Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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October 04, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

La guerre et la Grèce

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

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

- Télécharger le programme

- Télécharger le bulletin d'inscription

- Pour en savoir plus

August 25, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

XIVe Congrès de la Fédération Internationale des Associations d'Etudes Classiques

Le laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée sera représenté au XIVe Congrès de la Fédération Internationale des Associations d'Études Classiques au travers des interventions de plusieurs de ses membres.

- Consulter le programme complet des interventions

Après celui de Berlin (2009), ce congrès permettra de réunir les classicisants du monde entier, de faire se rencontrer des chercheurs à différents stades de leur carrière et de dresser un état des recherches actuelles.

Les trois associations françaises membres de la FIEC (l'Association Guillaume Budé, l'Association pour l'Encouragement des Études grecques en France et la Société des Études latines) ont confié l'organisation de cet événement à l'université Bordeaux Montaigne et à l'Institut Ausonius, un centre de recherche très actif et internationalement reconnu dans le domaine des sciences de l'Antiquité.

Pour en savoir plus

July 25, 2014

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Iraqi Interior Ministry accuses ISIL of Stealing Antiquities from Iraqi Museums

The ISIL state (Tikrit and Mosul marked)

The Iraqi Interior Ministry  has accused the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) of stealing Iraqi antiquities from Mosul and Tikrit museums and other archaeological sites ('ISIL steals, smuggles Iraqi antiquities: ministry', 2014-07-24):
"ISIL gangs have seized at least 100 artefacts, including statues, jewellery, [pott]ery and ancient historical items dating back to the Babylonian, Sumerian, Akkadian and Abbasid eras, and smuggled them to Syria to sell them there through organised international gangs," Col. Mahmoud al-Issawi, director of the ministry's antiquities protection unit, told Al-Shorfa. "These barbaric acts are a proof that this group which makes claims to a caliphate and Islam is nothing but an organised gang that steals, loots, launches armed robberies and kills citizens," he said. The authorities have notified neighbouring and regional countries about the stolen items, al-Issawi said. [...].
There is however the interesting problem that somewhere in Iraq there possibly are private warehouses full of the stuff looted from sites from 2003 (and perhaps before) much of which seems not to have hit the international market, and not all of which seems likely to have been smuggled out yet (for if so, where and why?). So why are ISIS not seizing these?

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Buried secrets of medieval Leith uncovered

Buried secrets of life in medieval Leith have been uncovered after the results of a five-year project to analyse bodies discovered during an archaeological dig were unveiled.

The project, conducted by the city council and Headland Archaeology, began when the remains of almost 400 men, women and children were discovered on the Constitution Street site – previously a section of the South Leith Parish Church’s graveyard – during preparation work for the trams in 2009.

Now forensic artists from the University of Dundee have been able to provide a glimpse of what the Leithers would have looked like 600 years ago by using special technology to rebuild their faces. Read more.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

I know its been a while, but after a little summer hiatus, I think I’ll start up my Friday Quick Hits and Varia again. There has been a  good bit of interesting stuff this summer on the interwebs and I’ll do what I can to sort through my backlog and pass on the greatest hits.

IMG 1778

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

First Vietnamese excavation of a shipwreck

A feature of the first Vietnamese excavation of a shipwreck – the country’s oldest, estimated to be about 700 years old. Thanks to Veronica Walker-Vadillo for the link!

Shipwreck recovery from Quang Ngai Province. Source: Viet Nam News 20140714

Shipwreck recovery from Quang Ngai Province. Source: Viet Nam News 20140714

Shipwreck dredges up forgotten trade secrets
Viet Nam News, 14 July 2014

The excavation of a 700-year-old cargo ship in Quang Ngai Province, has provided a veritable treasure trove of antiquities and clues to historic trade routes betweenViet Nam and China. Cong Thanh reports.

Vietnamese archaeologists, experts and workers recently spent 26 days excavating a 700-year-old cargo ship buried in sand only four metres under the sea off Binh Chau Commune in the central province of Quang Ngai. They excavated 268 buckets of artefacts, of which 91, including porcelain dishes, jars, bowls, pots and coins, were in perfect condition.

The ship is the oldest shipwreck so far discovered in Viet Nam. The excavation reveals that the ship caught fire before sinking.

It’s the first time Vietnamese archaeologists have been involved in the excavation of a ship wreck because it is in only four metres of water deep and only 100m from the beach.

Full story here.

Myanmar seeks to restrict construction in the Pyu cities zone

Myanmar moves to restrict construction within the newly-listed Pyu Cities World Heritage Site zone in order to protect them.

Pyu Cities Monument Zone marker. Source: The Irrawady 20140724

Pyu Cities Monument Zone marker. Source: The Irrawady 20140724

Burma’s Culture Ministry Vows to Limit Building in Pyu Cities
The Irrawady, 24 July 2014

Burma’s Ministry of Culture says it will restrict construction in heritage zones to preserve the three ancient cities recently listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites and other culturally important cites in the country.

On June 22, the Unesco World Heritage Committee conferred Burma’s first World Heritage listings on the ancient Pyu cities of Sri Ksetra, Halin and Beikthano, which are located in Burma’s central Dry Zone and feature the walled remains of sites built by the now-extinct Pyu people from the first to ninth centuries AD.

“Within world heritage sites, the setting up of big columns is not allowed. So, new buildings and land use in the ancient Pyu cities, and in other cultural heritage regions like Bagan that are intended to go on the World Heritage list, must be restricted,” Deputy Minister of Culture Than Swe told The Irrawaddy.

Full story here.

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

mistake after mistake in Sunday Times report on Islamic State looting of antiquities

Previously, I reported on the Sunday Times‘ claims that the Islamic State was profiting from looting, dealing and smuggling of antiquities from Syria and Iraq, and Paul Barford’s debunking of a key piece of allegedly forensic evidence. (The Interpol/Bonhams case could not possibly have involved the Islamic State.) There are still more questions than answers, […]

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Save Syrian Antiquities

Dr. Amr Al-Azm (Currently Associate Professor of Middle East History, Shawnee University USA, Professor at the University of Damascus (1998-2006), Department of Antiquities and Museums in Syria (1999-2004)) has started an appeal:
Treasures from our museums and ancient cities in Syria are being looted and destroyed, falling victim to the war's blind aggression. My former archeology students are working diligently and risking their lives to protect our country’s cultural heritage. It’s important that our heritage is preserved, not only for its intrinsic beauty and historical value, but also because it helps us reconstruct Syrian identity. Now, the market for stolen artefacts is in the millions, but one important thing can make a difference. The UN must ban the trade in Syrian artefacts. So far they have ignored numerous calls to push through a resolution as they did in the past to protect Iraq’s heritage, but there’s something much larger at stake now that should get them to act. Looting Syria’s history is big business and the extremist group known as ISIS have added millions of dollars to their war chest because of it. Syrians are now not only watching their history being torn down and sold to foreign buyers, but they’re having that money turned against them in the form of more weapons.

Now click on V-Coins and enter in terms such as Syria, Homs, Aleppo, Damascus. You'll find sellers there selling artefacts of Syrian origin (yes they could have been found outside the country, but let's look at the evidence of where they were last documented as being - in the case of many of them with discarded or obscured collecting histories, that is the place where they were made). Now find one, just one, seller who shows any inclination whatsoever to show (or even claim) that they were obtained licitly before the present conflict started. I think it will soon become very obvious that dealers on the so-called "ethical alternative to eBay" really do not give a tinker's about telling their clients they have kosher stuff. For collectors too, it obviously in reality is of next-to-zero importance. This is the real origin of the problem. I'd prefer to talk of regulating the trade, rather than banning it, but is is quite clear that there is no reasoning with those commercially involved, they will oppose any form of regulation and try to get round it (vide the ACCG and the MOUs). Banning seems the only starting point for sorting this mess out which has any hope of success.

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Cambodian artefacts go on show in China

The National Museum of Cambodia will display some of its Angkorian treasures China in exhibitions in Beijing and Guangzhou in the first half of next year.

Cambodia’s Angkor artifacts to be exhibited in China
Xinhua, 23 July 2014

Eighty masterpieces from Cambodia’s renowned Angkor Wat Temple will be displayed in China for six months, aiming at promoting cultural ties between the two countries.

Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona and Liu Shuguang, director general of the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage, signed an agreement on the ancient artifacts lease on Tuesday with the presence of Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Bu Jianguo.

According to a press statement after the signing ceremony, Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage, Beijing Huaxie Cultural Development Company and Capital Museum China will co-organize the exhibition, to be commenced in Capital Museum China in Beijing from December 26, 2014 for three months, afterwards in Guangdong Provincial Museum from April to late June in 2015.

Full story here.

Ben Tre tombs revealed

Vietnamese archaeologists reveal the findings from their recent excavation of Nguyen Dynasty tombs in Ben Tre Province.

Ben Tre Tomb, Vietnam Net 20140721

Ben Tre Tomb, Vietnam Net 20140721

Findings of old tombs in Ben Tre Province disclosed
Vietnam Net, 21 July 2014

From April 26 to May 7, experts from the Ben Tre Museum and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City unearthed a tomb and a smaller one perpendicular to it at Cho Lach Town in the district of the same name.

According to Assoc. Prof. Pham Duc Manh, dean of the school’s Faculty of Archaeology, the tombs might date back to the late 18th or the early 19th century. They embody features of those built for aristocrats under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945).

The bigger tomb was built in the form of a traditional house, while the other is similar to a small temple, he said.

Full story here.

Work resumes on Hong Kong rail line

Work on a Hong Kong rail line has resumed, following delays due to the discovery of a Song or Yuen Dynasty site.

Source: South China Morning Post 20140722

Source: South China Morning Post 20140722

Work on delayed Sha Tin-Central rail link set to resume
South China Morning Post, 22 July 2014

Protective steel pilings have been installed around an archaeological site in Kowloon City, paving the way for the resumption of delayed building work on the Sha Tin-Central rail link.

The railway project is estimated to be 11 months behind schedule.

Members of the Antiquities Advisory Board yesterday conducted a site visit and heard the latest briefings from the MTR and an archaeological team.

“At the moment we are quite confident that the relics are not affected,” board chairman Andrew Lam Siu-lo said after the inspection.

More than 5,000 sandbags were also put in place to protect the well, which dates back to the Song (960-1279) or Yuan (1279-1368) dynasties.

Full story here.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Earlier Stone Age artifacts found in Northern Cape of South Africa

Excavations at an archaeological site at Kathu in the Northern Cape province of South Africa have produced tens of thousands of Earlier Stone Age artifacts, including hand axes and other tools.

The post Earlier Stone Age artifacts found in Northern Cape of South Africa appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Greek Police Officer Accused of ... what?

Yesterday I commented on a story: 'Greek Police Officer Accused of being part of Corrupt Antiquities Smuggling Ring',  today another photo appears in a report of the same event, purporting to show the other seized artefacts. It's pretty important whether of not they do. The head of a young man has been burnt and soaked in brown gunk to make it look old, though the squiffy eyes make it clear it is most unlikely to be. The 'cycladic figurine' is a stomach-turning piece of work, it's a fake and you can see at once that the grooves are cut with an abrasive cutting disc from a DIY shop (probably two of them). The men that made those pieces commit a crime against culture, but lack of artistic taste (or skill) should not be a jailable offence. Trying to sell them as genuine artefacts is fraud however.

Or is the case of the 'stock photo flaunts antiqui-reality again'?

Sotiria Nikolouli, 'Million-euro Marble Statue Seized in Greece', Greek Reporter Jul 24, 2014

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Tracing Gestures

The conference "Tracing Gestures: The Art and Archaeology of Bodily Communication" will be held in November 2014 at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

The post Tracing Gestures appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Historical Consciousness and Historiography

The Hellenic Society and the Classical Association have generously provided grants to fund postgraduate student attendance at the conference Historical Consciousness and Historiography (3000 BC - AD 600).

The post Historical Consciousness and Historiography appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Greek Police Officer Accused of being part of Corrupt Antiquities Smuggling Ring

Buy one of these and you'll obviously risk
being involved in a network of corruption
and cultural racketeering (Greek police photo of seized statue).
Cultural racketeering can obviously only thrive through corruption of those who should be doing their best to stop it. Middlemen and dealers involved in the trade in illicit antiquities are to blame for their corrupting influence, and those buying them are part of the chain. News is coming out of Greece this evening of another individual caught up in this dirty business:
A police officer from Greece’s antiquities protection department has been arrested, accused of being part of a smuggling ring that was trying to sell an ancient marble statue worth an estimated 1 million euros. Police said Thursday that the 49-year-old was arrested along with eight other suspects following raids and searches at 11 areas in greater Athens and two others in towns in central and northern Greece. The almost intact 1,900-year-old Greco-Roman era statue of a male figure measures 65 centimeters from head to knee and is being kept at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Police did not say whether the statue had been stolen or illegally excavated, but added that a “large number” of less valuable ancient artifacts had also been seized.
'Policeman among other eight arrested for antiquities trafficking', , Thursday Jul 24, 2014

Hat tip to Dorothy Lobel King.

Eastern California Collector Raided

They are his trophies, the product
of a life's obsession with gathering ancient
artifacts from the surrounding lands 

Los Angeles police searched the home of  Lone Pine resident Norman Starks, 76, collector for 12 hours. Fifty federal agents  seized artefacts they say he illegally dug up on public land (Louis Sahagun, 'Owens Valley relic hunter not one to back down', Los Angeles Times July 24th 2014).
The raid marked the third time in a decade that state and federal authorities have tried to end what they allege is his looting of the prehistoric items. The first two attempts failed. Paiute-Shoshone tribal leaders and federal archaeologists say Starks has destroyed priceless cultural connections, along with scientific data that could help determine human behavior from the distant past. Many of the items he has collected are sacred, they say, placed by loved ones at the graves of hunter-gatherers for use in the afterlife. "What he's doing is heartbreaking, disrespectful and illegal," said Kathy Jefferson Bancroft, tribal historic preservation officer for the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Reservation. "It must stop." Not going to happen, Starks says.
Starks rejects the argument that he's doing anything wrong: "The Indians that made this stuff didn't think it was anything special," he said. "They used it and tossed it aside. It was just used junk to them."
 He insists that he limits himself to artefacts found legally on private property near the restricted area.
Now, he said, authorities are trying to frame him. Some of the evidence seized during the June 26 raid was "planted in my house," he said. Other relics "were stolen by the investigators and archaeologists while they were going through all my stuff." Their motive? He said they are in a conspiracy with tribal leaders and the DWP to stop a lawsuit he filed against the water agency.
(The lawsuit is connected with the so-called California Water Wars). Starks considers the Paiute-Shoshone preservation officer and one of the federal archaeologists are both conspiring against him. he defends himself using a typical array of collectors' excuses:
"They say they have a picture of me in the place I wasn't supposed to be," Starks said of photos the government reportedly has showing him at the dunes. "But they're wrong." What was he doing near the dunes? "I was looking for old coins along a railroad easement, which is private property." [...] Where did he get the pile of massive stone relics on his front porch? "They were my grandfather's." He said 90% of his collection predates federal laws against taking items from public land. [...]  Besides, he added, "arrowheads are as common as goats' asses around here." 
Hat tip to Donna Yates 

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Papyrology and Linguistic Annotation

Marja Vierros (Helsinki) will give a lecture on "Papyrology and Linguistic Annotation: How can we make TEI EpiDoc XML corpus and Treebanking work together?".

The post Papyrology and Linguistic Annotation appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

The “Odalisque in Red Pants” on display again

The "Odalisque in Red Pants" by Henri Matisse, stolen more than a decade ago in Caracas and later recovered in an FBI sting, is on display again in Caracas.

The post The “Odalisque in Red Pants” on display again appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Jim Davila (

Hurtado on Wright on Paul

LARRY HURTADO: Review of Wright Published. An early review of my St Andrews colleague N. T. Wright's magnum opus, Paul and the Faithfulness of God (SPCK, 2013).

Brill books

Women in the Bible, Qumran and Early Rabbinic Literature
Their Status and Roles

Paul Heger

Women in the Bible, Qumran and Early Rabbinic Literature: Their Status and Roles portrays the tension between the unity of husband and wife and their different legal and social status from a wide range of perspectives, as deduced from the texts of the three corpora. The volume discusses the related topics of divorce, polygamy, woman’s obligations to fulfill precepts, membership in the community, genealogy and attitudes toward sex, such as rejection of asceticism. Women in the Bible, Qumran and Early Rabbinic Literature begins with an objective interpretation of the biblical narratives of the Creation and the Fall, the intellectual basis of Jewish attitudes toward women, and then analyzes the divergent interpretations of Qumran and the Rabbis, the grounds of their distinct doctrines and halakhot.

The Cave 4 Apocryphon of Jeremiah and the Qumran Jeremianic Traditions
Prophetic Persona and the Construction of Community Identity

Kipp Davis

The Cave 4 Apocryphon of Jeremiah C from Qumran survives in several copies, and presents significant links between the prophet Jeremiah, the scriptural book of Jeremiah, and the collectors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Because the prophet is only occasionally named in the Scrolls, and there are only a few clear instances where the book is cited, Jeremiah appears to have had a limited impact on the imagination of the Qumranites. However, through a careful appraisal of the Apocryphon manuscripts, and a reconsideration of Jeremiah's influence in the Dead Sea Scrolls via his reputational authority, this study shows that clusters of traditions were tied to Jeremiah’s prophetic and priestly distinction, with an emphasis on matters of leadership and empire.

Psalmen oder Psalter?
Materielle Rekonstruktion und inhaltliche Untersuchung der Psalmenhandschriften aus der Wüste Juda

Eva Jain

Psalms or Psalter? This study creates a new, solid foundation for discussions on the psalm manuscripts found in the Judean Desert. A variety of explanatory models, statistics and synthetic hypotheses have already been produced in the course of numerous analyses and interpretations. However, the disparate and fragmentary character of the manuscripts has barely received any attention since the main focus has mostly been on discussions of the content. For the first time, the entire preserved fragment material of the psalm manuscripts from the Judean Desert is here being presented and edited as a whole. In this way, it can be defined and analyzed in future studies.
New ways of exploring the contents will particularly result with regard to the best preserved psalm roll, 11QPs a.

Psalmen oder Psalter? Die vorliegende Studie schafft eine neue, tragfähigere Basis für die Auseinandersetzung um die Psalmenhandschriften aus der Wüste Juda. Im Rahmen zahlreicher Analysen und Interpretationen wurden schon vielfältige Erklärungsmodelle, Statistiken und Gesamthypothesen zu den Psalmenhandschriften geliefert. Da das Hauptaugenmerk der meisten Untersuchungen bislang auf der inhaltlichen Auseinandersetzung lag, wurde der disparate und fragmentarische Charakter der Manuskripte kaum berücksichtigt.
Erstmals wird nun das gesamte erhaltene Fragmentenmaterial der Psalmenhandschriften aus der Wüste Juda umfassend dargestellt und aufbereitet. Auf diese Weise lässt es sich definieren und für weitere Untersuchungen auswerten.
Gerade in Hinsicht auf die besterhaltene Psalmenrolle 11QPs a ergeben sich so ganz neue Wege zur Erschließung der Handschrift.
And a couple other of tangential interest to ancient Judaism but which I find interesting for one reason or another:
Codex Schøyen 2650: A Middle Egyptian Coptic Witness to the Early Greek Text of Matthew's Gospel
A Study in Translation Theory, Indigenous Coptic, and New Testament Textual Criticism

James M. Leonard, Louisiana State University and Loyola University New Orleans

In 2001, the exciting but enigmatic 4th century Coptic Matthew text, Codex Schøyen, was introduced as an alternative, non-canonical Matthew. In this book, James M. Leonard refutes these sensational claims through fresh methodological approaches and easily accessible analysis. Leonard reveals that the underlying Greek text is one of great quality, and that Codex Schøyen can contribute to the identification of the earliest attainable text—but only with due concern for translational interference. Leonard shows how Codex Schøyen’s close alliance with Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus allows triangulation of the three to help identify an earlier text form which they mutually reflect, and how this impacts a dozen variant passages in Matthew.

