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

August 22, 2014

Archaeology Magazine

Farming in Medieval Scotland

farm-barn-scotland-late-medievalABERDEENSHIRE, SCOTLAND—A new picture of the late medieval farming life is emerging in northwest Scotland, according to a report in the Press and Journal. During excavations near an electrical substation, archaeologists surveying the area discovered the well-preserved remains of a barn which they were able to date the structure using the remains of charcoal and burnt bone they also found at the site. What makes the site rare and special, says archaeologist Maureen Kilpatrick of Guard Archaeology, is that “discoveries like this rarely survive in rural areas as the ground is usually used for rural purposes and is ploughed or used for cattle or livestock.” For a glimpse of what Scotland's medieval residents really looked like, go to ARCHAEOLOGY'S "Faces of Medieval Scots Reconstructed." 

What Paleolithic People Were Really Eating

snail-diet-paleolithic-food-spain-cavesBENIDORM, SPAIN—At the rock shelter site of Cova de la Barriada, archaeologists have discovered that even 30,000 years ago, vitamin-rich snails were part of the Iberian dinner table. Researcher Javier Fernández-López de Pablo told Livescience that the findings—hundreds of burnt snail shells found near fireplaces and alongside cooking tools—suggest the ancient inhabitants of the region ate the snails as a regular part of the diet more than 10,000 years before the mollusks were consumed in other parts of the Mediterranean. By harvesting only adults—the snails were about one year old when they were roasted— the region’s Paleolithic inhabitants had developed a sustainable farming practice that persevered the availability of this food resource for thousands of years. In fact, the species of land snail represented at the site, Iberus alonensis, are still eaten in Spain as part of many favorite dishes. To read more about the Paleolithic diet, go to ARCHAEOLOGY”s “Stocking the Paleolithic Pantry.”

ArcheoNet BE

Weekend van de experimentele archeologie in Aubechies

Dit weekend organiseert de Archéosite in Aubechies (Henegouwen) haar jaarlijkse weekend van de experimentele archeologie. Gedurende twee dagen, telkens van 14 tot 20 uur, word je vergast op demonstraties van experimentele archeologie en diverse ambachten, animatie door historische verenigingen en degustaties uit de Romeinse keuken. Dit bijzonder weekend is bovendien een schitterende gelegenheid voor alle geïnteresseerden om het archeologisch park van de Archéosite te ontdekken.

Dit feest van de experimentele archeologie vindt elk jaar plaats tijdens het laatste weekend van augustus. Belgische en buitenlandse archeologen en ambachtslui zijn er uitgenodigd om te experimenteren en de vruchten van hun opzoekingen te vergelijken. Zij zullen aan het publiek diverse demonstraties in verband met experimentele archeologie voorstellen: smidse, hout-, steen/silex-, en beenbewerking, pottenbakken, weven, broodbakken, degustatie van Romeinse keuken…

Elk jaar wordt deze gebeurtenis verrijkt door de aanwezigheid van verschillende groeperingen gespecialiseerd in historische reconstructies: Gallische animaties, gladiatoren, Romeinse legioenen, muzikanten, enz…

Meer info:

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Christian “College” Ad

Christian College Ad

I saw this ad on Reddit. It is no different than a lot of the degree mill scams around, except this one is using religion in service of the deception. If the Bible is “your only textbook” then you are not getting a college education – not even a Christian college education. Most Christians are aware that, even if you want to go to a Christian college and to major in Bible, you need lots of books to assist you in learning the relevant languages, understanding the culture, and of course, making sense of the texts themselves.

Don’t be fooled. “Ambassador Christian College” is clearly not Christian, not college, and ambassadors only for the interests of those who seek to profit from the gullible.

But do check out their website. It claims, on the one hand, to offer “advanced” Biblical studies. On the other hand, the place where faculty ought to be listed is blank, and the page where alumni should be listed is Lorem ipsum…

Archaeology Magazine

WWII U.S. Cruiser Identified in Java Sea

USS-Houston-IdentifiedPEARL HARBOR, HAWAII—The U.S. Navy History and Heritage Command announced that a vessel in the Java Sea is the cruiser USS Houston, which sank during the Battle of the Sunda Strait on February 28, 1942. Over the course of 19 dives earlier this year, U.S. Navy underwater archaeologists and Indonesian Navy divers surveyed the site and collected enough data to confirm the ship's identity. Nicknamed "The Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast," the vessel is the final resting place of some 700 sailors and marines. To read more about the historical legacy of WWII, go to ARCHAEOLOGY's "Archaeology of World War II." 

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #518

Open Access (free to read) articles on archaeology:

A 7th century Anglo-Saxon gold [and garnet] pendant from Glentham, Lincs

The highland fringes as a key zone for prehistoric developments in Papua New Guinea - a progress report

Additional Notices of Sir Peter Young.

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

Archaeology Magazine

Possible European Skull Found in Chinese Tomb

Tomb-China-SkullYINCHUAN, CHINA—Xinhua reports archaeologists excavating a 1,400-year-old tomb in northwest China have unearthed a skull that appears to have belonged to a European man of about 40 years of age. "The man had a protruding nasal bone and a sunk nasion, which are typical features of Europeans," said Jilin University anthropologist Zhang Quanchao. When the tomb was constructed early in the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907), one of the routes of the fabled Silk Road connecting Europe and China ran through the region, which might explain the presence of a European in the area. To read about a Tang Dynasty-influenced site in Siberia, read ARCHAEOLOGY'S "Letter from Siberia: Fortress of Solitude." 

Ancient Peoples

Gold disk showing a rosette  1.5 x 0.4cm (5/8 x 1/8...

Gold disk showing a rosette 

1.5 x 0.4cm (5/8 x 1/8 inch.) 

Etruscan, 7th - 5th century BC. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

FBI Looking in

FBI get their man
Welcome, FBI Criminal Justice Investigations. I see what you are looking at - I get a lot of searches on the topic of that one. Send someone to go and get him! He'll talk, I am sure. Then go for his suppliers.

Archaeology of Portus: Exploring the Lost Harbour of Ancient Rome

From Roman Portus to Medieval Bodiam – virtually

Today I had a meeting with brothers Joe and Ken Rigby. We met in a faux-medieval world, of the sort familiar to players of Skyrim, World of Warcraft and many (many) others. I’d arrived as a woman, so Joe helped me find a more masculine avatar, then a quick tutorial in walking, running, flying with a rocket-pack, and we were off exploring.

Joe is convinced there’s a market in building historic environments in the Unreal engine, and he and Ken have built a few proof-of-concept environments, including (and of particular interest to me) building five at Portus, and Bodiam Castle.

Once I was comfortable manipulating my avatar, Ken replaced the game-world we were in, and loaded Portus on the server. Joe and Ken got a model of building five from my colleagues at Southampton, and put it on a model of the Trajanic basin. Walking through it (or rather directing my avatar while we talked) I was immediately impressed by the sense of scale, if not by the somewhat oppressive sky texture they chose.  We talked about how, with enough server space, you could invite a lecture group to the model, and talk about the research and interpretation behind it while leading a group of avatars around it.

Here’s a video walkthrough Joe made previously:

Of course I was thinking about the Portus MOOC – but immediately I could think of challenges. For a start the environment sits on a sort of commercial virtual world server run by US telecoms company Avaya.  Joe explained they had a very reasonable price-plan, for smaller meetings. But even though in theory 2000 people could visit at once, Joe said the server fees would be prohibitively expensive. On top of that of course, MOOCs are inherently asynchronous, so without huge amounts of planning, many people would miss out, and possibly feel deprived. But regardless I asked whether the lecturer could change the appearance of the models as s/he  discussed the various theories behind them. After a bit of thought Joe said, although the models themselves couldn’t change on the fly, they could build a sort of “TARDIS” (yay, Doctor Who back tomorrow) that could transport the group between a number of models, or (obviously) through time to show different stages of Portus’ development.

Then we went to Bodiam, and arrived in the courtyard of a Bodiam Castle far less ruined than the one I know. Joe explained that they had a model of the Great (dining) Hall, created by a PhD student, and were thinking about how to build a simple model of the Castle around it, when the found exactly the model they were looking for on-line, available for £50. So that’s what we explored, but the only detailed interior was the Great Hall.

I must admit, though the smoothness of the experience was a lot more accessible than, say, Second Life (though maybe that’s because of the speed of my Broadband) I can’t think of a sustainable business model for environments like this. Build it and (maybe) they will come, but beyond these experiments, where is the reward for building it? Will visitors pay to visit a virtual Bodiam, or would they prefer to go to the real thing? Would my organisation (the National Trust) pay to have a virtual Bodiam accurately modelled? Who for?

Millions  of people (probably) have paid to tour a virtual medieval Florence in Assassins’ Creed, but they came mostly for the killing and the treasure – Florence itself was a pleasant extra.

I DO think virtual environments like this could benefit things like the Portus MOOC, but MOOCs ain’t cash cows… and Second Life lies in (relative) ruins, as do many other Virtual world platforms.

This one is free to visit though, and Ken and Joe have agreed to leave Portus on it for a while. Make sure Flash is up to date and click on this link to visit. You’ll need to download an Avaya extension, but its a painless process. If you see anyone there, wave by pressing the 1 key on your keyboard, and if you have a microphone attached, talk to them.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Focus on Metal Detecting: More Entitlement on Show

I have just received this: "Unknown has left a new comment on your post "UK Detectorist Spotted in a Field: Call to "Respon...".".
Ummmm.... What? Its author must be a metal detectorist! Keep reading airhead. PACHI Thursday, 30 May 2013, 'Bath archaeological thief caught after Bellarmine vase spotted on eBay'. PACHI Friday, 30 August 2013, 'Focus on Metal Detecting: Can't use a Search Engine?'. Eight sentences, just your limit I guess

The rest of us: Anonymous Creepy Guy from Brighton, UK presumably was attempting to use a Two-wrongs-make-a-right argument. That was his only comment on the content of the video to which his remark was appended, and I think one can see that the upshot of it is all is to demonstrate exactly the same attitude of entitlement as we see 'Mouthy Mick' exhibiting in the video. I've never met James Vessey, but I am sure there are many metal detectorists who'd love to shake his hand for giving them so much fun down the years and an alibi for much anti-social and anti-archaeological behaviour.

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

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

NETS: New English Translation of the Septuagint

 [First posted in AWOL 11 October 2012, updated (corrections and emendations made in June 2014) 22 August 2014]

NETS: New English Translation of the Septuagint

This electronic edition contains the masters of the second printing of A New English Translation of the Septuagint, as published by Oxford University Press in 2009, including corrections and emendations made in the second printing (2009) and corrections and emendations made in June 2014.

Corrections and Emendations

Preliminary Materials



Poetic Books


Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

More on "The Question the Conservationists Cannot Answer"

Metal detectorists frequently show the
position they are standing in
The detectorist who-now-claims-he-understands-the-conservationist-viewpoint now claims he has the a social mandate to carry on as before:
If amateur metal detecting was so bad and we were destroying so much archaeological history then surely there would be uproar (I dont just mean a few archaeo-bloggers) from any non detectorist. For a start we wouldn't have been graced with the PAS scheme also metal detecting would be banned unless conducted by archaeology professionals.
I really do not know why these people think that if something is not banned outright, it must be OK. (At the moment), nobody much is talking about banning the hobby. I've been pointing this out for years (PACHI Sunday, 27 July 2008, 'Beware of the Bogeyman Banner') and still you have half-brain semi-literates claiming the opposite. Where is their evidence?

First of all "we" (they) were not "graced by" a PAS. This was set up for ALL members of the public. It-is-not-a-scheme-for-metal-detectorists. It-is-not-a-scheme-for-legitimising-metal-detectorists. It is a Scheme for recording archaeological finds made by non-archaeologists: Andy, Cindy, Baz, Mohammed, Tadeusz, Simon-down-the-pub and my Mum. I really do not know why people with metal detectors cannot see that they are just a part of the British public. Who told them the Scheme was just for them? Who, actually disabused them of that idea when the tekkies were trolling the public forum of the PAS? (Rhetorical, to their eternal shame and damnation, the wimpy PAS dared not say 'boo!' to them, and they still don't ["you done well"]).

Metal detecting is not against the law. What we (all of us) ask, all we ask, is that metal detecting artefact collectors think about what they are doing, and try their hardest to record what is to be recorded and do it properly, and strive at all times for a standard that really can be called 'best practice'. That is the bargain British archaeology has tried to make with these people, this is the bargain the brits have ploughed no end of resources into. That is the bargain that oafs like Mr Baines are consistently failing to acknowledge. Baines reveals here that he sees the existence of a PAS as giving the lot of them a carte blanche to turn their backs totally on the voices of the conservationists ("I am sorry to say I dont agree with them"). The  PAS, Mr Baines, is staffed by nobody else. That's what they are trying to do. Now, either artefact hunters like Mr Baines are going to accept that and behave accordingly, or the British government can quite easily save a few million quid and free up some office space by just pulling the plug, it is not so difficult to see with heritage cuts left right and centre that they could be very close to doing that at a not-too-distant spending review.
"one million objects!" Whoopee - where are the missing eleven million, just under half of them 5,133,985lost since the start of the Portable Antiquities Scheme ?
I guess though, thinking about what they are doing, actually coming up with reasoned arguments about why I dont agree with conservation is not exactly the forte of the guys that take up a metal detector.

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

Who Supports the PAS?

Who supports the PAS? This from a detectorist's blog:
Dear Mr Howland
English Heritage supports the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), is represented on it’s Advisory Committee .. [...]
Yours sincerely, [English Heritage] Customer Services
It seems that in the UK, it's quite a lot of semi-literates incapable of actually benefiting from going to school which support the PAS.

Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

Pitching Your Archaeology News to the Press: Archaeology and the Press- Part 5

This week I have talked about crafting a ‘newsworthy’ story and about how to get it published via a press release. But, the process is not exactly as simple as uploading a press release into an email and clicking the ‘send’ button. I am going to spend this last post in the series discussing how to increase your chances of getting into the news, beyond just making a good press release.

Location, Location, Location

There are three types of location specific news agencies- local/regional, national, and international. Knowing what stories they likely will publish will save you a lot of time when pitching your news.

  • Local/Regional- Like people stories (kids, geriatrics, locals, volunteers) and something that is connected local. Stories like “Senior Citizen Help Uncover Prehistoric Campsite in GenericTownville” will be picked up by these organizations. Even if your project is not ground breaking, if it is local they might report it.
  • National- Rarely do people pieces and look for things of “national” importance. An article like “Metal Detectors Uncover Battle Site of ImportantBattleInGenericCountriesHistory” will be picked up by these organizations.
  • International- This needs to appeal to a broad range of people, Unfortunately we default to  Oldest, Biggest, Greatest, Richest, Gold, Lost Civilizations, Adventure, Ground Breaking, Mummies, Pyramids, and of course Game Changing stories. it does not have to be this way but it does need to connect to a lot of people’s interests.

Don’t send local stories to national news outlets. There is a reason reporters get 100+ emails a day and 97 of them end up in the deleted folder.

Not All News Organizations Are the Same

Even if the focus is regional, national, etc. how organizations disseminate the news is very different.

  • Websites/blogs – they don’t have to worry about fitting articles into print runs so them can publish more stuff. However, they have the pressure of being on 24/7 because they are on the internet.
  • Print- Limited space and hard printing deadlines. Can’t do long pieces.
  • Video/TV- I have not talked about this too much but the key factor to remember is that they usually need to get a camera crew out to a location to do some filming.
  • Magazines- not published as often, longer pieces, and they tend to use freelances more so you have to contact them.

With the Internet these boundaries are starting to get blurred but it is still worth considering the medium.


Also, the focus is it broad or are you targeting very niche publications. Past Horizons is a good example of a news site that focuses on just heritage, still a broad topic. This all goes back to the goal of your work, who do you want to reach. However, think creatively and realize you can reach a lot of people by targeting niche publications. For example, underwater archaeology can both target archaeology and scuba diving communities.

Take all of these factors into account and look at your goal. That should give you a rough idea of what organizations you should contact, which is not all of them.

Identified Target, Check. Now What?

Now, you need to figure out who to contact in your targeted organizations. You can contact the main email accounts or phonelines but they receive thousands of requests a day and many of them never make it through to the journalist. Journalists have certain beats and areas they focus on, do some research on the journalist most likely to write about your work. A sports reporter is not going to write about archaeology. One way to do this is to check out the archaeology or related articles on the website and look at who wrote them. Ask other archaeologists about who has written articles for them. Worse comes to worse, call up an organization and ask who handles their heritage stories.


Do not call or email a reporter directly, until you call their office first and talk with a receptionist (not reporter) to find out what is the best time to contact them e.g. when are their deadlines to pitch an idea to an editor and when are their article deadlines. Make sure you call before they talk to their editor so they have enough time to get together a pitch. Never call before their publishing deadlines. Basically, find the time when they are researching and looking for new articles and send it then. If they are web-based or freelance and don’t have daily deadlines then ask when are good days or time i.e. are they a morning person.

To Call or Not to Call

Some stories, especially if they are very sensitive or important need to be discussed in person or on the phone. But, the default is to never call or try to set up a meeting unless you have found the Holy Grail, I mean the literal the Holy Grail. Send them an email with your press release in it/attached. Try to use the title of your press release in the email subject. Keep the email short, no small talk, just say something to the effect- this might interest you … .

Why? Well like I have discussed- they have so much material to go through that if they spent five minutes talking on the phone to everyone they would get nothing done. An email and press release can be scanned quickly and if they like it they can spend more time reading it. If not, they are on to the next lead/story.


You send the email and then wait and see. You have included your contact details in the press release (a must), if they want to know more they will contact you. Be sure you, or who ever is the contact person is, are free for the rest of the day to answer the phone/email. Nothing will kill your story faster than not answering the phone when a journalist calls after you told them to call you. Whatever you do, DO NOT CALL to see if they got your email. Yes- email gets lost or caught be the spam filters but from what I have been told nothing annoys a journalist more than calling them to see if they got your email. There is really nothing you can do after you sent an email to increase your chances, you can only ruin them by being annoying.

Just jeep in mind, it is going to be a bit like fishing, you cast out a lot of lines and sometimes you get a bite.

Final Tips- Exclusivity and Relationships

Some last finals tips, use them or don’t.

The way news works is that whoever breaks the story first gets the lion’s share of the views, usually. Especially, now with the internet and people linking to the first source they see/sharing it. Exclusives help a journalists career. If you can promise a journalist an exclusive, and it is important to warrant being exclusive, then you greatly increase your odds of getting your story picked up. I know in some cases you want to reach as wide as audience as possible and so you may not want to be exclusive. However, any story after it is printed is pick up by other news organizations, social media etc. so it may be worth it to you to promise an exclusive story. But, never promise an exclusive and then not deliver it. It hurts the journalists in front of their bosses AND pretty much guarantees they will never work with you again.

The final thing you can do is a build a professional relationship with a journalist. Notice the word ‘professional’. That means not making idle chit chat and asking them about their kids. It means when you have a story they are your first port of call. They will love you for it and it benefits you. If you feed them a constant stream of stories, which they need, then they are more likely to publish all of your work. There is of course limit to that. They won’t publish crap and can be overruled by their editor. However, they are more likely to fight to get your story in, even the so so ones. This of course also means following them to any new job they might get. In some cases, it won’t work out e.g. they go to fashion magazine. Though at the end of the day it is good to have a professional relationship with a journalist or two.

That’s it. That is how to pitch you work, i.e. press release, to journalists.


I have mainly focused on print press and not so much on TV. They are different. You won’t really be sending them press releases. It will be a phone call  or quick email but treat it almost the same. Be quick and have a pitch ready ( 2-3 sentences summing up the whole story). Though, the same rules about finding out the best times to contact them apply. A big difference is finding out when the camera crew will be coming or if you need to go into a studio.

Archaeology and the Press

This is part of a series of posts. Part 1- look at the process of journalism. Part 2- gave guidance on interviewing. Part 3- was about picking your story. Part 4- taught you how to make a press release.

Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

Friday Mushrooms

zvampHas it really been almost four years since I blogged about mushrooms? This afternoon me and my wife repeated our September 8, 2010 expedition to the hills between Lakes Lundsjön and Trehörningen and picked almost a kilo of mushrooms in a bit more than an hour. We got:

  • King bolete, Stensopp/Karl Johan, Boletus edulis

  • Bay bolete, Brunsopp, Boletus badius
  • Orange birch bolete, Tegelsopp, Leccinum versepelle
  • Birch bolete, Björksopp, Leccinum scabrum
  • Entire russula, Mandelkremla, Russula integra
  • Two kinds of red or brown brittlegill, mild-tasting and thus non-poisonous. Scandyland has more than 130 species of brittlegill, none are deadly and luckily there’s a simple taste test for which ones are good to eat.

Ancient Peoples

Metal harness ornament of a crouching tiger  5.7cm high and...

Metal harness ornament of a crouching tiger 

5.7cm high and 10.2cm long ( 2 1/4 x 4 inch.) 

China, 7th - 6th century BC. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 15)

The Huffington Post recently posted this picture and asked, "Is that a thigh bone on Mars?"

Answer: No.  Just... what?  No.  Which part of that looks like a femur?

Previous installments of Who needs an osteologist?

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Roman mosaic uncovered by archeologists at Chedworth Roman Villa

Thrilled archaeologists have made an exciting discovery about Gloucestershire’s Roman past.

The two-week project at Chedworth Roman Villa has unearthed a mosaic which has taken all-involved by surprise.

In charge of the excavation, National Trust archaeologist, Dr Martin Papworth said: “This is a brand new, unknown mosaic.

“The excavation site, which we are working on, had been excavated by the late Sir Ian Richmond in the 1960s, and he had not recorded any mosaic floors during his work here. Read more.

The Archaeological Review

The Masterpieces of the Pergamon and Bode Museum

Philipp von Zabern
Mainz, Germany
1990, 1991
ISBN 3-8053-1423-X (Museum Edition)

Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection: Karl-Heinz Priese
Museum of Western Asiatic Collection:       Liane Jakob-Rost - Evelyn Klengel-Brandt                                                                                                                                                               Joachim Marzahn - Ralf-B. Wartke
Collection of Classical Antiquity:                  Max Kunze
Early Christian and Byzantine Collection:    Arne Effenberger

     "Since the historic days of November 1989, all the museums in Berlin have been working intensively to remove the effects of the division which resulted from World War II and its aftermath. This is not primarily a matter of reuniting holdings which belong together. Forty years of divided history need to be overcome and this also means the entire museum landscape of the city must be rethought in the light of current scholarship."
                                                                                  Gunter Schade 
                                                                                             Director General of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

                                                     Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection

The Bode's collection of Egyptian antiquities is put forward starting with acquisitions in the late seventeenth century and added too through purchases and late nineteenth early twentieth century excavations. The famous Lepsius expedition of the mid 1840's brought three complete tomb chapels back among its thousands of acquisitions and by 1855 the collection was set up in its own beautiful Neoclassic building, the Neues museum on Museum island in the heart of Berlin.

Excavations at the solar temple of Neuserre between 1898 and 1901 at Abu Gurob brought many important V Dynasty reliefs to the collection while excavation finds at Tell el Amarna between 1911 and 1914 brought the Neues its first class Amarna collection. Since these heady days of acquisition however few museum collections have fared worse than Berlin's Egyptian collection.

World War II was devastating to the collection including the Neues museum which lay in ruins after the war, as it would for the rest of the twentieth century. A number of storage facilities holding artifacts of the Egyptian collection were also destroyed including a manor house and storerooms holding another part of the collection were burned in May of 1945 by fanatical Nazi's.

The irretrievable losses include a large proportion of the reliefs from the solar temple of Neuserre, an artistically important collection of coffins and Middle Kingdom paintings. The best pieces of the surviving collection in the Russian sector of the city were taken to Russia until the late 1950's. The remains of the Egyptian collection dispersed according to what part of the city they were found in at wars end with the bust of Nefertiti ended up in the Charlottenberg Museum in the western part of Berlin and only a few pieces being left on Museum Island, these were added to the Bode Museum to create this Egyptian collection.

The guide opens with a calcite statue of an Upper Egyptian baboon god "the great white one" with the name of King Narmer on its base, (Acc. no. 22607). The awkward, cramped statue is said to be the oldest large scale sculpture from ancient Egypt ca. 3000 B.C.

The Egyptian collection presented is meager but includes the wonderful Old Kingdom granite scribe statue of Dersenedj, (Acc. no. 15701), who is pictured with the papyrus on his lap giving his titles of "overseer of the granary" and "domain administrator". A most gorgeous relief comes from the pyramid temple of King Sahura, ca. 2440 B.C., ( 21782), of prisoners being led by gods before the king.

The reader is presented with two statues of Hatschepsut including one of her as a sphinx in which the head was discovered by the Prussian expedition in 1844 and the body in pieces between 1922 and 1926, (Acc. no. 2299). The museums holdings do include two Amarna period quartzite heads of a princess, (Acc. no. 21223), and one identified as Nefertiti (Acc. no. 21220), though I think it is more likely Nefertiti's daughter Meryetamun, or perhaps Ankhesunamun, a little too happy to be Tiye or Nefertiti?

The guide does contain a lovely Late Period coffin and an outer trough of Paistenef, (Acc. nos. 51, 52), a nice, but standard survivor from a once great collection of coffins. A series of trinkets including jewels from a pyramid at Moreo in the Sudan and a group of five lovely shabti pass till the viewer finds themselves in front of a very fine greywhacke head, (Acc. no. 11864), thought to represent King Amasis and found in the residence of the XXVI Dynasty kings, ca. 550 B.C.

The Roman period mummy portrait from the tomb of Aline from Hawara is a beauty and one of the few of the genre painted on linen not board. The Egyptian collection closes off with three outstanding papyri including,  "The Persians," by Timotheos of Miletus from Abu Sir and dated at ca. 350-300 B.C., (Acc. no. P 9875).

While Amunemwiya's "Guide to the Netherworld" (Acc. no. P 3127) is a beautiful example of a New Kingdom funerary book belonging to a well off noble. Of the lost coffin collection it needs note, "Lid of a boy's coffin", (Acc. no. 17126), is unique and a precious survivor of that collection representing on the lid a statue of the Hellenistic owner.

                                                            Museum of Western Asiatic Antiquity

The museums collection of Mesopotamian material including its Ishtar gate covers 8000 years of history much of which was acquired through nineteenth and twentieth century excavations that brought objects through division of finds. The Western Asiatic collection was not damaged during World War II and remained intact with the exception of pieces taken to Russia which were repatriated back to Berlin in 1958.

This collection is unrivaled in Europe with the exceptions of the Louvre and British Museums. From the cella of the archaic temple of Ishtar we find an alabaster figure of a man, ca. 2400 B.C., (VA8142), wearing a long kilt possessing great presence and followed by a number of elegant stone pots and sculptures from the first half of the third millennium B.C.

