letzte Fragen zu Ovids Epistulae ex Ponto
Lieu: Bergische Universität Wuppertal / Wuppertal
Catégorie: Séminaires, conférences
Date: 21.01.2015
Heure: 16.00 h

Information signalée par Jacques Elfassi

Forschungskolloquium Klassische Philologie im Wintersemester 2014/2015


Sebastian Rödder

Letzte Fragen zu Ovids Epistulae ex Ponto

Um 16 Uhr s.t. in O.09.11

Es ergeht herzliche Einladung an alle Interessierten!

Source : Université de Wuppertal.

Die Motive der Offenbarung des Johannes und Commodian

Titre: Die Motive der Offenbarung des Johannes und Commodian
Lieu: Bergische Universität Wuppertal / Wuppertal
Catégorie: Séminaires, conférences
Date: 14.01.2015
Heure: 16.00 h

Information signalée par Jacques Elfassi


Forschungskolloquium Klassische Philologie im Wintersemester 2014/2015


Johannes Stettner

Die Motive der Offenbarung des Johannes und deren Verwendung im Carmen Apologeticum des Commodian

Um 16 Uhr s.t. in O.09.11

Es ergeht herzliche Einladung an alle Interessierten!

Source : Université de Wuppertal.

Kritisches und Exegetisches zu Dracontius, Romulea 8

Titre: Kritisches und Exegetisches zu Dracontius, Romulea 8
Lieu: Bergische Universität Wuppertal / Wuppertal
Catégorie: Séminaires, conférences
Date: 07.01.2015
Heure: 16.00 h

Information signalée par Jacques Elfassi


Forschungskolloquium Klassische Philologie im Wintersemester 2014/2015


Katharina Pohl

Kritisches und Exegetisches zu Dracontius, Romulea 8

Um 16 Uhr s.t. in O.09.11

Es ergeht herzliche Einladung an alle Interessierten!

Source : Université de Wuppertal.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Syria's ancient sites were already damaged by war. Now they’re being looted.

BEIRUT — Syria’s vast archaeological sites have suffered extensive damage because of bombing by...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

God Cannot Be Confined To Any One Creed


Ibn al-Arabi quote

Crystal St. Marie Lewis shared the above quote from Ibn al-Arabi on her blog.

Do not praise your own faith so exclusively that you disbelieve all the rest. If you do this, you will miss much good. Nay, you’ll fail to realize the real truth of the matter: God, the omnipresent and omniscient cannot be confined to any one creed, for he says in the Qu’ran, ‘For wheresoever you turn, there is the face of Allah.’ Everybody praises what he knows. His God is his own creature, and in praising it, he praises himself. Consequently, he blames the beliefs of others, which he would not do if he were just– but his dislike is based on ignorance.

The quotation comes from chapter 10 of his work The Bezels of Wisdom.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

AIA Reiterates its Policies on the Antiquities Trade

A Letter from the (AJA) Editor-in-ChiefSheila Dillon January 2015
 [...] Finally, in light of recent events both in this country and abroad, it is important to restate that the AJA maintains its commitment to protecting archaeological heritage. In keeping with the 2004 policy of the AIA, the AJA will not accept any article that serves as the primary publication of any object or archaeological material in a private or public collection acquired after 30 December 1973 unless its existence is documented before that date or it was legally exported from the country of origin.

In addition, given the recent and continuing threats to the archaeological sites and material culture of countries such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Libya, the Editor-in-Chief and members of the Advisory Board condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent sale of Egyptian artifacts and the scheduled sale of Mesoamerican artifacts by the AIA St. Louis Society through the auction house Bonhams. While technically not illegal, the sale of the Egyptian antiquities certainly violated the spirit if not the letter of the agreement that brought the objects to St. Louis in the first place. The selling off of archaeological artifacts in the society’s possession not only contravenes the ethical standards current in archaeology but also reinforces the commodification of archaeological material and in effect condones the traffic in antiquities, which is in opposition to the AIA’s principal missions of research and education. As stewards of the past, no one associated with the AIA should be incentivizing the illicit trade in antiquities, which is a global criminal activity. High-profile sales such as these can have the unintended consequence of putting further at risk the archaeological heritage that the AIA has vowed to protect.
Of course collectors will also tell you they are "stewards of the past" so it behoves the AIA to explain what they mean by that term. Does any sale of an archaeological artefact always "incentivise the illicit trade in antiquities"? I'm not really sure about that. I've always accepted that there is a clear line between licit and illicit, and I would say that as long as that distinction is not blurred (which of course those in the trade wish it to be) then the trade in licit artefacts - clearly identified and verified as such - could have the opposite effect.

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)

Cikkek innen-onnan

Jana Mynářová: Lost in Translation. An Egyptological Perspective on the Egyptian-Hittite Treaties. Annals of the Náprstek Museum 35/2 (2014) 3-8

Zsolt Simon: Phrygisch niptiyan und eine gemeinanatolische Formel. Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft 68 (2014) 141-148.

Adam E. Miglio: Ur III Tablets in the Wheaton College Archaeology Museum. CDLB 2014:5

Ömür Harmanşah (ed.): Of Rocks and Water: Towards an Archaeology of Place. Oxford

  • Topographies of Power: Theorizing the Visual, Spatial and Ritual Contexts of Rock Reliefs in Ancient Iran (Matthew Canepa) + Other Monumental Lessons (Ian Straughn); Rock reliefs of ancient Iran: notes and remarks (Ali Mousavi)
  • The Significance of Place: Rethinking Hittite Rock Reliefs in Relation to the Topography of the Land of Hatti (Lee Ullmann) +  Places in the Political Landscape of Late Bronze Age Anatolia (Claudia Glatz), Living Rock and Transformed Space (Betsey A. Robinson)
  • Event, place, performance: Rock reliefs and spring monuments in Anatolia (Ömür Harmanşah)

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: November 20

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

HODIE (Roman Calendar): ante diem tertium decimum Kalendas Ianuarias.

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


TINY MOTTOES: Today's tiny motto is: Irrideo tempestatem (English: I scoff at the storm).

3-WORD PROVERBS: Today's 3-word verb-less proverb is Nihil diu occultum (English: Nothing remains long hidden).

AUDIO PROVERBS: Today's audio Latin proverb is Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas (English: The censor forgives the crows and harasses the doves). To read a brief essay about this proverb and to listen to the audio, visit the Latin Via Proverbs blog.

PUBLILIUS SYRUS: Today's proverb from Publilius Syrus is: Quod est venturum, sapiens ut praesens cavet (English: The wise man guards against what is to come as if it were already here).

ERASMUS' ANIMALS: Today's animal proverb from Erasmus is Mortuo leoni et lepores insultant (English: Even rabbits insult the dead lion; from Adagia 4.7.82).

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

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:

Veneris quis gaudia nescit?
Who knows not the joys of Venus?

Vita sine litteris mors est.
Life without literature is death.


FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Monedula Liberata , a sad story of unexpected consequences (this fable has a vocabulary list).

MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Mulus et Equus, a story in praise of the simple life.

Equus Superbus et Asinus


The Latin holiday songs for today are: Gaudium Mundo, along with Deus paret, a Latin version of the Polish carol, "Bóg się rodzi" and also Prope accedamus, a Latin version of the Polish carol, "Przystąpmy do szopy." You can find more at the Gaudium Mundo blog.

December 19, 2014

Ancient Art

The famous Minoan Spring Fresco, Akrotiri, Thera (Santorini),...

The famous Minoan Spring Fresco, Akrotiri, Thera (Santorini), 16th century BC. A close up of the swallows is shown in the second image.

Courtesy of & currently located at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Photo taken by Carole Raddato (edited).

Compitum - publications

T. H. Carpenter, K. M. Lynch, E. G. D. Robinson, The Italic People of Ancient Apulia. ...


T. H. Carpenter, K. M. Lynch, E. G. D. Robinson (éd.), The Italic People of Ancient Apulia. New Evidence from Pottery for Workshops, Markets, and Customs, Cambridge, 2014.

Éditeur : Cambridge University Press
369 pages
ISBN : 9781107041868

The focus of this book is on the Italic people of Apulia during the fourth century B.C., when Italic culture seems to have reached its peak of affluence. Scholars have largely ignored these people and the region they inhabited. During the past several decades archaeologists have made significant progress in revealing the cultures of Apulia through excavations of habitation sites and un-plundered tombs, often published in Italian journals. This book makes the broad range of recent scholarship – from new excavations and contexts to archaeometric testing of production hypotheses to archaeological evidence for reconsidering painter attributions – available to English-speaking audiences. In it thirteen scholars from Italy, the United States, Great Britain, France, and Australia present targeted essays on aspects of the cultures of the Italic people of Apulia during the fourth century BC and the surrounding decades.

Lire la suite...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

News From the Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian Inscriptions

Arabia Antica Newsletter
Issue 2014, No. 2
DASI. Updates on digitization
In the last months DASI has digitized nearly 400 Ancient South Arabian inscriptions. The entire ASA epigraphic collection of the Louvre Museum is now accessible on DASI portal, as well as the corpora published in the volumes Problemi storici della regione di al-Ḥadāʾ nel periodo preislamico e nuove iscrizioni (A. Avanzini, 1985) and Les hautes-terres du Nord-Yémen avant l'Islam (Ch. Robin, 1982). After the study and complete online edition of the inscriptions published in the Corpus inscriptionum semiticarum. Pars IV. Inscriptiones Himyariticas et Sabaeas Continens (CIH), DASI is currently committed to the web publication of the inscriptions from other major epigraphic collections. The first groups of digitized texts from the Répertoire d'Epigraphie Sémitique, from the Corpus des inscriptions et antiquités sudarabiques and A. Jamme's Sabaean Inscriptions from Maḥram Bilqîs (Mârib) are being published online. The texts on the wooden sticks studied by P. Stein and the Sabaic inscriptions from Ethiopia will further enrich DASI archive.

DASI. Digital lexicon: a new tool

DASI is developing a new tool which will allow the creation of digital lexica of its linguistic corpora, one of the most urgent needs for a full comprehension of the South Arabian inscriptions. The aim is to produce dictionaries of the non-Sabaic languages, structured by root, through the morphological and semantic analysis of the words in the inscriptions digitized. The launch of the tool, which at first will be accessible only to the working team, is expected for the beginning of 2015.

Société Internationale des Amis de Cicéron (Tulliana News)

SIAC Newsletter 72 (24/2014)

Le Bureau de la SIAC souhaite de bonnes fêtes à tous les Membres et aux lecteurs de la Newsletter.
La Direzione della SIAC augura ai Soci e ai Lettori della Newsletter di trascorrere un sereno periodo festivo.
The SIAC Board of Directors wishes the Members and the Readers of the Newsletter all the best this holiday season.


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


- Audano, Sergio & Minutoli, Diletta & Pintaudi, Rosario (ed.), Giorgio Pasquali sessant’anni dopo. Atti della Giornata di Studio (Firenze, 1° ottobre 2012), Firenze, Accademia Fiorentina di Papirologia, 2014. LINK

- Balbo Andrea, rev. of Neil W. Bernstein, Ethics, Identity and Community in Later Roman Declamation, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013, “Classical Journal online”, 2014.12.01. LINK

- Baños Baños, José Miguel & del Barrio Vega, Felisa & Teresa Callejas Berdonés, María Teresa & López Fonseca, Antonio López (eds.), Philologia, Universitas, Vita. Trabajos en honor de Tomás González Rolán, Madrid, Escolar y Mayo Editores, 2014: José Carlos Fernández Corte, Operis subsicivis. Dos apuntes sobre la carrera literaria de Cicerón (303-310); Benjamín García Hernández, La inteligencia del Sosia plautino. Del papel cómico a la función actancial (379-388); Antonio Moreno Hernández, A propósito de Cicerón, Luc. 11.34; 23.72 y 25.81, y la técnica conjetural de Andreas Naugerius (Venecia 1523) (665-676); Carmen Teresa Pabón de Acuña, Algunos aspectos textuales del tratado De legibus de Cicerón en los primeros incunables (737-748). LINK

- Piras, Giorgio (ed.), Labor in studiis. Scritti di Filologia in onore di Piergiorgio Parroni, Roma, Salerno Editrice, Roma: Marcello Salvadore, Il ‘mos maiorum’ nel pensiero ciceroniano; Paolo De Paolis, «Sordidi sermonis viri»: Velio Longo, Flavio Capro e la lingua di Lucano. LINK

- Raschieri, Amedeo Alessandro, Les héros voyageurs dans la poésie latine tardive : le ‘de raptu Helenae’ de Dracontius, in G. Jay-Robert, C. Jubier-Galinier (éd.), Héros voyageurs & constructions identitaires, Perpignan, Presses Universitaires de Perpignan, 2014, 261-274. LIEN

- Raschieri, Amedeo Alessandro, compte rendu de Luca Fezzi, Il rimpianto di Roma. Res publica, libertà ‘neoromane’ e Benjamin Constant, agli inizi del terzo millennio, Firenze, Le Monnier Università, 2012, “Anabases”, 20, 2014. LIEN


- Conférence de l’ALLE (Association le Latin dans les littératures européennes), 20 janvier 2015, Paris. Hélène Casanova-Robin, Mythe et poésie dans la littérature latine du Quattrocento. LIEN



- Andrew R. Dyck, rev. of Philip Schmitz, “Cato Peripateticus” – stoische und peripatetische Ethik im Dialog: Cic. fin. 3 und der Aristotelismus des ersten Jh. v. Chr (Xenarchos, Boethos und ‘Areios Didymos’), Berlin & Boston, De Gruyter, 2014, “Bryn Mawr Classical Review”, 2014.11.12. LINK

- Bringmann, Klaus, War Cicero Caesars Gläubiger? Zur Interpretation von Cic. Att. 12,3,2, “Hermes”, 142, 4, 2014, 487-491. LINK

- Çevik, C. Cengiz, Cicero’nun De Re Publica’sındaki Krallık Dönemi Anlatımının Analizi, “Kutadgubilig. Felsefe – Bİlİm Araştirmalari”, 26, 2014, 185-229. LINK

- Dyck, Andrew R., rev. of Catherine Steel (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Cicero, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013, “Classical World”, 108, 1, 2014, 140-141. LINK

- Galassi, Francis, Catiline, the monster of Rome: an ancient case of political assassination, Yardley (PA), Westholme Publishing, 2014. LINK

- Gildenhard, Ingo & Hodgson, Louise et al. (eds), Cicero, On Pompey’s Command (De Imperio), 27–49. Latin Text, Study Aids with Vocabulary, Commentary, and Translation, Cambridge (UK), Open Book Publishers, 2014. LINK

- Green, Steven J., The Beginning and End of the Late-Republican Astrological Debate: The Politicized Philosophical Posturings of Cicero, in Id., Disclosure and Discretion in Roman Astrology. Manilius and his Augustan Contemporaries, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014, 75-94. LINK

- Naydonov, Oleksandr, Цицерон Марк Туллій, in Освіта дорослих : енциклопедичний словник / за ред. В. Г. Кременя, Ю. В. Ковбасюка; [упоряд.: Н. Г. Протасова, Ю. О. Молчанова, Т. В. Куренна; ред. рада: В. Г. Кремень, Ю. В. Ковбасюк, Н. Г. Протасова та ін.]; Нац. акад. пед. наук України, Нац. акад. держ. упр. при Президентові України [та ін.]. – Київ : Основа, 2014. – С. 453. LINK


- La Musa del cielo. Gli Aratea di Cicerone e il ms. Harley 647. Terza giornata di studio del Gruppo di Ricerca sui Manoscritti astronomici illustrati, Pisa, 15-16 dicembre 2014. Daniele Pellacani (Università di Bologna), Gli Aratea di Cicerone: problemi e prospettive; Mariella Menchelli (Università di Pisa), Cicerone, l’Accademia e le ‘edizioni’ di Arato tra materiali biografici e introduttivi; Emanuele Berti (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa), Il mito di Orione in Arato e nei suoi traduttori latini. LINK

- Convegno di studi Paesaggi fra notte e crepuscolo: sonno e sogno nell’antica Roma. Landscapes between night and dawn: sleep and dream in Ancient Rome, Roma, 19-20 dicembre 2014. Carlo Santini (Perugia), Sonno e sogno in Varrone Menippeo e nell’ultima oratoria di Cicerone. LINK

[Last updated on December 19th, 2014.]

Filed under: Newsletter

Archaeology Magazine

Coin Cache Discovered at Copenhagen’s Kastellet

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK—According to The Copenhagen Post, a cache of coins has been discovered at Kastellet, a star-shaped fortress in the center of Copenhagen that was built in the seventeenth century. The coins, nine copper and 23 silver, date between 1649 and 1787. Most of them had been minted in Copenhagen, although some came from Norway and Germany. Musket balls and other pieces of ammunition were also found during the restoration work at the fortress, which is being conducted by the Museum of Copenhagen. 

Blick Mead in Path of Proposed Stonehenge Tunnel

AMESBURY, ENGLAND—The site of a Mesolithic camp known as Blick Mead, or Vespasian’s Camp, could be destroyed if a new 1.8-mile-long tunnel for the A303 is dug near Stonehenge. The 6,000-year-old camp is located about a mile and a half away from the monument, and is thought to have been occupied by hunter-gatherers who returned to Britain after the Ice Age. The bones of aurochs, flint tools, and possible structures have been uncovered. “Our only chance to find out about the earliest chapter of Britain’s history could be wrecked if the tunnel goes ahead,” David Jacques of the University of Buckingham told Buckingham Today. A team from the university uncovered the 7,000-year-old remains of a meal of frogs’ legs and a natural spring at the site. To read more about the site, see "Frog Legs Eaten in Mesolithic England."

Ancient World Mapping Center

AIA and SCS Joint Meeting 2015: Draft Map of Hispania in the Second Century C.E.

hispania_imageRichard Talbert and Ryan Horne from the AWMC will be presenting a Draft Map of Hispania in the Second Century C.E.  at the Poster Session of the AIA New Orleans meeting, Friday 9 January 2015, 10:45 am to 3: 00 pm.

Detailed information is available on our flier, linked here.


Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists

[First posted in AWOL 2 July 2009. Updated 19 December 2014]

The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists
ISSN 0003-1186 (Print)
ISSN 1938-6958 (Online)
The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists has been the official journal of the American Society of Papyrologists since the publication of Volume 1, issue 1 in 1963 and is the only North American journal devoted to papyrology and related disciplines. This website makes all issues of BASP available electronically, except the two most recent issues.
BASP publishes a wide variety of articles and reviews of relevance to papyrology and related disciplines. From text editions to important synthetic articles, BASP has published studies on papyri, ostraca, and inscriptions in Greek, Latin, and Coptic. In the future, BASP will broaden its coverage to include Hieratic, Demotic, Aramaic, and Arabic texts.

Archaeology Magazine

The Search for Spanish Vikings

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND—Irene García Losquiño of the University of Aberdeen is conducting the first comprehensive study of Viking sites in Spain. “There are written accounts of Viking raids in northern Spain but, archaeologically, absolutely nothing has been done on an academic scale,” she said. She visited Galicia, in northern Spain, last spring, when a number of Viking anchors washed ashore in a storm. Working with Jan Henrik Fallgren of the University of Aberdeen and Ylva Backstrom of the University of Lund, García Losquiño found tell-tale signs of Vikings. “On the beach where the anchors were found there was a big mound which locals thought might have been a motte-and-bailey construction, which was used by the later Vikings in France. But with the help of a geographer using tomography we now think this was a longphort—a Viking construction only found in Ireland during the early Viking age, and very similar to English Viking camps, where they would winter, after taking over the harbor,” she explained. The team has been comparing aerial maps from the 1950s with satellite images to look for additional camps. “We want to find something datable and trace their movements, through where they established camps,” she said. To read in-depth about some of the earliest evidence of Viking warfare, see "The First Vikings."

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)


Actualités: Décembre 2014
Bilan :
La table BIBLIO compte désormais 4453 fiches, avec références au total à 32467 textes intégralement publiés.
La table TEXTES compte désormais 16720 fiches, dont 10319 textes transcrits et 6078 lemmatisés.

Nouveautés (77 textes) :
- [5] BBVO 24 : textes publiés par  J.-M. Durand & F. Abdallah, J.-M. Durand & N. Ziegler, M. Guichard
- [11] Semitica 56 : M. Guichard (1) et A. Rositani (10)
- [1] Mém. Vargyas : G. Kalla
- [14] R. Meddeke-Conlin, CDLJ 2014
- [1] Z. Földi, WZKM 103, 2014
- [1] Z. Földi, CDLB 2014/4
- [3] D. Charpin, Mél. Lemaire = Transeuphratène 44, 2014
- [5] RA 108 : A. Cavigneaux [1], J. Lauinger [1], A. A. Fadhil [3]
- [37] CCO : C. Saporetti et al., Contratti della Collezione Ojeil [publication de 37 contrats d'Isin ; catalogue annoté dans ARCHIBAB]

Travail rétrospectif :
- ARM 6 (80 transcriptions informatisées J.-M. Durand, mise aux normes et lemmatisation I. Arkhipov)
- JCSSS 2, 2010 (115 textes, transcription et lemmatisation DC, partiellement collationné)
- Haradum 2, 2006 (les 52 textes du bâtiment 7 : transcriptions informatisées F. Joannès ; mise aux normes, modifications et lemmatisation DC)
- textes divers

Bilan de 2014 :
Cette année a vu la publication de 84 nouveaux textes, un chiffre modeste, qui a permis de poursuivre l'entrée de textes moins récemment publiés, notamment des 119 textes de JCSSS 2  (2010), de la moitié des textes de Haradum 2 (2006) et des 46 textes de CMET 9 (1999). Désormais, 52% du corpus est au moins catalogué (16.720 sur 32467).