Dark Enlightenment
The Historical, Sociological, and Discursive Contexts of Contemporary Esoteric Magic

By Kennet Granholm (Stockholm University, Sweden)

In Dark Enlightenment Kennet Granholm explores the historical, sociological, and discursive contexts of contemporary esoteric magic. The book is focused on the Sweden-originated Left-Hand Path magic order Dragon Rouge in particular, but through a detailed contextualizing examination of this case study it offers a broader visage of contemporary esotericism in general. The author takes cue from both the historiography of Western esotericism and the sociological study of new religions and religious change, aiming to provide a transdisciplinary framework for a comprehensive study of esotericism in late modernity.

David Gill (Looting Matters)

Arts Council England and Northampton

Arts Council England (ACE) is due to make a decision today about Northampton Borough Council's decision to sell an Egyptian statue from the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery (see Gareth Harris, "Northampton awaits Arts Council's response after controversial sale", Art Newspaper 24 July 2014). The decision will be announced on 1 August.

If ACE removes accreditation from Northampton, it will mean that the borough will be unable to apply for funding for the proposed development of the museum.
Scott Furlong, the director of ACE’s Acquisitions Exports Loans Collections Unit, says: “Those who choose to approach the sale of collections cynically or with little regard for the sectoral standards or their long-term responsibilities will only further alienate both key funders and the public who put their trust in them to care for our shared inheritance.”

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Kate Cooper (kateantiquity)

The Massacre of the Innocents and the War of Images

Giotto the-massacre-of-the-innocents_Fotor

Giotto, The Massacre of the Innocents, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, Italy, ca. 1305 (source: Wikimedia)

This has been a desperate week. The ancient Christian community in Mosul (Northern Iraq) has been told to convert to Islam or face execution. Meanwhile the schools, hospitals, beaches, and shelters of Gaza have been battered by heart-breaking attacks. There has been a resounding silence from the God of Abraham about whether this kind of mutually assured destruction among the sibling faiths is really what was intended. Everyone seems to agree on only one principle: don’t spare the women and children.

How on earth did the world come to this?

Paracca_Slaughter_Varallo - Wikimedia

Chapel of the Massacre of the Innocents, Sacro Monte di Varallo, Italy 1583-87 (source:

One thing seems clear: whatever the claims of some of the leadership, this isn’t really ‘about’ religion. There have been countless deeply moving gestures of solidarity by members of different faith groups who want to dissociate themselves from the claims being made on their behalf. Pecaeable Muslims, Jews, and Christians tend to have more in common with one another than they do with the extremist leaders who claim to act on their behalf.

But there are careers to be made and power to be won by escalating conflict. Claiming to defend shared values is the oldest trick in the book where silencing critics is concerned. The key players have in common a single completely ecumenical, profound, and deadly serious belief, one shared by warriors of all races and creeds. It  is not about god or country: it is the belief that the lives  of women and children are less important than the political capital to be won in the game of war.

I don’t think we can dismiss the crimes against women and children as incidental. They are often part of the strategy. Historically, warriors have done everything and everything to unsettle the opposition. Getting at the women and children is one of oldest and most disturbing tactics for humiliating the person or group who claim to be their protector. The experience of the women and children themselves is seen as largely irrelevant – they are merely pawns in a psychological face-off between warriors.

A late first-century Jewish writer, the author of the (Christian) Gospel of Matthew, captures the way intentional violence targeted against children was used as a terror tactic in first-century Roman Judaea.

Matthew records that after the Three Wise Men visited Jesus and refused to betray him to Herod the Great, the Roman-appointed King of Judaea (d. 4 BC), Herod ordered that all the male children under the age of 2.  ‘Then Herod, when he saw that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men. Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.”‘ [Matthew 2:16-18]

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 21.50.37

Modern conflicts involve the rest of us. Israeli onlookers have been criticised for watching the spectacle from safety. At the same time, around the world, millions of people are also watching – in some mixture of horror, prayer, and solidarity –  as the tragedy unfolds.

I don’t know whether to be shocked or relieved by the fact that Matthew’s narrative moves away quite swiftly to Egypt, where Jesus had been taken to safety by his mother, Mary, and his earthly father Joseph. Soon afterward, an angel revealed to Joseph that Herod had died and it was safe for the family to return.  I suspect that the story was told in a sense of outrage, but that at the same time the writer knew that this was simply how the powerful had always treated the powerless.

How a story is told, and what one does or doesn’t bother to comment on is not a trivial matter. What you have to justify and what can be taken for granted often plays a decisive role in the battle for public opinion. Alongside every actual war being fought with spears and shields (or bombs and rockets), there is a deathly important propaganda war going on in parallel. In recent days, thousands of journalists, humanitarian and religious leaders have been working to get the word (and images) out of what is happening in Gaza –  resulting in a lifetime’s worth of images of children in various stages of dismemberment.  Their hope is to move the international community to take political action against the carnage. At the same time, the Israeli Defense Forces have had to make every effort to justify their actions to supporters at home and abroad.

One of the most contentious aspects of the ‘media war’ concerns the the claim Israel has the ‘right’ to attack civilian targets, including schools and hospitals, where large numbers of civilian women and children will be wounded or killed. The point being debated is whether or not these attacks can be claimed as bona fide self defence.  One of the key contentions is that Palestinian civilians are not really civilians because the Islamic Resistance Movement (known in English as Hamas) is using them as ‘human shields’. As a result, the Israeli Defense Forces claim to be absolved of moral responsibility for the effect of their actions.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 22.13.57

This is one of a number of info-graphics that have been circulated by the Israeli Defense Forces as part of an effort to account for their actions to allies in other countries..

It should be obvious to the reader that I am not in a position to judge the truth of the ‘human shield’ claim. But one can and should look at what the logic of  the debate takes for granted. The idea seems to be that if one adult uses a child as a ‘human shield’, other adults have no obligation to try to protect the child from the abuse. Instead, the abuse disqualifies the child from its right to humane treatment, creating the ‘right’ to kill the child. Obviously, this logic only works if you believe that adults have no basic moral responsibility toward children.

A series of ‘viral’ images aimed at the international community illustrate the argument in graphic terms. They offer a cut-away of houses and civilian buildings – sometimes one, sometimes more than one - representing them as store-houses for weapons. (I have seen these images shared by thoughtful and generous people, but the illustration to the right is taken from a propaganda site)  The houses or other buildings are in a dark landscape, suggesting not only night, but the night-vision cameras used by the military. One of the images bears a legend designed to call into question any residual respect for domestic tranquility. ‘When is a house a home? And when does it become a legitimate military target?’

I found the image entitled ‘Inside Shuja’iya’ particularly compelling for an unexpected reason. I recently made a visit to the house in Amsterdam where the Jewish writer Anne Frank lived in hiding from June of 1942 to August of 1944. Visiting the rooms where the Frank and Van Pels families waited to meet their fate is a deeply moving experience. Unexpectedly, toward the end of the visit, you encounter a luxury-dolls-house-sized model of the house that you are standing in. At first, you think it is somehow trivial, a an oversized toy. And then you end up standing in front of it for far longer than you intended, trying to make sense of how the confusion of stairways and secret passages add up to a ‘whole’.


Model of the Anne Frank House on display at the Anne Frank House (source:

And so, disturbingly, when I saw the night-image of the Shuja’iya buildings, my mind immediately jumped to Anne Frank. One of the many moving stories told in the Anne Frank House exhibitions is that of Otto Frank, Anne’s father, who was the only member of the family to survive the war. After Auschwitz, he returned to Amsterdam to find that a Christian friend, Miep Gies, had found and saved Anne’s diary. Both worked tirelessly to raise awareness of Anne’s legacy.

So, unexpectedly, the Shuja’iya image triggered not only compassion but even a small stirring of hope. What is it like to wait though the night in those houses? In one of those crowded rooms is there a thirteen-year-old girl sitting in a corner and trying, somehow, despite the noise and fear and boredom, to create an enduring testament of the human spirit? I am fairly sure that is not what the IDF intended to call to mind.

As I look at the beautiful and compelling medieval and early modern images of the Massacre of the Innocents, I wonder whether those images, too, are doing what they ought to be doing. The suffering of those families two thousand years ago has been  commemorated fulsomely. And yet it has also become part of the mental furniture, only a familiar instance of how the powerful treat the powerless. The images are moving and beautiful. But they are silent.

Four children on beach

Image by the Israeli artist Amir Schiby commemorating the deaths of four Palsetinian children while playing on the beach in Gaza, 16 July 2014 (source:




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

From my diary

It’s hotter than hell in the office in which I work, which is not helping me get anything done!  However I’m also close to Cambridge University Library, and I’ve made two trips there in the evening this week, in search of books and articles.

I’m still thinking about Severian of Gabala.  I’ve now obtained a copy of Sever J. Voicu, “Severien de Gabala,” Dictionnaire de spiritualite 14 (Paris, 1990), 752-63.  This article is essential for anyone interested in Severian.  It lists all his works and adds notes on each, over and above what is found in the Clavis Patrum Graecorum.   I must go through this and revise my own list of works accordingly.

My colleague Albocicade, who is collecting French translations of Severian, and OCR’d the Voicu article, has noticed that the Voicu article notes the existence of an unpublished French thesis, J. Kecskeméti, Sévérien de Gabala. Homélie inédite sur le Saint-Esprit, Paris, 1978 (Worldcat and IdRef), on CPG 4947.  It might be possible for a Frenchman like himself to access this.  Here’s hoping.

Bryson Sewell has sent me a couple of pages of his upcoming translation of Severian’s De Spiritu Sancto.  I think this is liable to contain theology: everybody hide now!  So far he’s started to talk about the difference between the Son being “begotten of the Father”, while the Spirit “proceeds from the Father”.  Good news that this is well underway.

My main other activity in the last couple of days has been obtaining some materials for the Mithras temples at Santa Prisca in Rome (quite amazing, this one), on the island of Ponza, and the one at Santa Capua Vetere.  A commenter on my Mithras website asked about the date of the Santa Prisca Mithraeum.  It seems to have been setup in the wine-cellar of an imperial property, which had once been the private house of Trajan before he became emperor.  The wine cellar even had a little water supply of its own, for cleaning the amphorae.  Somewhere else in the cellars is, perhaps, the origins of the church of Santa Prisca.  But I haven’t come across anything about that yet.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Pre-Hispanic mortuary bundle found in Hidalgo

A Pre-Hispanic mortuary bundle was found in a rocky shelter of the oriental part of Sierra Gorda, in the municipality of Zimapan, Hidalgo.

The post Pre-Hispanic mortuary bundle found in Hidalgo appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Workshop finale del progetto Smart Heritage


Lunedì 28 Luglio presso il Monastero delle Benedettine di San Giovanni Evangelista, a Lecce, si terrà ilconvegno conclusivo del progetto SMART HERITAGE – Tecnologie Smart per la Valorizzazione dei Beni Culturali, progetto cofinanziato nell'ambito del P.O. FESR PUGLIA 2007 - 20 13 - ASSE I - Linea di Intervento 1. 4 - Azione 1.4.2. "Investiamo nel vostro futuro ” Supporto alla crescita e sviluppo di PMI specializzate nell'offerta di contenuti e servizi digitali - Apulian ICT Living Labs.


The Archaeological Review

The Tomb of Jonah

Today most people know the Prophet Jonah as having been swallowed by a whale though sadly today the ancient prophets tomb was destroyed at Mosul in Iraq.

If this horror is not enough!

Jonahs tomb was for some reason destroyed?


Image of Jonah and fish

Ancient Art

The faces of Bayon. Bayon is a richly decorated Khmer temple,...

The faces of Bayon.

Bayon is a richly decorated Khmer temple, located at Angkor, Cambodia. "The serenity of the stone faces" (Glaize, 1993) strikes one while walking through Bayon.

Photos courtesy of & taken by yeowatzup.

July 24, 2014

Archaeology Magazine

18th-Century Structure Excavated at College of William and Mary

WILLIMASBURG, VIRGINIA—An excavation near the Sir Christopher Wren Building at the College of William and Mary is investigating an early eighteenth-century structure thought to have been a brewery because of its central fire pit. The beer would have been safer for the college’s students and faculty to drink than contaminated water. And a trash deposit at the site could tell archaeologists about life at the Wren Building before it was gutted by fire in 1705. “With as much archaeological work as we’ve done in the College Yard over the years, it’s astonishing to find something like this—and to find so much of it still intact,” Louise Kale, director of the historic campus, told The Daily Press.

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Latest ISIS Culture Crime

The Conflict Antiquities archaeo-blog has published pictures proving that ISIS has dynamited a mosque and shrine devoted to Jonah the Prophet.   Another site lost to Islamic fanatics bent destroying not only places venerated by Christians and Jews, but even other, fellow Muslims.  Very sad.

Archaeology Magazine

Restored Image of Amun Discovered in Sudan


egyptian-carving-amunNEW YORK, NEW YORK—According to Live Science, archaeologists have found evidence of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s attempted religious revolution on a carved stone panel that had been reused as a bench at the site of Sedeinga, located in modern-day Sudan. The stone bears an image of Amun and his hieroglyph, and had been part of a temple at Sedeinga dedicated to Queen Tiye, Akhenaten’s mother. During his reign (1353-1336 B.C.), Akhenaten had the name and images of Amun obliterated throughout Egypt, while he promoted the worship of Aten, the sun disk. After Akhenaten’s death, however, the god Amun was restored to prominence. “The name of Amun as well as his face were first hammered out and later carved anew, proving that the persecution of this god extended to this remote province during the reign of Akhenaton and that his images were restored during the following reigns,” Vincent Francigny of the American Museum of Natural History, and Claude Rilly, director of the French archaeological mission in Sedeinga, wrote in Sudan and Nubia. For more on discoveries at Sedeinga, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "Minature Pyramids of Sudan." 


Archaeological News on Tumblr

Earlier Stone Age artifacts found in Northern Cape of South Africa

Excavations at an archaeological site at Kathu in the Northern Cape province of South Africa have produced tens of thousands of Earlier Stone Age artifacts, including hand axes and other tools. These discoveries were made by archaeologists from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa and the University of Toronto (U of T), in collaboration with the McGregor Museum in Kimberley, South Africa.

The archaeologists’ research on the Kathu Townlands site, one of the richest early prehistoric archaeological sites in South Africa, was published in the journal, PLOS ONE, on 24 July 2014.

It is estimated that the site is between 700,000 and one million years old. Read more.

Wari geoglyph found in southern Peru

Archaeologists undertaking investigations in the Peruvian region of Arequipa discovered a large geoglyph last December.

According to Peru21, the geoglyph is approximately 60 meters by 40 meters and is located in the province of Caylloma.

Peru21 reports that the initial archaeological investigations were performed at the request of the Consorcio Angostura – Siguas, an agroindustrial company that is executing an irrigation project in the area. Consorcio Angostura – Siguas would have ordered the investigation in order to receive a certificate from the Ministry of Culture stating that there were no archaeological sites in the area, allowing them to continue with their irrigation project. Read more.

Archaeology Magazine

Ancient Village Unearthed in Illinois

MURPHSYBORO, ILLINOIS—A survey ahead of road construction near Southern Illinois Airport revealed a village between 700 and 900 years old. Pots, tools, mussel shells, and deer and fish bones have been recovered, and charcoal in the soil suggests that some of the homes burned down. “It’s sort of unclear if these groups spread out and became parts of what we know as the tribes today. Or if they stayed in this location and became something else, or if they moved away entirely,” Patrick Durst of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey told KFVS 12

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #489

Lots of great Open Access (free to read) Archaeology articles:

Notes on Feudalism in Japan.

A new landscape context for Houndtor, Devon

Examination of the patina coating of natural Theban limstones as well as blocks of Hatshepsut Temple, Upper Egypt

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Nineveh: Shrine of Jonah/Mosque of Yunus now Destroyed

A few weeks ago it was claimed ISIS had destroyed the 'Tomb of Jonas' but it was not true. They did it today, Sam Hardy has all the details: 'CONFIRMED: the Shrine of Jonah/Mosque of Yunus (Nineveh, Mosul, Iraq) has been destroyed'.

Vignette: the shrine of Jonah

Archaeology Magazine

3-D Imagery Examines Paleolithic Skull Trauma


BORDEAUX, FRANCE—A 3-D reconstruction of the skull of a child who lived 100,000 years ago suggests that the 12 to 13-year-old suffered a blunt force trauma resulting in a compound fracture. There was a broken piece depressed in his or her skull, which was surrounded by linear fractures. The wound likely caused a moderate traumatic brain injury that may have resulted in personality changes, trouble controlling movements, and difficulty in social communication. The child eventually died and was buried at Qafzeh Cave in Israel’s lower Galilee with two deer antlers lying on the upper part of his or her chest. “Digital imaging and 3-D reconstruction evidenced the oldest traumatic brain injury in a Paleolithic child. Post-traumatic neuropsychological disorders could have impaired social life of this individual who was buried, when a teenager, with a special ritual raising the question of compassion in Prehistory,” Hélène Coqueugniot and her colleagues from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université de Bordeaux, and the École Pratique des Hautes Études, told Science Daily


Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

US Seizures of Indian Statues

The US good guys stop the movement of looted item where
so many (Ind, HK, Thai, UK) had failed
I do not seem to have covered this story earlier, and should have done as it shows something about the movement of recently looted material through many countries to obscure the non-existence of licit origins. A recent article about a case in Canada mentions part of this story (Douglas Quan, 'Canada balks at returning statue believed stolen from world heritage site in India',, July 22, 2014).
Earlier this year, a sandstone sculpture from the 11th or 12th century that had been on Interpol’s list of top 10 most wanted stolen pieces of art was returned to India. The 350-pound sculpture representing the deities Vishnu and Lakshmi had been stolen in 2009 from the Gadgach Temple in India. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents learned that the sculpture had been transported to Hong Kong from India. From there, it was sold to a dealer in Thailand and then re-sold to a buyer in London, officials said. The London buyer shipped the sculpture to New York City for an exhibition in March 2010. Officials intercepted it before it could be shipped back to London.
The London owner is not named. There are more details here:
The investigation that led to this repatriation began on April 13, 2010, when HSI New York special agents received information that the Indian sandstone sculptures recently looted from India were being offered for sale in the US. HSI special agents discovered that the 'Vishnu and Lakshmi' sculpture was transported from India to Hong Kong. From there, it was sold to a dealer in Thailand, and then resold to a buyer in London. The London buyer shipped the sculpture to New York City for an exhibition in March 2010. On April 15, 2010, HSI special agents recovered the piece while it was being shipped back to London. On July 12, 2010, as a direct result of the 'Vishnu and Lakshmi' seizure, a sister piece, the 'Vishnu and Parvati', was seized. It was transported to Hong Kong, sold to a buyer in New York and then sold and shipped to a buyer in Basel, Switzerland. On July 7, 2011, the Indian black stone Bodhisattva figure was discovered being smuggled into America at Newark Airport by US Customs and Border Protection officers. HSI special agents seized it after discovering that its accompanying paperwork declared Great Britain as a false country of origin. In addition, the item was grossly undervalued.
Again, the dealers are not named. The case is not discussed by "Cultural Property Observer' who prefers to keep quiet about cases like this which call into doubt his own lobbying activities trying to get stuff 'laundered' through being taken to other countries from where they are then imported into the US freed from scrutiny. This is precisely why we should be talking about these cases and seeing how we can combat this problem.  If the dealers have any propositions, let us hear them.

ICE returns recovered, 'most wanted' stolen antiquities to India, January 14, 2014
US returns three ancient stolen sculptures worth $1.5 million to India: January 15, 2014

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Epigrafia 3D

Epigrafia 3D
 Esta web y todos sus recursos forman parte del proyecto proyecto FCT-13-6025 "Descifrando inscripciones romanas en 3D: Ciencia epigráfica virtual", financiado por la Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología – Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad y la Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, dentro de la convocatoria de ayudas para el fomento de la cultura científica y de la innovación del año 2013.

Investigador responsable: Manuel Ramírez Sánchez (Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Instituto Universitario de Análisis y Aplicaciones Textuales).