I fell in love with two small recumbent bulls, one in a green stone, (11021), and another smaller bull in marble with three pointed spots on its body set with carved lapis lazuli inlays, (14536). The wonderful gate of Ishtar is described including its erection by Nebuchadnezzar II, collection and installment within the Pergamon museum is put forth, as is its replica explained to the reader.

The spear-bearer of the bodyguard of Darius I (521-486 B.C.), (VA14647), like the Nebuchadnezzer II gate aforementioned is a composition of glazed bricks in colours of black, white, brown, yellow, blue, and green producing a refined detailed image of a guard in a procession of the kings guards. Figure 23, (VAT 10000), displays the obverse of Tablet A of the Middle Assyrian legal code, 12th century B.C. and from Assur, this nearly intact example contains fifty nine sections concerned mainly with women including laws of theft, sexual grievances, beatings, injury, marital and criminal matters.

                                                            Collection of Classical Antiquities

Of the classical collection a storage bunker containing a large collection of vases, terracotta's, bronzes and unstudied excavation finds burned during World War II with almost the entire contents lost. The beautiful market gate of Miletus excavated by Theodore Wiegand and Hubert Knackfub between 1903-1905 and reconstructed, (with much criticism), in full scale in the Pergamon, was bricked up for its protection during the war.

However the gate still suffered considerable damage including the destruction of the skylight above the gate and the brick wall meant to protect it, leaving the gate damaged and exposed to the elements for a couple of years after the war. The "Berlin Goddess", (Sk 1800), ca. 580-560 B.C., is an Archaic Greek marble statue 1.93 meters in height and found at Keratea in an excellent state of preservation including some remains of its original paint.

This preservation was brought about because the statue in ancient times was wrapped in a lead sheet and buried. The statue is typical of archaic modelling as it is a severe, rigid composition unlike the slightly smaller headless marble statue of a woman holding a partridge, (Sk 1791), from a few years later ca. 550 B.C., and of which possesses a more fluid and refined early classical style.

So many wonderful and important works from this collection fill the pages from the metope found by Heinrich Schliemann from the Temple of Athena at Troy depicting Helios and dated after 300 B.C., ( 9582). The rare life size bronze "Praying Boy" (Sk 2), from  late 4th century B.C. was found in the Temple of Helios on Rhodes being sent to Venice as early as the 16th century.

The green schist bust of Julius Caeser, (Sk 342), is a rather soulless demonic looking figure with its faded eye inlays and excellent state of preservation.

                                                       Early Christian and Byzantine collection

For me the most remarkable piece from this collection is the "Game of marbles" said to have been found near the Hippodrome in 1834, (Acc. no. 1895), and from the end of the 5th century. Carved from a block of marble the game is believed to choose the order of the charioteers, or rather the lanes the charioteers would run in.

I guess I decided to review this guide based on the ever changing events that have guided Berlin's collections and the irretrievable losses that resulted from the last great European war. The presentation of the collections and the museums of Museum Island presented now a quarter century out of date are thankfully due to reunification of Germany and the rebuilding of its museums in a much more appreciative and comparatively orderly state today.


1). Mask of Akhenaton: Keith Schengili-Roberts
2). Frieze of Pergamon Alter:  Christian Bier

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

t3.wy Foundation for Historical Research in Egyptology: "Excavating in Archives"

t3.wy Foundation for Historical Research in Egyptology: "Excavating in Archives"
Somewhere in the mid-19th century, the word “Egyptology” was coined: The name connotes the scientific study of ancient Egyptian history, language, literature, religion, architecture and art from the 5th millennium BC until the end of the 4th century AD.  Some 165 years later, Egyptology has become part of history, and now there is a movement afoot to investigate and study its evolution.
The t3.wy Project has been a frontrunner in this field: In June 2009, with the aid of a small staff, Marcel and Monica Maessen set up a website to draw attention to the subject of Egyptian dig houses.  These houses, scattered all over Egypt, are where the first Egyptologists spent their professional as well as their private lives while excavating in Egypt. These houses were usually built close to their work, and therefore their histories contain much information about the excavations and also about the people who lived there.
This specific subject ánd the accompanying website provoked an outpouring of interest from academics and the general public alike. As a result, it was decided to take this private project to the next level by starting a non-profit Foundation. The t3.wy Foundation, as it will be called for short, was established on July 4., 2014. The reason for establishing a Foundation was to raise much-needed funds enabling the team to continue and expand in-depth research on dig houses and other topics, directly related to the history of Egyptology. Since the Foundation will be based in the Netherlands, it also has a Dutch name, “Stichting t3.wy Historisch Onderzoek Egyptologie”. In English: “The t3.wy Foundation for Historical Research in Egyptology
Project Goals:
Travellers and scientists began to visit Egypt many centuries ago, and when they left, a lot of information left the country with them. We are not only talking about the obvious objects leaving the country to wind up in museums, universities and private collections all over the world, but also about photographic evidence and correspondence. Unfortunately, many of these valuable pieces of information were never documented, studied or published. In fact, thousands of letters and photographic evidence are stored in museum archives, while hundreds of thousands object languish in storehouses, some still in the original box or crate they arrived in. Lack of interest, funds and/or manpower has prevented specialists from giving the objects the attention they deserved. Research associated with the history of Egyptology can be useful in helping track down the original location of unplaced objects and bring them to light. Besides that, Research associated with history of Egyptology can also shed lights on other aspects, such as: The Egyptologist’s social life; Context between Ancient artefacts, which has been overlooked until now, the way of constructing houses in Egypt and the influence foreigners had on this, etc.
Not unlike Egyptology itself, the history of Egyptology potentially has many different aspects that could be researched. For the time being, the t3.wy Foundation for Historical Research in Egyptologyfocuses its attention to the following three subjects:
  1. The research, description and publication of dig houses in Egypt, DHP (Dig House Project),
  2. Discovering, researching, describing and, if necessary, restoring historical photographs and (glass) negatives and slides of Egyptian antiquities, HPRPP (Historical Photo Research & Preservation Project),
  3. Investigating and publishing correspondence from Egyptologists from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, ECP (Egyptologist Correspondence Project).
In due time – and this part of the project would rely heavily on funding – the Foundation would like to set up the jewel in its crown: AIPP, the Antiquities Inventory and Publication Project, in which we would like to bring together all those “forgotten” objects, at one time brought from Egypt and “dropped” al over the world in Museums and bring them together in one central database for scholars to be studied. Since this would require efforts beyond the  – current – capabilities of the Foundation, we will not start with this project immediately, but gradually start working on it.

AIA Fieldnotes

A Day at Washita Battlefield

Washita Battlefield National Historic Site
International Archaeology Day
Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Sunday, October 19, 2014

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient settlement found in Kazakhstan

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient settlement on the bank of the Ishim River in Akmola oblast, Tengrinews reports citing the Oblast Department of Culture.

The settlement of Kursk is located on the right bank and covers the area of 45 thousand square meters. It dates back to the Middle Ages.

The archeological expedition was held by the Center for Preservation and Use of Historical and Cultural Heritage under the aegis of the Akmola Oblast Department of Culture. They were making archaeological exploration works in the north-eastern and south-eastern parts of Yesil District in Akmola Oblast when they found the ancient settlement and a total of 45 items of archaeological significance. All the items were taken to the archeological museum of Akmola Oblast for further study. Read more.

CHS Fellowships Research Bulletin

Khronos, Cronos, and the Cronion Hill: The Spatialization of Time in Pindar’s Olympian 10

Citation with persistent identifier: Pavlou, Maria. “Khronos, Cronos, and the Cronion Hill: The Spatialization of Time in Pindar’s Olympian 10.” CHS Research Bulletin 2, no. 2 (2014). The mountain sat upon the plain In his eternal chair, His observation omnifold, His inquest everywhere. The seasons prayed around his knees, Like children round a sire: Grandfather of the days is he, Of dawn the ancestor. E. Dickinson, ‘The Mountain’   §1 Olympian 10 celebrates Hagesidamus, a boy wrestler from Western Locri who won his victory in 476 BCE.[1] From Pindar’s apologetic style at the opening of the poem, and his promise to pay back his overdue debt with interest (τόκος), it becomes clear that there must have been some delay in composing the ode. The “tardiness” of the poem, the historicity of which should be taken at face-value and not merely as a topos—notwithstanding its touch of poetic exaggeration—is explicable […] more

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Manchester tram engineers find remains of more than 100 bodies

Engineers working on a new tram line in Manchester have discovered the human remains of more than 100 people.

Archaeologists believe the bones are linked to nearby Cross Street Chapel and may have been buried about 200 years ago.

They were found in Cross Street by Metrolink engineers working on the £165m Second City Crossing.

A project has begun to excavate and reinter the remains, which could date back to the late 18th Century.

Cross Street Chapel has been the meeting place of Unitarians in central Manchester since the 1660s.

Peter Cushing, a director at Transport for Greater Manchester, said: “We fully recognise the duty of care involved. Read more.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Generalizing about Religion


Sabio Lantz has shared some insightful comments about the problem of generalization in discussion of religion. There’s an extensive quotation below, but click through to read the entire post.

Religions around the world nurture conflict and are used as tools for great suffering and nonsense. But religion can also be used in wonderful ways. It is thus a mistake to speak about spiritual and religious traditions as if there existed some coherent, unified, uncontested, unchanging or pristine version of that tradition. Sure, speaking of such an idealized form may be a useful heuristic tool but it is loaded with mistaken notions which become obvious after only the least bit of inspection or dialogue between people who disagree. This error is common with both religion prescriptionists and anti-religion atheists.

Why is this a mistake? Above in my diagram I tried to capture six main factors that make such generalizations sloppy at best.  Below are the explanations:

  1. Times: Historical Varieties of Religion: Religions change over time. So instead of overgeneralizing, we have to specify exactly what time period we are talking about.  But for the reasons given below, that is usually not enough.
  2. Places: Religion Changes by Locality : Catholic Christianity in South America, Italy and the USA vary widely. Even though they may identify a the same sect of Christianity, they have very important differences. Sure, someone may think they share some “essentially” common elements to allow generalizations — but those who hold these faiths may disagree with the lack of importances you put on their differences.
  3. “Beliefs”: Multivalent “Belief” & Many-Selves: The notion of “belief” is complex. Both the beliefist religionists and the hyper-rational atheists imagine a much more solid thing called belief. We all hold beliefs that contradict each other. We even hold incorrect beliefs, which we nonetheless, use in healthy ways when understood in the web-of-beliefs in which they complexly exist. See my posts on Many Selves and Beliefism.
  4. Sects: Wide Multitude of Religious Sub-Sects: From Snake-handling Fundamentalists in West Virginia to Mormons in Idaho to Episcopals in Massachusetts the flavors of Christianity vary widely.  Their beliefs, practices and exuberance vary a great deal.
  5. Lived Religions: Variety of Individuals: a given person’s “religion” — that they mean by the word — often has little to do with the doctrines their religious professionals would want them to confess. Instead, may be identity, social relations, tradition, good luck religion, imagined moral framework, holidays and rituals or comfort medicine. And when you ask the individual, they may not only be uniformed of the very religion they identify with, but even hold heretical views or practices (often unbeknownst to themselves). Heck most religious folks don’t even believe a lot of what they confess.
  6. Nebulous Meanings: Vague Definitions of “Religion”: Even among scholars, there is not agreement on definitions of “religion”.  It is used in multiple ways by speakers. And when people use it in a general way, they are imagining some very specific form and practice of religion which their generalization overshoots. See my post on Defining Religion.

You may feel you have sufficient objections to any one of the above bullets and thus feel justified in your essentializing, reifying and objectifing some spiritual or religious tradition in a general way, but you need to consider all the bullets and their interactions. Propagandists and prescriptionists are not interested in this complexity — usually because they feel it cripples their mission, but this blog is about complexity and clear thinking, not convenient rhetoric.


To begin, when speaking of any Christianity, use adjectives to specify which subset you are talking about. But even then, realize that you can not list enough adjectives to be careful enough. So, be careful in your generalizations and try to reflect on why you are generalizing, essentializing and reifying such an abstract notion.

Vehement, anti-religion atheists are committed to disparaging the word “religion” and so all the subtlety above is mere distraction from their mission. They will not give in an inch — nothing will stop their unscientific gross over-generalizations. Though the above information is common sense among most anthropologists and sociologist who would never generalize about religion. These atheists ironically care not for a scientific approach when it conflicts with their evangelical efforts.


Penn Museum Blog

Sitz Unseen: Looking at Archaeological Sites

ams venice

Anna Sitz

Many people think that archaeology is mainly about doing: breaking the ground with a pickaxe, shoveling and sifting dirt, using a trowel to uncover artifacts. These activities are all part of the archaeological process. But a large part of archaeology is about looking rather than doing. I am a fifth year PhD student in Penn’s Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World program, and I want to share some of my experiences with looking.


Ceramics from Alabanda, after washing

Several of my colleagues have written about archaeological surveys, in which a team walks through fields or over mountains, scanning the ground for pottery sherds (pieces of broken ceramics) or traces of walls. I participated in a survey a few years ago as a part of the Philosophiana Archaeological Project on Sicily. After a couple weeks of surveying, an archaeologist’s eyes become trained to pick out the colors and sharp edges of pottery fragments from the surrounding dirt, stones, and vegetation. Despite the bright Sicilian sunlight, I preferred to survey without wearing sunglasses, because accurately seeing color was such an important part of picking out the ceramics.

marsyas perge

Marsyas watches museum visitors in the Antalya Museum

Even when the digging begins, looking is still a major part of an archaeologist’s work. Each time a pickaxe, shovel, or trowel pierces the dirt, excavators watch the soil for artifacts or bones. The more spectacular of these items might end up in a museum, where the public encounters them as the most visible products of archaeology.  While digging, however, archaeologists are watching not just for these objects, but also for subtle changes in the dirt itself: a change in color, texture, or inclusions (such as pebbles or mortar). These variations are evidence of a change long ago- a flood, a new floor, a pit, a fire, etc. Ideally, the archaeologist can connect the changes in the color/texture of the dirt with artifacts (such as coins or ceramics) in order to date the layer.

DSC_0413 (2)

Dirt, Alabanda excavation

Of course, archaeologists are not often lucky enough to find securely dated artifacts and a distinct type of soil all at once. And even an archaeologist most carefully watching the dirt underneath her trowel may miss some of the more gradual changes in the soil taking place in the trench as a whole. At times, looking too closely can obscure the bigger picture. For this reason, many trenches have an area supervisor, whose job it is to watch, record, and assess.

myra tombs

Lycian rock-cut tombs, Myra

The looking doesn’t stop even when the archaeologist exits his trench. In order to better understand the artifacts, walls, and contexts that emerge from the dirt, archaeologists have to look at other sites that have been previously excavated. This summer, I have been visiting several sites in Lycia, in southwestern Turkey.  This is the region just south of my normal area of fieldwork, at Alabanda in ancient Caria.


View from the acropolis of Olympos (Lycia)


Church at Patara (Lycia)

When archaeologists visit other sites, we enjoy the spectacular views and well-preserved buildings just like everyone else, but we are also keeping our eyes open for small details that can better help us understand our own work. We might look at a building’s layout and its masonry in order to see how it compares with what we are finding.

arycanda church view

View from the church at Arykanda (Lycia) into lower courtyard

We pay attention to sight lines, in other words, what an ancient person would have seen when standing in a building. We also think through the logic of building a structure in one place instead of another (for example, on a hilltop rather than in a valley), and the effect that location had on visitors.

xanthos tomb

Tomb at Xanthos (Lycia) overlooking the valley

myra painting

Byzantine painting in church of St. Nicholas, Myra

My undergraduate training was in art history rather than archaeology.  While looking at a masonry wall is a completely different experience from looking at a Botticelli painting, there is quite a bit of overlap in the skills set needed to understand each one. Both art historian and archaeologist must develop an “eye” for the material they study – the ability to pick out pertinent details quickly, to identify the style of painting or construction technique, to draw connections with other material.

iasos wall

Acropolis wall with reused blocks, Iasos (Caria)

botticelli madonna book

Botticelli, Madonna of the Book, c. 1480. Wiki images







In this way, looking becomes an act in itself, a process of selectively seeing certain features and drawing mental connections. So the next time you visit an archaeological site, try to practice looking at the walls, ceramics, artifacts, and plans like an archaeologist. You don’t even have to get dirty to do it!

Archaeological News on Tumblr

10th Century buckles with imperial symbols found in Bulgaria’s Pliska

Valuable buckles with the images of imperial symbols have been found by archaeologists working at the site of medieval Pliska in north-eastern Bulgaria.

Pliska, which boasts a large archaeological reserve and is the subject of ongoing digs, is best known as having been the capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom from 681 to 893CE.

According to a report on August 22, 2014 by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, the finds date back about 1100 years.

They were found in part of the palace complex of the first Bulgarian capital.

The find of the buckles with the imperial symbols is extremely rare for Pliska in spite of the former capital’s lively contacts with the Byzantine empire. Read more.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Call for Collaboration: Are you an Ancient Geek?

Call for Collaboration: Are you an Ancient Geek?
Dear Classicists,

Our eLearning team in the Digital Humanities department at the University of Leipzig (Germany) wishes to learn more about which methods of teaching Ancient Greek are most effective and engaging for learners.  For this reason we have put together a TEST and short survey that we would love you to take in order to help us in our research.

If you can spare a few minutes, please click on the following link and you will be able to easily take the test:

The test will be a lot easier to take if you are familiar with Ancient Greek grammar! You may answer as many or as few questions you like and at any point in the test you can skip to the end survey.
Thank you ever so much for your time and help!

Warm Regards,
The Leipzig eLearning Team

Digital Humanities
Department of Computer Science
University of Leipzig
Augustusplatz 10-11
04109 Leipzig, Germany

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Curiosities of Bornholm Castle

Dog paw prints on the medieval castle room floor and a cannon ball are the most interesting discoveries of Polish team of archaeologists inside a thirteenth-century castle Hammershus on the island of Bornholm.

The third season of excavations carried out by researchers from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw ended in late July. Hammershus Castle is one of the Bornholm’s most recognizable historic buildings and one of the largest of its kind in Scandinavia. It is the third most important monument of this category in Denmark.

This season, the archaeologists have focused on work related to the reconstruction of the castle walls. They have also carried out surveys, limited range excavations, along the southern outer walls and in rooms located in the central part of the castle. Read more.

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Amphipolis ...

I'll try to do a proper post or two about Amphipolis over the week-end, but just to be clear again I won't be 'revealing' any information that the fabulous archaeologists working there have not publicly released.

For updates, I refer people to the Ministry of Culture press releases:

Υπουργείο Πολιτισμού και Αθλητισμού - Δελτία Τύπου

If journalists wish to contact the excavators, the way to do so is through the Ministry of Culture - and to reiterate what they themselves have said: no, you can't turn up and tour the site, no matter how important you think you are.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

It seems like it was only a week ago when I posted the last varia and quick hits… It doesn’t matter; I’ll still post some more lovely links on a cloudy and grey morning here in North Dakotaland.

IMG 1877Let’s get this party started!

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: News

The American School of Classical Studies at Athens in the News

"Greek" highlights the Corinth excavations and in particular the tomb that was discovered in 2006 (dated ca. 800–760 B.C.) as described in one of the most recent issues of Hesperia.

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

The Iliad Abides …

Nice little opEd  in the Irish Times by Helen Meany on the enduring appeal of the Iliad … here’s the first bit:

Amid the remembrance of the first World War, a poignant detail emerges. Many soldiers went to the Western Front carrying a copy of Homer’s Iliad. One soldier, Patrick Shaw-Stewart, inscribed a poem of his own on the flyleaf, in which he entreats the warrior Achilles to stand with him in battle, as a protector. “Stand in the trench, Achilles/ Flame-capped and shout for me,” it concludes. He was killed at Gallipoli in 1917.

Stand in The Trench, Achilles is the title of a recent book that traces classical references in the poetry of the war, not only by the celebrated war poets, but by men of all backgrounds, who were steeped in knowledge of Greek and Latin authors. Through close readings, the scholar Elizabeth Vandiver shows the extent to which Homeric ideas and images sustained the soldiers. Or more precisely, Homeric ideals.

Idealism endures, but it also mutates. The English writer and historian Adam Nicholson has Homer written on his heart. His new book, The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters, is a form of pilgrimage, “a passionate pursuit” of the origins of the poems: both a journey undertaken by him around the eastern Mediterranean and beyond, and a vivid history of their interpretation. Reading it, there is a sense of entering into a dialogue with all the commentators and translators of the epics who have gone before, and that those layers of interpretation have become almost as important as the Homeric texts themselves.

We are in an immensely rich period of creative re-workings of the Iliad, from this year’s version for the stage by poet Simon Armitage, The Last Days of Troy, to Christopher Logue’s poem sequence, War Music, and Alice Oswald’s Memorial, with what she calls her “reckless dismissal of seven-eighths of the poem,” omitting Achilles and Agamemnon entirely. Madeline Miller’s best-selling novel The Song of Achilles invented a youthful back-story for Achilles’s beloved companion Patroclus, and cast the two men, unambiguously, as lovers.

Oswald and Miller join other women writers such as Margaret Atwood (The Penelopiad) and Christa Wolf (Cassandra) tilting the perspective on the Homeric texts, extracting the voices of minor characters, or presenting the narrative through the lens of the female characters.

The effect of these imaginative shifts is to create a Homeric world that is more palatable to our contemporary tastes. So, if reading the original Iliad makes us uncomfortable, there are multiple alternative versions, as well as new critical takes on the age-old question: does the Iliad glorify war?

American classicist Caroline Alexander in her recent book, The War That Killed Achilles, highlights the ways in which the Iliad emphasises the pain and destructiveness of war, pointing out that both the Greeks (Achaeans, as they are known in the poem) and the besieged Trojans long for the war to end and to return to their families. [...]

… the rest: Standing with Homer in the trenches of the Western Front

The Homer Multitext

Layout and Preparation of Venetus B Folios

A guest post by Kristina Birthisel, Brandeis University 2013.

This post is the first in a series that will feature research originally presented in Birthisel's senior thesis titled "Scholar or Scribe? A Case Study in the Formation of the Venetus B Manuscript of the Iliad."

Layout and preparation of Venetus B folios

The Homeric manuscripts with which we work in the Homer Multitext project were, of course, created before the advent of the printing press. They required an immense amount of time and effort on the part of the scribe. This resulted in an approach to the texts, however, in which the scribes could put their own personality into each manuscript. Each manuscript was different; even if copied by the same scribe, it was done at a different time, and thus each folio shows us how the scribe understood the passage at the moment of its copying. Only by understanding how the scribe constructed his manuscript and interacted with the text he was copying can we attempt to understand that text fully.

So what sort of people were these scribes? How much did they edit the source material in their own manuscript? How scholarly were they? Did they simply copy these manuscripts from a previous exemplar, or were they compiling a manuscript and its scholia from multiple sources?

The scribe put a great deal of care into how he laid out each page of the manuscript, to make it not only beautiful but quite functional. He displays a level of interaction with the text indicating a clear understanding of Greek and the story of the Iliad in particular. Venetus B was written not just to be looked at but to be read, and the scribe carefully planned each page to maximize its reader-friendliness.

Before he began writing, the scribe first marked out how he would use the space on each folio. On the outside edge of each folio, a series of pricks runs down the side of the page (see image on the left [urn:cite:hmt:vbimg.VB024VN-0124@0.0783,0.1289,0.0783,0.7647]):

These pricks guided a ruler to mark lines on the page, which would in turn guide the writing of the text and scholia. Pricks made at the bottom of each folio mark where the margin lines should be drawn. Lines for placement of scholia numbers, scholia and text margins, and text outdents (more about that in a minute). Folio 24 has two lines of pricks, showing the spacing for while folios 25 and 26 only have pricks for the main text spacing. Whether the other folios always had only one line, or whether the second was trimmed in the binding process is unknown. The inside pricks are spaced for the gridlines of the main text (~8.5mm), while the outside ones guided the scholia lines (~6.5mm).

Whoever prepared the manuscript also made pricks at the bottom, this time to guide margin lines. On each recto (24r, 25r, 26r), two on the far left (~8.5mm apart) mark the margin of both scholia and text; the right prick of the pair marks the margin for the text of Iliad and scholia, while the left marks the proper placement of scholia numbers, as well as outdent spacing (see example below, from 24r).

Three pricks, with lines drawn from them, appear in the center at the bottom of the page. The left two (6.5mm apart) mark the hoped-for right margin of the main text for the scribe (see example below, 25r). The middle prick also serves as a guide for the scholia numbers down the side of the main text. The rightmost prick in the group (11.5mm away from the middle prick) marks the left margin of scholia written down the side of the main text.

Two on the far right mark the right margin of scholia all down the page, though the later hand sometimes adds its own scholia in the empty space to the right (example below, 25r).

The scribe planned the layout of the page such that the guide-lines on the verso of each folio are drawn from the same pricks as those for the recto. Thus the two pricks that mark the right margin of scholia on 24r become guides for the lines marking the left margin of scholia on 24v, and so on.

Once the guiding lines were drawn and he began to write, the scribe attempted to maximize the ease with which a person could read the text. For example, while writing the main text, the scribe sometimes outdents a line a little. Within the studied lines alone, the scribe has outdented 4 lines: 2.235, 2.243, 2.265, and 2.272. Line 2.235, in the beginning of Thersites’ speech, marks a shift from speaking to Agamemnon to addressing the rest of the Achaeans. 2.243 shifts out of Thersites’ speech. 2.265 marks the end of Odysseus’ rebuttal, and in 2.272 Agamemnon begins to speak. Though not all shifts in action or speaker are outdented (the beginning of Thersites’ speech, for example, is in line), their occurrence always marks one of these shifts in the text, were we might put a paragraph break today. Thus, the outdents appear to be quite intentional.

The scribe also intentionally planned the layout of the scholia. Rather than having a hard-and-fast rule about when to start a new scholion on the next line or continue on the same line as the previous scholion, the scribe seems to make a decision based on how crowded the rest of the page is, or will be when finished. He typically conserves space at the top, letting the scholia flow into one another, and adjusts his spacing as he works down the page and sees how much space he has left. On 24v, for example, Δ starts with ~65mm of writing space left on the line:

Further down the page, however, ΙΓ starts on a new line, even though with the same spacing as above the scribe had ~86mm of writing space before the end of the line.

The spacing between the scholia down the side of the page also varies based on how many/how long the other scholia above and below are. Compare 24r, with no spaces between scholia, to 24v, with spacing between the side scholia ranging from one gridline,

to five.
This suggests that the scribe knew fairly well how copious the scholia for each page would be before he began working on it. Whether this is because he was copying from one exemplar and could see how much writing was on each folio, or because he planned which sources to use carefully before he began the writing process is unclear, though the fact that the Venetus B scholia so closely match the scholia in the Y.1.1 manuscript makes the former more likely (unless one of these two manuscripts is a copy of the other – more about this in another blog post!). [For more on the relationship between these two manuscripts, read "Are Venetus B and E3 'twins'?" by HMT researcher Matthew Davis.]