Grâce à un gros effort collectif (en particulier d'I. Arkhipov), la quasi-totalité des lettres des archives royales de Mari sont accessibles (leur lemmatisation n'est pas encore complète) ; le traitement des textes administratifs se poursuit. Au total, 6327 textes de Mari sur les 8925 publiés (70%) sont présents dans la base (avec au minimum un cataloguage).

Ancient Peoples

Ivory bezel from a finger-ring, with a woman in relief.The woman...

Ivory bezel from a finger-ring, with a woman in relief.
The woman on this ring has an elaborate hairstyle, with locks of hair framing the face in front of a narrow diadem, behind which the hair is arranged in the so-called melon coiffure. At the back the hair is secured in a bun. The woman has a rather severe expression with a long pointed nose, deeply set eyes and a small mouth, the lips of which curl downwards, almost forming a sneer. Her long neck has three prominent Venus rings scored into the surface beneath the pointed chin.


3rd century to 1st century BC

Source: British Museum

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Pathetic Symphony

Click here to view the embedded video.

I am delighted that quite a number of pieces of music by Vladimir Vlasov have been shared on YouTube. This is wonderful music that I might not otherwise have discovered.

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #637

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

Roma. Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. Un nuovo settore degli Horti Lamiani.

Cuma, acropoli. Scavi al Tempio Superiore: II campagna (estate 2012).

Excavation of the Multi-Layer Kalnik-Igrišće Site in 2007

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Explore the Ecological Tapestry of the World

Explore the Ecological Tapestry of the World
The US Geological Survey (USGS) and Esri are pleased to announce the publication of the most detailed global ecological land units map in the world. This exciting new global data set provides a science platform for better understanding and accounting of the world’s resources.  Scientists, land managers, conservationists, developers, and the public will use this map to improve regional, national, and global resource management, planning, and decision making. 

Clicking on the map will display information about ecological structure based on a framework of foundational data at 250-meter resolution using an objective data driven classification. Use this map to understand global ecological patterns and processes for wise planning and use of natural resources. 

Mary Harrsch (Passionate About History)

Audible offering free dramatic production "Christmas Eve, 1914"

A history resource article by Mary Harrsch © 2014

I've been a member of Audible since the site premiered over a decade ago and continue to enjoy their wide variety of audiobooks now as a subsidiary of  Their recorded dramas have helped me add value to hundreds of hours of commuting and exercise.  

Today I received an email from them announcing the free release of an original, one-hour audio drama that vividly imagines and reenacts the famous, impromptu Christmas Eve truce declared by rank-and-file British and German soldiers in 1914. What a thoughtful Christmas gift to the public (you don't even have to be a member to download it!)

Written exclusively for Audible by two-time Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and journalist Charles Olivier, Christmas Eve, 1914 features a full cast of accomplished actors including Xander Berkeley, Damon Herriman, Cody Fern, Nate Jones and Cameron Daddo. Christmas Eve, 1914 is available as a free download at
"The Christmas Eve truce of 1914 remains an incredibly poignant and inspiring moment in our collective history, when men even in the midst of battle agreed to stop fighting for a few hours," said Audible EVP and Publisher Beth Anderson. "The performance by this talented ensemble of actors takes listeners right into the trenches, bringing this remarkable story to life for a new generation. We’re happy to make this transporting, beautifully produced recording available free." 
"You wouldn’t think that a story from WWI would be either joyous or tender. And yet, it was here that one of the most remarkable moments in human history occurred," said Olivier. "It’s one of those events that defy a writer’s imagination, and having the opportunity to tell a bit of this story has been a gift." 
Olivier added, "We created audio cinema with our story—this is a movie for your imagination." Olivier and his films have been recognized at the Sundance Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival, among others. Christmas Eve, 1914 was produced for Audible Studios by Dawn Prestwich, most recently executive producer of AMC’s The Killing. 
Christmas Eve, 1914 also features a bonus track at the end of the story, the traditional French carol Il est Né performed by Tom Tom Club. 

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)


Is the only way to describe a proposal Monika Grütters, Germany's Commissioner for Culture, has made at the behest of archaeologists with an axe to grind against collectors and cultural bureaucrats of failed states and/or dictatorships like Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq and Syria. 

According to the report,

Ms. Grütters outlined plans for a new law that would require documented provenance for any object entering or leaving Germany, long among the laxest of regulators of the art market. Among other measures, dealers would be required to show a valid export permit from the source of the piece’s origins when entering Germany.

It's unclear how Grütters believes German dealers and collectors are going to come up with documentation that simply does not exist for artifacts that have been traded legally for generations without such paperwork.

Meanwhile, there was apparently no discussion about simple steps archaeologists can take that will discourage looting like hiring site guards and paying local diggers a living wage.    

Ethical archaeologists are already taking similar steps.  So why not make them a legal requirement for every archaeologist excavating abroad?  It's always better to tackle any problem at the source. 

And, if the point of Grütters' proposals is to ensure Germans appear ethical to the world, shouldn't that start with archaeologists, who after all, have direct contact with the people of source countries?

Ancient Peoples

Ptolemaic Faience oinochoe showing woman, named as Arsinoe II of...


Faience oinochoe showing woman, named as Arsinoe II of Egypt, pouring libation.
Trefoil mouth, with flat spreading lip. Triple-ribbed handles ending above and below in large masks of Seileni. Much restored: bluish-green enamel nearly all worn away; traces of gilding, e.g. round the foot.
On the front is a woman to the front leaning over, holding out a small patera over an altar; round the top a wreath, below which are remains of an inscription. The woman stands on a base to left with left knee bent, holding out in right hand a large patera, and in left a cornucopia. Her hair is curly in front, and is drawn back in parallel tresses and wound round in a coil at the back, a fillet passing round the head, the gilt ends of which hang down behind; she wears earrings, a gilt armlet on left arm, long chiton, and himation twisted round the waist in a thick fold and falling to below the knees, the folds being carefully but conventionally indicated. Behind her is a cross-shaped object, and beyond, a tapering meta as the last.
The handles end above and below in large masks of Seileni, partly bald, with open mouths, and beards in thick separate locks; the upper one is smaller than the lower and of a different type, the beard being shorter. On the forehead of the latter are remains of gilding; on either side of the former is a volute.
On the shoulder is incised an inscription (before glazing), wishing great fortune on the queen.

Source: British Museum


Plurals of personal names in Latin

OLD s.v. Thūȳdidēs cites a plural ~ās from Cicero's Orator 32. Section 30 is cited for Thūȳdidēus (-īus) '(masc. as sb.) an imitator of Thucydides'.

[30] Ecce autem aliqui se Thucydidios esse profitentur: novum quoddam imperitorum et inauditum genus. Nam qui Lysiam sequuntur, causidicum quendam sequuntur non illum quidem amplum atque grandem, subtilem et elegantem tamen et qui in forensibus causis possit praeclare consistere. Thucydides autem res gestas et bella narrat et proelia, graviter sane et probe, sed nihil ab eo transferri potest ad forensem usum et publicum. Ipsae illae contiones ita multas habent obscuras abditasque sententias vix ut intellegantur; quod est in oratione civili vitium vel maximum. [31] Quae est autem in hominibus tanta perversitas, ut inventis frugibus glande vescantur? An victus hominum Atheniensium beneficio excoli potuit, oratio non potuit? Quis Porro umquam Graecorum rhetorum a Thucydide quicquam duxit? "At laudatus est ab omnibus." Fateor; sed ita ut rerum explicator prudens severus gravis; non ut in iudiciis versaret causas, sed ut in historiis bella narraret; [32] itaque numquam est numeratus orator, nec vero, si historiam non scripsisset, nomen eius exstaret, cum praesertim fuisset honoratus et nobilis. Huius tamen nemo neque verborum neque sententiarum gravitatem imitatur, sed cum mutila quaedam et hiantia locuti sunt, quae vel sine magistro facere potuerunt, germanos se putant esse Thucydidas. Nactus sum etiam qui Xenophontis similem esse se cuperet, cuius sermo est ille quidem melle dulcior, sed a forensi strepitu remotissimus.

Yonge: "But some people—quite a new and unprecedented body of ignorant men—profess themselves imitators of Thucydides. Now those who take Lysias for their model are copying a great lawyer; not indeed the greatest and most dignified of speakers, but still subtle and elegant, and a man who may well hold his ground in all forensic discussions. But Thucydides, indeed, relates affairs of history, and battles, and wars with great dignity and excellence; but nothing can be borrowed from him for forensic or statesmanlike purposes of oratory. And those very speeches which he gives have many obscure and hard sentences in them, so as scarcely to be intelligible; and that is the greatest possible fault in an oration addressed to a man’s fellow-citizens. But how is it that there is such a perverseness of taste in men, that after they have got corn they persist in feeding on acorns? Shall we say that the food of men could be found out by the assistance of the Athenians, but that eloquence could not? Moreover, [390] which of the Greek rhetoricians ever drew any of his rules from Thucydides? Oh, but he is praised universally. I admit that; but it is on the ground that he is a wise, conscientious, dignified relater of facts; not that he was pleading causes before tribunals, but that he was relating wars in a history. Therefore, he was never accounted an orator; nor, indeed, should we have ever heard of his name if he had not written a history, though he was a man of eminently high character and of noble birth. But no one ever imitates the dignity of his language or of his sentiments; but when they have used some disjointed and unconnected expressions, which they might have done without any teacher at all, then they think that they are akin to Thucydides. I have met men too who were anxious to resemble Xenophon; whose style is, indeed, sweeter than honey, but as unlike as possible to the noisy style of the forum.".

Pl.Tht.169b (Ἡρακλέες τε καὶ Θησέες) crossed my path again this week.

The Archaeology News Network

More structures identified at Amphipolis mound

A geophysical survey was carried out on Kasta Hill, where the mysterious tomb of Amphipolis was discovered, with the results indicating the location of additional man-made structures of archaeological importance. Aerial view of the Kasta Mound at Amphipolis [Credit: To Vima]By using the scanned images, the archaeological team will be able to construct a rudimentary map of the archaological remains hidden within the hill, allowing them...

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

The Archaeology News Network

Stonehenge dig finds 6,000 year old encampment

The earliest Mesolithic encampment at Stonehenge has been discovered in a University of Buckingham archaeological dig and it will reveal for the first time how Britain’s oldest ancestors lived – but it could be damaged if Government plans for a tunnel at Stonehenge go ahead. Archaeologists found the encampment during a dig at Blick Mead near Stonehenge  [Credit: University of Buckingham/BBC]Charcoal dug up from the encampment, a...

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

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Rumor that Amphipolis Dead is Mother of Alexander Not Substantiated

The Greek Ministry of Culture issued a statement yesterday refuting allegations that the skeleton...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Revue des études byzantines

[First posted in AWOL 17 December 2010. Updated 19 December 2014]

Revue des études byzantines (249 Issues, 8742 Articles)
eISSN: 2261-060X 
 The Revue des études byzantines is the only French journal entirely devoted to the Byzantine world. As a successor publication to the Échos d’Orient (1897-1942), it has been published since 1943 by the Institut français d’études byzantines (more details here). It is opened to all scholars wishing to publish studies and notes on various fields of Byzantine history and civilization. A 5-year restriction will be applied to online publication. Our N° 66 (2008) will be available in 2013. The access to previous years is free. Subscriptions to more recent, printed issues remain unchanged (publisher De Boccard). The Échos d’Orient will soon be digitalized and put on line on this website.

Available periods  :

1897-1941 - Échos d'Orient

[ 1940- 1941 ]

1943-1945 - Études byzantines

1946-... - Revue des études byzantines

[ 1946- 1949 ]

[ 1950- 1959 ]

[ 1960- 1969 ]

[ 1970- 1979 ]

[ 1980- 1989 ]

[ 1990- 1999 ]

[ 2000- 2009 ]


The Archaeology News Network

Verona's amphitheatre to be restored

Verona's famed Roman amphitheater, home to one of the world's premier opera festivals, is one of the first big beneficiaries of a new Italian government initiative to encourage private donations to protect cultural treasures. The project aims to secure the open-air Verona Arena, the third-largest Roman-era  amphitheatre to survive antiquity [Credit: Web]Italian bank Unicredit and the nonprofit foundation CariVerona signed a deal...

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

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: HISTORIKA Studi di storia greca e romana

ISSN 2240-774X
e-ISSN 2039-4985
Historika è una nuova pubblicazione a periodicità annuale edita dal Dipartimento di Studi Storici dell’Università degli Studi di Torino per iniziativa dei docenti di storia greca e romana. Intende proporre al lettore ricerche su “oggetti” storici e storiografici, historika/historica appunto, i quali, segnati nel mondo greco e romano dall’identità linguistica e metodologica di Historìa/Historia, continuano a suscitare oggi come allora scritti storici, historika grammata.
Historika sperimenta la diffusione on line ad accesso aperto, aderisce alla “Dichiarazione di Berlino” (Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities) e, nell’ambito della ricerca universitaria in storia antica, promuove la comunicazione e il dibattito scientifico nell’età del web: senza rinunciare all’edizione cartacea, diffonde le proprie pubblicazioni depositandole nelle open libraries internazionali, pratica la peer review anonima al fine della valutazione dei testi proposti al comitato scientifico ed editoriale, conserva all’autore la piena proprietà intellettuale del testo pubblicato (con il solo vincolo di citare la pubblicazione su Historika qualora si riproponga il testo, in tutto o in parte, in altra sede), riconosce al lettore il diritto di accedere gratuitamente ai risultati della ricerca scientifica finanziata con risorse pubbliche.
Historika è a disposizione della comunità scientifica internazionale per accogliere contributi innovativi e originali inerenti la storia greca e romana dal periodo arcaico a quello tardo-antico; sono ammesse tutte le lingue nazionali, eventualmente affiancate dalla traduzione del testo in inglese. Accanto a saggi di argomento vario, ogni volume comprende anche sezioni tematiche che riflettono gli interessi di ricerca del comitato editoriale e scientifico; si conclude infine con l’elenco dei libri ricevuti: per ognuno di essi si assicura una sintetica esposizione e valutazione dei contenuti; per una selezione di essi, accurata recensione.
Sul sito è inoltre attiva, per ogni annata, la sezione e-print&preview nella quale si intende sperimentare una pratica assai diffusa in molte comunità scientifiche internazionali: questa sezione è infatti a disposizione degli autori che, previa autocertificazione del consenso del proprio editore, vogliano mettere a disposizione, esclusivamente in forma elettronica, il testo di un proprio contributo presentato in sede pubblica e/o accettato per la pubblicazione in forma cartacea, favorendone così anticipata, ampia e rapida diffusione. In tutte le sezioni ogni contributo è accompagnato da strumenti che favoriscono il contatto diretto con l'autore e, se richiesto, il dibattito pubblico.  
Grazie a queste caratteristiche Historika vuole porsi fra tradizione e innovazione, utilizzando i nuovi strumenti tecnologici per favorire, nel proprio piccolo, progresso e diffusione della conoscenza.



See the full List of Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

4 miloni di euro per rendere fruibile il patrimonio culturale nelle regioni meridionali e creare opportunità di sviluppo


fondazione-con-il-sudSi chiama ed è un sito web che ospita 221 beni culturali del Sud, inutilizzati e non assegnati a terzi, che potrebbero essere valorizzati e fruiti attraverso modalità e iniziative decise dalle comunità locali, attraverso le organizzazioni del terzo settore e in partnership con profit e non.

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Shocking Reminder

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LOST Rewatch: Orientation

The episode begins with Jin being recaptured along with Michael and Sawyer by “others.” They are thrown into a pit. Eventually another person, a woman, is thrown down there. It turns out to be Ana-Lucia, from the tail section. We eventually learn that she is working with the people who captured them, and then that they are all survivors from the tail section.

In a flashback, John Locke is in a meeting for people coping with anger. Locke gets angry at people complaining about minor things and tells his story. He then meets Helen, and they start a relationship. He finally gets to talk to his father, and asks him “why?” He is told, “There is no why. You think you’re the first person who ever got conned? You needed a father figure, and I needed a kidney. Don’t come back, you’re not wanted.” Helen talks about having wasted 20 years being angry, and makes Locke promise to stop going to wait outside his father’s house. He agrees, but eventually goes back, and Helen confronts him, telling him he has to choose between his father and her. She talks of a “leap of faith.”

Back on the island, when Kate knocks Desmond over and a gun fires and hits a computer, Desmond says “we’re all gonna die.” Desmond tells the story of meeting Kelvin, and his explaining his pushing of the button as “Just saving the world.” Jack says it makes no sense, so Desmond tells them to watch the orientation film.

LOST orientationLocke responds to Jack’s talk of impossibility by saying that Jack and Desmond knowing each other would be impossible.

Kate goes to get Sayid to help fix the computer.

The orientation video mentions the DeGroots and Alvar Hanso and the Dharma Initiative, the unique elecromagnetic properties of that part of the island, and it is clear that pieces are missing. Locke says “We’re gonna need to watch that again.”

Jack suggests that having him push the button might just be a mind game, an experiment to see if he’d do it, with the quarantine sign just to keep him scared and down there. He says he does every single day. When trying to fix it doesn’t work, after making the sign of the cross, Desmond grabs some things and leaves. Locke is left alone there and shouts, “What am I supposed to do?”

Kate returns with Sayid and Hurley.

Jack catches up with and confronts Desmond, talking about him taking what was in that movie on faith. Desmond asks Jack about the girl Jack told him about, whose recovery from her spinal injuries would be a miracle. Jack says he married her, and we learn that he’s not married to her any more. Desmond leaves, saying once again, “See you in another life, yeah?”

They get the computer working again, and type in the numbers in time. And we have the wonderful bit of dialogue between Locke and Jack.

Locke: “Why do you find it so hard to believe?”

Jack: “Why do you find it so easy?”

Locke: “It’s never been easy!”

Locke says he can’t do it alone – it’s a leap of faith. Jack hits “Execute” and Locke takes the first shift.

The exploration of a leap of faith that involves a matter that may be science, and on no level appears to be religion, makes for a fascinating scenario, and the premise to a wonderful season and a wonderful element of the series as a whole.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Presentata l'app per la fruizione della Sala Farnese nella Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria


app-galleria-nazionale-umbraLa Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria si dota di un nuovo strumento tecnologico per i suoi visitatori: un'applicazione per dispositivi Android e iOS per la fruizione in realtà aumentata della Sala Farnese.

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Conde Nast, Blogging and Photoshopping Anorexia

This is Myla Dalbesio in an advert for Calvin Klein. As with most magazines and adverts, her image has probably been slightly Photoshopped, as I would guess were the other models used in this Calvin Klein promotion.

I say 'model' not 'plus size model' because Calvin Klein presented her looking fabulous, and with no comment on her shape or size.

Elle Magazine editors, supposedly from a publication supporting women, were the ones who blundered in and declared her to be "plus size" ... and a furore ensued, with most women rightly outraged at this description of her. "Plus size" and assorted other euphemism normally mean fat, women who are medically obese, and cannot fit into the sizes stocked in high street clothing stores. As much as 'body positivity' is to be encouraged, and I genuinely would prefer real 'plus size' women to be comfortable with themselves rather than starving to fit silly societal 'ideals' ... to call Myla Dalbesio 'plus sized' shows how far up their own arses magazine editors are, and says more about their own obsessions with their bodies.

Myla is tall (5'11") and a US size 10 (which is a UK 12 or 14 depending on the brand). Her stats are on her model card here, although as so often with these there might be a little creativity? Her body is in proportion to her height, and she's slim with a few curves. I'm tempted to say she's a 'normal sized' woman, but really it would be more accurate to say she's a slim woman with curves, and has the sort of body most women would be thrilled to have.

Myla has the sort of body (based on other less Photoshopped images) that I sort of have on a 'good' not bloated not PMS day ... I used to be skinny when I was younger, but even then 'friends' would suggest diets, or worse diet pills, and make comments about my "fat" ... yup, women can be bitches. I'm 5'9" and so my waist measures a tiny bit smaller than hers, but I'm 'in proportion' - this is my "fat" body type as a 41 year old woman who enjoys food and refuses to diet. I'm happy with it.

Incidentally, I just weighed myself for the first time in months out of curiosity, and I'd like to point out that if I weighed 12 pounds less I'd be at the weight I was when I checked myself into a retreat to be treated for PTSD. Yes, it was so much easier to dress at the lower weight, and everything looked better because fashion designers prefer to cut for coat hangers not curves, but ... I was medically underweight to the point that my doctor was concerned, and we came up with an eating plan for me to gain weight.

I loose weight when I'm stressed. Increasingly young women seem to be developing eating disorders, and it has to be related to the images they're constantly surrounded by. In the old days, when I was growing up, there were gorgeous women in movies and magazines, and they might have been something to aspire to, but they were not everywhere. Re-touching photos was common, but Photoshop has made it ubiquitous to the point of absurdity.

Many magazines, including those owned by Conde Nast, have been called out for Photoshopping over the years, and I would hope that women subconsciously take that into account when looking at images in them, whether editorial photographs or adverts.