La reforma del Museo Arqueológico Nacional, cuyas salas se reabren mañana 1 de abril, ha aprovechado espacios que, hasta la fecha, no estaban dedicados al discurso expositivo. Sin duda, entre los aciertos de esta reforma se encuentra el aprovechamiento de los dos patios que, hasta ahora, permanecían cerrados al público. En uno de ellos, el llamado "patio romano" se exhiben las mejoras piezas de la colección epigráfica del Museo Arqueológico Nacional y una selección de la colección de escultura romana. Aprovechando los trabajos de escaneado de las inscripciones, hace unas semanas, realizamos dos fotografías esféricas de la sala 20, que compartimos aquí.

Las fotografías están alojadas en Photosynth y, para visualizarlas en algunos navegadores deben instalar previamente un plugin. Te recomendamos la opción de visualización a pantalla completa, que permite disfrutar de la sensación de visitar la sala como si estuviéramos allí mismo, desde el techo al suelo y desde todos los ángulos.

Ancient Peoples

Colossal marble head of Asklepios Greek c. 325-300 BCFound on...

Colossal marble head of Asklepios


c. 325-300 BC
Found on Mílos, Southern Aegean, Greece

The healing god

This head comes from a colossal statue of the god Asklepios, a god of medicine and healing. It was constructed from three separately worked pieces, of which two survive. The calm expression of the face is set off by a full beard and crown of hair. The lead pegs that would have held a gold wreath are still in place, but the wreath is now lost.

The cult of Asklepios was popular throughout Greece and Asia Minor during the Classical period (480-300 BC) and the Hellenistic period (323-30 BC). Important centres were set up in Athens and at Epidaurus in the Peloponnese. Hippocrates was the founding father of modern scientific medicine and, following his death in 357 BC, a healing sanctuary was established on his native island of Cos. There, Asklepios was represented in what became the canonical manner of the later Hellenistic and Roman periods: bearded, semi-nude and supported on one side by a staff around which a serpent is coiled. This head probably comes from such a statue.

Source: British Museum

Michael E. Smith (Publishing Archaeology)

Ups and downs in publishing

This summer has had its ups and downs in my various efforts to publish books and articles. I did get one book sent off to the press, an artifact report from excavations done long ago. But my agent is having trouble finding a commercial publisher for my popular book manuscript. I just received an acceptance on a paper co-authored with my student, Angela Huster, but not too long ago I got my second recent rejection from American Anthropologist ("This is a definitive rejection, without the possibility of revision and resubmission." Wow.). So, what have I learned? Here are a few things.

  • If a disciplinary journal is edited by a scholar whose publications have involved policing the boundaries of his or her discipline, then perhaps that is not the best place to send an in-the-face interdisciplinary paper. Both of my rejections from American Anthropologist this year were interdisciplinary papers, each with an explicit message of "anthropology has something to learn from this other body of research." Well, according to some reviewers and the editor, maybe anthropology doesn't have anything to learn from other fields. Chalk up one more personal beef with the American Anthropological Association and the attitudes of many anthropologists (read why I resigned from the American Anthropological Association). My chair recently suggested I apply for the AA editorship, and I almost fell down laughing.
  • Latin American Antiquity is off to a great start under the new editorship of Geoff Braswell and María Gutiérrez. My praise is not based on the fact that they accepted our paper, but on two aspects of the review process. First, the reviews were done in under three months. For a "fast" journal these days, that isn't great, but for an archaeology journal, that is a very good turnaround time. Second, the editors didn't let a single cranky and negative review interfere with their decision. Sometimes journal editors play it "safe" and offer a rejection, or a "revise-and-resubmit" on the basis of a single very negative review. But in this case Geoff and María made the right call and accepted the paper. Around 90% of the criticism of the cranky reviewer was based on one procedure we followed, which supposedly invalidated all of our conclusions. But the critique ignored material presented in another section of the paper that obviated the negative implications of that one procedure. So kudos to the editors for not getting hung up with the one cranky review.
  • Commercial publishers are looking for the next Jared Diamond. Most of the replies by editors at the big commercial presses (Norton, Random House, Simon & Schuster, etc.) said that my book manuscript looked interesting, but the projected sales figures from the marketing department were not high enough to justify an offer. Aztec households and communities just aren't sexy enough. They'd love a manuscript that shows how archaeology can solve a major social problem today (as in Jared Diamond), or even some straight archaeology about flashy things like tombs and kings, if written with flair, in first-person terms. But household archaeology? Not ready for prime time. But we haven't given up yet.......
  • It is disappointing when you gear up for a big fight, which then doesn't happen. Jason Ur, Gary Feinman and I just published a critique of Jane Jacobs's screwey notion that cities preceded domestication and agriculture in prehistory:
Smith, Michael E., Jason Ur and Gary M. Feinman  (2014)  Jane Jacobs’s 'Cities-First' Model and Archaeological Reality. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38(4):1525-1535.

I tell the story of why it was necessary to respond to a crazy model elsewhere (an old blog post, and then a recent post on Wide Urban World). But our paper was written as a critique of an article in the same journal by geographer Peter Taylor, who champions Jacobs's model. Taylor believes in the primacy of theory over evidence. Archaeologists don't REALLY know what happened in the past, and thus, "In such situations of knowledge uncertainty, it is the plausibility of theoretical positions [rather than evidence] that matter’ (p. 425 of Taylor, Peter J.  (2012)  Extraordinary Cities: Early "City-ness" and the Origins of Agriculture and States. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36(3):415-447.). So we expected to get a reply to our critique from Taylor. The journal editor was looking forward to this, and planned to use the debate to generate publicity, but evidently Taylor never submitted anything. Oh well.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Patheos Upgrade

The Patheos website will be undergoing an upgrade, a process which will last until sometime tomorrow if all goes smoothly. You should be able to continue commenting and discussing, but I will not be able to post until the upgrade is done. When it is, I'll let you know!


Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

'Нашихбот тролли': Just who is it you are talking to and why?

Нашихбот тролл (St. Petersburg Times)

Though I am not at all convinced by the use of the verb 'troll' here, is reminds me so much of the portable antiquities debate: Sergey Chernov, 'Leaked Correspondence Shows Agency’s ‘Trolling’', The St. Petersburg Times June 4, 2014 (Issue # 1814). Correspondence published last week seems to show that paid pro-Russian bloggers and commenters, some of them posing as westerners, have been heavily used to infiltrate the Internet forums of Western media outlets and blogs, and their aim is to influence people's opinions about events. This activity was increased during Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March and the pro-Russian separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine:
The Western media has expressed concern about pro-Kremlin commentators. In April, The Guardian newspaper ran a commentary by its readers’ editor Chris Elliott, called “The readers’ editor on… pro-Russia trolling below the line on Ukraine stories,” where he said that Guardian moderators, who deal with 40,000 comments a day, believed there was an orchestrated, pro-Kremlin campaign going on in the newspaper’s comments section.
This corresponds with the rise of pro-Kremlin youth movements such as Nashi. In recent years extensive pro-Kremlin activity began on the Internet.
Groups of paid bloggers were created in order to flood the Internet with pro-Kremlin and anti-American comments as well as to harass the critics of President Vladimir Putin by posting hateful comments and offensive, and often pornographic, images. However, in the last few years, these paid bloggers have moved on to the international media and blogs. [...] According to the website, the Internet Research Agency employs 300 people who write 100 comments a day each, mostly in Russian but also in English and Ukrainian, resulting in 30,000 postings daily.
On 7 February 2012 the Guardian reported:
"A pro-Kremlin group runs a network of internet trolls, seeks to buy flattering coverage of Vladimir Putin and hatches plans to discredit opposition activists and media, according to private emails allegedly hacked by a group calling itself the Russian arm of Anonymous. [...] it was obvious the trolling on Ukraine-related issues was organised, as the trolls "are given talking points" and certain phrases were used again and again. The complainant to the Guardian said: "They still post only extremely biased, offensive, trolling commentary [...] Guardian moderators, who deal with 40,000 comments a day, believe there is an orchestrated campaign.
More here:
'Guardian has deleted almost 500 comments from pro-Russia trolls
'The Trolls on Putin's Payroll'
'Controlling the Trolls: American Websites Battle Against Pro-Russian Trolls'
'The truth about Russian trolls'
''Orchestrated' Pro-Russian campaign underway in Guardian comment sections, say moderators '

In the area covered by this blog, two similar phenomena may be observed. The first are the orchestrated campaigns organized by the dealers' lobbyists mostly from the USA (in which the ACCG leads, but is not the sole culprit) which aim to flood the CPAC/DoS with comments opposing the US goodguys cracking down on illicitly exported material coming onto the US market. Anyone looking at what these several hundred people produce will see that the opposition on coiney-related issues is organised, as the commenators quite clearly have been given talking points and certain phrases are used again and again.

Also repetitive are the comments of UK metal detecting sock puppets/shills which infest sites like Heritage Action's blog. Tracking indicates that these posts are produced by a very small handful of individuals, some of them with clearly identifiable style, others hiding behind adopted styles and names - some even trying to pose as archaeologists. I think they divide into two groups, the sock puppets - people writing under assumed identities (or trying to use the internet's facility for this to communicate while being anonymous) who like Putin's paid stooges are trying to manipulate opinions. Then there are the trolls (sensu stricto) whose main interest is creating a fuss and drawing attention to themselves by aggressive and infuriating behaviour. Neither of these groups are welcome as commentators on this blog. 

Oh, by the way, calling somebody a "troll" on the Guardian website will get your comment deleted. They consider it an abusive term. British Museum, please note.

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

CONFIRMED: the Shrine of Jonah/Mosque of Yunus (Nineveh, Mosul, Iraq) has been destroyed

The photographs are new, from different angles, from different moments in the process, from different people of different politics; their details match up with the details on other photos and satellite images. Christopher Jones (@cwjones89) and I agree: it’s gone; the Islamic State has blown up the Shrine of Jonah/Mosque of Yunus. Claim, evidence The […]

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeologists uncover nearly 1,000 year old village in Murphysboro

MURPHSYBORO, IL (KFVS) - A group of archeologists has uncovered a nearly 1,000 year old Native American village near the Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro Illinois.

The Illinois State Archaeological Survey was contracted to survey land so the state of Illinois could build a roadway.The investigation uncovered a 700 to 900 year old Native American village.

The group of people that lived in the village would have pre-dated European contact according to Senior Research Archaeologist, Patrick Durst, of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey.

“It’s sort of unclear if these groups spread out and became parts of what we know as the tribes today,” Durst said. Read more.

graduate classics students at Cambridge (res gerendae)

New discoveries at Binchester Roman Fort

You may already have seen the headlines about recent archaeological discoveries at Binchester Roman Fort, somewhat over-dramatically being referred to as the “Pompeii of the North” — e.g. this BBC news story. There’s a lot more information about the site and the dig on its website and its blog – for instance, the ring mentioned in the BBC story as being ‘one of the earliest pieces of evidence for Christianity in Britain’ is described in more detail here, and the whole blog is worth a scroll through for more details of the finds and some nice pictures.


Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Kleine Beiträge zur antiken Numismatik Südrusslands

Giel, Chr. (1886) : Kleine Beiträge zur antiken Numismatik Südrusslands : Mit 5 Tafeln, Moscou.

Cet ouvrage en allemand comprend une étude sur les monnaies pontiques de sa collection, les monogrammes des monnaies du Bosphore, les timbres sur tuiles bosporans.

Le livre

antiken numismatik sudrussland

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Get to Know Bible Scholars

A friend shared the images below from the book Get to Know Jesus by Nancy I. Sanders on Facebook. The characterization of what Bible scholars have to say in the second image is appallingly dishonest. I am not clear why Sanders thinks it is appropriate to lie to children about what scholars say, but I would encourage her to cease doing so. It does nothing but make those children likely to lose their faith altogether when they discover that they were taught lies as part of their religious upbringing when they were children.


Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

NYT on Life in Raqqa, Syria

In a Syrian City, ISIS Puts Its Vision Into Practice, a New York Times reporter (who's remaining anonymous) writes about life in Raqqa, the de facto capital of the world’s fastest growing jihadist force ('An employee of the New York Times' and Ben Hubbard, 'Life in a Jihadist Capital: Order With a Darker Side', New York Times 23rd July 2014). There he reports a degree of order and security currently absent in other parts of Syria.
Long before extremists rolled through Iraq and seized a large piece of territory, the group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, took over most of Raqqa Province, home to about a million people, and established a headquarters in its capital. Through strategic management and brute force, the group, which now calls itself simply the Islamic State, has begun imposing its vision of a state that blends its fundamentalist interpretation of Islam with the practicalities of governance. [...] In time, it has won the surprising respect of some war-weary citizens [...] who will accept any authority that can restore a semblance of normal life. Rebel-held areas of Aleppo, by comparison, remain racked with food shortages and crime. But there is a darker side to Islamic rule, with public executions and strict social codes that have left many in this once-tolerant community deeply worried about the future.[...] In the city of Raqqa, traffic police officers keep intersections clear, crime is rare, and tax collectors issue receipts. But statues like the landmark lions in Al Rasheed Park have been destroyed because they were considered blasphemous. Public spaces like Al Amasy Square, where young men and women once hung out and flirted in the evenings, have been walled off with heavy metal fences topped with the black flags of ISIS. People accused of stealing have lost their hands in public amputations. “What I see in Raqqa proves that the Islamic State has a clear vision to establish a state in the real meaning of the word,” said a retired teacher in the city of Raqqa. “It is not a joke.”

DigiPal Blog

Registration and Programme for DigiPal IV Symposium: Monday 1st September 2014

Date: Monday 1st September 2014

Venue: Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31), King's College London, Strand WC2R 2LS

Co-sponsor: Centre for Late Antique & Medieval studies, KCL

It is with great delight that the DigiPal team at the Department of Digital Humanities (King's College London) announce the programme for the fourth DigiPal Symposium. Building on the conversations of previous years, the focus will be the computer-assisted study of medieval handwriting and manuscripts. This year there is something of an international theme with speakers discussing Scandinavian fragments, Scottish charters, Greek and Latin inscriptions, Hebrew manuscripts of Portuguese provenance, Old English from the eleventh century, and a corpus of French documents. There will be a mix of epigraphy, numismatics, Digital Humanities, codicology, exciting technology to decipher material scratched into manuscripts and… and… ah yes, palaeography!

Registration is free and the first 80 people to register will receive a free lunch. After that, we're afraid there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Judging by previous experience, places and lunches are expected to disappear rapidly, so if you'd like to attend, then please register hereOh, and do let us know if you are a vegetarian.

Looking forward to seeing you in September,

Stewart and Peter

Draft Programme

09.30  Registration & Coffee
09.50  Welcome
10.00  Session 1
           1. Ben Pohl (University of Cambridge)
                    "I Spy with My Digital Eye: New ways of Visualising the Hidden Features in Medieval Manuscripts"
            2. Dot Porter (Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies)
                   "Visualizing the Construction of Manuscripts, through Collation and Video" 

11.00  Coffee
11.30  Session 2
           3. Stewart Brookes (King’s College London)
                   "The Palaeographer’s Guide to the DigiPal Galaxy"
           4. Peter Stokes (King’s College London)
           5. Matilda Watson (King’s College London)
                   "'ScandiPal': Reconstructing and Researching Manuscript Fragments from Eleventh-Century Scandinavia"

13.00  Lunch

14.00  Session 3
           6. Debora Matos (King’s College London)
                   "SephardiPal: Adapting DigiPal for 15th Century Hebrew Script and Decoration"
           7. Florence Codine (Bibliothèque nationale de France)
              8. Simona Stoyanova (University of Leipzig and King's College London)
                   "Greek Province, Roman Sigma: Inscriptional Palaeography"

15.30   Coffee
16.00   Session 4
            9. Marc Smith (École Nationale des Chartes)
          10. Dauvit Broun (University of Glasgow)
          11. Julia Crick (King’s College London)

17.30     Closing remarks
17.45     Drinks reception in Council Room

Ancient Peoples

Faience vessel in the form of Eros riding a duck Probably made...

Faience vessel in the form of Eros riding a duck

Probably made in Egypt

c.300-250 BC

Said to be from Tanagra, Greece

This jug is the finest faience vessel surviving from the Hellenistic world. It takes the form of Eros, the Greek god of love, clinging to the neck of a duck on whose back he is riding.

The combination of traditional Egyptian techniques with a purely Greek theme is characteristic of the products of the faience industry at Alexandria. The court of the Ptolemies (the Hellenistic Greek rulers of Egypt) at Alexandria was a great artistic centre. It became the focus for cultural exchange between the Greek and Egyptian worlds and their distinctive artistic traditions.

Source: British Museum 

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Iraq: Mind your Sources

Dr. Saad Eskander (Head of the Iraqi Delegation to the Inter-governmental Committee for Promoting the Return of the Cultural Property (UNESCO) & Director General of the Iraq National Library and Archives) has just p[osted this on the iraq Crisis mailing list:
Dear All Ignorance is playing a part in the destruction of Iraqi cultural heritage. By this I do not only mean the blood thirsty ISIS' fighters but also those who falsify the events taken place in Mosul, namely the official propaganda machine, senior officials at the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, some representatives of the Iraqi Christian community inside and outside the country, and some amateur journalists, local and foreign alike. I see any act of falsification as an encouragement to ISIS to committee more crimes against both the minorities and Iraqi cultural heritage. Wrong actions and false statements will certainly lead to the maximization of the damages inflicted upon our people and our culture. I ask you not to publish anything before making sure that the information is well documented or based on reliable sources.
As if to reinforce that within an hour, the UN was reporting false information (again)

Eight days after he contacted her on the matter UNESCO's Nada Al-Hassan tells "Mr" (recte Dr) Sam Hardy (in an email copied by her to me):
The mistake in the Sunday Time article you mentioned was signalled to them as soon as Mr Barford wrote to us and immediately corrected in the online version. I take this opportunity to also inform Mr Barford. Thank you for contacting us on this issue.
Anyone got access to the corrected version of "Loot, sell, bulldoze: Isis grinds history to dust"? The printed version contains the same story (was that corrected in print in the next issue?) and the online version currently has the picture of the stele, captioned: "Isis has imposed a 'tax' on looted antiquities in the vast region of Syria and Iraq it controls (Bonhams)", even though it has no connection whatsoever with ISIS... So that does not look much like a correction to me. The versions of the text quoting UNESCO's World Heritage Centre Arab States Unit Chief which are currently floating around the Internet seem not to have taken note of the correction. I suppose that's what you get for talking to foreign newspapers that shield your words behind revenue-generating paywalls, not everyone in the public gets the full story.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Long-Lost Anchor May Soon Give up Its Secrets

After decades, possibly centuries, at the bottom of the sea — and a 2,200-mile-long (3,540 kilometers) road trip wrapped in damp blankets in the back of a pickup truck — a barnacle-crusted anchor arrived in Texas this week for a major cleaning.

The men who raised the object from the floor of the Puget Sound hope conservation efforts will uncover proof that they found the long-lost anchor from a historic British voyage around the world.

In 2008, a fisherman named Doug Monk was collecting sea cucumbers just north of Seattle near Whidbey Island when his diving gear got caught on a huge anchor, The Seattle Times reported. Monk teamed up with amateur historian Scott Grimm to study the object, and the two obtained legal rights to salvage it. Last month, the duo finally pulled the 10-foot (3 meters) anchor from the Puget Sound with a crane. Read more.

Egyptian Carving Defaced by King Tut's Possible Father Discovered

A newly discovered Egyptian carving, which dates back more than 3,300 years, bears the scars of a religious revolution that upended the ancient civilization.

The panel, carved in Nubian Sandstone, was found recently in a tomb at the site of Sedeinga, in modern-day Sudan. It is about 5.8 feet (1.8 meters) tall by 1.3 feet (0.4 m) wide, and was found in two pieces.

Originally, it adorned the walls of a temple at Sedeinga that was dedicated to Queen Tiye (also spelled Tiyi), who died around 1340 B.C. Several centuries after Tiye’s death — and after her temple had fallen into ruin — this panel was reused in a tomb as a bench that held a coffin above the floor. Read more.

Liz Gloyn (Classically Inclined)

On the road – upcoming schedule

I have spent most of the last few months running around conferences like billy-o – and it’s not over yet! I’m around for some things in August and September, and if you’re interested, you may want to come along…

15th August 2014: ‘A common thread: Representations of the Minotaur in London’, Diversity in Speculative Fiction, LonCon3 Academic Track, London.