(Note: On the placement of scholia in another manuscript being studied as part of the Homer Multitext, the so-called Venetus A, see the publication of Nikolas Churik and Neel Smith announced here: projects/d-neel-smith-and-nikolas-churik-design-and-layout-of-the-richest-manuscript-of-the-iliad/ as well the article by Myriam Hequet in Recapturing a Homeric Legacy, which is available for download here:

The Homer Multitext

Aural Confusion in the Venetus A Scholia?

A guest post by Michiel Cock (Leiden University), Dillon Gisch (University of Washington 2012), and Christopher Rivera (University of Houston 2013)

In this post, participants from the 2013 Homer Multitext Summer Seminar discuss a scholion in the Venetus A that provides evidence for an oral component to the writing of the scholia in this manuscript. In the ancient world and well into the middle ages, it was customary to read out loud and silent reading was almost nonexistent. (See, e.g., Svenbro's Phrasikleia: An Anthropology of Reading in Ancient Greece and Manguel's A History of Reading. Manguel adduces among others a passage in Augustine, Confessions VI.3, in which Augustine expresses amazement at Bishop Ambrose's ability to read silently.) Many scholars argue that early scriptoriums employed dictation, which allowed multiple copies to be made at once. Even after scribes began to work alone in monasteries, it seems to have been typical practice for scribes to actually read out loud to themselves as they were copying. (Manguel [p. 50] quotes an anonymous eight-century scribe, who concludes his copying this way: "No one can know what efforts are demanded. Three fingers write, two eyes see. One tongue speaks, the entire body labours.") At some point in the middle ages, silence was enforced in scriptoriums and scribes were not allowed to read aloud. Nevertheless, and oral component to the copying likely remained, in that the scribes may have read silently, but still pronounced the words in theirs heads as they copied in a kind of "interior dictation" (on which see van Groningen, Traité d’Histoire et de critique des textes Grecs [Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, afd. Letterkunde N.S. LXX-2, Amsterdam, 1963] p. 86).

What the seminar participants found in the course of editing the scholia of book 10 of the Iliad reveals that the creation of the Venetus A in the tenth century CE, whether or not it predates the transition to silence in the scriptorium, involved a kind of orality on the part of the scribe. For another kind of orality preserved in the Venetus A, see Mitchell's 2006 Stanford dissertation, The Aural Iliad: Alexandrian Performances of an Archaic Text, which, among other topics related to reading aloud in antiquity, explores the performative aspect of many ancient scholia and their lemmata. (- Casey Dué)

On folio 128v of the Venetus A manuscript of the Iliad we find the following scholion:
It comments on Iliad 10.141-142:
In this scholion there are three features that point to aural confusion, which presupposes the practice of dictation or reading aloud in the scriptorium.

First, the lemma of the scholion is not identical to the main text. Where the main text reads “ὅ τι δὴ χρειὼ τόσον ἵ̈̄κει”, the lemma of the scholion reads “έτι δὴ χρειῶ τόσον ἵκοι”. This interchange of -οι for -ει in the final word of the lemma can be accounted for by iotacism; both endings would have sounded the same. The text of the lemma can’t be a multiform because as an optative (expressing a wish), the context of this passage would not make sense. The end of the lemma “χρειῶ τόσον ἵκοι” is attested elsewhere in Homer, in Odyssey 5.189, and this may have contributed to the confusion. In the body text of the scholion, however, it reads “δὴ χρειῶ τόσον ἵ̈κει”.

The scholion addresses the use of ὅ τι as an interrogative instead of τί, and therefore we we expect to find  a “τί” in the explanation. Dindorf therefore rightly adds “τί” before “δή” in his edition of the scholia. The omission of τί can be attributed to haplography, as the vowels in τί and δή would also have sounded the same.

In the second half of the first sentence of the scholion we read “ὁπποίης δὲ Πηνειὸς”. In the word Πηνειὸς the first four letters “Πηνε” seem to have been written in a different ink, indicating that the scribe has made a correction. The phrase as corrected is problematic, however, because according to the scholion it is a quotation from Homer and no such phrase is attested. We do find “ὁπποίης τ’ ἐπὶ νηὸς” in Odyssey 1.171 and 14.188. As in the previous two cases, the confusion manifested here can also be accounted for with iotacism.

[Note: This post has been edited since it was first posted, in order to take in to account some very helpful commends made by Ineke Sluiter. Stay tuned for future posts by the students that will explore the implications of the preliminary observations made here in more detail. - CD]

Scholia On Odysseus in Iliad 8, Part One

A guest post by Stephanie Lindeborg, Holy Cross Class of 2013

In Iliad 8, Odysseus emerges as a problematic character for critics from antiquity. As the Greeks retreat under pressure of Trojan forces, Diomedes presses forward to rescue Nestor from a chariot wreck. Diomedes calls out to those who are retreating urging them to stay and fight. Diomedes specifically calls on Odysseus, who either does not hear Diomedes or hears him and chooses to continue fleeing. The language seems to make both options possible. It becomes especially problematic for our interpretation of Odysseus’s character if he ignores Diomedes’ plea. We do not expect heroes to abandon their comrades to save themselves. It is obvious through the numerous scholia about Odysseus in Book 8 of the Venetus A and Y.1.1 manuscripts that the ancient Homeric scholars found this issue of interpretation problematic and so they attempt to explain his actions. As I edited the scholia, I began to take a closer look at these scholia about Odysseus. I will discuss these scholia over a series of blog posts since they are numerous and worthy of extended deliberation.

To begin, I will start with a pair of comparable scholia that captured my attention first in the Venetus A for its unusual set up and then in the Y.1.1 for its distinctly different choices in organization and content. This pair of scholia each take the epithet, πολυμήχανος (“resourceful”), in line 8.93 as their starting point and then begin to detail Odysseus’s various skills and occupations. The Y.1.1 explains the issue in the typical, paragraph form of scholia. It uses mostly complete sentences, introducing the roles and explaining why Odysseus is referred to as such, alluding to sections of the Iliad or Odyssey and in one instance quoting the Odyssey. I have transcribed the text of this scholion as follows:

πρὸς ἐπιστροφὴν τὸ ἐπίθετον τέθειται· δεῖ γὰρ τὸν στρατιώτην τοιοῦτον εἶναι· γεωργὸς μὲν γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ καλῶς ἐν πόᾳ καὶ τὴν ἅρπην· καὶ τὰ ἄλλα τῆς γεωργίας ὅπλα κινεῖν γινώσκεται· κυβερνήτης. ἀπὸ τοῦ "πόδα νηὸς" [Odyssey 10.32]. ἰθύνειν καλῶς· τέκτων, ἀπὸ τῆς εὐθεσίας τῶν λίθων. καὶ τῆς εὐπριστίας τῶν ξύλων· ναυπηγὸς, ἀπὸ τῆς νηός· κυνηγὸς. ἀπὸ τῆς κυναγωγῆς καὶ τῆς ὀρεσινομίας· μάντις ἀπὸ τῶν ἐκβάσεων· μάγειρος ἀπὸ τοῦ ὡς δεῖ ὀπτᾶν καὶ δαιτρεύειν· ἰατρὸς. ἀπὸ τοῦ νόσους γινώσκειν καὶ τάμνειν ἰούς· μουσικὸς καὶ ἀοιδὸς. ἐξ ᾠδῶν κάλλους καὶ μύθων· πύκτης καὶ παλαιστὴς ἐξ εὐστροφίας καὶ χειρῶν συμπλοκῆς· τοξότης ἀπὸ διασκέψεως ἀρίστης· ἀκοντιστὴς. ἀπὸ τοῦ εὖ πάλλειν τὸ δόρυ ῥήτωρ ἀπὸ πιθανότητος· στρατηγὸς. ἀπὸ φρονήσεως καὶ ἀνδρίας· στρατιώτης. ἀπὸ πολυμηχανίας καὶ πολυπειρίας⁑

“The epithet is used because of the retreat. For it is necessary for him to be such a soldier. For he is a farmer [as is seen] from the passage in which he knows well how to move the sickle in the grass and all the implements for farming. He is a ship-steerer because he keeps the sail straight (Odyssey 10.32). A carpenter, from the good condition of the stones. And from the skillful sawing of wood. A shipbuilder from the ship. A hunter from leading the hunting packs and from the knowledge of the mountains. A seer from the landing places. A cook from, as is necessary, roasting and cutting up. A doctor, from the passages in which he diagnoses sickness and cuts out arrows. A musician and a singer from beauty of his songs and speeches. A boxer and a wrestler from versatility and his wrestling grip. An archer, from the best ability to survey. A javelin-thrower, from the passage where he throws the spear well. An orator, from his persuasiveness. A general from his foresight and manly courage. A soldier from craftiness and great experience” (urn:cts:greekLit:tlg5026.e3:8.58).
Scholion on Iliad 8.93 in the Escorial Y.1.1 [link to full folio image]
A total of sixteen different categories are mentioned here: farmer, ship-steerer, carpenter, ship-builder, hunter, seer, cook, doctor, musician, boxer, wrestler, archer, javelin-thrower, orator, general, and solider. In some cases, it is rather difficult to know what episodes in the epic tradition each epithet might refer to, but it becomes clearer when we look at the corresponding scholion in the Venetus A.

The Venetus A does something we had not seen in the manuscript in the previous books that have been edited over the last few years, and may indeed not be repeat in any of the subsequent books (We have not seen it so far in creating editions of the scholia of Books 1–7 of the Venetus A). This scholion takes each role or occupation and organizes them into a numbered list.

Scholion on Iliad 8.93 in the Venetus A Manuscript [link to full folio image]
 This format presented a new issue for us in how we marked up this content in our digital edition of the text. Neither the Dindorf nor the Erbse edition of the text represent this scholion as a list. Neither editor formatted his edition in such a way and neither editor included the Greek numerals that are present in the manuscript’s format of this scholion. We felt that not only was the format rare, but it was also integral to the interpretation of the text. Therefore we introduced a new type of markup to our list of acceptable TEI elements: “list.” The list is then broken down into several instances of the element “item,” corresponding to each entry in the list. This combination of markup allowed us to set up the edition in a way that best reflected the fact that we do, in fact, see a list in the manuscript.

Set off at some distance, but clearly corresponding to each epithet, the scribe includes either quotes from or references to episodes from the Iliad or the Odyssey to support each occupation. Quoting is much more frequent in the Venetus A version of the scholion, appearing with eleven of fifteen roles, whereas in the Y.1.1 there is only one quoted section. We have transcribed the text of the Venetus A scholion as follows:
πρὸς επιστροφὴν τὸ ἐπίθετον⁑
Α εστι δὲ γεωργος          "ἐν ποίη δρεπανον μέν"         (Odyssey 18.368)·
Β κυβερνήτης             "ἀεὶ γὰρ πόδα νηός"         (Odyssey 10.32)

Γ τέκτων             ἀπο τῆς κλίνης
Δ ναυπηγός             ἀπὸ τῆς σχεδίας
Ε κυνηγός             ἀπὸ τοῦ Παρνασσοῦ 

Ϛ μάντις             "φημι τίς μοι φάσθω"        (Odyssey 20.100)
Ζ μαγειρος            "δαιτρεῦσαι τὲ καὶ ὀπτησαι"    (Odyssey 15.323)
Η ἰατρος             "ὄφρα οί εἴ ϊοὺς χρίεσθαι"     (Odyssey 1.262-263)
Θ μουσικος            "μῦθον ὥς τ' αοιδός"         (Odyssey 11.368)

Ϊ πύκτης            "πῦν μὲν ενίκησα Κλυτομήδεα"     (Iliad 23.634)
ΙΑ παλαιστής             "Ἀγκαῖον δὲ πάλη Πλευρώνιον"    (Iliad  23.635)
ΙΒ δισκευτής            παρα Φαίαξιν
ΙΓ τοξότης             "εῦ μὲν τόξον οῖδα"         (Odyssey 8.215)
ΙΔ ἀκοντιστής             "δουρὶ δὲ ἀκοντίζων"         (Odyssey 8.229)
ΙΕ ῥήτωρ καὶ αστρολογος     "Πληϊάδας θ' ορόωντι"         (Odyssey 5.272)·

“The epithet is for the retreat.
1. He is a farmer         "in the grass, a curved scythe"     (Odyssey 18.368)
2. A steersman             "for [I] always [steered] the sails of the ship" (Odyssey 10.32)
3. A carpenter             from the bed     (cf. Odyssey 23.189)
4. A ship builder,         from the raft (cf. Odyssey 5.243-5.261)
5. A hunter,             from [the hunt] at Parnassos (cf. Odyssey 19.428-19.454)
6. A seer,             "I say let someone speak to me"     (Odyssey 20.100)
[Allen’s OCT edition of the Odyssey reads φήμην τίς μοι φάσθω on this line instead of φημι τίς μοι φάσθω, which would make it “let someone utter an omen to me”]
7. A cook         "cutting up and roasting"        (Odyssey 15.323)
8. A doctor             "so that he might have to rub on his arrows" (Odyssey 1.262-263)
9. A musician            "a speech like a singer"         (Odyssey 11.368)
10. A boxer             "in boxing I overcame Klytomedes"    (Iliad 23.634)
11. A wrestler             "in wrestling [I beat] Ancaeus of Pleuron" (Iliad 23.635)
12. A discus thrower         against the Phaiacians (cf. Odyssey 8.186-8.198)
13. An archer             "I know the bow well"         (Odyssey 8.215)
14. A javelin-thrower         "throwing a spear"         (Odyssey 8.229)
15. An orator and an astronomer "looking upon the Pleiades" (Odyssey 5.272)” (urn:cts:greekLit:tlg5026.msA:8.78).

One of the first notable differences between these two scholia besides format, is the choice of how to explain each epithet. The Venetus A scholion relies almost entirely on quotations whereas the Y.1.1 scholion summarizes for all but one epithet. Since both scholia start the same way, πρὸς επιστροφὴν τὸ ἐπίθετον, we are almost certainly dealing with divergent traditions in how this concept was explained to the audience. Both scholia start off explaining a particular epithet of Odysseus, and then proceed to reference many other skills and roles Odysseus is known for. However, these lists are not identical and their manner of proof is significantly different. The Venetus A predominantly quotes passages, while the Y.1.1 alludes to episodes with short words or phrases. Since both manuscripts have similar material the respective scribes were likely working with sources that ultimately go back to a similar body of material. With these two scholia as our points of comparison, it is obvious that choices have been made about how to present the list and how to cite examples of each role. What is not obvious is whether the scribe of each manuscript is himself making choices in format and content, or whether each scribe received the material from his source already in the form he used. Whether it is quotation or summarization, the way the scholia explain each epithet speaks volumes about the audience of these scholia. The intended audience of these scholia presumably knew the Iliad and the Odyssey so well that they understood where the quotations came from and what episodes the scholiast alluded to in his summaries without citations.

Another difference is observed in the roles referred to in each scholion. The Y.1.1 scholion has sixteen different roles. The Venetus A also includes sixteen, but places both orator and astronomer with number 15, notably citing a quotation for astronomy but not oratory. However, matching up the roles across the manuscripts becomes even more puzzling. Although both scholia have sixteen roles, they do not correspond perfectly. Discus-thrower and astronomer appear in the Venetus A but not in the Y.1.1. The Y.1.1 contains general and solider, but the Venetus A does not. Here we likely see not just different choices in how to represent material, but also either differences in source material or different choices in what to include. Differences in sources presume that the Venetus A and Y.1.1 scribes each had material the other did not. Differences in choices presume that they had the same or similar sources and chose to include and exclude information.

Upon closer inspection of occupations 10 and 11, boxer and wrestler, in the Venetus A, I discovered that the quoted sections have nothing to do with Odysseus. Rather they refer to episodes in Nestor’s life, taken from a speech of his in Iliad 23. Klytomedes and Pleuron, named in these two quoted sections, are firmly established as opponents of Nestor, referred to explicitly in the Iliad as such. The Y.1.1 scholion avoids this discrepancy by offering as proof only Odysseus’s versatility and superior grip as a wrestler with no quoted citations. The fundamental question is: why are proofs being offered that actually refer to Nestor instead of Odysseus, who is the clear subject of this scholion? One tempting explanation is that material on Nestor may have accidentally been placed here, due to his relevance in the surrounding lines. This scholion appears very early in the scene in which Diomedes rescues the stranded Nestor from the swiftly approaching Trojan forces. When such a mistake could have occurred in the process of composing the scholia (i.e. the scribe of the Venetus A or one of his sources) is unclear. According to the Erbse and Maas editions of this scholion, the Townley manuscript contains the same two lines cited for these roles as the Venetus A, which, if this is true, would indicate that the two manuscripts likely shared a source that contained this mysterious attribution of Nestor’s boxing and wrestling to Odysseus. The roles themselves, boxer and wrestler, would seem to be otherwise valid as they appear also in the Y.1.1 version of the scholion, though it is hard to be sure when the scholia are not exactly parallel. It would be worthwhile to take a closer look at the Townley manuscript since the A and T scholia are more closely parallel according to Dindorf and Maass. There is no indication in their print edition whether or not the Townley also presents this material in list form. Their edition furthermore reads φήμην instead of φημι for the quoted evidence for “seer.” It is unknown whether the editors have made a correction or if the Townley offers a different reading from the Venetus A.

Turning to the larger issue at hand, why the interpretation of Odysseus’s actions in Book 8 is so problematic, we must consider why the manuscripts, seemingly unprovoked, include lengthy descriptions of Odysseus’s skills at the very moment he is retreating. Are the scribes and ancient Homeric scholars attempting to make Odysseus seem more favorable by reminding the readers of his more admirable qualities? This issue will be discussed more at length in the next blog post, when I treat the scholia that deal directly with the question of whether or not Odysseus heard Diomedes’ call for help.

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem xi kalendas septembres

ante diem xi kalendas septembres

The Homer Multitext

Scholia on Odysseus in Iliad 8, Part Two

A guest post by Stephanie Lindeborg, Holy Cross Class of 2013
See Part 1 here
See Part 3 here

After his trace horse is slain by Paris, Nestor is stranded and under threat of the quickly approaching forces of Hector. Diomedes, on his way to rescue him, calls out to Odysseus to assist him. The Venetus A and the Y.1.1 manuscripts share the reading of our modern print editions in describing Odysseus’s reaction: οὐδ’ ἐς ἄκουσεν (Iliad 8.97). The phrase can be understood as “he did not listen” or “he did not hear.” (Kelly 2007:48–49, footnote 55 provides a brief summary of the scholarship on this issue up to that point. Frame 2010:§2.73 provides a new understanding of what is happening in this scene.) The former translation implies that Odysseus made an active choice not to heed Diomedes’ urgings after he had heard them. The latter implies that Odysseus never heard Diomedes in the first place and therefore could not have known he was refusing to aid Nestor. Both manuscripts contain scholia defending Odysseus. The Venetus A has three scholia, two of which are remarkably similar, differing only in the spelling of a few words and the structure of the beginning of the scholia. The first one reads:

ὡς ἔφατ’ οὐδ’ ἐσάκουσαι:
προς τὸ ἀμφιβολον πότερον οὐκ αντελάβετο καθόλου τῆς φωνῆς δια τὸν θόρυβον, ἠ ἀκούσας γὰρ ἐπαρεπέμψατο, ὅπερ δέχεται ὁ Ἀρίσταρχος

“So he spoke, but he did not hear/listen:
Regarding the ambiguity, whether he [Odysseus] did not generally perceive his [Diomedes’] voice on account of clamor, or having heard him he passed along, which is how Aristarchus takes it” (See the scholion on the manuscript photograph here: urn:cts:greekLit:tlg5026.msA.hmt:8.81).

The second one reads:
οὐδ’ εσάκουσεν,
"οὐδὲ ἤκουσεν" ἐξηγεῖται δὲ πότερον οὐκ αντελάβετο καθόλου τῆς φωνῆς δια τὸν θόρυβον, ἢ ἀκούσας παρεπέμψατο, ὅπερ δέχεται ὁ Ἀρισταρχος

“He did not hear/listen,
"οὐδὲ ἤκουσεν" It is interpreted whether he [Odysseus] generally did perceive his [Diomedes’] voice on account of clamor, or having heard him he passed along, which is how Aristarchus takes it” (See it here: urn:cts:greekLit:tlg5026.msA.hmt:8.82).

A third Venetus A scholia, begins in a similar way to the second one, but goes off in another direction to further explain the issue. It reads as follows:

οὐδ’ ες ἄκουσεν:
"οὐδὲ ἤκουσεν" ἐξηγεῖται δὲ πότερον ἄρα οὐδ’ όλως ἤκουσεν ὁ Ὀδυσσεὺς, ἢ οὐκ ἐπείσθη δειλίαν τοῦ ἥρωος κατηγοροῦσιν ἀγνοοῦντες τὸ "οὐδ’ ἐσάκουσεν", οὐ γὰρ τὸ παρακοῦσαι. ἀλλα τὸ μὴ αἴσθεσθαι τελείως δηλοῖ καὶ γὰρ οὐκ ῆν δειλὸς τῶν ἄλλων εσχατος φεύγων καὶ τῆ βραδυτῆτι τὸ φιλοκίνδυνον ἐπιδεικνύμενος ⁑

“He did not hear/listen
"οὐδὲ ἤκουσεν" It is interpreted whether Odysseus did not wholly hear, or whether he was not persuaded. They charge the hero with cowardice, ignoring the "οὐδ’ ἐσάκουσεν." For it is not “not listening.” But rather it is a lack of perfect perception, and because he is not a coward since he flees last of all the other men and because of his slowness he is a specimen of a man who loves danger” (See it here: urn:cts:greekLit:tlg5026.msA.hmt:8.83).

These three scholia overlap in their content, leading to a couple different possibilities. The scribe could have been copying from multiple sources with similar material and these overlapping scholia may be a reflection of the vast material available to the scribe and to previous generations of scribes and scholars. However, since the first and second scholia end the same way and the second and third scholia start the same way, it is also possible that the second scholion is a mistaken combination of the other two copied by accident at some point in the transmission of the text. The second scholion certainly does not seem to contribute anything new to the discussion, and the scribe could have saved space for other scholia by not including it. It is most likely a mistake of the Venetus A scribe, though we should note that it is not a mistake corrected by any of the editorial passes we know the scribe must have made. (Allen 1899:169–170 and 172–180 offers a comprehensive explanation of the types of correcting present in the Venetus A and a theory on how this was done.) These scholia together offer both alternatives of interpretation. The first two cite a tradition that Odysseus’s behavior can be explained because of the noise of battle. That possibility is complicated by consideration of Diomedes’ traditional epithet βοὴν ἀγαθός, “good at the war cry.” Surely someone good at the war cry would have no problem raising his voice over the thunder of battle so that Odysseus could hear him. Perhaps something along this line of reasoning made sense to scholars like Aristarchus, whom both the first and second scholia cite as favoring the latter opinion that Odysseus heard Diomedes and kept on retreating. That is not to say that Aristarchus goes as far as to accuse him of cowardice. We must bear in mind that these scholia do not use these terms. They merely state that Aristarchus takes the interpretation that Odysseus heard Diomedes but continued to retreat.

The third scholion notably disagrees with Aristarchus’s interpretation, surprisingly so, since he was one of the most prominent ancient Homeric scholars. This scholion presents both interpretations but ultimately concludes that Odysseus did not hear Diomedes. It further states that Odysseus seems like a coward because readers are misinterpreting the line and because Odysseus happens to be last, making him the only person singled out in the retreat—a concept that will be more explicitly stated in the Y.1.1 scholion I will examine below. In fact, according to this scholion’s argument, we should interpret Odysseus being the last person besides Diomedes to leave the battlefield and therefore the bravest of the Greeks who retreat. Within just these three scholia we can see a range in the development of opinions on the controversial issue. Because this scholion is both third in order and seems to respond to discussion in the first two, I would argue that the third scholion reflects a later development in the Homeric scholarship and possibly one that was working with and responding to the work of Aristarchus.

The Y.1.1 also comments on line 8.97, but focuses primarily on justifying Odysseus’s actions rather than discussing the various interpretations. The Y.1.1, concisely but perhaps more explicitly, lays out the two interpretations of the text. The views are clearly stated either that Odysseus did not hear Diomedes because of the noise of battle or that Odysseus was not persuaded to action after he heard Diomedes. The Y.1.1 wastes little more time on these interpretations but moves primarily to defend the actions of Odysseus as if it does not really even matter that there are possibilities for different interpretations. Instead, the scholion in this manuscript highlights how unreasonable it would be to accuse him of cowardice, utilizing arguments similar to those we also see at the very end of the third Venetus A scholion. The opposing viewpoint is not fully represented in this manuscript and Aristarchus goes unmentioned on the topic. The text of the scholion on line 8.97 in the Y.1.1 reads:

οὐκ ἤσθετο ὑπὸ τοῦ θορύβου· ἢ οὐκ ἐπείσθη διὰ τὸν καιρόν· φεύγει γὰρ σὺν Αἴαντι καὶ θεομαχεῖν οὐ θέλει· πῶς γὰρ δειλὸς. ὁ μετὰ πάντας φεύγων· οὐ γὰρ ἂν Διομήδης τοῦτον μόνον ἐκάλει·⁑

“He did not hear because of the noise or he was not persuaded because of the crisis. For he flees with the Ajaxes and he does not want to wage war against the gods. For how is that cowardly? He is fleeing with everyone else. Because Diomedes would not have called out to him alone” (See it on the manuscript photograph here: urn:cts:greekLit:tlg5026.e3:8.62).

This scholion is perhaps the most vehement defense of Odysseus. Here we can see signs of scribal choice in content. The scribe of the Y.1.1 or one of his sources determined that the appropriate interpretation of line 8.97 was that regardless of whether Odysseus heard Diomedes, Odysseus is part of the larger retreat and just happens to be the one man named in the retreat. It is noteworthy that the Aristarchus’s viewpoint is left out entirely as he goes unmentioned. We can determine that at least some Aristarchean material was available to the scribe of the Y.1.1 because he is cited elsewhere in the Y.1.1. Not only is the name left out here, but his preference is also abandoned. Although we cannot be entirely sure that the scribe of the Y.1.1 did not have access to the Aristarchean material we saw in the Venetus A scholia on this line, the absence of the Aristarchean interpretation here offers evidence for how particular scribes valued or had access to the materials of Aristarchus, who is generally considered to have one of the most authoritative editions of the Iliad and commentary.

We can also begin to consider how much influence scribes and their sources had on interpreting controversial issues in the text. The Venetus A scribe shows a broader range in analyzing this particular passage of the Iliad. The scribe cites Aristarchus where his opinion is known and also shows an alternative viewpoint. The scribe of the Y.1.1 offers both interpretations of the issue, but does not cite a particular source for either opinion and dismisses the alternative interpretation in defending Odysseus’s actions. In the Y.1.1, the scribe has already decided that the most important argument for these lines is to prove that Odysseus’s actions do not make him a coward. The issue is complex and my third (and last) post on this subject will take a look almost two-hundred lines forward in the text to examine how the two manuscripts continue to debate the circumstances here in Book 8.