In many ways the desire of women to see clothes worn on more realistically sized women in 'real' life led to the rise of fashion bloggers. My friends used to look at the party pages in Vogue, less to see the 'names' but how they were wearing the clothes in 'real' life. (Okay, I know Vogue is not 'real' life to most people, but it was to me, and whilst I used to give most photographers at parties a fake name, I was always rather chuffed when Vogue snapped me). Tired of seeing clothes on the same increasingly skinny models in magazines, women increasingly turned to personal style blogs.

In turn these fashion blogs (I don't use the word 'style' as most are now about selling products and promoting consumerism rather than elegance, but that will be another post) became more professional, slicker and ... whilst there are many niches blogs, most of the big ones now replicate the fashion magazine formula of skinny white girls. Not slim, skinny - because it is far easier to make clothes look good on a coat hanger than to learn to work with a shape and what works best on that. And if they're not naturally skinny? We'll get to that in a moment.

This is Danielle Bernstein. She's slim, she's very pretty, and I like the casual way she has styled some good solid basics. She has the same body type as Myla, me, lots of women who are not skinny rakes. She's a fashion blogger, and during one of my 'the others are watching TV so I'll browse the internet' moments I looked up her blog, as I thought it would be interesting to see how a more realistically proportioned woman styled clothes to show her assets and conceal her flaw.

That's when I realised that this Danielle Bernstein does not have a fashion blog, but another Danielle Bernstein who is heavily Photoshopped to look a good twenty or thirty pounds lighter has a blog named We Wore What. (Maybe We Wore Photoshop would be more appropriate?)

In photos taken by party photographers she mostly looks like a slim, well-dressed young woman. Incidentally, I do know that for a fee one New York party photographer will 'improve' party images as an added service for a fee, (just as they'll photograph private parties for a fee), but I'd guess these photos have not been altered - the photographer probably, as we all do, simply selected the better or two or three snaps and posted it.

Again, to be clear, I am not criticising Bernstein's looks - in these photos she has a very good figure, and she is elegantly dressed in a simple youth-appropriate way. No-one on earth would ever think she was fat.

When we get to her own photographs, in the sense of the ones she chooses to post on the internet, the issues start. The central photo below is the one she posted, the two framing it ones others posted (party snap by professional photographer to the left; unflattering photo by a fan on the right):

The central photo isn't that different, and I just thought it was a more flattering angle, which is the photo most women would choose to post.

Here the differences could just be different styling of dungarees (a style that flatters few women), and some fluctuation in weight at different times of the month.

But these two photos were taken the same day. The professional photo on the left is Bernstein looking slim, chic and like the sort of woman whose fashion blog I'd look at. The photo on the right is the one she uploaded, and I'd be extremely dubious of any 'flattering angle' that makes her loose that much weight ... I know it's going to start sounding as if I'm obsessing about this one particular blogger and picking on her, but the reasons I've focused on her are simple: she has a great body without Photoshopping, so I feel it is sad that she feels she has to create this fake persona on the internet when her real body looks better than her fake one, she Photoshops herself far more than is normal for most image-obsessed fashion bloggers, she's 'famous' enough for her to be photographed by real photographers so people can see the difference and ... she's a Conde Nast blogger.

Yup, although Vogue and countless other magazines have repeatedly pledged to stop using very young models, to stop using dangerously skinny models who look as if they've stepped out of a concentration camp, who've claimed to ease up on Photoshopping ... this woman who Photoshops herself into a skeletal bag of bones is a Conde Nast-approved blogger, one of those they chose for their big push into blogging:

We all know Vogue Photoshops, but if they did this much Photoshopping there would be outrage. The girl on the right could have chosen an outfit that works better on her, but the solution is simple: wear shorts two inches longer, don't take ten inches off your thighs as in the photo on the left!

I assume that Conde Nast with their strict vetting actually met Bernstein, and are aware that in real life she has a very good body, but looks nothing like the photographs she posts on the internet. So why the hell do they consider this sort of fakery and body dimorphism not only acceptable, but worthy of their seal of approval?

I can't wait for Conde Nast to feature this shot in one of their beauty features!?!? Yes, it's a photo of a woman just out of Auschwitz. Yes, to most people it screams horror, torture, genocide, but apparently the starvation look is now Conde Nast approved. (I chose Auschwitz not Ethiopian famine victims because most of the big fashion bloggers are white, and ... I lost family in the Holocaust, and maybe that's why as a Jew it horrifies me when women choose to try to recreate this 'look' willingly).

Again, Bernstein in her photograph in the centre, others' photos framing it. Again, she has a great figure without the Photoshopping, and if she posted real photographs of herself I'd be more interested - and based on the success of TV make-over shows, if she explained "I'm wearing this as x is more flattering than y on my figure" ... then I bet more women would also be interested.

Ooh look, add hair extensions, filler in the upper lip, false lashes and fake tan, and this woman just out of Auschwitz has the 'killer cheekbones' and 'eyes that pop' (both signs of severe starvation, incidentally) that Victoria's Secret seems to seek for its "Angels"!

One last photograph of a woman at death's door at Auschwitz (I added the stars, as I know otherwise people will claim I'm posting porn).

Yes it is extreme, yes it is horrific, and no reasonable woman would want to aspire to this 'look' ...

... except that teenage girls are not always reasonable, nor are woman with eating disorders, and I found all these photographs of starving tortured women at Auschwitz on a pro-anorexia forum where participants try to outdo themselves in starving their bodies into not just a pee-pubescent shape but into a skeletal shape. This is the sort of photograph they post as 'inspiration' and as something they want to imitate.

So what has that got to do with the blogger who Photoshops her great figure into a twig? She too - or rather the fake figure she presents - is 'thinspiration' to them too. Her fans leave countless messages along these lines:

Bernstein is the dangerous role model of countless girls aspiring to be anorexic, and she is a role model approved by Conde Nast.

A little light re-touching we pretty much expect these days, but why does Conde Nast think a slim woman should Photoshop herself to look as if she's a famine victim?

Obviously I'd rather bloggers used Photoshop than actually starved themselves, but in an ideal world ... WTF makes Conde Nast think this woman, whom they must know looks very different from her photos, is someone to endorse?

For more photos to show how ridiculous this has become, I recommend taking a look at this Instagram account:

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

After a week off to work in the Bakken, I’m back with a pre-holiday quick hits and varia for your enjoyment.

I’ll be too honest and say that my daily productivity has begun to decline as the holidays approach. We have a tree, are heavy into menu planning, and are looking forward to a day or two when work gives way to family good cheer and, of course, as many hours of test cricket as possible. 

That being said, I will prepare my usual year end blog review and my year end “what I’m listening to” for the next week. So, stay tuned!


Compitum - publications

A. Basarte et S. Barreiro (éd.), Actas de las XIII Jornadas Internacionales de Estudios Medievales


Ana Basarte et Santiago Barreiro (éd.), Actas de las XIII Jornadas Internacionales de Estudios Medievales y XXIII Curso de Actualización de Historia Medieval, Buenos Aires, 2014.

Éditeur : Sociedad Argentina de Estudios Medievales
217 pages
ISBN : 978-987-43-5496-9

L'ensemble du volume est téléchargeable sur le site de la SAEMED.

Lire la suite...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

How do Syria region coins enter the US and UK Markets?

Coincidentally, soon after my post on this ARCA raise a similar question about a similar group of coins in a similar state to the Spink ones
2 godz.2 godziny temu
How do Syria region coins enter the US and UK Markets? And why is there no provenance listed in the sale records? 

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ottoman paint shop to open to tourists

The remains of a 300-year-old Ottoman paint shop, which has been discovered at the site of the...

ArcheoNet BE

MEDEA-project wil metaaldetectievondsten ontsluiten

Aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel werd onlangs het MEDEA-project gelanceerd. Het MEDEA-project heeft als doel de archeologische metaaldetectievondsten in Vlaanderen digitaal te ontsluiten. Zo hopen de VUB-onderzoekers niet alleen deze ondergewaardeerde vondstcategorie beter toegankelijk te maken voor onderzoek, maar ook de belangrijke bijdrage van hobbydetectoristen beter te belichten. Alle betrokkenen worden van harte uitgenodigd om het project mee vorm te geven.

Om dit te realiseren zal een publiek toegangelijke online databank ontwikkeld worden, geïnspireerd door het Portable Antiquities Scheme. Deze zal dienen als platform waar detectoristen, onderzoekers en onroerend-erfgoedbeheerders hun vondsten en kennis kunnen samenbrengen. Ook worden er afspraken gemaakt met het Agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed, zodat ook voor nieuwe detectievondsten MEDEA een geldig meldingskanaal kan worden.

Om het MEDEA-platform zo relevant mogelijk te maken en de wensen en noden van alle betrokken partijen in kaart te brengen willen de onderzoekers in januari 2015 een overlegronde organiseren, met onder meer panelgesprekken per stakeholder-groep. Ze nodigen iedereen die geïnteresseerd is in metaaldetectie en/of metaalvondsten graag uit om daaraan deel te nemen, en zo het project mee vorm te geven.

Het project is een initiatief van de vakgroep Kunstwetenschappen en Archeologie en iMinds- SMIT, externe partners (PACKED vzw), en met de steun van de Herculesstichting.

Interesse of verdere vragen? Stuur een mailtje naar, specifieer tot welke groep je behoort (detectorgebruiker, onderzoeker, beheersarcheoloog), en dan neemt men spoedig contact om de meest geschikte plaats (VUB campus Etterbeek of het kantoor van iMinds in Gent) en datum te bepalen.

Compitum - publications

C. Marconi, The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture


Clemente Marconi (éd.), The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, Oxford, 2014.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
728 pages
ISBN : 978-0-19-978330-4

The study of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture has a long history that goes back to the second half of the 18th century and has provided an essential contribution towards the creation and the definition of the wider disciplines of Art History and Architectural History. This venerable tradition and record are in part responsible for the diffused tendency to avoid general discussions addressing the larger theoretical implications, methodologies, and directions of research in the discipline. This attitude is in sharp contrast not only with the wider field of Art History, but also with disciplines that are traditionally associated with the study of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, like Classics and Classical Archaeology. In recent years, the field has been characterized by an ever-increasing range of approaches, under the influence of various disciplines such as Sociology, Semiotics, Gender Theory, Anthropology, Reception Theory, and Hermeneutics. In light of these recent developments, this Handbook seeks to explore key aspects of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, and to assess the current state of the discipline.

The Handbook includes thirty essays, in addition to the introduction, by an international team of leading senior scholars, who have played a critical role in shaping the field, and by younger scholars, who will express the perspectives of a newer generation. After a framing introduction written by the editor, which compares ancient and modern notions of art and architecture, the Handbook is divided into five sections: Pictures from the Inside, Greek and Roman Art and Architecture in the Making, Ancient Contexts, Post-Antique Contexts, and Approaches. Together, the essays in the volume make for an innovative and important book, one that is certain to find a wide readership.

Lire la suite...

Trafficking Culture

More antiquities withdrawn after identification in Christie’s and Sotheby’s auctions in New York

Following the identification and withdrawal of the rare Sardinian idol in Christie’s, Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis, Research Assistant in Trafficking Culture, identified from convicted dealers’ photographic archives three more antiquities in Christie’s and one in Sotheby’s due to be auctioned in New York.

In Christie’s, an Egyptian alabaster figural jug (lot 51), estimated at $150,000 -$250,000 and a Roman marble column capital (lot 139), estimated at $80,000-$120,000, were identified from the Symes-Michaelides archive, confiscated by the Greek authorities in 2006. Additionally, an Attic red-figured column krater (lot 95), estimated at $60,000-$90,000, was identified from the images that were confiscated in the early 1990’s by the American authorities from the dealer David Holland Swingler. All the antiquities were due to be auctioned by Christie’s in New York on 11 December. Furthermore, Dr. Tsirogiannis identified from the Symes-Michaelides archive an Egyptian diorite figure of a priest of the temple of Mut, late 25th/early 26th Dynasty, circa 670-610 B.C., estimated at $400,000-$600,000, due to be auctioned in Sotheby’s (lot 6) in New York on 12 December. The American, Italian and Egyptian authorities were immediately notified. The cases were presented in details on the websites of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA), and ‘Looting Matters‘. All the antiquities identified in Christie’s were withdrawn before the auction, while the antiquity identified in Sotheby’s remained unsold. The investigation by the American authorities is ongoing.

Compitum - publications

K. B. Stratton, D. S. Kalleres, Daughters of Hecate. Women and Magic in the Ancient World


Kimberly B. Stratton, Dayna S. Kalleres (éd.), Daughters of Hecate. Women and Magic in the Ancient World, Oxford, 2014.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
552 pages
ISBN : 978-0-19-534271-0

Daughters of Hecate unites for the first time research on the problem of gender and magic in three ancient Mediterranean societies: early Judaism, Christianity, and Graeco-Roman culture. The book illuminates the gendering of ancient magic by approaching the topic from three distinct disciplinary perspectives: literary stereotyping, the social application of magic discourse, and material culture.
The authors probe the foundations of, processes, and motivations behind gendered stereotypes, beginning with Western culture's earliest associations of women and magic in the Bible and Homer's Odyssey. Daughters of Hecate provides a nuanced exploration of the topic while avoiding reductive approaches. In fact, the essays in this volume uncover complexities and counter-discourses that challenge, rather than reaffirm, many gendered stereotypes taken for granted and reified by most modern scholarship.
By combining critical theoretical methods with research into literary and material evidence, Daughters of Hecate interrogates a false association that has persisted from antiquity, to early modern witch hunts, to the present day.

Lire la suite...

C. Grellard et F. Lachaud (éd.), A Companion to John of Salisbury


Christophe Grellard et Frédérique Lachaud (éd.), A Companion to John of Salisbury, Leyde, 2014.

Éditeur : Brill
Collection : Brill's Companions to the Christian Tradition, 57
480 pages
ISBN : 9789004265103
169 €

The Companion to John of Salisbury is the first collective study of this major figure in the intellectual and political life of 12th-century Europe to appear for thirty years. Based on the latest research, thirteen contributions by leading experts in the field provide an overview of John of Salisbury's place in the political debates that marked the reign of Henry II in England as well as of his place in the history of the Church. They also offer a detailed introduction to his philosophical works (Metalogicon, Entheticus), his political thought (Policraticus) and his writing of history (Historia pontificalis).
Contributors include Julie Barrau, David Bloch, Karen Bollermann, Cédric Giraud, Christophe Grellard, Laure Hermand-Schebat, Frédérique Lachaud, Constant Mews, Clare Monagle, Cary Nederman, Ronald Pepin, Yves Sassier, and Sigbjørn Sønnesyn.

Source : Brill

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

And the tide rushes in: now self-service photography arrives at the British Library

About ten years ago, when digital cameras had appeared, I went down to the British Library and asked if I could use mine to photograph manuscript items.  The female librarian to whom I spoke looked very angry and rudely and indignantly refused.  I remember thinking that the response was more or less as if I had casually asked for the loan of her daughter for the night. 

Not long afterwards mobile phones acquired digital cameras.  But still the hard-faced refusal went on.  I commented, in these pages, on this nonsense.  Only last year I went to examine Ms. BL addit. 12150, but had to resort to verbally describing various paragraphing marks, because I had no means to take a snap of the pages.

But the tide has been with us, and finally sense has prevailed.  Yesterday I learned via a correspondent of an update to the British Library policies, here.

Self-service photography

From 5 January 2015 you will be able to photograph collection items using compact cameras, tablets and mobile phones in the following Reading Rooms:

  • Humanities – floors 1 and 2
  • Newsroom
  • Science – floors 2 and 3
  • Social Sciences

Photographic copies made may be used for personal reference purposes only and must not be used for a commercial purpose. Copyright and data protection laws may still apply.

Some material will be excluded from self-service photography, including items at risk of damage, or further damage. …

In March 2015 we will extend this service to include the following Reading Rooms:

  • Asian & African Studies
  • Business & IP Centre
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Philatelic
  • Rare Books & Music

It is very good news.  No doubt there will be teething problems, as the staff get used to the idea that snapping is normal.  But it should mean that a lot of material starts to appear online that might otherwise wait for years to appear in someone’s priority queue.

We live in fortunate times.  In the 19th century editors had to pay for collations of manuscripts, and thank the owners of the mss fulsomely for even being allowed to have such a thing.  It seems unthinkable now.  So also the nuisances of very recent times will quickly become historical curiosities.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

A Miglionico un convegno sulle nuove Tecnologie per la Promozione del Patrimonio Culturale


convegno-miglionico-2014Si terrà lunedì 22 dicembre alle ore 17.30, nella sala conferenze del Castello del Malconsiglio di Miglionico, un convegno dal titolo: “Nuove Tecnologie per la Promozione del Patrimonio Culturale”.

L’evento rappresenta il momento conclusivo di un innovativo bando pubblico emanato dal GAL Bradanica nell’ambito del Programma di Sviluppo Rurale Regione Basilicata 2007/2013 e realizzato da un gruppo d’imprese con capofila la Società Cooperativa “Giubileo 2000”.

Nuove date per il Corso di Fabbricazione Digitale per i Beni Culturali

3darcheolab-corsiSi svolgerà a Milano il 30 e 31 gennaio 2015 il Corso in Fabbricazione Digitale per i Beni Culturali organizzano. Le tecniche di fabbricazione digitale hanno aperto nuovi orizzonti nel settore dei Beni Culturali, offrendo soluzioni nuove e originali per lo studio, la tutela e la valorizzazione del patrimonio culturale.

Adrian Murdoch (Bread and Circuses)

The Basement of the Varusschlacht Museum

An interesting article in the Osnabrücker Zeitung looking at the basement of the museum in Kalkriese with Susanne Wilbers-Rost. While the highlights of the museum are well-known, it is a useful insight into the bits and pieces that have been...

Mary Beard (A Don's Life)

Saturnalian laughter


I have discovered a new role for myself over the last few years. I am the old lady who pops up at this time of year and says "gosh, did you know, the ancient Romans invented Christmas". I mean Saturnalia.

I have just done this again, to great amusement all round (me especially), at a gig at the Bloomsbury Theatre. Robin Ince and Tony Law had got a group of people together -- comics and others -- to celebrate an 'atheists'' (or at least 'non-Christian') Christmas, with historians; on Monday night, that was me and my mate Simon Goldhill (you see him above).

We were told thay we didn't need to pretend to be funny; that was someone else's job; we just had to go right on stage and do our stuff:  nervous, moi?  So I gave a spiel about what Romans did on Christmas Day (presents and getting pissed, basically + plus some drunken old men + Saturnalia curmudgeons like Pliny the Younger + Roman style office parties and silly hats). And Simon gave a prequel of his new book (which touches on those weird early 20th century types who invented Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings -- not going to say more, you'll read soon).

I guess we were funny enough.



The truth was that the whole show was an eye opener for us academics. Of course we were way out of our depth. But it was good to watch the real comics in the dressing room, getting prepped for their performance.

I suppose I had always naively imagined that they were as laid back as they seemed on stage. But to be honest, they seemed as anxious as we were. I guess being OBLIGED to make people LAUGH is a particular pressure academics dont have. I mean in our trade you can pretend that people are interested just so long as they dont walk out. Grim silence can always be reinterpreted as rapt attention; not so for a comic .

So there we all sat, tweaking our scripts and remembering what we were going to say. The only real difference between acadmics and comics were the clothes. We didnt wear onesies. ( That's Tony Law in the picture.)

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)

Birmingham Egyptological Symposium

Online letölthető a következő kötet:  Proceedings of the First Birmingham Egyptology Symposium, University of Birmingham, 21st February 2014.

A tartalomból: 

Simmance, E. ‘The significance of location for the mediating statues of Amenhotep son of Hapu’.

Asbury, B. L. ‘Pitt-Rivers, the Painter and the Palaeolithic Period’.

Godefroid, A. ‘Book of the Dead Chapter 182: a case of related structure between the text and its vignette’.

Mushett Cole, E. ‘Did the political upheaval during the Late Bronze Age cause a change in the form of Egyptian control in the Levant? An analysis of the changes in the political landscape of the Levant during the late New Kingdom’.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Italiano il Visual Mapping sul Model of Falcon Cap a Doha in Qatar

visual-mapping-qatarIn occasione della celebrazione del National Day in Qatar, le aziende ravennate Touchwindow e N.E.O. Project hanno realizzato uno spettacolare visual mapping sul Model of Falcon Cap di Doha in Qatar. Immagini, video e ricostruzioni tridimensionali si uniscono a suoni ed effetti speciali in una creazione spettacolare ed emozionante. 