19th August 2014: ‘Fathers, be good to your daughters: Seneca, Augustus and familial ethics’, Commemorating Augustus: A Bimillennial Re-evaluation, Leeds.

16th September 2014: ‘Avoiding the master’s house: Representing women’s space on the Roman comic stage’, Is Gender Still Relevant? Examining The State of Play in the Historical Disciplines, Bradford.

These are all papers that have seen the light of day in one form or another, but I’m looking forward to getting the ideas out to some new audiences and to getting some new feedback. Hope to see some of you there!

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: ‘Atiqot

 [First posted 10/31/10, most recently updated 24 July 2014]

[Open Access after registration]
'Atiqot is the refereed journal of the Israel Antiquities Authority. It is published four times a year. The contents of the printed version is uploaded to the e-journal website. No changes are made to articles post-publication. The printed journal is available via the IAA website.

For details on how to submit, see our Guide to Contributors.

Range of Topics. ‘Atiqot covers a large chronological span, from prehistory up to the Ottoman period. Excavations are studied from various aspects and disciplines—often the result of the close interaction between researchers of the IAA and outside specialists. Thus, a report should include, in addition to the stratigraphic analysis, comprehensive treatments of the archaeological data, including studies of the various groups of finds,such as ceramics, glass, stone and metal objects, coins, jewelry, textiles, etc., as well as the geological, botanical, faunal and anthropological evidence. Laboratory analyses, such as petrography, radiocarbon dating and metallurgy, should be included where relevant.

The archaeological data published in ‘Atiqot are not confined to a specific range of periods or topics, but to a geographical area—the Land of Israel—which has been influenced by almost every ancient culture that existed in the Levant. The journal thus presents comprehensive research on the region and its connections with the neighboring countries. The publication is devoted to final reports and shorter articles, although occasionally a volume is dedicated to a particular topic (e.g., burial caves, agricultural installations), period (e.g., prehistoric, Islamic) or site (e.g., Acre, Jerusalem).

Excavation Reports. The papers published in ‘Atiqot are primarily the result of salvage excavations conducted by the IAA. Their results are sometimes unexpectedly important, filling in gaps that could not be understood by localized studies of the larger tells. ‘Atiqot is one of the few vehicles for imparting this important data and therefore a primary asset to any scholar in archaeology.

Bilingual Journal. The journal is bilingual, publishing articles in English or Hebrew; all Hebrew reports are accompanied by English summaries keyed to illustrations in the main text.
Past Issues

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Hymn to Matter

I recently spotted that Kenneth Leighton set Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s “Hymn to Matter” to music, in a composition for baritone, chorus, and orchestra or piano. I’ve been looking to see if there is a recording of the piece, but have yet to find one. I’m surprised that there aren’t more settings of Teilhard de Chardin’s texts to music, and that those which exist are not more popular in our time.

Also of interest to those seeking modern composers’ settings of texts that articulate a spirituality that embraces science are Robert Ward’s “Sacred Songs for Pantheists” – which are in no sense exclusively for those with such a religious view, since they are settings of poems by Catholic poet Gerald Manley Hopkins. While there is no online shareable version, there are at least two commercial recordings. Ward is a modern composer whose music I like very much, and who deserves to be better known.

Have any readers of this blog heard either of these compositions?

American Philological Association

New Mellon Foundation Grant for Digital Latin Library

The University of Oklahoma has received a $572,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the development of a digital library of Latin texts of all eras.  The Digital Latin Library—a Linked Open Data resource—has its origins in discussions between the Foundation and the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) in 2011.  In 2012 SCS, in collaboration with the Medieval Academy of America and the Renaissance Society of America, requested and received funding from the Foundation for a feasibility study to determine the appropriate scope of the project and to identify institutions where it could be carried out.  SCS Information Architect Samuel Huskey directed the feasibility study, and with the endorsement of all three learned societies submitted an initial implementation grant to the Foundation on behalf of his home institution, the University of Oklahoma, with the help of his collaborators, June Abbas and Chris Weaver.  The new grant funds the first year of a three year project, which has two components:  The Digital Latin Library and the Library of Digital Latin Texts. 

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

Greek Reporter Hypocritically Bites One of the Many Hands That Feeds It

So as is my wont, yesterday, prior to setting off for my nightly appointment with Morpheus, I sort assorted email items to post at rogueclassicism and/or my explorator newsletter.  One of those items was a piece at the BBC by Oxford Classicist Armand D’Angour, whom we have mentioned several times at rogueclassicism. Dr D’Angour penned a nice little piece commenting on the veracity of assorted Greek legends: How many Greek legends were really true? It is a well-written piece, with nothing which a Classicist would take umbrage at. Imagine my surprise, however, when I woke up to an item from the Greek Reporter, which oddly seems to have seen Dr Armand’s piece as an attack on Greek Culture: BBC Attempts to Rewrite Ancient Greek History!

As longtime readers of rogueclassicism know, I have often criticized Greek Reporter for ‘losing things in translation’ or not reporting things as clearly as a news source should. In this case, however, Greek Reporter has not only ‘missed the boat’ … they didn’t even make it to the pier, washed away in a wave of false inferences and insinuations. Even worse, Greek Reporter doesn’t even provide the name of the author of the piece. Sadly, however, it is clear that Dr D’Angour is now being excoriated online (at Twitter) by the trolls who suck at the teat of Greek Reporter. E.g.:

So let’s begin with Dr D’Angour’s opening paragraph:

The culture and legends of ancient Greece have a remarkably long legacy in the modern language of education, politics, philosophy, art and science. Classical references from thousands of years ago continue to appear. But what was the origin of some of these ideas?

… and this is how Greek Reporter appears to have interpreted it and/or decided to spin it:

BBC published a not so flattering article regarding ancient Greek legends. The article’s author, Armand d’Angour, associate professor of classics at the University of Oxford, raises a series of questions and attempts to clarify if all of the ancient Greek legends are actually true or if they are myths, a figment of Greeks’ colorful imagination. The article seems as an unsuccessful attempt to devalue the significance of Greek culture and the contribution of ancient Greeks to modern civilization.

Wow … from dealing with ‘legends’, you get that? Moving on, Dr D’Angour deals first with the question of the veracity of the Trojan Horse:

The story of the Trojan Horse is first mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, an epic song committed to writing around 750BC, describing the aftermath of a war at Troy that purportedly took place around 500 years earlier.

After besieging Troy (modern-day Hisarlik in Turkey) for 10 years without success, the Greek army encamped outside the city walls made as if to sail home, leaving behind them a giant wooden horse as an offering to the goddess Athena.

The Trojans triumphantly dragged the horse within Troy, and when night fell the Greek warriors concealed inside it climbed out and destroyed the city. Archaeological evidence shows that Troy was indeed burned down; but the wooden horse is an imaginative fable, perhaps inspired by the way ancient siege-engines were clothed with damp horse-hides to stop them being set alight by fire-arrows.

… personally, I had never heard of the “damp horse-hide” interpretation, but it is interesting and not really offensive as far as I can tell.  Greek Reporter, however has this:

According to the writer, even though archaeologists have proven that Troy was indeed burnt down, there is no significant evidence regarding the existence of the wooden horse that Greeks used to hide and pass the city gates. It was probably an “imaginative fable, perhaps inspired by the way ancient siege-engines were clothed with damp horse-hides to stop them being set alight by fire arrows.”

It is perhaps ironic that one has to use a Latin phrase to describe the Greek Reporter‘s  fallacy here, but obviously it’s a non sequitur to infer that because there’s evidence of Troy being burned at some point, that the Trojan Horse part must be literally true.  But it gets worse. The next question to be dealt with is whether Homer actually existed. Dr D’Angour presents an answer which will  be familiar to anyone who has taken a first year Classical Civilization course (and plenty who haven’t):

Not only is the Trojan Horse a colourful fiction, the existence of Homer himself has sometimes been doubted. It’s generally supposed that the great epics which go under Homer’s name, the Iliad and Odyssey, were composed orally, without the aid of writing, some time in the 8th Century BC, the fruit of a tradition of oral minstrels stretching back for centuries.

While the ancients had no doubt that Homer was a real bard who composed the monumental epics, nothing certain is known about him. All we do know is that, even if the poems were composed without writing and orally transmitted, at some stage they were written down in Greek, because that is how they have survived.

Greek Reporter‘s response:

The article claims that Homer may in fact have never existed. His greatest works, Iliad and Odyssey were both composed orally under his name, but even though ancient Greeks were certain that he was the one who recited them, there is no actual way of knowing if that was the case.

Again, we are to infer that Greeks should be raising their ire at this. And yet, we probably should note that Greek Reporter pretty much said the same thing about Homer just a few months ago (10 of the Most Significant Writers of Ancient Greece:

He is mainly known for Iliad and Odyssey, the most famous epic poems. The Iliad is the oldest work of western literature. In ancient Greece, people considered themselves uneducated if they had not read both the Iliad and the Odyssey. What is odd is that there is no knowledge of Homer’s life to such an extent that historians dispute his existence.

Skipping something on the alphabet (which Greek Reporter also skipped), we proceed to the question of the Pythagorean theorem … Dr D’Angour:

It is doubtful whether Pythagoras (c. 570-495BC) was really a mathematician as we understand the word. Schoolchildren still learn his so-called theorem about the square on the hypotenuse (a2+b2 =c2). But the Babylonians knew this equation centuries earlier, and there is no evidence that Pythagoras either discovered or proved it.

In fact, although genuine mathematical investigations were undertaken by later Pythagoreans, the evidence suggests that Pythagoras was a mystic who believed that numbers underlie everything. He worked out, for instance, that perfect musical intervals could be expressed by simple ratios.

… and Greek Reporter:

Even though schoolchildren around the world are taught the Pythagorean theorem during math class, d’Angour believes that the Babylonians had been using the theorem for centuries before Pythagoras even mentioned it.

The logic — if it can be called that — in that one is mind-boggling, and once again, we should point out that a couple of months ago, in a piece entitled Pythagoras: A Mysterious Personality, Religion and the Infamous Theorem, we read:

His mysterious personality was noticeable during his teaching; no notes and questions were allowed, that is why a great part of his works are lost. There is no additional information even on the renowned Pythagorean Theorem.

It is also not known if Pythagoras invented this theorem on his own or with the help of his students. The simple phrase saying that “the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides” was proven right before the Babylonians.

Skipping a few more (as does Greek Reporter) Dr D’Angour deals with the question of whether Alexander really was ‘great’. His brief assessment:

According to ancient sources, however, he was physically unprepossessing. Short and stocky, he was a hard drinker with a ruddy complexion, a rasping voice, and an impulsive temper which on one occasion led him to kill his companion Cleitus in a violent rage.
Alexander the Great

As his years progressed he became paranoid and megalomaniacal. However, in 10 short years from the age of 20 he forged a vast empire stretching from Egypt to India. Never defeated in battle, he made use of innovative siege engines every bit as as effective as the fabled Trojan Horse, and founded 20 cities that bore his name, including Alexandria in Egypt.

His military success was little short of miraculous, and in the eyes of an ancient world devoted to warfare and conquest it was only right to accord him the title of “Great”.

Greek Reporter ends their piece with:

Alexander may have been given the title “Great” but according to the article his character was far from that. In fact, the Oxford professor claims that he was a heavy drinker, a megalomaniac, paranoid, short man with a “rasping voice and impulsive temper” which even led him to kill one of his closest associates, Cleitus.

To which we can only say: So what?

Seriously, Greek Reporter? There is NOTHING in Dr D’Angour’s piece which should cause Greeks to take umbrage. Indeed, they should be grateful to Dr D’Angour and every Classicist who goes out of his or her regular academic duties to pen things in the popular press which are essentially promoting the study of the culture you claim is being disparaged. Until such time as you realize that we’re all on the same side, you’ll be continued to be dismissed as a feeder of trolls rather than a responsible promoter of a proud Greek heritage.

AIA Fieldnotes

Center for New Mexico Archaeology open house

Office of Archaeological Studies, Museum of New Mexico
International Archaeology Day
Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 10:00am - 4:00pm

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Wiki Loves Monuments Italia: Un concorso fotografico che valorizza il patrimonio culturale italiano su Wikipedia

Wiki Loves Monuments Italia: Un concorso fotografico che valorizza il patrimonio culturale italiano su Wikipedia
Wiki Loves Monuments Italia
Il 2014 è l’anno della terza edizione di Wiki Loves Monuments Italia, il concorso fotografico che potenzia la visibilità dei monumenti e invita ciascuno ad essere protagonista nel documentare, valorizzare e tutelare il patrimonio culturale. Comune denominatore delle immagini che possono partecipare a Wiki Loves Monuments è il soggetto degli scatti: un monumento.
Con il termine monumento si fa riferimento ad un vastissimo genere di opere: edifici, sculture, siti archeologici, strutture architettoniche, siti naturali e interventi dell’uomo sulla natura che hanno grande valore dal punto di vista artistico, storico, estetico, etnografico e scientifico.
Come per le passate edizioni, gli obiettivi principali del progetto sono:
  • valorizzare e documentare l’immenso patrimonio culturale italiano, promuovendone la ricchezza artistico-culturale presso una vasta platea internazionale,
  • invitare tutti i cittadini a documentare la propria eredità culturale, realizzando fotografie con licenza libera, nel pieno rispetto del diritto d’autore e della legislazione italiana,
  • aumentare la consapevolezza della necessità di tutela dei monumenti, preservandone la memoria.
Wiki Loves Monuments is a photographic contest which improves the visibility of monuments and invites everyone to be a protagonist in the documentation, valorization and conservation of cultural heritage.
In Italy, Wiki Loves Monuments contributes with the involvement of volunteers and istitutions to the creation of a list of cultural goods with identification codes released under a free license, to the production of Wikipedia pages and images for Wikimedia Commons.
The photo taken in Italy for the contest must follow the “Code Urbani”, the Italia Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape, which states that to publish a photograph of any Italian monument, even those whose copyright has expired, you must obtain permission from the “legitimate owner”; the permission usually requires the payment of a fee if the pictures are not for personal use.
In order to publish pictures of Italian cultural heritage and landscape, people must therefore knock on the door of all the entities involved (Ministry, curators, regions, provinces, metropolitan cities, municipalities and private entities) to discover the legitimate owners. A massive undertaking, but the team of Wikimedia Italy, organizer of the Italian branch of the contest, does not give up and finds a lot of partners.

The italian contest has some specific regulations and its winners will partecipate as finalists in the international contest.
The rules to partecipate are the following:
  1. You need to have a valid e-mail address.
  2. You have to be the author of the pictures you upload.
  3. Pictures have to be uploaded during september (from the first of the month ‘till the 30th).
  4. Pictures have to be released under a CC-BY-SA license.
  5. The subject of the pictures has to be one of the italian monuments from the lists.
  6. Pictures have to contain the indentification code of the depicted monument.
  7. You can partecipate with as many pictures as you wish.
  8. There are no limitations or rules about the resolution and manipulation of the pictures.
  9. You can also partecipate with old pictures, but you still have to be the author of them.

AIA Fieldnotes

How To Do Things With History: A Conference In Honor Of Paul Cartledge

Friday, September 26, 2014 - Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Second International Thornton Wilder Conference

Thursday, June 11, 2015 - Saturday, June 13, 2015

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

APiece of TT63 Sobekhotep Decoration Returns to Egypt

A painted limestone relief that was stolen and smuggled out of Egypt before 1986 will return to Egypt. A German couple had bought it from a collector in Britain in 1986 but learnt it was stolen and returned it on Wednesday. The item was part of the decoration of the much-robbed tomb (TT63 on the north flank of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna hill) of the 18th dynasty royal official Sobekhotep (temp. Tuthmosis IV) from the  Nobles necropolis on Luxor’s west bank. The relief had been spotted a few months ago by curators at Bonn University Museum while organising a temporary exhibition there.
The limestone relief is in very good condition. It is 30cm tall and 40cm wide. It depicts two figures of Sobehotep standing and making offerings to deities. The owners of the relief, a German couple, did not know it was stolen because they brought from a British private collection in 1986 and offered it to Bonn University Museum so it could be displayed at the temporary exhibition.
The tomb itself is listed on the excellent resource offered by Waseda University  where there are a couple of pictures showing what looters have left behind of the fine and important decoration. Here are some tracings of the remaining bits - including one that then ended up in Hildesheim, Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum, Pelizaeus-Museum, 5959 (the two plans of the tomb differ quite markedly). There is also a piece of one of the ripped-out bits that has not gone home in New York's met Museum, bought in 1930. Interestingly, the British Museum has six knocked-off bits from this tomb too, in two groups, five donated in 1869 by 'Henry Danby Seymour', one bought 1852 from 'Mr J H (or W) Wild'. Here they all are in their disjointed colourfulness:

 In the nineteenth century when these bits were levered off the wall (no doubt several other panels collapsed in the process - and to be fair, the plaster seems to have become detached in places in the tomb by itself) there were limited opportunities for the viewing public to visit the site. But these disjointed fragments make very little sense in the form we have them, scattered in different collections. Yet some of them are important for the information they offer, the foreign tributaries are often quoted, the metalworking scene is often used in archaeometallurgy books. It would actually be more helpful to see what is left of this tomb's decoration displayed back on site than little bits of it framed as scattered trophies of imperial plunder. 

Now, how did that bit which the Germans bought get to London, when and how was it removed from the tomb? From which collector was it acquired?

Nevine El-Aref, 'Stolen 18th dynasty relief returns from Germany' Al Ahram, 23 Jul 2014.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Soul Freedom Music

The concept of “soul freedom” (sometimes referred to by other terms, such as “soul competency” and “freedom of conscience”) is an important one in the Baptist tradition (although we see it neglected or even rejected at times in the Southern Baptist Convention and independent fundamentalist Baptist churches). It is the idea that the individual has the ability and the responsibility to decide before God what they should believe and do, and that ultimately they must follow their own conscience rather than some other authority.

Since that will be a focus of the sermon at my church this coming Sunday, I started first trying to think of, and then actively looking for, songs that relate to this topic. I couldn’t find any – although I did nonetheless find two songs with the title “Soul Freedom,” one by Deep Black Sees and the other by Chico Mann, neither of which is about the Baptist idea and neither of which seems like it would fit in the service. But do listen to them by clicking the videos below nevertheless. Clearly this is a topic that calls for some songwriting!

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Here are the lyrics to the Deep Black Sees song “Soul Freedom” courtesy of their Facebook page:


PART I Echoes Along The Valleys


Life is fear of making the wrong choice

When we are led by feelings

Trying to find the right way

To breath, to cry, to smile


We listen to the whispering of the time

It echoes along the valleys

Into our minds.

Who are we? What are we going to be later?


Each mask I wear breaks my body

It seems other spirits possess me

And their dust, generated by

Their double-dealing, breaks my down


PART II Trains


I’m travelling in a crowded train

The images are out of focus

I really don’t know where it’s headed

Where’s the last stop

I can’t pull the emergency

brake or get off

But inside myself a voice suggest me

To go on waiting for the last train stop


Does it mean I’ll go on living my experience happily?

‘Cause I want to tell my life, my changes

Does it mean I’ll get a lot of friends

Rude or polite, rich or poor, bad or good?

They all, look like me, they’re all actors without a mask

Until I hear the last whistle.




What do I expect in this life?

Will I have a woman to embrace, to kiss?

Will I see the ocean in her eyes?

I’m changing on and on

I know, I am the only one

Maybe not for you


All I got is going to fade

And I don’t mind losing it

But I like riding everything I live


My body reigns on a small land

But my soul is wandering over the earth and the ocean

Right there, I am free

Right there, I smile at the life.