Look forward to a forthcoming response to this series of posts from Douglas Frame, author of Hippota Nestor (, who will provide a interpretation of Odysseus’ actions that the scholia do not consider.
Allen, T.W. “On the Composition of Some Greek Manuscripts.” The Journal of Philology. Wright, Bywater, and Jackson, eds. Vol. XXVI. MacMillan and Co. Ltd., London: 1899.

Frame, Douglas. Hippota Nestor. Center for Hellenic Studies, Hellenic Studies Series: 2010.
Kelly, Adrian. A Referential Commentary and Lexicon to Iliad VIII. Oxford UP, Oxford: 2007.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Scientists fight the sea to save ancient relics

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, CALIF. – Archaeologist Torben Rick watched with frustration as pounding surf clawed at one of North America’s oldest homesteads, a massive heap of village foundations, cutting tools, beads and kitchen discards left behind over the last 13,000 years.

Here, seafaring tribal members cast fishing nets from canoes made of redwood planks, prepared dinners on stone griddles, and painstakingly chipped out tiny shell beads prized as currency.

But unless something is done, this rich trove of Native American history and several others on the island will almost certainly be destroyed by rising seas and strong storm surges along beaches that will soon no longer exist. Read more.

The Homer Multitext

Scholia on Odysseus in Iliad 8, Part Three

A guest post by Stephanie Lindeborg, Holy Cross Class of 2013

As I mentioned in my previous posts in this series, Odysseus emerges as a problematic character for the scholiasts of the Venetus A and the Y.1.1 manuscripts when he does not stop to help Diomedes and Nestor during the Achaean retreat in Iliad 8. Both manuscripts contain numerous scholia on line 8.97, in which Odysseus either did not hear or did not listen to Diomedes’ request to aid him in rescuing Nestor. The scholia on this subject and their arguments justifying or condemning Odysseus for his behavior have been discussed in my first two posts in this series. This post is dedicated to some further commentary on this scene that appears in both manuscripts about 170 lines later.

At that point in Book 8, after the Greeks have retreated and are making their stand at the ships, the poetry begins to describe the various Greek heroes who go forth into battle following Diomedes (Iliad 8.261–8.267). Ancient Homeric scholars, perhaps sensitive to the behavior of Odysseus after line 8.97, take issue with the fact that Odysseus is not included in this list of men. It is noteworthy that to an ancient Homeric scholar, the absence of a character provides a worthy point for commentary as much as the presence of a character. The Venetus A includes for line 8.266 the following comment:
Τεῦκρος δ είνατος
ὅτι πάντων ὑποστρεψάντων, μόνος ὁ Ὀδυσσεὺς παρέμεινε πρὸς ταῖς ναυσὶν ὥστε τὸ ἐπάνω εὐκρινὲς "ὡς ἔφαθ’ οὐδ ἐσάκουσεν" ὅτι ἐκουσίως παρεπέμψατο⁑

“Teucer was ninth
The sign is there because while everyone turned around, Odysseus alone remained next to the ships with the result that the above line is in good order "as he spoke he did not listen" (Iliad 8.97) because he voluntarily sent himself past” (See it on the manuscript here: urn:cts:greekLit:tlg5026.msA.hmt:8.182).

This scholion quotes the problematic passage in line 8.97. Furthermore the source for this comment makes a judgment on how to interpret the verb ἐσάκουσεν there. The scholiast, by saying that Odysseus voluntarily continued to retreat, implies that Odysseus heard Diomedes and continued to retreat anyway. This source takes the point of view that Odysseus’s refusal to help is the reason he does not play a further role in the immediate circumstances—that is, he is still in retreat.

The Y.1.1 scholion takes a different approach from that of the Venetus A scholion. The Y.1.1 focuses on why some men are given more prominence in these lines (the Greek numeral that connects the line of poetry to the scholion is written over the name Teucer), and why this emphasis is no reason for readers to believe Odysseus is not a part of the action. The text of that scholion reads:
διῄρηκεν ὡς μέλλων περὶ αὐτοῦ λέγειν· ἔνδον δέ ἐστι Ὀδυσσεὺς τὸν λαὸν διεγείρων. ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ Θόαντος μέμνηται· καὶ οὐ πάντως ἐστὶ δειλός ⁑

“The poet makes a distinction because he is about to speak about him [Teucer]. But Odysseus is within rousing the soldiers. Thoas is also not mentioned and he [Thoas] is not entirely cowardly [either]” (See it here, number 22: urn:cts:greekLit:tlg5026.e3.hmt:8.181)
[Erbse helpfully notes in his edition of this scholion to see Iliad 7.168, where the poetry lists the Greeks who might be capable of fighting Hector. That is a similar list to the one here in Iliad 8.261–8.267, with the notable exceptions of Odysseus and Thoas who appear there and not here. This list seems to explain the otherwise odd reference to Thoas in this scholion.]

According to this source, the reason men like Teucer and the Ajaxes are mentioned here is because they are about to be major players in the immediate action.

The scholiast also asserts that Odysseus is certainly among the men roused to action and is not a coward. Taken all together, the scholia from the Venetus A and the Escorial Y.1.1 do not give a single interpretation to whether or not Odysseus was a coward and heard but ignored Diomedes. What these scholia do highlight is that the role of the scribe was an active one in analyzing and interpreting the text to select scholia deemed useful to the reader of these texts. The scribe is not a mindless copy machine but a scholar in his own right, using the text and the ancient scholarship to render his own judgments on the text. Therefore we have manuscripts that give more weight to one opinion over another or outright disagree with each other.

These scholia speak to the individual scribal choices. Here we can see that on line 8.266, the Venetus A scribe includes a scholion that selects one interpretation for earlier lines and discusses that interpretation’s implications on the present lines. The Y.1.1 scribe includes the exact opposite opinion. Each scribe seems to have chosen sides, or at least shown a preference for one side, and not included the opposing opinion for line 8.266. That the scribes have their own preferences for certain material speaks to the development of this debate in ancient Homeric scholarship. For the Venetus A scholion we can consider the possibility that the scholion may have been composed by the scribe himself. According to the Erbse edition of the scholia, there are no parallels in other manuscripts for this material. There are, however, parallels for the Y.1.1 scholion in the Venetus B and the Townley manuscripts. It is evident that we are dealing with either scribes or sources that were active in their reading of scholarly materials with the text. The Venetus A scholion refers back to line 8.97 stating that the “he did not listen” interpretation is the correct one based on the evidence in line 8.266. We do not get a citation of Aristarchus here, so we cannot assume that the scholion is merely reinforcing the Aristarchean interpretation as discussed in my second post in this series. The Y.1.1 scholion is similarly reactionary, but as it does have parallels in at least two other manuscripts, contemporary with the Y.1.1 but clearly written in different hands, it is likely not an invention of this particular scribe. That is not to say it was not an interpretation first offered by a common source for these manuscripts, but it is a much more difficult path to trace. It does prove that the scholia are not comments in isolation. They are often considerate of material composed and compiled early within a book, and quite probably across books.

Look forward to a forthcoming response to this series of posts from Douglas Frame, author of Hippota Nestor (, who will provide a interpretation of Odysseus’ actions that the scholia do not consider.

Multiforms of Iliad 10.306

A guest post by Laurel Boman (Gustavus Adolphus) and Leonie Henkes (Leiden).

During the summer seminar of the Homer Multitext Project, we did research on folio 132r of the Venetus A. We found many interesting things on this folio, including some doodles, many abbreviations, and a scholion to 10.306 that illuminates the multiformity of the text.

Hector, having asked for a volunteer to spy on the Greeks, promises that this volunteer will receive the horses of Achilles in return. At 10.306, these horses are described. The main text of the Venetus A reads:

View this in context.

305 δ
ώσω γὰρ δίφρόν τε δύω τ᾽ ἐριαύχενας ἵππους
οἵ κεν ἄριστεύωσι θοῇς ἐπὶ νηυσὶν Ἀχαιῶν
307 ὅς τίς κε τλαίη, οἷ τ᾽ αὐτῷ κῦδος ἄροιτο,

305 For I will give a chariot and two horses with strong necks,
306 whichever are best at the swift ships of the Achaeans.
307 to him, whoever should dare —and he would win radiant glory [kudos] for himself—  
(Translation of Dué and Ebbott)
At the top of the folio is a scholion on line 306:

View this in context.

Scholion ad 306: οὕτως αρίσταρχος οἵ κε ἄριστοι ἔωσι. δε ζηνόδοτος αὐτὸυς ὃι φορέουσιν  ἀμύμονα  πηλειωνα ἀριστοφάνης. καλοὺς οἳ φορέουσι

“Here Aristarchus has ‘οἵ κε ἄριστοι ἔωσι.’ Zenodotus gives ‘αὐτὸυς ὃι φορέουσιν  ἀμύμονα  πηλειωνα,’ and Aristophanes ‘καλοὺς οἳ φορέουσι.’”

At this point, we have four different readings of this line. First, we have the main text’s reading ἄριστεύωσι. Second, the reading of Aristarchos: οἵ κε ἄριστοι ἔωσι. Third, the reading of Zenodotos: αὐτὸυς ὃι φορέουσιν ἀμύμονα πηλειωνα. The fourth reading is the one of Aristophanes: καλοὺς οἳ φορέουσι.

Besides the main scholion on top of the folio, there is an internal scholion next to line 306.
View this in context.

ἐν αλλω οἱ κὲν ἀριστοι ἔωσιν

"In others, ‘οἱ κὲν ἀριστοι ἔωσιν’

In this scholion, the reading is κὲν instead of κε, which brings the number of forms of this line to five.

A scholion to line 323 offers more readings of this text. Line 323 is a near replica of Aristophanes’ and Zenodotus’ readings of line 306. At this point in the narrative, Dolon has volunteered to spy on the Greeks and now demands Hector to swear that he will give him Achilles’ horses.

View this in context.

323 δωσέμεν, οἳ φορέουσιν ἀμύμονα Πηλεΐωνα

323 [swear to me the horses that] you will give me, those which carry the faultless son of Peleus 
(trans. Dué and Ebbott)

This is the scholion to line 323:

View this in context.
γράφεται καὶ ποδώκεα καὶ ἀμύμονα

“It is written both ‘ποδώκεα’ and ‘ἀμύμονα.’”

Here, we have yet another reading of ὃι φορέουσιν ἀμύμονα πηλειωνα:
ὃι φορέουσιν ποδώκεα πηλειωνα.

Overall, when we consider the readings of the scholia to lines 306 and 323, there are 7 multiforms for line 10.306. In a traditional edition of this text, one version would be selected for the main text and the others, if included at all, resigned to the apparatus criticus. All 7 forms, however, are metrically sound and represent a line that a bard may well have used in performance. The Homer Multitext allows students to see all forms and thereby better understand the tradition from which this text arose.

Publishing the HMT archive

The editorial work of the Homer Multitext project is ongoing, and, as good photography of more manuscripts and papyri becomes available, is open-ended. While we have provided openly licensed access to our source images and editorial work in progress since our first digital photography in 2007, we have not previously offered packaged publications of our archive.

That is changing in 2014. The project’s editors have decided on a publishing cycle of roughly three issues a year (since our work tends to be concentrated around an academic calendar of fall term, spring term, and summer work). Published issues of the project archive must satisfy four requirements.
  1. The issue must be clearly identified. Our releases are labelled with a year and issue number: our first issue is 2014.1.
  2. All content published in a given issue must pass a clearly identified review process. Teams of contributing editors work in individual workspaces. (We use github repositories to track the work history of these teams.) When a block of work passes a series of manual review and automated tests, it migrates from “draft” to “provisionally accepted” status and is added to the project’s central archival repository. This is the repository that we are publishing for the first time this week.
  3. All published material must be in appropriate open digital formats. Apart from our binary image data, all the data we create are structured in simple tabular text files or XML files with published schemas.
  4. All published material must be appropriately licensed for scholarly use. All of our work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. (Licenses for some of our image collections additionally include a “non-commercial” clause: in those cases, a license for commercial reuse must be separately negotiated with the copyright holder.)

Access to the Published Digital Archive

The published packages are available for download from as zip files. An accompanying README explains the contents of each zip file.
We are also distributing our published issues as nexus artifacts (previously mentioned briefly here), a system that allows software to identify and retrieve published versions automatically. Whether manually or automatically downloaded, it now becomes possible for scholars (and their software) to work with citable data sets from the constantly changing archive of the HMT project.

Tracking Work in Progress

We will continue to make our work in progress available. For easy access to the current state of “provisionally accepted” material in our archive, we also generate a nightly set of packages. These are available for manual download here, but are not distributed through our nexus server.
They should be considered unpublished: other publications should cite only published issues of the archive.

Like our individual editorial teams, we manage our publication repository through github: Our data archive includes a publicly available issue tracker where you can submit questions or bug reports, and follow our progress.

More technical information

If you’re interested in technical information about how we develop the published archive and use it to build applications, Christopher Blackwell and I have recently published a discussion here.


The scribal process of handling “forgotten” lines in two manuscripts of the Iliad: Escorial Upsilon 1.1 and Venetus A

A guest post by Holy Cross undergraduate research teams: Debbie Sokolowski ’14 and Drew Virtue ’17; Becky Musgrave ’14 and Chris Ryan ’16

Often when the Homer Multitext team edits manuscripts throughout the year we encounter irregularities in the way the folios are laid out. One case of this is the way scribes deal with lines of the Iliad that they either forgot or decided not to include within the main text. Debbie Sokolowski and Drew Virtue discovered one example of this in their editing of book 22 in Venetus A this year, on folio 286 verso. The lines are Iliad 22.210–22.213:

ἐν δ’ ἐτίθει δύο κῆρε τανηλεγέος θανάτοιο.
τὴν μὲν Ἀχιλλῆος. τὴν δ᾽ Ἕκτορος ἱπποδάμοιο·
ἕλκε δὲ μέσσα λαβών. ῥέπε δ᾽ Ἕκτορος αἴσιμον ἦμαρ·
ᾤχετο δ᾽ εἰς Ἀΐδαο· λίπεν δέ ἑ Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων·  

On 286 verso, we encountered an instance in which the scribe seems to have accidentally omitted a line of the text and later inserted it. At the top of the folio, above two scholia, is the omitted line (212): ἕλκε δὲ μέσσα λαβών. ῥέπε δ᾽ Ἕκτορος αἴσιμον ἦμαρ·
This omitted line is identified with a β in the margin. In the main text lines 211 and 213 are marked with an α and γ, respectively, signaling to the reader that the lines should read in the order of α, β, γ. This omission can reveal many important insights about the scribe’s process in composing the Venetus A. We know that the scribe normally writes 25 lines of the poem on each folio. Including the omitted line, folio 286 verso still follows this rule. Therefore, we can conclude that the scribe did not mean to include this line as an alternate or optional line, but that it was intended to be read as a part of the main text. This also raises several questions about the scribe’s transcription and editing process. When did the scribe catch his mistake? Is he copying from a manuscript which is consistent with his 25-line per folio rule? Or is he transcribing from a long, continuous manuscript and counting his lines?

Chris Ryan and Becky Musgrave encountered a similar problem in the Escorial Upsilon 1.1 in editing book 10 throughout this year, yet the scribe handled it in a different manner. Whereas the scribe of Venetus A decided to deal with this problem by marking lines α, β, γ, the scribe of Upsilon 1.1 put an asterisk at the end of the line that the missing line comes after, and then writes the line elsewhere on the folio with the word “stichoi” (“lines”) in front of it to let the reader know that it is part of the main text of the Iliad and not a scholion. 
The first time we encountered this in Book 10 was on folio 126r, line 85: φθέγγεο· μὴδ᾽ ἀκεων ἐπ᾽ ἐ[page cuts off] ρχεο· τίπτε δέ σε χρεώ. 

The line reads in the Venetus B: φθέγγεο· μὴδ᾽ ἀκεων ἐπ᾽ ἐμ᾽ ἔρχεο· τίπτε δέ σε χρεώ.  We can tell that this line is not part of the scholia because the scribe actually puts a scholion marker within the line, and its corresponding scholion beneath it. The ink that the line is written in is also the same shade as the lines of the Iliad and darker than that of the main text of the scholia, so the scribe must have either purposely put the line out in the margin, or realized his mistake while he was writing the main text. The scribe typically puts 24 lines of Iliadic text on each folio, and each folio that contains a “stichoi” line only contains 23 lines in the main text (that is, 24 with the extra line counted). 
The Venetus B has often been considered a “twin” manuscript of the Upsilon 1.1, since they almost always contain the same lines on each page and have very similar scholia, so whenever we encounter something unexepected in our editing of the Upsilon 1.1, we turn to the Venetus B for comparison. One reason that we are led to believe that these are cases of the scribe correcting his mistake and not an intentional editorial omission is by comparing the folio, to the corresponding folio 131r of the Venetus B. In the Venetus B, the line is written within the main text with no special treatment, which leads us to believe that the scribe of the Upsilon 1.1 placed this line in the margin simply because he made an error in the scribal process.
Editorial note: the undergraduate researchers at the Homer Multitext seminar happening right now at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC will also be further investigating the question of “forgotten” lines, with a focus on Iliad 12 in the Venetus A. So stay tuned for more!

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Christians and our Critics

Arni Zachariassen on atheist critiques

The quote is something that Arni Zachariassen said on Facebook, and which I have quoted here with his permission.

Very often I come across atheist critiques of Christianity that are shallow, uninformed and pretty much not thought through at all. Especially, it seems, in reference to the Bible. I often feel the exacerbated need to correct these critiques. My natural assumption is that they should know better.

But why should they? I think we Christians get the critics we deserve. Why should our critics do a better job in their critique than we do in our explanation and defense of our positions? Because the level of reasoning you often find among Christians is depressingly low. There’s no reason to expect critics to reason above that level.

My responsibility, if I have one, is first and foremost towards Christians to attempt to raise the level of reasoning. Then, maybe, we can move on to correcting the critics.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Layers of destruction: Archaeology, Serdica and Sofia’s Largo

The story of the rich archaeological heritage of Bulgaria is not only one of what has been found but also of what has been lost.

A case in point is the area around central Sofia’s Largo and Serdica underground railway station area, recently in the headlines after an urgent appeal by Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova to the national Culture Ministry to take action to preserve Roman-era archaeological finds left exposed to the elements.

Across Bulgaria, the dangers to the country’s archaeological legacy – Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman – have proved to range from outright theft by treasure-hunters to construction projects that have reduced finds to rubble. Read more.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Israel and Turkey Destinations of Stolen Yemeni Cultural Property

I'm not sure how to treat this: "The Heritage and Researches Center in Taiz governorate has revealed that around 2500 ancient manuscripts have been smuggled from Yemen to Israel in the past five decades".
The state-run 26 September website quoted director of the center Suaad Al-Absi as saying that rings specialized in smuggling and trading in ancient anticrafts and heritage in cooperation with brokers from foreign countries have been involved in the largest trafficking operations through Turkey to Israel. "Most of the smuggled manuscripts dated back different antiquities including the pre-Islam age and the Rasulite era," Al-Absi was quoted as adding. Al-Absi condemend the silence of the authorities toward the systematic smuggling of ancient cultural heritage while calling for strict measures to put an end to this phenomenon.
Other observers indicate that "officials including those from the army are involved in trading in and smuggling artefacts from Jawf [governate] to other countries mainly those in Europe". Turkey does seem to be indicated as a major centre for antiquity trafficking these days. Are these items travelling with bulk commercial cargoes through the Suez Canal to eastern Mediterranean ports?

'Yemen: 2500 precious manuscripts smuggled into Israel in past five decades', Yemen Post 21st August, 2014.

Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews)

Remains of two bodies found in Bronze Age Scottish grave

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of at least two bodies in a Bronze Age burial cist under a pile of rocks known as Ricky's Cairn, located in a remote area...

Complex Neolithic site unearthed in Kent

A Neolithic ditch which became a huge funerary monument when it was enlarged with an outer ring during the Bronze Age has been found on housing development grounds in Kent...

Neolithic battlefield discovered in Cardiff

Archaeologists hoping to discover Roman and Iron Age finds at a Welsh hillfort were shocked to unearth pottery and arrowheads predating their predicted finds by 4,000 years at the home...

ArcheoNet BE

Opgravingen in Gentse Belfortstraat gaan verder

Onder leiding van Stadsarcheologie Gent startte vorige week het archeologische onderzoek in de oostelijke helft van de Belfortstraat in het centrum van Gent, meer bepaald ter hoogte van het politiekantoor. Na het mechanische weggraven van het bovenste pakket werden al snel verschillende muurstructuren zichtbaar. De meest in het oog springende zijn een aantal muren in Doornikse kalksteen. Die waren vermoedelijk onderdeel van een kelder die later gebruikt werd als beerput.

Samen met de andere structuren in Doornikse kalksteen en de verschillende baksteenmuren behoren deze gebouwresten bij hoofdgebouwen, gelegen langs de Hoogpoort en de Onderstraat. Deze veelal middeleeuwse gebouwen verdwenen alle bij de aanleg van de Borluutstraat/Belfortstraat in 1900.

Centraal in het vlak opgravingsvlak kon voorts in een niet-bebouwde zone onderzoek gedaan worden naar de oorspronkelijke topografie en cultuurlagen van voor de bebouwing. Het recente onderzoek stelt de archeologen tevens in staat de gegevens uit de opgravingen aan de overkant van de straat verder aan te vullen.

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Earliest Cypriot human burial discovered at Kretou Marottou

Human remains have been elusive at all early Neolithic sites, thus a formal burial is very significant.

The post Earliest Cypriot human burial discovered at Kretou Marottou appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

What lies beneath the sphinxes at Amphipolis?

Archaeologists reveal marble door lintel and doorjambs' top featuring Ionic order decoration in blue, black and red.

The post What lies beneath the sphinxes at Amphipolis? appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)

Les Annales Archéologiques Arabes Syriennes 53-54 (2010-2011) [2014]

A tartalomból:

P. Bordreuil : Hamat la Grande

F. Caramelo : Le canal Sémiramis, étude historique et archéologique

J.-C. Margueron : Fondements méthodologiques de la fouille de la mission française à Emar de 1972 à 1976

J. L. Montero Fenollós et al.: Excavations in tell Qubr Abu al-‘Atiq: from the Early City to the Middle Assyrian Settlement

P. Butterlin : Le massif rouge à Mari, recherches récentes sur le cœur religieux de Mari 2006-2008

Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Shipwrecks revealed along the Turkish coast

The main purpose of the project is to expand the inventory of sunken ships. From the beginning of this year, we have been focusing on the ships that sank during the Ottoman times, says expert.

The post Shipwrecks revealed along the Turkish coast appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2014.08.38: Stephani Byzantii Ethnica, Volumen III: K – O. Corpus fontium historiae Byzantinae – Series Berolinensis, 43.3

Review of Margarethe Billerbeck, Stephani Byzantii Ethnica, Volumen III: K – O. Corpus fontium historiae Byzantinae – Series Berolinensis, 43.3. Berlin; Boston: 2014. Pp. viii, 19*, 454. $238.00. ISBN 9783110219630.

2014.08.37: The Construction of the Real and the Ideal in the Ancient Novel. Ancient narrative supplementum, 17

Review of Michael Paschalis, Stelios Panayotakis, The Construction of the Real and the Ideal in the Ancient Novel. Ancient narrative supplementum, 17. Groningen: 2013. Pp. xvi, 312. €80.00. ISBN 9789491431258.

2014.08.36: Sport, Democracy and War in Classical Athens

Review of David M. Pritchard, Sport, Democracy and War in Classical Athens. Cambridge; New York: 2013. Pp. xii, 251. $103.00. ISBN 9781107007338.

Jim Davila (

Farming and grave marking in the Talmud

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Are Jews Meant To Be Farmers, Workers, or Thinkers? So much of the Talmud is about working the land, and the rules that govern labor, profit, and loss. Excerpt:
One of the things Jews were doing instead of cultivating the land was studying the Talmud. Famously, in Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Yaakov says: “One who walks along a road and studies and interrupts his studying to say, ‘How beautiful is this tree!’ ‘How beautiful is this ploughed field!’—the Torah considers it as if he had forfeited his life.” The pious Jew should be thinking about the Law, not the earth; about holiness, not nature. Yet the irony is that so much of the Talmud is about nothing but the land and working the land. The rules about planting and harvesting in the land of Israel are laid out in great detail. What effect did it have on generations of Jews, I often wonder, to read about the farming practices of the rabbis, many of whom were landowners themselves? Did a Jew studying in a yeshiva in Golden Age Spain, or in 19th-century Vilna, find his imagination excited by these details, dreaming of a life on the land that would be possible once the Messiah came? Or did it all seem abstract and a little tedious, like reading about the tax laws of a country you’d never inhabit?
Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

Review of Bar-Asher Siegal, Introduction to the Grammar of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic

THE TALMUD BLOG: ‘Introduction to the Grammar of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic’- A Review
Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal, Introduction to the Grammar of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, (Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2013) – Reviewed by Aaron Koller.
Bar-Asher Siegal’s book relies on original research in the manuscripts of the Bavli and original grammatical analysis by a scholar who moves effortlessly between Semitic philology and linguistics. This is as good as an “introduction to Jewish Babylonian Aramaic” can be, and it is difficult to imagine anyone producing a better grammar of this type until there are qualitative advances in the field of JBA.
By which he means an eclectic critical edition of the Bavli. Hasten the day!

Adrian Murdoch (Bread and Circuses)

Archaeology and journalism

I have intended to write on the topic of archaeology and journalism for far too long and inevitably, or perhaps more accurately because there was no immediate deadline, it has never materialised. A post that touches on the subject is...

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: August 22

Here is a round-up of today's proverbs and fables - and for previous posts, check out the Bestiaria Latina Blog archives. If you have not downloaded a free PDF copy of Brevissima: 1001 Tiny Latin Poems, it's ready and waiting.

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

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


TINY PROVERBS: Today's tiny proverb is: Errando discitur (English: Learning happens by means of mistakes).

3-WORD MOTTOES: Today's 3-word verb-less motto is Nec devius unquam (English: Not ever swerving).

ANIMAL PROVERBS: Today's animal proverb is Igne semel tactus timet ignem postmodo cattus (English: The cat who has been touched once by fire, fears the fire thereafter).

POLYDORUS: Today's proverb from Polydorus is: Qui gladio ferit, gladio perit (English: He who wounds by the sword dies by the sword).

PROPER NAME PROVERBS: Today's proper name proverb from Erasmus is Mylus omnia audiens (English: Mylus listening to everything; from Adagia 2.7.52 - the proverbial Mylus refers to someone who pretends to be deaf or not listening, but who is actually listening to everything).