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

New Thinking on Ownership gaps in NGA

Caught out by the Dancing Shiva scandal, the National Gallery of Australia is starting to take an innovative approach to provenance research on items already in the collection (Michaela Boland, 'National Gallery of Australia blitz on 54 ownership gaps' The Australian December 19, 2014). They will be taking a new look at  the gallery’s Asian collection (some 5000 objects) starting with the South Asian sculptures. As a result the Gallery:
has identified another 54 South Asian sculptures in its collection with gaps in their recent ownership histories, which could indicate they were also stolen. More than $13m in public funds was spent acquiring the antiquities between 1969 and 2011. The collection would be valued at considerably more than $13m now but in light of the federal government’s new guide to Collecting Cultural Material, the pieces have essentially been rendered worthless until a secure chain of ownership can be established.
These are two interesting innovations. The notion of "ownership gaps" seems a useful one to introduce (applicable to the non-mention of certain dealers - Medici/ Symes - in the reported collecting histories of items offered by certain auction houses). The second is the notion that - due to a series of proven abuses of the system - presumed innocence no longer guarantees that an object will retain its assigned value.
Today, the gallery will publish online pictures and acquisition details for the antiquities in question, including revealing for the first time how much was paid for the pieces in question, who owned them and who traded them. This information was historically considered commercial-in-confidence but Dr Vaughan admitted there were few instances of genuine commercial in confidence where public art galleries were concerned. “I think as a public institution we have a duty to be open — it’s public money and transactions of this kind should be out in the open,” he said.  
Again, it seems there is no arguing with that. But we could take it further if we accept that these items are all the common heritage of mankind, so even those in personal collections should be subject to the same ideals of transparency. Of course the usual culprits are dead against all this, almost as if they in reality have something to hide:
The Art Gallery of South Australia has been frustrated by dealers refusing to assist its trail-blazing provenance research but Dr Vaughan said the NGA would no longer deal with dealers, donors or auction houses who refused to be completely frank about the ownership history of new pieces or ones they had previously sold the gallery.
I suggest this is an attitude we all, collectors and observers, should adopt. Boycot the cowboys who buy stuff no-questions-asked and have no paperwork legitimating the objects they've been filling their stockrooms with all these years.

Georgia Artefact Hunters' Entitlement

An artefact hunting case in south Georgia has been in the news quite a lot recently, an Albany man, Eddie Ballard (37) was reportedly charged with 58 counts of digging up artefacts on both public and private property and selling them, criminal trespass, destroying or marring a pre-historic site, and failure to notify the state archaeologist after an investigation which lasted for more than a year. His home was searched and artefacts were confiscated. It is alleged that he'd been digging up artifacts like arrowheads in and along the Flint River since 2011 and selling them without reporting them to state officials as state law requires. Department of Natural Resources officers investigating say Ballard made thousands of dollars selling the artefacts, so some of the charges against him are felonies. The evidence against the man includes You Tube videos which Ballard shot of himself digging up artefacts'  (!). The man was arrested in summer of 2013, but as investigations progressed, the original indictment was re-issued.

Ballard reportedly pleaded guilty to to 45 counts of artefact theft last week, and was sentenced to 3 years behind bars. It seems he'd been in jail since his arrest.

There's that pious US monetary overvaluation again: "Prosecutors said some of the artifacts he stole are priceless because of their rarity". State DNR Law Enforcement rangers say the stolen artefacts in South Georgia "bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars each year".

But what is really sickening about this whole episode is the way the removal of cultural property (that of the indigenous people of the North American continent and part of its rich cultural history) is treated by the local judicial system as on a par with the destruction of "wildlife" (Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Corporal Greg Wade) and "natural history":
So that people understand that the arrow heads and other artifacts are part of our natural history.  And were significant.  And there are significant safeguards to protect this natural history," said Dougherty D.A. Greg Edwards.
 I wonder what the Muscogee (Creek) think of that. How utterly insulting.

Jim Wallace, 'Albany man arrested for stealing artifacts' WALB Jun 08, 2013

Jessica Fairley, 'Alleged artifact digger indicted', WFXL 14th August 2013

Jim Wallace, 'Artifact theft indictment re-issued', WALB Apr 03, 2014
Jim Wallace, 'South Georgia artifact thieves video their own crimes' WALB Dec 17, 2014 

Debunk, Debunk, but the Looting Goes On

Grumpy cat 'pathetic'
Sam Hardy posted on his blog a summary of his recent denouement in stark detail of the modus operandi of the antiquities trade lobbyists ('Antiquities trade responds to exposure of false debunking with more false debunking'). Old Man Sayles the coiney ('wgsant', December 13, 2014 at 5:54 pm) struck out in anger:
What a pathetic waffeling response. One might [chip on the shoulder PMB] expect more from a professional researcher. Are your cited claims true or are they not? If not, why did you cite them?
Sam did not dignify that cantankerous outburst with a response. My reply:
What, ever, is the "truth" about the antiquities trade, Mr Sayles? Your truth, that of the Iraqi authorities actually on the ground? That of Ms Kampmann or Mr Tompa using selected secondary sources in distant lands to "debunk" what people on the ground (not "archaeologists", not Sam Hardy) have said? What 'facts' can you or I establish on this no-questions-asked and secretive market in general, and the path of Syrian conflict antiquities onto the market in particular?

Your acerbic comments are uncalled for. It is not without reason that Sam has become widely regarded as a careful analyst and insightful reporter on the matters under discussion here. You can see it in what he writes - if you care to actually look. That is more than anyone can say about any of the representatives of the antiquities trade at the moment who are concerned mainly to deny everything, misrepresnt the views of their opponents or throw mud and insults, rather than actually make a proper contribution to the heritage debate.

As of course the cynical manipulators among the trade lobby will know full well, the "36 million" is a straw man argument constructed by the trade lobby. "How much" this or that militia leader earns is beside the main issue, which is that sites and monuments are being trashed and conflict antiquities are being smuggled out of the region while you and your kind sit back arguing against taking immediate and decisive action to do what we can to deal with this crisis.

How did these coins enter the UK Market?

Spink's, linked to past sales of Koh Ker statues and supplier to the ACCG, is primarily known as a coin shop. Their recent Auction: 14007 ("Ancient, British and Foreign Coins and Commemorative Medals") held a few days ago, contemporary with conflict and looting going on in not-so-distant Syria, caught my eye. I was discussing the case of a coin yesterday (Auction 14007, Lot: 484) where the sellers were telling us (more or less) where it was found, the exact date, and what had happened to it since it was dug up to legitimise it as a genuine British find. What a contrast with three other lots I passed in the catalogue while looking for it.

As we have all seen, dealers are bending over backwards to say "there is no recently looted stuff from Syria and Iraq coming on the market". I ask how they can tell that when they obviously have no information to pass on to prospective buyers that the items they sell are not objects recently surfaced and smuggled from the region being silently passed off as though "from an old collection".

Take these three lots, all coins minted in and circulating within precisely the region currently being affected by conflict looting and theft. Two of them small high value pieces, easily smuggled, the other the sort of low value bulk find that comes from mass digging of ancient sites for collectables (the Syrian equivalent of 'Roman grots') Where, in the sales description is any indication that the consigners can provide assurance that these items are not the proceeds of such activities? If the seller has such documentation, why is it not being presented (or mentioned) here in the sales offer? Is it because the seller is convinced that the thought that care should be exercised here to avoid buying dodgy goods has crossed the mind of a single one of the buyers in their auction?

Lot: 46 (x) Umayyad, temp. 'Abd al-Malik (685-705), AV Dinar, 4.27g, mintless type (Damascus), AH78 (Bernardi 41; A.125), good very fine
Lot: 46 
 Lot: 47 (x) Umayyad, temp. 'Abd al-Malik, AV Dinar, 4.24g, mintless type (Damascus), AH79 (Bernardi 42; A.125), very fine
Lot: 47
Lot: 48 (x) Umayyad and Abbasid, AE Fals (c.60), an interesting group, many with mint names: Dimashq, Halab, Homs, Jordan, Ramlah, Tabaria, fine to very fine, some scarce (lot)
Lot: 48 
Responsible collectors will obviously want to verify that any items they are considering buying are not coming from contemporary or past conflict zones and are not the products of looting, coercion or theft. The information offered by Spink in these three cases is not sufficient to do that, even though elsewhere in the same catalogue there are coins offered with even the actual date of finding given. When are UK dealers going to demonstrate a commitment to supporting responsible collection by dealing only in material whose licit origins can be guaranteed and verified?

Spink's Anglo-Frisian Coin: When and Where was it Found?

Laughing and dancing
all the way to the bank.
On a metal detecting forum near you, member "Tommo" is happy: "My bro's Saxon gold he found today (auction update page 1)" First he boasts (Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:28 pm) to other members a "Nice little yellow found by my bro today, lucky sod". Then there is the update (18/12/14): "Although we don't like to sell our finds, due to agreements with organiser and farmer this one had to be sold. Sold at Spinks 20 minutes ago". So this was found at an organized artefact hunting meeting held by a detecting group "somewhere in West Lindsay" on 7th September this year. It is recorded in the PAS database LANCUM-9E265D. Just three weeks later, Saturday Sept 27, 2014, it was in Spink's the coin seller who supplied the ACCG with their paperless coins for their 2009 Baltimore stunt.

There however is a problem. The PAS record gives as the date of discovery "Thursday 7th August 2014" a full month earlier than the organized event at which it was supposed to have been found. Was this date arrived at from independent documentation of the circumstances by which the finder came into possession of another's property? By what means do the PAS ascertain the veracity of the information supplied by the finder and check it against other sources to prevent false data entering the database?

In fact the Spink's catalogue entry (Lot: 484) gives the same earlier date of finding, presumably obtained from the consigner: "Found West Lindsey district, Lincolnshire, 7 August 2014". Presumably Spink's verify the provenance details of the antiquities they offer very carefully.

So was this coin really found at the metal detecting group 'dig' of 7th September, or was it in fact found earlier, perhaps even on a different landowner's property? Why is there this discrepancy between three different sources? How reliable are the "data" in the hastily-compiled PAS "database" of finds made by metal detecting collectors for personal entertainment and profit? What knowledge went missing with the sale of this object?

Grave of Confederate soldier dug up in Georgia

AP, 'Grave of Confederate soldier dug up in Georgia; 'Graverobbing' investigated', Associated Press Dec 18, 2014

Authorities in Georgia say the grave of a former soldier has been dug up at the Old Bethel Church Cemetery in Knoxville. The deceased was a first lieutenant in the Confederate Army who had died Nov. 9, 1866. The suspects may have been looking for saleable artefacts that were buried with his body. So far authorities have been able to contact the family of the deceased.  No doubt artefact collectors in denial will be suggesting the authorities concentrate their search on seeking giant gophers with a taste for artefacts.

McAndrew on the Significance of Cold Storage of Misappropriated Syrian and Iraqi Cultural Property

James McAndrew (forensic specialist for the law firm Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman and  Klestadt, and board member of the CCP) opines on antiquity looting in Syria and Iraq ('Syria and Iraq’s neighbours can help contain the looting' Art Newspaper, Issue 263, December 2014). He is all for hampering artefact smugglers by "securing the borders of the two war-torn countries". While that in itself is pretty obvious (er, duh), the tone of what he says is ominous:
It is only when the countries neighbouring Syria and Iraq do more to halt the terrible destruction that progress will be made. In short, the Middle East must put its own house in order. While there are many reports that IS, driven by its extremist ideology, is simply destroying archaeological sites, the terrorist organisation also appears to be profiting from the trafficking of moveable objects and numerous reports have emerged suggesting that the objects that survive the destruction are being taken to neighbouring countries and sold locally.
He suggests however that the number of items which have left the region are relatively small, and is inclined to believe that looted items are held in 'cold storage' intended for surfacing later and thus predominantly remain in the region. He draws on his past experience in HSI during and after the two Gulf wars between the US and Iraq when "the only items seized at US ports were a few small parcels of cylinder seals, cuneiform tablets and foundation cones, all easily transportable and of relatively low value".
We never recovered larger hoards of trafficked material such as containers full of high quality Iraqi objects. There simply was no flood of Iraqi artefacts to the West. [...] the diorite statue of the Sumerian king Entemena of Lagash [was found in] the southern region of Syria. The statue was being hidden on a farm and had never left the region. During the Second Gulf War, US Customs agents working in Baghdad offered an amnesty to Iraqi citizens for the return of stolen and looted items. This programme was a success, leading to the return of many extremely important artefacts that were either stolen form the Baghdad Museum or looted from neighbouring archaeological sites. Once again, these items were all recovered locally.
McAndrew speculates that the large majority of artefacts looted from Syria [and Iraq?] will "go to the Emirates, Iran, Syria [eh?] and high-net-worth individuals in the Gulf states". Quoting the UNESCO 1970 Convention, he calls upon Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to increase border security, border enforcement, and the discovery and recovery of looted artefacts before they leave the region.
To stop the spread of looted artefacts, action must take place at the borders of Syria and Iraq.[...] It makes sense for an international coalition to proactively encircle Syria and Iraq’s borders to intercept looted artefacts and stem the flow of the heritage of these beleaguered countries.
This looks like a typical piece of US pro-market (anti-regulation) provocation. His thesis seems to be bolstering the position of those that say, instead of regulating the international market (specifically the US and European bits of it) it is the source countries that should be clamped down on ("Punitive measures should also be considered by Unesco* if any one of the countries neighbouring the conflict refuses to assist"). McAndrew totally loses sight of the fact that the whole idea of the 1970 UNESCO Convention and all measures that build on it is to prevent the unregulated movement of cultural property outside the borders of the source country, not to "prevent the spread of looted artefacts [onto the markets]" per se. Far from being a stick with which to force the source country victim of cultural property theft to 'tackle the problem at source', representatives of the US antiquities trade are deliberately turning their backs on its real function which is to encourage international co-operation and solidarity with the pillaged countries and provide effective support and assistance in dealing with the problem in the international sphere. So yes, let us see both increased vigilance both at the borders and beyond.

*UNESCO has of course no such mandate or clout.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Spanish/Catalan/Portuguese Open Access Journals on the Ancient World

The following list includes the titles of 180 open access periodicals in the Spanish - Catalan - Portuguese languages focusing on the study of the ancient world. It is a extracted from AWOL's full List of Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies.  If you know of others, please bring them to my attention by leaving a comment below.

Maarit-Johanna (History of the Ancient World)

Antinoos – Keisari Hadrianuksen Rakastettu

Antinoosin rintakuva Villa Adrianassa lähellä Tivolia. Museo Pio-Clementino, Sala Rotunda. Valokuva Marie-Lan Nguyen.

Keisari Hadrianus, 117-138 jKr, on yksi monisärmäisimmistä Rooman keisareista. Hän oli erittäin älykäs , hän pystyi väittelemään aikansa merkittävämpien oppineiden kanssa, hän oli kiinnostunut arkkitehtuurista ja oli mieltynyt vaarallisiin metsästysretkiin. Hadrianus muisti ihmiset ja heidän kasvonsa niin hyvin, että hän ei tarvinnut nomenclatoreja (Nomenclator-A Latin Dictionary) , joita useimmat käyttivät tunnistamaan alaisiaan ja anomusten esittäjiä. Hadrianuksella oli nomenclatoreja näön vuoksi, mutta hän itse korjasi usein näiden tekemiä virheitä. Hän sääti lakeja orjien suojelemiseksi, hän kielsi kastraation (ainoastaan lääketieteellisistä syistä tehdyt kastraatiot olivat hyväksyttäviä). Hadrianus myöskin osoitti suurta anteliaisuutta ystävilleen. Hän kuitenkin samalla vakoili heitä ja määräsi heitä teloitettavaksi pienemmästäkin epäilystä. Hadrianuksen kaltaisen miehen oli vaikea löytää sydänystävää. Hänen vaimonsa Sabina ei sitä ollut. Hadriannus onkin todennut, että hän olisi eronnut vaimostaan jos hänellä olisi ollut samanlaiset vapaudet kuin tavallisella kansalaisella. Hadrianus rakastui lopulta täydestä sydämmestään vähäaasialaiseen nuoreen mieheen Antinookseen.

Keisari Hadrianus ja Antinoos.Keisari Hadrianus ja Antinoos.

“Tämä on siis uusi jumala, Antinoos, joka oli keisari Hadrianuksen palvelija ja orja hänen kielletyissä huveissan; olento, jota palvottiin keisarin määräyksen vuoksi ja rangaistuksen pelossa, jonka kaikki tiesivät ja myönsivät olevan ihminen, eikä edes hyvä ja ansiokas ihminen, vaan isäntänsä himojen likainen ja halveksittava välikappale. Tämä hävytön ja pahennusta herättävä poika kuoli…ja miten täysin keisarin kieroutunut intohimo säilyi sen halveksittavan vastaanottajan kuoltua, ja miten suuresti hänen isäntänsä oli omistautunut hänen muistolleen…ja on tehnyt hänen kunniattomuutensa ja häpeänsä kuolemattomaksi”. Tämä sitaatti osoittaa miten Hadrianuksen rakkauselämä on herättänyt järkytystä ja paheksuntaa jälkimaailman historiankirjoituksessa. Myöhäisantiikista lähtien moralistit kuten kirkkoisä Athanasios ovat kauhistelleet Antinooksen sukupuolta. Nykylukijoita taas on kauhistuttanut se seikka, että Antinoos oli vasta teini-ikäinen, kun Hadrianus ihastui häneen. Hadrianuksen omana aikana roomalaiset kertoivat paheksuen huhuja, joiden mukaan Hadrianus olisi ollut kiinnostunut vanhemmista miehistä. Suurimman osan hallituskauttaan Hadrianus vietti matkustellen imperiumin rajoilla. Tämä johtui osittain siitä, ettei keisari sietänyt Rooman juonittelujen ja skandaalien leimaamaa ilmapiiriä.

Antinooksen pää, Hadrianuksen huvila, Tivoli. Antinoos oli kauneutensa lisäksi myös älykäs, rohkea ja diplomaattinen. Nämä ominaisuudet eivät kuitenkaan suojelleet häntä herjauksilta, joita myöhempien aikojen historiankirjoittajat ovat häneen kohdistaneet. Antinooksen pää, Hadrianuksen huvila, Tivoli. Antinoos oli kauneutensa lisäksi myös älykäs, rohkea ja diplomaattinen. Nämä ominaisuudet eivät kuitenkaan suojelleet häntä herjauksilta, joita myöhempien aikojen historiankirjoittajat ovat häneen kohdistaneet.

Vuonna 123 Hadrianus matkusti Bithyniassa, joka sijaitsee Vähä-Aasian luoteisosassa. Siellä hänen seuraansa liittyi teini-ikäinen poika Antinoos. Antinoos ei ollut mikä tahansa viihdyttäjä, joka otettiin mukaan keisarin hetkellisestä oikusta. Antinoos on luultavasti ollut maineikkaan perheen poika, joka liittyi keisarin saattueeseen päästäkseen keisarilliseksi paasiksi. Antinoos oli silmiinpistävän kaunis kuten voimme havaita häntä esittävistä veistoksista. Hänen kauneutensa kiinnitti keisarin huomion, mutta Hadrianuksen syvempiä tunteita koskettivat Antinooksen terävä äly ja muut hyvät luonteenpiirteet.

Hadrianus oli intohimoinen filhelleeni, joka oli onnellisemmillaan uppoutuessaan kreikkalaiseen kulttuuriin. Ateena oli Rooman jälkeen se kaupunki, jolle keisari soi eniten huomiotaan, rahaa sekä uusia julkisia rakennuksia. Tuon ajan kreikkalaisten miesten tapana oli luoda suhteita nuoriin miehiin, efebeihin. Vanhemman miehen tehtävänä oli ryhtyä rakastajansa hyväntekijäksi ja opastaa hänen moraalista, henkistä ja fyysistä kehitystään. Kreikkalaismielinen Hadrianus on saattanut haluta itselleen oman efebin.

Nuori Antinoos. Pergamon Museo, Berliini. Nuori Antinoos. Pergamon Museo, Berliini.

Hadrianus palasi takaisin Roomaan vuonna 125 jKr. ja lähti Kreikkaan vuonna 128 jKr. Suhde kukoisti koko matkojen välisen ajan ja Antinooksella oli merkittävä asema keisarin lähipiirissä. Lähteiden perusteella voidaan olettaa, että Antinoos vastasi Hadrianuksen aitoihin ja syviin tunteisiin.

Vuonna 130 Hadrianuksen saattue saapui Egyptiin. Niilin varrella Antinoos kuoli epäselvissä olosuhteissa. Hänen kuolemansa ei ilmeisestikään ollut luonnollinen. Eräs Hadrianuksen ajan elämänkerturi toteaa: “Hän menetti suosikkinsa Antinooksen purjehtiessaan Niilillä ja itki tätä kuin nainen”. Toisen, luultavasti Hadrianuksen oman kertomuksen mukaan “hän putosi”, mutta verbi on valittu siten, että se voidaan myös kääntää “hänet työnnettiin”.

Antinoos, poika josta tuli jumala. Hadrianuksen julistettua Antinoos jumalaksi, häntä esittäviä patsaita ilmestyi kaikkialle valtakuntaan. Näin tehtiin kunnioituksesta keisaria kohtaan ja osaksi myös Antinooksessa henkilöityvän maskuliinisen kauneuden ylistämiseksi. Antinoos, poika josta tuli jumala. Hadrianuksen julistettua Antinoos jumalaksi, häntä esittäviä patsaita ilmestyi kaikkialle valtakuntaan. Näin tehtiin kunnioituksesta keisaria kohtaan ja osaksi myös Antinooksessa henkilöityvän maskuliinisen kauneuden ylistämiseksi.

Nämä yksinkertaiset väittämät ovat synnyttäneet paljon spekulaatioita. Surmasiko hän rakastajansa riidan jälkeen vai hukuttiko Antinooksen vihamielinen hoviväki? tekikö Antinoos itsemurhan vain kuoliko hän silvottuna oudossa pakanallisessa riitissä?. Luultavimmin hän hukkui jokeen päätellen siitä perusteellisuudesta, jolla egyptiläiset paneutuivat hänen kulttiinsa. He uskoivat, että kuolema Niilin vedessä oli pyhä tapa kuolla. Voimakkaiden virtausten vuoksi Antinooksen olisi tarvinnut olla erittäin uhkarohkea tai itsemurha aikeissa mennäkseen Niiliin uimaan vapaaehtoisesti.