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem ix kalendas Augustas

 ante diem ix kalendas Augustas

  • ludi Victoriae Caesaris (day 5)
  •  64 A.D. — the Great Fire of Rome continues (day 7)
  •  69 A.D. — sacking of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (?)
  •  133 A.D. — the last holdout of the Bar Kochba Revolt — Betar – fell to the Romans (?)
  •  1895 — Birth of Robert Graves (author of I, Claudius, among others)
  •  1978 — death of Dame Kathleen Kenyon (excavatrix of Jericho)

Katy Meyers (Bones Don't Lie)

Using Teeth to Learn About Diet, Cooking and Food Processing in Prehistoric Sudan

How could someone determine what you eat from only examining the things you leave behind? To add to the challenge, you would be hypothetically deceased and unable to communicate your […]

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Archaeology, Punk and Drunk

Yesterday was a big day for various alternative archaeologies (for lack of a better term). Andrew Reinhard premiered his Drunk Archaeology podcast and Josh Wheeler’s story appeared on Harpers webpage on the punk archaeologist involvement in the Atari excavation this spring. Andrew Reinhard was the inspiration and organizational force behind both of these things, and his energy and enthusiasm for exploring the edges of the profession is inspiring and thought provoking. 

In the Harpers’ piece I was called the soul of the punk archaeology movement although the author admitted that he didn’t quite understand what it was. This has become a persistent problem for punk archaeology. I spend more time attempting to convince folks that punk archaeology does not need to have a cohesive, unified philosophy, method, or approach than talking about what the intersection of something like the punk aesthetic could mean for a discipline like Mediterranean archaeology. For me, at least, punk archaeology has more to do with challenging the traditional conventions of archaeological practice both in the field and in our approach to disseminating knowledge. A conference and concert, for example, in a local watering hole in Fargo represented an unconventional way to tell stories about archaeological practice. Self-publishing either on a blog or by creating a small press (stay tuned!), represents another angle where a DIY and anti-conventional approach to the production and presentation of archaeological knowledge comes to the fore. The issue with these kind of DIY approaches is that they fit awkwardly within the current model of professionalism which depends upon a structured network of relationships (a community of practice?) to authorize new archaeological knowledge. Peer review, for example, depends upon both institutional structures and the mutual understanding of collegial rank and status (i.e. being peers).  

At the Atari excavation the punk approach to archaeology manifest as a critique of late capitalism which both colonized archaeology in the interest in the (apparently stillborn) effort to produce content for Microsoft’s X-box platform and created the object of their investigation: Atari’s E.T. video game. Like my work around workforce housing in the Bakken Oil Patch, punk archaeology attempted to position itself in a way to critique the changing nature of material, labor, and consumer culture. The archaeological aspects of both projects focused on the quickening pace of contemporary society where objects and settlements moved more quickly from objects of desire to artifacts of study. The pace of culture means that archaeology as a discipline must engage an ambiguous body of material that is flowing at an alarming rate from objects in use in everyday life to archaeological artifacts. 

Punk archaeology looks to blur lines at the edges of the discipline. In some ways, this is good. It opens up our discipline to think about new ways of doing things, which range from new approaches and methods to new ideological commitments and new definitions of disciplinary limits.

On the other hand, professional archaeology and academia in general worked to democratize the production of knowledge. It is a bit concerning that punk rock music, despite its flirtation with gender bending and androgyny, and to some extent punk archaeology is a movement (can I really call it that?) that shares this aggressive, masculine encoding. More than that, punk had strong roots in a white, suburban subculture and often rejected middle or even upper class values while at the same time romanticizing a kind of lost urbanism in decades characterized by white flight and disintegration of traditional cities. As much as academic professionalism remains committed to a commodified and industrial model of knowledge production, it had the useful side-effect of  breaking down some the gender, racial, and economic barriers that had made academia a bastion of white, male, upper class privilege. On its best days, punk archaeology seeks to critique the professionalization of the academy (and the contemporary rise of the post-industrial assessocracy) while preserving the gains that this process has made.  

Andrew Reinhard’s Drunk Archaeology goes even further along the lines of blurring professional boundaries. If the DIY of punk archaeology rejects many of the institutional character of knowledge production, Drunk Archaeology challenges professional standards even further. As E.P. Thompson and others have argued intoxication has a long tradition as a form of resistance. The most famous manifestation of this is St. Monday when workers would be absent on Monday as they recovered from weekend indulgences. Drunk Archaeology continues in this tradition by injecting alcohol into an rollicking conversation about the site of Pompeii with Eric Poehler and Francesca Tronchin. The podcast shares many of the characteristics of punk archaeology (and punk rock) with its raw language, challenged production standards, and intellectual irreverence. Reinhard manages to use the drunkenness of the conversation to good effect punctuating the conversation with the clinking of ice in refilled glasses and swirly audio effects as three participants romp through the history and archaeology of Pompeii. The podcast is good despite its rough production and oddly unscripted chat. Think of as the MC5’s Kick Out the Jams

It ask shares with Punk Archaeology a bit of ambivalence in its critique. Is the drunkenness meant to be simply playful? Or is it meant as a hat tip to traditions of the booze-soaked, hyper-masculine, preprofessional archaeologist who follows a honed intuition rather than methodology or formal training to discover the past. Could it even be a subtle wink to the parallels between archaeology and the long, complex, and damaging history of alcohol in a colonial context?  

I think I’d prefer to read (listen?) to the podcast as a more complex critique which uses alcohol as a way to challenge the overwhelming force of rationality, methodology, and scientism in our discipline and instead emphasizes the passion, mystique, and … fun, of archaeological work. As much as I am skeptical of the scientific, dry-as-dust, method driven archaeology of the 21st century, I can also see the risks in this statement (just as I am aware of the risks in my punk archaeology). None of us really want to return to the days of informal, ribald, and chaotic colonialist archaeology any more than we’d want Johnny Thunders excavating a sensitive context. But we both would like our discipline to be more aware of how professional limits shape the kind of knowledge we produce. 

Go check them both out and decide for yourself.

AIA Fieldnotes

ASCSA Corinth Museum Internship

Fellowship/Grant Listing
American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA)

read more

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Korea-US sign MOU protecting cultural assets from illegal trafficking

South Korea and the United States are working closely to restore and prevent illegal trafficking of cultural assets. Representatives from Korea's Cultural Heritage Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have signed their first memorandum of understanding to set framework for the exchange of information and cooperation on protecting and restituting cultural property. The agreement comes after U.S. President Barack Obama returned nine ancient Korean royal seals upon his visit to Seoul in April. With the agreement, Seoul is expected to retrieve traditional cultural assets shipped out of the country by the American military during the Korean War. They include two traditional seals Seoul expects to be returned early next year. 
(""Arirang News23rd July 2014). Interestingly past thefts by US military personnel is not something covered by the CCPIA. I expect Mr Tompa and Congressmen Israel and Rangel will be onto it right away. 

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Christians Flee ISIS territory

How can we have come to this? (Patrick Cockburn Time runs out for Christian Iraq: Isis deadline passes with mass flight Independent, Sunday 20 July 2014):
The last Christians in northern Iraq are fleeing from places where their communities have lived for almost 2,000 years, as a deadline passed for them to either convert to Islam, pay a special tax or be killed. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) issued a decree last week offering Christians the three options accompanied by the ominous threat that, if they did not comply by midday on 19 July, “then there is nothing to give them but the sword”. It is the greatest mass flight of Christians in the Middle East since the Armenian massacres and the expulsion of Christians from Turkey during and after the First World War. Isis, which now rules an area larger than Great Britain, has already eliminated many of the ancient Christian communities of eastern Syria, where those who had not escaped were given a similar choice between conversion, payment of a special tax or death.
Threw were over one million Christians in Iraq before the US and British invasion of 2003. The Christians are mostly Assyrians, known as the Church of the East, or Chaldeans, an Eastern rite of the Catholic Church.


Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Sekhemka Statue Vanishes

"Well, it was here a minute ago,
what have you done with it?"
It's official - Northampton Museum's Sekhemka statue has ended up in private hands according to the BBC:
 A 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue sold by Northampton Museum has been bought by a private collector, it has emerged. Auction house Christie's of London said the buyer wanted to remain anonymous. The statue of Sekhemka, court official and priest, which sold for £15.76m, will now vanish from public view, campaigners said [...] The Save Our Sekhemka Action Group said: "The people of Northampton have been robbed in broad daylight of the jewel in the crown of their museum. "This looks like the worst possible outcome for the world of Egyptology. "There is now no guarantee that the statue of Sekhemka will ever be seen again, even by professional researchers, let alone by the children who might be inspired to find out more about the riches of Egyptian history and culture." His Excellency Ahsraf Elkholy Ahsraf Elkholy, the Egyptian Ambassador, condemned the sale
The news was greeted with fury by the “Save Our Sekhemka Action Group” a spokesperson for the group told an online newspaper ('Sekhemka is like Gollum's "precious" say critics as Christie's confirm sale of statue to private collector', Heritage Daily,  July 23rd, 2014):
“Thanks to Cllr Mackintosh and Northampton Council, it looks as if Sekhemka may have been turned into the Egyptian equivalent of Gollum’s “precious” to be hidden away and even gloated over as a secret fantasy object.”


AIA Fieldnotes

Tracing Gestures, The Art and Archaeology of Bodily Communication

Institute of Archaeology, University College London
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - 9:00am - Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 6:00pm

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Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Canadian Authorities Hand on to Indian Statue

A sculpture that matches other sculptures of the Devi Jagadambi Temple in Khajuraho, a World Heritage site, apparently was stolen and has ended up in Canada. India wants it back under the Canadian 1977 Cultural Property Export and Import Act.(Douglas Quan, 'Canada balks at returning statue believed stolen from world heritage site in India',, July 22, 2014).
India is trying to repatriate a “voluptuous” 12th-century statue of a woman with a parrot on her bare shoulder that somehow ended up in the hands of the Department of Canadian Heritage. The life-sized sandstone statue — apparently stolen from Khajuraho, a United Nations world heritage site — has been in the possession of heritage officials in Edmonton since 2011, but Canada has not handed it over because Indian authorities can’t provide proof of ownership or that it was stolen, the Economic Times of India reported Tuesday. 
The statue is clearly a product of the Bundelkhand region and fits in perfectly with the other sculptures of Khajuraho, but the Indians cannot do anything until they can show Canadian authorities proof of ownership. It is not clear how Canadian heritage officials came into possession of the statue, apparently the Canadian customs officials had intercepted it. Certain antiquities or cultural objects considered to have historical significance to their country of origin cannot be brought into Canada without the appropriate permits.
Khajuraho is a major tourist destination about 600 kilometres southeast of New Delhi featuring medieval temples famously adorned with erotic sculptures. The temples were built during the Chandella dynasty and belonged to two religions: Hinduism and Jainism. According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization website, the Chandella rulers promoted various Tantric doctrines and sculptors of the time depicted “all aspects of life, including sex.”
The fate of the statue and ownership remain unclear.

Donna Yates tweets another article on this, nice because it has a greyish fuzzy picture.  Douglas Quan, 'India wants 12th-century statue back Heritage officials in Edmonton in possession of 'voluptuous' art', Postmedia News July 23, 2014

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient graffiti proves Spain's Irish links

An ancient inscription discovered on a 14th century church in Spain’s Galicia region has been identified as Gaelic; the first written evidence of the northern region’s Irish and Scottish heritage.

For centuries it has gone unnoticed, weathered by Galicia’s incessant drizzle but still visible to those with an eagle-eye.

On one of the granite walls of Santiago church in the small town of Betanzos, a small previously unintelligible inscription five metres above ground kept historians and epigraphists, or people who study ancient inscriptions, baffled for decades.

Researchers working for a private association called the Gaelaico Project now believe they’ve finally deciphered what it reads: “An Ghaltacht” or “Gaelic-speaking area”. Read more.

Stolen 18th dynasty relief returns from Germany

Egypt on Wednesday received from Germany a painted limestone relief that was stolen in the last century from the tomb of 18th dynasty high priest Sobekhotep in the Nobles necropolis on Luxor’s west bank.

Minister of Antiquities and Heritage Mamdouh El-Damati told Ahram Online that the recovery of the relief started a few months ago when he was Egypt’s cultural attaché in Germany and curators at Bonn University Museum were working hard to organise a temporary exhibition there.

During preparations, a curator at the museum spotted the relief and it was confirmed that it was stolen and had been taken from the 18th dynasty tomb of Sobekhotep, a high priest during the reign of King Tuthmose IV. Read more.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Colombian drug smugglers used pre-Columbian antiquities to launder money

 Spanish seizure in 2003 shows Colombian drug smugglers used pre-Columbian antiquities to launder money

40th Anniversary of Turkish Invasion of Cyprus

Turkish troops intervened on Cyprus in 1974, in response to a military coup by Greek Cypriot officers who sought union with Greece. In the ensuing chaos, up to 200,000 Greek Cypriots fled from their homes in the north. Since then, more than 500 churches have been under Turkish control. Some have been destroyed, many ransacked - icons and frescoes have disappeared into scattered private collections. It is one of the most systematic examples of the looting of art since World War II.
The Turks say they would do more to help [protect these monuments] - if they were not under international embargo. Any international aid to Cyprus has to be channelled through the Government in the south, and the Turkish Cypriot authorities refuse to accept its legitimacy. "As you know, because of the politically unrecognised conditions of northern Cyprus we are facing lots of problems", says Hassan Tekel, the director of antiquities in the Famagusta region. "For example, we don't have any international support, not even from Unesco."

For a brief timeline:  Greek Reporter, 'Shocking Photos for 40-Year Anniversary of Turkish Invasion of Cyprus – Timeline of a Crisis', Jul 20, 2014 

Iraqi Heritage, 'a Major Concern'

A public panel, “The Implications of the Current Fighting for Iraq’s Cultural Heritage” was held on Friday evening, July 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. The panel was organized by the Iraqi Cultural Center (ICC), the Iraqi Ministry of Culture and The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII). The goal of this panel was to focus on the current situation in Iraq, particularly on the cultural impact of the fighting which broke out in the beginning of 2014. Alex Nagel gives a report of the proceedings ('What can you do? Sharing knowledge about Iraq’s vanishing cultural heritage' SAFE July 20, 2014.)

Questions About Didcot Mirror Fundraising

 "Discovered by a metal detectorist in the Didcot area prior to 2007, it is a rarity"

People are still trying to raise the £33000 quid to pay off an artefact hunter and his partner, the owner of its findspot, to put it in a museum in the UK. The Oxfordshire museum to be precise. It is said to be "extremely rare" ("there are only 18 complete and decorated mirrors are known from the later Iron Age" in Britain). Heritage Trust say: 'Say No to this British Iron Age mirror being lost to the nation'. I say "why?". Why? Minister Vaizey is reported as saying, “The Didcot Mirror is a beautiful object dating from the Iron Age and would be a tremendous addition to any one of ... " well, actually any museum in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere willing to buy it and exhibit it as an example of British culture. Like the Brits exhibit thousands of Greek vases, Egyptian reliefs, Chinese jades and Indian holy images and goodness-knows-what else, suggesting that the people of those countries (a) should be jolly pleased their culture is deemed worthy of display in a prestige gallery in London or Northampon and (b) if they want to see them, then they can get a visa, book a hotel and flight and come over to see them. Why actually, can the Didcot mirror not "leave the country" in a globalised world? What is so special about the Didcot mirror (one of eighteen known) and so special about it staying in Oxfordshire or the UK?

If this object is a National Treasure (of outstanding aesthetic importance, and of outstanding significance to the study of Iron Age Britain, the development of decorative styles in the period, and the evolution of Iron Age mirrors), then what are we doing let metal detectorists hoik them out of the ground willy nilly and conspire with the landowners of the land containing the archaeological site it came from to flog it off to the highest bidder? Either these things are national treasures which need protecting from hoikers and floggers or they are not - in which case we can happily wave them bye-bye. Either Britain protects the archaeological heritage from damaging exploitation  or it does not - but then don't expect the British public to fork out tens of thousands of pounds from their own pockets to put right the damage done by lax policies.As for the archaeo-whinging
"Mirrors from southern England, like this specimen are highly  significant for our understanding of the later Iron Age, and offer important insights  into the social changes which occurred in the century before the  Roman conquest in AD 43".
Do they? In what way will having it in a British museum do that which the other eighteen cannot?  In what way will an adequate record (like the millions of hoiked objects recorded in the PAS) perhaps with a nice electrotype expertly made with a silicone mould not suffice? Most artefacts enter ephemeral artefact collections with far less than that.

The decision on the export licence application for the Mirror will be deferred for a period extended until 14 September in order to pay the finder and sponsoring landowner their £33,000. I say, let it go abroad, to somebody whose already found the money to look after it - something the British seem reluctant to do. Maybe when enough hoiked metalwork is sold off on the open market people will begin to take notice of what is happening to Britain's buried archaeology at the hands of treasure hunters.

The Mirror and the Minister
Minister blocks export of national treasure
Bid to find UK buyer for Iron Age mirror 

Treasure Hunter Barry Clifford Denied further Access to supposed 'Santa Maria' wreck

The Antiquities Coalition has an interesting followup article to a recent news story ( Justine Benanty, 'Treasure Hunter Barry Clifford: 'Santa Maria' Access Denied' The Antiquities Coalition, July 14, 2014):
On July 7, the Haitian Minister of Culture, Monique Rocourt, publicly stated that the Haitian Government has revoked the permit of famed treasure hunter Barry Clifford's on the alleged Santa Maria site. When the discovery news first went public back in May 2014, UNESCO was asked for their technical assistance to determine the validity of Clifford's claims and assess his permit and archaeological methods. UNESCO has since determined that the methodology and diver team employed by Clifford does not comply with the standards set by the Scientific Council of the UNESCO Convention [...]
It also turns out that although Clifford had announced to the public that it was he who had discovered this site, it had actually previously been studied by the University of Florida back in the 1970s-80s, who had found no evidence whatsoever suggesting that this was thewreck of teh 'Santa Maria' of Columbus. The Coalition points out that maritime archaeology is beset with problems caused by amateur treasure hunters against whose sensationalist claims they often have to struggle.
A simple news search shows that media coverage of this decision has only been covered by Haitian or foreign language media outlets. Once the initial announcement via the mass media was released in May to the American press, there has been little to no coverage of these developments since May in English-language outlets. This illustrates a trend in American sensationalist media where only the exciting or provoking news is made public, while the follow-up stories that are grounded in reality, are forgotten or dismissed. If the American public were able to know about why Clifford's permit was revoked or why treasure hunters and archaeologists are ethically at odds, it would foster a new thoughtful perspective on cultural resources management and site preservation. The media is an integral part in spreading awareness of issues surrounding our cultural resources.
But do the media accept that role for themselves, or are they more interested in dumb-down sensation?

Jim Davila (

Review of Jones, Between Pagan and Christian

BOOK REVIEW: Between Pagan and Christian, by Christopher P. Jones, by Candida Moss in the Times Higher. Excerpt:
This is important subject matter and a worthwhile read, and Jones is peerless in his discussions of the 4th century and beyond. For those interested in details as well as broad strokes, he is just the man to show us exactly how fuzzy the notion of paganism was in the ancient world. Engaging anecdotes - for instance about the conversion of various ancient figures - punctuate a book replete with linguistic definitions.

But when he refers to the world before Constantine, Jones’ erudition and constructivist interests seem to slip. Not only are the facts of the 1st century idealistically borrowed from traditional ecclesial histories and the Acts of the Apostles, his interests in historical constructivism evaporate. ...

Iraqi Christians expelled from Mosul

ARAMAIC WATCH: Purged by ISIS, Iraq's Christians appeal to world for help (Fox).
Iraqi Christians are begging for help from the civilized world after Mosul, the northern city where they have lived and worshiped for 2,000 years, was purged of non-Muslims by ISIS, the jihadist terror group that claims to have established its own nation in the region.

Assyrian Christians, including Chaldean and Syriac Catholics, Syriac Orthodox and followers of the Assyrian Church of the East have roots in present day Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran that stretch back to the time of Jesus Christ. While they have long been a minority and have faced persecution in the past, they had never been driven completely from their homes as has happened in Mosul under ISIS. When the terror group ordered all to convert to Islam, pay a religious tax or face execution, many chose another option: flight.


Mosul is home to some of the most ancient Christian communities, but the number of Christians has dwindled since 2003. On Sunday, militants seized the 1,800-year old Mar Behnam Monastery, about 15 miles south of Mosul. The resident clergymen left to the nearby city of Qaraqoush, according to local residents.

The BBC has a story about the monastery: Isis militants 'seize Iraq monastery and expel monks'.