GREEK PROVERBS: Today's proverb is Ἁμαρτεῖν οὐκ ἔνεστι δὶς ἐν πολέμῳ (English: In war, one may not blunder twice).

BREVISSIMA: The distich poster for today is Non Alia Famae Via. Click here for a full-sized view.

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:


FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Scarabaeus et Stercus, the story of a contented dung-beetle (this fable has a vocabulary list).

MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Lupi et Pastores, in which the shepherds foolishly make a pact with the wolves.

lupi et pastor et oves

Words from Mythology. For more about TITANS and TITANIC, see this blog post.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Evidence in the Scrap Bucket

A metal detectorist writes:
After finding a few lead musket balls last Tuesday I returned to the same area today with my Deus for a few hours. What did I find, more lead musket balls, all those pictured above. The place just seems to be littered in them. Some are nice and round and some all (sic) splattered. The signal numbers they were giving off ranged from between 80-85 so I just had to dig them. I like to keep the round ones, the splattered ones are ok for my lead scrap bucket.
So he'd have not recorded them if they'd given a different signal? If he could, he'd discriminate them out and just hoiked the items that gave a better signal indicating they are something more collectable? So, even if we had other artefacts in the record from metal detecting that field, we'd not have a record of the skirmish or whatever activity produced this discrete cluster of historical artefacts. Any records made s a result of this sort of activity will, in their selectivity, be a reflection of the interests of those engaged in that activity, these are not data gathered for the purpose of another.

These artefacts which he has removed from the original surface assemblage are evidence of historical activity on this site, and the "nice round ones" (collectable) are no more and no less evidence than the 'splattered' ones that had been used. Study of the distortion patterns and their spatial distributions will reveal just what they'd been used for - but because this guy is an artefact collector, only after the "nicest artefacts" for fondling and display, and not a forensic archaeologist, he's throwing away the evidence of this past activity. In fact, not only is this amateur seeker of the past failing to curate the evidence he is stripping out of the site, he is wantonly destroying it. Not only does he not mention making a record of where this evidence is coming from as he strips it out, but he's actually sending the artefacts themselves to be melted down as scrap.

Anyone who thinks that metal detecting is an ersatz form of archaeology, and can produce information that can have archaeological usage needs to wake up and take a proper look at just what it is real (not cardboard cutout) artefact hunters do and why. They might like to consider why after spending seventeen million quid for nearly eighteen years, all we are getting from the liaison of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in fact differs little from a cardboard cutout image of this hobby.

Dickinson College Commentaries

The Society for Classical Studies and Digital Publication

Every year at this time I have a look at the statements of candidates for leadership offices in the Society for Classical Studies (known until recently as the American Philological Association) to see what kind of positions they take on matters relating to digital humanities and digital publication. Two years ago the Digital Classics Association had just been approved as a Type II Affiliated group, and there were plans for a new multi-million dollar portal of classics digital outreach. Last year the latter initiative was rightly being abandoned, and the discussion was more about the role of our professional association in the world of academic publishing. While some wanted to defend the status and importance of the print monograph, others hoped the APA would help guide web users to quality resources on the internet. In last year’s post I made the point that to focus on the delivery method (paid print vs. open electronic) is to miss a key potential role of the professional association: to foster networks of peer review for scholarship, no matter how it appears.

This year’s candidate statements share a sense of anxiety about the future of the field and the status of the humanities in the academy. Several make the excellent point that more can be done to foster Latin in secondary schools, “literally our lifeline,” as presidential candidate Peter Burian says. As for digital publication, presidential candidate Roger Bagnall is reticent, which is odd given his key role in the development of online scholarly publication of papyri. But Peter Burian emphasizes the key issue, it seems to me, peer review:

The APA has a strong track record, and it could be used to help our profession (and others) move toward full recognition of on-line publication and various kinds of digital scholarship. Works of scholarship that are crucial for specialists are becoming increasingly difficult to get into print, and there are many kinds of scholarship for which print is not the best, or even a satisfactory, medium. A strong, well-understood peer-review process governed by our internationally recognized professional association could make the difference in how such works are weighed by tenure and promotion committees.

Publications and Research is the committee where the changes in scholarly publishing are of course at the center. Here there are two candidates, Emily Greenwood and Nita Krevens. Greenwood urges the association “to explore new avenues for open digital publication in Classics and to support and promote excellent existing sites.” Krevens’ comments are altogether more edgy. She says that electronic publication is “still the elephant in the room.” Krevens continues:

On the one hand, the natural ‘gate-keeping’ function of limited print space is disappearing; this means that scholarly associations like ours are becoming the source of new guidelines for peer review and publication.  On the other hand, commercial publishers of academic journals are fighting desperately to preserve their turf as learned society e-publishing emerges as a partial solution to strained library acquisition budgets (witness the battle between Elsevier and the mathematicians).  Academic presses are currently caught in the middle of these conflicting imperatives.  In addition to setting field-wide standards for electronic journals AND monographs, I believe the APA/SCS can play an important role advocating for the electronic archiving and dissemination of smaller scholarly journals in our field, which are currently not easily available online.  These days, if you are not in JSTOR, you are invisible.

I think it is optimistic to say that scholarly associations are becoming the source of peer review guidelines. In any case it’s not so much guidelines that are needed as mechanisms for actual peer review. Only rigorous editing and review of digital publications will generate the prestige that will motivate more good scholars to improve the quality of open resources. As Sander Goldberg put it recently in BMCR it is up to us to insist on the combining of the “accuracy and clarity of [traditional print publication] with the flexibility and accessibility of the [web].” Goldberg also makes the point that many of the most fundamental and traditional activities of classical scholarship, such as the close analysis of syntax, and other tools for close reading, are actually better suited to the web than to print. In some ways the more specialized and technical the issues, the more data that can be put before the reader, the more desirable is a digital presentation.

The SCS as an archiver and provider of access to lesser-known journals not in JSTOR is an idea I find very appealing, and hopefully one that the publishers of such journals would also embrace.


Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Oldest metal object found to date in Middle East

University of Haifa
The University of Haifa has announced the discovey of a copper awl, the oldest metal object found to date in the Middle East. It was discovered during the excavations at Tel Tsaf ('Oldest metal object found to date in Middle East', Science Daily August 21, 2014).
The awl dates back to the late 6th millennium or the early 5th millennium BCE, moving back by several hundred years the date it was previously thought that the peoples of the region began to use metals
. Had it been found by an artefact hunter, and hoiked out of the context that dated it, this small piece of metal of rather nondescript form probably would not have got a second look and very well might have landed in their scrap bucket along with other unrecognised archaeological evidence. Thank goodness that metal detecting and this manner of treatment of archaeological remains as collectables is only legal in a few backward countries in the world.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Why Academics Really Use Twitter

The Facebook page “S**t Academics Say” shared two images, which I am passing on below. One is a diagram from Nature about the ways that academics use Twitter. The other is a PHD Comic about the real uses of Twitter by academics. I’ll give you the latter first, then the original from Nature that it is based on.

Why Academics REALLY Use Twitter


Which fits your experience better?


Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Call for Panels: EuroSEAS Conference 2015, Vienna

The European Association for Southeast Asian Studies (EuroSEAS) will hold its 8th conference from 11 to 14 August 2015 at the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, Austria. As an international and multi-disciplinary organisation, EuroSEAS invites scholars and PhD students from all academic disciplines with an interest in Southeast Asia to submit panels that explore relevant research topics from an interdisciplinary perspective as well as discuss theoretical and methodological aspects of research generated in the field of Southeast Asian Studies. Scholars are also encouraged to submit proposals for roundtable discussions about recent developments in Southeast Asia.

Keynote Speakers: Benedict Anderson and Ayu Utami.

You are invited to submit proposals for panels and round tables. Send your proposal before September 30 2014 to:

Panels: (1) title (2) convener (3) brief description of panel max ½ page (4) max 4 presenters (preferably power point presentations, don’t read papers) (4) optional: discussant.

Round table: (1) title (2) convener (3) explain in ½ page urgency of topic (4) max 6 presenters who deliver brief statements for discussion.

EuroSEAS will also provide facilities for scholars and filmmakers to screen documentaries.

Official registration at the EuroSEAS website will start from September 30 2014 onwards.
Conference fees:
Students and low income fee: 140,00 euros
Early bird fee (registration until 28/02/2015): 200,00 euros
Full fee (01/03-15/05/2015): 240,00 euros
plus EuroSEAS membership fee (to be paid by all participants) 30,00 euros

Samuel Fee (Arranged Delerium)

Open New Windows in Mac OS

Here’s a short version of a longer rant that explains how to set your Folders to open a new Finder Winder (i.e. the way the Mac OS has operated for the past 20 years): Essentially if you want to avoid being forced to use a… Continue reading

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Job: Curator, South&Southeast Asian Collection, NUS Museum

The National University of Singapore Museum is looking for a Curator/Assistant Curator for its South and Southeast Asian collections comprising Indian classical sculpture and modern pieces. There has’t been a deadline posted, and the original date of the ad was on 17 June, but it was reposted by the NUS Museum blog yesterday.

NUS Museum Curator position

Samuel Fee (Arranged Delerium)

Falling Out of Love with Macintosh

I’ve been a Mac user for years. Since 1984 actually. I’ve spent some time running unix boxes as well, but I always stuck with the Mac OS – even in the dark days of the mid- to late- 1990′s when the OS crashed every time… Continue reading

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Extremists target Borobudur

There’s been more news in Bahasa Indonesia than in English, but apparently extremists for the establishment of an Islamic State in Indonesia have threatened to target the ancient Buddhist monument, Borobudur, for destruction. The central Java army chief is said to be strengthening security in the area.

Borobudur 2009

Borobudur, Islamists target Indonesia’s most important Buddhist temple
Asia News, 21 August 2014

ISIS Ancam Ledakkan Candi Borobudur, Ini Sikap Polri
Viva news, 21 August 2014

Candi Borobudur Disebut Jadi Target Teror IS
Tempo, 20 August 2014

ISIS Ancam Hancurkan Borobudur, Ini Tanggapan Pangdam Diponegoro
Liputan, 20 August 2014

Indonesian extremists supporters of the Islamic State (formerly Isis, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) want to target and destroy the most important Buddhist cultural center of the country: the temple of Borobudur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Central Java Army chief General Sunindyo has stated that he is strengthening security to protect the highly popular site sacred to the Buddhist community throughout South-East Asia and major tourist attraction.

The risk is a repeat of what happened in Afghanistan in 2001,when the madness of Taliban extremism led to the destruction of the famous Bamiyan Buddhas. The local fringe of IS has announced plans to target Borobudur on a Facebook page called “We are an Islamic state”.

Indonesian media and social networks had recently warned of a possible attack on the temple. Meeting with journalists in Solo, Gen. Sunindyo recalled that “it is our duty to protect the nation’s cultural heritage which is a primary asset for tourism”; he has also called on all “citizens” to “protect our cultural heritage”.

Full story here.

photo by:

Ancient Art

The Bhaja Caves of Maharashtra, India. Bhaja contains about 29...

The Bhaja Caves of Maharashtra, India.

Bhaja contains about 29 rock-cut caves, which date back to the 2nd century BCE, and is described by the Archaeological Survey of India to be “one of the important Buddhist centres of Hinayana faith in Maharashtra.” 

A prominent features of Bhaja is Cave 12, a chaitya-griha, pictured in the final photo, which is considered one of the earliest of its kind. The stupa at the back of the large apsidal hall was used for worship. Cave 20 contains a group of stupas, which were built in memory of deceased monks, and probably once contained their relics.

Cave 18 was a monastery, and its verandah contains two famous sculpted reliefs. One of these (pictured in the 2nd photo) is located to the left of the door. This artwork depicts a person riding an elephant (thought by some to be Indra) who carries an ankusa (elephant goad), with attendants aside the figure, carrying a banner. The second relief shows a royal personage aside two women. The royal figure (who some identify as Sun god Surya), rides a chariot driven by four horses, and appears to be trampling a demon-like figure.

Photos courtesy of & taken by Himanshu Sarpotdar. The write-up of the site done by the Archaeological Survey of India was of great reference to me when writing this post.

August 21, 2014

Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

How to Write an Archaeology Press Release: Archaeology and the Press-Part 4

The first post in this series gave us a glimpse into the worker patterns of journalists, or close enough to it. You may have gone away from that post wondering how reporters handle writing 5 articles a day (approx 350 words x5 = 1750 perfectly spelled and grammar-checked words), usually about topics they are not experts in or know nothing about, research those 5 articles, and answer 100+ emails and calls a day? There does not seem to be enough hours in the day, right? Well, there aren’t. In the killing fields that are a career in journalism you have to manage a 48/72 hour job in 24 hours. Though, if you want to sleep you really only have 18 hours. Enter the press release, bane of the journalists existence and savior of their life.

Two Types of Articles

There are roughly two types of articles journalists write. The ones they are passionate about and the ones that pays the bills. Many journalists will slow burn an article, meticulously  researching it for months or years, these are their passion articles. Then there are their quota articles, the 1-5 articles they have to produce everyday to stay employed. This is not to say that they do not try to do the best job that they can with quota articles or that they are not also passionate about these articles. It is just that they have to produce three articles in three hours on topics they know nothing about and literally do not have enough time to Google- do archaeologists dig dinosaurs. The only way they can manage this insane schedule is with the press release.

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly of Press Release

Remember I said journalists field 100+ emails and calls a day? While some of those emails and calls are tips, the majority of these emails are press releases and those calls are people trying to send press releases. The reason they have to go through so many press releases is because most of them are crap. They are too long, too irrelevant, or too poorly put together to be of any use. The bad press releases. What is worse is when people don’t send properly formatted press releases at all. Instead they send their 40 page peer reviewed articles full of jargon. The ugly “press release”. But, as they wade through that stack of crap they will find nuggets of gold, the good press releases. These are what articles are made of.

What Makes a Good Press Release?

Copy & paste! A good press release is one that could be turned into an article by simply cutting & pasting parts or the whole press release. What Keith of Bad Archaeology calls ‘churnalism’ but which Clair, who worked as press officer, hates so I won’t use the term. Essentially, many articles you read are just re-purposed press releases. Take an article from a newspaper (not a wired story i.e. Associated Press story, which are meant to be reused) and paste a paragraph into Google. You might get a few other news venues but it you go far down enough you will find a press release site with the original “article” that with either be identical or very close to what you read*.

Press Release = News Article

Essentially, if you want the facts to be correct and your news publicized you need to write a good press release and that is basically a news article. However, writing a news article is a very different style of writing than what most Archaeologists have been taught. In archaeology, like in most other academic writing, we start very broad and work our way to a narrow conclusion. We start with the background i.e. how our work fits into the wider world, then we put in details like the problem and methods used. Finally, we end with a conclusion. An inverted Pyramid story.

Normal Pyramid

News articles work in the complete opposite direction to what we are use to. You start with the narrow conclusion and finish with how it fits into the wider world**. There is a very good reason for this, ‘below the fold’. That is a term used to describe a phenomenon in news were many people don’t read all the way through an article i.e. below the fold in a newspaper, or below the screen on webpage i.e. where you have to scroll to see. To make sure people got the basics they start with the most important facts first and add more detail. That is the pattern you should follow.

News vs Academic Writing

Edit- Thanks to adrian murdoch who pointed this out over on his blog. Inverted pyramid has a different meaning in journalism. I was personally taught the above use of inverted pyramid in academic writing and so used it to play off against how most news articles are constructed. I think it makes a better visualization but might cause some confusion in terminology-so just be aware inverted pyramid in journalism describes the whole narrow to broad work too. I use the term ‘below the fold’ to describe the fact that people don’t read past the first few lines of an article. A term in journalism is above the fold, which means something different. Don’t want to confuse anyone.


Quotes are to news articles as citations are to journal articles. Pretty much every story needs quotes. It makes for both more interesting reading and a way to present facts. Best to have quotes from experts or people involved in the project. Make sure you have permission to quote someone, or if you make up a quote make sure you have permission to attribute the quote to them. It is ok to make creative quotes, most quotes in news articles are.


In my last post I went over the five things that makes an article newsworthy- timing, significance, proximity, prominence, human interest. You need to pick one of these hooks to build your story around. This is what will get your story published. Try to avoid over using any one of these hooks.

Hook 2- You won’t believe what happened next Title

The hook needs to be in the title. It needs to draw people in. Unfortunately, we now have website like Upworthy that spews out crap click-bait titles to get people to read articles. Avoid this click baiting but do put your hook into the title.

Further Info/Call to Action

It you have a website, place to learn more information, or an action for people to do put that in. This is usually left off most articles which is a shame.


Don’t put this in the article but put contact info (phone,email) of someone in the press release who can answer questions or give more details if needed.


For the press release make it double spaced and under a page, which means 300-350 words, about the length of a news article. With 100 press releases to go through most journalist don’t have the time to read too much more than a page anyways.


If possible send pictures along to0. Not big, don’t kill someone’s inbox but let them know you have more and higher quality one’s if they need them.


Local Boy Finds King Arthur’s Knight (title with hook, a bit wrong but bear with me)

Twelve year old John Smith, from (local town name), has discovered a warriors burial believed to date to around 400 AD at Chowldincur Fort, run by (your organization name) (First sentence must sum up everything). This burial is from a time period widely believed to have been when King Arthur lived, a legend but who is thought to be based on real people (The possible misconceptions in the title are corrected in the body of the article- informing the reader of valuable information) . Chowldincur Fort archaeologists John Doe had this to say about the possibility that this is King Arthur’s knight (quote from expert), “Research by professors has shown that the legend of King Arthur was based on the life of one or more people from around this time. So this warrior might have been a contemporary of the man, or men, that the legend is based off of.” John Doe went on to say that, “based on the amount of weapons found in the burial and the wounds suffered by the body that this man was a warrior but he was not a knight. Knights actually appeared later in history, its (its? watch spelling and grammar) a common misconception”. (again, teaching people)
As for how John Smith came to find this burial his mother, Jane Smith, explained how he got started, “Johnny has always been interested in history so we contacted the staff at Chowldincur Fort to find out how he could learn to dig up things. Good thing we did too, because apparently there are laws and regulations about doing this stuff. We had no idea, but the staff was nice enough to teach him how to conduct proper work and not break any laws” (Get as much as you can out of an article- Made up quote teaching about laws and discouraging looting). Once properly trained, Johhny began volunteering to help archaeologists find artefacts around the fort. This led him to a find a midden, which is basically an ancient trash heap, which had the burial underneath it. (midden? Jargon- try to avoid but if you do use it put in a definition. One or two of these are good teachable points.)
Excavations of the burial are still ongoing and the public is invited to come out and watch or participate. More information can be found at websitetoChowldincurFort.fakewebsite (call to action/more info).

For more information or quotes please contact (me) (email) (phone)

That’s that

Hope this example helps you get a rough idea of how to write a press release. Like I said at the beginning of this series of blog posts, Archaeology and the Press, I will be make a more extensive guide in which I will go into more detail. Though for now this can get you started. Also, bear in mind that this is only an example and not gospel. I decided to play on people’s misconceptions about King Author to both attract readers and educate them. This is not good for every story but can work on occasion.

Archaeology and the Press

This is part of a series of posts. Part 1- look at the process of journalism. Part 2- gave guidance on interviewing. Part 3- was about picking your story.


* Is ‘churnalism’ Copy and Paste a Bad Thing? This is how I look at it, the system is broken. Talk to any journalist and they will tell you that they would love to spend weeks researching and writing every article but alas, except for a few people working for very specific publications, that is not reality. They don’t have the time to learn everything and do we have the time to teach them? Imagine teaching someone who knows nothing about Archaeology all he complexities and idiosyncrasy’s of our work. How long would that take? Do you have 3? 6? 9? hours to explain  everything about your work to someone. Only to have them turn around and try to explain it to others. Would it not save everyone’s time for you to write it up and for them to polish the work?

In a perfect world journalists could spend days on an article. However, in the current world journalists don’t have the time and we want the facts to be right so we write press releases.

** By no means is this the only way to write a news article. There is great diversity in writing. However, as in academic writing, where we see most journal articles follow the same pattern-background-methods-conclusion, a good majority of news articles follow this general concept. You are more likely to get the press release picked up if it is in a format used often.

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

August 21 at Amphipolis ~ From the Ministry of Culture

HUGE tip o’ the pileus to Peggy Ringa (on facebook) for pointing me to the Ministry’s press releases. Here’s today’s activity in Greek (skinny to follow):

Συνεχίζονται οι ανασκαφικές εργασίες στο ταφικό μνημείο, στον Τύμβο Καστά από την ΚΗ Εφορεία Προϊστορικών και Κλασικών Αρχαιοτήτων, στην Αμφίπολη. Σήμερα, απομακρύνθηκαν, με άκρα προσοχή, χώματα τα οποία βρίσκονταν στο διάκενο και πίσω από τα αγάλματα των Σφιγγών, σε βάθος περίπου, δυο μέτρων , και σε πλάτος ανάλογο της εισόδου του τάφου, ήτοι 4.50 μ. ´Ετσι, προχώρησε, στο μεγαλύτερο τμήμα της η αποχωμάτωση του εσωρραχίου της θόλου.

Ταυτόχρονα, συνεχίστηκε η αφαίρεση πέντε λιθόπλινθων , από την έκτη σειρά του τοίχου σφράγισης, με τη βοήθεια μηχανικού μέσου . Μετά την απομάκρυνσή τους, αποκαλύφθηκε κάτω από τη βάση των Σφιγγών, το ανώτερο τμήμα του μαρμάρινου θυρώματος.
Καλύπτεται με fresco σε μίμηση ιωνικού επιστυλίου. Φέρει διακόσμηση με
κόκκινο, μπλε και μαύρο χρώμα. Αμέσως, κάτω από το ιωνικό επιστύλιο, αποκαλύφθηκαν δυο ιωνικά επίκρανα των παραστάδων της θύρας, επίσης επικαλυπτόμενα με fresco και επιζωγραφισμένα με τα ίδια χρώματα. Οι εργασίες θα συνεχιστούν αύριο με προτεραιότητα την στερέωση και συντήρηση των σημερινών ευρημάτων.

The skinny is they cleared a bit behind the sphinxes and below the architrave they’re sitting on. There are some really nice ionic pilasters revealed, with easily visible traces of red paint (as well as black). Here’s a photo (click for larger). They’ve also found a doorway:

Ministry of Culture

Ministry of Culture

… and another:

Ministry of Culture

Ministry of Culture

Folks who follow me on twitter know I was asking this this afternoon and I want to put it out there to the blog audience too: how do we know these are sphinxes when they don’t have heads? They might be griffons/gryphons/griffins (choose your spelling).

Calenda: Histoire romaine

Purifier, soigner ou guérir ?

Quelle est la place du soin des malades, des infirmes en situation de handicap au sein des sociétés anciennes et médiévales, dont la force et le courage du guerrier constituent les valeurs dominantes ? Quelles ruptures, continuités ou transformations / transmissions, des pratiques de soin, des rites de guérison / purification ou d’éloignement des malades peut-on déceler ? Poser un « regard éloigné » et croisé sur les cultures polythéistes et chrétiennes nécessite l’emploi d’un arsenal maximal de sources, puisé des rives de la Méditerranée à celles de la Manche.

Calenda: Histoire grecque

Actualité de la recherche archéologique

Sous l'égide des départements du musée du Louvre, des spécialistes sont invités à présenter leurs plus récentes découvertes et les orientations de la recherche archéologique.

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)


Paslaru,I., S. M. Colesniuc et T. Dimov, éd. (2014) : Kallatida, Mangalia

Ce recueil d’articles rassemble des articles en 4 langues (roumain, anglais, bulgare et russe) autour de la cité grecque de Callatis, qui se trouvait en Scythie mineure, l’actuelle Dobroudja.

Sur les 26 articles, 17 concernent l’antiquité, principalement Callatis.  Parmi les sujets mis en valeur, on notera la pluridisciplinarité,  l’histoire de l’archéologie, l’histoire de Callatis  du IVe siècle au début de notre ère à travers quelques grands moments : la fondation, la lutte contre Philippe II de Macédoine et Lysimaque, l’exil de sa population, l’intégration dans l’empire romain.

À côté des chercheurs roumains du musée archéologique de Mangalia,des savants, macédoniens, bulgares ukrainiens et russes ont apporté leurs contributions à cet ouvrage, permettant d’éviter une étude de Callatis trop roumanocentrée. Kallatiada

Les articles comportent des résumés dans les 4 langues de la publication.

On se procure l’ouvrage auprès du musée archéologique de Mangalia.

Archaeology Magazine

When Did Neanderthals Really Go Extinct?

Neanderthal skull from Forbes QuarryOXFORD, ENGLAND—Scientists using new, more precise radiocarbon dating techniques to study 40 Paleolithic sites from across Europe have determined that our close genetic cousins disappeared from Europe between 41,000 and 39,000 years ago. "I think that for the first time, we have a reliable extinction date for Neanderthals," University of Oxford scientist Tom Higham told Livescience. The new findings suggest that the two species may have coexisted for up to 5,400 years and that modern humans did not quickly wipe out the Neanderthals, as some scholars believe. Rather, they could have dramatically influenced each other both culturally and genetically. Higham notes that the Neanderthal extinction event "might have been more complex and drawn out than previously thought." To read about the debate over cloning our closest extinct relatives, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "Should We Clone Neanderthals?" 

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Online Map Supplement to Duane Roller’s new English translation of Strabo’s Geography.

Cambridge University Press Publishes The Geography of Strabo

Strabo Image 
Duane W. Roller’s remarkable new English translation of Strabo’s Geography is now available from Cambridge University Press ( ISBN: 9781107038257; e-book ISBN: 9781139950374). To accompany it, the Center has produced a seamless, interactive online map which is accessible free:  The map is built on the Antiquity À-la-carte interface, and has immense coverage because it plots all the locatable geographical and cultural features mentioned in the 17 books of this fundamentally important Greek source – over 3,000 of them, stretching from Ireland to the Ganges delta and deep into north Africa. In the e-version of the translation, the gazetteer offers embedded hyperlinks to each toponym’s stable URI within the digital module, making it possible to move directly between Strabo’s text and its cartographic realization

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Mapping the government's lost ship

Harry Roecker was the first to dive in the water when the RJ Walker Expedition, a collaboration of private and government divers, began their mission to complete the first archaeological survey of the long-lost government ship Robert J. Walker.

A moment earlier Paul Hepler captain of the Belmar-based crew boat Venture III had positioned them over the wreck, 10 miles off the coast of Atlantic City in 85 feet of water.

Roecker, his face pinched by a wetsuit hood, was tasked to tether the down-line from the 46-foot aluminum crew boat to the highest point of the wreck. For the next six hours divers shimmied up and down the rope like a conga line on the Expedition’s first day last Thursday. Read more.