Kenties melkein 18-vuotias Antinoos tiesi, että hänestä oli tulossa liian vanha osaansa tai ehkä Hadrianuksessa näkyi jo merkkejä sairaudesta, johon hän lopulta menehtyi. Ehkä Antinoos uskoi, että uhraamalla itsensä Egyptin pyhälle joelle hän saisi jumalat ottamaan vastaan hänen elämänsä rakastettunsa puolesta. Hadrianuksen suru oli pohjaton. Antinoos julistettiin jumalaksi, häntä esittäviä muistomerkkejä nousi ympäri imperiumin, ja hänen kuolinpaikalleen perustettiin Antinoopoliksen kaupunki.

Antinoos egyptiläisten näkemyksen mukaan. Antinoos egyptiläisten näkemyksen mukaan.

Lähde : Philip Matyszak & Joanne Berry : Lives of the Romans

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Antiikin historia, Antiikin Rooma, Antinoos, Hadrianus, Keisarin rakastettu, Rooman keisarit

December 18, 2014

Ancient Art

"No! Absolutely not! Not a word of it is true! I did not have...

"No! Absolutely not! Not a word of it is true! I did not have sex with her!"

Even after 1000s of years, some things really do not change: shown here are tablets from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Nuzi (modern Yorghan Tepe, Iraq), which record a court case that took place against the mayor. The Semitic Museum provide the following description:

Thus Kushshi-harbe, the mayor of Nuzi, vehemently denied the accusation of illicit sexual relations, one of the numerous allegations of corruption lodged against him by the citizens of Nuzi. Fourteen largely complete tablets, found in the palace at Location A on the site plan, record depositions against the mayor; other fragments have also been identified as belonging to the dossier. None, however, preserves the court’s verdict. In Tablets 1 and 2 Kushshi-harbe and his henchmen are charged, among other things, with making a door for his private house from wood belonging to the palace, looting a sealed house, numerous thefts and kidnapping.

1 & 2: Tablet, Yorghan Tepe, Stratum II, L2. (AASOR 16, 8; AASOR 16, 1).

This photo was taken while at the Semitic Museum last year at their exhibit: Nuzi and the Hurrians: Fragments from a Forgotten Past, you can check out some of the others taken while at the museum here

Courtesy of the Semitic Museum at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Photo taken by B. Kelly.

Compitum - publications

D. Carmona, La escena típica de la epipólesis. De la épica a la historiografía


D. Carmona, La escena típica de la epipólesis. De la épica a la historiografía, Rome, 2014.

Éditeur : Quasar
Collection : Quaderni di Seminari Romani di cultura greca
296 pages
ISBN : 978-88-7140-563-6
31 €

Sommario: I. Introducción: contenido y objetivos. 1. La epipólesis: estado de la cuestión y objetivos. 2. Metodología. II. La escena típica de la epipólesis en la Iliíada y su adaptación a la historiografía por parte de Tucídides. 1. La epipólesis en la Ilíada. 2. La incorporación de la escena típica de la epipólesis a la historiografía. III. La escena típica de la epipólesis en la historiografía grecolatina: tipología y contenido argumentativo. 1. Según se muestre el proceso de emisión y de recepción del mensaje. 2. Según el momento en que se produzca la epipólesis: antes, durante o después. 3. Según la superficie en la que se lleva a cabo la epipólesis (tierra o mar). 4. Asamblea de tropas y epipólesis: contenido argumentativo y evolución. IV. La epipólesis y la enárgeia: claridad, viveza y heroísmo en las descripciones de batalla. La caracterización del general-soldado. 1. Retórica e historiografía: La importancia de la ékphrasis a la hora de escri­ bir historia. 2. La insercioón de la escena típica de la epipólesis en las descripciones de ba­ talla con grandes dosis de enárgeia. 3. La epipólesis y el ensalzamiento de la figura del general como heéroe homéri­ co: la figura del general-soldado. Conclusiones. Bibliografía. Apéndice: corpus de epipólesis. Index nominum et rerum.

Source : Quasar

R. Brouwer, The Stoic Sage. The Early Stoics on Wisdom, Sagehood and Socrates


R. Brouwer, The Stoic Sage. The Early Stoics on Wisdom, Sagehood and Socrates, Cambridge, 2014.

Éditeur : Cambridge University Press
Collection : Cambridge Classical Studies
242 pages
ISBN : 9781107024212

After Plato and Aristotle, the Stoics, from the 3rd century BCE onwards, developed the third great classical conception of wisdom. This book offers a reconstruction of this pivotal notion in Stoicism, starting out from the two extant Stoic definitions, 'knowledge of human and divine matters' and 'fitting expertise'. It focuses not only on the question of what they understood by wisdom, but also on how wisdom can be achieved, how difficult it is to become a sage, and how this difficulty can be explained. The answers to these questions are based on a fresh investigation of the evidence, with all central texts offered in the original Greek or Latin, as well as in translation. The Stoic Sage can thus also serve as a source book on Stoic wisdom, which should be invaluable to specialists and to anyone interested in one of the cornerstones of the Graeco-Roman classical tradition.

Source : Cambridge University Press

Javier Andreu (Oppida Imperii Romani)



[Retrato de Augusto capite uelato recuperado en 2009 en Bilbilis (Catalayud), recientemente publicado: MARTÍN-BUENO, M., SÁENZ, C., y GODOY, C.: "El Augusto capite uelato de Bilbilis (Calatayud, Zaragoza)", en Actas de la VII Reunión de Escultura Romana en Hispania, Santiago de Compostela, 2013, pp. 182-187 y cartel de la conferencia con la que cerramos este post y, también, el año de Augusto en Oppida Imperii Romani]

2014 ha sido, indiscutiblemente, a nivel investigador -más allá de la efeméride- el año de Augusto. Como los lectores de Oppida Imperii Romani saben ya, en este año que pronto cerramos se han cumplido dos mil años de la muerte, en el 14 d. C., del primer Princeps de Roma, Cayo Octavio Turino, después llamado Augusto. Ha sido un año intenso en materia investigadora con dos principales citas académicas de referencia -amén de algunas otras también importantes que se han llevado a cabo en Mérida o en Cascante- que, si el lector no pudo seguir, habrá de estar atento a la publicación de los resultados:

[1] Coloquio sobre la Hispania de Augusto, organizado por Julio Mangas y por Ana Rodríguez Mayorgas en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid durante el pasado mes de Abril. Reunió medio centenar de contribuciones que están ya siendo editadas para su próxima publicación (en los Anejos de Gerión) en un encuentro que, acaso, tuvo un enfoque más histórico y menos arqueológico aunque, obviamente, se presentaron trabajos desde ambas perspectivas pues no puede ser de otro modo cuando se trata de investigación en Ciencias de la Antigüedad como hemos reivindicado tantas veces en este espacio.

[2] Coloquio internacional August i les províncies Occidentals, segunda edición de la serie Tarraco Biennal, en Tarragona. Un sensacional coloquio -también lo fue el primero- en el que, efectivamente, volvió a ponerse de manifiesto cómo en materia de Antigüedad son las novedades arqueológicas las que han de depararnos más sorpresas y es que, efectivamente, nuestro caudal de conocimiento se ha incrementado, sobre todo -respecto de Augusto- en este sentido. Nosotros mismos contribuimos a este encuentro -también al anterior, en aquél caso con una panorámica sobre Augusto y el territorio vascón- con la presentación del nuevo programa de retratos -que podría incluir al propio Augusto- descubierto el pasado verano en Los Bañales (pincha aquí). 

¿Se ha avanzado mucho en este año en la investigación sobre Augusto? me preguntaba hace unos días una colega del Grupo GRAECAPTA de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de Navarra. Obviamente, la respuesta es clara: no ha habido grandes novedades, desde luego. Además, es cierto que en los últimos años, en materia histórica, por ejemplo, ya las había habido con la constatación de los viajes de Augusto a la Península (pincha aquí para una bien documentada síntesis de los mismos), con la delimitación de la relación de los viajes de Augusto con la promoción jurídica de comunidades (pincha aquí) o con la mejor fijación del calendario de la experiencia augústea en la Península a través de documentos como el Edicto del Bierzo (HEp7, 378). Pero, ciertamente, como sucedió hace algunos años en el Bimilenario de los Flavios, este tipo de reuniones han contribuido a reivindicar el papel de Augusto como pater Hispaniarum (así se le denomina con notable acierto en SÁNCHEZ MORENO, E. (Coord.): Protohistoria y Antigüedad de la Península Ibérica, Sílex, Madrid, 2007) y a poner de relieve que fue, precisamente, su acción política en la Península Ibérica la que introdujo a las Hispaniae en la órbita administrativa y jurídica romana preparando el saeculum aureum que, a partir de los Flavios, viviría el solar peninsular.

Con ese espíritu -y para dar continuidad a los dos anteriores posts que, sobre el "año de Augusto" se han publicado en Oppida Imperii Romani (pincha aquí con una conferencia pronunciada el pasado mes de Junio en la Semana Romana de Cascante, o aquí con una lista de recursos digitales, a partir de la recomendable página Qué Aprendemos Hoy)- este blog quiere cerrar el año compartiendo con todos vosotros una postrera conferencia  dictada el pasado día 18 de Diciembre, Jueves, en la Facultad de Derecho/Zuzenbide Fakultatea de la Universidad el País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibersitatea, en el campus de San Sebastián, un repaso a la política augústea -en materia de promoción de comunidades pero, también, en materia de administración y puesta en explotación de los recursos- llevado a cabo desde la óptica de un espacio geográfico que se concibe, cada vez más claramente, como un "laboratorio" de prácticas políticas y administrativas para Roma desde, prácticamente, el primer cuarto del siglo II a. C.: el Valle del Ebro. ¡Espero que el audio y el material que le acompaña sean de vuestro agrado (nos estrenamos con SlideShare) y, sobre todo, como siempre pretendemos, resulten útiles y más en el marco de la conmemoración, que clausuramos de este modo en nuestro blog, de este -también en este año de 2014, potitus rerum omnium (RG. 34, 1)!

Audio íntegro de la conferencia "Augusto y la política ciudadana en el Valle Medio del Ebro" (San Sebastián, 18 de Diciembre de 2014)

Diapositivas de la conferencia "Augusto y la política ciudadana en el Valle Medio del Ebro" (San Sebastián, 18 de Diciembre de 2014)

Archaeology Magazine

Possible Viking Vessel Identified in Canada

OTTAWA, CANADA—Traces of bronze and glass have been detected on a piece of a small, 1,000-year-old stone vessel recovered from Baffin Island in the 1960s. According to Patricia Sutherland of the University of Aberdeen, Peter Thompson of Peter H. Thompson Geological Consulting, Ltd., and Patricia Hunt of the Geological Survey of Canada, who published their findings in the journal Geoarchaeology, the container was used as a crucible for melting bronze and casting small tools or ornaments. The glass formed when the rock was heated to high temperatures. Indigenous peoples of the Canadian Arctic did not practice high-temperature metalworking at this time, but a similar stone crucible has been found at a Viking site in Norway. “The crucible adds an intriguing new element to this emerging chapter in the early history of northern Canada. It may be the earliest evidence of high-temperature nonferrous metalworking in North America to the north of what is now Mexico,” Sutherland told To read in-depth about some of the earliest evidence of Viking warfare, see "The First Vikings."

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)


In far off Poland, one archaeo-blogger fantasizes about vast treasure houses of looted material in the deserts of Iraq or Syria:

One possibility remains that the 2003+ looting in Iraq (documented on the ground and in satellite photos) resulted in stockpiles of antiquities, bought cheap at source and mothballed in a secure store as an investment, say a retirement nest-egg for some local wiseguy - intended to be sold piecemeal when the fuss dies down in a decade or so. We know holes were dug, stuff hoiked, US and European dealers tell us it never arrived on any market they know -  postulating such warehouses is therefore one (pretty good) way of explaining that evidence.  What's more nobody can say that there are not such warehouses.
Somewhere in Iraq, what's in this building?
If they exist, they could be veritable treasure houses, the buyer had the pick of a vast amount of numbers of objects from the tens of thousands of holes dug in 'productive' areas of productive sites. They could afford to buy the best of the best, sawn-up Assyrian friezes, glyptic  material, cunies, Sumerian statues, Akkadian jewellery, Seleucid bronzes, and coins, loads of coins. You can just imagine it. Rather like a Swiss freeport, just somewhere at the end of a dirt track in the Middle Eastern desert.

You can also imagine it when one day some armed thugs bust their way into the hoarder's house, thrust an AK in the face of his daughter and bawls out that he'll pull the trigger if he does not hand over the keys - and when he gets the keys anyway blows a hole in her head. And then his. They'd come with some guy who knows the trade - ISIL has access to specialists in many fields - who picks out the pieces that give more bucks per transport costs, load them up on some trucks and off they go with them to some market. They can come back for more with impunity until they empty the store of the best bits. Them they might use informants to tell them where the next one is. Plausible? You bet. Did it happen? Could have.

You can imagine too, can't you, the smiling Lebanese dealer shaking hands with the well-dressed man offering him some prime antiquities. The seller is an ISIL political officer, suave and well-groomed in a suit. The dealer is anticipating a good profit, he has some clients on his list (15000 people, you know) who he knows will be very interested in those Assyrian reliefs, no need to put them on open sale, he can sell directly. The coins he can shift too, to America - nobody there asks any difficult questions. Plausible? You bet. Did it happen? Could have.

And he goes further.  Not content to fantasize himself, he also fantasizes that a serious, knowledgeable commentator on the subject shares that same fantasy.  Yet, the fact that this archaeo-blogger does not link to what the commentator actually said, though it is available on the Internet, should raise yet another red flag.  Once again, caveat emptor.

Compitum - publications

M. Budzowska et J. Czerwinska, Ancient Myths in the Making of Culture


Malgorzata BUDZOWSKA et Jadwiga CZERWINSKA (éd.), Ancient Myths in the Making of Culture, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014.

Éditeur : Peter Lang
Collection : Warsaw Studies in Classical Literature and Culture - Volume 3
361 pages
ISBN : ISBN 978-3-631-65176-6
69.95 euros

The reception of Mediterranean Antiquity heritage is one of the dominant research areas in contemporary classical studies. This issue has constituted the scope of the conference Reception of Ancient Myths in Ancient, Modern and Postmodern Culture, which took place at the University of Łódź (Poland) in November 2013. The volume consists of the selected articles based on the conference papers. They are divided into the main chapters: Literature, Visual and Performing Arts and Philosophy as well as Anthropology. The authors consider different methods of reception of ancient myths focusing on various cultural phenomena: literature, fine arts, theatre, cinema and pop culture.

Lire la suite...

Archaeology Magazine

Cathedral Builders Reinforced Stone With Iron

PARIS, FRANCE—A team of French researchers from the Laboratoire archéomatériaux et prévision de l’altération, the Laboratoire de mesure du carbone 14, and the Université Paris 8, has extracted carbon from the iron used to support Gothic cathedrals, and used radiocarbon dating and archaeological evidence to determine that such reinforcements had been implemented in the initial phase of construction. It had been thought that metal reinforcements were added during later modifications or repairs to the stone structures. Up until Europe’s Middle Ages, iron ore was smelt in furnaces powered by charcoal, and as its carbon was released, some of it was trapped in the metal. The new technique can zero in on this carbon for dating purposes. For example, the metallic tie-rods supporting the flying buttresses on the Gothic cathedral in Beauvais have been dated to the beginning of its construction, in the mid-thirteenth century. Graffiti on the flying buttresses dates to the eighteenth century, and it had been thought that the metal may have been added at that time. The cathedral choir in Bourges is supported by an iron chain that dates to the late twelfth century, the time of its construction. The chain, however, skirts a group of columns, while passing under some others, suggesting that it had not been part of the building plan, but had been added as needed by the construction crew. To read about an early medieval cemetery unearthed in France, see "Dark Age Necropolis."

He has a wife you know

professionearcheologo: Huge ancient Roman water basin...


Huge ancient Roman water basin uncovered

Rome, December 3

A dig in Rome related to work on the city’s new C metro line has uncovered the largest ancient Roman water basin ever found, Rossella Rea, the scientific head of the excavation, said on Wednesday. “It was inside an ancient Roman farm, the nearest to the centre of Rome ever found,” said Rea, who leads an all-women team at a site for the construction of a new metro station that also features archaeologists Francesca Montella and Simona Morretta.

The ancient structure, situated in the San Giovanni district of modern-day Rome, is a monster. “It’s so big that it goes beyond the perimeter of the (metro) work site and it has not been possible to uncover it completely,” Rea explained. “It was lined with hydraulic plaster and, on the basis the size that had been determined so far, it could hold more than four million litres of water”.

Rea said it was part of a facility that functioned from the third century BC. “In the first century (AD), structures to lift and distribute the water were added to an agricultural plant that was operative in the third century,” Rea said. “The basin was about 35 metres by 70, covering an area of about a quarter of a hectare. “It seems likely that its main function was to be a water reservoir for crops and an area that made it possible to cope with overflows from the nearby river.

"No other basin from ancient Roman agriculture is of comparable size. "Beyond the walls of the work site it extends toward the (ancient city) wall, where it is probably preserved". She added that the structure also spreads out in another direction, towards an existing metro station of the A line. But she said that part of it was almost certainly "destroyed without its existence ever being documented".

The excavation took place at more than 20 metres below ground. “The historic information about the San Giovanni area (in ancient Roman times) was scarce,” Rea said. “The area underwent transformations that hid republican and imperial age structures that existed up until the third century under metres of soil, first when the Aurelian Walls were built. The urbanisation of the 20th century led to the obliteration of every part of it.

"The dig for the new metro station made it possible to take archaeological research to depths that are otherwise impossible to reach".

(Source :: Photo credit)

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

No-Questions-Asked Artefacts and the Grey Market

Rembrandt carcass of beef
The Die Spiegel article on the German antiquities law reform ( Konstantin von Hammerstein, 'Dubious Provenance: Pressure Grows for Museums to Return Stolen Objects', Der Spiegel December 10, 2014 (originally appeared in German in issue 50/2014 December 8, 2014)) includes a discussion of "Where Are the Artifacts Disappearing To?" 
Currently, the worst looting is happening in Syria and Iraq. The US State Department recently published high-resolution satellite photos of several excavation sites in Syria that provide clues as to the scope of the destruction taking place there. Within two years, the excavation holes at the Classical-period site Dura Europas had been transformed into a wasteland. Three weeks ago, a group of experts met in Paris at the invitation of the International Council of Museums in order to exchange information about what is happening in the region. But the experts had difficulty providing reliable knowledge at the secret meeting. "The region is a black hole" in terms of knowledge, said one participant. Still, it is obvious that major looting is taking place in Syria and northern Iraq. It is also known that Lebanese and Turkish authorities have intercepted many objects at the border in recent months. Turkish officials have reportedly filled several warehouses with seized antiquities. A number of objects have also been discovered at markets in Turkey and Lebanon.  But the lion's share of the stolen objects are simply disappearing. Art dealers claim that they aren't being offered much by way of goods from the Middle East right now and the authorities also haven't registered any major influx of antique objects.
This argument from negative evidence ignores the fact that looting did not begin yesterday - in Iraq it has been going on since the sanctions prior to the 2003 invasion. The question one has to ask is whether the series of dealers all adamant that they've not been offered new stolen stuff are the dealers to whom peddlars of stolen stuff would be going anyway with such goods. Would one notice an "influx' if the material is moving along well-used existing illicit channels?
So what is happening to the stolen objects? It is plausible that they will be kept in storage out of public sight over the next 10 to 15 years and will slowly start appearing on international art markets with forged papers just as soon as the current debate over illicit goods dies down. Another possibility is that wealthy collectors in the Arab region or in the Far East are currently expanding their collections. Experts are certain about one thing. The objects will reemerge at some point in the future -- as has always happened in the past. 
A subsequent section of the text indicates something of the dealers' reaction to the notion that they should be paying more attention to establishing the licit origin of teh goods they offer (it is called "Dealing Fast and Easy in World Heritage"):
Many art dealers claim to have good knowledge of where their objects come from, they're just lacking the right papers. "Do you still have the receipt for every piece furniture that your parents gave to you," asks Vincent Geerling, chairman of the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA). The Dutchman operates his own business in Amsterdam and is also a private collector. No, he says with disarming openness, he only has one object for which he can say precisely where it was excavated. But he says he does know the history of ownership of his antiques. 
How twee. Mr Geeling confuses chalk and cheese. If you were selling meat in the local market, you'd need the paperwork. There are some goods where the history of how they came from the fields, what checks they've been through, and got to that seller are important. If Mr Geeling does not want to be bothered with the paperwork, then let him take up selling something else. Newspapers and stationery.

There is a useful definition of the 'grey' market:

What does appear to be clear is that there are few "white" objects being traded, meaning those for which both the site of discovery and previous ownership can be proven. There are also "black" objects, which are known to have been stolen from a collection or museum. But the majority of objects are "gray" because there is uncertainty about their provenance. "Art dealers like to say that gray is white because it clearly isn't black," explains archeologist Luca Giuliani, rector of Berlin's interdisciplinary Institute for Advanced Study. "And we archeologists say that gray is actually black because it isn't clear that it's white." 