Background on Mosul and on related issues in the Middle East is here and links.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Truth and Lies in the Media: Getting Messed-around by the "News"

I suppose most of my readers can tell that I get a bit up-tight about cultural heritage, and tend to take a lot of this seriously. Those who read a bit deeper might perceive that what angers me most is when people (read dealers and collectors) try to get away with passing off half-baked ideas and half-truths as reality which we should all take as given. That really angers me.

Just a few days ago a lady from UNESCO said something to two lady journalists (Jane Arraf, Dalya Alberge) who then published an article based upon what (they thought) they'd been told that an object at Bonham's (an Assyrian stele) was one of those elusive antiquities that ISIS are supposed to be flogging off to buy bullets. I've covered those "antiquities support militants" stories, trying to sift out what the facts are, trying to show on their basis why we need to take action on the no-questions-asked trade. In this case obviously something was wrong, the object was on the open market well before ISIS was even a twinkle in a fundamental Moslem's eye. Nada al-Hassan from UNESCO, on that being pointed out, quickly denied having actually said what was directly attributed to her. "A misunderstanding" she says. Then her contact details disappeared from the UNESCO page and she clammed up. No answer to my followup letter. Sam Hardy wrote to the Sunday Times, to Jane Arraf and Dalya Alberge. Nothing. No reply. Nobody is going to confirm or deny what was put out in print by a premier UK newspaper. This story has been made-up as anti-ISIS propaganda, and nobody is going to admit being its originator. They chose the wrong object (and the wrong auction house) because - unlike a lot of the stuff on the market, this one DID have a collecting history going back a decade and a half. Not much, but enough to show that the ISIS-connection is made-up. By whom and why?

I've already discussed the  "National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces" and its Heritage Task Force. What political role does it in fact fulfil and for whom? What is going on here behind the scenes and who is pulling the strings? Actually, that is a rhetorical question.

Yesterday in Gaza four kids playing football on the beach were slaughtered by an Israeli attack. NBC journalist Ayman Mohyeldin reported on it in graphic detail.
Over the last two weeks, Mohyeldin’s reporting has been far more balanced and even-handed than the standard pro-Israel coverage that dominates establishment American press coverage; his reports have provided context to the conflict that is missing from most American reports and he avoids adopting Israeli government talking points as truth. As a result, neocon and “pro-Israel” websites have repeatedly attacked him
Today he was removed by NBC from the assignment and tweets and a Facebook comment he made concerning the US Department of State's reactions (I saw them) were deleted. Who was behind this censorship of the media? Who is not interested in the US viewing public (who are expected by their gubn'mint to support Israel and its right to defend itself 100%, no matter the human costs to the 'other side')  hearing about the other side of the story? Who is manipulating the news by sending to Gaza a reporter who cannot speak Arabic in his place?

The Financial Times reports that news stories about ISIS raising funds from the robbery of Mosul banks (as was being reported a few days ago) are simply nonsense (paywall). As Sam Hardy notes "So was funding from antiquities more signif or were reports bullshit?". I am beginning to suspect that the story about the memory sticks reportedly containing information on revenue from antiquity sales is exactly the latter.

It's annoying enough trying to tease some facts out of the obfuscations of the no-questions-asked antiquity trade without having to deal with deliberate misinformation fed to us by the media which we assume all too naively is carefully analysing their sources and telling us the truth. I think we are very far from getting a full picture is currently happening in Syria and Iraq (and Gaza).   

Antiquity Now

Graffiti From Ancient to Modern Times: Memorialization, Human Expression and the Art That Will Not Die

Graffiti has been around since time immemorial.  From ancient caves to carved mountainsides to splendiferous murals, pictures have been splashed and carved on walls and surfaces throughout time and across cultures.  Self-expression, political agitation, vendettas, advertisements—all reasons for some to … Continue reading

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Gill Reviews Cycladic Sculpture Monograph Revision

David Gill reviews: Pat Getz-Gentle, Personal Styles in Early Cycladic Sculpture (Wisconsin), Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.07.12

The book is a revision of a work published 13 years ago. Gill emphasizes that"Documented collecting histories are vital for understanding the market and the authenticity of information about reported find-spots" and cites the example of the New York "namepiece of the Bastis Sculptor" which is said to be from Naxos, but in the catalogue she also says "said to be from Paros"
 One of things that Getz-Gentle appears to be saying in the Addendum is that the establishment of the network of dealers can be used to identify material derived from looted sites. This observation in itself is significant given the impact of the raid in the Geneva Freeport that provided access to photographic material and subsequently allowed archaeological material to be returned to Italy. 
Gill goes on to discuss the so-called  "Keros hoard" (he prefers the term "Keros Haul" and names one of the "hauliers").
 One of the issues explored in my earlier review was that of forgeries or modern creations. This is a topic that deserves to be addressed in more detail not least because so few of the figures in the corpus come from excavated contexts. Evidence is now emerging of an individual ("the Forger") operating in Greece during the 1980s and 1990s who has identified a number of key pieces that were his creation.  He has indicated that his work was handled by major dealers. There continue to be major intellectual consequences of esteem for the study of these stunning marble figures. Sadly, this revised edition has not taken the opportunity to re-engage with the on-going debate 
He promises a forthcoming study of the forgery story with Christos Tsirogiannis and Christopher Chippindale.


Cemetery Sue and epigraphy on the North-West Frontier

From The Economist.

She began it in 1980, when Ms Farrington happened upon the gently decaying British graveyard in Peshawar, capital of north-west Pakistan. “And there I saw the whole history of the frontier written on gravestones,” she recalls. “There was the master of the Peshawar Vale Hunt and the nurse from the army hospital.” She took up a pen, began to record them, and has not stopped. Over the past three decades she has recorded over 20,000 colonial graves in Pakistan and over 60,000 in all: in India, Sri Lanka, Bermuda, the Maldives, St Helena and elsewhere.

Her travels reveal much about the people who live among these long-forgotten “ghora kabrestan”, or “white men’s graveyards”. Most were dilapidated and overgrown; few had been defaced or built upon, even on the frontier, where the Taliban roam. Some were even revered; in Jacobabad, a town in Sindh founded in 1847 by an administrator famed for his rectitude, General John Jacob, locals still meet at his tomb to shake on a deal.

Yet her research says more about the interred. Not least because the more remote the burial place, the more fulsome were their epitaphs. That is partly because British colonials often died colourfully—armed dacoits, hungry tigers and clumsy-footed elephants are among the thousands of causes of death in Ms Farrington’s files. It is also, their incongruous, valiant memorials suggest, because of a frail determination to leave a mark in a hostile world—for the bereaved as well as the deceased. “She had no fault,” reads a gravestone placed by a British officer for his wife, in the Murree Hills above Rawalpindi, “Save that she left me.”

Linguistic Landscaping

"In closing, it should be emphasised (sic) that a sound methodology is highly important if the study of the linguistic landscape is to become a serious sociolinguistic research tool. Walking the streets and taking photos of anything that might strike one | as particularly curious, illustrative, or, worse still, 'representative' is unlikely to yield any scientifically relevant results. While this has been common sense in sociolinguistic research on spoken languages for decades, much remains to be done when it comes to empirical research into written language."

Peter Backhaus Linguistic Landscapes: A Comparative Study of Urban Multilingualism in Tokyo. Multilingual Matters 136. Clevedon, Buffalo, Toronto. 2007: 63-63.

A Greek inscription on the statue of a Roman statesman in the Forum

Plutarch, The Life of Titus Flaminius 1.1-2:

...ἰδέαν μὲν ὁποῖος ἦν πάρεστι θεάσασθαι τοῖς βουλομένοις ἀπὸ τῆς ἐν Ῥώμῃ χαλκῆς εἰκόνος, ἣ κεῖται παρὰ τὸν μέγαν Ἀπόλλωνα τὸν ἐκ Καρχηδόνος ἀντικρὺ τοῦ ἱπποδρόμου, γράμμασιν Ἑλληνικοῖς ἐπιγεγραμμένη· τὸ δ’ ἦθος ὀξὺς λέγεται γενέσθαι καὶ πρὸς ὀργὴν καὶ πρὸς χάριν, οὐ μὴν ὁμοίως, ἀλλ’ ἐλαφρὸς μὲν ἐν τῷ κολάζειν καὶ οὐκ ἐπίμονος, πρὸς δὲ τὰς χάριτας τελεσιουργός, καὶ τοῖς εὐεργετηθεῖσι διὰ παντὸς ὥσπερ εὐεργέταις εὔνους, καὶ πρόθυμος ὡς κάλλιστα τῶν κτημάτων τοὺς εὖ πεπονθότας ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ περιέπειν ἀεὶ καὶ σῴζειν.

What the outward appearance of Titus Quintius Flamininus was may be seen by those who wish it from the bronze statue of him at Rome. It stands by the side of the great Apollo from Carthage, opposite the Circus, and has upon it an inscription in Greek characters. As to his disposition, he is said to have been quick to show anger as well as to confer favours, though not in like extent. For he was gentle in his punishments and not persistent, whereas in his favours he was unremitting, always well disposed towards his beneficiaries as though they were his benefactors, and eager to protect at all times and preserve those who had ever met with kindness at his hands, as though they were his choicest possessions. (B. Perrin, Loeb, adapted).

[ From 5.7: φωνήν τε καὶ διάλεκτον Ἕλληνι '(with a man) who was Greek both in voice and in language'.]

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

UK Dragging Feet on Cultural Protection

Criticism of repeated delays in the UK ratifying the Hague Convention  (Anny Shaw, 'Experts condemn British government for failure to ratify convention protecting cultural property' The Art Newspaper 21 July 2014)
Politicians and leading archaeologists have criticised the British government for failing to ratify the Hague Convention in the current parliamentary session. MPs and peers lobbied the government to introduce the necessary legislation at the beginning of the parliamentary year in June, but no bill was included. The Hague Convention was originally drawn up in 1954 and amended in 1999 to protect cultural property in the event of armed conflict. The UK is the only major Western power that has not ratified the treaty. In a letter published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper [...]  21 July, Nicholas Trench, the Earl of Clancarty who is a Crossbench peer, described Britain’s failure to ratify the treaty as “mystifying”[...]  The letter has been co-signed by nearly 100 supporters and experts from the art world [...]  “Why, after 60 years, has Britain still not ratified? The sense is that, as with all matters cultural, which end up low down in the political pecking order, it has simply neglected to do so. It is high time that the government put this right."

Arts Council to Pronounce on Sekhemka Today.

The Arts Council is to review today Northampton Museum's accreditation in the light of the Sekhemka sale. Loss of Arts Council England accreditation would make the museum ineligible for a range of future grants and funding. However, the leader of the Conservative council, David Mackintosh, "said he did not see why this should happen". Probably because he does not seem to "see" anything wrong with what they've done - so we are counting on the Arts Coucil to take a stand against cultural asset stripping and show him. Pour encourager les autres.

Or are we going to see yet another shameful case of the UK being utterly ineffectual when it comes to financial interests and dubious dealings trumping public needs in  portable antiquity issues?

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2014.07.31: From Plato to Platonism

Review of Lloyd P. Gerson, From Plato to Platonism. Ithaca, NY; London: 2013. Pp. xi, 345. $59.95. ISBN 9780801452413.

2014.07.30: Classical Myth and Psychoanalysis: Ancient and Modern Stories of the Self. Classical presences

Review of Vanda Zajko, Ellen O'Gorman, Classical Myth and Psychoanalysis: Ancient and Modern Stories of the Self. Classical presences. Oxford; New York: 2013. Pp. ix, 374. $150.00. ISBN 9780199656677.

2014.07.29: Le decorazioni dipinte e marmoree della domus aurea di Nerone a Roma (2 vols.). Babesch supplements, 20

Review of Paul G. P. Meyboom, Eric M. Moormann, Le decorazioni dipinte e marmoree della domus aurea di Nerone a Roma (2 vols.). Babesch supplements, 20. Leuven; Paris; Walpole, MA: 2013. Pp. viii, 287; vii, 190. €105.00 (pb). ISBN 9789042925458.

2014.07.28: Funerary Sculpture. The Athenian Agora, 35

Review of Janet Burnett Grossman, Funerary Sculpture. The Athenian Agora, 35. Princeton, NJ: 2013. Pp. xxxii, 246; 128 p. of plates. $150.00. ISBN 9780876612354.

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

La bibliothèque numérique NordNum fait peau neuve …

et crée l’évènement avec une anamorphose.

La migration de la bibliothèque numérique NordNum de l’Université Lille 3 sur une nouvelle plateforme en juillet 2014 a été l’occasion de la création d’une identité graphique pour le nouveau site. Le fond de la page d’accueil de NordNum est désormais illustrée d’une photo en anamorphose avec le nouveau logotype.

Bref historique de la bibliothèque numérique NordNum

NordNum est une bibliothèque numérique de l’Université Lille 3 consacrée à l’histoire de la région Nord-Pas-de-Calais mais aussi à celle de régions voisines quand les circonstances s’y prêtent (en Belgique ou en Angleterre). Créée en 2001 et mise en ligne en 2003, cette bibliothèque numérique contient plus de 500 ouvrages disponibles en mode image1. NordNum est un projet du service commun de la documentation de l’université associant la bibliothèque universitaire centrale et la bibliothèque de l’Institut de recherches historiques du Septentrion IRHiS (UMR CNRS 8529). Ces deux bibliothèques conservent des documents liés à l’histoire régionale, datant du 19e et du début du 20e siècle. Leurs collections s’enrichissent régulièrement de dons de particuliers ou de sociétés savantes (par exemple le fonds de la Société industrielle du Nord) en lien avec la thématique de NordNum.

Le fonds de la Société industrielle du Nord déposé à Lille 3

Le fonds de la Société industrielle du Nord a été déposé à la bibliothèque Georges Lefebvre de Lille 3, bibliothèque de recherche du laboratoire IRHiS en deux temps. En 1981, elle reçoit quelques ouvrages ainsi que les revues de la société. En 2005, le reste des ouvrages toujours conservés par la société rejoignent également les rayonnages de la bibliothèque Georges Lefebvre. Les archives de la société sont déposées aux Archives du monde du travail, à Roubaix. Le fonds concerne l’histoire économique et industrielle de la région : livres et revues sur les industries charbonnières, le textile, le génie civil, le gaz, l’électricité, les routes, etc. Il compte environ 2400 titres et 120 périodiques.

Créée en 2001, NordNum est une des premières bibliothèques numériques mises en ligne par une université, les précurseurs ayant été le CNUM, Conservatoire numérique des Arts et Métiers2 et Medic@, bibliothèque numérique de la bibliothèque interuniversitaire de santé à Paris3. Constamment alimentée depuis 2005, revue en 2007, NordNum avait besoin d’une nouvelle interface, les standards de numérisation et de navigation qu’elle utilisait étant dépassés. La plate-forme de diffusion SDX, malgré sa robustesse, ne correspondait plus aux attentes. Des questions se sont posées : faut-il migrer le projet ou clairement l’abandonner en raison notamment des programmes de numérisation de masse menés par les grands acteurs de la numérisation depuis quelques années ? Plusieurs raisons ont amené à étudier le changement de plateforme et la migration des données

  • La fréquentation du site : 38 091 visites du site, pour 10 553 visiteurs différents en 2011, 46 867 visites pour 19 129 visiteurs différents en 2013 ;
  • Le faible taux de recouvrement avec les collections mises en ligne sur Gallica : moins de 15 % ;
  • La légitimité du projet qui tend à valoriser un patrimoine local présent dans les collections universitaires.

La nouvelle identité graphique de NordNum

En 2013, la migration de NordNum sur une plateforme plus récente a été décidée et confiée à Sandrine Berthier, chef de projet. Elle a été mise en œuvre en 2014. NordNum a été migré le 10 juillet 2014 sur la plateforme Mnesys de la société Naoned. Le site est encore en rodage. Nous reviendrons sur ses fonctionnalités dans un prochain billet. Parallèlement au changement d’outil, un renouvellement de l’identité graphique de la bibliothèque numérique NordNum paraissait nécessaire. Cette bibliothèque s’inscrivait dans l’ensemble SCD Lille 3 et n’avait pas d’identité graphique propre, jouant seulement sur les couleurs du logo du SCD, comme en témoigne cette capture d’écran de l’ancien site NordNum :


Logo-Lille3-ecranL’opération de renouveau a été confiée au graphiste Olivier Classe, qui s’est occupé de la conception d’un logotype ainsi que de la nouvelle page d’accueil. NordNum a reçu une nouvelle identité graphique et a adopté les couleurs de Lille 3 : orange, noir et blanc.

Mais Olivier Classe a voulu aller un peu plus loin en proposant de faire une photo en anamorphose4 avec le nouveau logotype pour le fond de la page d’accueil du site NordNum.

Une anamorphose pour NordNum

Une anamorphose est une image déformée qui, regardée à la distance correcte et depuis un angle précis, reprend sa forme normale.

Quelques exemples d'anamorphoses

Ce projet créatif a été celui de toute une équipe, celle des collègues de la bibliothèque universitaire qui se sont portés volontaires pour vivre cette expérience, déplacer et replacer les documents pour donner forme à l’anamorphose. L’installation et le démontage de l’œuvre ont eu lieu les 19 et 20 juin 2014. L’idée était donc de reproduire le nouveau logotype de NordNum dans un espace de la bibliothèque. Les formes et les couleurs seraient créées en utilisant des livres et des objets qui se trouvent sur place. Il s’agissait de passer d’une forme en trois dimensions, à une image en deux dimensions. Cela nécessitait de déplacer un grand nombre de livres. Le jour J il y avait assez de volontaires pour que le projet puisse aboutir. Quelques jours avant, les étudiants responsables de LABibliothèque5, étaient partis en mission de repérage de livres oranges, verts et blancs, les couleurs demandées.

Àlex Todó Plasencia, un des étudiants responsables de LABibliothèque en 2014, raconte l’expérience.

Le jour J arrivé, nous nous sommes tous retrouvés dans le deuxième étage de la BU, dans le secteur dédié aux « Arts et Sports », l’endroit choisi pour la prise de vue. Première mission : réussir à trouver le plus de chariots possible, les remplir des livres sélectionnés et les amener à la zone de travail. Nous avions prévu à peu près 300 livres… Cela s’est avéré être tout à fait insuffisant par rapport à l’amplitude du projet ! Finalement, il a fallu amener, environ 800 livres pour pouvoir compléter toute l’anamorphose, sans compter tous les livres qui ont été déplacés à plusieurs reprises… Quel plaisir de mettre en désordre une bibliothèque, le sanctuaire de l’ordre par excellence ! Ceci dit, le projet terminé, il a fallu la collaboration d’un grand nombre de collègues pour faire revenir la bibliothèque à son état habituel. Un grand merci à tous !

Alors, tout ce désordre, avec quel objectif ?

Le but était de placer tous ces livres de façon à représenter en anamorphose le logotype de NordNum.  La méthode était la suivante : pour pouvoir reproduire la forme souhaitée, nous avions en face de nous un écran où une image en direct du lieu était projetée. Grâce à un logiciel, le logotype de NordNum était superposé en transparence sur l’image. Notre travail consistait en placer les livres et objets tout en regardant l’écran. De cette façon, nous pouvions respecter la déformation de l’anamorphose tout en regardant le trompe-l’œil résultant. Ce système nous permettait de nous repérer dans un espace en trois dimensions pour construire une forme en deux dimensions. Quelques images du processus aideront à la compréhension.