Archaeology Magazine

Oldest Metal Object Unearthed in the Middle East

Israel-Copper-AwlHAIFA, ISRAEL—Archaeologists excavating at an ancient village in the Jordan Valley dating between 5200 and 4600 B.C. have discovered a copper awl that is believed to be the oldest metal object yet unearthed in the Middle East. According to a University of Haifa press release, the awl was discovered in the grave of a 40-year-old woman who was also buried with a belt made of 1,688 ostrich-egg shell beads. “The appearance of the item in a woman’s grave, which represents one of the most elaborate burials we’ve seen in our region from that era, testifies to both the importance of the awl and the importance of the woman, and it’s possible that we are seeing here the first indications of social hierarchy and complexity,” says dig leader and University of Haifa archaeologist Danny Rosenberg. The discovery pushes back the appearance of metal in the area by several hundred years, and chemical testing of the awl has revealed it was made of copper from the Caucasus Mountains, more than 600 miles away, suggesting long-range trade may have been more prevalent during the period than previously thought. To read about the elaborate burial of a Copper Age woman unearthed in England, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "High Status Burial Unearthed in Windsor." 

Sea Mammals Spread Deadly Tuberculosis

seal-sea-lion-tuberculosis-disease-new-worldPHOENIX, ARIZONA—Professor Anne Stone of Arizona State University may have provided an answer to one of science’s great debates—the origins of tuberculosis in the New World. Stone’s new research shows that tuberculosis likely spread from humans in Africa to seals and sea lions that brought the infection to South America, where it was eventually transmitted to the native population. For their work, researchers collected ancient DNA samples and tested them for the presence of TB. Three of the samples taken from sites in Peru dating to between A.D. 750 and 1350 showed evidence of TB infection and the genome could be mapped and studied. The researchers discovered that the ancient strains of TB were most closely related to strains present in pinnipeds. “What we found was really surprising. The ancient strains are distinct from any known human-adapted tuberculosis strain,” Stone told the ASU NewsTo read more about tuberculosis in the ancient Andes, see ARCHAEOLOGY’S “Diagnosis of Ancient Illness.”



Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #517

Today’s list of Open Access (free to read) articles:

The West Heslerton Assessment

Colli di Enea (RM). La Villa e la manifattura tessile.

Notice of a ‘Quigrich’ or Crozier of Saint Fillan.

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

ArcheoNet BE

Tweede Metaaltijdendag op 17 oktober in Amersfoort

Na een succesvolle eerste editie vorig jaar vindt op vrijdag 17 oktober de tweede Metaaltijdendag plaats in Amersfoort. De Metaaltijdendag is een initiatief van de Stichting Metaaltijdenonderzoek Nederland en wil een platform bieden voor archeologen geïnteresseerd in de archeologie van de metaaltijden van Nederland. Onlangs verschenen ook de proceedings van de eerste Metaaltijdendag.

In de voormiddag worden net zoals vorig jaar een vijftal lezingen rond een specifiek thema gegeven. Het thema voor dit jaar is: ‘Van Begin en Eind: Productie en Depositie in de Metaaltijden’. Na ruimte voor plenaire discussie en lunch is er een middagprogramma waarin circa zes lezingen zijn gepland die over metaaltijdenonderzoek gaan, maar die niet gerelateerd hoeven zijn aan het thema. Geïnteresseerden kunnen nog steeds een lezing voor het vrije middagprogramma aanmelden. Het definitieve programma wordt zo snel mogelijk bekend gemaakt op de website

De locatie van de Metaaltijdendag 2014 is de Kinderdijkzaal (Smallepad 5) van de RCE te Amersfoort. Er is slechts een beperkt aantal plaatsen in de zaal beschikbaar. Schrijf daarom vooraf in via de website Op de website vind je ook meer informatie over de Stichting en over de bundel die naar aanleiding van de eerste Metaaltijdendag zopas is verschenen. Dit handzame boek bevat twaalf artikelen over recent metaaltijdenonderzoek in Nederland en is te koop bij Sidestone.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

The Swash Channel Wreck gives up some its secrets at Poole Museum

It’s was hailed as the most significant shipwreck to be discovered in UK waters since the Mary Rose but the Swash Channel Wreck, found outside Poole Harbour in 1990, has until now kept many of its secrets close to its chest – or watery grave.

Designated a wreck of national importance in 2004, archaeologists and students from Bournemouth University began diving on the seventeenth century vessel in 2006 to assess its condition and deterioration.

Its worsening condition led to an excavation by a Bournemouth University marine archaeology team in 2010. So far over 1000 artefacts have been brought to the surface. These range from large timbers, pottery and personal items like shoes and tankards to cannon and a series of elaborately carved figures. Read more.

Archaeology Magazine

Geometric Tomb Uncovered in Corinth

greek-tomb-discovered-corinth-geometric-potteryCORINTH, GREECE—Archaeologists from the American School of Classical Studies in Athens have revealed the results of their excavation of a tomb in the important ancient Greek city of Corinth. The tomb, which dates to between 800 and 750 B.C. contained a burial pit filled with a limestone sarcophagus with a single person buried inside, reports Livescience. Next to the sarcophagus the team found several pottery vessels, as well as a sealed niche containing 13 almost complete pots. Many of the pots are decorated with zig-zagging patterns of lines and spirals that give this era of Greek history, often called the Geometric Period, its name.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Culture at Risk: The Global Crisis of Cultural Racketeering

The Antiquities Coalition have a thought (and anger) - provoking infographic on the scale of the problem of cultural racketeering in eight countries (Egypt, Libya, Syria, China, Cambodia, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico).  I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd like to see some sources for the figures presented as facts there. I also think the US organization would find it easier to be taken seriously if they'd replace the Disneyland quote at the top of the page from a fictional "Frank Stokes" (in a Hollywood film, "Monuments Men") with something less inviting ridicule. We have people out here that are doing their best, under difficult circumstances, to separate fact from fiction, something that can be regarded as factual from the trade flam. It's hard work. What we are finding is shocking enough, without having people (albeit no doubt with the best intentions) trying to sensationalise it.  

Rülzheim Tekkie could be facing Jail Time

Not surprisingly, a 23-year-old man who unearthed treasure in a forest near Rülzheim in Rhineland-Palatinate with a metal detector is now facing embezzlement charges after trying to appropriate the objects and sell them in February.
A court spokesman for the Frankenthal district in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate told The Local that the man is facing up to three years in prison and/or a substantial financial fine after precious items dating back to the 5th Century AD were spotted up for sale on the Internet. "If he had just found the treasure and reported it to the local government, he would not have been charged. His troubles started when he dug it up and then claimed the treasure as his own, and that's why we've brought embezzlement charges against him," Hubert Ströber said.[...] The amateur archaeologist, named as Benny C. from Speyer by the Bild newspaper
The treasure is reported to be worth up to €575,000. In most German states, finds of this nature are automatically deemed public property, administered by the state. Benny C. thought nobody would notice... Pretty thick, many metal detectorists seem to be.

'Treasure hunter facing jail time over golden find', The Local 14 Aug 2014

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Forgotten Warrior Unearthed in Siberia

Archeologists appear to have discovered a forgotten legend in western Siberia, where they unearthed a uniquely preserved burial site for a mighty warrior slain in battle.

The body was discovered in a mound in Omsk region dating back to the 11th or 12th century, local news site reported Thursday, citing archeologists.

When he died at about 40, the recently unearthed man stood at 1.8 meter tall — 25 centimeters above the average height of his descendants, the indigenous Khanty and Mansi peoples.

His right shoulder was smashed and his left arm severed, evidently in battle. The arm was preserved and buried alongside him. Read more.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Released as Linked Open Data

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Released as Linked Open Data
James Cuno

Second of four Getty Vocabularies now available for free download; two more to follow within a year
Linked Open Data / Ellora Caves in India
We’re delighted to announce that the Getty Research Institute has released the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)® as Linked Open Data. This represents an important step in the Getty’s ongoing work to make our knowledge resources freely available to all.
Following the release of the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)® in February, TGN is now the second of the four Getty vocabularies to be made entirely free to download, share, and modify. Both data sets are available for download at under an Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC BY 1.0).

What Is TGN?

The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names is a resource of over 2,000,000 names of current and historical places, including cities, archaeological sites, nations, and physical features. It focuses mainly on places relevant to art, architecture, archaeology, art conservation, and related fields.
TGN is powerful for humanities research because of its linkages to the three other Getty vocabularies—the Union List of Artist Names, the Art & Architecture Thesaurus, and the Cultural Objects Name Authority. Together the vocabularies provide a suite of research resources covering a vast range of places, makers, objects, and artistic concepts. The work of three decades, the Getty vocabularies are living resources that continue to grow and improve.
Because they serve as standard references for cataloguing, the Getty vocabularies are also the conduits through which data published by museums, archives, libraries, and other cultural institutions can find and connect to each other.

Why Linked Open Data?

Linked Open Data - The Getty VocabulariesWhen data is linked and open, it is structured and published in ways that allow it to be recombined with data from other sources to create new knowledge. In other words, Linked Open Data connects information from diverse publishers and areas of scholarship, enabling the dramatic expansion and acceleration of research.
When the vast trove of data in the Getty vocabularies is released into the Linked Open Data ecosystem, researchers will not only be able to retrieve more complete data, but hone it to their precise requests. In short, they can ask, and answer, ever more complex queries.
What artists were working in Venice in the 1520s? When, where, and under whose patronage were Buddhist temples built in India? What museums or libraries currently own folios from a disassembled 14th-century medieval Psalter? What was the iconography of the illuminations in this Psalter? Today these questions are time-consuming and difficult to answer. In the world of Linked Open Data, they could be just a few clicks away.

A Rich Data Ecosystem

To show how Linked Open Data from TGN can enhance research, let’s take the single example of Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, India, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its astonishing rock-cut architecture. TGN contains not only the caves’ location but also their geographical hierarchy, variant names in multiple languages, and the religious traditions represented there. Now imagine that this data is linked to other data—such as maps, books and articles, and photographs depicting this location. A vast trove of interrelated resources, currently only findable individually through manual search using variant spellings, becomes click away.
Within the Getty alone, in a future Linked Open Data world multiple resources could be interlinked: a digitized volume from the early 1800s from the special collections of the Getty Research Institute; art historically significant early photographs of the site by English, French, and Indian photographers in the collection of the Getty Museum; and multiple publications from the Getty Conservation Institute including an update on conservation efforts.

Next Steps and Feedback

All four Getty vocabularies will be released as Linked Open Data by late 2015. To follow the progress of the project at the Getty Research Institute, see our Linked Open Data page.
We’re grateful to members of the digital humanities community who have taken the time to make suggestions or to let us know how they are making use of Art & Architecture Thesaurus data released in February. We welcome the continued comments and input of the user community; if you have a suggestion or find the Getty’s Linked Open Data useful in your own work, please share it here or email the Getty’s Linked Open Data team at
- See more at:

Ancient Peoples

Bronze statue of deified king Agni, King of fire  36.8cm high...

Bronze statue of deified king Agni, King of fire 

36.8cm high and 16.7cm wide ( 14 1/2 x 6 9/16 inch.) 

Indian, Kaushambi, Uttar Pradesh, 3rd century 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient kitchen found in Sagalassos

A 2,000-year-old kitchen, which dates back to the late Roman era, has been discovered in the ancient city of Sagalassos in the southern province of Burdur.

Excavations in the ancient city started in early June, but the discovery of the kitchen was only reported last month.

“The kitchen was completely unearthed. We will learn in great detail about the kitchen culture present in that era. This is a very detailed scientific work. Not only archaeologists, but also anthropologists, zoologists and botanists are working together [on this project],” said Professor Jereon Poblome, head of excavations.

“There are no tiles on the ground, only soil. The understanding of hygiene was different in the late Roman era. Ergonomically, it is a difficult kitchen for us [to use], but they became used to it. They use to put coal in the middle and a pot on it with bulgur and meat inside. Read more.

BiblePlaces Blog

Christian Inscription on Grand Mosque of Damascus

I came across this notable observation yesterday when looking over some photos in Earthly Footsteps of the Man of Galilee.

The Grand Mosque of Damascus is one of the most interesting buildings in the East.  It is quadrangular in form, one hundred and sixty-three yards wide, by one hundred and eight yards long.  A lofty wall of fine masonry surrounds it.  A few years ago the building was almost destroyed by fire. 

One of the most wonderful things about this mosque is an inscription which is pointed out to the tourist.  It runs over an arch in the second story.  You can see even in this picture the Greek letters which form the following sentence: "Thy kingdom, O Christ, is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations."  This is the Septuagint rendering of Psalms, cxlv [145]: 13, with the simple addition of the name of Christ.  What a curious inscription to find on a Moslem mosque!  And yet, how true it is that the kingdom of Christ is an everlasting kingdom.  To-day the power of Mohammedanism is waning. 

279 Inscription, Grand Mosque, ef0279

Grand Mosque Lintel with Inscription
Photo from
Earthly Footsteps of the Man of Galilee

A 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal gives the history: Muslims reused stones of the church they razed. The builder of the mosque, al-Walid, was also responsible for the construction of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Unfortunately the last observation in the quotation above has proven false. But that is in accord with Scripture which speaks of the numerous enemies present on earth when Jesus returns (Ps 2; Zech 14; Rev 19).

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Jesus takes the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

Jesus and John icebucket challenge

Roger Wolsey shared the above on Facebook. If Jesus were living in our world today, how do you think he would have responded to the ice bucket challenge? Living in a world without modern medical research possibilities, he did what he could. What would he do today?

The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor

I’m delighted that St. Martin’s Press sent me an advance reading copy of Joel M. Hoffman’s book The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible. The book is due out September 2nd, and will be of interest to many readers of this blog. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon in both hardback and Kindle formats.

The title is a clever one (and may remind you of this Non Sequitur cartoon). But it does need to be clarified from the outset that Hoffman takes a broad approach to things that are “missing” or “left out” from today’s Bibles. Some of the works he considers were never, as far as we know, considered for inclusion in a canon of Scripture – for instance, the works of Josephus. In other cases, the material in question, such as the distinctive content in the Septuagint, made it into “Bibles” – just not ones that most modern readers of the Bible in English are aware of, much less likely to read.

And so the book is really an introduction to a range of things that the Bible omits – from details of its own historical contexts, to scribal variants in manuscripts, to other literature such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the works typically lumped together under the heading of “pseudepigrapha.”

There are a lot of books which introduce and/or translate this literature, and Hoffman provides an appendix with such scholarly treatises and editions at the back of the book. But there are very few such books which are truly aimed at a general audience. And that is precisely the gap which Hoffman seeks to fill in this book.

Like any book aimed at a general audience, there are details in it about which scholars will raise legitimate qualms – one that comes immediately to mind is the treatment of “Hellenism,” which doesn’t reflect the advances in scholarship since Martin Hengel’s classic treatise on the subject was published almost half a century ago.

But the way Hoffman presents the literature, the analogies used and comical asides, make up for such shortcomings. Let me share a few of my favorite such details in the book here. For instance, Hoffman writes about the story of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (p.45):

As a novel or summer movie, this story would be so patently ridiculous and so obviously full of contrivances that no one would take is seriously. It has unlikely coincidences, like the scrolls from Qumran being translated by a Mr. Qimron. It has enigmatic sensationalistic elements, like a treasure map that otherwise has no place in the main story. It has unbelievable plot twists, like animals that lead people to hidden wonders. And it has cliché villains (like the researcher who told the world that Judaism was a horrible religion) who battle cliché heroes (like the archaeologist who took time off work to literally save his nation from destruction. In fact, the only thing saving the otherwise absurd tale is the bizarre fact that it happens to be true and well documented.

Other amusing or insightful highlights include the depiction of Psalms as a “greatest hits” collection, and the analogy between the Bible and a museum, in which additional components of the collection, instead of merely ceasing to be featured on display, have been completely forgotten about (p.258). That analogy sums up the author’s purpose in writing: “What started as an entranceway to to the complete collection ended up as the collection itself” (p.259).

Hoffman’s wit comes through in many more places than I can mention here – such as when he talks about the translation of “Wonder Woman” as eshet chayil when it first aired in Israel, and the surprise ultra-Orthodox male viewers had finding it featured a woman running around in her underwear (p.106); or when he says things such as that humans “never observe two animals just sitting around chewing the fat, except in the most literal of senses” (p.191).

Hoffman has created a website,, to accompany the book.

The book focuses on texts omitted from the Jewish Bible and Christian Old Testament, although it makes regular reference to the New Testament and Christianity as appropriate. Those interested in works of the same sort which were omitted from the Christian Bible will want to follow Tony Burke’s series on Christian apocrypha.

If you are a layperson who has never dived into works like the Book of Enoch or the Life of Adam and Eve, or you are a professor looking for fresh ideas and illustrations when teaching about such extracanonical works, you’ll find much that is of interest in Joel Hoffman’s book, The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Deserted village gets listed status

A village near Harborough that doesn’t actually exist has been given ancient monument status by the Government.

But it isn’t a ridiculous mistake – the long-abandoned “lost” village of Little Oxendon, which lies between Great Oxendon and Market Harborough Golf Club, was selected because of its buried remains.

Archaeologists believe that we can learn a lot about our past by studying lost villages like Little Oxendon, which are, effectively, frozen in time.

English Heritage said Little Oxendon was chosen for protection because of the exceptional survival of its earthworks and buried remains.

Sarah Gibson, English Heritage designation team leader for the east explained: “Abandoned villages are repositories of information about the past.” Read more.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Sinkhole revealed as 150-year-old beer cave


The Iowa Department of Transportation inspector believed he had found a hazardous sinkhole on discovering and 18-inch wide void near a busy interstate, as reported by The Gazette.

However officials have since offered a far more intriguing explanation, believing the hole to lead to a series of beer caves stretching some 30 feet below the ground.

Staff from the University of Iowa’s archeology department have so far identified three-to-four underground limestone caverns using ground penetrating radar at the site of the hole, with archaeologists suspecting the cavernous underground void to belong to the former Eagle Brewing Company/Magnus Brewing Company, built in 1859. Read more.

Ancient World Mapping Center

Cambridge University Press Publishes The Geography of Strabo


Strabo ImageDuane W. Roller’s remarkable new English translation of Strabo’s Geography is now available from Cambridge University Press ( ISBN: 9781107038257; e-book ISBN: 9781139950374). To accompany it, the Center has produced a seamless, interactive online map which is accessible free:  The map is built on the Antiquity À-la-carte interface, and has immense coverage because it plots all the locatable geographical and cultural features mentioned in the 17 books of this fundamentally important Greek source – over 3,000 of them, stretching from Ireland to the Ganges delta and deep into north Africa. In the e-version of the translation, the gazetteer offers embedded hyperlinks to each toponym’s stable URI within the digital module, making it possible to move directly between Strabo’s text and its cartographic realization.  



ArcheoNet BE

Nieuwe opgraving gestart op The Loop in Gent

Twee weken geleden zijn archeologen van De Logi & Hoorne bvba gestart met een nieuwe opgraving op The Loop in Gent. Op de terreinen rond Flanders Expo doen archeologen, ondersteund door Stadsarcheologie van de Stad Gent, sinds 2007 systematisch onderzoek bij elke nieuwe ontwikkeling. Ondertussen is dit een van de grootste archeologische projecten die ooit werden uitgevoerd in de regio.

De eerste vondsten in het gebied dateren al uit de 19de eeuw. Ten tijde van de aanleg van de hallen en parkeerterreinen van Flanders Expo voerde de Universiteit Gent al enkele beperkte opgravingen uit. De archeologen ontdekten zo een belangrijke site waar voor meerdere periodes van het verleden belangrijke menselijke aanwezigheid kon worden herkend. Het gebruik als vliegveld tot de jaren 1980 ligt misschien nog vers in het geheugen, maar de aangetroffen resten gaan veel verder terug. De oudste dateren uit het finaal-neolithicum, zowat 4.500 tot 4.000 jaar geleden.

The Loop ligt op een hoogte langs de Leie, waar zich niet alleen landbouwers uit de steentijden vestigden, maar ook bronstijdboeren, Kelten, Romeinen, Merovingers, Karolingers en middeleeuwers. Op basis van vondsten in de directe omgeving verwachten de archeologen opnieuw interessante resultaten. Zo hopen zij dat het resterende deel van de volmiddeleeuwse nederzetting kan worden opgegraven, net als een Romeins grafveld en resten van Romeinse boerderijen. Verder zullen wellicht ook oudere boerenerven uit de metaaltijden kunnen worden onderzocht.

Op dit moment zijn het vooral loopgraven die worden aangetroffen. Het team onderzoekt nu het complex systeem van door en over elkaar lopende loopgraven en probeert na te gaan tot welke periode van het vliegveld de verschillende structuren behoren en door welke mogendheden ze werden aangelegd of gebruikt. Nog tot begin 2015 graven de archeologen verder en hopen ze nog veel boeiende vondsten te doen. De vorderingen en de verhalen kunnen ook via Facebook of op de website worden gevolgd.

Bekijk ook de AVS-reportage.

Ancient Peoples

Alabaster vases of monkeys holding their young 18.6 cm high...

Alabaster vases of monkeys holding their young

18.6 cm high and 13.7 cm high. 

Egyptian, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 6, Reign of Pepi I, 2289 - 2255 BC. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Researchers come across trove of Buddhist artifacts

South Korean researchers said Thursday they have uncovered dozens of artifacts used in Buddhist ceremonies nearly a millennium ago, as they begin to unravel the mystery behind an ancient shrine where they were discovered.

The 77 artifacts include a vajra, a type of club with ribbed spherical heads, bells and censers thought to be from the Joseon era (1392-1910), or possibly even earlier.

Researchers at the Seoul Institute of Cultural Heritage were wrapping up an archaeological field survey on Dobong Seowon, a tiny shrine for two Joseon-era scholars in northern Seoul, when they came upon a pot containing the objects. Read more.

graduate classics students at Cambridge (res gerendae)

What’s truth got to do got to do with it? University Challenge and Ancient History

Doing a history PhD is pointless – according to (both of) my city-banker-friends. All I’m doing is accumulating knowledge with no real world application, they say, as they use their iPhone 5 and somebody else’s money to trade imaginary bits of paper with randomly assigned values. I take their ‘banter’ in good faith, but, after a while, I snap: “Yeah? Well knowing that Arthur Balfour was the second British Prime Minister of the 20th Century once won me £200 in a Pub Quiz.”

And with that, the cat’s out of the bag. The best way to make our knowledge seem relevant is by using it to show off in the 6 Bells or the Queen’s Head on a Monday night. The whole discipline of history is relegated to a series of ‘facts’ – to 1066 and all that – and nothing more. But with ancient history, actually defining a fact can sometimes be tricky, meaning that answering apparently simple questions can be a difficult business.

A Paxman photo for the ladies.

A Paxman photo for the ladies.

All of this is prompted by Jeremy Paxman asking ‘which Babylonian king was overthrown by the Persians in 539 BC?’ on this week’s University Challenge [10.50 into the episode]. My PhD, I should say, is about the Persian Empire, and so, for perhaps the first time ever, I actually thought I knew the answer to a UC question. ‘Nabonidus’, I hollered, as Trueblood of St Peter’s, Oxford, buzzed in. ‘Belshazzar’ he said. ‘Correct, yes’ said Paxo, looking a little surprised. Now if Paxman was surprised, I was staggered.

I’d never even heard of Belshazzar.

Now my PhD is not directly concerned with the Persian conquest of Babylon, nor do I know much about pre-Persian Babylon, but surely I should know the name of the king that the Persians defeated in 539? Baffled – and feeling more than a little stupid – I retreated to a corner to consult my textbooks.

Sure enough, the Cyrus Cylinder, a text composed by the victorious Persian King, Cyrus, in an attempt to make his rule palatable to the native Babylonians, mentions the defeat of a Babylonian ruler called Nabonidus – there are lots of translations online, one example is here. Equally, a chronicle compiled in Babylon, known to historians as the ‘Nabonidus Chronicle’, is pretty explicit in naming Nabonidus as the loser (online text here). Indeed, all of the contemporary texts on the Persian conquest of Babylon that I could find in an admittedly-short-but-by-no-means-limited search referred to Nabonidus as the last Babylonian king of Babylon.

The Cyrus Cylinder, now in the British Museum

The Cyrus Cylinder, now in the British Museum

So who the hell was Belshazzar? Well, he appears as the last Babylonian king in the Book of Daniel, when he calls upon Daniel to interpret some mysterious writing on the wall. Daniel concludes that the writing is indeed on the wall for the Babylonian Empire – hence the phrase. The Bible is unequivocal; but so is the Babylonian material. So which source is right?

Usually, when historians are faced with a problem like this, we weigh up the strengths and weaknesses of the two sources and decide which is more likely to be accurate. In this instance, we’d probably conclude that the contemporary Babylonian records can be believed – after all, surely Cyrus knew the name of the king that he had defeated – and that Daniel is either mistaken or mendacious. The Book of Daniel was written some 400 years after the events described (though no doubt using earlier sources), so an error is hardly surprising.

But in this case, things are a little more complicated. You see, there are some Babylonian references to Belshazzar, who seems to have been the eldest son of Nabonidus. Now Nabonidus gets a bad press in the ancient sources – he is accused of trying to make changes to Babylonian religious practice – and it is apparent from these texts that Nabonidus spent a number of years away from Babylon. Who did he leave to rule in his place? Belshazzar, of course. This text gives some details, but Belshazzar seems to have been given full royal powers, including control of the army.

Was Belshazzar, then, king in all but name? If that’s the case, it’s easy to see how some confusion could have crept into the Jewish tradition. Any non-Babylonians exposed to Babylonian rule might well assume that the person acting like the king, was, in fact, the king. Indeed, to all intents and purposes, from a Jewish perspective, Belshazzar was the king – the man who commanded the Babylonian armies, received foreign ambassadors, and so forth.

So was the answer on University Challenge wrong? I think so, but I can understand why it was accepted: the researchers simply hadn’t considered the merits of the source.

And that brings me back to my starting point. There isn’t really a simple answer to this question. In trying to work out whether Belshazzar was acceptable, I had to grapple with issues of source reliability; I had to consider how differing perspectives can lead to differing interpretations of facts; I had to think about how people might define the very idea of a king. If some people thought Belshazzar was their king, does it de facto make him their king?

If anything is pointless about History, it’s trying to reduce this process to a one-word answer on a television quiz show.

Too often, we try to get people interested in history through little “factual” details. But when this is our approach, is it any surprise that some of my mates think that what I do is pointless? After all, does the name of some long-dead king actually matter? What really mattered in 539, was the further expansion of the Persian Empire, transforming Persia into the world’s most powerful geo-political force. What is interesting about the Nabonidus or Belshazzar debate is precisely the fact that there is a debate. If you have a different idea from me about what it is to be a king, then you might well have a different answer to the question.

History, then, is only superficially about facts; really it’s about problems.

With that in mind, I’m involved in an outreach project which aims to make some of ancient history’s most contentious debates accessible to a wider audience. In late October, we’ll be releasing a film about a moment in the reign of Alexander the Great. Scholars are divided about Alexander’s motivation at this time; we’ll present all the evidence that there is and ask you which side of the debate you agree with. For some early information on the film follow @olympusnews on Twitter.