Archaeology Magazine

Royal Entryway Discovered at Herod’s Palace

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL—A monumental entryway to the Herodian Hilltop Palace at Herodium National Park has been unearthed by a team from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The entryway features a complex system of arches spanning its width on three separate levels, and a palace vestibule decorated with frescoes. The archaeologists, Roi Porat, Yakov Kalman, and Rachel Chachy, think that the corridor was back-filled when the hilltop palace was converted into a royal burial mound, and a monumental stairway was constructed from the hill’s base to its peak, over the corridor. Coins and temporary structures from the Great Revolt (66-71 A.D.), and tunnels dug by rebels during the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-136 A.D.), were found in the corridor. The tunnels had been supported by wooden beams and a roof made of woven cypress branches. To read about a hoard dating to the Bar Kokhba Revolt, see "2,000-Year-Old Stashed Treasure."

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Site Looting in Syria, and where we go from here?

Larry Rothfield (Past for Sale) refers to the fuss kicked up by some commentators on "how much" some groups are earnning from looted artefacts as a "tempest in a teapot" and urges that  it not distract us from the main point, that there is hard evidence that market-driven looting of archaeological sites is rampant in Syria ('Numbers that matter: the AAAS Report on Site Looting in Syria, and where we go from here' The Punching Bag, 17th Dec 2014).
What's needed most now, the next step, is not more argument about how much, but more clarity about where and how looted materials move from site to various destinations, through what exchanges, with what participants.  That information in turn will help inform market design research by economists, by providing answers to such questions as:  Where, if anywhere, are the most fragile links in the supply-chains? Where can leverage be most effectively brought to bear (for instance, by the US on emirates that are providing freeports for transiting illicit antiquities and enabling their own wealthy citizens to amass collections of illicit antiquities)? How can the various tools of governmental and intergovernmental action be used not to make these markets more efficient but to disrupt, cool, or smother them?
Here, of course the collaboration of those involved in the antiquities trade would be of great help. Do they want to actually provide it?

Making Sense of the AAAS Analysis of Damage to Historical Sites in Syria

The four sites discussed here
The American Association for the Advancement of Science has carried out an analysis of high-resolution satellite images that documents the extent of the destruction of a number of sites in Syria (Kathy Wren, 'AAAS Analysis Shows Widespread Looting and Damage to Historical Sites in Syria', 17 December 2014). The report discusses however only six of the 12 sites that Syria has nominated as World Heritage Sites: Dura Europos, Ebla, Hama's Waterwheels, Mari, Raqqa, and Ugarit (they promise a forthcoming report which will analyse the additional six sites). A lot of the damage observed  appears to be the result of widespread looting which as Sam Hardy notes, is occurring within regime and rebel territories as well as under jihadist rule.The reviewed text however does not really make the effort to place the evidence of the satellite photos in any kind of historical context. For that the reader has to go to Sam Hardy's careful exegesis which I extract here ('Antiquities looting under regime, rebels and jihadists in Syria', December 18, 2014). I really think we should also be asking what is currently happening in Iraq at the same time as the events leaving the traces seen here.

Dura Europos, Deir ez-Zor province
This was the site with the most extensive looting identified in the AAAS report, and this has clearly been taking place on an industrial scale, with reports of teams 300-strong. The site was still relatively intact in late September 2012:
AAAS: Based on the imagery analysis, 76% of the area within the city wall had been damaged by April 2014, and the looting pits were so close together it was impossible to distinguish individual pits, the researchers report. Looting pits outside the city wall were less dense but still numerous; approximately 3,750 individual pits were observed. Images from 2 April 2014 show four vehicles among the ancient Roman ruins in close proximity to the looting, suggesting that the disturbances at the site may have been ongoing at that time, according to the report.
Sam Hardy comments:
The Islamic State took over Dura-Europos in September [2014]. In November [2014], the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), which operates in regime territory, said that looting at Dura-Europos had stopped. Considering the damage, if that’s true, it may be because the site has been mined out. So, it seems that the worst damage, the industrial-scale looting of the site, was done when the site was under Free Syrian Army control (against the local community’s wishes).
Who, however, now has control of the artefacts taken from the site during this looting?

Mari, Deir ez-Zor province
Significant looting has also been documented at Mari (Tell Hariri). As Sam Hardy notes, this seems to have taken place under predominantly Islamist factional rule then probably also Islamic State rule. The 4 August 2011 image of Mari (here) shows no signs of looting. On 25 March 2014 (here), numerous pits are present at the site. By 11 November 2014 (here), these pits had been joined by over one thousand more.
AAAS: The Albu Kamal region, where Mari is located, came under the control of ISIS in June 2014.The looting appears to have ramped up during the last year. The researchers identified 165 visible pits dug between August 2011 and March 2014 (an average of 0.17 pits formed per day). Between 25 March and 11 November 2014, however, they identified 1,286 new pits, an average rate of 5.5 pits dug every day over the seven-month period.
Sam Hardy usefully expands on this:
On the 4th of August 2011, Mari remained unlooted; by the 25th of March 2014, a 500(?)-strong team of looters had dug 165 more holes (0.17 pits per day); by the 11th of November 2014, looters had dug another 1,286 holes (5.5 pits per day). (The satellite image data seem to suggest that either these huge teams plundered sites in incredibly intensive episodes or the reports of hundreds-strong workforces were inaccurate.) As Paul Barford observed, at least the earliest looting work was ‘very likely to be the work of the villagers whose houses are just nearby (and who may have worked on the sites when the archaeologists were digging here)’. That had already started by the 21st of December 2012, while the Abu Kamal/Albukamal region ‘came under the control of ISIS in June 2014‘. Between those dates, it was under the shared control of Jabhat al-Nusra-affiliated Islamist Kata’ib Junud al-Haq, Jabhat al-Nusra-aligned Islamist Katiba Bayariq al-Sunna, Free Syrian Army -affiliated Kata’ib Allahu Akbar, Free Syrian Army brigade Liwa Allahu Akbar, independent anti-regime brigade Liwa al-Mujahid Omar al-Mukhtar, and independent Islamist brigade Liwa al-Qadisiya al-Islamiya, and it was seriously contested by the Islamic State from April until the end of June. There do not appear to be satellite images that would identify which authority oversaw the most looting. However, since there was comparatively little looting before the fight for Albukamal, it seems reasonable to assume that most of the looting happened after Islamic State conquest.

Ebla (Tell Mardikh) 
The date of the military fortification of this site and its looting (photo here) are unclear and at present it is still unknown whether this took place when under regime control and/or joint rebel-jihadist control
AAAS: The images in the analysis show looting pits, including 45 new holes observed between 18 August 2013 and 4 August 2014, as well as eroded walls, earthen berm fortifications, and heavy vehicle tracks. Military compounds have been constructed on the site, likely due to the fact that the site is elevated over the surrounding plain and provides a good view of the area.
Sam's expansion:
Ebla is in a territory that appears to have been under regime control until March-May 2014, when mixed rebel and jihadist forces took control of the area. It appears to have been militarised between the 18th of August 2013 and the 4th of August 2014. Within the same period, looters dug 45 new holes. So, it is not clear whether the looting occurred when it was under regime control, rebel-and-jihadist control, or both.
Sam comments that it is clear that Apamea suffered ‘stunning’ looting while the area, and indeed the site itself were under regime control.

The AAAS report found evidence of targeted destruction of monuments in the city of Raqqa, " the result of actions by ISIS," the report states. Sam Hardy notes that "there is evidence that Raqqa district has suffered significant looting too, for example in Dibsi Afnan. Apparently, at least at Tell Sheikh Hasan near Raqqa city, local community activity has ended the plunder".

The two other sites that the AAAS researchers analyzed — the historic waterwheels of Hama and the ancient site of Ugarit do not appear to have been damaged.


Ancient Peoples

Statuette of a king: the figure of a beardless king wearing a...

Statuette of a king: the figure of a beardless king wearing a white crown, the weight of which seems to be pushing out the tops of his huge ears. Wrapped in a short, stiff robe, he strides forward on his left leg. Perhaps the most striking aspect of the figure is the sense of age conveyed by the stoop of the king’s shoulders, the forward thrust of his neck, and the droop (possibly somewhat exaggerated by weathering) of his long, pointed chin. Though a few would disagree, most believe that this is a depiction of an aged king. The robe is the type worn by kings during the sed-festival. This ceremony of royal rejuvenation was already in existence at the beginning of the First Dynasty. Here, the garment has the form of robes shown on other Early Dynastic representations of this ceremony. Unlike other versions of the robe, however, the material is patterned, with a design of diamond shapes bordered by two bands of guilloche. The designs were carved with such plasticity that even the under-and-over intertwining of the strips in the guilloche bands can still be seen. The effect strongly suggests woven designs in a heavy fabric, rather than painting on leather, as has sometimes been suggested. The most singular feature of the robe is a sort of flap that hangs down over each shoulder. These “epaulets” are worn and cracked and extremely hard to see, but the better-preserved example, on the left shoulder, apparently has a scalloped edge. The objects appear to be unique, and no one has yet come up with a satisfactory identification or explanation, apart from a tentative (and unlikely) suggestion that they might represent animal paws. The arms of the figure are held at the front, by the fold of the cloak, and it is possible that the band of the robe hung over the right hand.

Source: British Museum

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #636

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

Final Report on the Excavation of the Stone Circle at Old Keig, Aberdeenshire.

Boxgrove: Palaeolithic hunters by the seashore

A Norwegian Mortgage, or Deed of Pawn, of Land in Shetland, 1597.

Beverley in the Olden Times

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

The Archaeology News Network

Sanctuary of Asclepius in Epidaurus to get a makeover

The sanctuary of the God-Physician Asclepius in Epidaurus, southern Greece, is to get a makeover, as part of a project that will be included in National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds for 2014-2020. Theatre at Epidaurus [Credit: Protothema]According to Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis, the budget for the project amounts to 5,650,000 euros. The purpose of the initiative is to make...

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

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Palilia Project

Palilia Project
The volumes of the series called "Palilia" existing since 1997 by the Rome Department of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) are not only impressive on account of their excellent readability but also their handy size. In order to guarantee this continuously and to allow the publication of works based on extensive documentation of archaeological material at the same time, CoDArchLab and the DAI Rome are treading a new path of archaeological publication: Supplementation of printed works by digital provision of additional materials using the adapted book structure. The volumes of the Palilia-serie themselves are independent and completely comprehensible in their reasoning. At the same time they are also readable and manageable. Readers who want to see details of the material are invited to take a look at the catalogues of each volume available in Arachne. On this page you get to the individual supplements of the Palilia-volumes. If you are interested in the volumes themselves, please contact the Reichert Verlag (link:

To the catalogues available in Arachne:
Palilia 20: Alexandra W. Busch, Military in Rome. Military and paramilitary units in the imperial cityscape
Palilia 24: Johannes Lipps, The Basilica Aemilia on the Forum Romanum. The building and its ornamentation in imperial times (Dissertation, Cologne 2008)
Palilia 25: Martin Tombrägel, The Republican otium-villas at Tivoli (Dissertation, Marburg 2005)
Palilia 26: Wolfgang Ehrhardt, Decorative and residential context. Removal, restoration and preservation of wall paintings in the Campanian antique sites.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Blood, Treasure and Islamic State: War, Extremism and Looting of Culture

"Blood, Treasure and Islamic State: War, Extremism and Looting of Culture" was an event hosted in the House of Lords in the UK, organized by Tasoula Hadjitofi ('Walk of Truth') on 16th December 2014, under the auspices of Baroness Berridge.
Tasoula Hadjitofi, Founder of "Walk of Truth", former Honorary Consul of the Republic of Cyprus in The Netherlands and former Representative of the Church of Cyprus. Mrs Hadjitofi, a refugee from Famagusta as a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, served as Honorary Consul in The Netherlands where she sought justice for the looting of Cyprus' cultural heritage through repatriation of its stolen religious artefacts. Her work with Archbishop Chrysostomos I culminated in her orchestrating the Munich Operation, which led to the arrest of art trafficker Aydin Dikmen and the recovery of over $60 million of stolen antiquities from Cyprus and around the world. Mrs Hadjitofi's non-governmental organisation, 'Walk of Truth', continues to engage citizens and leaders of the world regarding the importance of protecting the shared cultural heritage of Cyprus and the recognition that the responsibility of its survival lies "with each of us". 
Prof. Dr. Willy Bruggeman, Chairman of the Belgian Federal Police Council, and former Deputy Director of Europol talked on "Looted Arts: New kind of Blood money" , and  Baron Serve Brammertz, Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia talked on  "Destruction of Cultural Heritage as a Weapon of War". This was balanced by Professor Normal Palmer, CBE QC (Hon). who discussed "What Law can and can't do". A video uploaded by the 'Walk of Truth', can be seen here. See also the "Walk of Truth" website.

Stemming a Tide of Cultural Theft

Another report on the Berlin conference (Alison Smale, 'Stemming a Tide of Cultural Theft' New York Times Dec. 17, 2014).
After a decade of turmoil, and a longer stretch of wilful destruction, the world’s antiquities are in such jeopardy that preservationists are sounding a screeching alarm.[...] while the fighting in the region has been devastating to scores of heritage sites — decay, negligence and religious fervor also have taken a heavy toll — the destruction is also driven by the persistent demand for looted goods, European experts said. Many participants called for tightening laws to make it more difficult for the very wealthy to acquire tangible bits of world history.[...] Over all, many experts blame illicit cultural deals on the desire of wealthy people to have an ancient piece of culture to boast about.“There is no business if there are no buyers,” said France Desmarais, a Canadian expert with the International Museum Conference in Paris, which has 33,000 members worldwide. “Don’t buy this stuff!”

There is now:
 a proposal for what experts say would be the most far-reaching laws regulating the booming market in cultural property. Ms. Grütters outlined plans for a new law that would require documented provenance for any object entering or leaving Germany, long among the laxest of regulators of the art market. Among other measures, dealers would be required to show a valid export permit from the source of the piece’s origins when entering Germany. Countries like Switzerland, and European Union members like France, Italy and Britain, have in recent years considerably tightened their rules, and are now re-examining them. [...] the German proposal could be “a big step,” said Neil Brodie "[...] "the Germans are now looking to go one step further,” he said. “You don’t just have to prove something is not guilty, but show that it is innocent.”
Vincent Geerling, chairman of the International Association of Dealers in ancient art, insisted that “we don’t need an extra German law.” Museums and serious collectors can police themselves, he suggested.
Yeah, right, like they've all been doing since 1970.

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Tackle the Problem at the Source

Jim McAndrew, a former senior special agent with Homeland Security, warns against assumptions that looted Syrian material is coming here in any quantity.  In so doing, he rightly concludes the best place to focus resources is on Syria's borders.

The Archaeology News Network

Byzantine skull shows evidence of brain surgery

The identification of a cut on a skull that was unearthed during the Bathonea excavations, which archaeologists have been conducting in the Küçükçekmece lake basin for the last five years, appears to reveal that brain surgery was performed 1,000 years ago. A skull found in one of the graves reveals a successful brain  operation from Byzantine times [Credit: AA] One of the excavation team members, forensic science expert Ömer...

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

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Verona's ancient theatre to be restored

Verona’s famed Roman amphitheatre, home to one of the world’s premier opera festivals,...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Artefacts returned to Turkish government

The ICE calls them "dozens of priceless historical artifacts dating back more than 2,500 years" (which is probably why some journalists have no problem with billion-dollar sums quoted for the antiquities trade). A load of artefacts looted in the Republic of Turkey and illegally smuggled into the United States were returned to the Turkish government Wednesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The artifacts were intercepted at Newark International Airport by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in February 2013 and HSI Newark returned the items Tuesday subsequent to an investigation that determined the artifacts were illegally smuggled out of Turkey using false documentation destined for an individual in Illinois. [...] The Turkish government received the following items dating to the 6th Century B.C.: 48 ancient arrowheads, 15 ancient coins, one ancient ring, one ancient metal horse trapping cheek piece HSI's specially trained investigators assigned to both domestic and international offices, partner with governments, agencies and experts to protect cultural antiquities. They also provide cultural property investigative training to law enforcement partners for crimes involving stolen property and art, and how to best enforce the law to recover these items when they emerge in the marketplace.
"Enforcing the law" involves punishing those breaking laws by selling and buying this stuff. The "individual in Illinois" is probably sitting at home now oblivious to the self-gratulatory HSI hoo-ha and smiling serenely as he sips red wine and browses dealers' pages to find more trophies for his growing collection. When are journalists going to ask routinely at such press presentations "yes, but what happened to the smugglers (consigner and conspiring consignee)?"

ICE, 'Priceless 6th Century B.C. historical artifacts returned to Turkish government', 10 December 2014.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Obvious Things to Mention if Jesus were Divine

It struck me recently that there are so many things that Paul never says, which we might expect him to mention if he thought of Jesus as God. What is the significance of a divine being becoming human? Of a divine being being crucified? Of a divine being returning to heaven after having done these things? Paul talks about Jesus’ obedience, but it doesn’t seem to be connected for him with a divine person being obedient, which raises unique issues, as later Christians who thought of Jesus in these terms realized. He talks about Jesus’ exaltation to heaven, but it is never depicted unambiguously as a return to a place where Jesus had been before. Sometimes silences are important – but it can be very hard to notice what someone never says, if we already have in our minds the assumption that they were thinking in these terms. And yet, if they were thinking in these terms, their silences seem inexplicable.

On a related note, some have understood the reference to Jesus being “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4) as indicating a virginal conception. But it does no such thing. In the Gospels, Jesus refers to John the Baptist as the greatest among those born of women. It is just an expression that means “human being.” (See also Daniel Gulotta’s post on what Paul knew about Jesus).

Also of interest elsewhere around the blogosphere, Dale Tuggy blogged about whether Jesus (as depicted in the New Testament) had faith in God.

Larry Hurtado has an interesting post about Mark’s Christology, and how to plausibly make sense of its lack of any mention of Jesus’ pre-existence if Paul was already talking about the idea some decades earlier. Of course, one option would be to follow James Crossley and Maurice Casey in dating Mark to the 40s- perhaps this is a good argument in favor of that view?

Andrew Perriman discusses Bauckham’s treatment of Jesus’ sitting on the divine throne, which Perriman rightly points out fails to do justice to the fact that Jesus is exalted and given authority to sit and rule as he does by God, which seems to include Jesus in God’s sovereignty in a manner that explicitly distinguishes him from God’s identity.

Michael Kruger actually highlights what is missing from Paul, when he cites a second century source which makes the kinds of points we would expect Paul to, if he thought of Jesus as God incarnate.

Finally, related to historical study of Jesus, Daniel Gulotta offers a defense of the criterion of embarrassment.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Antiquities under the hammer: The Berlin report on Berlin Conference "Cultural Property in Danger"

"Legal nach Deutschland eingeführte Antiken sind seltene Ausnahme"
Museumsexperte Müller-Karpe:
 There is a report in the Tagesspiegel on the Berlin Conference "Kultur in Gefahr" (Michael Zajonz, 'Antike unterm Hammer: Berliner Tagung „Kulturgut in Gefahr“...', 13th Dec 201) which is the prelude to legal changes in the country to Poland's west. It was intended to illustrates the extent of the illegal antiquities trade and the threat to the global heritage this poses. The organizer were hoping to show how stricter laws against looting and the trade in ancient treasures are essential, and the need for Germany to face its obligations in this regard. The conference, at the the Foreign Office , was well attended by archaeologists, lawyers, police officers and art dealers as well as visiting government officials from around the world (including the new Egyptian Cultural Minister Mamdouh Mohamed Gad El-Damaty).  The reaction to the conference showed, the Tagesspiegel says that the issue - formerly mainly of concern only to the professional world - is finally attracting the requisite attention of politicians and the public. Part of the reason for this is the realisation that the sale of antiquities could be going to finance socially-unacceptable ends, such as 'filling the war-chests' of militant groups in the Middle east.
Auch wenn die aktuellen Bilder vom Krieg bedrohter und von Raubgräbern geplünderter archäologischer Stätten besonders im Mittleren Osten [...] die Dramatik der Lage unterstreichen, ist das Problem ein altes, zudem ein viel zu lange verschlepptes. 1970 verabschiedete die Unesco die maßgebliche Konvention zum Kulturgüterschutz, 1995 folgte die juristisch konkretere Unidroit-Konvention. Der 1970er Konvention ist die Bundesrepublik erst 2007 beigetreten, als einer der letzten von mittlerweile 123 Vertragsstaaten. Kulturstaatsministerin Monika Grütters hat in Berlin deutlich gemacht, dass die Kulturnation Deutschland auch völkerrechtlich ihrer Verantwortung gerecht werden muss. Zu viel steht auf dem Spiel.
Germany took 37 years before it ratified the treaty and implemented it in national law. The legal hurdles in the law have been put so high that no a single illegal object has been restored to its proper owner as a result of the regulation. The proposed new German legislation was introduced to the delegates:
Kulturstaatsministerin Monika Grütters kündigt in ihrem Grußwort die längst überfällige Vorlage des neuen Kulturgutschutzgesetzes für Mitte 2015 an, „eines der wichtigsten Gesetzesvorhaben meines Hauses“. Archäologische Objekte sollen künftig nur noch mit gültigen Ausfuhrgenehmigungen der Herkunftsländer nach Deutschland eingeführt werden dürfen, eine Art „Antikenpass“, der möglichst aussagekräftige Informationen enthält. [...]  Die neue Einfuhrregelung löst das wenig praktikable Listenverfahren des derzeit in Deutschland geltenden Kulturgüterrückgabegesetzes von 2007 ab, mit dem bislang keine einzige Rückgabe an ein Herkunftsland erreicht werden konnte. Aufgrund der Gesetzeslage gehört Deutschland seit einigen Jahrzehnten zu den Hauptumschlagplätzen des illegalen Kunsthandels – Tendenz steigend.
The main problem was that the 2007 legislation (building on Art 5(b) of the 1970 UNESCO Convention) applied only to objects inventorised as part of the cultural property of the source state, it therefore did not cover anything clandestinely excavated and only "surfaced" when it was out of the country. Not only the trade in high-end illicit antiquities is a matter for concern but in particular the so-called minor antiquities:
Auf leicht zu findenden Internetportalen werden auch unzählige Allerweltsobjekte wie Münzen oder Öllämpchen gehandelt, deren materieller Wert nur wenige Euro beträgt und deren Gehalt an wissenschaftlichen Informationen nach der gewaltsamen Entfernung aus dem Fundkontext für immer verloren ist. Münzen und Tonscherben dienen Archäologen seit jeher zur Datierung. Fehlen diese, bleiben die ergrabenen Mauerreste sprachlos. 