La forme du logo superposée à la photo de la bibliothèque :
CR_00 copie

Ce que nous voyons sur l’écran… est en réalité cela :

Anamorphose NodNum - Lille 3 (2014)

La forme orange vue depuis l’angle de la prise de vue :


Ressemble à cela vue de près !

anamorphose-8Le travail est long et minutieux, mais petit à petit on acquiert de l’expérience et on avance plus vite. Une fois les premières formes orange du dessous du logo faites, il a fallu attaquer la grande forme blanche et, ce qui nous donnera même plus de travail, le fond vert foncé sur lequel la forme s’inscrit.

anamorphose-10bÇa commence à ressembler à quelque chose…
La partie la plus difficile a été de faire l’arrondi de la forme blanche, situé en hauteur, et son intérieur vert !


anamorphose-14Au début, on a voulu faire la forme blanche avec des livres, mais vu la difficulté de l’opération, finalement on a penché vers une option plus simple : une bâche tenue avec des pieds de l’éclairage photo. Pour compléter la forme, nous avons fait appel à l’imagination, et des blouses avec des cintres ont résolu le problème. Bon, pour tout dire, avec l’aide de pas mal d’adhésif et quelques objets en plus pour faire tenir la structure quelquefois un peu précaire…



anamorphose-17Après plus de 10 heures de travail… voici le résultat !

anamorphose-18Il était temps alors de faire les prises de vue, mission pour laquelle Olivier Classe avait fait appel au photographe Matthieu Démarré6, qui a aussi été un des collaborateurs les plus impliqués pendant tout le processus. L’utilisation de flashes très puissants aplatira les reliefs et donnera l’effet 2D recherché. Ci-dessous, l’image finale qui va être utilisée comme fond à la page d’accueil de NordNum. Le résultat est impressionnant, n’est-ce pas ?

anamorphose-19En résumé, une expérience agréable, un travail en équipe réussi et une façon intéressante et drôle de détourner les usages d’une bibliothèque pour un jour !

Pour en savoir plus

Notes du texte

  1. La numérisation a fait l’objet d’une collaboration avec l’ANRT.
  2. CNUM :
  3. Medic@ :
  4. « Une anamorphose est une déformation réversible d’une image à l’aide d’un système optique − tel un miroir courbe − ou un procédé mathématique » (Wikipédia).
  5. LABibliothèque :
  6. lien :

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

World War One: Aviation Comes of Age

This course investigates how the white heat of innovation in World War One shaped the history of human flight.

The post World War One: Aviation Comes of Age appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

European GPR Association Summer School

eage-LavrionSi svolgerà nei giorni 14 e 15 settembre 2014 ad Atene la prima Summer School organizzata dall’European GPR Association nell’ambito del Meeting Internazionale della stessa Associazione.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

The Cheimarros Tower on Naxos to be restored

The Cheimarros Tower of Naxos will be restored following the approval of the Central Archaeological Council.

The post The Cheimarros Tower on Naxos to be restored appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

“Pompeii of the north” revealed by archaeologists

The spectacular discoveries at Binchester Roman Fort near Bishop Auckland have uncovered some of the most well preserved remnants of an empire dating back some 1800 years ago.

The post “Pompeii of the north” revealed by archaeologists appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

3-D image of Paleolithic child’s skull reveals trauma, brain damage

The child represents the oldest documented human case of severe skull trauma available from south-western Asia.

The post 3-D image of Paleolithic child’s skull reveals trauma, brain damage appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Lumea funerară în Moesia Inferior (secolele I-III p.Chr.) BR

Oţa, L. (2013) : Lumea funerară în Moesia Inferior (secolele I-III p.Chr.), Braila [Le monde funéraire en Mésie inférieure ( Ier-IIIe s. apr. J.-C.)].

Ce livre offre une vision complète de l’inhumation et de ses rites telle que les fouilles archéologiques permettent de la découvrir. Après avoir présenté une typologie des sépultures, l’auteur examine par grande catégorie le matériel funéraire. L’analyse des rites qui se déroulent après l’inhumation (consommation alimentaire, dépôt de céramiques, de crânes de chien, de lampes…) permet à l’auteur d’identifier ici l’adoption d’un élément de la culture romaine par les populations locales. L’auteur étudie également les types de nécropole (urbaine, rurale…).

Résumé en anglais, 67 planches, 8 cartes en noir et blanc.

Le sommaire



Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Nuovi sistemi per il monitoraggio e la gestione delle strutture storiche

monitoraggio-santa-maria-maggioreIntelligent Infrastructure Innovation (I3) è una startup dell’Intelligent Infrastructure Group del Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile Ambientale e Meccanica (DICAM) della Facoltà di Ingegneria di Trento. La maggior parte delle attività del gruppo durante gli ultimi anni ha riguardato lo sviluppo, l’integrazione e la validazione in laboratorio di nuovi sensori per il monitoraggio delle strutture civili, la progettazione e la gestione nel tempo di sistemi di monitoraggio e controllo per la valutazione della sicurezza di ponti, edifici e strutture storiche, la realizzazione di sistemi di gestione delle infrastrutture.

Bando CrossHeritage: conoscenza e fruizione delle residenze Sabaude

Crossll concorso si propone di avvicinare il pubblico più giovane al patrimonio culturale, attraverso il coinvolgimento di generazioni di artisti che grazie ai mezzi offerti dall'arte contemporanea, e in particolare dalle tecnologie digitali e dai social network, realizzeranno un progetto di "lettura" delle residenze sabaude.

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: July 24

Here is a round-up of today's proverbs and fables - and for previous posts, check out the Bestiaria Latina Blog archives.

I have another special announcement for the Bestiaria today: my friend Justin Schwamm (who I am sure is known to many of you already) and his colleagues at the Tres Columnae project will be offering an "Introduction to Latin" course through the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. Here's Jason's description of the class: "For learners of all ages who do NOT know Latin (or think they’ve forgotten everything). This isn’t your grandmother’s Latin class! Instead of learning vocabulary and grammar in isolation, then hoping to put it all together on a day that may never come, participants are immersed in the lives and adventures of three very different families who live in the small, beautiful, and ultimately doomed city of Herculaneum in the mid-1st century A.D. By following and creating their adventures as part of the Tres Columnae Project you will develop deep knowledge, skill, and understanding of the Latin language, Roman culture, and Roman history, plus you’ll learn Latin grammar and vocabulary in a meaningful, enjoyable class." You can find out more at Justin's Tres Columnae blog.

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

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


3-WORD MOTTOES: Today's 3-word motto is Verba rebus proba (English: Test words with deeds).

3-WORD PROVERBS: Today's 3-word proverb is Mortui non mordent (English: The dead do not bite).

RHYMING PROVERBS: Today's proverb with rhyme is: Est piger agnellus, qui non gestat sibi vellus (English: The little lamb who doesn't want to carrry his own wool is lazy).

VULGATE VERSES: Today's verse is Plantate hortos et comedite fructum eorum (Jer. 29:5). For a translation, check out the polyglot Bible, in English, Hebrew, Latin and Greek, at the Sacred Texts Archive online.

ELIZABETHAN PROVERBS: Here is today's proverb commentary, this time by Taverner: Fratrum inter se irae sunt acerbissimae: The discorde of brethren betwene them selves is most bitter. This to be true, wee have manie examples out of histeries, of Cain and Abel, of Rhomulus and Remus, of Jacob and Esau, and of infinite other.

BREVISSIMA: The distich poster for today is Intra Fortunam Tuam Mane. Click here for a full-sized view.

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:


FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Canis Vetulus et Magister, the sad story of an aged dog and his ungrateful master (this fable has a vocabulary list).

MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Struthiocamelus Perfidus, the story of a two-timing ostrich.

Struthiocamelus Perfidus

Greek Bible Art - and Latin and English, too. Below is one of my Greek Bible Art graphics; for the individual Greek, Latin and English versions of the graphic, see the blog post: ἀποκτενῶ σε καὶ ἀφελῶ τὴν κεφαλήν σου ἀπὸ σοῦ. Percutiam te, et auferam caput tuum a te. I will smite thee, and take thing head from thee.

Ancient Art

Howling Dog Effigy, Jalisco, 300 BC-AD 200.  Why were dogs so...

Howling Dog Effigy, Jalisco, 300 BC-AD 200. 

Why were dogs so significant to the Mexica?

Dogs were associated with the god of death, Xolotl, among the Mexicas of the highlands of Mexico. Both a dog and Xolotl were thought to lead the soul to the underworld. The skinny body and white hue of the shown dog represented above may have underworld connotations, connecting it to this belief. Xolotl was also associated by the Mexica with the planet Venus as the evening star, and was portrayed with a canine head.

The dog’s special relationship with humans is highlighted by a number of Colima dog effigies wearing humanoid masks. This curious effigy type has been interpreted as a shamanic transformation image or as a reference to the modern Huichol myth of the origin of the first wife, who was transformed from a dog into a human. However, recent scholarship suggests a new explanation of these sculptures as the depiction of the animal’s tonalli, its inner essence, which is made manifest by being given human form via the mask.

The use of the human face to make reference to an object’s or animal’s inner spirit is found in the artworks of many ancient cultures of the Americas, from the Inuit of Alaska and northern Canada to peoples in Argentina and Chile. (Walters)

On the subject of the significance of dogs, and dog effigies wearing humanoid masks, check out this post from a while back of ‘examples of dogs represented in ancient Mexican art.’ The final artefact here is from Colima, and shows a dog wearing a human mask.

Courtesy of & currently located at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, USA, via their online collections2009.20.148.

July 23, 2014

Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 30 (Amirandarejaniani)

Today’s selection is actually not Old Georgian, but later, belonging to the corpus of Middle Georgian. In this period, beginning in the 11th and 12th centuries, religious literature continued to be copied and composed, but there is a flowering of secular literature alongside it, in terms of both poetry and prose, very much influenced by Persian literature, with even more than one version of parts of the Šāh-nāma. The most famous product of the period, of course, is Shota Rustaveli‘s (შოთა რუსთაველი) Knight in the Panther’s Skin (ვეფხისტყაოსანი). (On Persian-Georgian contacts see here and here from the Encyclopaedia Iranica.) Students of Georgian language and literature, and well as students of comparative literature generally, would benefit by more accessible studies of these texts and the language used in them. Complete English translations, published alongside Georgian texts, are an obvious need, but a lexicon specifically based on this corpus of literature would be of great value.

The text below comes from the Amirandarejaniani, ascribed to Mose Khoneli (12th cent.). Thankfully, along with a number of other Middle Georgian texts, the edition of I. Lolašvili (1960) is available at TITUS, and there is even an English rendering by R.H. Stevenson: Amiran-Darejaniani: A Cycle of Medieval Georgian Tales traditionally ascribed to Mose Khoneli (Oxford, 1958).

Picture 45


The excerpt below comes from Ch. 3 (the numbering is not the same in the ET), p. 303 of Lolašvili’s edition, lines 30-33:

გამოჴდა პატარა ხანი, მოვიდა ნოსარ და კაცი ჰყვა შეპყრობილი. ოდეს მოიყვანა, საკვირველი კაცი იყო: ორი პირი ჰქონდა, ერთი შავი და ერთი — ვითა სისხლი. მით შავითა პირითა სპარსულად უბნობდა და წითლისა ვერა გავიგონეთ რა.

After some time, however, Nosar Nisreli came up: with him he brought a captive — and truly a strange man it was we now beheld! For he had two faces, one black and one blood-red. With the black he spoke Persian and with the red [in some tongue] we could not understand. (ET Stevenson, p. 28)

Vocabulary and grammar notes

  • გამო-ჴდ-ა [typo at TITUS გამოჴთა] aor 3s გამოჴდომა to pass, go by
  • პატარა a little, short
  • ხანი time
  • მოვიდა aor 3s მოსლვა to come
  • ჰ-ყვ-ა aor 3s ყვება to accompany, follow
  • შეპყრობილი captured, captive
  • ოდეს when
  • მო-ი-ყვან-ა aor 3s მოყვანება to bring (here)
  • საკვირველი (საკჳრველი) wonderful, amazing
  • ორი პირი numerals with the counted thing in the singular are regular (also the norm in Modern Georgian, see Aronson § 6.6). For an example in Old Georgian: Mt 14:19 Adishi და მოიღო ხუთი იგი პური და ორი თევზი (λαβὼν τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας)
  • ჰ-ქონ-და impf 3s ქონება, to have, with the possessor marked by the ჰ- and the thing possessed is the grammatical subject (the vowel in the root, when fully present, is -ო- in Middle and Modern Georgian, but -უ- in earlier Georgian [Old აქუს, Modern აქვს he has (Rayfield et al. 118; cf. Marr-Brière 688 s.v. ქუნ)], although the v.n. ქონებაჲ is in Old Georgian, too: S-F 1279)
  • შავი black
  • ვითა = ვითარ
  • სისხლი blood
  • სპარსულად in Persian
  • უბნობ-და impf 3s უბნობა to speak
  • ვერა = ვერ
  • გა-ვ-ი-გონ-ე-თ aor 1pl გაგონება to grasp, recognize

I have previously discussed a passage from another Middle Georgian text, the Visramiani, and there is, I hope, more to come!

Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

What is Causing Grade Inflation?

When I posted this wonderful graph about grade inflation (see below) Tracy came back with this thoughtful question:

Copyright 2002, Stuart Rojstaczer,, no fee for not-for-profit use

 “Wow Doug!!! Those statistics are amazing. It kind of makes me wonder what goes on in college classrooms today—and why? Is it generational?

Would any American or UK professor like to come here and address this issue at Doug’s blog. I would really like to read some varying perspectives on this issue from—not the horse’s mouth—but the professors’ mouths. Is everyone getting a Gold Star just for showing up, or does every college student have a 185 IQ and the moxie to go with it nowadays? The Bell curve guy would say that is impossible. Thoughts?”

It’s Complicated, It’s Always Complicated

I can answer that question, sort of, but if anyone wants to add their own personal feelings please leave a comment. There are lots of different factors that go into grade inflation, some are specific to certain time periods.

Let’s take a look at it from several different perspectives, first, the student side.

Gun to the Head

If you look at the graph above you will see a spike in the late 1960s and early 1970s before a fall and then continual increase. This spike has been attributed to draft dodging the Vietnam War. You could avoid being drafted if you were at University, a significant incentive to increase your grades so you did not fail out of University and end up fighting in the Vietnam War.

Our Nam- graduate school

There is no longer the threat of dying but there is the problem of graduate school. 47% of archaeologists in the UK have a Masters or PhD.  More people are going to graduate school and you need good grades to do that. A few generations ago all you needed was a BA so what did it matter if your final GPA was a 2.5 or 3.5? From the student’s side there are some very strong incentives for students to improve their grades.

Let’s look at this from the Universities Perspective:

Grades Can’t Have a Normal Distribution

Look at that graph about grades given. Even in 1940 it was not a normal distribution. I always hated the rare teachers who graded to a curve, except of course when it raised my grades/marks. Grades can’t be a normal distribution for Universities to work. Imagine you had a normal distribution in a class with a mean grade of 75, a ‘C’ (American grading) and 100 students in it. Assuming 100 is the perfect score and only one student ever got that, that would make a standard deviation of about 9 points. Well that means that roughly 30 people would get below a 70 and 5 would get below a 60. At my undergrad a ‘D’, 69 or below, did not count towards any graduation credits. That meant 25 students would have to take the class again, basically failing, and 5 would have failed outright, 59 or below. Now imagine that happens in every class. How many classes would you retake before you gave up? At my undergrad you had to pass 128 credits and a typical class was three credits for roughly 43 classes. If those 5 ‘Fs’ (59 and below) dropped out every-time a starting cohort of 100 students would have been reduced to under 10 students by graduation. Not financially viable for a University. You need students to pass so they can pay next year’s tuition.If you think such a system would trim the fat and leave the muscle, you would be wrong. Lots of really smart people would fail. It is a horrible idea in school and in business, just look at Microsoft and their use of the curve.

Rankings, everyone loves a good ranking

The world is ranking crazy and they encourage grade inflation. Rankings are partially determined by student satisfaction with their instructors, see Guardians ranking for Archaeology as an example. There has been a ridiculous amount research showing the results of student evaluations are tied to the grades they receive. The higher the grades the happier the students are and the higher the rankings are. A strong intensive to not take a stance against grade inflation.

Let’s Take A Look at this from the Perspective of Teachers:

So You Want to Feed Your Kids

In the US, tenure is usually split along the lines of 40% (research) – 40% (teaching) – 20% (service). Teaching is almost always, with a few exceptions, judged by student evaluations. 70% of instructors at US Universities are adjuncts, hired for teaching-only on temporary contacts. Non-tenure instructors depend on teaching evaluations to be hired back each semester or get tenure. Except for a few professors who have tenure, the majority of staff are dependent on good student evaluations for their employment. There is a very strong correlation between good grades and good student evaluations, you do the math.

60 Hours a Week, Publish 10 Papers, Oh and grade 500 papers

Most teachers are just so overwhelmed that they don’t want to deal with hours of angry students.

“There are many categories of grade-grubber, and none of them are worth dealing with, so I’ve largely just acceded prematurely to their demands”

If everyone wants it?

Students want higher grades, Universities want higher grades, and faculty want to give higher grades so I am kind of surprised everyone does not already have A++++++, 127 grades, or 1st++++ marks.


Archaeology Magazine

Mortuary Bundle Discovered in Central Mexico

Mortuary-Bundle-MexicoZIMAPAN, MEXICO—A unique mortuary bundle containing the skeletal remains of a young adult was discovered in a rock shelter in the Sierra Gorda region. “The skeleton seems to be complete, but we will not know this with certainty until we can open the shroud, but at first glance we can appreciate the cranium, tibias, clavicles, scapula, and some ribs,” archaeologist Juan Manuel Toxtle Farfan of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History told Art Daily. The cranium still has hair. A specialist will have to analyze the colored fabric and mat that make up the bundle before it can be opened and the bones closely examined, but Toxtle Farfan and Ariana Aguilar Romero think the bundle is pre-Hispanic. “It is known that in the Mesoamerican beliefs, caves and other rocky refuges were considered entrances to the underworld and the residence of death deities, which is why they served as funerary spaces in most cases,” Toxtle Farfan explained.  





James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The Gospel of John as Jewish Mystical Work

One of the features of the new Bible Odyssey website is that it lets you ask a scholar your questions. Someone submitted the question through the site, “Is the Gospel of John a Jewish mystic work?” I was invited to provide the answer, and here is what I wrote:

It is appropriate to note that there are scholars who would deny that the Gospel of John is Jewish and/or that it is mystical. My own view, however, is that there is good reason to answer the question in the affirmative. The Fourth Gospel has not only the Jewish Scriptures, but Jewish traditions of interpretation, woven into its very fabric, and the Christians by and for whom it was written had previously been expelled from their local synagogue by other Jews who disagreed with their views. The prologue (1:1-18) presents the lens through which the Gospel author wishes Jesus to be viewed, and it shares key concepts with the Jewish mystical philosopher Philo of Alexandria. The Gospel speaks of visions (1:51), which were an important part of mysticism, and emphasizes union with Jesus and ultimately with God through the Spirit. It is possible that Jesus himself is viewed as a mystic, one who speaks with the divine voice because the divine Word/Spirit dwells in him. For all these reasons and more, the Gospel of John seems aptly described as a “Jewish mystical work.”

You can read my recommendations for further reading, as well as othe questions with answers by Nicola Denzey Lewis and Mark Goodacre, on the Bible Odyssey website.



Archaeology Magazine

Iron Age Industrial Hearth Found in Cornwall

PORTHLEVEN, ENGLAND—According to The Falmouth Packet, an Iron Age industrial hearth and a Bronze Age settlement have been discovered in southwest England. The hearth is the first of its kind to be found in Cornwall, where strong winds would have fanned the flames. Community archaeologist Richard Mikulski says that the hearth was stone-lined and had a flue to control the fire. Impressions in the baked clay could have been left by pots that were fired there, and there’s also evidence of metalworking. Nearby, Mikulski has found round houses and stones that may have been used for processing wheat into flour during the Bronze Age.

Binchester Roman Fort Yields Well-Preserved Ring, Walls


BISHOP AUCKLAND, ENGLAND—Excavations at Binchester Roman Fort have uncovered the seven-foot-tall walls of a bath house and a small plunge bath. “There is also some really interesting evidence for the plumbing, including a drain in the base which seems to line up with some of the culverts we’ve picked out in the nearby floor, as well as some gaps within the wall which may have originally contained lead piping or some other mechanism for channeling the water,” David Petts of Durham University told Culture 24. The bath house was also equipped with a bread oven and an altar dedicated to the Roman goddess Fortune the Home-bringer. Other finds include a large rectangular cavalry barrack for stables and troops, and a four-seat latrine. A silver ring with an intaglio that shows two fish hanging from an anchor suggests an early link to Christianity. “The form of the ring and the shape of the stone seem to indicate a third century date. This is a surprisingly early date for a Christian object in Britain,” Petts explained. 




Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #488

Lots of great Open Access (free to read) Archaeology articles:

A descriptive classification of early Anglo-Saxon copper-alloy compositions: towards a general typology of early medieval copper alloys

Tourism economics: a discipline of economics

Villa del Casale di Piazza Armerina: nuovi scavi.

Survey and excavation at Kilearnan Hill, Sutherland, 1982-3

Excavations at Elstree, Mioddlesex, 1974-6

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

American Philological Association

Internships at the American School of Classical Studies

The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is advertising a year-long paid internship at its museum in Corinth and several short-term unpaid internships at its offices in Princeton, New Jersey.  The application deadline for the Corinth internship is August 20, 2014.  The short-term internships offer experiences in non-profit administration; development, marketing, and event planning; and archives.  Applications for the short-term internships can be made at any time.

CONF: Legacy of Antiquity in Visual and Performing Arts

International Interdisciplinary Conference
University of Lodz
21-22 May 2015
Chair of Classical Philology
Chair of Ethics

The visual is sorely undervalued in modern scholarship. Art history has attained only a fraction of the conceptual sophistication of literary criticism. Drunk with self-love, criticism has hugely overestimated the centrality of language to western culture. It has failed to see the electrifying sign language of images. — Camille Paglia

Archaeology Magazine

Replica Nazi Defenses Studied in Scotland


Scottish-German-Wall-ReplicasDUNBLANE, SCOTLAND—Battlefield archaeologist Tony Pollard of the University of Glasgow and Janice Ainslie of Dunblane Museum are studying a concrete wall built at Sheriffmuir in 1943. The ten-foot-tall wall, which was constructed according to plans stolen from German engineers by French painter Rene Duchez, replicated the German concrete defenses that stretched from Norway to the Spanish border. “A lot of the training for D-Day was done at this wall. Training grounds like this were key in bringing units together that had never fought before and giving them real world experience,” Pollard told The Herald Scotland. Laser scans of the wall may help the researchers determine what kinds of weapons were used in training. And Pollard may excavate at the site of the gun turrets at one end of the wall. Sand, rumored to have been dumped in front of the wall to recreate the conditions on France’s beaches, could be found.


American Philological Association

SCS Members Win ACLS Fellowships

Four SCS Members were in the 2014 cohort of ACLS Fellows.  Below is each winner's name, type of fellowship, institution, and project title.

John P. Bodel, ACLS Fellowship, Brown University, The ancient Roman funeral

Ari Z. Bryen, ACLS Fellowship, West Virginia University, Law and the Boundaries of Authority in the Roman World

Laura Lynn Garofalo, Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University, Reconstructed Pasts and Retrospective Styles in Flavian Rome

Robert A. Kaster, ACLS Fellowship, Princeton University, A New Critical Edition of Suetonius’s "Lives of the Caesars"

Ancient Peoples

Faience amulet of a frog Hellenistic Period, maybe Egyptian  3rd...

Faience amulet of a frog

Hellenistic Period, maybe Egyptian 

3rd - 1st century BC. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Pinakes Πίνακες: Textes et manuscrits grecs

 [First posted in AWOL 6 July 2011, updated 23 July 2014]

Pinakes Πίνακες: Textes et manuscrits grecs

Nouvelle version de Pinakes !

Une nouvelle version de Pinakes a été développée et mise en ligne en mars 2014. Celle-ci présente de nouvelles fonctionnalités permettant de mieux décrire les textes et les manuscrits et, à terme, de faire de Pinakes un portail sur les manuscrits grecs. Les principales innovations sont les suivantes :
  • ajout d’une fonctionnalité de recherche croisée permettant la recherche de cooccurrence des textes dans les manuscrits ;
  • précision accrue dans la description codicologique et textuelle des manuscrits, sans pour autant viser à un catalogage détaillé ; un module de catalogage propre, adossé à la base, sera mis en ligne dans l’année qui vient ;
  • intégration directe des liens et des références bibliographiques à tous les niveaux de la base, permettant de structurer les ressources sur les bibliothèques, les catalogues et les numérisations de manuscrits grecs jusqu’ici accessibles à travers la page de liens.
Toutes ces informations ne seront que progressivement renseignées et harmonisées ; pendant la phase de transition, l'utilisateur rencontrera un certain nombre d'incohérences dans la base.
Avant toute utilisation, consulter le mode d’emploi (pas encore mis à jour).


La base Pinakes rassemble la tradition manuscrite des textes grecs antérieurs au XVIe siècle, principalement à partir des catalogues des bibliothèques du monde entier.
Elle a été constituée à partir de 1971 au Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies de Toronto. Depuis 1993, la Section grecque de l’Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes, à Paris, en assure la gestion et continue à l’enrichir.
La base a été mise en ligne pour la première fois en 2008.


Le dépouillement systématique d'un certain nombre de périodiques est désormais assuré par la Section grecque, à partir de 2010. Pour plus d'informations sur les ouvrages dépouillés, voir la page de Présentation.
Si vous souhaitez que vos publications soient rapidement référencées dans la base, merci de nous les faire parvenir (IRHT – section grecque, 52 rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris, France ;
N’hésitez pas non plus à nous signaler toute publication ou revue dont l’ajout vous semblerait souhaitable : nous prendrons en compte votre suggestion, dans la mesure des moyens humains disponibles.


Avec le développement de la nouvelle version de Pinakes, la saisie des manuscrits hagiographiques est désormais facilitée. Les données sur les manuscrits hagiographiques qui seront progressivement versées dans la base proviennent en grande partie du fichier de la Société des Bollandistes, fruit de plus d’un siècle de dépouillement. Elles seront saisies grâce à un financement du labex Resmed.
Nous restons par ailleurs ouverts à toute proposition de collaboration pour l'enrichissement et la correction des données concernant les manuscrits ainsi que pour le développement de la bibliographie  (voir Révision des données). N'hésitez pas non plus à nous signaler des erreurs ou des propositions de correction.

Blogging Pompeii

Call for papers: heritage conference

FIRST CALL FOR PAPERS Colloqui internazionali di archeologia 18-19 settembre 2014 – MAV, Ercolano (NA), Italia I Colloqui internazionali di Archeologia si terranno nell’ambito del Forum Culture Napoli 2014, sotto il patrocinio dell’Unesco, con lo scopo di mettere in evidenza i talenti della nuova generazione che sta affrontando le sfide di gestire e di valorizzare il patrimonio culturale del Mediterraneo. Si richiede la partecipazione di studiosi di tutto il Mediterraneo, oppure di chi studia all’estero ma che si occupa dei beni culturali del bacino del mediterraneo, che sono attualmente iscritti ad un dottorato di ricerca (o che lo hanno appena conseguito), per presentare la propria ricerca nel contesto di un dibattito di due giorni sul “futuro del passato” visto dai giovani. Per i dottorandi selezionati saranno coperte le spese di viaggio (in Italia o in Europa), vitto e alloggio per la durata del convegno. Ogni presentazione sarà della durata di circa 25 minuti seguita da domande e discussione. Le lingue ufficiali del convegno sono l’italiano e l’inglese. Le ricerche presentate devono riguardare almeno uno dei seguenti temi che hanno molteplici sovrapposizioni: - La gestione dei beni culturali nel 21° secolo - Approcci partecipativi alla conservazione - Il patrimonio culturale a sostegno dello sviluppo sostenibile - Il ruolo dell’archeologia nel turismo sostenibile - La tecnologia applicata alla conservazione e alla valorizzazione dei beni culturali Chiunque sia interessato a partecipare dovrà inviare informazioni sul dottorato (titolo ricerca, università, supervisore tesi) e un abstract di non più di 300 parole descrivendo la propria ricerca da presentare al dott. Christian Biggi a c.biggi[at] entro giovedì 31 luglio 2014. ________________________________________ FIRST CALL FOR PAPERS International Archaeology Colloquium 18-19 September 2014 – MAV, Ercolano (Naples), Italy This International Archaeology Colloquium is part of the programme of the Naples Culture Forum 2014, promoted by UNESCO. It aims to showcase a new generation of scholars who are examining the challenges of managing and enhancing Mediterranean cultural heritage. Doctoral students (or those who have recently completed doctoral research) from the Mediterranean, or those studying Mediterranean heritage further afield, are invited to participate. Young scholars will present their research within this two-day debate on the “future of the past”. Successful applicants will have their travel (within Italy or Europe) and living expenses covered for the duration of the conference. Each presentation will last approximately 25 minutes, followed by question time. The official languages of the conference are Italian and English. Presentations must address at least one of the following overlapping themes: - Heritage management in the 21st century - Participatory approaches to conservation - Cultural heritage supporting sustainable development - The role of archaeology in sustainable tourism - Applied technology for heritage conservation and enhancement Anyone who is interested in presenting should send details of their doctorate (research title, university, supervisor) and an abstract (max. 300 words) describing their research to: Christian Biggi at c.biggi[at] by Thursday 31 July 2014.

AIA Fieldnotes

Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology Open House

Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology
International Archaeology Day
Saturday, October 25, 2014 - 10:00am

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Rare Iron Age remains discovered by builders at Porthleven housing development

An Iron Age hearth and evidence of a Bronze Age settlement have been uncovered in Porthleven by builders working on a new housing development.

Archaeologists have been working alongside the contractors developing land off Shrubberies Hill and have been excited by the find.

Community archaeologist Richard Mikulski said of the Iron Age hearth: “It’s quite a big deal. It’s the first ever find in Cornwall and there’s only one other example that we know of that’s sort of similar found in the south west, if not the country, found at Glastonbury at the end of the 19th century. Read more.

All Mesopotamia

massarrah: Akkadian Word of the Week ekallum "royal palace (as...


Akkadian Word of the Week

ekallum "royal palace (as building and as authority), temple"

The Akkadian word for palace, ekallum, comes from the Sumerian compound logogram É.GAL, which are the first two signs in the cuneiform brick inscription in the top photo (cropped and zoomed in the bottom photo). The É represents the Sumerian word for “house”, and the GAL represents the Sumerian “great” or “large”. As is clear from the sound of the word, the Sumerian É.GAL was loaned into Akkadian as ekallum. Now housed in the British Museum, the clay brick pictured above bears an inscription of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon (r. 680-669 BCE) and lists his patronymic.

Sources: Chicago Assyrian Dictionary E, British Museum.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Mexican archaeologists find Pre-Hispanic mortuary bundle in the State of Hidalgo

ZIMAPAN, MEXICO.- The finding of a mortuary bundle in a rocky shelter of the oriental part of Sierra Gorda, in the municipality of Zimapan, Hidalgo, that contains the osseous remains of an adult approximately 20 years of age at death, is considered unique in the entity’s archaeology, since they haven´t registered any similar cases.

Archaeologists Juan Manuel Toxtle Farfan and Ariana Aguilar Romero, from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), informed that the inhabitants of the municipality notified INAH about said finding, which is why INAH experts traveled to the site and could state that given it’s characteristics it could belong to the pre-Hispanic epoch.

Toxtle Farfan added that the finding is not a mummy, because it would still conserve bland tissue, as skin, muscles and tendons, whereas these remains do not. The only thing left are bones, but in an excellent state of conservation. Read more.

100,000-Year-Old Case of Brain Damage Discovered


An ancient skeleton unearthed in Israel may contain the oldest evidence of brain damage in a modern human.

The child, who lived about 100,000 years ago, survived head trauma for several years, but suffered from permanent brain damage as a result, new 3D imaging reveals.

Given the brain damage, the child was likely unable to care for himself or herself, so people must have spent years looking after the little boy or girl, according to the researchers who analyzed the 3D images. People from the child’s group left funerary objects in the youngster’s burial pit as well, the study authors said. Read more.

AIA Fieldnotes

Archaeology Day at the Emily Dickinson Museum

Emily Dickinson Museum
International Archaeology Day
Saturday, October 4, 2014 - 1:00pm

The Archaeology News Network

Stolen 18th dynasty relief returns from Germany

Egypt on Wednesday received from Germany a painted limestone relief that was stolen in the last century from the tomb of 18th dynasty high priest Sobekhotep in the Nobles necropolis on Luxor’s west bank. The painted limestone relief that was stolen and illegally smuggled to Germany  during the last century has arrived back in Egypt [Credit: Ahram Online]Minister of Antiquities and Heritage Mamdouh El-Damati told Ahram Online that...

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British School at Athens News

Nominations for Council and the Search Committee

Nominations for Council and the Search Committee   The School’s Search Committee invites nominations and volunteerings for: (1) a member of Council for four years from 1 April 2015, to be elected by Council at its meeting on 4 November 2014; and (2) a member, or members, of the Search Committee for four years from 1 April 2015, to be elected by Council also on 4 November 2014. If any persons have names they would like to submit to the Search Committee for it to consider for proposing to Council, please write in confidence to Gerald Cadogan, Chair of the Search Committee, at by 30 September 2014.

Corinthian Matters

An Update on the Isthmus Project (and a promise to unleash some mid-summer Corinthiaka)

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I have slowly been making progress on a historical study of the Roman Isthmus. Every so often, I rehearse the background of the project and offer an update of how it has developed—mainly to apologize for the sporadic character of posts on this blog.

So, the rehearsal: The project began a little over a decade ago as a dissertation about the late antique landscape that centered on the survey data of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey. In completing that project in 2006, I recognized that understanding the Isthmus in late antiquity demanded a real understanding of the region in earlier Roman times. But pushing into earlier centuries naturally ushered in the complex patterns of continuity and change in earlier periods. Before I knew it, my focused study of a late antique landscape had morphed into a century by century treatment of contingency and connectivity from the archaic age to the end of antiquity. The heart of the study is a fine-grained presentation of the EKAS survey data contextualized in terms of the primary textual sources for the period and synthetic summaries of archaeological investigations. My aim has been to show how connectivity in the landscape related to the broader interactions of the local, regional, and global: Roman imperialism, colonization, the visit of an emperor, Greek elite education, and foreign invasions were some of the short-term contingencies that affected the development of the region in the long term.

The good news (the update) is that I’m in the final stages of finishing this thing. I have a contract, a publisher (Michigan), and a manuscript that is taking its final shape. It’s been reviewed. A couple of times. In fact, I thought I was finished in January, but some late reviews from anonymous reviewers and friends encouraged me to add two more chapters. As I wrap up those final chapters, I’m hopeful that this will be in finished state (again) by the end of the year at the latest. Indeed, I have a strong incentive to finish by summer’s end since LP3 (Little Pettegrew #3) is due to arrive in early September just in time for the new school year. Of course, I’m almost always unrealistic about the time needed to finish projects so we’ll just see how it goes.

The chapter divisions and content as it currently stands—last minute reorganization could shuffle the content of Ch. 2-4:

1. Introduction

2. The Isthmos: conceptions and definitions of the isthmus in the Classical and Hellenistic era

3. The Crossroads: the physical developments of the regional structures from the archaic to Hellenistic periods

4. The Fetter: the Isthmus as it relates to the Roman destruction of Greek Corinth

5. The Portage: the interim period

6. The Bridge: the first century of the Roman colony

7. The Canal: the third quarter of the first century AD

8. The Center: late first to early third century

9. The Countryside: mid-third to late fourth

10. The Fortification: late fourth to early seventh

11. Conclusions

With some optimism about an end in sight, I’ll start releasing some of the Corinthiaka that I’ve been hoarding in recent months. Some of this will be familiar stuff to the Corinthian Studies FB group, so apologies to readers who are seeing old news in these posts.

The Archaeology News Network

3-D image of Palaeolithic child's skull reveals trauma, brain damage

Three-dimensional imaging of a Palaeolithic child's skull reveals potentially violent head trauma that likely lead to brain damage, according to a study published July 23, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Hélène Coqueugniot and colleagues from CNRS -- Université de Bordeaux and EPHE. The Qafzeh 11 skull: a: norma facialis. b: norma inferior. c: norma superior.  d: close-up view of the frontal lesion (healed fracture...

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ArcheoNet BE

Conference on the Environmental Archaeology of European Cities

Van 27 tot 29 mei 2015 wordt een conferentie georganiseerd over de ‘Environmental Archaeology’ van Europese steden. De thema’s die aan bod komen zijn ondermeer: urban site formation, urban environment, economische activiteiten en het persoonlijke leven van de stadsinwoners. De conferentie vindt plaats in het Museum voor Natuurwetenschappen en is een co-organisatie van dit instituut, de Directie Monumenten en Landschappen van de Gewestelijke Overheidsdienst Brussel, de Vrije Universiteit Brussel en de KU Leuven.

Meer informatie kan u alvast hier vinden.

Ancient Peoples

Small statuette of the god zeus serapius 2.9cm high (1 1/8...

Small statuette of the god zeus serapius

2.9cm high (1 1/8 inch.)

Roman, from Egypt, Mid-Imperial Period, 2nd century AD. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

The Archaeology News Network

Pre-Hispanic mortuary bundle found in the Mexican State of Hidalgo

The finding of a mortuary bundle in a rocky shelter of the oriental part of Sierra Gorda, in the municipality of Zimapan, Hidalgo, that contains the osseous remains of an adult approximately 20 years of age at death, is considered unique in the entity’s archaeology, since they haven´t registered any similar cases. Archaeologists are still unsure about its sex, since the important bones for this study (hip bones)  are still under...

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Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

The Hellespont Project: Integrating Arachne and Perseus

The Hellespont Project: Integrating Arachne and Perseus
As a partner of the German Archaeological Institute, the CoDArchLab cooperates with the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts University to combine the digital collections of classical studies of both institutions. Thus one of the most comprehensive and free online collections of Greek and Roman antiquity will be available for public and scientific use.

The basis of the Hellespont Project is the combination of text and object data using the metadata format CIDOC CRM. The CRM mapping of the Arachne database is part of other projects of the CoDArchLab carried out at the moment. The use of CIDOC CRM to map ancient text content in order to build a bridge to other types of sources is a methodological innovation. 

The material world in Thucydides' Pentecontaetia (Thuc. 1,89 to 1,118) is the chosen starting point for the integration of both data sets; other parts of the text will follow at a later stage.

One task of the project consists in manually identifying entities representing categories in the archaeological and textual evidence (e.g. built spaces, topography, individual persons, populations) within the whole text of Thucydides' Pentecontaetia. These entities will be annotated according to the TEI guidelines, so as to enrich the text simultaneously with historical background information.
Event annotation is also performed simultaneously, taking as a basis the mainly discussed historical events of the text in modern research literature. At this level of analysis, the word strings annotated with TEI markup represent historical events according to the description of the ancient author, which finally ended in the political and military conflict between Athens and Sparta (Peloponnesian War). In the following part of the project, the main content of Thucydides' text will be mapped using the event-based CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model with reference to these word strings.

At the same time, supported by a CHS/DAI joint fellowship, the narrative and discursive structure of the text, as well as all its relevant linguistic features, are also being annotated. One of the goals of the linguistic annotation is to provide a more solid background for the aforementioned task of event identification. The linguistic annotation of Thucydides' Histories is performed according to the guidelines of the Ancient Greek Dependency Treebank, which provide a word-by-word analysis of the morphological and syntactical features of the text. A further level of linguistic analysis, namely the so-called "tectogrammatical annotation" on semantic and pragmatic aspects which are necessary to understand the event structure of a text, will be tested following the model of the Prague Dependency Treebank.

Furthermore, to open up the broader historical context of the related sources, we explore the idea of a VRE combining archaeological and philological data with secondary research literature and in particular journal articles, that will be collected in an automized way. This part of the research is carried out in the context of a PhD project at the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College (formerly the Centre for Computing in the Humanities) since January 2011 and in close cooperation with the Thucydides Project at the CoDArchLab. The combination of all available sources on a historical topic by means of a single Virtual Research Environment (VRE) will open up new perspectives and modes of research of the ancient greek and roman world.

Starting from October 2010, the project has been funded for three years by the NEH / DFG Bilateral Digital Humanities Program 'Enriching Digital Collections' that offers support for cooperations between U.S. and German scientists to develop research-related digitization projects for the humanities. Each of these projects will be jointly run by an American and a German institution.