Faculty of Classics, Cambridge

University Lecturer in Classics (Ancient History)

University Lecturer in Classics (Ancient History)

AIA Fieldnotes

Wing Island Guided Walk

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
International Archaeology Day
Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 10:00am

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Gods, Machines, and Blogs

I recently became aware that Frauke Uhlenbruch, who chairs the EABS program unit on science fiction and the Bible, has a blog, gods and machines. It will obviously be of interest to academics who study sci-fi, comic books, and/or fandoms.

Also of interest is a site connected with the “Fan Studies Network” which works to keep scholars who study fandoms connected, and aware of upcoming conferences and events.


Shawn Graham (Electric Archaeology)

Historical Maps into Minecraft: My Workflow

The folks at the New York Public Library have a workflow and python script for translating historical maps into Minecraft. It’s a three-step (quite big steps) process. First, they generate a DEM (digital elevation model) from the historical map, using QGIS. This is saved as ‘elevation.tiff’. Then, using Inkscape, they trace over the features from the historical map that they want to translate into Minecraft. Different colours equal different kinds of blocks. This is saved as ‘features.tiff’. Then, using a custom python script, the two layers are combined to create a minecraft map, which can either be in ‘creative’ mode or ‘survival’ mode.

There are a number of unspoken steps in that workflow, including a number of dependencies for the python script that have to be installed first. Similarly, QGIS and its plugins also have a steep (sometimes hidden) learning curve. As does Inkscape. And Imagemagick. This isn’t a criticism; it’s just the way this kind of thing works. The problem, from my perspective, is that if I want to use this in the classroom, I have to guide 40 students with widely varying degrees of digital fluency.* I’ve found in the past that many of my students “didn’t study history to have to work with computers” and that the payoff sometimes (to them) doesn’t seem to have (immediate) value. The pros and cons of that kind of work shall be the post for another day.

Right now, my immediate problem is, how can I smooth the gradient of the learning curve? I will do this by providing 3 separate paths for creating the digital elevation model.

Path 1, for when real world geography is not the most important aspect.

It may be that the shape of the world described by the historical map is what is of interest, rather than the current topography of the world. For example, I could imagine a student wanting to explore the historical geography of the Chats Falls before they were flooded by the building of a hydro dam. Current topographic maps and DEMs are not useful. For this path, the student will need to use the process described by the NYPL folks:


QGIS 2.2.0 ( )

  • Activate Contour plugin
  • Activate GRASS plugin if not already activated

A map image to work from

  • We used a geo-rectified TIFF exported from this map but any high rez scan of a map with elevation data and features will suffice.


Layer > Add Raster Layer > [select rectified tiff]

  • Repeat for each tiff to be analyzed

Layer > New > New Shapefile Layer

  • Type: Point
  • New Attribute: add ‘elevation’ type whole number
  • remove id

Contour (plugin)

  • Vector Layer: choose points layer just created
  • Data field: elevation
  • Number: at least 20 (maybe.. number of distinct elevations + 2)
  • Layer name: default is fine

Export and import contours as vector layer:

  • right click save (e.g. port-washington-contours.shp)
  • May report error like “Only 19 of 20 features written.” Doesn’t seem to matter much

Layer > Add Vector Layer > [add .shp layer just exported]

Edit Current Grass Region (to reduce rendering time)

  • clip to minimal lat longs

Open Grass Tools

  • Modules List: Select “”
  • Select recently added contours layer
  • Run, View output, and close

Open Grass Tools

  • Modules List: Select “”
  • Name of input vector map: (layer just generated)
  • Attribute field: elevation
  • Run, View output, and close

Open Grass Tools

  • Modules List: Select “”
  • Name of existing raster map containing colors: (layer just generated)
  • Run (will take a while), View output, and close

Hide points and contours (and anything else above bw elevation image) Project > Save as Image

You may want to create a cropped version of the result to remove un-analyzed/messy edges

The hidden, tacit bits here involve installing the Countour plugin, and working with GRASS tools (especially the bit about ‘editing the current grass region’, which always is fiddly, I find). Students pursuing this path will need a lot of one-on-one.

Path 2, for when you already have a shapefile from a GIS:

This was cooked up for me by Joel Rivard, one of our GIS & Map specialists in the Library. He writes,

1) In the menu, go to Layer > Add Vector Layer. Find the point shapefile that has the elevation information.
Ensure that you select point in the file type.
2) In the menu, go to Raster > Interpolation. Select “Field 3″ (this corresponds to the z or elevation field) for Interpolation attribute and click on “Add”.
Feel free to keep the rest as default and save the output file as an Image (.asc, bmp, jpg or any other raster – probably best to use .asc since that’s what MicroDEM likes.
We’ll talk about MicroDEM in a moment. I haven’t tested this path yet, myself. But it should work.

Path 3 For when modern topography is fine for your purposes

In this situation, modern topography is just what you need.

1. Grab Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data for the area you are interested in (it downloads as a tiff.)

2. Install MicroDEM and all of its bits and pieces (the installer wants a whole bunch of other supporting bits; just say yes. MicroDEM is PC software, but I’ve run it on a Mac within WineBottler).

3. This video tutorial covers working with MicroDEM and Worldpainter:

But here’s some screenshots – basically, you open up your .tiff or your .asc image file within MicroDEM, crop to the area you are interested in, and then convert the image to grayscale:

MicroDEM: open image, crop image.

MicroDEM: open image, crop image.

Convert to grayscale

Convert to grayscale

Remove legends, marginalia

Remove legends, marginalia

Save your grayscaled image as a .tiff.
Regardless of the path you took (and think about the historical implications of those paths) you now have a gray scale DEM image that you can use to generate your mindcraft world.

Converting your grayscale DEM to a Minecraft World

At this point, the easiest thing to do is to use WorldPainter. It’s free, but you can donate to its developers to help them maintain and update it. Now, the video shown above shows how to load your DEM image into WorldPainter. It parses the black-to-white pixel values and turns them into elevations. You have the option of setting where ‘sea level’ is on your map (so elevations below that point are covered with water). There are many, many options here; play with it! Adam Clarke, who made the video, suggests scaling up your image to 900%, but I’ve found that that makes absolutely monstrous worlds. You’ll have to play around to see what makes most sense for you, but with real-world data of any area larger than a few kilometres on a side, I think 100 to 200% is fine.

Now, the crucial bit for us: you can import an image into WorldPainter to use as an overlay to guide the placement of blocks, terrain, buildings, whatever. So, rather than me simply regurgitating what Adam narrates, go watch the video. Save as a .world file for editing; export to Minecraft when you’re ready (be warned: big maps can take *a very long time* to render. That’s another reason why I don’t scale up the way Adam suggests).

Go play.

To get you started: here are a number of DEMs and WorldPainter world files that I’ve been playing with. Try ‘em out for yourself.


* another problem I’ve encountered is that my features colours don’t map onto the index values for blocks in the script. I’ve tried modifying the script to allow for a bit of fuzziness (a kind of, ‘if the pixel value is between x and y, treat as z’). I end up with worlds filled with water. If I run the script on the Fort Washington maps provided by NYPL, it works perfectly. The script is supposed to only be looking at the R of the RGB values when it assigns blocks, but I wonder if there isn’t something else going on. I had it work once, correctly, for me – but I used MS Paint to recolour my image with the exact colours from the Fort Washington map. Tried it again, exact same workflow on a different map, nada. Nyet. Zip. Zilch. Just a whole of tears and heartache.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Rising temperatures could destroy Greenland's archaeological treasures

There is an increasing risk that wooden and bone implements from the first people on Greenland will be consumed by the sea, destroyed by fungi or pierced by willow scrub roots in the future. This is partly happening, because the average temperature has risen by two to three degrees.

To secure the many archaeological finds, which have not yet been excavated, the National Museums of Denmark and Greenland have started a new project that, among other things, will result in an interactive map showing which places are most threatened by future climate change.

"To safeguard the more than 6,000 archaeological sites on Greenland, it is important that we map the threats and find the places, where the situation is worst," says Jørgen Hollesen, senior researcher in geography at the National Museum of Denmark’s Conservation department. "The ultimate aim is a tool that can give us an idea of where to focus first." Read more.

BiblePlaces Blog

Christian Inscription on Grand Mosque of Damascus

I came across this interesting statement yesterday when looking over some photos in Earthly Footsteps of the Man of Galilee.

The Grand Mosque of Damascus is one of the most interesting buildings in the East.  It is quadrangular in form, one hundred and sixty-three yards wide, by one hundred and eight yards long.  A lofty wall of fine masonry surrounds it.  A few years ago the building was almost destroyed by fire. 

One of the most wonderful things about this mosque is an inscription which is pointed out to the tourist.  It runs over an arch in the second story.  You can see even in this picture the Greek letters which form the following sentence: "Thy kingdom, O Christ, is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations."  This is the Septuagint rendering of Psalms, cxlv [145]: 13, with the simple addition of the name of Christ.  What a curious inscription to find on a Moslem mosque!  And yet, how true it is that the kingdom of Christ is an everlasting kingdom.  To-day the power of Mohammedanism is waning. 

279 Inscription, Grand Mosque, ef0279

Grand Mosque Lintel with Inscription
Photo from
Earthly Footsteps of the Man of Galilee

A 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal gives the history: Muslims reused stones of the church they razed. The builder of the mosque, al-Walid, was also responsible for the construction of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Unfortunately the last observation in the paragraph above has proven false. But that is in accord with Scripture which speaks of the numerous enemies present on earth when Jesus returns (Ps 2; Zech 14; Rev 19).

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery Online Publications

Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery: Collections Research


Birmingham Cuneiform Texts - Translations

  • The tablets translated in Birmingham Cuneiform Texts - Translations Part 1 (PDF document) were first published in Watson, P.J., Catalogue of Cuneiform Tablets in Birmingham City Museum Volume 1 – Neo-Sumerian Texts from Drehem (Aris & Phillips, Warminster, 1986). The majority of the tablets here come from the Sumerian town of Puzrish-Dagan which was on the modern site of Drehem in southern Iraq.
  • The tablets translated in Birmingham Cuneiform Texts - Translations Part 2 (PDF document) were first published in Watson, P.J., Catalogue of Cuneiform Tablets in Birmingham City Museum Volume 2 – Neo-Sumerian Texts from Umma and Other Sites (Aris & Phillips, Warminster, 1993). The majority of the tablets in Part 2 below came from the Sumerian city of Umma in what is now southern Iraq.
  • At the time the standard practice for editions of such tablets was to publish copies (line drawings), summary contents and indices making them accessible only to those who could read the cuneiform script. Subsequently they were made available online by the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative where scans of the tablets can be found together with transliterations. However, as neither the original publication nor the cdli site contain translations it has been decided to make these available here. To access those scans relevant to Birmingham Cuneiform Texts Part 1, log on to click on cdli search and then select primary publication “begins with” and enter BCT 1 and click search. To access those scans relevant to Birmingham Cuneiform Texts Part 2 enter BCT 2.

The Archaeology News Network

Architectural elements emerge at Amphipolis tomb

Most of the earth around the two sphinxes found under an apse at the Kasta Tumulus in Amphipolis has been removed, the Culture ministry announced on Thursday, revealing the upper register of a marble lintel with frescoes under the base of the sphinxes. Below the base of the Sphinxes, the upper portion of the marble doorway, covered with  a fresco imitating an Ionic architrave is decorated with red, blue and black...

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Archaeological News on Tumblr

Amsterdam's Allard Pierson Museum keeps disputed Crimea treasure to avoid legal fight

THE HAGUE (AFP).- A Dutch museum said on Wednesday it would delay the return of Crimean archaeological treasures it is exhibiting, fearing a legal tussle with either Russia or Ukraine.

The priceless medieval artefacts, on loan from four Crimean museums, went on display at Amsterdam’s Allard Pierson Museum in February, less than a month before the peninsula was annexed by Russia.

The museums, now under Russian authority, have asked for them to be returned, while the Ukrainian government in Kiev has also claimed the treasures.

The exhibition, entitled “The Crimea: Gold and Secrets from the Black Sea”, features items spanning the 2nd century BC to the late medieval era, including a ceremonial Scythian helmet made from gold, as well as a lacquered box, originally from China, which in Roman times found its way to Crimea via the Silk Road. Read more.

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Rethinking Achilles and PTSD - No, no, no.

Rethinking Achilles and PTSD | rogueclassicism:

In his book chapter Beyond the Universal Soldier: Combat Trauma in Classical Antiquity, Dr Jason Crowley argues against the commonly-held idea that sufferers of PTSD can be found as far back in history as Achilles and Odysseus.
Having looked at Crowley's bio (here), he's obviously a very young academic, and so  whilst one should encourage new researchers ... as someone who's been diagnosed and treated for PTSD, and has a decent knowledge of history, I think he is talking out of his arse.

PTSD may be a 'new' label, but shell shock is pretty well documented during the first World War and there are plenty of descriptions of the symptoms from Antiquity that are clearly PTSD, so no, it wasn't 'invented' after Vietnam.

I've blogged about ancient PTSD here and here and briefly here ... but if you don't want to take my word for it, take that of Dr Jonathan Shay, who has decades of experience working with people suffering from PTSD and can speak from experience. The BMCR review of his Achilles in Vietnam is here; Achilles in Vietnam at Amazon UK and Achilles in Vietnam at Amazon US.

I can respect people having different views on most issues - for example who's buried at Amphipolis - but it takes a prize twat to dismiss a well attested and well studied illness that so many of our veterans suffer from. When everyone else is campaigning for better treatment for veterans, one has to wonder what kind of narcissist insists on pushing this kind of crappy pseudo-scientific nonsense - and why

American Philological Association

Magazine for Prospective Law Students Discovers Classics

preLaw, a publication distributed to undergraduates considering attendance at law schools and their advisors, has just published an article on the connections between college majors and admission to law school.  Classics, as usual, does well.  SCS member Benjamin Acosta-Hughes of Ohio State and Executive Director Adam Blistein are quoted in the article

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

A New Allen and Greenough

A New Allen and Greenough
With support from the Mellon Digital Humanities Fund and the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies at Dickinson, we have completed a new digital version of that perennially useful tool, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, edited by J.B. Greenough, G.L. Kitteredge, A.A. Howard, and Benjamin L. D’Ooge. Boston: Ginn & Company, 1903.
The project involved re-scanning the book to have good quality page images, then editing a set of existing XML files kindly provided by the Perseus Project. We added to that the newly digitized index, which was not in the Perseus XML. The purpose there was to make the book browsable via the index, which is important for user utility, and absent in all other online versions. On March 23, 2014, Kaylin Bednarz (Dickinson ’15) finished revision of XML files for Allen & Grenough, and the creation of html files based on the new XML. She was assisted and trained in the use of Oxygen software (which converts the XML into web-ready html) by Matthew Kochis, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, who also helped with day to day project management.
In late March, Dickinson web developer Ryan Burke uploaded the html and XML files to Dickinson servers, and created the web interface for A&G in html. This revealed issues of formatting: indentations were often not preserved, resulting in lack of clarity. Some character formatting was not right, and footnotes from the original print resource were not clearly displayed. Forward and back buttons had to be put in for each of the 638 sections.
On May 20, 2014, Meagan Ayer (PhD in classics and ancient history, University of Buffalo, 2013) began work hand-editing Allen & Greenough html files, removing errors and fixing formatting, adding navigational infrastructure using Adobe Dreamweaver. A few missing XML files had to be added and converted to html, and those finishing touches were put on last week.
The differences between our version of A&G and others available on the internet are:
  • Page images attached to every section
  • Analytical index makes finding what you need easier
  • Functioning word search for the entire work
  • Attractive presentation with readable fonts and formatting
  • Fully edited to remove spelling errors and OCR misreads (further error notifications appreciated!)
And of course the whole is freely available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license. We plan to systematically link to this version of A&G in our Latin commentaries, and we are planning to have a similar work on the Greek side up soon:
Thomas Dwight Goodell, A School Grammar of Attic Greek (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1902). This excellent work was scanned by the Internet Archive. Last year Bruce Robertson of Mont Allison University kindly performed the OCR using Rigaudon, the output of which is available on Lace. At Dickinson the OCR output was edited and the XML and html pages created by Christina Errico. Ryan Burke has created the web interface. Meagan Ayer is in the process of editing and correcting the html pages. So look for that in the next few months!
And see also AWOL's  list of

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Collecting and Listening

As a member of Kostis Kourelis’ book club, we were encouraged to read Amanda Petrusich’s Do Not Sell at Any Price (2014). The book describes the remarkable world of 78 rpm record collectors. 78 rpm records were produced largely before the war (although they were made until the 1960s) and usually contained pop music, “race music” (including blues and jazz that were marketed largely to an African American audience), and “ethnic music” that was not widely played on the radio. The discs themselves measured 10 inches across and were usually made of  a hodgepodge of unreliable materials that allowed for the fledgling recording business able to produce and circulate music quickly. Most of the masters for these cheap records are lost and in many cases the only recordings that we have of prewar pop music exist on the handful of poorly manufactured discs held dear by collectors.

In fact, Petrusich argued that collectors of prewar 78s attracted the attention of folk and blues artists starting in the 1960s (and Harry Smith’s 1952 Anthology of American Folk Music was often their introduction to music recorded originally on 78 rpm discs) and spurred the popular revival of these genres. This connection to 78s  has continued to attract the attention of Jack White and a handful of other oldey timey music fans. 

I won’t review this wonderful book, but I do want to use it to make a few little observations about how we listen to music (and some of my comments relate to my interest in recent trends among audiophiles).

1. Authentic Sound. One of the most remarkable things about the survival of 78 rpm records is the incredibly poor quality of many of the prewar discs. First off, the record labels made these discs of schellac which was a rather fragile and inconsistent material that did not lend itself to consistent pressings. Compounding matters is that up until 1924 or so, recordings were made by the “acoustical” method. That is, the performers played into a horn that amplified the sound enough to move a cutting stylus across a master cylinder of wax. These recordings could not capture the same sonic range as later electrical recordings made into microphones, but are more coveted by collectors. The inconsistent character of shellac discs, however, continued to compromise quality at playback as did the tendency to press records that did not play at precisely 78rpm and used various frequency response curves idiosyncratic to particular labels.

As a result, the sound from 78rpm discs might be described as inconsistent, but to some extent the sound we hear from them defines an era of recorded music. There is an undeniable authenticity that audiophiles, in their relentless pursuit of perfect sound, tend to overlook. Recent debates about the LP revival, for example, tend to focus on the idea that LPs sound BETTER than the compressed sound of mp3 recordings so popular with “the kids these days.”

At the same time, it is hard to deny that our compressed-to-distortion mp3s are the authentic sound of  music for this generation just as the crackling, warped, and distorted sound of relatively inexpensive 78s was the sound of recorded music prior to the war. I’ll admit that I’m not a LP guy and, in fact, I find the sound of digitized 78s difficult to enjoy. At the same time, I’m not as mortified by the sound of MP3s, as say, Neil Young or other audiophiles. While I still prefer a CD or even a high-resolution download, reading Petrusich’s book has reminded me that there is something undeniably authentic about both 78s and mp3s.

2. The Song. One of the great tropes in the audiophile press is how the kids these days don’t have the patience for long-playing records or even albums. They just want the poppy singles, loaded onto mediocre sounding portable mp3 players (so called “iPods”), and lasting no more than 3 minutes. In fact, some argue that they simply don’t have the attention span for a LP.  This, of course, is crazy as these same young music consumers can watch movies, the NFL, and go out to concerts in healthy numbers and all of these things last for longer than a single song. 

More than that, the LP era was an aberration in how we listen to recorded music. The 78 era, lasting from the late teens to the World War II, was all about 3 minute singles. And the average listener couldn’t afford to sit still for too long because once the song was done, they have to get up and flip over the 78! Perhaps our short attention span for recorded music is the norm, and the LP generation was, in fact, a group not only too lazy to get up and flip over an album, but also dulled their music senses by subjecting them to endless, pointless, mediocre b-sides on long-playing records.

3. Rituals of Listening. One of the great aspects of Petrusich’s book is how she describes these 78 collectors listening to their prized possessions. None of these guys (and, yeah, they’re almost all men) hesitated at all to PLAY their records for the author. More than that, almost all of them clearly enjoyed hearing the music. They tapped their feet, squirmed in their chairs, fell into trances, gestured in the air, and generally reveled in the listening experience. They felt the intensity of these authentic listening experiences.

More than that, once they began to listen to 78s, they listened to more and more. The records flew off their shelves and onto their turn table. More than once the author had to extract herself from an emotionally draining listening session before her host was done spinning records. 

I found her descriptions of these events to be among the most compelling parts of the book. The way these seasoned collectors still found something invigorating in these poorly produced singles reminded me of enduring power of simple rituals.

It also made me want to go and put a CD in my ole CD player (a 1992 vintage Nakamichi CD4), warm up the tube amp (a very recent Audio Research VSi60), and listen to my big Zu Omen Defs with their old school full-range drivers. 

The Archaeology News Network

Ancient kitchen found in Sagalassos

A 2,000-year-old kitchen, which dates back to the late Roman era, has been discovered in the ancient city of Sagalassos in Turkey's southern province of Burdur. A kitchen was completely unearthed in the ancient city of Sagalassos. ‘It is very small  compared to modern-day kitchens,’ says Jereon Poblome [Credit: AA]Excavations in the ancient city started in early June, but the discovery of the kitchen was only reported last...

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Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

4. Membres associés

Liste des Membres associés des différentes composantes d'Orient et Méditerranée classés par ordre alphabétique (mise à jour septembre 2012)

Membres statutaires
Membres retraités et honoraires
Doctorants et post-doctorants

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  • AGOSTINI Alessio - Mondes sémitiques - Enseignant chercheur (Rome, Université "La Sapienza") Contact

  • BARRAS Vincent - Médecine grecque
  • BAZOU Athena - Médecine grecque
  • BEGUIN Daniel - Médecine grecque - Enseignant chercheur (ENS Paris)
  • BOZOYAN Azat - Monde byzantin - Enseignant chercheur (Institut des Études Orientales d'Erevan) Contact

  • CACOUROS Michel - Monde byzantin - (EPHE Paris)
  • COBOLET Guy - Médecine grecque
  • CORVISIER Jean-Nicolas - Médecine grecque - Enseignant chercheur (Université d'Arras)

  • DE LUCIA Roberto - Médecine grecque
  • DE STEFANI Claudio - Médecine grecque
  • DEBIÉ Muriel - Mondes sémitiques - Chercheur (IRHT) Contact
  • DRIDI Hedi - Mondes sémitiques - Enseignant chercheur (Université de Neufchâtel) Contact
  • DRIKENKO Antoine - Médecine grecque

  • ELFASSI Jacques - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paul Verlaine-Metz) Contact

  • FARES-DRAPPEAU Saba - Mondes sémitiques - Enseignant chercheur Contact
  • FORTUNA Stefania - Médecine grecque - Enseignant chercheur (Université d'Ancone)

  • GABORIT Justine - Mondes sémitiques Contact
  • GARCIA NOVO Elsa - Médecine grecque
  • GAROFALO Ivan - Médecine grecque - Enseignant chercheur (Université de Sienne)
  • GASCOU Jean - Monde byzantin - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact

  • JANNIARD Sylvain - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • JORI Alberto - Médecine grecque

  • LAGARCE Jacques - Mondes sémitiques
  • LAMAGNA Mario - Médecine grecque - Chercheur (Università degli studi di Napoli "Federico II") Contact
  • LAMI Alessandro - Médecine grecque - Enseignant chercheur (Università degli studi di Pisa)
  • LEMEUR Nadine - Médecine grecque - Enseignant chercheur (ENS Lyon)
  • LEVET Jean-Pierre - Médecine grecque
  • LEVY Mélina - Médecine grecque
  • LOZACHMEUR Hélène - Mondes sémitiques Contact
  • LUCCIONI Pascal - Médecine grecque

  • MARGUERON MULLER Béatrice - Mondes sémitiques - Chercheur (CNRS) Contact
  • MASSON Emilia - Mondes sémitiques - Chercheur (CNRS) Contact
  • MASULLO Rita - Médecine grecque
  • MATINO Giuseppina - Médecine grecque
  • MATOÏAN Valérie - Mondes sémitiques - Chercheur (CNRS) Contact
  • MULLER Béatrice - Mondes sémitiques - Chercheur (CNRS) Contact

  • NUTKOWICZ Hélène - Mondes sémitiques - Chercheur (CNRS) Contact
  • NUTTON Viviane - Médecine grecque

  • OUZOUNIAN Agnès - Monde byzantin

  • PÉREZ CAÑIZARES Pilar - Médecine grecque
  • PETIT Caroline - Médecine grecque
  • PUECH Vincent - Monde byzantin - Enseignant chercheur (Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin) Contact

  • QUILLARD Brigitte - Mondes sémitiques Contact

  • RAPTI Ioanna - Monde byzantin - Enseignant chercheur (Université de Provence Aix-Marseille) Contact
  • RIAUD Jean - Mondes sémitiques - Enseignant chercheur Contact
  • ROSA Pietro - Médecine grecque
  • ROSELLI Amneris - Médecine grecque - Enseignant chercheur (Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli) Contact

  • SERANDOUR Arnaud - Mondes sémitiques - Enseignant chercheur Contact

  • TACCHINI Isabella - Médecine grecque
  • TEIXIDOR Javier - Mondes sémitiques - Enseignant chercheur Contact

  • VAN DER EIJK Philippe Médecine grecque
  • VARDANYAN Edda - Monde byzantin - Chercheur (Institut des manuscrits anciensde la République d'Arménie) Contact
  • VILLARD Laurence - Médecine grecque - Contact
  • VON STADEN Heinrich - Médecine grecque

  • WILKINS John - Médecine grecque
  • WOLFF Catherine - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Lyon 3) Contact

2. Membres retraités et honoraires

Liste des Membres retraités et honoraires des différentes équipes d'Orient et Méditerranée classés par ordre alphabétique (mise à jour septembre 2012)

Membres statutaires
Doctorants et post-doctorants
Membres associés

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  • BALARD Michel - Monde byzantin - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris 1)
  • [BERLANDINI Jocelyne-art1437] - Mondes pharaoniques - Ingénieur de recherche (CNRS)
  • DEBRU Armelle - Médecine grecque - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris 5) - Contact

  • GARZYA Antonio - Médecine grecque
  • PICARD Olivier - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • PIETRI Luce - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV)
  • VANNIER Jean-François - Monde byzantin
  • ZAGDOUN Mary-Anne - Antiquité classique et tardive - Directeur de recherche émérite (CNRS) Contact]

1. Membres statutaires

Liste de tous les membres statutaires des différentes équipes d'Orient et Méditerranée classés par ordre alphabétique (mise à jour septembre 2013)

Membres retraités et honoraires
Doctorants et post-doctorants
Membres associés

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  • ALESSI Robert - Médecine grecque - Enseignant chercheur (Université de Poitiers) Contact

  • BARATTE François - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • BERTRAND Estelle - Antiquité classique et tardive - (Université du Mans)
  • BONHEME Marie-Ange - Mondes pharaoniques - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV)
  • BONNET Charles - Mondes pharaoniques - Enseignant chercheur (Académie des Belles Lettres)
  • BRESC Cécile - Islam médiéval - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) -Contact

  • CHARPENTIER Agnès - Direction - Ingénieur d'études (CNRS) Contact
  • CORDIER Pierre - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur ( Université de Poitiers) Contact

  • DALIX Anne-Sophie - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • DEMAREE Robert - Mondes pharaoniques - "Affiliated fellow" (Université de Leyde)
  • DEMONT Paul- Médecine grecque Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact

  • EGETMEYER Markus - Antiquité classique et tardive Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact

  • FARNOUX Alexandre - Antiquité classique et tardive - Directeur de l'École Française d'Athènes Contact
  • FAVRY Nathalie - Mondes pharaoniques -Ingénieur d'études (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • FORGEAU Annie - Mondes pharaoniques - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact

  • GINOUX Nathalie - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • GIHANE Zaki - Mondes pharaoniques - Chargée de recherche (CNRS)
  • GROSLAMBERT Agnès - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Jean Moulin-Lyon 3) Contact

  • HAQUET Jérôme - Mondes sémitiques - Ingénieur de recherche (CNRS) Contact
  • HAMIDOVIC David - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Catholique de l'Ouest) Contact
  • HERVEUX Linda - Mondes sémitiques - Chercheur Contact

  • JOLY Martine - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact

  • LANDELLE Marc - Antiquité classique et tardive - (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV)
  • LE BOHEC Yann - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • LE MOIGNE Philippe - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV)
  • LEFEVRE François - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV)
  • LÉGER Régis - Mondes pharaoniques - Aide-Bibliothécaire en CDD (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV)
  • LEVIEILS Xavier - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Catholique de l'Ouest) Contact
  • LONNET Antoine - Mondes sémitiques - Chargé de recherche (CNRS) Contact

  • MAHFOUZ El-Sayed - Mondes pharaoniques - Enseignant chercheur associé (Université Assiout)
  • MEDINI Lorenzo - Mondes pharaoniques - Doctorant - Allocataire-moniteur (Univ. Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV)
  • MILHAU Marc - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université de Poitiers) Contact
  • MONFRIN Françoise - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • MORLET Sébastien - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • MULLIEZ Dominique - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • MUNNICH Olivier - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact

  • NACCACHE Alice - Direction - Ingénieur de recherche (CNRS) Contact
  • NORTHEDGE Alastair - Islam médiéval - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris 1) Contact
  • PAGES Paule - Monde byzantin - Ingénieur d'études (Université Paris 1) Contact
  • PFIRSCH Luc - Mondes pharaoniques - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact

  • ROMANACCE François-Xavier - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • ROUSSEAU Nathalie - Médecine grecque - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV)
  • ROUX Josselin - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université Catholique de l'Ouest) Contact

  • SOLER Emmanuel - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université de ROUEN) Contact

  • TALLET Pierre - Mondes pharaoniques - Enseignant chercheur (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV) Contact
  • TRÉDÉ Monique - Médecine grecque Contact

  • VANNIER Marie-Anne - Antiquité classique et tardive - Enseignant chercheur (Université de Metz) Contact

  • WERNHARD Matthias - Mondes sémitiques - Chargé de recherche Contact

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Heavenly Hierarchy

This past Sunday in my Sunday school class, we dived back into the Letter of James after a long break.