Ancient Peoples

Parthenon Sculptures Marble relief (Block XXVII) from the North...

Parthenon Sculptures

Marble relief (Block XXVII) from the North frieze of the Parthenon. The frieze shows the procession of the Panathenaic festival, the commemoration of the birthday of the goddess Athena.

The block is composed of several fragments split between the British Museum and the Acropolis Museum in Athens. They show a foot soldier and a charioteer. The helmet of the foot soldier with its horse hair crest, the body armour and the upper part of his shield are well preserved. On the same block to the right is carved a groom standing at the head of a team of four horses.

Source: British Museum

American Philological Association

Supporting Greek and Latin teaching in UK schools

The other day I ran across a program that was new to me. It's called "Classics in Communities," and its purpose is to support Greek and Latin teaching by offering workshops for secondary school teachers. It looks like it could be an effective form of outreach. From a conversation on Facebook, I learned about a some similar efforts in the US at the local and regional level, but I wonder whether it would make sense to try this at the national level here as well? Is that a good or a bad idea? What would it take to make it happen?

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Thousands-year-old bones come to surface in Istanbul

The identification of a cut on a skull that was unearthed during the Bathonea excavations, which...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie
ISSN: 1423-8756
As successor to the Chroniques Archéologiques, edited between 1984 and 1997, the Cahiers d'Archéologie Fribourgeoise present the results of excavations that took place in the Canton of Fribourg as well as the various activities of the Archaeology Department of the State of Fribourg. Since 1999, this yearly publication contains a series of richly illustrated articles and thematic reports in French or in German

Period of publication
Volume 1
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 2
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 3
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 4
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 5
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 6
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 7
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 8
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 9
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 10
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 11
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 12
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Volume 13
Cahiers d'archéologie fribourgeoise = Freiburger Hefte für Archäologie

Formerly: Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundberich
Volume -
Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundbericht

Volume -
Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundbericht

Volume -
Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundbericht

Volume -
Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundbericht

Volume -
Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundbericht

Volume -
Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundbericht

Volume -
Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundbericht

Volume -
Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundbericht

Volume -
Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundbericht

Volume -
Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundbericht

Volume -
Chronique archéologique = Archäologischer Fundbericht

Archaeological News on Tumblr

2,000-year-old Palace Entryway Found in Judea

Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologists have discovered a massive and elaborate entryway to...

The Archaeology News Network

Entrance to King Herod the Great's palace unearthed

Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologists have unearthed a unique royal entryway to the Herodian Hilltop Palace. The main feature is a 20-meter-high corridor with a complex system of arches, allowing the King and his entourage direct passage into the palace courtyard. During the excavations, the original palace vestibule, decorated with painted frescoes, was also exposed. Aerial view of the acropolis of Herodium [Credit:...

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

ISAW News Blog

Bransbourg honored with the Ordre des Palmes académiques

ISAW Research Associate Gilles Bransbourg has been named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques by decree of the French Prime Minister, on nomination by the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education, and Research. According to the website of the American Society of the French Academic Palms, “The French Academic Palms recognizes those who have rendered eminent service to French education and have contributed actively to the prestige of French culture. For those who are named and promoted in the Order of the French Academic Palms (l’Ordre des Palmes académiques), this esteemed distinction acknowledges their merits, talents, and exemplary activities.” The order, created by Napoleon I, is the oldest non-military decoration in France.

The Ancient Graffiti Project

December Updates

Dec. 15, 2014:
Our first field season was held in Herculaneum during summer 2014. As of December 15, 2014, we have digitized and made available through the Epigraphic Database Roma sixty graffiti that we documented there.

During fall 2014, we have also been creating a freely available, open-source map of Herculaneum through OpenStreetMap. We are happy to announce that map is now complete. We aim to have it clickable, fully functional, and linked to the digitized graffiti by the end of next summer.

OSM_HerculaneumWe are currently working on processing additional graffiti from Herculaneum, texts and incised drawings, as well as graffiti from Pompeii, Insulae I.6 and I.7.

Happy holidays!

ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

Beyond Ceramic Unguentaria

A Closer Look at Late Antique Trade of Glass Unguentaria in the Roman Province of Egypt


At the 2014 ASOR Read more

BiblePlaces Blog

Monumental Entrance Discovered at Herodium

The more you learn, the more you discover how little you know. That seems to be the story at Herodium, as the uncovering of a monumental entrance suggests a more complicated building history than previously understood. From a press release of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem:

Archaeologists from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology have discovered a monumental entryway to the Herodian Hilltop Palace at the Herodium National Park. The unique complex was uncovered during excavations by The Herodium Expedition in Memory of Ehud Netzer over the past year, as part of a project to develop the site for tourism.

The main feature of the entryway is an impressive corridor with a complex system of arches spanning its width on three separate levels. These arches buttressed the corridor’s massive side-walls, allowing the King and his entourage direct passage into the Palace Courtyard. Thanks to the supporting arches, the 20-meter long and 6-meter wide corridor has been preserved to a height of 20 meters.

The Hebrew University archaeologists — Roi Porat, Yakov Kalman and Rachel Chachy — suggest that the corridor was built as part of Herod’s plan to turn Herodium into a massive artificial volcano-shaped hill, a vast and impressive monument designed to commemorate the architect-King.

Surprisingly, during the course of the excavations, it became evident that the arched corridor was never actually in use, as prior to its completion it became redundant. This appears to have happened when Herod, aware of his impending death, decided to convert the whole hilltop complex into a massive memorial mound, a royal burial monument on an epic scale.

Whatever the case, the corridor was back-filled during the construction of the massive artificial hill at the end of Herod’s reign. The upper section of a new monumental stairway stretching from the hill’s base to its peak, constructed during the course of this building phase, appears to have been built over it.

The excavators point out that not only was the arched corridor covered over in the course of the construction of the hill-monument, but also all the structures earlier built by Herod on the hill’s slopes, including the Royal Theater uncovered by the expedition in 2008, while still led by Prof. Ehud Netzer, since deceased.

The press release continues with more discussion of the site history as well as plans to allow visitors access to all of the new discoveries. Photos are available here.


Monumental entrance to Herodium
Photo credit: The Herodium Expedition at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

The Archaeology News Network

Egypt reopens tomb of Nefertari as tourism falls

Egypt plans to reopen the royal tomb of Nefertari, a wife of Ramesses II (who reigned from 1279BC to 1213BC), on a regular basis after it was closed for eight years because of concerns over the condition of the site’s wall paintings. A wall painting from Nefertari's tomb [Credit: TNN]The burial site in the Valley of the Queens was opened for ten days in mid-October to celebrate the 110th anniversary of its discovery by the Italian...

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

Corinthian Matters

Daniel Stewart, on Rural Sites in Roman Greece

Bill Caraher’s review of Daniel Stewart’s recent article on Rural Sites in Roman Greece inspired me to plow through the piece this morning before turning to grading final exams and projects from my course in Historical Archaeology. I won’t repeat Caraher’s insightful points of review of the survey methods section of the article except to note that Stewart’s essay offers a selective, but valuable overview of the study of rural Roman Greece today. There’s an up-to-date bibliography, a good selection of trends in intensive survey method (in respect to Roman Greece), and excellent figures. As a table-lover, I enjoyed his tabular presentation of the periodization schemes for regional survey projects and the comparison of site classification by regional surveys.

On the broadest level, the article outlines the sorts of methodological and interpretive issues that are now vital to consider when studying the Roman landscapes of Greece. Stewart begins in the same place Susan Alcock began her work on Graecia Capta (1993)—with an outline of the problem of the picture of depopulation and decline presented by textual sources of Roman Greece. However, recognizing that this article was not the place to synthesize our knowledge of Roman rural Greece, Stewart sticks to a series of interpretative and methodological issues. Especially important are the concepts of dissonance and fluidity in human and archaeological landscapes:

“The landscape itself is an ephemeral thing: seemingly static but constantly in motion; appearing timeless but subject to radical morphological change. Though walking through a Greek landscape frequently feels like you are stepping through history, it is not the same landscape as that traversed by the inhabitants of Roman Greece. Even the coastline is different. The predominant material evidence itself is also unusual in archaeological terms: a partial surface reflection of subsurface remains that appear as a smear across the landscape, lacking depth, temporality and only crudely associated spatially. Most of what is recovered cannot be dated, only counted (for a summary of issues in landscape archaeology, see Stewart 2013b: 6–14). Unlike urban locales, the places where archaeological evidence exists are not even necessarily the foci of the most significant ancient behaviours – most of our evidence relates to agricultural production, storage and transport, yet these are ‘end-point’ evidence of behaviours that are focused on fields of crops or flocks of animals.”

A range of disjunctures and complexities separate us from past landscapes. In place of master narratives is regionalism, the recognition that things were different in different places. There is no single approach to studying rural landscapes but a multiplicity of “negotiations between the landscapes of the imagination and the physical landscapes we encounter in Greece.” While this is not particularly satisfying, Stewart’s piece neatly represents our new age of reflection on the problems and meaning of survey archaeology data.

My only quibble is that Stewart seems to downplay the value of literary sources. With many other scholars, Stewart notes that textual sources have created our principal interpretative problem for understanding rural landscapes of Roman Greece—the trope of depopulation and decline—and that intensive survey methods mark the best approach to studying landscapes. I value the contribution of regional survey, of course, but I have increasingly seen the value in more integrative approaches to bringing literature and material culture together in our studies of Roman Greece.

If you’re interested, Stewart has written more extensively on the subject in Reading the Landscapes of the Rural Peloponnese: Landscape Change and Regional Variation in an Early “Provincial” Setting. BAR International Series 2504. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2013.  I’ve added this to my January term reading list. Speaking of which, this brief post will be the last from me for the year. The other contributors to this blog may post, but I’m out on vacation. Happy holidays! We’ll see you in January.

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Mackenzie Crook Likes Coincraft!

It is my father's business, and he's normally super discrete about clients, but when one praises Coincraft ... ;-)

'I am the curator of an exhibition no one visits' | Life and style | The Guardian:

I now have hundreds. I don’t buy on eBay – it would be too easy. Plus you don’t see what you’re getting, and there are a lot of fakes out there. Part of the fun of it for me is going to coin dealers. The best place in London – possibly the country – is Coincraft on Great Russell Street. It’s a great little Dickensian shop, very small and dark. They know absolutely everything there is to know.
Coincraft closes tomorrow evening for the holidays (so no last minute gift shopping next week ...), but Mackenzie Crook's charming comedy series Detectorists [DVD] is available instead.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LOST Rewatch: Adrift

This episode focuses on the survivors of the raft, as well as backing up and showing Locke’s first exploration down the hatch. When Desmond first sees Locke, he asks, “Are you him?” Locke answers, “Yes I am.” Desmond asks him, “What did one snowman say to the other snowman?” and then realizes Locke is not the person he was waiting a long time for. Desmond asks how many of the flight survivors have gotten sick, and is surprised that no one has. The beeping starts, and so Desmond has Locke type in the numbers.

We see Charlie’s Virgin Mary statue. He emphasizes to Claire that it is holy, and might be a good thing to have around, not saying the real reason is the heroin hidden inside.

The episode’s flashbacks focus on Michael’s attempts to keep Walt’s mother from taking him to Rome and allowing her husband to adopt him.

I caught the glimpse of a Dharma logo on the shark, but only because I was looking for it. It is a great example of how LOST was written for an era when people would pause playback and examine details closely.

The episode ends with Michael and Sawyer making it back to the island, just in time to encounter Jin running out of the jungle, fleeing from “others.”

This episode thus features two things that LOST did well: going back to fill in a story we have already seen but adding new perspectives and details; and making us think we know what we are seeing, only to reveal that we were wrong.

LOST Adrift



Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Some thoughts on Marilyn Johnson’s Lives in Ruins

Over the last month there has been steadily more buzz on Marilyn Johnson’s Lives in Ruins. I was lucky enough to get and enjoy an advance copy and had planned to write a traditional review as soon as book came out. Then I remembered that I don’t usually write formal reviews here on The Blog, so I shelved the project and time passed and other things came up.

This past week a few friends have been bantering about the book and it received some good press over at The New Yorker.  So now, amid the social and old media buzz, I figure I should write down a few of my thoughts on the book.

In the interest of full disclosure (which is rarely very interesting), I met with Johnson after an AIA talk in New York City last year and chatted a bit about my work. We then corresponded about contemporary and punk archaeology over email. She was curious and gracious and even apologized for not including material from our conversations in her book. 

Not only did I like her, but I also liked her book. I bought a copy for my mother for Christmas!

I thought that she was very effective in drawing characters as lively as any I’ve met in the archaeological profession. She also balanced the struggles of professional archaeologists against their triumphs and the haves, personified by none other than Joan Connelly, against the have nots like Kathy Abbas who scrubbed floors to fund her quixotic campaign to document an 18th century fleet in Newport Harbor. Her survey of the field ranged from historical archaeologists of the Caribbean to Connelly’s work on Cyprus to contract archaeologists in New York state, forensic archaeologists in New Jersey, and government archaeologists for the US Military. Her book, then, provided a sweeping view of the profession and lingered well outside the insulating walls of academia. I suspect that the picture of the field and the discipline will sit well with many of my professional colleagues. 

Despite this, I still felt something was a bit off in the book. Something did not quite coincide with my experience in the discipline. Some of this feeling was almost certainly a product of the medium – popular non-fiction. The stories included in the book tended to follow a certain formula that created a satisfying rhythm to the narrative: first I did or said THIS, and no one believed me, peopled didn’t recognized my work, or people thought I was crazy, but then THIS, and everyone realized that I was right all alone. I think Hayden White would call this comedic mode of emplotment, not because it’s funny, but because her narratives tend toward the conservative and the socially integrating. In the end, Grant Gillmore, our struggling Caribbeanist hero, gets a job; Bill Sandy is able to forestall (for now, good reader!) the destruction of an important 18th century cemetery; Laurie Rush was able to promote to meaningful changes to the US Military’s policies toward cultural heritage. This is not to suggest that Johnson’s book is naive or unrealistic. She recognized the ongoing struggles of Sandy and Abbas in funding their projects, but there is this optimism throughout that, ultimately, the intrinsically compelling nature of our discipline and its practitioners will win out. This, of course, makes for compelling reading especially to a generation raised on the satisfying glow of situation comedies where confusion, antics, and pratfalls resolve themselves and life goes on the way that it should. Archaeology and truth win out. 

This is not to suggest that there wasn’t some hints at personal heroism (that is, suggestive of the Romantic or even the Tragic modes of emplotment) reinforced by the moral good of the individuals and their pursuits, but generally speaking the integrity of the discipline and methods, practices, and truth carry us forward.

So maybe it was the focus on individual and their place within the discipline that left me a bit unsatisfied. I think that I wanted to read something less conventional and less resolved. Archaeology for all its romance and appeal is not something that is achieved as much as something that is constantly produced through interactions between archaeologists in the field, in publications, and both within and outside of disciplinary media. The challenge of constructing a discipline with practice, methods, policies, ethics, and expectation constantly run ahead of modernist ideologies that see our fixation on the past as a hinderance to constructing a more enlightened, rational, and perfect future (perhaps, but not necessarily driven by market forces?). For example, notice the consistent critique of NSF funding archaeological projects.

Archaeology, then, like the discipline of history, is in a constant state of remaking itself and pushing back against the very Enlightenment values that defined its place within the modern academy. This tension does not lend itself to the comedic mode of emplotment, but is, to my mind, far more suitable for satire where the actors struggle to find a resolution within the world of their own making. The poetic structure of irony, then, that most 20th-century way of seeing the world is the most suitable for understanding the nature of archaeology as a discipline. Our discipline’s efforts to evince a conservative, scientific character run counter to our goals of understanding the past. This tension not only produces an atmosphere of dynamic questioning in the discipline, but also ensures that typical forms of resolution –  employment, solved problems, contributions to a fixed body of knowledge, professional recognition – can hardly represent the culmination of lives in ruins. 

Katy Meyers (Bones Don't Lie)

Happy Holidays: Gifts for the Deceased in Anglo-Saxon England

The holiday season is upon us, and that means that many of us are thinking about gifts. As I’ve been wrapping the presents I’ve bought for my family, I’ve been […]

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Head of Emperor which amazed archaeologists in Sudan in 1910 goes on display

It was one of the treasures selected for the British Museum’s A History of the World in 100...

Compitum - événements (tous types)

Das Wahrheitsproblem in der nachklassischen Geschichtsschrei

Titre: Das Wahrheitsproblem in der nachklassischen Geschichtsschrei
Lieu: Université de la Sarre / Sarrebruck
Catégorie: Colloques, journées d'études
Date: 19.02.2015 - 21.02.2015
Heure: 13.00 h - 12.30 h

Information signalée par Jacques Elfassi



Rhetorik - Tragik - Mimesis

Das Wahrheitsproblem in der nachklassischen Geschichtsschreibung

Saarbrücken, 19.-21 Februar 2015

Campus C 14
Hörsaal 1.17

"Dies schreibe ich so, wie es mir wahr zu sein scheint." - Mit diesem gegen die Tradition genealogischer Dichtung gerichteten Anspruch legte Hekataios von Milet einerseits den gedanklichen Grundstein für die klassische Geschichtsschreibung der Griechen; andererseits kristallisierte sich schon bei seinen Nachfolgern Herodot und Thukydides heraus, dass nicht nur die Spannung zwischen 'Wahrheit' und 'Anschein', sondern schon die Interpretation der 'Wahrheit' selbst äußerst heterogene und kontextspezifische Ausprägungen annehmen konnte. Im 4. und 3. Jh. rückte das Problem der wahrheitsgemäßen Darstellung immer stärker in den Mittelpunkt und seine Kommentierung entwickelte sich zu einem polemischen Abgrenzungsmerkmal gegenüber Schilderungen anderer Geschichtsschreiber.
Beim Nachvollzug dieses Diskurses ist der heutige Leser mit der Herausforderung konfrontiert, dass die jeweiligen Kategorien nicht mit Maßstäben beschrieben werden können, die sich mit heutigen Objektivitätsvorstellungen decken. Hinter den oftmals widersprüchlich anmutenden und manchmal verzerrt wirkenden Ansichten zur Frage der 'Wahrheit' stehen individuelle zeitgebundene Gedankenmodelle, die sich nur anhand verschiedener, sich gegenseitig beeinflussender und immer neue Formen ausbildender Aushandlungsprozesse erklären lassen. Die Beiträge der Konferenz werden sich von alten Interpretationsschemata lösen und neue Wege ausloten, den Wahrheitsdiskurs in der nachklassischen Geschichtsschreibung zu erklären. Die einzelnen Sektionen gehen dabei sowohl der Frage nach dem Einfluss gattungsspezifischer Merkmale als auch der Relevanz theoretischer Konzepte aus Dichtung, Drama, Philosophie und Rhetorik nach.


13.00 Uhr: Empfang, Registrierung

15.00-15:30 Uhr: Begrüßung, Einführung
Thomas Blank (Saarbrücken) / Felix K. Maier (Freiburg)
Martin Gessmann (Offenbach): Wahrheit hat mit Kontingenz zu tun. Oder: Wir sind nie modern gewesen.