We didn’t get far.

We were up to James 1:17, and I decided not to let the cosmological and theological assumptions behind the notion of good gifts coming down from above, and God as the “Father of lights,” pass by without comment.

For most ancient people, the lights in the sky were the hosts of heaven, celestial beings which were far above us but near enough to see. Placing God above them, unchanging, was often coupled with the view that matters in our realm are overseen directly by celestial subordinates.

Talking about God as “up there” situates God much further away, if one’s view of how far one can go in that direction is informed by the Hubble telescope.

James Adamson renders the entire phrase in James 1:17 in the following interesting way: “the Father of lights, whose nature suffers neither the variation of orbit nor any shadowing out (as in eclipse)” (The Epistle of James, p.97).

We also found ourselves talking about the reference to God’s unchanging character, and the contrast with other texts which depict God as repenting. While some might approach the discrepancy by trying to make one set of assertions fit with the other, it makes more sense

The notion of “hosts of heaven” reflects the idea that the skies above us are populated by luminous beings, who regularly come among us. It is no surprise that science fiction and the mythology of UFOs often intersect with the themes and stories of ancient mythology.

And so, in concluding, let me share this cartoon which illustrates what the notion of a celestial hierarchy might look like, transplanted into our present scientific era:

Universe created by Number 13

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

3. Doctorants et Post-doctorants

Liste des Doctorants et Post-doctorants des différentes composantes d'Orient et Méditerranée classés par équipe (mise à jour septembre 2012)

Membres statutaires
Membres retraités et honoraires
Membres associés

- MONDES SÉMITIQUES : Doctorants et Post-doctorants

- MONDE BYZANTIN : Doctorants et Post-doctorants

- MÉDECINE GRECQUE : Doctorants et Post-Doctorants

- ISLAM MÉDIÉVAL : Doctorants et Post-doctorants

- MONDES PHARAONIQUES : Doctorants et Post-doctorants

- ANTIQUITÉ CLASSIQUE ET TARDIVE : Doctorants et Post-Doctorants

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Guernsey's Iron Age dig 'secret' to stop metal detector users

Archaeologists digging at an Iron Age settlement are keeping the location a secret in a bid to stop people with metal detectors spoiling the site.

The settlement in Guernsey dates back 2,000 years and it is thought mostly pottery will be found.

Archaeologist Dr Phil de Jersey said keeping it a secret gave them a “head start”.

He added there had been a “growing problem” with people using metal detectors on land without permission.

The dig is expected to last up to three weeks.

Dr de Jersey said: “I wanted to be a bit cautious at the start. Read more.

American Philological Association

Search for Editor of Classical Outlook

The American Classical League invites applications for the position of Editor of The Classical Outlook, one of the most widely circulated Classics journals in North America.  The Editor is responsible for the evaluation of materials for publication, with the assistance of an editorial board, and for the production and mailing (via mailing service) of four quarterly issues per annum.  The position is not salaried, but a generous travel budget is provided to cover costs of attending the ACL's annual Institute each June as well as a mid-year Executive Committee meeting and other professional meetings.  The Editor's home institution (generally a college or university) is expected to provide released time, office space, and/or clerical assistance at a level sufficient to produce high quality camera-ready copy for printing.

Corinthian Matters

Zigzags (and Technology) in Early Corinth

Live Science seems to have made something of the most recent Hesperia article on the Panayia Field by Guy Sanders, Sarah James, Ioulia Tzonou-Herbst, and James Herbst. The Hesperia piece from early 2014 offers an important synthetic overview of remains in the Panayia field dating from the Neolithic age to the Hellenistic period excavated in 1995-2007.

The short piece from Live Science, which was published online yesterday, focuses on the “Zigzag Art”  on Geometric vessels from a sarcophagus of Corinth dating to the early 8th century BC. It suggests that the discovery was recent, but those tombs were dug almost a decade ago now. Here’s a bit from the article:

“Archaeologists working at the ancient city of Corinth, Greece, have discovered a tomb dating back around 2,800 years that has pottery decorated with zigzagging designs.

The tomb was built sometime between 800 B.C. and 760 B.C., a time when Corinth was emerging as a major power and Greeks were colonizing the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea.

The tomb itself consists of a shaft and burial pit, the pit having a limestone sarcophagus that is about 5.8 feet (1.76 meters) long, 2.8 feet (0.86 m) wide and 2.1 feet (0.63 m) high. When researchers opened the sarcophagus, they found a single individual had been buried inside, with only fragments of bones surviving…..

[Break to zigzags]

….The vessels were decorated with a variety of designs, including wavy, zigzagging lines and meandering patterns that look like a maze. This style of pottery was popular at the time, and archaeologists often refer to this as Greece’s “Geometric” period.

You can read the rest of the piece here. There are plenty of zigzags in the Hesperia article, of course, but, as the author himself notes, there’s nothing really exceptional about them on Geometric vases. The author missed the real story here, which is about the early technological achievement of the population of Corinth.  These limestone sarcophagi are absolutely massive — they include the longest and largest found to date — and indicate major displays of wealth in burial and status differentiation. Especially important are their early date, which pushes stonecutting back to 950-900 BC, and weight (1.5-2.5 tons), which indicates sophisticated technological capabilities to transfer the monolithic pieces out of the quarry below the Temple of Apollo and lower into a trench cut for burial in the Panayia field. I was at Panayia field when several workmen pried open the lid from one of these sarcophagi. The lid itself is massive.

It’s great to see the Panayia field excavations get some press, and the half dozen photos presented from the excavations are fun. But for the implications of these discoveries, look at the Hesperia article.

The Archaeology News Network

Trove of Buddhist artifacts uncovered in South Korea

South Korean researchers said Thursday they have uncovered dozens of artifacts used in Buddhist ceremonies nearly a millennium ago, as they begin to unravel the mystery behind an ancient shrine where they were discovered. A Buddhist ritual bell from the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) uncovered at the site  of Dobong Seowon, a Joseon-era (1392-1910) shrine in northern Seoul  [Credit: Seoul Institute of Cultural Heritage]The 77...

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graduate classics students at Cambridge (res gerendae)

August 19th: Birthday/Deathday

Tuesday was my birthday; as is my personal tradition, I made a cake to celebrate.   Instead of the traditional, round-with-white-frosting-and-coloured-flowers format, however, I went for a… monumental creation. See, August the 19th, 2014 was a special day, not just for me, but for classics as well. It was my 25th birthday, the day I celebrated a quarter century on Earth; it was also the 2,000th anniversary of the day the Emperor Augustus departed the Earth on August the 19th, 14 CE. As a classicist, who specialises in Augustan literature, this coincidence was not lost on me, and I knew I had to mark it in a special way. So, I decided to make a cake depicting a monument: the Mausoleum of Augustus, in the Campus Martius in Rome:

2014-08-19 16.11.12

[Yummy cake-mausoleum]

[Cool, but non-yummy artist's reconstruction]


I am an enthusiastic cake-decorator, and competed in the 4-H cake decorating while at school in Indiana. At one point, I dreamed of going to culinary school and becoming a pastry chef; my highschool Latin teacher made a convincing case for a university career instead. I guess we can all see where that has led (thanks, Mrs. Craig!) Nevertheless, I still keep my art up by making cakes for my birthday and other special occasions. It’s a best-of-both worlds situation. Now, I get to study classics (which I love), and use my knowledge of the world to inform a private art that I can share with my friends and family.

Despite the building being a wrecked shell now, I went ahead and interpreted the Mausoleum as it might have looked in its prime. This was always destined to be a subjective interpretation; archaeologists posit a number of different interpretations of its original form. Being thoroughly ignorant on the subject, I had to synthesize the different versions. It was made even less realistic by the caricature effect that cake decorating has. Still, I think I managed to capture its spirit to a certain degree. When adapting a form from the real world to the cake world, you have to interpret a lot and see the cake-i-ness within every shape. Buildings are good for this, and monuments, which tend to be bulky and resting on strong foundations, are even better.

14 CE

[Detail of my inscription for Augustus]

[The Mausoleum as it appears today]

            From the reconstructions, the cypress trees called out to me, especially. They called from the pages of the Metamorphoses, the poem which is the subject of my PhD. Many people know Ovid for his dendromorphic tales – Apollo and Daphne, rendered beautifully in marble by Bernini, is a crowd favourite. Cyparissus himself, the boy whose grief over the death of his pet deer caused him to turn into a cypress tree, is given a place of honour in Ovid’s narrative of the mythic bard Orpheus (Met. 10.120-42). So, in honour of my beloved poet, I created some dendromorphic cypress figures. Their bodies are made of fondant, held up with bamboo skewers; their trunks and leaves are made of coloured icing.

That I should be compelled to sneak a reference to Ovid into the cake serves to illustrate my rather complicated feelings towards, and dare I say, relationship with Augustus. On the one hand, he exiled my favourite poet, and by all accounts ruined his life (although Ovid did produce masterpieces in exile, as well). Augustus’ treatment of Ovid is a contentious point among Ovidian scholars, and there is a fair amount of animosity that we naturally feel towards him. At the same time, for better or worse, he transformed the Roman world, and helped create the age that is the focus of our study. By ending the civil strife of the preceding century, and solidifying the perennially fractural power system in Rome, he did establish the kind of peaceful tranquillity that in part made Ovid’s career as a poet of leisure possible. Furthermore, his hypocrisy, tyranny, and megalomania provided Ovid with a rich font from which to draw material for his work. He meant something to everyone: Vergil, Horace and Ovid; but he never meant the same thing to two people. His life was a blip in the history of man, but the culture he caused to come about (whether or not by his own design) stands as a legacy that impacts our lives today.   In short, I may not love him, but I love to hate him; I may not want him, but I certainly need him. He commands respect, even while he deserves humility. So, in typically Ovidian spirit, since I was destined to share my birthday with him, I decided to praise with loaded irony. I depicted a monument to the man’s life, but one that signifies also his death. I added sentinel trees to watch over him, but gave them human faces to remind him of the poet he tried to shun completely. It’s a best-of-both worlds situation. I think Ovid would be proud.

2014-08-19 16.07.38 2014-08-19 16.07.50 2014-08-19 16.08.01 2014-08-19 16.08.13

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

This Day in Ancient History:

ante diem xii kalendas septembres

  • Consualia — festival involving games/chariot races in honour of Consus and other assorted divinities; one of the races apparently featured chariots pulled by mules
  • 753 B.C.(?) – rape of the Sabine women (which traditionally happened during the celebration of the above)

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Seals accused of spreading TB to the Americas

According to a study published on August 20th by the science journal Nature, human remains have been collected in Peru that suggest seals are responsible for spreading tuberculosis (TB) to humans. This could explain how people living in Peru, at a time when the North and South Americas had been isolated from each other, were exposed to the infectious TB.

Origin of this disease has often been disputed. Commonly linked to Africa, it is also considered that TB was brought westward when the Spaniards came upon the New World in the sixteenth century.

Recently however scientists have studied ancient bacterial genome sequences, collected from human remains in Peru, that suggest the disease was present in the region of Peru before European contact. The National Geographic reports that Jane Buikstra, one member of the six-person team, excavated three skeletons from a southern Peru site. According to Buikstra, “their warped spines and ribs showed unmistakable signs of the disease”. Read more.

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

Rethinking Achilles and PTSD

From Manchester Metropolitan University comes a challenge to Dr Jonathan Shay’s work:

AN HISTORIAN from Manchester Metropolitan University has refuted one of the most long-standing theories about the link between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Ancient Greece.

In his book chapter Beyond the Universal Soldier: Combat Trauma in Classical Antiquity, Dr Jason Crowley argues against the commonly-held idea that sufferers of PTSD can be found as far back in history as Achilles and Odysseus.

The article will be published in the Palgrave Macmillan book Combat Trauma and the Ancient Greeks, in September.

Dr Crowley said that the roots of this belief in the universality of PTSD can be traced back to the end of the Vietnam War.

Universalist view

He said: “There is the view – and I think it’s quite appealing – that people are generally good. Generally good people, when they see horrible things, are upset and traumatised – that idea has an obvious human appeal.

“This idea was sharpened by the Vietnam War when a lot of men came back from South East Asia having lost the war and no longer able to function in society.

“When they came back, some veterans of World War Two unjustly ridiculed them because they won their war – a bigger, nastier, hotter war – and they put about the view that America lost this smaller war because the men fighting were morally weak.

This view of a morally weak generation was understandably rejected by the Vietnam veterans and those involved in their treatment, and they set out to prove that they were no different from any other soldier, and one of the first places they looked for proof was ancient Greece.

Achilles’ suffering

Scholars initially looked at the Illiad, the account of the doings of the “biggest, bravest soldier of them all” Achilles, and saw there what they believed to be evidence that the Greek hero suffered from PTSD.

This led to a wave of “retrospective diagnoses” on everyone from Greek heroes to bloodthirsty Spartans.

Dr Crowley said: “It seems harmless enough until you realise that the people treating our soldiers believed this and so treated everyone the same. I wanted to refute that idea so I modelled the cause of PTSD and what I noticed was that all the causes of PTSD are cultural.”

He said that unlike modern soldiers, Greek men believed that enemies existed simply to be killed and that a man’s worth could be valued by the number of enemies he had slain.

Protective factors

In addition, soldiers in ancient Greece didn’t suffer from social isolation, prolonged artillery bombardment or exhaustion in the way that their modern-day counterparts do.

He said: “One of the causes of PTSD is when you have no ability to take direct action – you can’t evade or remove a threat,. For example, sitting under shellfire is psychologically malignant. For ancient Greeks that wasn’t a problem – they could take direct action, they could either run away from their enemy or they could kill him.”

He added that there were also factors in the ancient world that could actually protect soldiers from PTSD, particularly the normalcy of killing created by living in an ultraviolent society.

He said: “They were surrounded by violence and death in their daily life. You were conditioned to deploy violence and that wasn’t seen as transgressive, it was seen as the morally right thing to do. Modern soldiers, if they kill an enemy soldier have the unjust feeling of doing something wrong. That feeling, that ‘I’ve done something I shouldn’t have’, was entirely absent in ancient society.”

Dr Crowley concluded by saying: “PTSD is not universal – it’s historically and culturally specific and when we treat soldiers we should do so on that basis, not that everyone is the same. The people who compared the Vietnam veterans to Achilles meant well, but they are doing the soldiers a disservice.”

So which came first, PTSD or ultraviolence?

Dickinson College Commentaries

A New Allen and Greenough

With support from the Mellon Digital Humanities Fund and the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies at Dickinson, we have completed a new digital version of that perennially useful tool, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, edited by J.B. Greenough, G.L. Kitteredge, A.A. Howard, and Benjamin L. D’Ooge. Boston: Ginn & Company, 1903.


The project involved re-scanning the book to have good quality page images, then editing a set of existing XML files kindly provided by the Perseus Project. We added to that the newly digitized index, which was not in the Perseus XML. The purpose there was to make the book browsable via the index, which is important for user utility, and absent in all other online versions. On March 23, 2014, Kaylin Bednarz (Dickinson ’15) finished revision of XML files for Allen & Grenough, and the creation of html files based on the new XML. She was assisted and trained in the use of Oxygen software (which converts the XML into web-ready html) by Matthew Kochis, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, who also helped with day to day project management.

In late March, Dickinson web developer Ryan Burke uploaded the html and XML files to Dickinson servers, and created the web interface for A&G in html. This revealed issues of formatting: indentations were often not preserved, resulting in lack of clarity. Some character formatting was not right, and footnotes from the original print resource were not clearly displayed. Forward and back buttons had to be put in for each of the 638 sections.

On May 20, 2014, Meagan Ayer (PhD in classics and ancient history, University of Buffalo, 2013) began work hand-editing Allen & Greenough html files, removing errors and fixing formatting, adding navigational infrastructure using Adobe Dreamweaver. A few missing XML files had to be added and converted to html, and those finishing touches were put on last week.

The differences between our version of A&G and others available on the internet are:

  • Page images attached to every section
  • Analytical index makes finding what you need easier
  • Functioning word search for the entire work
  • Attractive presentation with readable fonts and formatting
  • Fully edited to remove spelling errors and OCR misreads (further error notifications appreciated!)

And of course the whole is freely available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license. We plan to systematically link to this version of A&G in our Latin commentaries, and we are planning to have a similar work on the Greek side up soon:

Thomas Dwight Goodell, A School Grammar of Attic Greek (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1902). This excellent work was scanned by the Internet Archive. Last year Bruce Robertson of Mont Allison University kindly performed the OCR using Rigaudon, the output of which is available on Lace. At Dickinson the OCR output was edited and the XML and html pages created by Christina Errico. Ryan Burke has created the web interface. Meagan Ayer is in the process of editing and correcting the html pages. So look for that in the next few months!

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Roman pottery found in sewers

Fragments of Roman pottery and food waste from the 18th century have been uncovered during work to replace Lancaster’s sewer system.

Engineers working for United Utilities had to tread carefully when working at the Damside Street site, as the area was subject to archaeological monitoring, due to the now culverted Lancaster mill race running through the site.

Enormous sewer pipes and underground storage tanks the size of Olympic swimming pools have now been carved out deep underground, in one of the biggest engineering schemes Lancaster has seen. The £18m project will enhance the city’s sewer system, in order to reduce river pollution. Read more.

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Inscriptions found on Phnom Tbeng Meanchey

I don’t read Khmer, and I ran this story through Google Translate, but it seems that a number of inscriptions have been discovered on Phnom Tbeng Meanchey in Preah Vihear province. Corrections, translations and clarifications welcome!

Inscriptions on Phnom Tbeng Source: 20140818

Inscriptions on Phnom Tbeng Source: 20140818

ភ្នំ​ត្បែងមានជ័យ, អាថ័កំបាំងដែល មិនទាន់ទម្លាយ​, 18 August 2014
Article is in Khmer

Update: Alison provides a short translation in the comments below.

CKS PhD and Senior Fellowship in social sciences and humanities

The Council of American Overseas Research Centers and the US Deptartment of State are offering PhD and Senior level Fellowships for social science research through the Center for Khmer Studies. You must be a Cambodian or US citizen to apply.


This program is open to Cambodian and U.S. doctoral candidates and scholars who have already earned their Ph.D. in the social sciences and humanities. Scholars can pursue research in other countries in mainland Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Burma, Southern China) provided that part of their research is undertaken in Cambodia.

More details about the fellowship here. Deadline is 30 November 2014.

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City of mother goddess opens to tourism

The ancient city of Metropolis, a premier caravan site of yesteryear that was located on major trade routes, will soon begin drawing in visitors from near and afar thanks to significant investments to open the location up to tourism.

Excavations in the ancient city, which is located in İzmir’s Torbalı district, have been carried out by Culture and Tourism Ministry, Celal Bayar University, Sabancı Foundation and Torbalı Municipality. The historic structures in the ancient city have been preserved to a great extent, while necessary investments have been completed for Metropolis to gain the status of an ancient site. The ancient city is expected to open this year. Read more.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The Outsider’s Test and the Golden Rule

Jerry Coyne shared the cartoon below, which illustrates the tendency we have to consider that the culture, religion, species, and everything else we are brought up with is the best, rather than the more likely scenario which is that we think they are the best because they are what we were brought up with. Ironically, some atheists assume that what is sometimes called the The Outsider Test for Faith (as in the title of the book by John Loftus) leads naturally to atheism. But for some of us, the attempt to look at our own inherited religious tradition as well as atheism from the outside suggests that both have their weaknesses because they are inevitably human worldviews reflecting our limited perspective. I’d argue that the appropriate response to taking the outsider test is to inhabit some human worldview more humbly, with greater respect for those of others (because you understand what they are), rather than adoption of the stance that you have now found the one correct viewpoint, managing to break free of the shackles of human limitations.

To me, this is simply an application of the Golden Rule to our interaction with the views of others. We cannot step outside of our human perspectives. and genuinely view from “the outside.” The most we can try to do is to treat the views of others as we would want ours to be treated.



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Indian College excavation reopens in Harvard Yard

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.- This fall, Harvard archaeologists will continue excavations in Harvard Yard in the area of the 17th-century Indian College sited near Matthews Hall. This is the 4th excavation season in this area of the Yard. (Earlier excavations took place in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011). A foundation trench believed to be part of the old Indian College was found in 2009, and confirmed in 2011. This season, the class will continue to trace the Indian College foundation.

On Thursday, September 11 at 1:30 pm, The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Harvard University Anthropology Department, and Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP) invite the public to join the opening ceremony for the fall 2014 archaeological excavation in Harvard Yard. Read more.

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Cambodia ready to nominate Sambor Prei Kuk for World Heritage by end of year

The intentions has been known for some time now, and Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture feels confident to submit Sambor Prei Kuk for nomination as a World Heritage Site by the end of the year.

Sambor Prei Kuk. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20140820

Sambor Prei Kuk. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20140820

Temple may be heritage site
Phnom Penh Post, 20 August 2014

Sambor Prei Kuk, the seventh-century temple of the pre-Angkorian Chenla Kingdom built by Isanavarman I, is to be submitted for consideration as a World Heritage Site to UNESCO.

The announcement came yesterday at a seminar on research and conservation on the temple complex, the most important religious centre of the pre-Angkorian era and now located in a quiet patch of forest in Kampong Thom province.

According to Minister of Culture Phoeurng Sackona, up to 80 per cent of the documents for the proposal have already been prepared and will be finished soon.

“The documents will be completed by the end of 2014 and hopefully will be sent to UNESCO in Paris,” she said. “It’s expected to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the future.”

Full story here.

David Gill (Looting Matters)

Was Kaloterna 'disappeared'?

Egyptian mummy mask excavated at Saqqara
Paul Barford has written on the Kaloterna collection that once (allegedly) possessed the Egyptian mummy mask discovered at Saqqara and for the time being in the St Louis Art Museum (SLAM). He raises an uncomfortable possibility for the curatorial team at SLAM:
One might quite legitimately ask, whether there is a possibility that Kaloterna was 'disappeared' by the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's State Security Apparatus for political reasons.
I am sure that SLAM officials would not wish to be seen to have gained an object that could have been released back onto the market by such a means.

Did the SLAM rigorous due diligence process explore (and eliminate) this possibility?

My own position is that I think that it is likely that the Kaloterna collection is fictional. No authenticated documentation has yet been produced through the due diligence process to show that it existed.

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Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

Celtic metalworking secrets are revealed in France

Polish archaeologists excavate a set of 2,000 year old workshops in Bibracte, in the province of Burgundy.

The post Celtic metalworking secrets are revealed in France appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

US shipwreck identified in the Java Sea

The US navy confirms the identity of the USS Houston at the bottom of the Java Sea, sunk during World War II.

USS Houston. Source: US Navy, via BBC 20140819

USS Houston. Source: US Navy, via BBC 20140819

US Navy: USS Houston wreck found in Java Sea
BBC News, 19 August 2014

The US Navy has confirmed a wreck found on the bottom of the Java Sea is the USS Houston, a cruiser sunk by the Japanese in World War Two.

The wreck is the final resting place of as many as 700 US sailors and marines, the Navy said.

US and Indonesian divers discovered evidence that pieces of the hull and unexploded ordnance had been removed.

The site is a popular underwater dive spot, and officials are co-ordinating its conservation.

“In my discussions with our Indonesian navy partners, they share our sense of obligation to protect this and other gravesites,” Adm Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said in a statement.

Full story here.