16.30 Uhr: Kaffeepause

17.00-18.20 Uhr: SEKTION 1 - Konzepte des Narrativen
Alexander Meeus (Leuven): Source Theory, Ideas of Truth, and 'mímêsis' in Greek Historiography
Cinzia Bearzot (Mailand): À propos de la notion de 'pseudós' dans l'historiographie ancienne


09.00-11.00 Uhr: SEKTION 1 - Konzepte des Narrativen (Fortsetzung)
Pierre Chiron (Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée): La narration chez Isocrate et dans la Rhétorique à Alexandre: fonctions, techniques, et normes
Katharina Wojciech (Freiburg): Wahrheit vor Gericht. Wahrheit und Wahrscheinlichkeit als Kriterien in der Vergangenheitsdarstellung attischer Redner
Thomas C. Schirren (Salzburg): Biographie im staatsphilosophischen Auftrag. Xenophon über Erziehung und Leistung des Kyros von Persien

11.00-11.30 Uhr: Kaffeepause

11.30-12.50 Uhr: SEKTION 2 - Das Wahrheitsproblem in hellenistischer Zeit
Nils Kircher (Wien): Tragische Geschichtsschreibung in klassischer und nachklassischer Zeit. Gemeinsamkeiten und Differenzen
Nicolas Wiater (St. Andrews): The Rhetoric of Truth. Historical Theory and Rhetorical Method in Polybius

12.50-14.15 Uhr: Mittagspause

14.15-16.15 Uhr: SEKTION 2 - Das Wahrheitsproblem in hellenistischer Zeit (Fortsetzung)
Felix K. Maier (Freiburg): Verpflichtung zur 'enárgeia'. Die 'richtige' Erzählung bei Agatharchides
Mario Baumann (Gießen): Plausible Paradoxa. Geographie und die Rhetorik des 'pithanón' in Diodors Bibliotheke
Irene Madreiter (Innsbruck): (Ps.-)Demetrios von Phaleron und die Prinzipien 'eikós' (Wahrscheinlichkeit) und 'anagkaîon' (Notwendigkeit) bei Ktesias

16.15-16.45 Uhr: Kaffeepause

16.45-18.45 Uhr: SEKTION 3 - Kritik am Kanon
Casper de Jonge (Leiden): History as the High Priestess of Truth. Dionysius on Truthful Narration in Herodotus and Thucydides
Carlo Scardino (Freiburg): Herodot, der vielgescholtene 'pater historiae'. Kritik an Herodot von Ktesias bis Iulius Africanus
Thomas Blank (Saarbrücken): Plutarchs Wahrheiten. Zwischen Herodotkritik und biographischer 'heúrêsis'


09.00-11.00 Uhr: SEKTION 4 - Kaiserzeitliche Perspektiven
Eleni-Melina Tamiolaki (Kreta): Lucian on Truth and Lies in Ancient Historiography
Verena Schulz (München): 'Mala exempla' in der römischen Historiographie und Rhetorik
Christoph Kugelmeier (Saarbrücken): Römische Geschichtsschreibung zwischen 'historia' und Roman

11.00-11.30 Uhr: Kaffeepause

11.30-12.00 Uhr: KOMMENTAR zur Tagung
Hans-Joachim Gehrke (Freiburg)

12.00-12.30 Uhr: Abschluss und Verabschiedung
Thomas Blank (Saarbrücken) / Felix K. Maier (Freiburg)

Source : Université de la Sarre.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Digital Numismatic News

Near term progress in digital numismatics 

Looking Back

As we close out 2014, we can reflect on a tremendous amount of progress we have made with respect to and other digital numismatic projects at the American Numismatic Society. Numishare's front end has been migrated from Cocoon to Orbeon, which will enable a wider variety of current and future web standards, and the user interface was migrated into Bootstrap 3 last spring. The new version of Mantis was launched a few months ago, immediately following the release of a new project, The Art of Devastation, which is a type corpus of World War I medals. The first of the Edward T. Newell Greek numismatic research notebooks have gone online, annotated to link to other resources (monographs, coins in the ANS collection, and other researchers) by means of LOD technologies. The new version of the ANS archives, Archer, has gone online, employing SPARQL to link to another new project, the ANS Biographies (a production installation of EAC-CPF software, xEAC). In OCRE, we have completed volume IV of RIC, from Septimius Severus to Uranius Antoninus. More than 12,000 coins from the British Museum have been ingested into the Nomisma triplestore to be made available in OCRE (with many thanks to Eleanor Ghey from the BM for providing data dumps in spreadsheets that have allowed me to create a concordance between their coins in OCRE URIs). The new Bootstrap 3 version of OCRE launched into production last February, the first of the Numishare projects migrated into that stylistic framework (therefore, enabling out-of-the-box scaling for mobile devices), and in late March of 2014, we received $300,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to complete the project over the next three years. Finally, much progress has been made in the development of a formal RDF ontology for numismatics, in conjunction with an architectural re-write of, which has been in development for much of the year.

Looking Forward

We are going to be making at least as much progress in 2015 as 2014, especially in the first few months of the year. The new framework will be released by the end of January. It will be fully compliant to the latest standards and protocols for a linked data publication framework. The data model for IDs will be revised significantly. SKOS will play a much larger role in linking instances together (via skos:broader), and the instances will conform to formal classes from the Nomisma ontology. The editing interface for concepts will be opened up to a wider editing team, and I foresee many more URIs minted this year, especially outside the realm of ancient numismatics. There is a large demand for greater representation of Medieval and Islamic URIs. The editing interface includes improved lookup mechanisms for linking Nomisma concepts to matching terms in other vocabulary systems, like VIAF and the Getty thesauri.

The main bottleneck for the release of the new version of Nomisma lies in the creation of URIs for Roman Republican moneyers. RRC and IGCH URIs are going to be spun off into separate projects, maintained by specialists are are focused on the curation of those datasets. As a result, the existing RRC URIs in Nomisma must redirect to URIs in a new domain name. Additionally, RRC URIs are used in production in several different projects, so those projects must transition to the new RRC Online URIs before the URIs are deprecated in the namespace. Before RRC Online can launch, the Republican moneyers must have URIs in Nomisma. I expect to have the list verified by the end of the week so that we can move forward with publishing the moneyers in Nomisma either by this Friday or the first week of January. RRC Online (which will function exactly like OCRE, but focused on Roman Republican coinage) will launch soon after. We already have more than 10,000 coins from  the ANS and British Museum ready to be linked into RRC Online, in addition to several hundred coins from The University of Virginia Art Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and University College Dublin. After the launch of RRC Online, we will move the new version of Nomisma into production by the end of January. By the time we meet in April in Berlin to discuss the Online Greek Corpus and Poland to discuss the European Coin Find Network, we should have transitioned all projects to use the new Nomisma ontology, which Karsten Tolle has been working on over the last one to two years. A draft of the Nomisma documentation should be available in time for these meetings.

We have a number of longer term Greek numismatic projects coming down the pike. As part of the Online Greek Corpus, we are going to work on standardizing Seleucid and Alexandrian types within the ANS database, as well as work on improving IGCH, which will function as a standalone Greek coin hoard research tool, much like Coin Hoards of the Roman Republic. The digital IGCH will serve as an important bridge between Greek coins in the ANS collection and associated bibliographic references. We hope to show serious progress with respect to Greek projects in time for the INC meeting in Taormina in late September.

Finally, over the course of 2015 and extending a few years into the future, we are going to work on systematically cleaning up the ANS collection database, linking denominations, materials, people, etc. to URIs in Nomisma, the Getty thesauri, VIAF, etc. whenever applicable. This will dramatically improve the usefulness of Mantis, which is often limited due to inconsistency in data entry and utter lack of controlled vocabulary. Furthermore, we are going to work on improving the bibliographic references, making it easier to traverse from Mantis to Donum (the ANS library catalog), Worldcat, JSTOR, etc. to access further information. Mantis will grow into a more useful numismatic research portal over time.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Reading Museum displays collection highlights online

Reading Museum has put thousands of items from its collections on to the internet in a virtual...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Cambodia asks to see Pongpat trove

The seized artefacts, some are fake, some authentic,
they need going through sorting out what's what
and what was from where  (Bangkok Post)
The Cambodian government has asked to inspect the huge trove of antiques and art seized from the network of suspects linked to disgraced former Central Investigation Bureau chief Pongpat Chayapan in Thailand after learning it may contain dozens of ancient Khmer sculptures, including those looted from temples. Some of them were stored in a walled-up underground vault.

'Cambodia asks to see Pongpat trove' Bangkok Post 17 Dec 2014.


Compitum - publications

C.A.L.M.A. 4.6, Guillelmus Campellensis magister - Guillelmus de Congenis


C.A.L.M.A. Compendium Auctorum Latinorum Medii Aevi 4.6, Guillelmus Campellensis magister - Guillelmus de Congenis + elenchus abbreviationum · indices, Florence, 2014.

Éditeur : SISMEL - Edizioni del Galluzzo
p. 621-744
ISBN : 978-88-8450-575-0
87 €

Source : SISMEL - Edizioni del Galluzzo

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Egypt reopens tomb as tourism falls

Egypt plans to reopen the royal tomb of Nefertari, a wife of Ramesses II (who reigned from 1279 BC...

L’Association Française pour l’étude de l’âge du Fer (Le Blog de l'AFEAF)

Iron Age gold in Celtic Europe – society, technology and archaeometry


Iron Age gold in Celtic Europe – society, technology and archaeometry 

L’or de l’âge du Fer en Europe celtique – société, technologie et archéométrie. 

Université de Toulouse - Jean Jaurès 

11th-14th March 2015 / 11 au 14 mars 2015

Téléchargez le programme provisoire Iron Age Gold conference Toulouse preliminary programme

ArcheoNet BE

Archeoloog Hubert De Witte wordt co-directeur Musea Brugge

Archeoloog Hubert De Witte wordt de nieuwe zakelijke directeur van Musea Brugge. Samen met Till-Holger Borchert, de nieuwe artistieke directeur, volgt hij Manfred Sellink op, die recent overstapte naar het KMSKA. De Witte was tot voor kort verantwoordelijk voor het over meerdere locaties verspreide Bruggemuseum, het museum over de geschiedenis van Brugge dat hij zelf vorm gaf. Naast zijn taak als directeur, zal Hubert De Witte ook verantwoordelijk blijven voor de historische collecties van de stad.

Hubert De Witte, voormalige adjunct-directeur naast Manfred Sellink, begon zijn carrière in Brugge in 1977 met de oprichting van een archeologische dienst. Een van de hoogtepunten (in 1979) was de ontdekking van de grafkelder en het skelet van Maria van Bourgondië.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Arrogance and Entitlement of the Ambassadors of the Hobby

 Over on a metal detecting forum near you somebody has just asked (with a novel variant on the grocers' apostrophe) "What annoy’s [sic] you most when detecting ?" Heritage Action discuss it:
 He says that for him it’s people asking what he’s doing – and if he finds they’re not a relative of the farmer he tells them “to b……. off” and asks “what’s it to do with them”. Let us explain to him what it’s to do with them, since PAS quite clearly hasn’t. History is everyone’s so damaging it by not reporting it is effectively a crime against the community. More than 70% of artefact hunters don’t report all their finds to PAS so any passer-by has every right to ask if you’re one of the 70% who steal knowledge. Got it?
I doubt it. I doubt any of them are capable of "getting it", so full are they of ignorance and arrogance. PAS in seventeen years and millions of quid thrown at the problem has made minuscule or zero impact on the feelings of entitlement that permeate the entire UK artefact hunting community. In fact, it quite clearly has given up trying. The effects are visible on the metal detecting forums and blogs for those who care to look to see. My guess is however that those heritage professionals who support the PAS are not in the habit of going there much to see the realities behind the façade, let alone engage with them. What kind of "outreach" is that?

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".   

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Fishers of People


If this expression from Mark 1:17 is familiar to us, and has been interpreted in particular ways, it is easy to miss just how odd it is. What do you think it meant, either on the lips of the historical Jesus, or on the page of the Gospel of Mark in its original context?

Thanks to Mike Skinner for blogging about this!

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Seconda Conferenza Internazionale sulla Realtà Virtuale e Aumentata

salento-avr-2015La seconda Conferenza Internazionale sulla Realtà Virtuale e Aumentata (SALENTO AVR 2015) dal titolo "Dove mondo virtuale e realtà si fondono" si svolgerà a Lecce dal 2 al 5 settembre 2015 con lo scopo di riunire una comunità di ricercatori del mondo universitario e delle aziende, computer scientist, ingegneri, fisici, per condividere punti di vista, condivisione, esperienze e risultati scientifici e tecnici relativi alle soluzioni allo stato dell'arte e le tecnologie sulle applicazioni sulla realtà virtuale e aumentata per la medicina, i beni culturali, l'educazione, i settori industriali, così come la dimostrazione di prodotti avanzati e le tecnologie.

Stefano Costa (There's More Than Just Potsherds Out There)

Flickr selling prints of Creative Commons pictures: a challenge, not a problem

A few weeks ago Flickr, the most popular photo-sharing website, started offering prints of Creative Commons-licensed works in their online shop, among other photographs that were uploaded under traditional licensing terms by their authors.

In short, authors get no compensation when one of their photographs is printed and sold, but they do get a small attribution notice. It has been pointed out that this is totally allowed by the license terms, and some big names seem totally fine with the idea of getting zero pennies when their work circulates in print, with Flickr keeping any profit for themselves.

Some people seemed actually pissed off and saw this as an opportunity to jump off the Flickr wagon (perhaps towards free media sharing services like Mediagoblin, or Wikimedia Commons for truly interesting photographs). Some of us, those who have been involved in the Creative Commons movement for years now, had a sense of unease: after all, the “some rights reserved” were meant to foster creativity, reuse and remixes, not as a revenue stream for Yahoo!, a huge corporation with no known mission of promoting free culture. I’m in the latter group.

But it’s OK, and it’s not really a big deal, for at least two reasons. There are just 385 pictures on display in the Creative Commons category on the Flickr Marketplace, but you’ve got one hundred million images that are actually available for commercial use. Many are beautiful, artistic works. Some are just digital images, that happen to have been favorited (or viewed) many times. But there’s one thing in common to all items under the Creative Commons label: they were uploaded to Flickr. Flickr is not going out there on the Web, picking out the best photographs that are under a Creative Commons license, or even in the public domain, I guess they are not legally comfortable with doing that, even if the license totally allows it. In fact, the terms and conditions all Flickr users agreed to state that:


[…] you give to Yahoo the following licence(s):

  • For photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo Services, you give to Yahoo the worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive licence to use, distribute, reproduce, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, publicly perform and publicly display the User Content on the Yahoo Services

That’s not much different from a Creative Commons Attribution license, albeit much shorter and EULA-like.

In my opinion, until the day we see Flickr selling prints of works that were not uploaded to their service, this is not bad news for creators. Some users feel screwed, but I wouldn’t be outraged, not before seeing how many homes and offices get their walls covered in CC art.

The second reason why I’m a bit worried about the reaction to what is happening is that, uhm, anyone could have been doing this for years, taking CC-licensed stuff from Flickr, and arguably at lower prices (17.40 $ for a 8″ x 10″ canvas print?). Again, nobody did, at least not on a large scale. Probably this is because few people feel comfortable commercially appropriating legally available content ‒ those who don’t care do this stuff illegally anyway, Creative Commons or not. In the end, I think we’re looking at a big challenge: can we make the Commons work well for both creators and users, without creators feeling betrayed?

Featured image is Combustion [Explored!] by Emilio Kuffer.

Antiquity Now

2014 Recipes With a Past and the Art of Being Human

AntiquityNOW is pleased to announce the launch of the 2014 Recipes With a Past, a compendium of dishes derived from our weekly Bon Appetit Wednesday! blog posts.  Embracing more than 25 countries and cuisines, this e-book has two new designations … Continue reading

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Bruggeman and ISIL Looting: "Not just antiquities"

In the UK, a Times article by reporter Oliver Moody quotes a senior police officer involved in investigating and stopping the trades who indicates that ISIL is now raising substantial funds by selling looted cultural property directly to western collectors. This raises also the issue which Sam Hardy discussed about the level in the chain of passage of the smuggled goods at which ISIL is involved. He points out that, if verified, the high sums of revenue some sources quote would suggest that they are not just low-end suppliers of the chain, but as suppliers at a higher level. The present report seems to be saying the same thing:
Willy Bruggeman, a former deputy director of Europol who is now president of the Belgian federal police council, said that [...] [w]hereas dealers in the west once had to use middlemen to buy looted stonework and paintings from the Middle East, Dr Bruggeman said that they were now in direct contact with Islamic State (Isis). "[Isis] are now using their own networks to come into contact with the final buyers," he said. "When I was working on these cases at Europol, you could see many levels of transactions in this area — now they want to have a one-to-one relationship with the collectors." The smuggling networks are so effective that less than 1 per cent of the pieces known to have been stolen by the militants from churches and ancient towns across Iraq and Syria have been recovered, he claimed. 
Dr Bruggeman cites not only the looting of ancient sites such as Dura-Europos, but indicates the trade in cultural property includes art looted from historical sites and monuments such as in Aleppo and Homs:
Dr Bruggeman said that frescoes and masonry wrenched from the walls of ancient churches were among the most common illicitly traded artefacts. Two sets of antiquities believed to have been robbed from sites under the auspices of Isis were recovered from the United States earlier this year, and another case is under way in Germany. 
Dr Bruggeman said that the looting and destruction of heritage was not done only to raise funds but the destruction of identity-forming monuments is intended, he says, as a kind of cultural cleansing and a means of domination.
The smuggling routes used for this trade are those through borders with neighbouring countries such as Turkey established for other contraband such as oil and arms smuggling. Western authorities struggle to estimate the numbers of illegal artefacts pouring out of the areas controlled by Isis as the transactions are carried out well away from licensed sales of antiquities. Earlier this year an Iraqi intelligence official claimed that Isis had made as much as £23 million from the area around al-Nabek, a city in Syria that contains several early Christian sites. Proceeds from such sales are believed to be bolstering their war chest, alongside oil smuggling, ransoms from hostage taking and racketeering.
Oliver Moody,  “ISIS fills war chest by selling looted antiquities to the West”, The Times, 17th December 2014.

See also: by Donna Rachel Edmunds, 'Illegal Sales of Looted Antiquities to West Adding Millions to ISIS War Funds', Breitbart News 17 Dec 2014 for similar content.

Hat tip to Sam Hardy.

Trafficking Culture

Monuments Men, Hidden Treasures, and the Restitution of Looted Art

The recent discovery of a hidden art trove is the stuff of which movies are made. In fact, similar stories have been featured in films. The recent announcement of Cornelius Gulritt’s art cache involves a familiar cast of players: Hitler, Goebbels, Nazi commanders, Allied forces, political figures, and even the Monuments Men (a group featured in the 2014 release of George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men,” based on a book of the same title). On November 3, 2013, in what some called “one of the largest and most significant discoveries of masterpieces plundered by the Nazis,” a major piece of news was announced: “A Modernist art haul, ‘looted by Nazis’ recovered by German police.”

Protecting Cultural Heritage by Strictly Scrutinizing Museum Acquisitions

A legal view of the post-1970 acquisition of illicit antiquities by North American Museums and solutions for more effective control of the antiquities market.

The Protection of Abandoned Cultural Heritage in Spain

Spain is a nation rich in art treasures, and the countryside is a treasure trove of cultural heritage; however, the Iberian nation has not taken measures to safeguard these items. As depopulation empties the countryside, property is abandoned and vulnerable to taking. Spain’s art treasures are further harmed by the nation’s lack of involvement in international treatises, leading to the international community’s disinterest in the items. In addition, the State does not control much of its cultural heritage since the State wields little authority over the Church, and the vast majority of privately-held art belongs to the Church. In consideration of the highly publicized theft (and subsequent return) of the Codex Callixtus, this note sets forth recommendations for Spain to protect is patrimony, most importantly creating an extensive catalogue, encompassing both State and Church property.

The Getty Museum’s Non-Victorious Bid to Keep the “Victorious Youth” Bronze

An overview of the case of the ‘Victorious Youth’ statue at the Getty Museum.

Phoenix Ancient Art and the Aboutaams in Hot Water Again

Leila Amineddoleh discusses the legal problems of the antiquities dealers Ali and Hicham Aboutaam in various countries, focusing on Ali’s latest arrest in Bulgaria.

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)

Ásatási hírek

Még a múlt héten találtak rá francia régészek (Benoit Lurson vezetésével) Karomama sírjára a Ramesszeum területén: beszámoló itt, itt. A karnaki templom területén pedig Ozirisz-szobrok kerültek elő.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

A Chicago la IX Conferenza Museums and the Web


museum-web-2015La nona Conferenza Museums and the Web si svolgerà a Chicago dall'8 all'11 Aprile 2015.
Museums and the Web è una conferenza annuale dedicata alla ricerca avanzata e alle applicazioni esemplari della pratica digitale per il patrimonio culturale, naturale e scientifico.

Adrian Murdoch (Bread and Circuses)

Triumvirat's Spartacus

Much like a drum solo, the prog rock theme continues for a second day... I hadn't come across German ELP knock-off band Triumvirat or its version of the life of everyone's favourite rebel slave on the 1975 album Spartacus. MB...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Master in Digital Earth e smart governance: strategie e strumenti GIS per la gestione dei beni territoriali e culturali

altilia termeE' stato pubblicando il bando dell'Università degli Studi Roma Tre per il master di II livello Digital Earth e Smart Governance: strategie e strumenti GIS per la gestione dei beni territoriali e culturali per l’Anno Accademico 2014-2015. Il corso prevede l’immatricolazione previa presentazione di domanda di ammissione. L’ammissione definitiva è subordinata ai controlli sulle autocertificazioni relative ai titoli di accesso e alle eventuali carriere universitarie pregresse previsti dalla normativa vigente, anche successivamente all’iscrizione. 

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Antiquities looting under regime, rebels and jihadists in Syria

Assisted by researchers at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center (at Pennsylvania Museum) and the Smithsonian Institution, the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project (of the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)) has conducted satellite image analysis of Syria’s twelve tentative (nominated) UNESCO World Heritage sites. It has yet to report on six of those […]